Real talk, you guys. I’ve been writing for the Wheelhouse Review for two months now, and have been holding out on something very important about me. There’s been a barrier between us, and if it’s alright by you, I’d like to bare my soul a little to you.
Once a month, I participate in Simpsons Trivia.
I’m not going to explain what the Simpsons is, because come on. It’s one of the longest running shows of all time, and during what is considered its prime years was a culture shaping and contributing medium. I will, however, have a quick little tirade about my personal history with the show. I wasn’t allowed to watch the Simpsons as a child, which obviously led to me wanting to watch it all the time. I would hold my finger on the last channel button, ready to change channels if my parents suddenly walked in. By high school, I was hooked. I could discuss Simpsons with anyone, from the Ralph Wiggums to the Jimbo Jones to the Allison Taylors (and let’s be honest, I kind of was Allison Taylor). College obviously did not help, especially when during my second year I got to go to dinner with Mike Reiss, and the whole group sat there and listened to him tell insider Simpsons stories (remind me to tell you a great story about the Michael Jackson episode sometime). My Simpsons love was known by all. I could always tell when a boy liked me, because he would buy me Simpsons memorabilia. This is how I acquired most of my Simpsons DVDs, a Simpsons girly t-shirt, and a dancing Homer doll.
So clearly, when my friend Crystal asked me to join her and her college friends in doing Simpsons trivia, I jumped at the chance immediately. It sounded perfect: it’s held close to my apartment in Brooklyn, I get to watch 3 classic episodes, and could wow everyone with my Simpsons knowledge. Pretty easy, right?
Friends, this is not your grandma’s Simpsons trivia. This is hardcore, down to the last detail, sometimes you have no idea what is being said trivia. You consider yourself a fan? That’s not enough. You have to know more than just how things are coming up. You have to know the names of liquors drank in dreams, obscure rock bands that meet unfortunate ends, first AND last names of one-time characters, Supreme Court Justices and their hobbies, Comic Book Guy’s favorite everything, and so much more.
It starts off simply enough. Everyone gathers. The host, who flies down from Toronto once a month to run this, kicks it off with a classic episode (considered season 1-11, though the crowd gets testy with anything after 9). Then, the trivia begins. The first round is easy if you know your Simpsons. Then comes another episode, followed by another round of trivia, harder this time. Finally, a third episode and the final 10 questions, which are often very VERY difficult. You may end the night kicking yourself over your inability to remember every single detail, cursing your failure as a human being. Oh, and there’s also a “Stump the Host” portion, which can yield very interesting answers to say the least (My team was sitting in the front when he answered the Old Gray Mare question. We were not expecting what happened).
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably a) a regular attendee of Simpsons Trivia and/or b) wondering if there are some tips for participating because you want to try your hand at it as well. You’re in luck. I’m here to offer a few ways to help make your Simpsons trivia experience more fun than a weekend on Monster Island.
- Choose an outstanding team name: All the team names are read out loud at some point, and the most clever ones will get laughs. And I’m sorry, but if you choose names like “the B Sharps” or “Pin Pals,” you’re probably going to leave after the first round, because it’s way more difficult than you expected.
- Get a good table: Particularly one that faces a screen. Watching Simpsons episodes with 100 people that love the show and can quote it verbatim is a great experience, and you’ll want to join in.
- If you’re a girl, you won’t have to wait for the bathroom: It’s the only time I go to a bar in NYC and can just walk right into the restroom. There are very few women at Simpsons Trivia (I’m on the only team that has a female majority). There is always a line for the guys however.
- When studying up, pay attention to throwaway lines and background signs: These come up, and you’ll remember exactly where and when and everything that’s said before/after, etc. but you will not remember the answer to the question. And it will haunt your dreams (ones not fetched by Puppy Goo-Goo). Avoid that by watching 8 straight hours of the Simpsons on the Sunday before, which is actually an awesome way to spend a Sunday.
- Whisper your answers to your teammates: Last month we sat beside a team that really enjoyed saying the answers loudly. And then we felt uncomfortable because while we had already gotten them, what if they thought we were copying them? I eventually just politely asked them to keep it down. This game is too important to mess around like that.
- Set your calendar for months in advance: It’s the first Thursday of every month (with the exception of this month). Don’t get caught unawares!
- Go social media: This group has a great Facebook group and Twitter account. Engage with your fellow Simpsons fans! It helps fill the gaps between trivia nights.
- Adhere to the team limit of no more than 6 people: Don’t be a jerk and have 18 people on your team. You don’t win friends with salad, or by breaking the rules.
If you have any more tips please leave them in the comments.
I’m excited, because Simpsons Trivia is tomorrow night. It’s really a little embarrassing how much I look forward to this every month, and tomorrow’s in particular. It’s the 1 year anniversary of Simpsons Trivia in Brooklyn, and they’re encouraging costumes, which of course my team took very seriously. We agonized. Do we go for individual costumes? Obscure ones? One-time guests or regular characters? For a long time I debated going as Sparkle, but didn’t want to invest in a jumpsuit. Vegas wives were also serious considerations. However, we have come up with what I think is a fantastic group costume that combines obscure with regular feature, and I am so looking forward to debuting it (and for those who are interested in seeing what we chose, check the Wheelhouse Facebook page on Friday for a picture!).
So, if you’ve read this far, and will still be my friend and not ostracize me from your life because of my fanatical devotion to Simpsons and Simpsons trivia, thanks! And come and say hi to me tomorrow (or any first Thursday) at Berry Park. But not during the actual trivia rounds, as I will be way too busy trying to remember who Chief Wiggum wanted to look for in Greektown.