It is not every board game that can claim to have a key plot point of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time designed around it. That is the case, however, for Trivial Pursuit and an episode of Seinfeld titled “Bubble Boy”.
Fans of the series – and there are many given that the finale is the third most-watched of all time with 76.3 million viewers – will know the concept of the joke already. For everyone else, this article will explain a little about the idea behind the joke and – importantly – how you should handle a situation if a misprint is found in a game of Trivial Pursuit that you are playing with friends and family. Also – as a trivia test – the answer to the two TV finales that pulled in more viewers than Seinfeld is at the bottom of the article, so get thinking!
The Card Says Moops
For those unfamiliar with the show or the episode involved, it is important to give this some context. George is taking on the antagonistic Bubble Boy in a round of everyone’s favorite trivia board game. Bubble Boy just needs to answer a question about history – claiming the yellow cheese – in order to win.
The question is a reasonably simple one for most players with a decent grasp of world history trivia and The Bubble Boy immediately knows the answer when George askes, ” Who invaded Spain in the 8th century?”. His confident – and arrogant/overbearing delivery of his answer that it was “The Moors” is shot down by George as a misprint on the card has the answer written down as “The Moops.” He denies The Bubble Boy’s protest, choosing to stick to what the card says and denying him the victory in the process.
Perhaps if The Bubble Boy wasn’t being so overtly arrogant then George wouldn’t feel the need to be so much of a stickler and give him the wedge for getting the (obviously) correct answer. There is a lesson here for us all when playing games and how to treat our fellow players both as the question master and the player providing an answer, but it does make for some damn good comedy in this spot.
Here is the clip from the show:
As for who plays the Bubble Boy on Seinfeld, that would be Jon Hayman. The Bubble Boy was a fan favorite semi-recurring character that appeared in three episodes. He is never seen on screen, other than his gloves sticking out of the bubble.
Did Trivial Pursuit Really Have a Misprint “moops”?
The short answer to this is no. As far as anyone is aware, there has never been a misprinted answer of moops on a Trivial Pursuit card.
That isn’t quite the whole story, however. The concept of the episode came from one of the writers who was playing the home edition board game of the TV show Jeopardy! In this game – unlike Trivial Pursuit – there was a misprint on a card to this question and answer combination. Further research shows that the card in question is from the 9th edition of Jeopardy! that was released in 1972.
What is the Real Rule if a Card Has a Misprint or Wrong Answer?
So. As a fan of Trivial Pursuit you’re probably asking — what happens if a card really does have a misprint or a wrong answer on it. What happens, for example, if a card really does give the answer The Moops to the question “Who invaded Spain in the 8th century?”
It is a question worth exploring. While there are occasionally errors and misprints on cards, the most obvious example of mistakes with answers are simply because of the passage of time. A card might be as simple as asking who a world record holder or head of state is, but if that card was printed in 1972 then it won’t have the same answer if the game is being played in 2020. That is why these games tend to lean towards evergreen cards that should have the same answer no matter when the game is played.
There is also a theory that the game has printed wrong answers on cards on purpose in the past. This was done – the theory suggests – to prevent other games or books plagiarizing their questions and answers en masse and printing them as their own. A series of obvious wrong answers to simple questions would prove this copyright infringement much more easily than the correct questions and answers being the same. This practice has probably fallen away somewhat – if it did ever happen – given that questions and answers on the internet are so readily available in 2020 (for example, the giant database here on Trivia Bliss).
There doesn’t seem to be any official answer on what to do if a card has a wrong answer printed in the rules of Trivial Pursuit. This pretty much makes sense, after all why would a game admit that their might be wrong answers in a box by giving a rule as to what to do if one is discovered?
The correct way to do this is probably by making a house ruling for the game. Making sure you are playing the most current version is one way to make sure there are less wrong answers and misprints, as is ditching any question that seems time sensitive in its context – unless the whole point is to make the game more of a challenge by having the player answering the question think as someone from the time period the questions and answers were written.
Another house rule to be added could be challenges. A player gets one or two challenges a game and if they are convinced their answer is right and can prove it via a repuatble website (or two) then the challenge is upheld and the cheese is theirs. If – however – their challenge is shot down and they are wrong (as proven by the web or any other course) – then they lose a precious piece of cheese from their playing piece.
Misprinted cards and wrong/old answers don’t mean that an edition of Trivial Pursuit should be put out to pasture. Work your own house rules into the game and you might find the game is actually even more fun with this extra layer of strategy attached to what is already one of the best board games of all time.
To wrap it up, let’s return to our question from the beginning of the article – which two TV series finales scored more viewers than the Seinfeld season finale?
Cheers (84.4 million viewers) and M*A*S*H (105.9 million viewers.)
Want to try your hand at some challenging trivia? Head over to our quiz generator and print out your own custom quiz to test your knowledge!