Deeper into Jeopardy! XXXIX: Women Authors – $1200

Jeopardy! category: WOMEN AUTHORS (3-3-2015)

$1200 clue: In 2013 Helen Fielding published her third novel featuring this now-50-something diarist

Correct response

The gist: From an anonymous newspaper column to three novels, two movies, and more. British writer Helen Fielding’s character Bridget Jones came into being in 1995 as the purported author of the column (and purported diary entries) “Bridget Jones’ Diary” in The Independent. She was a single thirty-something-year-old living in London, trying to navigate through her own hectic life as a professional woman in a big city with the help of her city-dwelling friends. She navigates work, love, sex, health, food, tobacco and alcohol, and anything else that concerns her particular demographic.

In 1996, Fielding published her first Bridget novel, basing it on her previously published columns and, loosely, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (one of Bridget’s love interests is named Mark Darcy). Two years later she published the sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, loosely based on Austen’s Persuasion.

2001 saw the release of the film Bridget Jones’s Diary, starring Renée Zellweger in the title role, Colin Firth as Mark Darcy (who, not coincidentally, had portrayed Mr. Darcy in an earlier BBC production of Pride and Prejudice), and Hugh Grant as Bridget’s boss Daniel Cleaver. People seem to like it, and Zellweger was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role. It was followed in 2004 with a film adaptation of the second novel, which was… much less well-received than the first, let’s say.

The third novel in the now-trilogy, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, is the one referred to in the clue, and it reveals that in the intervening years our title heroine has become a single parent after Mark’s death, and is both writing a screenplay and trying to re-enter the dating scene.

Helen Fielding posing with her 2013 novel

Helen Fielding posing with her 2013 novel


The clue: I can’t say exactly how many people watching would be able to name Helen Fielding, but either way, the writers took the easier route by giving her name and asking for her better-known creation, rather than the other way round. The real hint in the clue is clearly the word “diarist;” while there are plenty of books written as diary entries, fewer actually have the word in their title itself.

In Jeopardy!: Bridget Jones is popular, beloved, and recent movie and book, so it’s not surprisingly a fairly popular Jeopardy! topic, showing up in 21 clues in the J!Archive; seven of them, including this one, mention the author, one fewer than mention the actress who portrayed Bridget (as for the actors, Grant gets three and Firth gets just one). Pride and Prejudice is in just two clues. Most of the rest reference specific bits in the book, like Bridget’s use of the term “singleton” to describe her lack of romantic involvement.

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