I’m not the biggest fan of documentaries, and with time, my dislike for them only grows. Glitch: The Rise And Fall Of HQ Trivia is one of the documentaries that I had no interest in because I had unfortunately never heard of the game (yeah, I live under a giant ignorant rock), and the mouthful of a title alone makes me uninterested in what it has to say. Subjective thoughts aside, Glitch very clearly pushes a certain agenda with a singular point of view, making it hard to take seriously. It’s Quiz Daddy’s show from start to finish, and that’s possibly not what people are looking for going into the show. There’s really nothing positive to take away from the documentary, and that’s what makes it not so fun to watch, either. Tech companies and their growth are worth talking about and looking at, but this movie does so little about the game and its creators that it just fails to make any point about its “rise and fall” that you can’t find out from a little Google search.
What Happens In ‘Glitch’ Documentary?
The documentary details the rise of HQ Trivia in 2017 and how co-founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll helped Scott Rogowsky come to the spotlight. The narrative suggests that the two co-founders did not see eye-to-eye even as the app was doing well and began to grow tremendously in a short amount of time. Originally the co-founders of Vine, the two sold their viral 6-second video-sharing app to Twitter for a measly amount and ended up creating HQ Trivia after that. We see members of the team sit down and tell us parts of the story that led to the downfall of the company. Interestingly, Rus Yusupov declined to make any comments on the show and was soon painted as the villain of the story. The game show that grew in popularity was trying to emulate TV game shows with live hosts, and the documentary puts the crowning glory on Scott Rogowsky’s shoulders. We learn how he auditioned for the company on a whim but later became its face.
According to Scott, Rus and he didn’t see eye to eye right from the get-go, which is why Rus became jealous rather quickly when Scott got all the attention. During this time, the quiz show was getting bigger and being hosted by celebrity hosts, including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Robert De Niro. While on the outside it looked like everything was going swimmingly, on the inside, things were getting shaky. The team needed funds, and there was also no CEO. We understand that Colin finds it difficult to talk to people; he is kind of an introvert, and Rus is the more charismatic of the two. When it comes time to secure funds, they get two investors on board, the company begins to grow, and they have to pick a CEO. Then a journalist decided to write a profile on Scott because he was becoming a household name, and that blew things over.
What started off as a puff piece ended up becoming a call out to Rus as someone who is jealous of Scott. The journalist had a voice recording that said Rus would fire Scott if she went ahead with the story. The story did go live in the end, and controversially so, leaving Rus with no choice but to make it look like things were handled internally. This led the game show to grow significantly. At this time, there were articles about Colin having misbehaved with some female employees and spoken harshly to people, leading to people wondering about his position in the company. This was information that was released by a journalist at the time of the #Metoo movement and happened to be about his time at Vine and Twitter. Both guys felt that being CEO was their rightful place and so they went head-to-head but ultimately it was Rus who got chosen by the board’s vote. HQ happened to be co-founded by non-friends, and this apparently didn’t sit well with Scott.
The game grew to a global scale, and they reached 2 million live viewers simultaneously. While Rus wanted to pump those numbers up, Colin was more serious about the longevity of the game. Unfortunately, Rus’ greed led to the app glitching, and all the engineers left to work on the functioning of the application rather than adding more features to it. A woman showed her excitement for winning $11 on the show and getting to go on Ellen, but this also announced to the world that you had to make $20 at first to get that first payment in. Instead of growing to 3 million viewers, though, the game began losing popularity, and people became bored. We find out that Rus, who was not doing a great job as CEO, had suggested to Scott that he give it a try because he just didn’t want Colin to be the head. Ultimately, the board chose Colin, and things changed for the better for a little while. Scott goes as far as insinuating that it was Rus who brought up the stories about Colin to the media so he wouldn’t become CEO. Later, he suggests that if he were in Colin’s position as CEO, he would have just let go of Rus.
A happy workspace has a happy party with a new game in the works to launch for the new year. The party goes well, but Colin, who looks very stressed, decides to head home early. At the end of the weekend, the world finds out together that Colin has been found dead from a drug overdose. He was taking heroin regularly, and no one had any knowledge of it. Scott made the decision to announce to the players that Colin had passed away. With Rus in charge again, HQ was doomed, and ultimately he began laying people off. Finally, Scott found another job for himself on a sports channel and ended up taking it. We pivot completely to Scott’s life, and we see that he’s opened a vintage shop under the name Quiz Daddy, where he also hosts games and invites sportsmen over to give grand prizes. HQ went bankrupt in 2020 but miraculously returned six weeks later. The game later stayed down. At the end of Glitch: The Rise And Fall Of HQ Trivia, we see Scott using a leafblower in the front of his shop, and the screen blacks out, saying there was one final glitch and that, as of January of this year, the game was not functioning anymore.
Are we supposed to view Scott with pity? Is he a victim here? The message of Glitch isn’t very clear. Scott, by bringing up the idea that Rus was the reason Colin was in trouble, completely misrepresents the women who spoke up about Colin. It almost makes it look like they were lying. There was a very clear agenda behind this documentary, and ultimately it failed to impress. I would give Glitch documentary about 2 stars out of 5.