Let Me Tell You: Great Midwest Trivia Contest action questions

Last term, I interviewed Lawrentians about what pieces of entertainment and media got them through the summer of lockdown and isolation. This term, I’m doing the same thing, except it’s my turn. Each week, I’m giving my comfort food, pop-culture and art suggestions for the dreary winter we’re facing. What’s something you can watch, read or listen to that takes your mind off of the real world? Well, let me tell you. 

Okay, so, I promise that this is the last Great Midwest Trivia Contest related content you’ll see in the paper until next year. This and the winners announced in the Features section will be it, and then we’ll be out of your hair. This term my column is about the silly pieces of culture that give us comfort while the world is less than comforting itself and a cornerstone of Trivia is the vast ocean of meme culture it draws upon and, in turn, creates. Welcome to your crash course guide to the action questions of this year’s Great Midwest Trivia Contest. If you’d like to follow along and see the creative output of all the teams go to the Discord server provided in the QR code and search through the #action-question-submissions text channel. 

Action questions aren’t normal Trivia questions; they are more like creative prompts wherein a team has to create something (an audio recording, a drawing, a website, etc.) and submit it for varying amounts of points. Action questions elicit some of the most fun and out-of-the-box submissions of the contest, and this year was no different. 

Action questions typically correspond to a specific theme hour, so, going hour by hour we can divvy them up. This started with Podcast Hour, when teams were challenged to create “the world’s shortest podcast about any topic they were passionate about,” only criteria being, it had to include a midroll ad. Team 135, Delguigi, posted a four-minute masterpiece on the origins of “the Bee Movie,” focusing on how Jerry Seinfeld was apparently involved in every aspect of the production, laughed at every line and led the entire production team to believe that they were producing a good movie. The midroll ad was one for dust mites — “Just when you thought you had a clean house, you’ll have a handful of dust mites in it!” Another highlight from Podcast Hour was the submission from on-campus team, Team 2, High School Musical the Musical The Series, which was performed entirely by Lawrence Students. Their podcast, “Game of Scones,” was about scones, games and how to play games that are made of scones or about scones.  

Another favorite was the action question for Crime Hour, in which teams were tasked with committing a state-specific misdemeanor that is not specific to the state they were located in, just to avoid encouraging any actual crimes. Scrolling down this portion of the action question thread will treat you to videos of senior Grace Foster yelling obscenities on College Avenue in the middle of the night, pet rats watching films that portray felonies and people attempting to sell their cats. 

I had the pleasure of judging the Sci-Fi Hour action question, where teams had to create an original Sci-Fi move poster. Highlights include the submission from team #66, The Holy Broman Empire, whose film was titled “Charles Barkley Never Went to Space in Space Jam: an Exhaustive Documentary” that will be “cumbing to Theatres on 4/20/2069.” The poster from Team 129, We Need More Cowbell Martha, lists the 11 Trivia Masters as cast members and states as its tagline, “They thought they would sleep, they were wrong.” And how could I leave out the poster created by Team 3, Do you really trust an Aquarius? Their film was simply titled “BARN” and included a large picture of President Mark Burstein with lasers coming out of his eyes. 

Then, there’s my favorite action question, which, unfortunately, I can’t really elaborate on in this here newspaper, but just know, it was a call for teams to write an Ode to the Peniongus, and I recommend you go look at those yourself for a good and deserved laugh. 

That’s really the thought behind action questions — they’re meant to be creative, funny and to put a smile on Trivia Masters’ and players’ faces alike. You don’t have to have played Trivia to find them amusing, and that’s why they are my brainless pop culture suggestion this week. Go check out the silly stuff your fellow students and alumni have put together in the Trivia 56 discord; I promise confusion will be outweighed by amusement!

Click here for the Discord server: https://discord.com/invite/JrQmQjZ64C