You might not know it to look at me (hopefully), but my dork cred is pretty strong. I read comics, and have since I was little. I've been an enthusiastic internet geek since the early AOL days, and can quote memes all the way back to HamsterDance.com and beyond. And ... okay, maybe I even rolled up a D&D character or two back in the day. So when my friend Nikki invited me to Joss Whedon Trivia Night at Little Woodrow's, I pretty much had to go.
Joss Whedon, for those of you who don't know yet for some reason (but decided to read this anyway), is the creator of such cult-bordering-on-mainstream TV shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. He's beloved for the quality control he keeps over his various series; even on the level of casting, he's always picked the hottest, most intelligent female cast of any television creator I can think of (and the most likeable male cast). His writing is sharp and witty, and it can switch back and forth from goofball comedy to serious drama in a heartbeat, seamlessly, as in so seamlessly you might not even notice until the third or fourth viewing of a particular episode (the BtVS season six episode "Tabula Rasa" is an excellent example of his tone-flipping powers at their fullest). He's also very geek-friendly, never holding back on the pop-culture references. So yeah, I figured I'd probably do all right when quizzed on the Whedon-verse.
But wow. You know how some trivia nights are like Greatest Hits collections, where the most obvious of questions are asked? Little Woodrow's trivia night was a lot more like an obscure mixtape of deep cuts off of live gigs you didn't even know got recorded.
Little Woodrow's is a pretty nondescript bar/icehouse right on the border of Midtown and Downtown with a nice, big porch area and a great view of the city. The real attraction, other than the trivia, was the $4, 22-ounce "Big-Ass" beer special, which covered all of the beer on tap. Let me tell you, 22 ounces of St. Arnold's Lawnmower for $4 is a damn good deal, and there were even a couple of beers I'd never even tried. Sierra Nevada's Tumbler looked intriguing, and I found out Real Ale has an Oktoberfest beer, which is good to know.
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Beer in hand, Nikki and I barely managed to pay our entry fee in time and choose a team name, the White Hats. No, we weren't wearing hats, it was a BtVS reference. The questions started out concerning Firefly and its subsequent film, Serenity, and the trivia masters, English Matt and Asian Matt, immediately made me their bitch. Not only were the White Hats lost on most of the first round trivia questions, but we were looking at a color printout of eight characters from the Whedon-verse we would be asked to name in a later round. "Uh ... who the fuck are these people?" I asked Nikki, and she was stumped as well. It was disgraceful. Me, a self-proclaimed dork, and I didn't even recognize one of these faces?
Round Two went much better for us, a round spent differentiating quotes from vampires Spike and Angel, and we even climbed to fourth place out of twelve or so initial teams. The road wasn't smooth for long, though, and we found ourselves stumped more and more until, finally, so desperate to get any question right, I madly charged the trivia masters after a bonus question in a race to get there with the answer before another contestant. In a display of supreme competitiveness and not-so-supreme coordination, I just barely managed to get there first, but the other guy slammed into me from behind, pitching me forward into English Matt, causing his table to ram into him and receiving a painful bruise on my own wrist. After the two of us apologized profusely, English Matt showed good humor about the whole episode and awarded us both the free drink tickets, which was what all of the bonus-question hubbub was about in the first place. Well, you shouldn't expect precision sprinting skills and body-check deflection on Big-Ass Beer Night--that's all I can really say in my defense. That, and how else was I ever going to make knowing that Eliza Dushku's film debut was playing Arnold Schwarzenegger's daughter in True Lies pay off for me?
The final round was embarrassing for the White Hats, and of the nine teams who stayed all the way to the end, we came in eighth, first place having been taken by a team called Army of Dorkness. So not only did we have to face up to the fact that we were nerdy enough to even be at Whedon-verse trivia night, we weren't even very good nerds. It was the harsh, caustic truth, but the Big-Ass beers did help soothe its burn. Also, as Nikki pointed out, this gives us an excellent excuse to watch all of the Whedon catalog again in preparation for next time.