Entertainment

An epic fail on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ suggests the movie ‘Idiocracy’ might be a prophecy


I’m surprised Vanna White didn’t lose all feeling in her gams.

The ageless hostess of “Wheel of Fortune” is usually a kinetic blur. She stiletto-steps to and fro, turning over illuminated letters, grinning and clapping, tending to the puzzle board with the care Michelangelo would give to a ceiling fresco.

Her job is basically 30 minutes of cardio.

But on an episode this week, Vanna was mostly standing still.

And looking vaguely alarmed for the future of humanity.

The category was “Phrase.” Only four letters in this five-word puzzle remained hidden. I would have expected a third-grader to glance at the screen — “ANOTHER FEATHER *N YO*R *A*” — and blurt out: “Another feather in your cap.”

Instead, what followed was the weirdest two minutes of “Wheel of Fortune” ever, and I’m including the time a contestant gazed at a partially revealed “Thing” clue — “S*LF-PO*T**T” — and concluded “self-portrait” was actually “self-potato.”

Tuesday’s bizarre sequence involved all three contestants and nine turns.

It was like watching monkeys try to engineer a semiconductor.

First up was Laura. She confidently told host Pat Sajak she would like to solve the puzzle: “Another feather in your hat.”

Rats. Cue the sound effect for wrong: buzz. Close, but no cigarillo, Laura.

Next up was contestant Christopher. He tried to buy a “G,” presumably assuming this was the well-known phrase, “Another feather in your gag.”

Thomas spins the wheel and goes bankrupt.

Back to Laura for her second go. Surely, her synapses are firing and she can see what is obvious to everyone at home. Nope: “Another feather in your lap.”

Suddenly, the Wheel forecast called for WTF. It was raining mats and logs.

Back to Christopher. He inexplicably tries to buy a “D.” Sir, when you were a little boy, was there a feather in your dad? What are you thinking here?

Thomas spins and loses a turn. Back to Laura. She spins, gets $700 and asks for a “P.” Ding. Now the puzzle is one letter closer: “ANOTHER FEATHER *N YO*R *AP.”

End this insanity, Laura. Bring it home, baby girl. Come on.

“I will solve,” she again lies to Sajak. “Another feather in your map.”

I could not believe what I was watching. There are no feathers in maps, Laura! Ptolemy did not create a crude global rendering on his pillow. Christopher Columbus did not discover America after someone tickled him with a duster.

Thomas, two turns later, finally solved the puzzle and got viewers to stop screaming at their TVs. Good, because Laura’s next guess would have been: “Another feather in your yap.”

This was an EPIC *AIL. Or as the contestants might guess, an “EPIC PAIL.”

And now I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t something to recent studies that found IQ is on the decline across the developed world.

I know I am way dumber now than I used to be. My wife will gladly back me up on this. I think that’s why this “Wheel of Fortune” clip freaked me out. When I was kid, I could rattle off all the dinosaurs and world capitals. I could climb the multiplication tables well past 50×50, no problem. I was winning spelling bees and reading Shakespeare. My little brain was working just fine.

Now? I can barely calculate a 25 per cent tip on a $145 restaurant bill. When my daughters ask for help with a homework question — history, geography, chemistry, doesn’t matter — half the time I stammer and defer to Alexa. The other night, I was texting with a friend and struggling to think of the word for a green-blue hue.

I was trying to recall, “aquamarine.” But my brain kept whispering, “Aquaman.”

I’m an idiot, just like the idiots on this week’s “Wheel of Fortune.” But what if it’s not just the four of us? What if the movie “Idiocracy” was a prophecy? What if the entire world is losing neuro power by the year as chemicals seep into the food supply and technology becomes a crutch? What if our brains are devolving?

Did you watch U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday? Did you notice the antics of Republicans Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Beavis and Butt-Head of politics?

First, when Biden’s cabinet was making its way down the stairs, they both turned their backs in performative protest. Then when Biden was talking about his dead son, Boebert heckled. It’s almost as if they are not sentient. It’s like a mad scientist turned two internet trolls into humans with a Walmart fashion sense and lust for automatic weapons. It’s not clear if Lauren could spell her last name.

This is what worries me. If everyone is getting dumber — but we still need elected leaders — this means we are statistically more likely to now elect dummies. It’s not just politics. If IQs are on the decline for the first time in a century, that means everyone — teachers, doctors, grocery clerks, professors, truck drivers, cops, tailors, journalists — are not as bright as they used to be.

It would be scary if I could remember what “scary” means.

This “Wheel of Fortune” epic “pail” was not an aberration — it was a wake-up call.

If we are to solve the serious problems ahead we all need to smarten up.

We need to realize we are slowly turning into self-potatoes.

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