The loss of the 80-year-old iconic game show host gives me yet another reason to hate 2020.

Jeopardy! (1984- ) debuted the year after I was born. I cannot remember a world without Alex Trebek giving out clues to eager contestants. As a kid, I always got excited when television shows would have cross-over episodes or featured special guest stars. It seems that a constant in most television show universes is Jeopardy! (1984) and its host Alex Trebek. Here are some of the most entertaining cameos of Trebek.

1. Pepper Ann

For some reason, Pepper Ann (1997-2000) does not get much love even though it is one of favorites. It has been omitted from Disney+ and hard to find other than some grainy episodes on YouTube. The finale episode is mostly set 15 years in the future and features Pepper Ann returning home and attending her 15-year middle school reunion. For some unexplained reason, when she comes to her mother’s house she is greeted by her mother and stepfather, Alex Trebek. The mom refers to her husband as “Alex Trebek” and Pepper Ann says he is the only one that can get her whites the whitest. It is just a quick, quirky, and funny cameo. Just another reason why Pepper Ann was “too cool for seventh grade.”

2. Family Guy

Family Guy (1999- ) is a cornucopia of commercial, television, and film references. No reference is too obscure for the show. There is no surprise the Jeopardy! (1984- ) and Trebek have been referenced a few times. The best reference was when Mayor Adam West appeared on Jeopardy! (1984- ) in the season 4 episode, “I Take Thee Quagmire.” Apparently, when you say Alex Trebek’s name backwards, it has some interesting results!

3. Rugrats

Another cameo in an animated television show is the season 2 episode of Rugrats (1991-2006) called “Super Stumpers.” This time, Trebek plays “Alan Quebec,” host of “Super Stumpers,” a television game show where contestants are asked a myriad of different trivia questions. Didi, Tommy’s mom, is a contestant, and Alan Quebec even tells her that she does not have to phrase her answer in the form of a question.

4. Golden Girls (1985-1992)

In this classic episode from the 7th season, Dorothy (Bea Arthur) falls asleep while exhaustively studying for an audition for Jeopardy! (1984- ). During her nap, she is pitted against her neighbor and Empty Nest (1988-1995) character Charlie (David Leisure) and the “returning champion,” her friend and roommate Rose (Betty White). Dorothy’s dream turns into a nightmare when Trebek lists the categories such as “Gum,” “Babes,” and “Cows.” Even Merv Griffin, creator and producer of Jeopardy! (1984- ), makes an appearance!

5. Mama’s Family

Lastly and my personal favorite, is when Trebek guest starred on Mama’s Family (1983-1990) in season 4. Mama Harper (Vicki Lawrence) sails through the local Jeopardy! (1984- ) appearance easily when she is asked questions about Shakespeare. Luckily for her, her night school English class had just covered a unit on Shakespeare. She quickly discovers that the actual show is much harder than the audition, but still manages to smooch Alex Trebek, win a trip to Hawaii, and try to set Trebek up with her best friend, Iola (Beverly Archer).

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Excuse me while I cut in here and add an extra entry to this list.]

Bonus 6. The X-Files

In 1996, the third season of The X-Files aired what is perhaps my favorite episode of the entire series: “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.” In it, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigate the apparent alien abduction of two teenagers. At the same time, thriller novelist Jose Chung (Charles Nelson Reilly) writes a book about the incident. The episode is played for laughs as the grey aliens who abducted the teens are then abducted by a giant third alien – Lord Kinbote.  Anyway, long story short, two Men in Black appear throughout the episode, urging witnesses to keep silent. And who played the mysterious MiB? Jesse Ventura and none other than Alex Trebek. – PBM

The variety of Alex Trebek’s cameos over the decades a further proof of his iconic status, but also shows that he was not quite as serious as he portrayed during his hosting duties. Trebek seemed to have a good sense of humor and did not shy away from poking fun at himself. In order to honor the memory of Trebek, please enjoy some classic episodes of Jeopardy! (1984- ) and check out the cameos I have listed.

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