[Ed note: In 2006, WW's resident techie, Brian Panganiban, distinguished himself by making it to the second round on the inaugural series of VH1's World Series of Pop Culture. The team, PDX 503, consisted of Brian, his brother Paul and P-town native Wil Olandria. A year later he took a break from answering really dumb questions about Microsoft Word to check in with this year's PDX Pop Culture team.]
The sad part about being a pioneer is that those that come after you tend to have better budgets. I'm nursing a ginger ale in Lola's Room watching some second round action of VH1's 2007 World Series of Pop Culture
thanks to a gracious invite to a viewing party from Remo Leen-Teen-Teen
(see incriminating photos below), the sibling team of Portlanders who are participating this year.
On screen, not only is the WSOPC
stage more elaborately decorated and dramatically lit than last year's inaugural show, the production values are through the roof, sporting longer and better edited team interviews, more commentators and even some slick animation detailing the elimination style of game play. Last year when I competed, we just had an overly tanned Lisa Guerrero
VH1 is airing tonight's show sandwiched in-between Brett Michaels of Poison looking for a wannabe pole dancer to call his own on Rock of Love
, and Scott Baio reminding us that reality television left Too Far several stops ago on Scott Baio is 45… and Single
. At first it seems like an odd lineup since the WSOPC
's likely target audience would be above such shows, but then it dawns on me. Pop culture trivia buffs couldn't go online to trash a reality show and its participants if they don't watch it right? Genius, VH1, well played.
Our hosts, Remo Leen-Teen-Teen, are Rich McPherson, his brother Warren and their sister, Margottina. One thing I enjoy about WSOPC is that it does a good job dispelling the notion that you have to be a maladjusted shut-in that lives chained to a TV and the internet in some dank basement in your parent's house to have a good grasp of pop trivia. RLTT further reinforces that idea, since all three are attractive, well spoken and obviously comfortable in their own skins. Expressive and enthusiastic, Rich (the music expert) tells me that it was originally Warren's (he's the team's go-to guy for movies) idea to participate, with Margottina (a self-proclaimed stay-at-home mom who's down with the TV programs) enthusiastically volunteering to step in after two attempts at getting a third from their pool of friends fell through.
This night they've surrounded themselves with friends and family who sit, rapt, waiting to see if they make it past the second round. Mirroring our performance last year, they start strong, eliminating two members of the opposing team, Almost Perfect Strangers 2.0, while only losing Margottina in a closely fought tie-breaker but go down in defeat when Lucien from APS 2.0 mounts a comeback. "Tonight, the drinks are not on the house!" Warren jokes after the loss.
Winning and losing on the WSOPC is often times based entirely on the category you get stuck with, regardless of how well prepared you may think you are. The teams that understand that and focus more on enjoying the hell out the experience tend to get over losing quickly. RLTT has no regrets.
"When you're up there and you don't know the answer, just make some shit up," Rich waxes philosophically.
Episode 7 of the World Series of Pop Culture airs tonight on VH1 at 9 pm.
Margottina, my wife Margaret and 66% of PDX 503, my brother Paul and yours truly.
Margottina, Warren and Rich, Portland's Remo Leen-Teen-Teen.
Warren and Rich's homage to Mel Gibson's police outreach work.