Trivial Pursuit

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The quintessential board game used in television to indicate, first, a test of skills between characters to see which one is the smartest, and second, an excuse for hilarious bickering as players argue over whether someone is winning because they're actually smarter or because they're getting ludicrously easy questions. In shorthand, while many board games are treated as luck-based missions for which the winner is of little ultimate consequence, Trivial Pursuit will be a matter of Serious Business. The irony will not be lost on those who realize that the game's title is a pun on the old expression "trivial pursuits", i.e, pointless adventures that never accomplish anything.

The rules to this game are almost always irrelevant in terms of its use on television, but for what it's worth, the object is to collect six different colored spokes, each color corresponding to a different general interest category, and put them in the player's game-piece, a wheel. Once the wheel has all six spokes, the player may journey to the center of the board for a final question. Answer this question right, and the game is won. Otherwise, rinse and repeat.

The popularity of this game is also such that it shows up semi-regularly as a Game Show. To date, different versions have appeared in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, and ESPN.

Tropes used in Trivial Pursuit include:
Trivial Pursuit has been a plot point in the follow shows:

Live Action TV

  • The Seinfeld episode "The Bubble Boy" has George playing a game of this with the titular boy. The Bubble Boy being an obnoxious know-it-all, George seizes upon a famous typo (one answer card incorrectly states that the "Moops" conquered Spain) to refuse the Bubble Boy access to the history spoke. This goes downhill until George accidentally destroys the Bubble Boy's bubble.
  • One bit in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Blooper Reel showed Joel rolling the die and announcing the scripted result, ignoring the roll. He's told to just take the roll. His next roll? He announces '9'.
  • In the Wings episode "Sports and Leisure," the airport gang plays a game of Trivial Pursuit. Roy ends up teamed with Lowell, who insists on answering "Ann-Margret" to every single question.

Western Animation

  • The Family Guy episode "Petarded" starts off with resident idiot Peter Griffin winning a game of this (because his wife used questions from the preschool edition), and naturally takes it as evidence he's a genius. Annoyed by this, Brian ends up showing Peter that, rather than being a genius, he's actually legally mentally retarded. This stops his bragging, but his behavior doesn't exactly improve.