Watch: The funniest Cliff episode of Cheers also inspired Jeopardy! in real life
Cliff Clavin has never been in your kitchen, but you can stream this hilarious episode now.
Read to Me
On Monday, September 14, 2014, Jeopardy! aired the first episode of its 31st season. Heading into Final Jeopardy!, the lead belonged to Elizabeth Williams, a business research librarian from our nation's capital. She had doubled up her competitors in cash, holding $13,400. The category was "Authors."
"In 1937 his sister said he had 'hats of every description' which he would use as a 'foundation of his next book,'" Alex Trebek read.
The answer was Dr. Seuss. Elizabeth, however, had answered, "Who is someone who's never been in my kitchen?"
She may have forgotten that Dr. Seuss wrote a book called The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, but she certainly knew her sitcom history. Cliff Clavin had written down that same answer when he appeared on the game show in the 1990 Cheers episode "What Is... Cliff Clavin?" And fortunately for Elizabeth, she wagered just enough money to hold on and win the game.
Cliff was not so wise.
In "What Is… Cliff Clavin?" the resident know-it-all of Cheers finally gets his shot on Jeopardy!. Everything about the game was set in the mailman's favor. The categories on the first round board were: Civil Servants, Stamps from Around the World, Mothers and Sons, Beer, Bar Trivia and Celibacy. His best pal Norm noted that this was indeed Cliff's "dream board."
Funny enough, 15 years later, that fictional game became a reality.
"And for those of you who are fans of Jeopardy! as well as Cheers, that great comedy series, you will recognize our categories in this round," Trebek announced before Double Jeopardy! The categories? They were:
Civil Servants, Stamps from Around the World, Mothers and Sons, Beer, Bar Trivia and Celibacy.
The easiest question for $400 in beer also paid tribute to Cliff. "John Ratzenberger, Cliff Clavin on "Cheers", did British ads for this golden U.S. beer company," it posed. (The answer was Coors, for what it's worth.)
Alas, of the three contestants playing that day — Brian, Phil and Pam — not one was a postal service employee who lived at home with mom and spent most of the day at a pub. Not one was able to match Cliff's mammoth $22,000 total achieved in "What Is… Cliff Clavin?"
Pam, on the other hand, did not risk all of her earnings. She won. She did not, as the practice is now called on Jeopardy!, "pull a Cliff Clavin."
Watch this classic episode of Cheers below, and stream the entire series on our Videos page or in our new MeTV App.