This coming weekend, I’ll participate in The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM. As per tradition, this week is filled with idle reminiscing about memorable answers in past years.
There is a weird sensation that sometimes overtakes me when I watch a new television show or a popular movie, and I suspect it’s shared by many who give over alarming amounts of their intellectual energy to the devilish diversion that airs on a primo college radio station once per year. Because so much of the preparation for Trivia involves identifying the bits and pieces of pop culture that might someday inspire the intrepid writers of the contest to craft a question, there are moments when a seemingly insignificant detail that floats across the screen sparks the confident thought “There it is, that’s what they’re going to ask about.” In truth, the certainty of that conclusion is usually countered by the range of source material covered in the roll of four hundred or so questions posed during the weekend-long progression of posers. More often than not, the surefire question doesn’t arrive. Of course, that truth only makes it all the more satisfying when it does trip off the on-air announcer’s tongue.
In our household, there was a shared belief that the perfect trivia question to ask from the dandy first season of the surprisingly kinky horror series Evil, which aired on CBS, centered on a framed magazine article glimpsed in passing in the pilot episode. It was a small element of set dressing meant to help establish the protagonist’s background as a professional mountain climber, the sort of thing that most viewers see, process appropriately as supplemental data, and basically forget about as the narrative moves on to the meat of the story. For us, the article itself was something we needed to remember. And when the next proper contest arrived, there it was: “A TV character is featured in a magazine article that notes she climbed El Capitan in a single day. What is the first and last name of this character?” I’m fond of Kristen Bouchard anyway. Happily reciting her name at just the right time, and getting a whole mess of Trivia points for the effort, turned her, however briefly, into my favorite character currently on television.
More info about 90FM’s Trivia can be found at its official website or at the radio station’s online home. There’s also a feature documentary about the contest, but it’s fairly hard to come by these days. To see how my team is faring over the weekend, Twitter is probably the best bet.