'Wheel of Fortune' Rocked By Controversy


Tuesday's Wheel of Fortune ended in controversy as a contestant lost the bonus round on a technicality, missing out on a brand new Audi in the process. Many fans are upset by the decision while others side with the show. The TBL Slack channel was among the places where people disagreed. Below are arguments for and against the show's decision.

STEPHEN DOUGLAS: It’s very simple. She solved the puzzle. She read the words in the correct order. In Pat Sajak’s own words, “You said all the right words including the word ‘word.’” What more could she do?  This is a clear letter of the law vs. spirit of the law thing. Now, I don’t know what the letter of the law says, but unless it says, “Giving away a car? In this economy? I don't think so!” then she deserved to win. 

In fact, I’m pretty sure she was pausing for dramatic effect. The answer was obvious. It was one of those puzzles where viewers were home screaming at their televisions. She was probably just trying to create some tension. Something the show could use on its sizzle reel. She was giving Wheel of Fortune a highlight! Winning a car isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Winning a car at the buzzer.

You know what the real giveaway is? Vanna started to clap. You don't do this job for 40 years and clap when someone is wrong. She looked absolutely befuddled when that buzzer sounded. Vanna knows.

Think of all the memories she was going to make driving places in that car. All the times a stranger might have said, “Oh, that’s a very nice car. Wherever did you get it?” Imagine the socks she would have knocked off telling people about the time she beat the buzzer in the bonus round on a puzzle where they only spotted her RSTLN E! Instead she got SCRWD.

KYLE KOSTER: Before my colleague Stephen brought this clip to my attention with a frantic message around midnight, I was blissfully unaware that Wheel of Fortune fans getting upset over the latest perceived injustice has become a cottage content industry. Close your eyes, think of the saddest thing you possibly can, and then compare how bleak it is next to Wheel fans posting passionate social media pleas for a general public that simply couldn't care less. You can't.

Look, I am sure Charlene Robush is a world-class human being and it would have been great if she had properly solved the puzzle. But she didn't. Because solving the puzzle means solving the entire thing, not venturing an inaccurate guess before allowing time to tick down and blurting out the last word and only the last word at the buzzer. 

It was a 50-50 call and Sajak made it without hesitating. Shouldn't we value his four decades of experience as well? Experience which made it clear to him that this was not a puzzle solved in regulation. Hate to be a stickler her but one does not simply solve the word. The word must be directly connected to the other words around it. Otherwise it's chaos. Just words floating around like ions as actuaries from Little Rock try to snare them in their big nationally televised moment.

Robush would have looked incredible cruising around in that Audi. No question about it. But she's not going home emptyhanded, having won $16,500 before the bonus round. And that's another thing. It's a bonus round. Nothing is promised in the bonus round.

Perhaps most importantly, the people upset by this are actually upset because they're not smart enough to be Jeopardy! fans, which is clearly the superior show. Enough about this.