The Dumbest Moment on ‘Wheel of Fortune’? Pat Sajak Defends Mocked Contestants

Photo by Robb Cohen/Invision/AP

There’s a good chance by now you’ve seen the viral video of perhaps the most controversial fail in Wheel of Fortune history.

The now infamous clip was trending on Twitter Wednesday, which at least gave Joe Biden some competition for the most cringeworthy moment recently broadcast on national television.

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Here’s what the puzzle read:

Source: Twitter

…and here’s what happened over the next excruciated two minutes:

Awkward, right? The answer was so obvious, right?

For most people who have seen the clip, the answer is “Of course! Those people were morons! How could they not get it?”

But at least one person is defending the trio: Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak.

“It always pains me when nice people come on our show to play a game and win some money and maybe fulfill a lifelong dream, and are then subject to online ridicule when they make a mistake or something goes awry,” he tweeted. “Last night’s ‘Feather in your cap’ puzzle was a case in point. Sitting at home, it seems incredible that they couldn’t solve it, but I knew in real time what was happening.”

He continued:

The first attempted solve was “Feather in your hat” which, by the way, is how a lot of people say it. So all three players thought it was a good solve, and were stunned when I said it was wrong.

Now imagine you’re on national TV, and you’re suddenly thrown a curve and you begin getting worried about looking stupid, and if the feather isn’t in your hat, where the heck can it be? You start flailing away looking for alternatives rather than synonyms for “hat.”

And, of course, when it’s solved, you want to crawl in a hole. I’ve been praised online for “keeping it together” and not making fun of the players. Truth is, all I want to do is help to get them through it and convince them that those things happen even to very bright people.

But mocking them online and calling them names? These are good people in a bad situation under a kind of stress that you can’t begin to appreciate from the comfort of your couch.

Good-natured laughter is one thing. Heck, they laughed at themselves. But, hey, cut them some slack. Unless you’re there, you have no idea how different it is in the studio.

I have fun with players and I tease them occasionally, but when things go wrong, I feel for them, and I try to salve the wounds on camera and off. So, yeah, it was an oddly entertaining puzzle and it’s okay to laugh at the situation. But have a little heart.

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I would argue that he makes a fair point; let’s all go back to mocking Joe Biden’s terrible speech instead.

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