The Worst Wheel of Fortune Contestant Ever (And He Actually Wins!)

"Wheel of Fortune" has its share of idiots.
"Wheel of Fortune" has its share of idiots.
Photo by Todd Carr

I think there's a spectrum of intelligence on which most board games fall, with games like Candy Land at one end and games like, say, chess at the other end. Games such as Scrabble and Monopoly fall somewhere in between, probably somewhere to the "chess" side of center.

Television game shows fall onto a similar grade, with pretty much all of them bunched down at the "mindless" end (for the sake of needing an endpoint, we will plunk Joker's Wild down there), and Jeopardy! all the way at the other end.

Wheel of Fortune, to be fair, probably falls somewhere in the middle, and above the gaggle of games for the braindead (games that, to be clear, I love). You do need at least some working knowledge of the English language to win at Wheel.

Or do you?

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on a Wheel contestant who won the bonus round on a near psychic get of "NEW BABY BUGGY" with just the N and the E given to him. It was incredible, someone getting a Wheel puzzle with so few clues.

Well, this past week we got proof that the opposite can actually happen as well. And when I say "the opposite," I am talking polar freaking opposite. Like, has-every-letter-on-the-board-and-still-mispronounces-a-word opposite.

Meet Julian.

He is a student repping Indiana University during what appears to be some sort of college week on Wheel of Fortune. He's been pitted against a young lady by the name of Shelby from Texas A&M and a cute Southern lass by the name of Laura from Alabama.

A few things you will notice about Julian before we get to the full footage:

1. He likes to scream his letter choices. Apparently, Julian is either deaf or thinks we are all deaf. If it's the former, I feel bad for pointing this out. If it's the latter, I feel great about pointing it out, as well as this...


2. Julian is clueless. He is maybe the worst Wheel player we've seen in my lifetime, and as you'll see, a shining example of why we may need a rule change on what constitutes "winning" the game.

Let's go to the film, followed by a Zapruder highlight reel...

Okay, let's break down Julian's breakdown....

0:26 -- Julian loses control of the board when the answer to the puzzle is fairly obvious, and the only way he can get it back is for Shelby and Laura to get greedy and hit a "LOSE A TURN" or "BANKRUPT" trying to build up their bank. So naturally....

0:40 -- ...BOOM, Shelby loses a turn...and...

0:47 -- ...BOOM, Laura, bankrupted. Back to you, Julian!

0:56 -- When a puzzle is clearly solvable, some people spin because they're greedy, others spin because they're clueless. We find out soon which one Julian is, trust me. He's also ridiculously lucky as his next spin lands on the "Million Dollar" tab in between two "Bankrupt" nooks.

1:10 -- Now, it's totally obvious to anyone (not named Julian) what the answer to the puzzle is, but Julian keeps racking up a monster bankroll.

1:32 -- Sajak is even surprised that Julian tempted fate so many times, giving off a squeaky "WOW" after the letter C fills in the final two holes. Now, all Julian needs to do is read the puzzle and he will bank thousands of dollars. Read it. That's it...

1:36 -- "MYTHOLOGICAL HERO...AY-CHILL-US..." Yes, ironically, Julian's Achilles is the pronunciation of the word "Achilles."

1:37 -- .....(awkward pause while everyone decides whether to feel sorry for Julian or laugh in his face).....

1:43 -- The crowd and Sajak opt for the former, as Sajak looks like he's trying to hold in a sneeze. Meanwhile, some of us shudder to think about how Alex Trebek would've eviscerated this poor bastard while the rest of the world wonders exactly how Indiana determined that Julian would represent their school at a battle of wits.

1:46 -- Meanwhile, Shelby, blessed with the good fortune of being to Julian's left instead of his right and the good sense to have paid attention to Greek mythology in fourth grade, solves the puzzle by reading the name "Achilles" correctly. Easiest 600 bucks she's ever made.

2:10 -- Sajak tries to downplay Julian's gaffe and encourages all of us to wipe that from our memory. Apparently, Sajak is not familiar with the Internet and its ability to archive, well, everything.

2:40 -- We get a brief glimpse into a second puzzle on which Julian knocks out a bunch of letters before trying to guess it with several blanks still on the board. The shudder from Sajak and the crowd when he goes to solve it is palpable, yet amazingly, Julian nails a "Before and After" category puzzle of "SCIENCE PROJECT RUNWAY." That looked dicey and felt like a 16 seed upsetting a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Phew.


3:20 -- We're on our third puzzle now, and Julian just hit three T's on a $3,500 tab. That's over ten grand on one letter; he is cruising to what could be a monster day, even with the unfortunate "Achilles incident" earlier.

3:38 -- I don't watch Wheel enough anymore to know what the gift tab is that Julian just won, but his pause and pose for the camera should be his Twitter avatar. For a guy with very little clue on how to play glorified hangman, Julian does know where that camera is, folks.

3:58 -- Knocking out letters, picking up another tab, this one on a half a car, and....BOOM...there it is, the Julian Pose (proper-noun status).

4:15 -- Julian is like "Ohhhh WHAT?" as he picks up the other half of the car, and POW, JULIAN POSE, BITCHES!! Okay, let's solve this thing now, Julian. I mean, we know it's "THE WORLD'S FASTEST MAN." All you're really missing is the M and N in "MAN," and let's be real, the number of other things it could be is almost nonexistent since we know it's a "PERSON." So let's do this, Julian...let's solve it...oh, what? You're spinning? Um.....okay.....

4:33 -- "C!"

4:34 -- Um, NO, dumb ass, there's no C in "WORLD'S FASTEST MAN." Unless, Julian, you think the answer was "WORLD'S FASTEST CAM" (Newton, clearly) or "WORLD'S FASTEST MAC" (Keenan McCardell, possibly, who knows).

4:36 -- Shelby, clearly a pro at rifling through Julian's Wheel garbage by now, asks to solve the puzzle literally before Sajak can say a word about Julian's latest misstep.

4:58 -- For good measure, Shelby won a trip to Jamaica that round (and Uncle Nate immediately followed her on Twitter).

5:17 -- Bonus round time, and we are down to just vowels remaining in the puzzle. Laura disappoints a little bit in not harboring a guess on a fairly easy puzzle, but Julian is confident. He swoops in and would like to solve. The puzzle reads:

_ N-TH_-SP_T D_C_S__N

5:34 -- "On the spot DICE SPIN..."

5:35 -- Okay, I don't even know what an "on the spot dice spin" is. A spontaneous dice spin? Yeah, we were just over at Julian's chilling out, and dude just took out some dice OUT OF NOWHERE and started straight SPINNIN' them! Julian is wild, bro!!!

5:36 -- Pat Sajak's disgust with Julian is immeasurable.

5:38 -- Shelby happily taps in for par, and Julian is left wondering why nobody whimsically spins dice anymore.

5:45 -- Somewhere all of the SEC schools are chanting "SEC! SEC! SEC!" for Shelby, even as Laura takes the collar. Lock.

6:00 -- And yet, in Wheel of Fortune's rulebook, Julian managed to win because he racked up the most cash in the one game that had a phrase with which he was familiar. There needs to be a rule that if you miss a puzzle that has all of the letters turned over, not only can you not win, but the floor gets yanked out from under you and you slide into the incinerator like Veruca Salt in the Wonka movie.

6:02 -- Sajak can now hide behind the consolation of Julian's getting 11 grand and cackle in his face.

Somebody get me Alex Trebek, please.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at

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