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TV O.D. / It’s All About Me / Meltdown Post #1 : The World Series of Pop Culture Finale

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 19, 2007

“Hi, I’m Victor Lee of Twisted Misters, from New York…and we’re the team that’s going to beat you all.”

Such was the prophetic (in more ways than the obvious one) introduction that fellow Twisted Mister, and as you all probably know by now, series MVP Victor Lee made to a banquet room full of World Series of Pop Culture hopefuls on March 21st, 2007, the first day of the competition. Me and my other teammate, Andrew Weber, were not given much warning that this pronouncement was about to be made–and in retrospect, why we thought it would be a good idea to let Victor be the one to introduce our team is sort of lost on me–but the quote would go on to define our role in the WSOPC in just about every way possible (and has, in fact, been already quoted in numerous places by other teams as the defining Twisted Mister moment of the tournament).

I don’t know if I was exactly expecting to be one of the villains of this tournament when we sat down to that breakfast the first morning, but with that statement, our lot had been cast. From then on, arrogance was the name of the game for Twisted Misters, and was reflected as such in every interview we did, every category we took on, and for the most part, every backstage conversation we had with the other teams (which, naturally, was not many). Before Victor’s quote, we could’ve just as easily been the loveable underdogs. We ended up careening from possible Mighty Ducks status into Snidely Whiplash (or at least, that evil kid from Robocop 2) status in about one sentence.

It really surprised me just how much the other teams seemed to react to Victor’s boasting, though. Not so much at the time–no one was ever outwardly unfriendly to us as a result, at least–but since then, a whole number of teams have come out of the woodwork through webboards and e-mails to talk about just how much his pronouncements bothered them. Considering that just about every promo that every team did for the show consisted of them talking about how badly they were going to crush the competition, I can’t imagine why it was deemed so shocking that Victor would continue this arrogance onto the actual show (which, by the way, he was far from the only one to do, even besides me and Weber). And what’s more, everyone took it so seriously, never even acknowledging the possibility that we were just doing it for show–I mean, was this not TELEVISION that we were performing for? Considering how much of the medium everyone there undoubtedly had watched, I thought they’d be a little more understanding.

Not that I’m necessarily complaining about this, though. In some ways, I suppose playing this role was somehwat routine for us–as College Bowl players, we’ve been one of the most obnoxious teams in the country for about as long as I can remember (a half-conscious, half-subconscious decision), and it’d be hard to sublimate that dynamic, the one which the three of us know best, just because we were going on national TV. Plus, having a persona already carved out for us was kind of nice, and I think that we–Victor especially–were able to play it pretty close to perfection. I’ve always said that in most matters of my life, I’d rather be hated than forgotten, and, well, even if we had gone out in that first round, I don’t think people would’ve forgotten about that breakfast pronouncement too soon.

I walked up to that stage for the final round feeling like I had already won. I was so worried that Three Men and a Little Lazy were going to 1-2-3 us and that I’d have to take the walk of shame an 0-3 loser, that having been the star of our semis was enough reward that had Wocka Wocka swept us in the most embarrassing way possible, I think I still could’ve gone home with a smile on my face. I wasn’t exactly planning on laying down for Robert, Kelly and Rachel, but as I’d been told of their previous giant-slaying in the tournament from all corners, and as Robert’s cold, analytical hundred-yard stare made him look like a Pop Culture TI-83, I had come surprisingly close to making peace with the fact that we were probably going home with the silver.

Pat announced that the first category was The Simpsons, and I bet everyone on both sides instantly knew that that category was going to a tiebreaker. We selected Victor to go up for the category, as he was the only one that had watched the show consistently since it dropped so dramatically in quality near the turn of the millennium, and Weber and I didn’t want to get tripped up on a question solely about one of the newer episodes. Of course, it turned out that the three of us could’ve 6/6ed the category without a second’s thought, as I’m sure everyone on Wocka Wocka could’ve as well. The producers vastly underestimated the geekiness of Simpsons buffs, and the hardest questions were about the Bouvier twins loving MacGyver and Maggie having shot Mr. Burns–almost insultingly easy “hard” questions for anyone who considers themself a fan of the show (especially when compared with some of those Seinfeld or Friends cappers).

Each side aced their half of the category, and so we moved into the tiebreaker: the 14 Winners of the Emmy for Best TV Drama since Lou Grant won in 1980. Instantly, Weber and I cursed ourselves for sending Victor up for the category–we had long since made a point of memorizing enough of these to clinch such a tiebreaker, should it come up, but while Weber and I actually crammed for such an occasion, Victor’s attitude was far more laconic. I knew he would be able to at least go 8 or 9 deep (we had just gone over them in the hotel room the night before), and I hoped that would be enough, but having heard reports of the rigorous training Wocka Wocka had subjected themselves to over the year since they failed to make the 2006 tournament, I feared that it wouldn’t.

Sure enough, Kelly was rattling off correct TV titles with the confidence that only comes from having recently studied the source material. I prayed that Victor had absorbed enough from our force-fed cram sessions that he’d somehow be able to go the distance, but as he started to stumble somewhat as they got into the last half of the shows, and most of the shows left were the older ones, I thought we were done for. Somehow, though, he managed to get to an 11th show (Picket Fences), before Kelly tied it up with a 12th (Hill Street Blues, the only one I wasn’t positive about). There were only two left, and Weber and I knew which they were. We started chanting to ourselves, using all the telekinetic powers known to man, to send Victor the message:

The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey.”

NYPD Blue?” Victor answered.

“I’m sorry, NYPD Blue has already been named,” Pat responded. Luckily, new tournament rules stated that players repeating tiebreak answers would no longer be eliminated for doing so. Victor was given another chance, and we went back to work:

The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey. The Practice. Cagney & Lacey.

The Practice?” Victor answered.

I couldn’t believe it. Miracles don’t happen to NYU undergrads every day. We asked Victor about it later, and he couldn’t believe it either–considering that The Practice was completely skipped over by both contestants (who were mostly moving in backwards chronological order), that his mind even thought to return to that time period to fill in the blank was astounding, that he was able to pull the missing show was a shooting star. As someone wiser than myself once said, I don’t know if it was divine intervention or the kinship of all living things, but at that moment, we were WSOPC champions. But first, there was still one show left, and it was Kelly’s turn for some magic.

St. Elsewhere?” Kelly answered.

For a second, my world turned upside down. Her answer sounded so right, so logical–there was no way a show with that kind of critical respect, with that kind of above-average-but-not-incredible Nielsens, and with that kind of cast, could possibly have been denied an Outstanding Drama Series Emmy. Her answer even fit the right time period for the missing show. But I was certain, absolutely positive, that Cagney & Lacey had won at least once–in fact, I was pretty sure it had won a couple times. What the hell was going on? I looked over at Weber and saw that he was having a similar dilemma, so we had no choice but to look to Pat Kiernan for guidance:

I’m sorry Kelly, that is incorrect,” Pat announced.

Unbelievable. Suddenly, we didn’t have to feel so resigned to our fate. We had stuck a wrench in their unstoppable Pop Culture machine. If it bled, we could kill it. A hundred other maxims and cliches popped into my head as Victor triumphantly returned to his seat, and Pat told us about our next category: “Spoiler Alert,” a movie spoilers category. Between me and Weber, I knew I should probably go up, as movies is generally Weber’s weakest category. I would rather have had a music one, but I remembered going 6/6 at home when they had the category at last year’s series, so I figured my chances of at least getting to a tiebreaker were decent.

Rachel nailed her first, a gimme Pretty Woman spoiler. I hesitated for a second on my first, Hoosiers, because I hadn’t seen the movie in close to 15 years, but luckily only so many movies about High School basketball were made in 1986, so I was able to guess it pretty confidently. Rachel then breezed through her Lost Boys spoiler with no problem, and I similarly knocked down one for Beaches (never seen the movie in my life, but I was looking up the plot on Wikipedia just the night before, and all the females and death was a pretty dead giveaway anyway). Then came Rachel’s third question, something about Billy Ray and Winthorpe returning to corner the frozen orange juice market. I sighed a little, knowing Rachel would certainly know the ending to Trading Places, which anyone who’s ever received Comedy Central has surely seen at least four or five times. And of course, she did know the answer.

Trading Spaces 2,” she responded.

Wait, what? My head snapped up, realizing there was at least one thing wrong with her answer. And so did she, quickly correcting herself: “Trading Places 2?

But there was still something wrong with her answer, and I knew that even if they accepted her stutter-step into the “Trading Places” part of the answer, the 2 was going to be a dealbreaker. “That is incorrect,” Pat replied. “Andrew, you have a chance to steal.”

“It’s just Trading Places,” I squeaked out, my excitement probably making me sound more smug than I would’ve liked.

“That’s correct,” Pat responded.

I was overjoyed. So much of the competition for me had been a struggle to gain any sort of breathing room, as with the exception of the lyric category I got in the Semis, every one of my matches saw my opponent get all three of his or her questions with no struggle whatsoever. At least now, even if I got my last Q wrong and Rachel stole, I had the tiebreaker as a safety net. (For the record, Rachel, if you’re reading this, I think I understand what tripped you up–it was the “returning” part of the question, right? Totally understandable, and sorry it had to go down like that on an answer you clearly did know)

Anyway, it was time for my last question, and as Pat started to read it–something from 1996, about some dudes named Roy and Aaron–I panicked, as nothing was forming in my head. But he kept reading, and is it did, more elements from the movie started to come into place (lawyers, faked split personality, twist ending) until it was recognizable as a movie that in fact, I’d seen several times before. Ignoring the lessons I had tried to impose on my teammates about always taking a second to think your answer over, I lurched towards the microphone:

“That’s Primal Fear,” I answered.

“Correct,” Pat said. 4-2, the category was mine. Two down, one to go.

Of course, that one happened to be the PC TI-83 himself, Mr. Robert Bishop, and we knew that our work was very, very fucking far from over. Pat was sure to remind us of this fact, proclaiming that “if anyone could come back from two down to win the whole thing, it’s Robert.” Great. As Pat announced the third category: “Bite Me,” a category about food in movies, we had no choice but to send Victor, our official movie guy, back to the microphone.

Victor cinched his first question about 9 1/2 Weeks, but Robert hesitated for a good 15 seconds or so before correctly answering City Slickers for his–I don’t know if he was stretching to pull the answer or checking it against other possible answers in his head to make sure it was the best one, but I chose to believe that he was pausing just to psyche us out, ‘coz for me at least, that’s exactly what happened. Victor and Robert then both made it easily through the next two questions, about Veruca Salt turning into a blueberry and Hannibal Lecter eating someone’s liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti, before Victor got his final question, about what item Chunk offered a bite of to Sloth in Goonies. I was totally clueless, and couldn’t remember if Victor had ever even seen the movie–I knew he got a question about the Truffle Shuffle on the audition test, but c’mon, everyone knows that, even if they hadn’t seen the movie. Much love to Family Guy and their endless stream of pointless 80s pop culture references, as apparently one they made to the Goonies scene in question guided Victor to the correct answer: A Baby Ruth bar.

Now it was time for Robert’s question–something about a John Candy movie from 1988, which had something to do with what hot dogs were made from. The whole world was quiet as Robert faced his question of great significance, which once again, I hadn’t the faintest idea of the answer to. Weber and I debated it from our chairs: Uncle Buck? No, pretty sure that was ’89. Plains, Trains & Automobiles? ’87, right? Could there possibly have been a John Candy movie released in between those two? I don’t know any more late-80s John Candy movies. Robert was still in a deep pause, as 15 seconds went by, 20, 25 (could we possibly win the whole thing right here????), until he leaned into the microphone:

The Great Outdoors?” he answered.

I had no idea how to react–I’d never heard of it before, but the fact that I didn’t definitely know that he was wrong was concerning me. Meanwhile, I saw Victor on stage doing a minor freakout. After a split-second’s consideration, I barely even needed Pat’s confirmation:

“That’s correct,” he responded, of course. “With both teams tied at three, we go into our tiebreaker…”

And so the tiebreaker was announced: Name the six people on the bus to the pageant in Little Miss Sunshine. After thinking about it a few seconds, I realized that like the earlier Breakfast Club tiebreaker, this round contained five very easy answers and one significantly hard one, and that as the person going second, it would ultimately be on Robert to identify the sixth member. But as Tomi from Fragilay was able to identify Paul Gleason, I was sure Robert could round out the answers to this one with Paul Dano, forcing a second, possibly harder tiebreaker. And so it began:

“Alan Arkin,” Victor answered. Correct.
“Abigail Breslin,” Robert countered. Correct.
“Steve Carrell,” Victor answered. Correct.
“Greg Kinnear,” Robert countered. Correct.
“Toni Colette,” Victor answered, the only one of the easy five that I had any doubt Victor could identify. Correct.

Nope, I wasn’t falling for this trick again. He got me once with City Slickers, and a second time with The Great Outdoors, but I was on his game now. I knew exactly what he was doing, he was just being careful, going through every possible permutation of the answer in his head, making sure he got the name’s pronunciation exactly right (all I knew was that it was roughly the same name as original Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno, so who knows if they would’ve accepted my answer), and knowing that every second he waited to respond was a second of Victor’s sanity he was ticking away, already gearing up for the second tiebreaker.

That one guy,” he finally responded.

No. No way. Impossible. This was Robert from Wocka Wocka, the human trivia machine, the dragonslayer, the drill sergeant, the guy behind the guy behind the guy. Was it possible that he actually doesn’t know the last name in this tiebreaker? Not that it’s by any means an easy name, but…this is Robert from WOCKA FUCKING WOCKA, fer chrisssake!! Was he just stalling for time to psyche us out more? Was he just playing the crowd, making it seem like he doesn’t know the answer when actually he’s had it in his pocket the whole time? Were we about to win the World Series of Pop Culture?

“I don’t have an answer,” he finally admitted.

From there, the next ten minutes or so are a complete blur. I know Pat announced something about that meaning we had won the category and the game, and that he said something about inviting us back for next year, and at some point, we got that heavy trophy and carried it on stage. But writing this before having watched the finals, I’m sort of curious as to what actually happens, because I have no distinct memory of those ten minutes at all. The next thing I definitely remember after Robert missed Paul Dano was talking with Weber on the way backstage: “Holy fuck, did we just win $250,000?”

So as it turned out, nearly all the boastful predictions we made over the course of three days, four rounds and dozens upon dozens of questions about movies, music and TV, somehow came true–especially the one Victor made at that fateful opening breakfast. And that’s probably a good thing, since the only thing worse than a bunch of arrogant assholes is a bunch of arrogant assholes that can’t even back their shit-talking up. Hey, look at us–Pop Culture trivia’s very own Kanye Wests!

Yet, mixed with the rapture of having won an insane amount of money on national TV, in the venue you knew you were born to take part in and with two of your closest friends sharing the joy with you, would come for me a slow-creeping sense of depression. See, while I’d like to believe that it was just Victor’s initial comment, and the ensuing interviews and trash-talking, that alienated us from the great majority of the rest of the teams–resulting in us not being invited to the bar & karaoke nights other teams had, receiving only mild applause from the eliminated teams versus the standing ovation and “LA-ZY, LA-ZY, LA-ZY!!” chants Three Men and a Little Lazy got in the semis, up to being trash-talked by some of the other teams on various web-forums in the last couple weeks–I know that’s not the case.

Fact is, we were probably always going to be the odd ones out in that tournament. I could tell after a half-hour in the waiting room backstage that there was something separating us from the other teams, and it wasn’t just our age–it was our state of mind, and our stage of life. The great, great majority of the other teams–Wocka Wocka, Three Men and a Little Lazy, El Chupacabra, Westerburg High, Carlton Banks Dance Academy, hell, even the Lucky Stars and the Truffle Shuffles–were people with jobs, people with spouses, people with kids and mortgages and hardly any social awkwardness. Basically, they were Adults, and they acted like it. Meanwhile, here we were, a bunch of loud, obnoxious pop-culture spewing college students, with no jobs, no wives, no real responsibilities, no real ambitions, and a whole lot of social awkwardness. Basically, we were Kids, and we acted like it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still had a great time, I still loved every single second of being on stage there, even the ones that were totally heartbreaking, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, especially since we (probably) get to do it all over again next year. And a whole bunch of the teams were still perfectly friendly to us–especially the guys and gals from Three Men and Wocka Wocka, who are all warm, cool, and just all around awesome people, some of whom I’ve even kept in touch with a bit since the tournament ended and who I hope to see again someday if I’m ever in the midwest. But as I’ve posted about several times on this blog, I turned 21 about a month ago, meaning that unless I’m trying to rent a car or run for president, in just about any context, I’m now considerable as an adult, so to still be sitting at the kids table…it’s a little bit sobering.

What’s more, I think a whole lot of people are going to object to our winning, partly because of our arrogance, but at least partly for these reasons as well. So much of the appeal of the World Series of Pop Culture has always been how do-it-yourself the whole thing seemed–only a very small percentage of people can play along with Jeopardy at home and honestly think to themselves “these idiots, I could do so much better,” but that’s pretty much exactly what everyone watching the World Series is thinking (google the phrase “World Series of Pop Culture” and bask in the thousands and thousands of blog and livejournal entries evidencing this). It’s accessible to pretty much anyone with a radio, an account at Blockbuster and an HBO subscription, which means that most of the teams seem like everyday people–the sort of people who might sell you a house, or help you in customer service, or teach your kids’ elementary school class. Basically, the WSOPC is so appealing because it seems like normal, functional human beings can win it–and indeed they have, as the very normal and functional-seeming El Chupacabra took home the trophy last year.

We, on the other hand, are not normal, functional human beings. We are very much geeks–or “power-geeks,” as one of our competitors put it. A disturbing part of our lives is devoted to the viewing, listening, study and appreciation of pop culture. We met over pop culture, we bonded over pop culture, and when we hang out, guess what we’re talking about 95% of the time. We have a good deal of other friends, and a semblance of outside lives, sure, but–and I should probably stop talking for Victor and Weber here, and just say for myself–the great majority of negative assumptions that could be and have been made about me and my social life in general from the way I looked, acted and performed at the WSOPC are mostly, if not completely, true. And while it’s hard to admit that, and while there’s even a part of me that still takes pride in being a pop culture loser, it definitely disqualifies me from “normal, functional” status. And it wouldn’t surprise me if people thought that our win went against the whole spirit of the thing.

But, you know what? We deserved to win this thing just as much as El Chupacabra did. Yeah, maybe we trash-talked and annoyed a little more than we should have, maybe we don’t have the kind of everyman appeal that some of the other, more adult teams had, and maybe a lot of viewers are gonna be really disappointed when they see us take Wocka Wocka down in that final match (especially considering it so easily could have gone the other way, which I’m the first to admit). And that’s fair enough–hell, if enough people watched our finals in the hopes that someone put us in our place that it means the show can get renewed for a third season, then more power to the haters.

But I gotta believe that for all of the WSOPC’s normal, functional viewership, there’s gonna be a fraction, however small, of kids like us watching, who see us taking all this useless information that never did us any favors socially, aside from bringing us together, and actually putting it towards something positive and concrete–just a year and a half ago, I would’ve thought the idea nearly impossible myself–and they’ll be rooting for us as hard as anyone. And this has borne out somewhat, in the form of the dozens of high school and college-age chicks and dudes (mostly the former) who have taken the time to friend us or write on our walls on Facebook since we first appeared (God bless Facebook–how did we ever gauge social success before it?)–all of whom have been incredibly supportive and wonderful. Plus, who says the villains can’t win every once in a while? Even Snidely Whiplash deserves some love now and then, and I always preferred him to Dudley Do-Right myself.

And you know what else? We–or, I should probably stick to myself again on this–I needed this win as much as anyone. Because I don’t have a wife, a job, a house, or much of anything in the way of responsibilities or ambitions, and I do still have a lot of that damned social awkwardness. I needed that extra something in my life–that opening line to drop at parties, that feat to maybe make my resume stand out from others, that reason to not wonder if I might’ve done better at a different college, that ace in the hole. It’s nice to have something that can always make me smile when I think about it. You wouldn’t believe the difference it makes.

And so I give a big shout out to my all-star, all-class teammates Victor and Weber (who by the way, are perfectly nice and friendly people in real life), and to all the other teams that competed in the 2007 World Series of Pop Culture–the ones we beat and the ones we never played, the ones that liked us and even the ones that hated us. You guys all rocked the fucking house this year, and I don’t know if there’s a single team we could say that we were definitely better than–at least half of it was always gonna be luck, and for whatever reason, the stars were in alignment for us this year. And I’m going to use this win to do a couple things with my life that’ll hopefully enable me to hold my own with the adults, both on and off-screen, at next year’s show. $250,000 says I got a pretty good shot.

-Andrew Unterberger, Twisted Misters

(Note: Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be on hiatus from now until Sunday, as the Twisted Misters take their show on the road)

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63 Responses to “TV O.D. / It’s All About Me / Meltdown Post #1 : The World Series of Pop Culture Finale”

  1. billy said

    MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS! OUTSTANDING JOB YOU GLORIOUS BASTARDS!

  2. Steve K said

    Goes without saying — congrats you the 3 of you — you guys kicked all of our asses, and you’ll probably kick some more ass next year…

    Steve

  3. marcia said

    Congratulations again! You guys were great! Can’t wait to see you destroy them again next year.

  4. Undercooked Sausage said

    Just remember we knew you before you were famous.

  5. max said

    i was rooting for you guys. you kicked ass. kudos.

  6. Gary K said

    Utz – that was a Unabomber type manifesto, but a Unabomber type manifesto that brought a tear to my eye.

    Don’t go spending that money in one place, friend. Make sure to invest some of that for the future.

    Look us up when you are in Chicago.

  7. Kathleen said

    You ain’t no villain to me. Awesome work.

  8. Kyle said

    Congratulations, Andrew, you earned it!!! Have you seen The Great Outdoors since the show? Just curious.

    I still haven’t seen Dirty Dancing and now I probably never will. Haha.

  9. […] YouTube Link to Article google TV O.D. / Its All About Me / Meltdown Post #1 : The World Series of Pop Culture Finale » Posted at Intensities in Ten Suburbs on Thursday, July 19, 2007 TV O.D. / Its All About Me / Meltdown Post #1 : The World Series of Pop Culture Finale July 19th, 2007 by Andrew Unterberger Hi, Im Victor Lee of Twisted Misters, from New Yorkand were the team thats going to beat you all. Such was the prophetic (in more ways than the obvious one) View Entire Article » […]

  10. PK said

    Great recap — you guys are the real thing. And great TV. Looking forward to next year!

  11. Chelsea said

    WTG Andrew. You all are fucking radical, dude. Hh.

  12. Ria said

    Yeah, that screaming you all must have heard around the world was me and my fellow WSOPC dork, Bonnie…

    Congratulations to all three of you! I’m so glad to see you guys kicked ass. I’ve been rooting for you since I saw the Joe Elliott costume. Rock on.

  13. Smitha said

    Congrats on the win and have fun next year. I haven’t seen The Great Outdoors either!

  14. Joann said

    I am absolutely thrilled that your team won the competition, just because of the fact that I felt like I could relate to your geekiness the most. As a 23-year-old I get a lot of criticism for spending my time doing things like reading IMDB, instead of planning my future or focusing on a career. Thanks for representin’.

  15. Kryss Peterson (CBDA) said

    I second Gary’s comment. Nice post, Andrew. I hope you share some of those well thought out sentiments with the teams you meet next year. Enjoy the win!

  16. Bonnie said

    *wave* I’m the WSOPC dork that my “Tequila Twin” Ria referred to a few comments ago. I’m such a nerd that I plan on making my own Twisted Misters shirt very soon ^_^.

    I spazzed just as much when they replayed the episode as I did when it was first on a couple hours ago. I am SO EXCITED! I knew… well… WE knew you guys would kick ass the first time I saw you on the WSOPC 2007 previews.

    Congratulations, to say the least! I am so happy for the three of you. The metalheads 0wned the WSOPC! Rock the fuck on, dudes. I can’t wait for 2008!

  17. Tod said

    Great job Andrew! I hope you enjoy this moment and have fun next year.

  18. Jason said

    Andrew:

    I’m a longtime reader of “Intensities in Ten Suburbs” and a big fan of your work. I’ve been following Twisted Misters’ rise to fame in the WSOPC, and I’d like to congratulate you for kicking the ass of everyone in the field. You guys fucking rock.

    On a personal note, my friends and I are interested in trying out for next year’s competition — like you, I’m a sorta-awkward college student obsessed with everything relating to movies, music, and TV shows. If you could let me know a little more about the process, I’d really, really appreciate it. My e-mail is lipshut2@tcnj.edu, or my web site is http://chuuuch-palace.blogspot.com.
    Congratulations again, and keep up the great work on “Intensities” (it’s sort of the only blog I give a damn about).

    Thanks,
    ~Jason L.

  19. Schuman said

    Utz,
    Great writing and great reading. Congrats again on the win and everything it will help with in your future. You deserved it.

  20. Shannon said

    As a college student myself, I was rooting for you guys from day one. Way to bring it home, boys!

  21. Kevin said

    Yo Andrew. Fellow Stylus alum here . . . I wrote movie reviews when you were still there. Anywho, I was half-assedly watching the quarterfinals when I heard you introduce yourself. From then on I had a dog in the fight and I’m completely thrilled for you guys (not to mention insanely jealous). Congrats, and I hope the show gets picked up.

  22. Andrew is not, and hopefully will never be, ex-Stylus. Dude has made us all proud – and I can say I slept on his dorm room floor!

    Seriously, as I’m sure most of the people at the WSOPC could tell you, this couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. And these posts have been fantastic – up here we don’t get the show, but these are probably even better. Congratulations to Weber and Victor as well!

  23. brown said

    not to be overwrought, but, your victory meant a lot to socially awkward, pop culture obsessed college-age kids everywhere. way to go, man.

  24. As one of the viewers who was rooting against you, I really enjoyed this blog entry. I’m pleased to learn that the arrogance you projected on screen was persona and not personality– it makes me happier about your victory. I’m sorry to hear that your decision to play the villains of the event put a wedge between you and your fellow contestants– part of the fun of an event like this is the backstage bonding. On the bright side, you’ll get a second chance next year and you can choose to leave the theatrics for the cameras.

    As a former game show winner myself, I can warn you that your check will probably not have taxes taken out of it, so be sure to save some for Uncle Sam.

    Congratulations– your team was extremely well prepared and you certainly earned the title. I look forward to rooting against you next year! 😉

  25. Dan Weiss said

    Andrew, you guys were awesome. I hope one day I, too, get to sleep on your floor.

  26. andy said

    As someone who has lost to your team a couple of times at TRASHionals, I know you guys definitely deserved your success. After being disappointed by WSOPC season 1’s weak field, I knew that if someone from TRASH ever got on, they’d win. To be honest, even if every TRASH team was entered in this, you guys would still be considered the favorite because unlike TRASH which is biased towards guys in their mid-30s, you guys were the perfect demographic for WSOPC. What I didn’t like about season 1 was that it all seemed to be normal people who didn’t obsess over pop culture like a lot of us TRASH players do. I just wanted to congratulate you guys and I’m glad you guys came off as arrogant. I hope no one thinks that was just an act. Having been pissed at you guys both times I played you, I know that’s just how you guys are. Good luck next season and hope to see you at TRASHionals again.

    Andy (TRASH alias: Jose Cuervo)

  27. Danielle said

    Congratulations! A well-deserved win!

  28. Jodi (El Chup) said

    Congratulations, Andrew! You guys did great! Bask in the glow of your win for as long as you can. It was a once in a lifetime kind of experience for all involved!

  29. Shalonda (Fragilay) said

    Congratulations to all of you! You guys did a great job and were throroughly prepared for this competition. You made it there for a reason.

    Good luck with all your future endeavors.

  30. Jeff said

    Congratulations! A win for the youngsters makes a twentysomething like myself proud. I look forward to being able to challenge you next year, my friend.

  31. Jamie (Motherboy) said

    Andrew-Congratulations on the win. Your candor and honesty are much appreciated. You guys truly did know your stuff and deserved to win. Now, go rent The Great Outdoors. Immediately. You won’t regret it.

  32. Rachel (WW) said

    Andrew, I think pretty much the only time our two teams spent together took place on stage. I feel like I’ve gotten to know you more by reading your blog. Thanks so much for the insight. I love that you understood the “2” I added to my flub, when I wasn’t even sure how that happened. You guys did a fabulous job! Congratulations on your win and enjoy that trophy.

  33. Thatrichguy (RLTT) said

    Well put Utz. Honestly, I disliked your whole team from that first morning Victor made his brash boast. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, but I think the reason you guys got singled out was because nobody else in that room made such comments….except Victor. You and Weber were guilty by association. Branded as the anti-social, trash-talking punks, your social fate was sealed the minute Victor began his arrogant diatribe.
    My football coach in high school used to set the tone before games by always reminding us to remain “quiet with confidence.” I remember that to this day. Trash talking is a waste of energy. Yeah it may make for good TV, but see how people now view you because of it. Plus, when you remain humble and beat your opponent, they will respect you MORE.
    I enjoyed your story and respect your candor. Also, I respect your undertakings in the game and I can honestly say I have seen the true you that was hidden behind “Victormorte’s” bad-boy facade.
    Stay true to yourself, my friend, and you will end up like the rest of us who have functioning lives, decent jobs, hot wives and “normal-rational” friends. The last thing any of us want to see or hear about is you snorting lines off some 250lb hookers stomach in the Village, while a skivvy-clad Victor roams the room, simultaneously lighting firecrackers every 20 seconds!

  34. Andrew Unterberger said

    Appreciate the kind words immensely, everyone. Thanks for writing.

    Would like to make it clear, though, that I do stand by Victor’s pronouncements–I probably wouldn’t have made them myself, and I can see how they rubbed people the wrong way, but I still think they were made in the spirit of good fun, and I don’t regret playing the persona that we did (even if it was unfortunate that it meant we weren’t going to get along with a good deal of the teams).

    Quiet with confidence is more admirable. Loud with confidence is more fun. Maybe next year we’ll switch it up a bit, who knows.

  35. John said

    OMG. Awesome. I don’t have cable, so I didn’t see any of the competition, but I lived it vicariously through your posts this week.

    Back when this show first went on the air, a couple of friends of mine said that we should try out. One of them was kind of flaky about it, though, so we never got around to it. When I saw that you were taking part in the competition, my first thought was, “Well, shit, even if I *had* made it on the show, Andrew would’ve destroyed me, anyway.”

    Congrats, man. It’s fantastic to see that all your pop-culture obessiveness has paid off, literally.

  36. Alexandra (El Chupacabra) said

    Andrew,

    I enjoyed reading your blog–congrats to you and your team. Best of luck next year!

    ps–I didn’t know “The Great Outdoors” either! 🙂

  37. Brian R. No wait, B. Romer said

    Andrew, my roommates and I had a great time watching your team, it was almost surreal watching you on TV, though I’d guess it was a bit odder for you. Who’d have known this lifetime of knowing so much random crap about movies and music would ever pay off eh? I was disappointed to see no categories about bad (yet great) Arnold movies, but you preformed well regardless.

    Also, that guy with the Mohawk in the first round, was he for real? A Total Recall quote came to mind that wouldn’t be followed by “Not true. He’s one of my best friends.” Anyway, congrats on the win, it looked like you guys were really having fun with the whole thing. I’ll see ya in November 🙂

  38. gena said

    andrew, once again i want to say how happy i am for you guys and watching your win was amazing. as stellar as that all was, reading this entry and all of your others made it so much harder to have to beat you in the competition next year. sorry about that, pal! but you are great, and you played with humour and a little bit of intimidation. which is how it should be done.

  39. Colette said

    hi omg i thought u guys were awesome!!!!

    congradulations!!!!!!

    ummmm i have victor & andrew weber as my friends on myspace i’m such a huge fan!!! i knew u guys would win!!!!!!!!

    omg the TWISTED MISTERS ROCK!!!!!!!!!

    u should make a myspace and add victor & andrew..that way u guys can keep in touch..

    please write back i’m like ur biggest fan!!!!!

    rock on!

    Colette

  40. Alyssa said

    Congrats, guys!

    I remember watching the show a week ago or so and hearing my older brother say, “Twisted Misters? They’ll never win! You just like them because they’re ‘rockers’ and they have an asian on the team.”

    Well, I did like your group name a lot…..

    Anyway, when I saw you guys win, I wanted to say, “I TOLD YOU SO!” to my brother. Unfortunately, he was working that night.

  41. Sonja said

    Thoughts:

    -I AM SO PROUD!

    -We’re not changing our Quizzo team name, though, even if you do have all the props now.

    -AHHH YOU WON

    -Thank God for VH1’s VCast…

    Spend at least some of the money on something fun, like a blanket or a puppy or a nintendo ds so that you can play with me when you’re in NY and I’m in D.C., k?

  42. Lizzie (Motherboy) said

    Congrats to the Twisted Misters! Just so you know, the Balcony gave you guys a standing ovation after the last question was given and your team was declared the champs—I had hoped you would notice but it seems you three were distracted by the fact that you had just won $250 K! Ya’ll deserved the win and we wanted you to know we recognized your skills.
    Enjoy your year of victory and watch out next year–they’re gunnin’ for ya!

  43. Arch-Cheriea said

    Hey Andrew, Congratualtions To You guys on your win. Great Job. You guys deserved it. Don’t Mind the Haters, they are just jealous. You Guys rule and Nerds Rock!

  44. Arch-Cheriea said

    Hey Andrew, Congratualtions To You guys on your win. Great Job. You guys deserved it. Don’t Mind the Haters, they are just jealous. You Guys rule and Nerds Rock!

  45. Arch-Cheriea said

    okay I am such a dork, didnt realize i left the same comment twice. dope! Anyway just wanted to add that i thought you guys were loveable underdogs, and adorably cute in that sexy nerdy way(lol).

  46. bruce said

    OMG YOU GUYS ROCK!!! i totally wanted you to win right from the beginning. NERDS AND GEEKS RULE!!!!!

    i’m 28 and haven’t ‘outgrown’ my social awkwardness and it’s stressful. wtf!! honestly, don’t even think about changing yourself for anything or anyone. you only live once, don’t let it pass you by, do what you need to do.

    cheers!!

    p.s. love your writing style.

  47. […] The World Series of Pop Culture ended with a big BANG and my favorite team winning it all. Yes! Twisted Misters totally wasted their competition. That team is justs awesome. Looking forward to check them out next year! Read more about the Twisted Misters their personal experiences on Andrew’s blog. I was so totally amazed by the amount of stuff all the teams in this competition knew! OMG, I can’t even remember stuff from a movie I watched last night. But they obviously took it seriously and prepared well. WTG! […]

  48. Dominick (Truffle Shuffles) said

    Andrew,

    You are wrong about one thing in your (awesome) post..We ALL were/are social misfits…We may not proclaim to live and breathe pop culture as you do, but belive me, we wouldnt have been there if we werent. Confidence comes when you belive you have nothing more to lose..My team considered the show a “freeroll”. Winning for us was just getting on the show, everything else would have been a bonus.Congradulations..You deserve it..

  49. Somer said

    Your vivid description of the finals is fantastic. I felt like I was reliving the whole thing over again and I was definitely excited when you guys won. You guys were excellent and you definitely deserved to win. I can’t wait to see the Twisted Misters win next year!

  50. kingstud

    if you do wind up snorting lines off some 250lb hookers stomach in the Village, while a skivvy-clad Victor roams the room, simultaneously lighting firecrackers every 20 seconds, then you know who wants to sleep on your floor.

    love
    me
    ag

  51. Al said

    Congratulations! You guys were my faves from the beginning. As a college student I guess that was kind of mandatory, haha. It was fantastic to watch.

    I am really surprised that people have given you so much schtick about arrogance, confidence, etc. To me, you guys were not the arrogant ones – Jammin On The 1, Remo-Leen-Teen-Teen, and Westerburg High were all waaay more annoyingly arrogant than you guys.

    Once again, congrats!

  52. Rkye said

    “Pop Culture trivias very own Kanye Wests”. This line proves you deserve everything you got and everything you ever will get.

  53. Joe said

    One of our own finally made it!

    Maybe you’ve been getting that a lot lately. But it does feel good for us. Congratulations!

  54. Hey Andrew,

    I just stumbled across your blog tonight and I thought it was fantastic. Thank you so much for your honest and heartfelt assessment of what it was like behind the scenes on this fantastic show.

    Like you, I am a total pop culture geek and have basically dedicated my entire life to being socially awkward and knowing an inordinate amount of useless pop culture info. The only difference between you and me is that, well, you’re 21, and I’m 33. So just let it be known that there ARE people older than you so feel the same way about the world. I would totally feel out of place if I were around a bunch of with-it, socially responsible grownups at the adults table. Even though I’m 33, my #1 goal in life is STILL to memorize the entire script for Johnny Dangerously. word for word. And to name every Arrested Development episode, in order.

    So I would totally feel like you if I were around all these people who were best friends, and went out to bars, and sang karaoke together. I’m not a grown up. I’m just a pop culture guy. There’s no way to change the way that your respective deity made you.

    By the way, I was on a WSOPC team this year (duh, this show was made for me) but we didn’t get past the written test in Los Angeles. I’m still not sure why, but I suspect it’s because my brother wiped out on the test and ruined our score. But anyway I am on a rival team and I WILL meet you someday in the WSOPC. It might not be this year. It might not be next year. But we’re coming, Unterberger. Pretty soon we shall drive you from your home, rip your heart from your chest, and bask in the lamentations of your (theoretical) women.

    Thanks for the good TV this year. And thanks for giving us a champion more interesting than Chupa-yawn-bra. You were the team I was rooting for at the end.

    -Mario Lanza
    Upland, California

    P.S. By the way, in case you are feeling guilty about being the “villains”, always remember this. The most memorable moments in pro wrestling history are ALWAYS when you have a villain champion. Because that’s when the federation gets a ton of heat until the next great babyface can come in and stop them. So don’t feel guilty about being the bad guys. Revel in your villainhood. Play it to the hilt. Remember, Twisted Misters is The Iron Shiek of the World Series of Pop Culture. And until Hulk Hogan can come in and stop you, you’re king of the fucking world for a while.

  55. Bonnie said

    Hi. Me again. I really can’t believe that people are STILL being so cruel to you. Victor too, especially (I don’t know if Weber has a blog…). Some of the comments people left on his blog are so rude. I’m not surprised that only Blogspot users (I am not one.) can comment on his again.

    People need to stop trying to admonish you and just face the facts: the Twisted Misters kick(ed) ass. You won fair and square, and you guys deserve that trophy and every last cent (that isn’t taken by taxes! Arr!) of that $250,000. No matter what happens next year, you’ll always have loyal supporters. Especially my friend Ria and myself. I was thinking of starting a fan club, but… where to begin? MySpace? LiveJournal?

  56. Amanda said

    Hey Andrew,

    You guys were my fave team! I’m so glad you won!

    Any advice for others out there who want to be on it next year? How did you study and prepare for the tryouts?

  57. Andrew Unterberger said

    hey Amanda–

    Thanks for writing. If you wanna know more about our experiences, please e-mail me at fadeout95@gmail.com and I’d be happy to tell you about whatever you’d like to hear about.

  58. Rich said

    Hey Bonnie and all other Twisted Misters groupies,

    There is already a Twisted Misters fan club group on Facebook. Feel free to check it out and join!

    Andrew, I hope you don’t mind us plugging the site. Excellent work on the blog.

    –Rich and Sara

  59. Colette said

    hey,

    You guys were such a great team. Even tho you were like the youngest team it just proves to everyone that if you work hard enough, like you guys did i’m sure that you can beat the other teams. Did you study every day like before each pop culture day? what did you study ? it seems to me you would have to know everything. Was it hard to remeber shows you have never really watched and music from so far back before you were like born?

  60. Bonnie said

    “We are not Groupies. We are here because of the music, we inspire the music. We are Band Aids.”

    🙂

  61. Dana said

    I loved your team from the first moment I saw you guys on stage. I told my husband right away that I was banking on you guys to win (of course, usually the team or person I pick to win a TV show loses, but I had faith in you guys!)

    You guys rock. Can’t wait for next year.

  62. Seth the Jew said

    Hey, congrats Andrew. I can’t say what 60 people here (give or take, I didn’t keep track of who made multiple posts.) have already told you, but I feel that this was a well-deserved win for you and your friends. btw it’s Violet Beauregarde (sp?) not Veruca who was turned into a blueberry. I invested in TM when I first tuned in, figuring that you guys would lose it all, with my luck.

    Again, enjoy your money, Weber and Vic, too.

  63. You have an affecting point of view on this subject. I am glad you shared your thoughts and I find myself agreeing. I really appreciate your clear writing style and the effort you have put into this article. Thank you for the fine work and good luck with your site, I look forward to future updates.

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