Everyone sits at home watching Wheel of Fortune thinking they could win the big bucks if only they got a shot. And yes, it is probably easier than needing to know who the King of Prussia was at the turn of the 20th century in order to win Jeopardy (answer: Wilhelm II). But when those people step in front of the cameras and start sweating under the hot lights, we never know if their brain will freeze up and guess something ridiculous that costs them thousands of dollars. It's a nightmarish scenario, but on the bright side, the episode will be recorded on video for posterity, where everyone can enjoy themselves laughing at their screw up forever and ever and ever… So, um, at least some good can come from it, I guess?
Here are some of the most hilariously awful Wheel of Fortune guesses on record. Laugh away.
15 A STREETCAR NA_ED DESIRE
Letters Showing: A STREETCAR NA_ED DESIRE
Guess: A STREETCAR NAKED DESIRE
Correct Answer: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
To his credit, this contestant didn't actually say the words "A Streetcar Naked Desire" out loud, but with only one letter left in the puzzle, he did guess a "K" where the "M" should have been. So, while he spared himself of being part of a ringtone-worthy sound bite, he made headlines for not only flubbing a puzzle with just one unknown letter, but also for messing up a puzzle whose answer is one of the most recognizable American works of art of the 20th century: a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by the legendary Tennessee Williams. It's even an Academy Award-winning movie starring icons Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh! C'mon, man! His guess, on the other hand, sounds like a cheesy skin flick airing at 2:00 A.M. on Cinemax.
14 S_LF-PO_T_ _ _ T
Letters Showing: S_LF-PO_T_ _ _ T
Correct Answer: SELF-PORTRAIT
This guess was so bad, the contestant actually apologized for making it. As soon as Pat Sajak calls her name, we can sense her inner monolog: "Uh-oh. Did I actually push that button? Why did I do that? I have no idea what this is! Gosh, I wish I was at home eating a burger and fries. Mmm...fries. I love potatoes. Hmm, potato... Self-potato! That's it! Oh, shoot, did I say that out loud? That was beyond stupid. I should apologize." This, however, may still not adequately explain the million dollar question: what the heck is a self-potato supposed to be anyway? Is it like the saying "small potatoes" but, like, not? Maybe it's like when we go to take a selfie, but realize instead of holding our cell phone, we're holding a potato? Or maybe it's just when people send a Potato Parcel to themselves?
13 I _A_ _ THE _INE BY J_HNNY _A_H
Letters Showing: I _A_ _ THE _INE BY J_HNNY _A_H
Guess: I HAVE THE WINE BY JOHNNY CASH
Correct Answer: I WALK THE LINE BY JOHNNY CASH
Well, at least she got the artist right. Look, I understand that not everyone is a country music fan, but even if they couldn't hum the tune, they should at least know the title "I Walk the Line." I mean, Walk the Line was even the name of the Joaquin Phoenix movie about Johnny Cash! Plus, the second word couldn't be "Have" because there's no "H" showing. I can only imagine what other Johnny Cash song titles she would screw up: "A Boy Named Sam," "Folsom Prison Bruise," "Ring of Furs," "Man in Brown." If nothing else, maybe her bad guess could inspire Weird Al Yankovic to create a parody song called "I Have the Wine."
12 AN _ _LY CHILD
Letters Showing: AN _ _ LY CHILD
Guess: AN UGLY CHILD
Correct Answer: AN ONLY CHILD
Okay so, just because something will fit in the puzzle doesn't mean it's the correct answer. Sometimes, as a contestant, when an answer pops into our heads, we just have to ask ourselves, "Would Wheel of Fortune REALLY make this into a puzzle?" In this case, that would be a resounding NO. Chances are highly unlikely that a national game show would make a puzzle that insults a child's looks. This is a syndicated family show, not an online bully. Do we think they'd have one question whose answer is "A FAT KID"? "A stinky baby"? "A weird looking pre-teen"? I think not. It would all be incredibly silly and just hurtful. So this poor woman must have really had a tough recovery after making a guess like this.
11 _N-TH_-SP_T D_C_S_ _N
Letters Showing: _N-TH_-SP_T D_C_S_ _N
Guess: ON-THE-SPOT DICESPIN
Correct Answer: ON-THE-SPOT DECISION
So much fail, so little time. This poor College Week contestant guesses incorrectly on not one, not two, but THREE puzzles. First, he has all of the letters filled in MYTHOLOGICAL HERO ACHILLES, but he somehow manages to mispronounce the legendary Greek figure Achilles ("uh-KILL-eez") as "AY-chill-iss." Now, I tend to cut contestants more slack with pronunciations than the show does, but this dude clearly has never heard of Achilles and doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt here.
He follows up this blunder with a puzzle in which he has showing "THE WORLD'S FASTEST _A_." He proceeds to guess a "C," presumably because he thinks the last word is CAR. Problem is, the category is PERSON, so unless he thinks the TV show My Mother the Car was a true story, this is a boneheaded guess.
Then, he makes the above guess of ON-THE-SPOT DICESPIN, which, unless kids today have invented a new gambling slang I'm unaware of, is utter nonsense. The most amazing part of this whole ordeal, though, is that by the end, he ACTUALLY wins the most money! So, um, yeah, college.
10 _IN_ERS & _OES
Letters Showing: _IN_ERS & _OES
Guess: MINERS & HOES
Correct Answer: FINGERS & TOES
I would pay to figure out what was going through this guy's head when he guessed "MINERS & HOES." Both words have multiple meanings (and spellings), so his guess has a wide range of potential on the disturbing meter. The most innocuous is "miners" meaning coal dust-covered people who work in a mine. And "hoes" meaning gardening tools. Granted, it's a bit troublesome that he would think miners use hoes in the course of their job, but I guess we all have blind spots in our knowledge.
More alarming is if he's using "hoes" as a slang term for prostitutes, in which case the miners would be up to a whole different job altogether. The most disturbing interpretation, however, would be if he's using "hoes" for prostitutes and means "minors" as in people under the age of 18. Yeah, I don't even want to know what was going through this guys head. Kids and prostitutes? Miners and gardening hoes? Miners and prostitutes? What's happening!?
9 _N _C_ _F KI_DNE_S
Letters Showing: _N _C_ _F KI_DNE_S
Guess: AN ACE OF KIDNEYS
Correct Answer: AN ACT OF KINDNESS
Rivaling "on-the-spot dicespin" for the most made-up, nonsensical phrase is this weird guess whose meaning is beyond my scope of understanding. The wording is not only confusing, but it's also illogical, given kidneys come in pairs while "ace" implies something solo. The other interpretation might be that "ace" means an expert at something; like maybe a doctor who's great at kidney transplants. Or a black market organ dealer who's great at drugging strangers and stealing their kidneys while they're unconscious, leaving them to wake up in a bathtub full of ice in a seedy motel with a note saying, "Maybe you should go to the hospital." We can tell by the tone of the contestant's voice and the tilt of his head that he immediately recognizes the ridiculousness of his guess, so at least he's not insane.
8 _ ISH L_ _ _
Letters Showing: _ ISH L_ _ _
Guess: FISH LOVE
Correct Answer: WISH LIST
This answer reveals perhaps more about this contestant than he'd like us to know. Fish love? Is this some sort of weird, pervy fetish we find in the dark recesses of Craigslist?
"Man seeks mackerel, pike or cod, age 2 to 4. For discreet consensual relationship involving—but not limited to: role play, domination, spanking, exhibitionism (aquarium, here we come!) and naturally, waters sports. If groups are your thing, feel free to bring your school along. Why? Just for the halibut. LOL. I enjoy long swims along the beach, shiny gills, and a lack of limbs. Basically, I'm just looking for my 'partner in crime.' Like, literally, because I'm pretty sure this is illegal in most states. Salmon need not apply."
7 S_RF C_ _ Y _ERE WE COME
Letters Showing: S_RF C_ _ Y _ERE WE COME
Guess: SURF CLAY WHERE WE GO
Correct Answer: SURF CITY HERE WE COME
Pat Sajak's reaction here is priceless: "Uhhhh...no." His emotion goes from stunned disbelief to a resounding dismissal of this contestant's off-the-wall guess. Even if we're not familiar with the Jan & Dean tune "Surf City" (the first hit surf song, written by the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson), in what universe does "SURF CLAY WHERE WE GO" make any sense whatsoever? At least "Clay" fits in the spaces (not that "Surf Clay" is a phrase anybody knows), but how does he squeeze "W" and "H" in the single space open in _ERE? And "Come" is already spelled out for him, so how does he guess "Go"??? If we get more guesses like this, I fully expect Pat Sajak to go postal at some point.
6 _ _R_ _ P _ _ _ _ LL-_ _SH_RS
Letters Showing: _ _R_ _ P _ _ _ _ LL-_ _SH_RS
Guess: A GROUP OF PILL-PUSHERS
Correct Answer: A GROUP OF WELL-WISHERS
Speaking of going postal, this is probably about as close as we'll see Pat Sajak get to that point. "This is Wheel of Fortune, Joe!" he exclaims after this clueless contestant guesses that the family-oriented game show would devote a puzzle to drug dealers. "A GROUP OF PILL-PUSHERS?" What's next? A horde of meth dealers? A gaggle of crackheads? Harold the dope fiend and his buddies? To his credit, at least Joe guessed something that would actually fit in the puzzle, unlike the "Surf Clay Where We Go" guy, who I'm still convinced has some sort of irreparable brain damage.
5 _T _ _ _ _T'S EN_
Letters Showing: _T _ _ _ _T'S EN_
Guess: AT MY CAT'S END
Correct Answer: AT MY WIT'S END
This one is actually kind of sad. On one level, it's upsetting because the contestant thinks that "At my cat's end" is a common saying - and says it repeatedly without it triggering the phrase "At my wit's end" in his mind at any point. On another level, it's sad because it makes me think about what it would be like if this was indeed a common saying. I can imagine people bringing their old, dehydrated cats into pet stores, telling workers, "I'm at my cat's end. I need a new one." And out back, there's a big bin full of cat husks to be recycled into pita chips. Luckily, this is not really a saying, and cats have nine lives anyway - so they're safe.
4 PLA_ING A PRACTICAL _O_E
Letters Showing: PLA_ING A PRACTICAL _O_E
Guess: PLAYING A PRACTICAL MOVE
Correct Answer: PLAYING A PRACTICAL JOKE
Oh, come on. This one is "practically" laid out for this Wheel of Fortune contestant, and she still manages to botch it. "Playing a practical move?" Who says that? Has she been living under a rock or in a Unabomer-style shack in the wilds of Montana all her life? Perhaps she was raised by wolves, who understandably have a limited understanding of the intricacies of the English language. In any case, it's apparent she's never fallen victim to a practical joke, or even an impractical joke. Regardless, I wouldn't be surprised if her friends (wolf pack?) mercilessly pull pranks on her from now on. Or at least teases her about all that money she blew on the show.
3 DOPE_ _RU_PY DO_ _ASH_UL HAPPY SNEE_Y AND SLEEPY
Letters Showing: DOPE_ _RU_PY DO_ _ASH_UL HAPPY SNEE_Y AND SLEEPY
Guess: DOPEY, GRUMPY, DOC, BASHFUL, HAPPY, SNEAKY, AND SLEEPY
Correct Answer: DOPEY, GRUMPY, DOC, BASHFUL, HAPPY, SNEEZY, AND SLEEPY
Seriously, how does someone not know the names of the Seven Dwarves? That's like not knowing the names of the seven days of the week. Certainly, they have learned it as a child. Even if it slipped their minds, they should probably make more room for it. Erase that ATM password or our spouse's birthday from our brain—we can be reminded of them anytime. What's really important is there is no dwarf named "Sneaky." I don't think there's even a Smurf named Sneaky. And even if they think there is a dwarf named Sneaky, they don't have to be a spelling bee champion to know that we don't spell it S-N-E-E-K-Y.
2 _ _STARD-FILLED _H_ _ _LATE E_LAIR
Letters Showing: _ _STARD-FILLED _H_ _ _LATE E_LAIR
Guess: MUSTARD-FILLED CHOCOLATE ECLAIR
Correct Answer: CUSTARD-FILLED CHOCOLATE ECLAIR
Look, I get that custard might not be as popular in the US as it is in Europe, and it might be seen as a bit hoity-toity, and there could possibly be people who have no idea what an eclair is (basically, it's a pastry shaped like a sausage), but why in the world would one think anything chocolate flavored would be filled with mustard? Granted, an eclair might be shaped like a hot dog, but that doesn't mean we should slather it in mustard, relish, and onions! The only worse guess that would actually fit here would be "bastard-filled chocolate claire." Which would make only slightly less sense than mustard, but would probably taste quite a bit grosser.
1 MAG_C _AND
Letters Showing: MAG_C _AND
Guess: MAGIC HAND, MAGIC BAND, MAGIC YAND, MAGIC SAND, MAGIC CAND, MAGIC YAND, MAGIC JAND, MAGIC PAND, MAGIC FAND
Correct Answer: MAGIC WAND
This one is truly painful to watch. This contestant has only two letters missing, and the first is obvious. The second is, well, pretty obvious too, but he can't quite get it in time. He does what seems to be a fairly smart thing, and goes through the alphabet, trying different letters in the spot before he comes up with a solid answer (and coming up with head-scratching "words" like JAND, YAND, and FAND). Unfortunately for him, "W" is near the end of the alphabet, and by the time he gets there, the buzzer sounds. Also unfortunate for him is the fact that he thinks the word rhymes with "and," and not "pond." So "wand" doesn't immediately jump out as an option. Too bad!