During her time hosting Jeopardy!, Mayim Bialik has experienced a lot, from viewers commenting on her clothing and things that she says and her humor, to producers telling her to "tone it down." Through all of that, she hasn't really shown emotion, but on Thursday's show, that changed after something one contestant said.
On the episode, Bialik asked reigning champion Ryan Long, a rideshare driver from Philadelphia, what he plans to do with his winnings, which are over $250,000. Long answered, "The only thing I have planned is taking my son on a trip. He wants to come out here [to Los Angeles]. He's been curious about what I've been doing. He wants to come to California, he wants to go to the theme parks - the best thing is, I have time to do these things with him now. I don't have to, you know, work and say, 'I can't do it.' Now we can just go wherever we want."
Mayim, who has two sons of her own, got emotional. She fanned her flushed face and said, "That is wonderful, gave me chills."
Mayim wasn't the only one moved by Ryan's comments. Viewers took to Twitter to write things like, "I have never rooted for a Jeopardy champion more than I root for Ryan Long," and, "Ryan Long made me tear up," and, "Ryan is just a damn good human being. And a good father, trying his best."
They aren't wrong - the 39-year-old has struggled in life. His father died just before Ryan's senior year of high school, which he told the Philadelphia Inquirer he "barely" graduated from. In January of 2021, he had such a bad case of COVID that he was hospitalized and could no longer work his job as a bus driver. He took on driving for rideshare companies to help provide for his family. They were living paycheck to paycheck when he started appearing on Jeopardy.
Ryan wound up notching another win on Thursday, bringing his streak to 15 games with a grand total of $279,000. He currently holds the ninth-longest winning streak on Jeopardy, and if he wins eight more times, he'll tie Canadian tutor Mattea Roach's 23-game streak, which ended last month.