The Pop Tarts - on the road to fame and fortune

Join us as we stagger towards universal domination as entrants in the World Series of Pop Culture.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Update from VH1



Update on VH1.com: Chicago is booked to capacity
Oh well, I guess there will be more than 8 teams! LA, Dallas and Atlanta aren't full yet...interesting.

My apologies for lack of posts but since the Detroit News/Free Press article came out, I've been dealing with my newfound fame :) and trying to study in my spare time.

We have figured out what we're wearing to the audition-- I'm not going to divulge lest a competitor reads this and steals our idea. Will fill you in after--

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Our Fifteen Minutes Start Now



In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. - Andy Warhol

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006602190349

Friday, February 17, 2006

News from VH1 - latest on the competition


Diane reports in with an update from the VH1 website.
NYC audtion is booked! Sorry Brooklyn!

Casting Calls followed by Regional Qualifying Games will be held by appointment only in the following cities on the following dates:
Los Angeles: March 4th/5th
Chicago: March 11th/12th
Dallas: March 18th/19th
Atlanta: March 25th/26th
New York: April 1st/2nd **BOOKED TO CAPACITY

PLEASE NOTE: The casting calls are two-day events. Scheduled teams will take a written pop culture quiz on Saturday. Those who pass the written test will be interviewed by the Producers, who will then select 8 teams to return and compete in the Regional Qualifiers on Sunday.

All we have to do is hope that no more than 8 teams show up to Chicago.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Am I The Weakest Link??


Not only am I afraid I am the Weakest Link in my trivia knowledge -- now I am the last to post to the blog!! In my defense, I am the one who got us into this and I am doing PR, spreading the word about the blog.
I wonder how many teams are auditioning--there was an ad for contestants in EW for the second week in a row. Maybe the competition is weak??
I am proud of my team's motivation and dedication -- actually I can't believe we're now watching more TV than we usually do!! Go Tarts!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Tart Down! Training Injury



Saturday, Feb 11th/Sunday, Feb 12th
While late night "training" (watching TV), I jammed my toe into the leg of the sofa. It didn't really hurt that much but I heard a distinct crunch and when I looked down, my left forth toe was practically perpendicular to my baby toe. I didn't think it was broken right away because I could still bend it and it wasn't bruised, just swollen, so I thought I'd just wait until Monday to call my doctor and see if I could get into urgent care. But by Sunday morning, it was pretty blue and more painful, so I thought I'd visit the ER, see how crowded it was and then decide if I would stay.

I got the ER about 12:10pm and there were about 50 people waiting. I wasn't sure I should stay, but thought it would be ok, even just to stay and people watch. No one looked particularly sick, just a lot of fluey looking people who don't have primary care physicians or insurance so they come to the emergency room because they have no other choice.

I waited about 30 minutes to be called to triage. I told them what happened and they took my vitals. They sent me back out to the chairs to wait. About 20 minutes later, I asked the girl sitting next to me how long she had been waiting and when she said 3 hours, I thought I should just leave but then I wouldn't have gotten my parking validated, so I decided to wait. Within seconds of asking that girl how long she had been waiting, they called my name. I felt kind of bad I got called so fast, but it made me feel special too. ;)

The nurse that took me in told me I was a Fast Track patient because my injury was simple. The doctor came over after about 10 minutes and looked at my toe. He told me they would x-ray it and waited about 10 minutes to be taken to x-ray. While I am waiting I am seeing the doctor talk to about 3 other patients who came in with hurt feet and hands (this must be common for fast track) and so far no one has anything broken. I wait another 30 minutes for the doctor to look at my x-ray. They do it all digitally now, which is pretty cool and probably much faster than having to wait for film. So he's looking at my x-ray on the big computer monitor screen and tells me it's broken so I told him, good, I'm glad I didn't come in here for no reason.

Where is my Doctor McDreamy or Kovach like the hot TV doctors? My doctor was more like Marcus Welby.

Basically, I think I knew it was broken the moment I did it. It was jammed so hard when it happened, I heard the break and it made me nauseous, which I never get from medical stuff.

So they buddy tape it to the toe next to it. Gave me a copy of my x-ray, crutches and a prescription for vicodin and ibuprofen (stronger than the OTC) stuff. They want me to see an orthopedist, stay off it, keep it elevated and ice it. I don't think I am going to use the crutches, because I agreed with Diane when she told me I'd probably injure myself even more with the crutches than without them. I also had the prescriptions filled just to have but I probably won't use them, but it's good to have a stash of vicodin, right?

Wrong Answer!!


While using the Trivia Pursuits Pop Culture game to study, I discovered that you can't trust these games 100%! One of the cards asked who Niles Crane married after divorcing Maris - and it said Daphne. Doesn't EVERYONE know he went through with his wedding to Maris's plastic surgeon, Dr. Mel Karnovsky, moments after he found out that Daphne really loved him??

Confirmation Call

Friday 2/10/06
Captain Diane gets a call from Jennifer at the World Series of Pop Culture to confirm we will be there for the audition. We aren't sure to take this as a sign that they are desperate for players or are just doing their due diligence.

When Diane confirms that we will indeed be there, are excited and are busy studying, Jennifer laughs. Are we the biggest geeks on the planet for studying, or should we just be out drinking every night and not worrying about it?

Training - Will all of our TV Time Pay Off?



With the teams hotels and Melissa's flights booked (Cindi and Diane will drive to Chicago from their homes in Detroit), it's time to get down to the Olympic style training. Training consists of everything related to pop culture: movies, magazines but mostly it's the new justification for watching even more television than we normally do.

Melissa suggests adding VH1's Best Week Ever to everyone's weekly diet, as it's a good overview of current pop culture news. All team members search the web for good study sites. Emails between the three of us fly back and forth referencing good study sites. We determine that we are weak in the areas of Sci Fi and James Bond films among others. It's hard to know what tactic to take with the studying as we all need to be good generalists to pass the timed written pop culture test that is the first part of the audition. We also need to be specialists for when we make to to the second part of the competition where a team member represents the team for a specific category.

We have coaches too. Diane contacts Robert (Bob) Thompson, a former professor of hers from Syracuse. He could really be a pop culture question/answer his damn self. He runs SU's Center for the Study of Popular Television and never met a sound bite he didn't like. He has a brilliant knack for opining on Pop Culture and making it sound simply scholarly. He writes back to tell us he's working on a training regimen for us, but in the mean time, to start drinking raw eggs every morning.

Our other coach is Cindi's daughter, Meredith. She's the most rockin' kid on the planet and if she were old enough, she'd be the Tart that replaced Melissa, so it could be an all Brody team. Meredith forwards me questions via email which make me feel tragically unhip and old. But I do pretty well answering them and I think she's impressed, for now.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Geez, They Must be Really Desperate for Players

Tuesday, 31 January

Hello Team The Pop Tarts!
Thanks for submitting your team applications for The World Series of Pop Culture!
We have scheduled your team to attend the casting call in Chicago, IL.
ALL 3 team members must be present at the time scheduled.
Date: Saturday March 11th, 2006
Time: 11am


OMG! Boy, that sure didn't take long. Really, I think they were just happy someone applied so they said yes within a hour or so of receiving our applications.

Crap. Better start studying, book flight and hotel.

Scary-Ass Application



Thursday, 26th January

Part of the application process is an actual application (go figure). It is four pages long and immediately causes Melissa to remark that it is harder than than Diane and Melissa's Syracuse University entrance application. For those of you who don't know, Diane and Melissa were friends and roommates from Syracuse University and Cindi is Diane's sister.

Some questions on the application include:

WHY DO YOU AND YOUR TEAM WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS COMPETITION?

IF SO, TELL US WHAT IS INTERESTING/CAPTIVATING ABOUT YOUR LIFE, YOUR TEAM, YOUR WORK?

WHY DO YOU CARE ABOUT POP CULTURE? IS IT IMPORTANT? IF SO, WHY? IF NOT, WHY DO YOU STILL KNOW SO MUCH?

WHAT IS THE MOST EXTREME EXAMPLE OF HOW OBSESSED AND KNOWLEDGEABLE YOU ARE REGARDING POP CULTURE? DO YOU HAVE ANY COLLECTIONS/POSTERS/ FAN CLUB MEMORABILIA?

DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE AN EDGE OVER OTHER CONTESTANTS IN A TRIVIA SHOW SETTING? WHY?

IF YOU WERE SELECTED AS ONE OF THE 16 TEAMS TO COMPETE, WHAT STEPS WOULD YOU TAKE TO PREPARE? OR WOULD YOU?

The application is intimidating, to me anyway. I figure I need to be witty and pop culture-smart when filling this out. So I stress about it all weekend. Luckily, my husband Paul is busy at junkets all weekend, so I have ample time to obsess. Personally, I think my application stinks and I am embarrassed to send it to Diane, team captain and lead organizer of applications and photos that have to be included. After I read Cindi's application, I no longer think my application sucks, I KNOW my application sucks.


Diane does a good job on hers too. With hers, she includes her photo with Chuck Woolery, which was a brilliant move. She and Chuck are like that....

Tuesday, 31st of January Diane submits the applications and photos and we wait. Wait, wait, wait. But we don't have to wait more than about 30 minutes to receive our answer from the producers of The World Series of Pop Culture.

Will we make it to the next round or are we going to get whammied?

Team Name and first application


The first task is coming up with a team name which is required with the initial application, which is more like an inquiry than an actual application. It takes Cindi a mere nano-second to come up with The Pop Tarts. Diane and I are instantly charmed and both think, we are so going to win this thing with Cindi on our team, she's so quick!

The initial application simply requires the team name and contact information for the players on team. It also asks for how the members of the team know each other. Diane, self-appointed team captain, decides to honest about how we know each other instead of saying "cell mates," which would have been more interesting for the producers when we do our actual interview.

Diane submits the required information via email and with in a matter of hours has a confirmation and instructions for how to move on to the next steps. I guess we are really doing this. I've always wanted to go to Chicago in March.....

A World Series with no one other than Americans, how American!


Towards late January, Diane and Melissa receive an email from Entertainment Weekly inviting them to apply to the first annual 'The World Series of Pop Culture'. Melissa ignores it figuring she would not be able to get anyone to be on her team. Diane, ever the optimist, invites herself to Los Angeles to audition and inquires whether Larry (Melissa's brother) could be the third member of our team. Melissa says no because it's too close to when the heir to the Algaze estate will be born. Diane brilliantly devises a back-up plan, she'll ask Cindi (yeah, ask Cindi, she'll do anything and she loves to travel!) and Melissa can travel to Chicago for the Mid-West auditions. Ok, this might just work.

Here's the press release about the competition:

VH1 and Entertainment Weekly challenge America to answer those questions and so many more when they test the country's pop culture savvy with the new original series "The World Series of Pop Culture." From the executive producer of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," "The World Series of Pop Culture" is the ultimate pop culture competition designed for teams to display their astounding range of knowledge about everything music, television and film. Hosted by NY1 News anchor Pat Kiernan, "The World Series of Pop Culture" is scheduled to premiere on VH1 in the summer of 2006.

The search for the country's best pop culture gurus begins in March with regional qualifying competitions in five cities:
* Los Angeles March 4th & 5th
* Chicago March 11th & 12th
* Dallas March 18th & 19th
* Atlanta March 25th & 26th
* New York April 1st & 2nd

Thousands will audition but only 15 teams of three players each will be chosen to compete for "The World Series of Pop Culture" championship. The 16th and final team will be cast online at http://www.vh1.com/, where budding contestants can attempt to qualify by taking VH1's very own "Pop Culture IQ Test." Three of the top scorers from the online test will join forces and become the final "wildcard" team in the tournament. Visit
http://www.vh1.com/shows/casting_call/ for more details.
VSPOT, VH1's broadband network will also be the source of supplemental exclusive show content, game highlights and much more including online game play.

All 16 teams will face off in New York City and compete in the biggest team trivia challenge ever. Here's how the game is played: once the first category is revealed, the teams will have 30 seconds to deliberate before sending a teammate to the microphone to play for that entire category. The chosen players will each get one question per round, and each category will contain ten rounds of questions of increasing difficulty. Categories will run the gamut, being as broad as "Family TV" or as specific as "1980's Teen Comedy Films."

Within a round, a player is eliminated if he or she answers the question incorrectly and his opponent answers his correctly. The first team to beat its opponents in three categories, and eliminate all their players, will win and move on to the next round. In the very end, one team will be crowned the champions of "The World Series of Pop Culture" and receive $100,000 in cash and prizes.

"This is truly a search for the best pop-culture heads in America," said Michael Hirschorn, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and Production, VH1. "What's really exciting about 'The World Series of Pop Culture' is that it's tailor made for the emerging multiplatform universe. Viewers can do more than just watch. They can participate, and possibly even win."
"Entertainment Weekly's Pop Culture Quizzes have long been a favorite with our readers," said Fred Nelson, the magazine's VP of Editorial Development. "We are delighted to partner with VH1 and Embassy Row to engage America's passion for entertainment in a dynamic new format."

Viewers can log onto http://www.vh1.com/ to find out how to audition and learn more about "The World Series of Pop Culture."

VH1's "The World Series of Pop Culture" is executive produced by Michael Hirschhorn, Jim Ackerman and Matt Hanna of VH1 and Michael Davies for Embassy Row.