Trivia nights at the local pub can be a lot of fun, provided one doesn’t take winning them too seriously. And now that RTÉ’s Irish sitcom, Trivia, has arrived stateside, viewers in the US can get in on the craic.
Trivia. A noun meaning “unimportant facts or details” or “facts about people, events, etc., that are not well-known.”1
For Adam (Keith McErlean, Raw), Cathy (Olivia Caffrey, The Matchmaker) and Tony (Patrick Ryan, Game of Thrones), members of The Team with No Name, trivia is exactly that, and the weekly pub quiz at Adam’s pub in Monaghan is just a game. Not so for team captain Lawrence (David Pearse, Vikings). For him they are obsessions, raisons d’être.
The team has been on a roll, if not always with the same players. With 46 consecutive wins under their belt, six more will give the knowledgeable but hot-headed and socially maladroit Lawrence the triumph he has been living for: an entire year’s worth of wins.
They win Week 47, no thanks to Tony, the pub’s cook, who answered incorrectly “Which team won the 1962 World Cup?” As this was another in a series of wrong answers, Lawrence kicks him off the team, as he did with Peanut and several other former team members. Now the team needs a new player to make up their trivia foursome. Enter Molly (Janet Moran, Love/Hate), a friend of Cathy’s who tutors students in French.
So begins the first series of Trivia, a comedy less about answering trivia questions such as “Who wrote the Twilight series of books?” than it is about the characters and their relationships. Cathy fancies Adam but won’t tell him, especially since she began working at the pub and he began dating the reporter and wanna-be novelist Gráinne (Deirdre Mullins, Whitechapel). Lawrence fancies Molly, while she has no interest in him or her lovesick student. And Tony, well, he fancies a different sort of trivia-related craic.
In Series 2 of Trivia, the pub quiz moves to the background and the focus is the relationship between Lawrence and Molly, with sub-storylines involving Molly’s daughter, Aisling (Christen Mooney), and Adam’s new love interest, Ruth (Aisling Bea, Cardinal Burns).
Lawrence and Molly have moved in together, and she is relying on his income from the Flick Shack to pay the bills while she studies to be a paramedic. It’s a grand plan until he gets fired after the video store’s owner dies. In his infinite wisdom (not), Lawrence lies and pretends that he still works there while he looks for, and ultimately lands, a new job. Except Nutcracker Financial’s probation period means Lawrence could have a job or be out of work in 30 days.
The first series is delightful and funny in its exploration of the ways in which people think about and handle the ins and outs of actual and pined-for relationships. It also allows viewers to join in the trivia fun by serving as fellow pub quiz participants. The second series, not so much on both counts. With the exception of an occasional tee-hee, its six episodes are more an exercise in pathos than comedy. Not that it is a bad series; it’s just too much of a departure from the humor that makes the first series so enjoyable.
All twelve episodes of Trivia are now streaming in the US at Hulu and Hulu Plus.
1 Source: Merriam-Webster Online