"Intellectual loner" Jonathan Franzen shows fallibility as "Power Player" on "Jeopardy!"

Franzen's second-place performance on the show may have gone a long way to reverse his elitist persona

Published May 17, 2016 3:43PM (EDT)

  (AP/Mary Altaffer)
(AP/Mary Altaffer)

Author Jonathan Franzen competed in Monday night's episode of "Jeopardy!," kicking off its "Power Players Week."

In first after two rounds and into Final Jeopardy, Franzen eventually fell to conservative pundit S.E. Cupp, who wagered less on the question that all three contestants got wrong. ("Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd took home the bronze.)

The hugely successful novelist and essayist is often characterized as an "intellectual loner," with the shadow of his 2001 feud with Oprah seemingly still following him.

But his "Jeopardy!" stint may affect his "arrogant" persona.

Time called Franzen's appearance "humanizing":

"Franzen ... was clearly a bit more nervous than his assured competitors, who work in TV. But that added to the sense that the novelist, who’s become a figure representing far more than himself, is just another person who knows some but not all of the answers on the board."

Forthcoming Power Players this week include Louis C.K., Al Franken and Michael Steele.

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Chuck Todd Jeopardy! Jonathan Franzen Louis Ck Power Players Week S.e. Cupp