Picture this- it’s 6PM in Chicago, the warmest evening in March. The doors of Pizzeria Serio are about to open for Simpsons Trivia, hosted by Neil Arsenty. A camera crew is setting up; a Simpsons trivia documentary is filming tonight. Trivia questions won’t start for another hour, but the line to get in is down the street. Several people clutch homemade dioramas. There is a hand-crafted clock, a Malibu Stacy, and Simpsons t-shirts the likes of which you haven’t seen since the 90s.
This is Woo Hoo Classic Simpsons Trivia, Chicago division. It is intense. It is SERIOUS.
I say this all with awe-filled respect. Last night, I co-hosted Classic Simpsons Trivia with Woo-Hoo Chicago. I haven’t watched The Simpsons in ten years, but figured I’d be OK. I wasn’t. I got boo’ed. I promise, though- I was a RABID child fan. I had a talking Bart doll, several smaller dolls, and a very 90s Maggie sweater. My family listened to the cassette tapes. One of my first two CD-ROM computer games was Virtual Springfield.
I love everything about classic Simpsons– particularly how affected 90s society. Teachers would ban kids from watching it, seeing as Bart said such filthy things as “Eat my shorts.” Today, the writing looks tame. I also can’t imagine parents in 2015 sitting quietly if a teacher tries to decide their child’s TV habits. This is the age of mommy blogging, after all.
Anyway, I’m getting off topic. Love for The Simpsons is alive and well in Chicago hearts. Last night’s trivia included 45 teams. They had the longest team names I’ve ever seen. The winning group was called, ahem, “This team is not interested in buying your house, but it would like to use your rest room, flip through your magazines, rearrange your carefully shelved items and handle your food products in an unsanitary manner. Ha! Now you know how it feels!” We announced it in full. Every. Time.
One team came up and corrected THREE different staff members, because we missed a word in their team name. I’m sure the whole room already got the joke. Plus, it was a visual gag- one that couldn’t really be explained out loud. Even so, we missed the word, and we were in trouble. Like I said- it’s serious.
My favorite part of the evening was the Diorama-rama. Over a dozen competitors hand-crafted creative scenes. (“What’s a diorama?”) I was honored to judge. I was expecting creativity. I was expecting high art. I wasn’t expecting this:
Over beers and pizza, we all enjoyed three Simpsons episodes. We even got to watch my favorite- The Springfield Files. A heartfelt tribute to Sam Simon was screened. We all shared a moment for Leonard Nimoy, too.
By the end, I was having a great time. Yes, I got boo’ed a little. Yes, people were possessive of their team names, quote accuracy, and the way I pronounced a few obscure characters. I get it, though. When you’re a geek, and you love something so much, sometimes perfectionism is how you show it. This was a cool group of people, all answering questions, creating art, remembering those we’ve lost.
As C2E2 passes and other prizes were handed out, I spoke with Neil. I know he is looking to expand the Woo Hoo franchise further. Milwaukee? Madison? I asked him if he’d be seeking a larger location for the Chicago crowd. He shrugged it off. “We’d just fill up that one, too.”
I tend to believe bigger is better. However, Pizzeria Serio is perfect for this. They open on Mondays exclusively for Woo Hoo Chicago. They kept the pizza coming- including dessert. Mmm… dessert pizza. *Homer drool* Most appropriately, their name is “Serio.” Serious. So, I’ll end this post where it began:
The Simpsons pub trivia is SUPER SERIOUS… and you should go.
NEXT TIME: Chi-Fi 2015!
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