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Pat Sajak Gave A Heartfelt Defense Of The ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ Contestants That Went Viral

Wheel of Fortune is, alongside Jeopardy!, one of America’s most beloved game shows. Part of the appeal of Wheel is how approachable it is in a way Jeopardy! simply is not, because the average American cannot run through a category on 18th century English literature, but you can guess some letters and solve a puzzle.

While the masses love to laugh at Jeopardy! contestants who can’t answer simple pop culture or sports questions most of us know, nothing brings the game show schadenfreude out quite like a Wheel disaster like we saw on Tuesday night. The two minutes of contestants getting railroaded by a vengeful wheel that kept landing on bankrupt, while also throwing out a few painful misses on “Feather In Your Cap” became a viral sensation, with plenty laughing at the pain of those poor souls who just could not get the answer right.

On Wednesday, Wheel host Pat Sajak took to Twitter to author a heartfelt defense of those contestants, saying it “pains me” to see when people online ridicule contestants, and while he’s all for good natured fun, he also wants people to understand that it’s much harder being a contestant in those situations than it seems on your couch at home.

Sajak makes plenty of good points in this thread, and it’s nice to see him come out in defense of the contestants from his show. It is, undoubtedly, much easier to sit on the couch and yell things at the TV than it is to be on stage under bright lights with thousands of dollars on the line. He’s also right that “hat” not being the correct final word threw everyone for a loop and, coupled with some wheel chaos, it was a perfect storm for a painful sequence that just happened to be broadcast to millions on network television. He also knows not to completely wag his finger at fans for wanting to laugh at missteps, as that is truly one of the allures of watching Wheel, believing that if you ever got on that stage you’d nail every puzzle. Still, he makes a salient point that you might want to be careful laughing too hard at these, because if you get your chance on that stage, you might end up being the one trending for the wrong reasons.