Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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TV O.D. / It’s All About Me: The World Series of Pop Culture, Round 2 (Vs. Fragilay)

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 16, 2007

“I’m crossing my fingers on this one…”

So if you’re reading this blog post, it probably means two things have already happened:

  1. You’ve finished watching the round and know that we defeated Fragilay and our on our way to the Semis
  2. You’ve lost all respect for me you possibly could have had whatsoever, and are looking for me to say something, anything, to explain away what went down in my category.

Well, I’ll get to two soon enough, for the moment let’s concentrate on one. We didn’t really know what to expect going in to our round against Fragilay–having not seen their first round against El Chupacabra, we didn’t know anything about them except that they were from Baltimore (alas, still not Wire or Homicide fans, as we found out in the green room) and they had taken down last year’s WSOPC champs. It was still more comforting to take them on than the Chups themselves, but it was still at least a little bit intimidating.

Especially when they announced category #1: The One About Friends. Minus American Idol and The Brady Bunch (both of which went out in the Sweet Sixteen), Friends was our nightmare category. Victor knew a fair bit about the show, but we weren’t confident enough that he would be able to take on one of the show’s true experts, so as to not fuck up the running order, we sent up Weber (who in retrospect, was an awfully good sport about being used as a sacrificial lamb so many times in the tournament). Weber hates Friends and has probably seen barely a half-dozen episodes of the show in his life, but since we knew there was a really good chance of there being a Friends category in the competition (there was last year as well), the three of us made a point of learning the basics, and maybe one level beyond the basics, of the show before going on. This involved reading a lot of Wiki Friends pages taking a bunch of Friends online quizzes, which was definitely painful, but not as painful as watching all nine or however many of the seasons there are on DVD would’ve been.

Luckily, everything that they asked about was something we had studied and talked about recently, except for the “How You Doin’?” quote (which Weber just knew, though he butchered the pronunciation) and the towels question, which was the only one he missed. Thankfully Fragilay’s Shalonda missed the first question about Marcel (most likely just a brainfart, since she seemed confident) and so we had enough breathing room to go into the tiebreaker. We knew they would ace the Saved By the Bell tiebreaker, and they did, and I was thrilled when they announced the Reality Emmy tiebreaker–not something we had looked at, but something I was confident Weber could educatedly guess at. Turns out he only needed one correct answer, and we were up 1 to 0.

Despite what Pat Kiernan (and a couple of our friends in the audience) interpreted as panic on my face when they announced Who’s That Rapper? as the second category, I was thrilled–I’m not exactly a rap expert, but I have at least a base-level knowledge of it, and I remembered the rap questions they asked last year tended to be fairly pandering, so I was feeling pretty good about it. The questions this year were even more pandering–the Jay-Z and Run-DMC questions they asked even said the name of the song in the clue. The only semi-tough one was the line Sherita got from “Hypnotize” (which I still knew, and was praying she didn’t), but she clearly knew her stuff, and we went to a tiebreaker.

When I first heard the BSB and NSync part of the tiebreaker, I was pretty excited, because I figured they’d just be asking about their early singles, and I knew those pretty well. When I realized it was about naming the band members, a chill went down my spine, because I knew that despite knowing all 5 NSync members, I could only name two of the Backstreet Boys. I was praying that would be enough, but as I looked over at her when the category started, Sherita had this huge smile on her face, and I knew I was in trouble. As we finished the NSync half of the tiebreaker, I kept looking over at her, hoping to see the smile evaporate as her list of names started running out, but it just grew wider as it became very clear she was going to win the category. (For the record, I knew my final answer of Sean was incorrect, but for some reason my brain kept telling me to say “Sean”–I think as a result of having gotten the Jay-Z question earlier and having gotten Nick Carter, I was now thinking of Sean Carter).

And the thing is, it’s not even like I was searching for the names in my head and they just weren’t there–I wasn’t going to get those last three BSBers. Once Pat read the answer, I had an “oh!” moment, but I even remember getting the question before at a College Bowl tournament and letting Weber field those last three. I didn’t even think losing the tiebreaker was quite so bad at first, until everyone I talked to about it afterwards was instantly able to rattle off all five members (especially the girls I told, who I probably lost a whole lot of points with tonight). Now I realize just how shameful it is.
So how do I, an alleged Pop Culture expert (or at least an extremely lucky novice), excuse that which is inexcusable? I can’t, not really, but I can sort of try to explain. Consider the following:

  1. I’m an NSync man. Ever since I first heard “I Want You Back,” I’ve preferred them to BSB, and even in retrospect, their singles hold up about a hundred times better.
  2. No one on BSB went on to do anything. Really, just NOTHING. Think about NSync–besides JT, none of them are exactly taking over the planet, but they all at least did something. JC released a solo album that got minor critical attention and spawned a couple minor hits, Lance starred in On the Line, had a bizarre infatuation with outer space, and came out of the closet, Joey had roles in The Cooler, My Big Fat Greeg Wedding and the fourth season of Dancing With the Stars, and even Chris Kirkpatrick got dissed in Eminem’s “Without Me” (which admittedly isn’t much, but it’s enough to at least remember his name). Meanwhile, can you name a single thing ANY of the Backstreet Boys have done since the band broke up (besides reforming the band?) If you can…well, then, hope you can make it on the show next year.
  3. It’s not like the subject of which of them was the cutest was a common topic of conversation between me and my middle school friends. Think of it this way: How many of the members of Boyz II Men could you name? They had just as many hits as BSB, and arguably bigger ones, but few know them individually, most likely because not only did they not go on to solo careers, but they were also fairly unattractive dudes. So if you take away the OMG WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE!?!? factor, BSB become similarly anonymous. Conversely, I could name all five of the Spice Girls, either by first name or Spice code name.

Of course, this is all totally moot–even if I’d never heard a single note of BSB’s music before the World Series, I should have at least taken the two seconds it would take to learn the five names before the series started. On the whole, I’m chalking the round up to bad karma for me acting like an asshole during that Sugarhill Gang question. Sorry about that, btx.

So that was that, and we were 1-1 with Fragilay. Then Victor got the category he was born to play–Movie Jerks. Going up against Fragilay powerhouse Tomi, he aced it, gaining the advantage with a steal of the fairly ironic Animal House question (explicitly referenced in Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” vid), and sealing the deal by knowing Perrier as the sponsor of Jean Girard in Talladega Nights. Victor remained undefeated for the first two rounds of the tournament.

Despite Weber looking like they had just called his birthday in the draft when they announced the fourth Category, Five-Star Flicks (they give you five famous actors from the same movie, you have to name the movie), I knew this was his kind of category–movies isn’t really Weber’s strength, but when it comes to knowing who is in what, he can definitely hold his own. He displayed that trademark Weber confidence in each of his answers (I think there was one question that he didn’t ask to be repeated), and thanks to another Fragilay brainfart on the title of Boogie Nights, he had a 3-1 advantage going into the only semi-tough one of the category–Emilio Estevez, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Rob Lowe and Judd Nelson. I prayed Weber wouldn’t take the bait and go for The Breakfast Club, and thank the lord he didn’t, clinching the category, and the round with a correct answer of St. Elmo’s Fire.

So with my greatest embarrassment of the tournament behind me, we move into the Semis vs. Three Men and a Little Lazy. I’m 0-2, but third time’s gotta be the charm, right? Keep watching…


14 Responses to “TV O.D. / It’s All About Me: The World Series of Pop Culture, Round 2 (Vs. Fragilay)”

  1. Chelsea said

    I saw the blog link on the VH1 page.
    Okay, I googled your team. 🙂
    You guys are my favorite team on the show, so good luck! The charisma is nice, and you seem smart. I like smart people. Do you have myspace?
    My page is…
    Look me up if you want. xoxo — chelseabell

  2. Ria said

    Just so you know, you win points with me for not knowing BSB.

  3. Rkye said

    The music questions (besides some lyrics ones) are embarrassingly easy, especially compared to the difficulty of the tv and movie questions. I feel bad for you, considering it is your area of expertise, but they are just ridiculous. To be honest, you probably got the easier draw, but when you just have to name the artist, it is too easy. I mean, the Hypnotize lyrics referred to Poppa! Having a Rapper’s Delight question seems to almost be a joke. But good work and continued good luck.

  4. Chelsea said

    Yeah, knowing all the BSB members would’ve been a little… hm.

  5. Andrew Unterberger said

    awesome? sexy?

    yeah, I know. Shame.

  6. Eric Melin said


    congrats on the win! your knowledge of boy bands’ early singles scares me. speaking of brain farts, how ’bout our match?

  7. Eric Melin said

    I posted a play-by-play almost as exhaustive as yours (but way more embarrassing!) right here:

  8. Andrew Unterberger said

    Hey Eric–

    Yes, that was indeed a flame-out of titanic proportions. Not because you guys lost so badly or anything, but because you guys clearly knew the answers to all the big ones that you missed (except for that 90210 loss, which was just bad luck against a stellar performance from Steve–I bet there were maybe three people in the room that day that knew Carol Potter)

  9. Chris said

    *raises hand*

    I knew Carol Potter and the Eck.

    Those were the kind of questions Lori would have KILLED to have gotten. I was so pissed on her behalf.

  10. Andrew Unterberger said

    Not bad.

    oh, and I had no idea whatsoever that Ian Ziering’s first name was actually pronounced “Eye-an.” That alone deserved a category clinch.

  11. Undercooked Sausage said

    I belong in the ranks of being able to name every N sync member but no backstreet boys.

  12. Rich said

    BSB > N’SYNC

    You look me in the face and tell me that N’SYNC has recorded a song that can stack up against “I Want It That Way.”

  13. Rich said

    BSB > N’SYNC

    You look me in the face and tell me that N’SYNC has recorded a song that can stack up against “I Want It That Way.”

    No contest.

  14. Rich said

    Whoops. Sorry for the duplicate.

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