It’s not usually until the final Jeopardy! round of the popular game show where things start to really heat up, but Thursday night’s episode kicked off with a bang. Contestant Michael Pascuzzi used his introduction time to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Maria Shafer.
“I just wanted to say one quick thing, and ask Maria Shafer right there if she would make me a winner today and marry me. Will you marry me?” the Habitat for Humanity restore manager asked his love, who was seated in the audience.
Shafer couldn’t respond fast enough. “Yes, of course!” she replied, choking back tears.
In the excitement of it all, the newly minted bride-to-be clearly forgot the Jeopardy! rules, but she quickly recovered. Host Alex Trebek teased Shafer about answering too soon. He wanted to add some suspense to the moment, adding, “I was about to say we’ll have the answer to that question right after this commercial break.”
She quickly fired back at him rewording her answer. “That would be… what is yes?” Shafer, a wedding DJ herself, said in true Jeopardy! style.
Even though Pascuzzi—who ended up in second place—and Shafer have been together for 10 years, according to the Orlando Sentinel, the televised proposal happened on a whim. “I came up with the idea in the green room,” he said. “I had been mulling it. I was going to do it this year.”
With the encouragement of the other two players and the seal of approval from Trebek, there was nothing stopping him. “He could have shot it down," said Pascuzzi. "He was in on it.”
Considering that their journey down the aisle started with Jeopardy!, Pascuzzi isn’t opposed to incorporating the game show into their big day too. He even said he wants Trebek to marry them. “It’s a joke I keep putting out there,” he said. “I don’t know if he’d be game.”
Just imagine that ceremony: “I’ll take ‘I do’ for 500, Alex.”