Trivia Main Page
(as chosen by Des Devlin)
There is an echelon of bonuses that need no booster committees. Lit Slits, the Ballad of O.J., the Crap Food giveaway, Album Cover Segments and others have long since ridden their floats to general acclaim in the popularity parade.
However, not all boni are as lucky. Some are overshadowed by more popular boni (or disastrous ones), some are buried in lesser contests, some are given at 5 or 6 AM when sleep is dearest. And some just came and went with too little fanfare.
I've selected ten boni, 8 Hours and 2 Supers, that in my opinion have not received their deserved kudos.
This list is of course fatally colored by my own proclivities and biases, but I tried to factor in the reactions of my teammates over the years, and to include boni that don't speak to me personally. While I would get off on a contest whose every element is specifically designed to entertain me, I also see the wisdom in not producing such a contest for general consumption.
I made a small attempt to seek a good bonus balance; that is, if I'd felt that three Sports boni were unjustly ignored (which I don't), I would not have included all three here. I tried to make this look like a contest that could theoretically happen.
I've stuck to 1990s bonuses only, because limited contact with other teams and wheezing brain cells prevent me from honestly having a sense of which boni were "underappreciated" in 1985. I also left out any bonus that I did myself.
A couple of the boni are a bit too lengthy, but that's not exactly rare. I'm willing to take 'em as is, but in a real contest, I'd agitate at the team meetings on behalf of editing. That said, and even without the acknowledged tip-top classic ideas, I'd be willing to stack up this imaginary dream contest against all comers. Even with just one audio, and no Comics or Sports. (You'd get extra helpings in the imaginary on-air questions for those two missing topics.) It is hoped that you will next investigate one or more of these ten bonuses for yourself.
Opposing opinions are always welcome, if only for the sheer hilarity provided by ANY possible disagreement with the following list.
Sorry, no Actions. Because the last consensus Action idea was around 1978.
(NOTE: These bonuses were chosen in late 1996; there are many other worthies from the 1970s and 1980s, and post-1997. It should be remembered that this is NOT a list of "the best boni of all time." This is something far, far stupider: "the best bonuses to mostly get ignored during the 1990-96 period.")
- 12:00-- Kid Stuff (5/90, Son, You've Got a Panty...) One of the best "list-heavy" bonuses. Name the cartoon rival, name the sidekick, name the "Muppet Movie" role, name the "Schoolhouse Rock" scenario, and much more trivia that plays right into the hearts of all of us.
- 4:00-- Bad Taste (12/95, Elvis Needs Boats) Great topic, exhaustively covered. Maybe a little TOO exhaustively, but what the heck. With my team, the enthusiasm for solving this lasted later than for most Supers. Great existential conceit, too: I have the sneaking suspicion that there were very few items in this bonus that don't truly appeal to trivia players, at least when they think no one's watching. We were proud, do you hear me PROUD, to completely obliterate the 36-Q pro wrestling section.
(Honorable mention: "O, Canada!" (Tongue-Tongue). For audacity of topic, effectiveness of presentation, and for making every team uniformly crap their pants.)
- 12:00-- Advertising (5/96, A Bunch of Mindless Jerks...) The "Saturday Night Live" phony ads section alone would've made a wonderful Hour Bonus, but there's also a visual section, slogans, jingles, and a cereal spokesman page that had our team writhing for 59 minutes. I'd cut it down, but there's loads of good stuff on a topic that can't go wrong.
- 1:00-- Movie Music Audio (5/94, Oh No, Bette Midler!) At fifty clips, it's a little longer than most good audios, but it's jam-packed with themes from popular favorites. It had the right balance between easy, reasonable, and ridiculously hard, and my team really got into it. It also wasn't an audio where the "music person" went into a corner and did his best. Everybody knew some of 'em. The bonuses you WANT to solve are always best.
- 2:00-- TV Bets and Deals (5/91, Five is Right Out) Unjustly buried in the wee wee hours in 1991. This bonus was a compact 20 questions, every one of them one of those "lurking subconscious" types with Heimlichable answers that highlight any contest. I don't think it's possible for someone to see this bonus without thinking at least ONE of the 20 Q's is awesome.
- 3:00-- Time Travel (12/95, Elvis Needs Boats) I don't know an orc from a wookiee, but this looked like as good a sci-fi bonus as any in Trivia's history. How they came up with so many good questions on such a narrow theme is something that deserved a lot more credit on the listserver than the post-Elvis feeding frenzy provided.
- 4:00-- Liquids (12/95, Elvis Needs Boats) Yow, another Elvis Needs Boats bonus. Hey, wasn't that contest supposed to suck? People have loved the giveaways since the 1/93 Phasers:TNG original, and this one was the most perverse of them all.
- 5:00-- James Bond (12/91, Phasers on Stun: TNG) If Phasers hadn't read most of the answers over the air after 8 AM, perhaps this bonus with all its esoteric, intricate questions wouldn't rank so high. I'm no James Bond freak. But like the Time Travel area in which I'm equally inexpert, once I heard the answers, they seemed so consistently interesting that I couldn't imagine 007 fiends not drooling over this one.
- 6:00-- Multifaith (12/90, Oxygen is for Losers) I always think a contest should have one "high-minded" bonus; that is, one that isn't exclusively about The Breakfast Club, Smell the Glove, and the Tick. This bonus swept across a multitude of religions and mythologies, and was good solid trivia.
- 7:00-- Music-Referential Lyrics (5/94, Oh No, Bette Midler!) I prefer this to any of the other audios that might've filled the traditional second slot. It's a written collection of song lyrics that refer to other musical acts; i.e. Bad Company singing about the Beatles. An excellent spread from wimpily simple to grindingly tough which had our music folks straining their brains for those last 2 or 3 that we just KNEW we knew (but ended up not getting).
Honorable Mention: "The Norton Anthology of (TV) Poetry" (Primitive Skills). Perhaps too friggin' clever for its own good. "Puzzles and Games" (Purpose of the Military). This jumbled, chopped-up sheet was the best puzzle-type bonus. Video Games (Oxygen for Losers). Very straightforward, top-notch trivia on Mario & friends. "Sports & Games" (Mindless Jerks). Like Video Games, not flashy, just thick with quality.