Friday, July 20, 2007

I don't know how to put this but we're kind of a big deal

*Note: If you want to read a better written, more introspective, detailed, and grammatically accurate take on the Twisted Misters winning the WSOPC, then by all means check out Utz's definitive blog post on the subject. This is just my rambling personal take on the whole thing.

So in the end, through a potent combination of luck and skills (maybe about an additional 15 percent concentrated power of will), our little pop culture triumvirate were crowned the basic cable pop culture kings of the universe. As numerous forums and blogs all over the Internet will attest to, it was truly a case of the bad guys winning. It's like if at the end of Bambi the man comes back and takes Bambi down or if Schindler's List turned out to be a cook book. For some people out there it was the absolute worst case scenario, a complete downer to the entire series. More than a few claimed they wouldn't watch the next season or said they'd watch solely to see somebody take us out. All I've got to say on the matter is: more power to ya!

When my teammates and I hastily emailed our application to VH1 from the NYU computer center sometime in late 2006 my only dream was winning the cash, the minor fame I considered but it was mainly the cash. But, by the time we got to the regionals, took the test, gave the interview, and then competed with the other New York teams, I realized there was much more. Andrew U.'s view of the whole thing was far more noble than mine, he seriously viewed it as this grand opportunity of vindication for our supposedly wasted lives of pop culture obsession for which I gave him considerable flack for. I just figured it was a game show that could help us repay some of our NYU debt (and believe me nobody knows debt like NYU), it was like going to a casino or being on Press Your Luck or something. However as the three of us hung out in our hotel rooms our first day in, I realized this really was a once in a lifetime opportunity; everyone has a skill and pop culture was ours, this was the biggest opportunity that we could have to put this skill to the test. Of course I still dug the money and fame, but I started to understand the significance Utz put on this event.

It was also around that point that if we are going to compete, we were going to go all out for it. That is why I threw down the gauntlet at breakfast the next day by introducing our team as the "team that's going to beat you all". We had come ashore to this hostile land and I burned all the ships, no turning back. I remember it getting some standard eye rolling, groans, and moans but I, like Utz, was totally surprised by how much it resonated with some teams by the time the show aired.

This sort of segueways onto the issue of trash talking; our team (mostly me) got this reputation for trash talking but thinking back this seems like an unfair generalization. In terms of actually bad mouthing teams it was basically relegated to the on camera ribbing that was encourage by the show that everybody partook in. I don't believe I talked any ill will to any team backstage or in the green room. I wasn't doubting people's pop culture skills, knocking over their plates while they were eating or dishing out evil eyes. I never said a team was bad, just we were better. We (again mostly I) were guilty of cockiness, and showboating. This is a victimless crime. The only people who stand to suffer from this sort of behavior are the people boasting themselves up...if they fail to deliver. In the end I knew the risks associated with guaranteeing victories and proclaiming our dominance and put the pride on the line each and every match. And you know what? It was fun as hell! How often does one get the opportunity to just be a swaggering, grandstanding villain...and win...on TV of all places?

Also since when was it so taboo to say "I expect to win"? For all the friendly conversations and hugs and laughs, this whole event was still a competition and there was nobody in that room who would have said they'd like the other opponent to win because they're a nice bunch of people. I said our team would win at breakfast because I truly believed our team was good enough to win (even with Weber's terminal lack of confidence). I said we were awesome because well in the extremely narrow field of pop culture game shows we were indeed awesome.

Overall though, no hard feelings for all those haters out there. I really enjoyed the whole spectrum of perspectives on us from "OMG u guys rule...victor is so cute" to "OMG u guys suk...victor is such an asshole". There really is no such thing as bad press, and I was just glad to have people talking about us either way. Much props and love to all those people out there who for some reason or other dug our wild shenanigans. To all the female fans out there: I'm young, handsome, rich, and single so hey? While the jury's still out on if there really was a generational rift between us and most of the other teams, fan wise I've noticed the bulk of our fans were people our age and younger (especially high school girls) and some of the most vocal haters out there were older adults. I'm really going to miss checking back on my facebook and seeing 30 new friend requests and wall postings from strangers from all over or getting like a ton of myspace comments. What they say about fame is true, it's like a drug and when this fame dissipates I may just have to turn to drugs to feel this high again.

So I guess this is it for our little fortnight of pop culture glory, until next year. A final message to all the people out there at home who saw the show and thought to themselves, "man too easy, my two friends and I would totally dominate this show": BRING. IT. ON. You have no idea what it took for all the teams to make it here, let alone win it all, but I welcome all challengers. If you and your little friends can make it all the way up the mountain and get on in 2008, we'll be waiting for you. And you know what? We're Twisted Misters and we're the team that's going to beat you all!


  1. I knew you all would win from the first episode, too. You were definitely my favorite team, and even my favorite player within the team, but I don't fit into the category you've generalized your "fans" in. Except for being femal, I suppose.
    Anyway, my dad, brother and I were thinking of trying out for next year...I'm sure it is harder than it looks on the show, but I come from a pretty clever family and we all know our shit pretty thoroughly. So who knows? I've got a good team name picked out already, but I guess that's getting way ahead of myself. But like you said, there's nothing bad about confidence right? :)

  2. Nothing wrong. Good luck. Hope to see you next year.

  3. u guys did awesome!!

    i found andrew unterbergers blog

    have fun next year i kno u canbeat them again!!!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hey Victor, Congrats To you guys again. I wanted you guys to win cause, first off causeyou were underdogs, cause everyone doubted you cause of your age. Also you're nerds, which i relate to, Nerds Rule. Besides you guys weren't arrogant just overly confident(lol).I would love to try to compete next year. unfourtunately I think you have to live in the USA to do That and I lvie in the Bahamas, so dont think it will happen. unless they do the internet iq test again. anyway good luck next year, I will be watching to see if you guys win. You Guys Rock The Cazba!

  6. I'm always so surprised to find out that people didn't like your team - I was cheering for you all from the first match. You were more fun and more charismatic than any of the other teams. Congrats!

  7. Victor,
    You guys definitely had the skills to get the win, so congratulations.

    You in particular seemed to relish the role of villian, and don't seem to have any regrets about it. You've got that title next to your name and a little money in your pocket, which is exactly what you were going for.

    As someone who is a little older, and yes, wiser... I can say that being in a room with 47 other similarly-minded pop culture geeks from across the country, was an amazing life experience. We were all there to win. But we were also having fun. 15 teams kept their confidence to themselves and managed to have a great time together, win or lose.

    My team lost early, but if I had to choose between becoming friends with so many other awesome and interesting people, or alienating everyone but walking away with some money, I'd take the friends. As you go on in life, you'll realize that money comes and goes. It may feel huge now, but in the scope of what's to come in life, it's just not that big of a deal. 5 years from now, no one is going to remember who won this show (seriously, we were on VH1, the ratings aren't *that* high). But I know that in five years, I'll be able to call up any of 44 other people when I travel to their city, and have someone cool to hang out with. That, is a special thing.

    So, enjoy the win. Don't spend all that money at once. And when you get to the show next year, think about having some humility, and actually getting to know the other teams. If you lose, you'll be able to still enjoy the experience (ask El Chup about that). And if you win, you'll know what it's like to look up in the balcony seeing everyone else cheering for you.

  8. Congrats, guys!

    I remember watching the show a week ago or so and hearing my older brother say, “Twisted Misters? They’ll never win! You just like them because they’re ‘rockers’ and they have an asian on the team.”

    Well, I did like your group name a lot…

    Anyway, when I saw you guys win, I wanted to say, “I TOLD YOU SO!” to my brother. Unfortunately, he was working that night.

  9. How did the Jeopardy! people deal with the fact that you were on tv twice within the one year period? The legal documents seemed pretty clear that you had to stay off tv.

  10. Jolly good show. Oh sure, the last thing I want to do is feed your ego, BUT, I don't think Twisted Mister's victory was a surprise to anyone.. Least of all, yourself. :)

  11. Kryss--

    Your points are well taken, but to be fair, it wasn't like we gave all the other teams no choice but to dismiss us with that one comment. As Victor pointed out, I don't think we were that unfriendly with the other teams backstage, or anywhere else over the course of the three days, and the moments where maybe it seemed we were could just as easily have been attributed to us feeling the chilliness with which other teams had started to treat us.

    Rich from RLTT made some comment on my blog post about the entry about how Victor's comment "sealed our social fate," but I see no reason why that had to be. You guys could've chosen to take it in the good humor with which all the other many moments of empty braggadocio displayed by the ads, the interviews and whatever else throughout the tournament were meant. Instead, everyone decided that Victor had to be being deathly serious about it, and that was that.

    Which is not to say that we gave the other teams no good reason to dislike us--clearly, the three of us are all at least part obnoxious punk at heart, and that inevitably shown through. But I don't think the teams really needed to be quite so quick to judge us for it--we all could have had fun indulging our obnoxious punk sides together.

    -Andrew U., TM

  12. Hey Victor. Congratulations on your win! I always was rooting for the Twisted Misters, even from seeing the commercials. Your confidence didn't turn me off from the team at all- it actually seemed to draw me to continue to watch the show. No one in my family thought that you guys would win, so when you proved them wrong, I enjoyed rubbing it in their faces. :D Again, good job! You'll definitely win again next year.

  13. do you have myspace?

    mine is...

  14. this will get deleted

    you are a fag

    not in the homosexual sense which would be a complement to you but in the sense that you are just a pile of sticks/cigarettes not worthy of being labeled a person

    show some class and stop talking shit you cocky motherfucker and stop fidgeting on the stage while you're at it.

    you and your damn team are going to lose

  15. ^ that guy is lame. and you already won, anyway. BLAH

  16. Way to still condescend with your comment "if you and your little friends can make it all the way up the mountain..." Isn't that exactly what you and you're little friends did? And don't let your "fanbase" of 12 year old girls blow up your ego more than it already is. I am a smart, attractive girl your age who has many equally smart and attractive friends. We are definitely NOT fans. We wouldn't give you, your cockiness, or your air-guitar windmills a second glance.

    And to Andrew U's comment: You're saying that your air of unfriendliness was simply a product of a misunderstanding. Other contestants took your innocent confidence as unfriendliness, became cold towards you, and then maybe you seemed unfriendly as a result. That line of logic may have worked if you were in high school - but remember that your opponents were older, more mature, and not nearly that petty. They were cold towards you because you were obnoxious assholes.

    Oh, my friend used to compete with you in Quizbowl. He said you were just as annoying then as you were on TV.

  17. I meant "isn't that exactly what your little friends did"...

  18. Congrats on the win! I've been rooting for y'all since the beginning. Y'all are living, breathing proof that being obsessive compulsive about something seemingly useless can get you hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's truly inspiring!

  19. hey man, you're pretty much killed at the competition. gj, but you're a fucking prick. either you have too much testosterone flowing through your veins or you simply lack common sense, but both're an asshole kthx

  20. Congratulations on your sweep! I began to root for the Twisted Misters primarily because I thought that the Asian guy with the air guitar was incredibly hot, but then you guys really kicked some ass. In any case, I have to say that you're right about your fanbase. Too bad it's illegal. ;] Maybe I'll get my friends to try out for WSOPC next time.

  21. Victor--

    Congrats on the win and good luck on your next game show venture...

    Steve K (3 men)

  22. I just wanted to clear a few things up, at least from my perspective, on the TM's social fate. It all began with realizing that you knew your material not because you lived through it or watched it in reruns, as we had, but because you found it on Wikipedia. Granted we studied but, most of that was for tie-breakers such as Emmy winners, etc...

    In the contestant meeting, it was incredibly hard to hear the producers because you guys kept talking over them which was rude. So, now although it may have been undeserving, people were already turned off by you guys. Then came the now infamous line, "we're the team that's going to beat all of you". It was the icing on the cake.

    I'm not trying to deny you any glory from your win. You won fare and square and kicked some major booty doing it. You should be proud! I just wanted to clarify a little and try to give you more understanding. And take it from me, winning the first round was awesome and we would have loved to take the trophy home again but, being denied that by Fragilay was ok because we became friends will some really incredible people. Keep yourself open next year... it'll make the experience that much more fun and that much more memorable!

  23. Jodi--

    Everything else you say is fair enough, but it wasn't like we just decided one day "hey guys, let's learn everything there is to know about pop culture so we can go on that VH1 show!" We already knew a considerable amount, even about the older stuff, and we just studied like hell to fill in the gaps. Still, of the dozens or so of questions our team fielded this year, I'd say there were maybe a half-dozen that we got as a result of the studying. Despite Victor's claims of only being in it for the money, I can assure you that the three of us love pop culture as much as anyone at that competition did, even if we didn't grow up on Love Boat reruns.

  24. Hey Andrew. Point taken. In reading your blog along with Victor's I've come to see that now. I'm just saying that was the original impression. Besides, clearly you know your stuff... you won the tournament!

  25. I never do this sort of thing, a la contacting strangers via the internet, as it seems just a tad bit perverse to me, but for some reason, I felt compelled to comment in this here blog. Could be lack of sleep, a moment of temporary insanity, that awesome display of enviable trivial knowledge circa 2007…or possibly the fact that I was channel surfing, caught you on “Grand Slam” against Ken Jennings, looked it up in boredom, and stumbled across this on Google…whatever the reason, greetings!

    I’ve got to say (and I’m sure you get this a lot), as a fellow Asian American living in a country where all we’re good at is kung fu and math, good on you. Pat yourself on the back. Hell, schooling THE Ken Jennings in all trivia categories minus math had Asians rejoicing all over the country…or it might have just been me, but I threw a parade. And I’ve got to say, congrats on the valiant effort. Subjecting anyone against Ken Jennings is both unfair and an unfair advantage (Abominable?!?). To toot your horn a bit (more), you probably would have wiped the floor with any other contestant.

    Oh and, fuck the naysayers about the pop culture win. What you three did was exceptional, especially at your age. Rejoice. I’m 22 and thinking of applying, fully capable of “making it up that hill” and if/when I do, showboat away. Rip me apart. And if I lose, I’ll lose graciously. It’s almost humorous that people couldn’t see the bravado and gasconade as tongue-in-cheek. It was obviously all good-natured ribbing, and as a viewer, every other team on the show was guilty of the same. You guys were probably just victims of your age and a hypersensitive culture. For Jodi (no disrespect) to chide studying is just ludicrous. It’s obvious that you guys knew more than your fair share, but even if you knew nothing of pop culture but studied it rigorously enough to become champions, well that’s something to be proud of too. Who can be upset if another team is harder working?

    And hell, people are taking this out of proportion – it’s just a game show. If the comments here are at all indicative of outward opinion, they're acting as if you pulled a Sinead O’Connor or something (yeah, yeah, I had to throw in a shallow pop culture reference), which would have actually been quite entertaining, albeit inappropriate. “Props” for leaving the negative comments as well as the positive. I was especially amused at how amidst the insults, the “smart girl your age” also found it necessary to point out that she was “attractive.” Classic. Hell, I’m a girl in my early 20s as well, but it would be lame of me to flatter myself nigh the internet, as it’s not my face to see, but words to read.

    Anyway, seeing as I’ve practically written an essay to a stranger I’ve never met, it seems fit to end it now. Congrats on the success and I hope to see you back on the telly next year, if not next to you on stage.