‘Quiz Lady’ Pays Tribute to Longtime ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek
If you’re looking for a heartwarming, light-hearted comedy, a great newer pick is Quiz Lady on Hulu. The movie follows Anne, played by Awkwafina in a role very different than the ones she’s known for, and her estranged sister, Jenny (Sandra Oh). Anne’s dog is kidnapped by her mother’s gambling debt collectors and the sisters have to figure out a way to make some money fast. When Jenny realizes just how good Anne is at Can’t Stop the Quiz, a Jeopardy!-esque game show, she gets her on the show.
Will Ferrell portrays game show host Terry McTeer, who reminded me of a wonderful mix of the late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and Ferrell’s version of Trebek on Saturday Night Live. Turns out, the character was a way to honor Trebek after he passed away in November 2020.
The writer of the film, Jen D’Angelo admitted that she grew up watching Jeopardy! and other game shows. She even said that her brother is very much like Anne and could remember everything he’s ever read. She said about Ferrell’s character, “Alex Trebek is such an incredible cultural icon; he means so much to so many people. And so we really wanted to make it a love letter to him. It was really so great to see Will play this character, because he has that connection to Alex from ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!'”
She continued, “It was fun to talk about ways to sort of make Terry very different from that, while also being an allusion to that. And that’s where we came up with this idea that Terry is just the nicest, warmest guy, but he actually doesn’t know that much. Part of what he loves about hosting the game shows is that he gets to learn so much. He’s just like, ‘I have no idea how you guys remember all this stuff!’ And so that felt like a nice contrast to Alex Trebek, who the reason that he was such an amazing ‘Jeopardy’ host is that you really believed he knew everything he was asking you, in that he was so smart. So it was really fun to play against that with Terry.”
Watch Quiz Lady on Hulu. The film also marks the late Paul Reubens’ final role.