The “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions kicked off Monday night with some controversy, thanks to a contestant whose intensity rubbed viewers the wrong way.
Ryan Bilger won the game and advanced to the semifinals, but his style of play had fans criticizing him on social media.
Bilger responded to the comments on Monday.
“So uh hi there. I see there’s a lot of people out there who are displeased with me after Jeopardy tonight,” he wrote in the beginning of a Twitter thread.
“Look, I get it. I had a ton of adrenaline flowing through my veins. I got a daily double on a piece of Pennsylvania history I’ve known since I was a child. I was playing better than I ever expected. Yes, I got pretty loud and excited,” he continued.
Bilger was animated while playing and his approach — which included some chest thumping and saying he would "go for the kill” while placing a wager before a Daily Double — didn’t sit well with some fans.
“I get that that’s not what many people want out of Jeopardy,” he wrote. “I’d take back the comment on the second DD if I could. I was just in the moment and so excited to play because I’d been waiting for it for 2 years and had lots of pent-up energy. Not saying it’s a valid excuse, but yeah.”
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Bilger also said his competitors on the episode didn’t take issue with his behavior.
“I’ve talked with Jason and I’ve talked with Sarah and they’ve been very clear that they have no problems with me, that we were competitors in a competitive space and that getting excitable is understandable, that I have nothing to apologize to them for,” he wrote. “So that’s that with them.
“For everyone else, hey, sorry that I ruined your Jeopardy watching night," he added. "I get it. If you want to make imputations about my character, then fine, but you can do it to my face. I know who I am and this TOC field is an amazing group of people and I’m honored to be a part of it.
“See you next week through the TV, whether you like me or hate me,” he concluded.
“Jeopardy!” posted clips of Bilger in action, with many fans commenting about how he played.
“Learn how to win with humility,” someone wrote.
“Ryan was a sore winner,” another person commented.
“ryan is very intelligent, fast, and skilled at playing the game, but he could not have been any less enjoyable to watch because he was so ridiculously conceited,” another viewer wrote.
And while Bilger had plenty of detractors, he did have several people in his corner, including well-known former “Jeopardy!” champion Austin Rogers, who had no problem with how psyched Bilger was by the time Final Jeopardy rolled around.
“Dude. Get amped. Best feeling on Earth is nailing FJ without having to just to show you did. You killed. Can't wait to see how this turns out,” he tweeted.
Bilger’s behavior had fans riled up, so much so that the “Jeopardy!” Twitter account itself had to step in.
“While we welcome a lively exchange with our fans, please keep the level of conversation respectful and appropriate,” it wrote.