Last Wednesday evening, my love and knowledge of the cartoon Futurama was put to the test courtesy of Geeks Who Drink. Normally I find those trivia gatherings at Austin’s bars and restaurants a tad annoying because they’re often not confined to a part of the joint where I don’t have to hear it. I have enough trouble keeping my mind on the hunt, the last thing I need while I’m trying to eat and unwind is to get distracted or obsessed over some factoid the MC asked. One place even cut off its WiFi during it, defeating a minor reason why I was there.
I did learn that Geeks Who Drink is a franchise. All these years I thought it was some Austin thing. I should’ve known better. If someone from Austin started it, the creator would’ve gone with a less insulting name (many fellow Geeks I’ve known don’t drink) and better, accurate artwork: if you’ve seen the logo, those characters resemble aging Hipsters, not Geeks.
Personal peeves aside, this whole thing began a week earlier when Jeremy invited to join his team. He certainly came to the right person. I have all the DVDs, a few toys (my talking Bender is a favorite), a server named Bender (at work), a brief correspondence with a former show writer (Bill Oakley), sat through all the commentaries at least once, I think you get the picture. Of course I jumped at the chance figuring it would be pretty hard and I’d be up against some fellow diehards.
Game night arrived at Mr. Tramp’s. Jeremy’s co-worker Kate had a table reserved for us in the corner. First order of business, our team name…Kappa Kappa Wong. It wasn’t my first pick yet I completely endorsed it. Names should be funny, short, clever and obscure to weed out the poseurs. Those who lace theirs with profanity and/or use run-on sentences, get a clue. Next, food and booze. I wasn’t driving so I deserved a beer like my favorite character…Bender. As 8 PM dawned, it was time to put up (five clams per player) and shut up (no phones or it’s a disqualification). This gathering had 30 teams vying for the prize, a Richard Nixon funbill; only fellow fans know the answer and may post, maybe I’ll give a small prize for it. Jeremy, Somara and fellow KKW members, you’re exempt.
We received the visual round to work on which would count as number five. The focus was 31st Century products: I was stumped on two and blanked on another pair (I had been re-watching the first season on NetFlix for a refresher!), out of eight. I thought, ugh, this is going to be a nightmare, try focusing on having a good time. Thankfully, this is when a team comes to the rescue. Through our joint efforts, we confidently nailed (we thought) seven.
Round one and two (songs the characters sang) went smoothly, we even used our joker (double points) on two which was the musical segment. Being nuts about music helped since I knew the titles on several people frequently get wrong (“Baba O’Reilly” anyone?). Kate’s husband thankfully knew his Bob Dylan. Three was hard, real or fake planets. I think we aced it. The rule of thumb I figured was it had to have a number on the end, a frequent joke on the show.
The MC announced a few-minute break followed by the answers. Kate counted to see how we were doing. Based upon our calculations of 87% accuracy, we had over 45 points, not bad. The scores of the numerous teams were announced in ascending order. I think the basement was in the 20s and as the MC kept progressing we kept waiting to hear “Kappa Kappa Wong” somewhere in the middle. How we cheered when we were announced as being in first! Now I was thinking are we really knowledgeable or are these others drunk idiots? One thing in our favor was the joker getting used by the top 12 teams which meant none of the lower 18 could come from behind easily.
On to rounds four, five, six and seven. Our lead held! I can’t vouch for the others but I was thinking, “Holy crap! We could win this. The money would be sweet but damn it, I want the bragging rights badly now!”
Round eight was tense. Despite being in the lead, our closest competition was within five points. Every answer really mattered. It was nightmarish on half of them. Spelling mattered with the rulers of Omicron Persei 8. I recall arguing with Jeremy on how many r’s Lrrr’s name had, three (Patric Verrone spelled it on a commentary). I was right.
It didn’t matter, we choked and came in third. A collective feeling of “bummer dude” fell over us. I’ll tell you this, I’ll always remember the names of the four Globetrotters and who’s the second-worst blernsball player in history. We won ten bucks to divide amongst ourselves (in the photo), I didn’t bother for my share. Again, it wasn’t the money, it was proving who knew the details, in-jokes and trivia about Futurama. Who is a fan and who’s a poseur. To paraphrase Bender, “Third place! That’s a fancy word for losing!”
Looking back, I did have a good time but I was disappointed with a couple aspects of the questions. For example, I figured the MC would ask about esoteric things such as who provided the voices of certain characters. OK, this would’ve been easy for me. I did like the round covering tertiary characters’ names.
Will I do it again? I don’t know. Jeremy wants to take a shot at the Geek Bowl next year. Normally this is held in Denver but it’s coming here because the parent company couldn’t get its regular venue. I need to think it over. Maybe participate a few more times at GWD’s general stuff yet I feel like an event with hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on the line is too stressful at my age.
Don’t hesitate to ask me about Futurama though, I just now have to give you a disclaimer on my accuracy.