She lost Jeopardy!, but won the Internet.
Competing on the popular syndicated game show’s Tournament of Teens on Thursday, contestant Sabrina Duong became an Internet sensation on Friday when she channelled a popular meme in her Final Jeopardy! answer.
The category was Natural Wonders. And the clue was, “Roughly half the size of Texas, it’s the largest structure made by living creatures and can even be seen from space.”
Already in third place, the sophomore from La Jolla, California, didn’t have a chance to win — as the game’s leader, Emily Lamonica, had double her $9,600-score. And while Duong bet high, she didn’t know the final Jeopardy! answer (or, in this case, the question) — and was poised to leave the game a loser.
So instead, Duong decided to at least be memorable.
She wrote “What are THOSE?”
The correct response was “What is the Great Barrier Reef?,” FYI.
Host Alex Trebek didn’t appear to get the joke, but the Internet sure did.
It’s a meme that took off in 2015, after Instagram user Brandon Moore (a.k.a. Young Busco) uploaded a video in which he approaches a police officer and loudly asks “What are those?” before panning down to the officer’s black boots.
The phrase has been used since as a question yelled at anyone wearing questionable footwear.
In September 2015, Talia Lavin realized that she didn’t know the question to solve the final clue, she decided to prank Trebeck with an iconic Saturday Night Live reference.
Instead of responding to the Final Jeopardy hint, “This song from a 1999 animated film about censorship had a word censored from its Oscar performance,” with the correct answer of “Blame Canada” from South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, Lavin responded with “What is ‘The Love Ballad of Turd Ferguson.’ P.S. Hi Mom.”
On the off chance the the many Trebek-directed insults by Norm Macdonald‘s Burt Reynolds aren’t a staple of one’s vocabulary, Lavin’s answer refers to an iconic SNL sketch in which Will Ferrell starred as a perpetually fed-up version of Jeopardy‘s host. In one instance, Reynolds decided to make the host’s life even more difficult by changing his name on the podium to “Turd Ferguson.” Why? Because it’s a funny name.
Sadly, while the studio audience was delighted by her joke answer, Trebek himself wasn’t particularly amused. Although, to be fair, his on-screen counterpart wasn’t Turd Ferguson’s biggest fan either.
Jeopardy! airs weekdays in syndication. Check your local listings.