I got a lovely submission from Mosu today, and I just had to share. :3
(Pardon me for the text dump, it came to me holding a styrofoam cup of useless foreign currency and bottle caps. -Mosu)
No, I will not pardon you. Have you seen the length of some of my posts? Believe me, there’s nothing to apologize for. Therefore, no reason for me to excuse you. ;)
"I know way too much about these people’s lives…Eh, oh well!”
…In some way, shape, or form, I am a creep.
The magnitude of my creepiness can be estimated as whatever, by whomever. Make your own bets. All I’m saying is that I’m not going to deny it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been that way for a damn while. Before I got into TGWTG, even. My creepitude was measured by different means by different people. When I was in second grade, it was because I liked advancing on boys first. When I was homeschooled, it was because I had already been and was becoming more to social ability as Matt Smith is to his limbs. (I’m still in recovery from that.)
And now I probably get seen that way because I display myself as really into Luke Mochrie.
I adore Film Conscience. I watch his old Youtube videos every once in a while. I keep up with his mom Deb’s blog The Middle Ages. I started watching Whose Line because I wanted to see what the fuss over Colin was about. (For the record, my gratefulness for those last two things extend beyond Luke fangirling.) I ran (for a little bit) Ask Film Conscience. I eagerly wait for his new videos and poke fun at his schedule slips in between.
Once in a while I display some knowledge of his personal life. Skeleton whereabouts and spare childhood. Montreal, “Abley”, summer camp. And yeah, if you’re the kind of fan who gets squirmy at that sort of thing, go ahead, write your score and trumpet my stanliness. I’ll be waiting with a tape recorder. (I’m no Rumor Elf, though; I can’t exactly write the gospel of Luke.)
Just because I know this stuff doesn’t mean I want to hurt anyone with it, though. It’s not stupid or blackmail-worthy to me at all. I don’t think it’s bad that Luke was into ballet when he was wee, or that modern art was really important in shaping his life. I think it’s fucking awesome. I wish I had the will to write tons of fanfic, because knowing all this makes him a way more interesting person, for writing especially. (I tend to push those boundaries of his life, even if only a little bit, in my art of him instead.) If I’d just gone by Suburban Knights or something like that, I’d probably have assume he was just some moderately rich, fresh-faced pretty boy.
Now, I’m the other admin for TGWTGsecrets. If you’re reading this, you probably know that. I see and process a lot of secrets talking about “the creepers”. Nosy buggers probing right down to the bone, scavengers of bad and mediocre memories and salt to long-healed wounds. They know too much and don’t give a damn who gets hurt when they puke it back up in some unrelated case. Often overlapping with rumor mongers, another tidy target for people.
Okay, so maybe I don’t know many bad things about Luke, I’ll give you that. He’s not a drama magnet by any stretch of the imagination. But I do know a hell of a lot, and from an outsider’s standpoint it’s probably too damn much. Reading Middle Ages the way I do could probably be counted as “digging deep”, although you can just google the damn thing or find a link to it on Colin’s Facebook fanpage like I did. And if you’re a particular tightass, drawing a dude in the poses of several cheesecakey Vocaloid images for kicks could be counted as “malicious”.
But do those things still make me a “creeper”?
You? A creeper? Mosu, I don’t think so. You’re enveloped in fandom, and that ain’t a crime. Imagine if Luke were a fictional character from a book, game, or television show. Would knowing details of his, and his family’s, back story be considered out of the ordinary? Nope.
It feels creepy, I know. Because … where TGWTG people are concerned, they blur the line between real life people and fictional characters. It’s hard for my fanbrain to decide how to react, because I don’t know about you… but I treat fictional fandoms and RL fandoms VERY differently.
I’ll give you an example so you can see what I’m talking about.
Let’s take two bands, one fictional and one non-fictional. I have been VERY involved in the fan culture surrounding both bands, but the type of involvement differs.
Band: Dethklok (fictional) Fan-fiction?: Yes Fan-art?: Yes Roleplayed the members?: Yes Paid obscene prices for merchandise?: Yes Discuss plot theory/meaning of lyrics in depth?: Yes
Band: The Mars Volta (non-fictional) Fan-fiction?: No Fan-art?: No Roleplayed the members?: No Paid obscene prices for merchandise?: Yes Discuss plot theory/meaning of lyrics in depth: Yes
I love both bands equally, but from a cursory glance you might think I like Dethklok more. That isn’t the case! I just respond to The Mars Volta differently.
With TGWTG peeps, it’s sometimes hard to draw a definitive line between the fictional and the non-fictional. So when you’re finding out what are really personal details about someone’s life, it might feel a bit icky. It does for me, sometimes.
Mosu, what you’ve described there is what I’d call a healthy expression of fandom. You seek information about Luke because you have a genuine love and appreciation for his work, and the more you find out about him as a person… the more you want to know. That isn’t a negative thing.
Now, what would be an unhealthy expression of fandom?
Well, developing an unhealthy attachment would be a good start. Having a crush on someone doesn’t count. What I mean is … you sit awake nights pining for their presence for you are totally in love with them, you do nothing but stalk their Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or what have you, obsessively watch and re-watch videos — without downloading them, of course. You’re overly concerned about their ad revenue — and find yourself forgoing other tasks in order to keep yourself immersed in them…
Yeah. That’s when it becomes creepy.
I don’t think you’re quite there, Mosu. I wouldn’t stick myself with a label like ‘creep’, because you’re toally better than that. What you described there is fandom in its purest form. You’re not a creep, you’re a fandom nerd. And that’s a frigging AWESOME thing to be!
Also, RumorElf? I get the impression that all they want is the information. All of it. Positive. Negative. Neutral. Truth be told, we need bookkeepers like this in fandom. When past mistakes and missteps are forgotten, it paves the way for future fuck ups. As grim (and unpopular) a task as it may be, it is a necessary one. Elf? I tip my hat to you for the work you do.
I believe Lindsay took issue with some rather graphic guro-style fanart (the picture in question shows her armless and disemboweled). It’s said she considered quitting her job as the Chick, which is partly connected to the long period where she did not produce any videos with the site. However, she was also busy with school at the time, so between homework and creepy guro fans, she wanted little to do with the internet for a bit.
“That secret that said “maybe Lindsay told [Oancitizen] a bad picture of the fandom” made me feel sick to my stomach. What did she say about us? She’s the whole reason I found out about TGWTG.com in the first place, she’s funny and cool and I really admire her. The idea that she might think my friends and I are creepy or mean or something is freaking me out. “
Oh Spoony, Where Art Thou? - Part 3 - Insane, Yes? InsaNO!
Phew. Here I am at part three. Well, this is actually the FOURTH part if you want to be highly technical and count the prologue. As you can see, it’s entirely too easy for me to yammer on about Spoony and his videos. The guy gives me a lot to think about, and as a result I find that I’m compelled to talk about it.
Rants wrote some really beautiful things in this post about Spoony, and I found a lot of what he said mirrored my own sentiments toward Spoony. I wouldn’t say I have a crush on him, but out of all the reviewers, he’s the guy I want to sit down and have a beer with the most. But did my heart break just a little during the Breaking Dawn VLOG? You bet it did.
One of the things that’s gotten me through some tough emotional times is laughter. That’s always key. As long as you’re laughing, you’re not dead yet. Another thing that helped was finding a project to keep myself occupied. But … both of those things combined pale in comparison to the healing that I did with friends.
And Spoony could have ALL OF THE FRIENDS if he wanted, he’s just kinda closed himself off from interacting with his fans beyond occasionally acknowledging them when they start to bark too loud.
Which I TOTALLY get, by the way. Spoony’s hardest core fans come with a disturbing level of obsession that is only topped in intensity by something I like to call their White Knight Syndrome. They will defend Spoony’s honor whether it needs defending or not. And I don’t really blame them either. Given their average age and apparent lack of social grace, getting in a huff about someone that has not given respect to Fearless Leader is damn important to them.
Think about that from Spoony’s perspective. There’s a wall of people around him, clamoring for attention in one way or another. It would be pretty hard to distinguish someone as a “friend” through all of that noise. And then there’s the constant paranoia … “Will he/she repeat what I say in private somewhere? Do they like me or my fame? What are their ulterior motives?”
So he ends up building his own wall around himself. There’s just not one barrier, there’s two. Spoony’s rambling rants about Sasquatch Hunters on Twitter or constant swinging of the almighty banhammer makes total sense in context … if you stop and think about it for a moment.
Spoony is incredibly smart. A genius even. Sometimes, being smart means that you can also be incredibly stupid. Sometimes underachieving is much more satisfying than living up to your potential. I can’t say why.
Take me, for example. By the time I graduated high school I was fluent in three languages, had encyclopedic knowledge of ancient history and had already won several awards for my writing prowess. You’d think I’d have a bright future, universities banging down my door, an endless road of possibilities open to me.
When I accepted my diploma on commencement day, I was leaving high school with a solid 1.7 GPA. That translates to a D average. About a 67% performance rate, there. Not only that, I had refused to take the SATs or even the ACTs… because I didn’t fucking feel like it. The only honors-level marks I ever achieved were in my language and art classes. If I had put even the slightest amount of effort into my schoolwork, I would have done better.
You know what’s worse than that? I didn’t fucking learn. Right after high school, I enrolled in community college for a few semesters. I didn’t fair much better. I just simply didn’t care about what was expected of me, and I flunked out fairly quickly.
BECAUSE I AM A MORON.
It doesn’t matter how well I write, how many languages I speak, or whatever else. I was an idiot.
Years later, I decided to try college again. They mercifully forgave my earlier attempt and… this time, things went better. I had some hiccups, but generally, I’ve maintained a B average. And I’ve worked pretty hard for it, too. I wanna be there. And I know I have to jump through whatever hoops are set for me. Because what I learn isn’t the entire point of the experience… it’s almost as much about what I do.
My point is: I fucked up. And being able to admit that hasn’t always been easy. It’s really hard to own up to something stupid you’ve done when your whole life people have always told you how smart you are. There’s definite pressure, there. But you know what’s worse? When people point out how stupid you’ve been. You already know, and the last thing you wanna do is hear about it.
Does that mean I’m crazy to shoot myself in the foot like that? … Well, maybe a little bit. I’m the first one to admit I’m batshit nuts. But! Does that make me insane?
And shut up. There is a difference.
So when Spoony acts oddly by acting out? I can kinda understand where it’s coming from. At least, I can see it as a reasonable result of all of the contributing factors I’m aware of. For all I know, there could be things going on that I don’t even know about which would make things make even MORE sense.
Being the target of trolls can’t be much fun, either. While trolls are omni-present in the TGWTG scene, they are especially vicious with Spoony. Because he reacts to them. If he’d ignore them, or even let them prance about in their U Mad Bro underwear, he’d probably see a huge dropoff in their numbers.
Take the Amazing Atheist/Distressed Watcher/TJ. A few months ago, a pretty kinky sex tape of his leaked onto the internet… and since he was already a favorite troll target, he was inundated with teasing and torment.
How he handled this is a shining example that each and every one of us can learn from.
He made a video addressing the issue that basically said “So, you saw my sexy video. So what. If you hadn’t figured out that I was a kinky guy from my videos, then I don’t know what to say. Go ahead and taunt me. I’m not ashamed to be a sexual being.”
And you know what? The taunts pretty much died out. Every now and then someone’ll bring it up, but it’s generally ignored as outright trolling or people that weren’t smart enough to think of anything better.
You gotta admire the balls on that guy. Figuratively. And I suppose literally, if that’s what you’re in to. The internet saw his dick and he does not give a single fuck. He just … went on doing what he does.
But, as I’ve said before, not everyone can just handle a “situation” like that. But that’s something to aspire to, isn’t it? I’d feel like I could conquer the world if I could bounce back from something like that. It might behoove Spoony to take a leaf out of his book and just stop fucking caring what the haters say. Just ignore them. Eventually they’ll move on to more responsive targets.
Spoony has already given us some great stuff in the year 2012, and evne he says that he feels like he’s starting to bounce back. Perhaps this is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we’ll soon have our old Spoony back. His Ultima 8 and FFX-2 finale are (I can not state this enough) some of his best work.
Also, Diatron 5! Because Spoony screaming in abject terror is ALWAYS hilarious. Plus, Sage and Spoony really work well together.
So what have we learned today?
Well, we’ve learned that I can write a lot about Spoony. It’s kinda complicated being one of his fans, but never has it not been worth it. Noah, if you ever read this, your work has meant a lot to me. You are amazing talented, funny and capable of fantastic things. And don’t ever forget … that even if you give up on yourself, we won’t ever give up on you.
Oh Spoony, Where Art Thou? - Part 2 - The Proverbial Counter Monkey
I could watch Spoony’s Counter Monkey videos ALL. DAY.
They bring back so many pleasant memories of many of my teenage hours whittled away in one friend’s basement or another as we declared our devotion to dark gods and left all that opposed us in bloody pieces.
We weren’t like the rest of the losers at our school, smoking pot and listening to Bush (or Bush X, as they were known in Canada due to a copyright issue). No. We had purpose to our lives.
Fuck, we lead double lives! We did twice as much living as those fucking loser cool kids. Stupid cool kids… thinking they’re so cool… with their No Fear shirts… and their overrated mid 90s radio rock… those stupid assholes probably couldn’t even tell the difference between an orc and a goblin.
Dungeons & Dragons made the transition from junior high school to high school bearable. I was an awkward teen, and the fact that I was a super-ultra-mega-geek didn’t help very much. I was often the target of ridicule … but despite my little rant about those ‘fucking loser cool kids’, I didn’t really care all that much. I had more important things to think about, campaigns to plot, characters to design, Monster Manuals to research and most importantly of all — dice to roll.
Oh, the dice I did roll!
I had an amazing set that has sadly been lost during the course of several cross-continental moves. They were a glorious site to behold, a beautiful purple and black marbled pattern with glow-in-the-dark numbers. I miss those dice…
Because, really, the last time I saw them was the last time I played D&D. More than ten years ago now. I miss it terribly.
I’ve tried to get a game going a couple of times, but my efforts never got beyond the basic planning stages. People would drop out, or not take things seriously, and I was left on my own. My current circle of friends is not interested in tabletop gaming at all, which is a shame! I know we’d have a great time with D&D. The kind of batshit campaigns we’d run would be the stuff of legend.
But, alas, that’s not a nerd feather they want in their cap. So, I’m left with my own memories of my favorite characters and their storylines, and how caring about them made it easy not to care about the bullshit my peers gave me at school.
Because… shit, if I can take on Orcus and survive? I’m sure as hell not going to give a single FUCK about what someone thinks about my wardrobe (Logo T’s and track pants, baby. Can’t go wrong.)
I wish I could share tales of my past adventures with Spoony. Somehow, though, I don’t think that’d be a proper way to thank him for sharing his with us.
Oh Spoony, Where Art Thou? - Part 1 - Dancing Mad (Final Fantasy Ruined My Brain)
The first thing I ever saw of Spoony’s was his Final Fantasy VIII review. A friend sent me a link to the review on YouTube with a message that said “Haha this guy hates this game more than you do!”
"IMPOSSIBLE!" I cried!
I try not to spend a lot of time focusing on hate. Hate doesn’t really do anyone a lot of good. But in the case of Final Fantasy VIII, I can’t fucking help myself. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE Final Fantasy VIII. I rage-quit that game before I even got to the halfway point and didn’t pick it up again until five years later … and I used a GameShark to rig the game in my favor so I didn’t have to do any work. I just wanted to finish it, because it always bugged me that I never got around to finishing the game. Not that it made much difference. Completing the game just succeeded in pissing me off even MORE. I already knew what happened, I’d read a few plot synopsis and had a friend videotape all the FMV scenes for me after I quit, but when I actually witnessed the plot unfold as it’s naturally presented in the game it just… somehow made it all worse.
So, Spoony’s review was good medicine to me. Watching him tear that game the asshole it deserves was downright cathartic. This guy, whoever he was, knew what the fuck was talking about.
Then came the moment in part of the review where he was reviewing Final Fantasy VII during a “time distortion”. He snarkily mentions hearing grown men admit to crying like a bitch over the death of Aeris. I chuckle, because as cold as it sounds… Aeries’ death didn’t really effect me.
He cut to himself, as he was in 1994, playing ‘Final Fantasy VI’. He’s shedding tears over some silly 16-bit sprites and some awful faux-voice synth.
…My heart skipped a beat.
That same scene had brought me to tears when I played the game. It was … simplistic, yes, but somehow it struck an emotional chord with me. A chord that was absent from most of the titles that came after VI.
Even today, though I haven’t picked the game up in years, I remember every word that Celes “sang” in that Opera.
So, yeah. This made me cry like a little bitch. Yet the death of a character I was supposed to care about provoked no reaction from me at all.
Final Fantasy VI is probably my all time favorite game. It had some of the best music, the best characters, the best battle system, and … hands down… the best villain. Sorry Sephiroth fans, Kefka is far superior. Kefka’s final boss track of “Dancing Mad” is easily the finest piece of video game music ever composed, in it’s complexity musically, it’s direct connection to the imagery in the boss fight itself, and the character statement that it was designed to make. Nothing else has even come close. Not even ‘One Winged Angel’ — which is good! Just not ‘Dancing Mad’ good.
I digress. Ahem.
A few years went by, and I rediscovered Spoony when I was introduced to TGWTG. I caught up on all the material I had missed in the meantime, but was shocked when he turned his Snark Canons on another one of my favorite games…
Final Fantasy X.
I cringed at the thought. I really, truly, madly, deeply loved Final Fantasy X.
I gave the reviews a fair chance, and I had to give it to Spoony… he did point out a lot of the games flaws that I never gave much thought to. Ironically, though, some of the things he didn’t like about the game were things that I actually enjoyed.
For instance, I actually liked that the protagonist was a cocky, whiny, overconfident little snot. He was imperfect, and for me he was easier to identify with than a stoic knight or a girl with amnesia. I liked how Yuna was a doormat. Totally resigned to her fate, a mere puppet of the system she was in. Yet, she overcame that. Her arc was breaking free of that mold. I even enjoyed Wakka, Lulu, and Kimahri. But even though I liked the main characters, I always wanted to know more about Jecht, Braska and Auron. I found Auron and Jecht to be some of the most fascinating characters in the game… but we spend the least time with them. Braska barely has any character at all beyond his self-sacrifice for the greater good. The tidbits the game feeds us are unsatisfactory, and when all was said and done… it might’ve been a stronger game had it been about the three of them. Still, I enjoyed X’s story. And, I was genuinely saddened by the ending. I thought it was pretty bold of the game to take that risk — building up a love story and not granting the audience an entirely happy ending (which was promptly undone by X-2… but we’re getting there).
While I do love Final Fantasy X, I can easily understand how a fan of the older games (or old-school RPGs in general) would be completely turned off by it. And even though Spoony totally hated the game, he did have to admit that Jecht and Auron are made of badass. It wasn’t a big deal, I’m not the kind of person who takes offense when someone criticizes something I like. I was just worried he was going to make me feel like a complete idiot for liking the game … and while he did kinda do that, it wasn’t as harsh as I thought it was gonna be.
Then, he revealed he was to review FFX-2… and the fires of burning hatred rekindled in my belly.
While I loved FFX…. Final Fantasy X-2 was the worst thing to happen to the series since…any of the games that have come out since then. I played it when it came out, and I even wanted to like it a little … it was definitely different, but it felt so …
"NOT Final Fantasy."
I also really hated how they felt compelled to undo the sullen ending of FFX by giving you a way out. “Here you are! The fairy-tale ending you REALLY wanted!”
Fuck you, Square-Enix. You tarnished a beautiful tragedy by turning it into a gaudy whore.
It’s pretty moot to talk about it at this point, but the ending to the FFX-2 video? Fantastic. And not even for creepy fangirl fetish reasons. The effort he put into it, the costumes, and … damn, he even made an intimidating Sephiroth — someone who has lost his intimidation factor for me by being the subject of an INSANE amount of gay porn that went out of it’s way to feminize him to the nth degree.
I anticipate the Final Fantasy XIII review… although I didn’t play the game myself, I watched a friend play through it. I could barely recognize it as Final Fantasy any more, and the characters made me want to punch things. I fear that the kind of Final Fantasy I know and loved is truly dead, and that we won’t ever see something positive out of the series again. Especially with the assload of FFXIII sequels coming out. They’ve thrown all of their effort into exactly the wrong things, and they will suffer no consequences because no matter WHAT they put out they’ll make shit ton of money.
Back to Spoony.
His Final Fantasy reviews really made me think about why I liked some games and not others, and this is a good thing. Instead of just saying “Final Fantasy VIII sucks!” I can say “Final Fantasy VIII sucks because the focus was more on graphics and busywork than it was the actual story, which would have been fine if it weren’t a story-driven game. Which begs the question… if something is pretty but I don’t care about it, is it really pretty at all?”
Being able to explain your position is important. To paraphrase a famous quote: “If you can’t explain why you hate it, you don’t hate it.”
Spoony’s Final Fantasy reviews are prime examples of his finest work. Every single frame of those videos is brilliant, because he clearly put his heart and soul into making them. His rage is his passion, and that is why he’s so supremely entertaining.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for days, but I haven’t had any idea how to approach it. Mostly, because I couldn’t figure out how to write it without breaking my own ground rules.
There are a few things I’ve decided not to write about for a myriad of reasons. Firstly, I don’t want to write anything intensely personal about a reviewer. Not to say that I’m tiptoeing on eggshells, here, but I am just not prepared to deal with the negativity and drama of other people’s personal lives. I have enough of that in my own life to waste my time speculating about the scarred psyches and questionable conduct of people I will likely never meet. I want to focus on positive things, and since there are plenty of positive things to say it shouldn’t be an issue.
Secondly, I don’t want to write anything that would be considered disrespectful to a reviewer. If I talk about something I don’t like, it will be regarding a person’s work rather than something they’ve said/done outside of their show.
The thing is … in order to talk about Spoony at all … I have to do both of those things.
And the worst part is? I feel like he’s forced me to do it.
I could easily write a long-winded post filled with nothing but simpering praises, but that would ruin any shred of credibility that I have. I would be lumped in with the mindless Spoony fangirls and not taken at all seriously. However, I know that he and a good portion of his fanbase react with extreme hostility if anything remotely critical is uttered about him. I don’t want to be pegged as a Spoony Hater either. Because I’m not.
So how to do this…
Okay. I think I’ve got it.
Time for another lesson that they didn’t teach you in school.
Like sociopaths, love can fuck your life up pretty badly. Unlike sociopaths, love is probably the best thing you’ll ever do. Sometimes, you do stupid things for love. Out of the best intentions, yes, but not always with the best results. It’s a doubled-edged sword. Anything that has the potential to be so wonderful has the potential to be the exact opposite. If you’ve ever had your heart broken? You know what I’m talking about.
In short: love is a bitch. And a broken heart should be carte blanche to mope and to be a dick to anyone and anything you feel like it until you FUCKING FEEL BETTER because god DAMMIT … someone has to pay for the way your ex has made you feel.
I don’t blame Spoony for his lack of production or his supposed bad behavior after his very public break-up last year. The fact that it was public probably made it a whole other level of awful that you or I could NOT even comprehend. Could you imagine hundreds if not thousands of people talking about your private life? That’d be like swimming in a pool filled with salt and razor blades.
As for any incidents that came before that? I was personally unaware of them, I didn’t visit the forums much for previously mentioned reasons, but my take on them is such: when a woman is involved, no-one is blameless.
Before you cry sexist, hear me out. What I mean is… sometimes, love makes you stupid. Like a fox. See the case of The World v. Yoko Ono for further elaboration.
I’m not really saying anything against Yoko Ono either, I’m just citing that as an example of love turning an otherwise smart, witty, snarky sonofagun into … well, you heard the tracks he let her put on ‘Double Fantasy’, right? If you just took out everything she was involved in, that album would’ve been solid. I’m going off topic. The point is, John did it for love. You’ve GOTTA give him that.
And before I drift even further off topic, that’s all I’m going to say about that.
So. Now that I have this big, uncomfortable block of text out of the way, let’s talk about why Spoony is great, and what’s kept me coming back for more.
As it turns out, I have more to say about this than can be contained in a single post. I will break it into three parts, to be posted as I write them.
Part 1 - Dancing Mad - Final Fantasy Ruined My Brain
It will not be my last. Tonight. Or even for the next hour. There is a marathon in my future. I can feel it.
I have seen the banners for her videos floating around TGWTG, many awesome secrets written about her on TGWTGsecrets and have seen how kind she is to her fans. But, for one reason or another, I hadn’t actually sat down and watched her videos.
I’m glad I took the time to do that tonight. It’s certainly serving as a nice distraction from some of the unpleasantness going on around here right now.
While I knew a bit about Diamanda the person, I knew nothing about her reviewer persona.
I think that made it a little more awesome, actually. I loved her presentation as this Empress, this Super Villain, completely in control of her own little universe… and if you don’t fit in to her world view (or even if you simply annoy her), to hell with you. Literally. I always love anti-hero types that are so badass they have an empire behind them (Seto Kaiba, any of the members of Dethklok, etc.). But, yes! The world works only one way: Diamanda’s way. Or no way at all. The way she injects the comedic aspect into this character is also brilliant.
I had to pause the video at the line:
"Opera singing about pussy? My life is COMPLETE!!:D”
In order to recover from my fits of laughter. I knew I couldn’t afford to miss another joke, they were all potential gut-busters.
There’s one more thing that’s really solidified my affinity for Diamanda and her show. It’s her LGBT point of view on things. There aren’t really any other reviewers that speak (openly) from this perspective. It was a bit of a gaping hole on the site, especially for someone like me, but I’m glad that Diamanda has come with her awesome character and her awesome show to plug that void.
Diamanda? You make me want to be a Lecher Bitch, too.
I identify with this person. Their unease is part of why I started this blog. I send a link of my posts to whatever reviewer(s) they’re about and I am not ashamed of a single word that I’ve written. Am I ashamed of the crappy fanart I’ve drawn of some of my favorite reviewers? You betcha. I’m too terrified to even post it on my devART much less present it to the reviewers themselves. I’m no Andy Dickman, and I feel like a tool for even trying sometimes.
Part of what holds me back, I have to admit, is not just my lack of talent. I fear that my favorite reviewers would see me as one of THOSE people. The ones who draw guro of Lindsay or femslash of Lupa and Liz. Now, don’t see this as a judgment of that part of the fandom — in many of my other fandom pursuits, I was just as involved in writing fic and drawing art as I am in writing this blog. I just know that the reviewers seem to have a bit of a low opinion of those types. Not all of it is outright hostile, but it’s more… like they make fun of the people who DO devote themselves to such things.
If any reviewer wants to make fun of me for what I write here? Go ahead. One thing I want to do is put the sentiment behind all of the dozens of positive pieces of fanart and fanfiction in a context that is plain and easy to see. Hence, why I write, and why I fill my entries with endless anecdotes about my life. I know nobody gives a crap, but I’m framing my experience with TGWTG and my life in order to convey something else: Why we’re fans in the first place.
“Because of things that has happened in the TGWTG fandom and the attitudes of some of reviewers, I can’t make the fancomic I want without a nom de plume. Maybe, not at all. I’ve been planning a Linkara fancomic for a bit and as I got into the fandom and bit actively, I got scared. The Nchick/Marz…
You know, this confuses me. This person is upset by the fans being portrayed as a photoshopped cat with angry!faec. I don’t find this dig at people who speed-vomit ‘reviwer dibs’-esque comments under videos to be particularly nasty.
I know that this will just be deleted anyway but I wanted to say that making fun of your “fans” for pointing out your lazy trend for reviews is unacceptable and you should be ashamed! This sites has become a watered down version of what made it popular in the first…
In Sage’s review of Mezzo Forte, he takes quite a bit of time rattling off baseball stats for a joke about how such things go over most nerd’s heads. By the time the words ‘slugging percentage’ had come out of his mouth, I was practically salivating.
Because I was picturing what this star player could do for my team’s starting line-up. I have a 12 mile hard-on for baseball, and when Sage slips those kind of references into reviews? It’s fucking awesome. Oh, and his music nerd references too! I AM ONE OF THOSE FOUR PINK FLOYD NERDS THAT GOT THE JOKE IN THIS REVIEW.
Baseball and Pink Floyd aside, Anime Abandon is my favorite show of Bennett’s. I do like his style of reviewing games but I don’t often have time for gaming anymore, so it’s harder to appreciate those reviews. Like Sage, though, I am a bit of an otaku outcast. I’m one of the old-school 90s anime nerds that don’t quite fit in to the current otaku culture of k-pop and ‘moe!!’. Just about every single schlock title Sage has featured on Anime Abandon was part of my collection at one point. You new kids don’t understand, you bitch about a torrent not being up less than 24 hours after an episode airs in Japan. For us? Back in the day? We’d be lucky to come across a 5th generation VHS tape of one or two episodes of a show, and forget about subtitles. Fansubs did exist, but it involved a lot of mailing things back and forth and long, LONG waits while your copies were made. As for what was available to us in stores…? Well, if you’ve seen any episodes of Anime Abandon, you can see that the pickings were slim at best.
In the mid to late 90s, and even a bit in the early 2000s, anime nerds were part of the fringe nerd culture. ’The manga section’ at Barnes & Noble was a tiny corner of one of the graphic novel shelves, usually no more than 5 or 6 books, and most of those books were Dragonball. To this very day when I wander through the bookstore, I always find myself stopping and staring at the hundreds of different manga titles…
"It’s all right there … in English … they don’t have to shell out ridiculous bounties for copies of the original tankoubons… or pay thirty bucks for a dog-eared issue of ‘Nakayoshi’ … or take three hours to translate a single chapter … Jesus… they brought THAT over!? How the fuck would they localize that? Is this… yaoi? And what the fuck… I haven’t even HEARD of most of these! What … all of this … right here… right now… and after all the SHIT I … this must be some kind of purgatorial punishment for my Mokona phase. Puupuupuuu~ FUCK YOU!!!!"
(I may have forgotten… clearly, the universe has not.)
The moment I knew that I was truly out of step with what it means to be an otaku in this day in age was when I was at an anime convention singing karaoke. I got up and sang 'Give a Reason', the opening to Slayers NEXT. … And… nobody… recognized…the…song. Because none of them had ever heard of Slayers. Even thinking about it now makes a bit of a pit form in my stomach. To my kind of otaku? ‘Give a Reason’ is just one of those songs that everybody knows! And even if you hadn’t SEEN Slayers, you were at least aware that it existed!
I realized that I hadn’t really checked out anything new in quite a long time (I never know where to begin), and in an effort to try and reacquaint myself with anime I asked around the convention for some recommendations. I came home with a handful of titles to check out, which I did.
I was not impressed. While I can’t say that any of the shows I watched wasted my time entirely, I just didn’t find myself connecting with them as I did with, well, the older stuff. I thought I might be outgrowing anime, but… when I go back and watch older shows that I hadn’t had the chance to see previously, I find that I still can get myself worked up into epic levels of geekness. So, the new stuff just doesn’t do it for me. Whatevs. I still have the classics to enjoy. And if I look hard enough, I can bump into other old farts like me at conventions and we can sit outside and feed pigeons while we talk about the kids these days.
There are a couple of titles I hope to see on Anime Abandon in the future. Awhile ago I asked Sage on his Formspring if he’s considered doing one of my favorite guilty pleasures — Project A-ko. He replied that he has indeed considered it, and I’m REEEALLY hoping that maybe one day he’ll review those movies.
Don't really have a question. I found your blog because it was shared by members of Team NChick in their tweets. I just wanted to say, I'm glad I'm not the only tgwtg fan who is turned off by the forums. And your blog about Team NChick was spot on, too.
Oh wow! Thank you! :D This blog hasn’t been around very long, but I’ve already gotten an amazing response from other tumblrs as well as some of the people I’ve been writing about. I never expected any of that. ^^ I hope you come back to read more of my organized ramblings in future. I want to say … everything.
While I currently reside in (and am a citizen of) the United States, I was born and raised in the Great White North. Family and circumstance have dragged me all over the North American continent, but my roots are firmly planted in Canada.
Phelous is Canadian, he makes no secret of that, but what I’ve yet to figure out is what kind of Canadian is he???
"There are different kinds of Canadians!?" you say.
I know it might be hard to believe, but Canada has colloquial regions just like those of the US.
"What the fuck is a colloquial region!?"
Um, okay. It’s … an area of land that has a definition that isn’t entirely universal and is not charted on maps. For instance, “The Midwest” is a colloquial region, as is “The South” and “New England”. Each of these regions has a particular accent or speaking-pattern associated with it. It’s the same in Canada. Someone from Canada’s east coast has a very different accent than someone from the west coast, and those accents differ from ones that are found in the middle of the country.
Canadians are adept at parsing accents. An outside observer might not be able to pick up on the subtle differences, but Canadians can usually tell where another Canadian is from by their accent.
My accent has mostly faded, but it does come back to haunt me every now and then. Especially if I’ve been drinking. True story, I was getting drunk with a Canadian band that was playing a show with my friends. We talked for awhile before I mentioned I was born in Canada myself, and one of them piped up:
"I can tell! Edmonton, from the sound of it."
And he was right!
I … for the life of me … can’t place Phelous’ accent. I can rule a few out, but I can’t even really say for sure.
He might be from the Maritimes. If that is the case, his accent is subdued for someone from that part of Canada. My suspicions of him being from the east were fueled when I spied him wearing a double whammy of Canadiana in one of his videos. In one review, he’s wearing a shirt with cartoon cows on it that bears the caption of ‘Trailer Park Cows’. This is a parody of the infamous and amazingly hilarious Canadian television show, Trailer Park Boys. The show is set in Nova Scotia. The cows part comes from Cows ice cream parlors, which are along the lines of Dairy Queen or Coldstone Creamery but much, much tastier if you can imagine. While they exist in other parts of the country, they are most common on the east coast. They are almost as famous for their parody shirts that feature cows as they are for their delicious ice cream. The shirts can only be officially purchased at store locations, which makes me think that Phelan has access to one. However, I’ve seen these shirts for sale online by people who snagged a few at the store to turn around and sell on eBay. He may have gotten one that way. If he’s a huge fan of Trailer Park Boys, it’s not that big a stretch to think he’d want to own something that awesome.
He’s definitely not from Newfoundland. Newfies have an accent that’s easy to pick up. It’d be like trying to find a Texan in a room full of people from New York.
I’m pretty sure he’s not from Saskatchewan. Nobody is.
He’s not from the Yukon or the Northwest Territories or Nunavut … fairly sure he’s not from Manitoba… he might be from Alberta but … alas, I cannot say.
Quebec is easy to rule out. He doesn’t sound like a Francophone at all.
Ontario… I’m hesitant to put this in the ‘maybe’ pile, but I must. Ontario is a big place, and the accents vary from one end to the other. I’m not very familiar with all things Ontarian, but Phelan might hail from there. After all, more Canadians live in Ontario than any of the other provinces.
IT DRIVES ME NUTS AND I WANT TO KNOW!! WHAT KIND OF CANADIAN ARE YOU, PHELAN!??! WHAT KIND OF CANADIAN ARE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU!?!?!??!?!?!?
If any of you out there DO know where Phelan is from, kindly let me know? ^^
With the help of Lupa and abslterror, the mystery is SOLVED!
Nova Scotia it is. I’m actually jealous, Nova Scotia is one beautiful place to live. I visited Halifax a few times and NEVER wanted to leave. DONAIRS. DONAIRS!!!!!
They teach a lot of things in schools about the dangers of the world. Stranger danger, gun danger, drug danger, even the danger of rock and roll. All of these things and more were an essential part of my gradeschool education. The world could fuck you up at any time, you had to stay on guard lest you fall victim to the evil unknown.
One kind of danger they never, EVER warned me about was the danger a sociopath could pose to your mortal soul. A sociopath will tear your heart open, shit inside of it, and then somehow convince you that not only was it the right thing to do, but it’s all your fault it happened in the first place.
What is a sociopath? A lot of things, but in general summary, sociopaths are people that have no empathy for others and are incapable of feeling things like guilt or remorse. They’re often charming and manipulative, able to gain the trust and affection of others easily and extremely adept at playing mind games to get what they want.
Some of you might be reading this and thinking “Oh come on, someone like that would be pretty easy to spot. You’d have to be pretty stupid to fall for that kind of person.”
If that’s the case, you can color me retarded.
I fell victim to a sociopath two years ago, and they did a really good job of messing my life up. If it had just been me, I might have continued to suffer through it … but no, others were involved too. Things finally came to a very ugly head, and when the dust settled … my misjudgment of character had thrown everything into complete turmoil. People were being forced to choose sides, and because of this more than a few friendships curdled. I was homeless, penniless and completely broken. I mean BROKEN. Mentally, physically, emotionally … I could not function.
My friends came to my aid. They got me off the street and started to build me up again. I got up the courage to ask my parents if I could move in with them, something I was avoiding out of sheer stubborn pride. I was able to get moving, get healthy (well, healthier), and enrolled in college. Slowly, but surely, I was starting to move forward again.
Even with my progress, I still felt very empty inside. For awhile, I self-medicated with alcohol… but all that ended up accomplishing was making me feel like shit. Besides, by numbing the pain? I was preventing myself from actually dealing with it, so that when my sober brain encountered something painful, it felt ten times worse. I struggled for quite awhile, it took me a long time to really feel like I was back on my horse.
Dark days, they were. But alas… there was light. I got myself into the habit of making myself laugh every time I got depressed. If I was feeling really down, I’d hop on YouTube and watch funny videos of cats until my tears were being born of laughter. That, or I’d head on over to TGWTG and watch whatever videos I happened upon. The more I laughed, the easier it became to laugh. The more I laughed, the less empty I felt.
As it turns out, it was around this same time that Obscurus Lupa appeared on the site. The first video of hers that I remember watching was X-Treme Fighter, part one of the Cynthia Rothrockathon. Lupa became one of my favorite reviewers VERY quickly, mostly because of her source material. Her sunny disposition and silly grin also helped, I must admit. It’s hard not to watch someone that shines so bright.
There was one more thing about Lupa that really caught my eye. How literally colorful she was. From her bright red hair to the way she used bright, vibrant colors for eyeshadow and then masterfully coordinated these colors with accessories. Seriously, go have a look at Lupa in any given review. You are looking at an artist’s work right there. Ask any woman, to pull of that kind of look with such bright (and often opposing) colors is a feat. I still maintain it’s more artwork than make-up and accessories. (On a side note, Elisa’s work with costume and make-up is also art. Have you seen her Maven of the Eventide reviews? Fucking hell! )
Watching how Lupa’s reviewer persona evolved over the last few years has been fun. Some people complain about her derpy humor, but honestly … it makes me laugh every time. Something about her delivery and the way she smiles just tickles my funny bone to no end. Oh, and when she suddenly launches into srs!faec? I die a little. From laughter.
I’ve seen a lot of posts from fans in various places that credit Lupa with cheering them up when they were sad, or inspiring them in some other way. I find it almost a little ironic that I largely credit her for helping me to figure out how to laugh after I thought I never would again.
The Summer of 2011 was pretty rough on me. Not as bad as the summer of 2010 had been, but still… things weren’t great. I was overburdened with school, flat broke and in a lot of physical pain. I have a lot of back problems, and when I get a spasm attack I can barely move. My back problems were flaring up because I had to walk the 2.5 miles to and from school every day. I had no way of getting a ride, and since the public transportation where I live is a complete joke, no buses took me anywhere near my college campus. Even if there were buses, I wouldn’t have had the change to spare to take one. Five miles of walking a day might not sound like much, but for me and my decrepit back it’s a lot. Even worse, we were in the middle of a heat wave… and I often had to walk in temperatures upward of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s about 38 Celsius) in high humidity. Four days a week I trotted back and forth to campus and somehow managed to keep up with my workload despite being immobilized by spasms on a daily basis.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday were my favorite days of the week … but my favorite part of my weekends by far were when I’d wake up on Friday and see what fresh hells Brad Jones and company went through at the movie theater the night before.
'Midnight Screenings' is probably my favorite thing that Brad has ever done. I love the Cinema Snob episodes, I love 80's Dan, I love Kung-Tai Ted … I LOVE THE FUCKING SHIT out of Midnight Screenings.
They especially hit the spot because Brad and his friends really remind me of me and my friends. It’s the way they have fun together, and maybe even a little bit of how they argue among each other. Last summer, my friends and I couldn’t spend much time together. We were all broke, and while I was occupied with school my friends were similarly occupied with day-to-day tasks that demanded their full attention. It was very lonely, I have to say.
Not only were the Midnight Screenings a vicarious way for me to have fun, I also got to hear about all the movies I wanted to see but couldn’t. I loved hearing Brad’s and Jake’s and Brian’s and Jillian’s and Jerrid’s takes on the movies. I’d trust any one of those guys’ judgments over rottentomatoes.com … Brad has never steered me wrong with his movie recommendations, and the rest of the crew seems to have a decent eye for what works and what doesn’t.
I am shamelessly looking forward to more Midnight Screenings this summer. Fortunately I’ll actually be able to go to a movie or two. Maybe even at midnight on a Thursday night with my good friends. That looks like one hell of a good time.
There’s a reviewer known as Derek the Bard. He hasn’t been picked up by TGWTG (yet), but I’d like to promote his stuff as it’s very good. I’ll start with the video that first caught my eye. This one, right here.
My friend J introduced me to the show Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light. Not only did I enjoy watching it as an adult, I wish I could’ve had the chance to love it from childhood. It embodied everything that I thought (fuck, STILL think) was cool, and it’s a shame this gem of a show is so obscure. It could’ve easily have been as big as Transformers or He-Man, but it fell through the cracks due to contract and licensing disputes. The whole she-bang is on Youtube, it’s only 13 episodes. If you like 80s cartoons and settings that blend sci-fi with fantasy, then you’ll probably enjoy it.
I’d say more about what the show was about and why I liked it, but Derek covers that much better than I could. Give the review a watch! And check out his other reviews, too! Oh! And follow him on Twitter at @DerektheBard. :3
Now, I can’t be sure how you read that word in your head … but if you’re anything like the people, I’ve polled it sounded much like how a stock super villain utters the word “Curses!”
Having disdain for fangirls isn’t new and it’s certainly not clever, but luckily that’s not the point of this post. My goal here is to talk about what fangirlism is, why it’s so off-putting to non-fangirls, and offer a few solutions to problems that fangirlism can cause.
Before I begin, I’d like to take a quick moment to point out that I myself was once a fangirl. Ohhh yes, an annoying, squeeing, glomping, slashing fangirl. I was in my teens and early 20s, so I had a pass. Anyone in their teens is allowed to be a squeeing fangirl, because that comes with the territory. Ever since young women were allowed to free their inner squees at The Beatles, we have had a long and proud history of taking things about nine steps too far when it comes to something/someone we’re passionate about.
I often try to advocate something that I like to call Fanladyism. It’s got all the awesome parts about being a fangirl, but none of the setbacks. Basically: just conduct yourself with a little decorum, plant one foot in the real world, and be considerate of others. Believe me, there’s plenty of room left over for squees and fanwank even after you put a bit of effort into keeping yourself together and remembering your manners.
Fangirls are a very present part of the TGWTG package. They are usually some of the first to comment on a video and their posts contain about as much tangible content as an exhaled breath. It almost appears as if some of them are in contest with another, who can comment the quickest on the most videos and who can talk about how cute/hot/sexy/what the fuck ever someone is the most. I don’t pay attention to forum names much, but I know the names of at least three fangirl types that comment on ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. They are so ubiquitous that they almost seem like a part of the site itself. And not in a good way. I get the distinct impression that they comment on the video before they’ve watched more than 15 seconds of it… and it’s more an exercise in being seen than actually contributing something worthwhile to any form of discussion. It’s just… oozing heaps of unfiltered praise and Jesus H. FUCK is it annoying. I wonder how the producers feel about their fangirls (and fanboys, a quick note about fanboys - they tend to not be as overtly annoying UNLESS they are running to the defense of the object of their fannery. Then? They’re as bad as the fangirls if not worse) … and if these kinds of comments annoy them, too.
I picture a TGWTG producer reading through the comments and just slapping their forehead and going, “Uggh! I. GET. IT. You want to FUCK me. What about this thing I’ve put so much effort in to?? Did that even REGISTER with you people!?”
Or something like that.
Hopefully, some of the more rabid fangirls will enter fanpuberty soon enough, and emerge from the fancocoons of fanhormones one day as fully developed Fanladies.
“Admittedly, when people are praising reviewers, I see just as many people complimenting guys on their looks as I do the girls. “I love Film Brain because he’s funny and smart and sooo cute!” has to be one of the most common secrets I receive (replace “Film Brain” with “Linkara” for the other most common secret I receive). And while it’s intended well, it is a somewhat shallow compliment. Though I have to admit I’m guilty of it myself sometimes!”
Ahh, but this is the subject of another post for another time. There are certain TGWTG forum members that leer over every single male reviewer and 99% of their comment content is about how cute/hot/fuckable said reviewer is. This is a product of fangirlism at its worst, but it’s not an incurable condition. Stay tuned. ;)
The Scarepenis and Other Musings (or: 'Why I Fucking Love Team NChick')
The trope of the ”straw feminist” has always bugged me, and that term never sat right with me either. It makes me think of scarecrows. Ah, but straw feminists are kinda like scarecrows in a way. Except, they don’t serve as tools to scare … crows. Their job is to strike fear into the heart of every man that should happen upon them. So, my brain took these two notions and went on a little journey that went something like this:
Straw = Scarecrow
Feminist = Threat to manhood
Manhood = Penis
Straw Feminist = Scarepenis
As you can see, this is a highly scientific and logic-based process.
The Scarepenis has been a common stock character for far too long, and I really think it’s tainted how we as a culture perceive women. I’m not kidding, here. It’s come to the point where if anyone says anything remotely pro-woman, they’re automatically (and often brutally) labeled a *gasp* FEMINIST. Or any variant of the ‘Feminazi’-type insults that are out there.
I’ve seen people call the Nostalgia Chick a Scarepenis, and even more confusingly I’ve seen the same accusation lobbed Linkara’s way as well. Perhaps I’ve missed something, but nothing either of them have ever said has come across as particularly militant. At least, not to me. I’d love to be able to brush this off and just write off the shit-stirrers as trolls, but unfortunately I cannot. Honestly, I think their hostility harkens to something much darker and some problems that run more than just skin deep.
Lindsay is fucking fantastic, and I am SO glad that Doug chose her to be the Nostalgia Chick. Her brand of wit and degree of snark is just tops. Her writing is clever, her research is sound, and her presentation just fucking rocks. Team NChick is also great! I love how the three of them span the entire Nerd Girl spectrum. They play off of each other well and never fail to captivate me with their charisma and boundless enthusiasm. This video, right here, is where all of these things are the most evident.
Now, some of you might not know it, but the above paragraph is missing something. And, according an unsettling number of comments under some of Lindsay’s videos, it’s something fucking important.
In no way did I mention the physical appearance of Lindsay, Nella or Elisa. Nor did I find it necessary to comment on a trait they can’t change. I wouldn’t make such a big deal about this, but I can’t ignore the fact that Lindsay and the rest of Team NChick are subject to excessive scrutiny on these trivial things simply because they’re women. How dare they fall short of an unattainable standard? It’s things like this that prevent me from participating in discussion on TGWTG’s forums. I get so angry that I know that anything I’d type would come across as less than rational. It’d be futile anyway, as even if I did make a decent point it’d fall on deaf ears.
When I first started reading the TGWTGsecrets Tumblr, I was really pleased to see how much love there was for Nella and Elisa in particular. There were a few negative things, but they weren’t necessarily as cruel as comments I’ve seen elsewhere. Shallow? Yes. Cruel? No. Nella and Elisa are really, REALLY awesome people.
Nella is probably one of the kindest, bravest people that anyone could ever hope to encounter. I would have withered and died from all the negative feedback, never showing my face anywhere ever again. But you know what? I don’t think Nella gives two fucks. And if she does? She doesn’t show it. And I am in so much awe of that.
Elisa became one of the coolest, most awesome people ever when she reviewed Phantom of the Paradise with Paw. You think Scarface was Brian de Palma’s best movie? Well, you’re fucking wrong. Because Phantom of the Paradise is his best movie. This is fact.
I digress. I needed to. This post is a bit heavy.
This focus on looks rather than … well, anything that actually matters, is fairly widespread with the other female reviewers, too … but with team NChick, it’s multiplied by three so it feels more magnified. Or at least, it gets uglier and harder to ignore.
I’m not saying the guys don’t get their share of criticism about their looks, but I’ve never seen it get quite so nasty. I may be wrong.
These are my thoughts. What are yours?
It’s confirmed! Nella doesn’t give two fucks. Also confirmed: Nella is fucking badass.
There’s something really awesome about a musician that’s decently skilled at his instrument of choice, educated in music theory, extremely well versed in modern music history … but chooses to focus his attention on pop music. Most people write off pop music because, well, it’s not supposed to be deep or substantive. Well, maybe not, but just because it’s not meant to be super duper serious doesn’t mean it has to suck.
Unfortunately, a lot of it does. And it’s for this reason that I have been a closet listener of my local top 40 station for many, many a year. Most of my friends are musicians and tend to have a somewhat … hostile … attitude toward the Billboard Hot 100. I don’t really blame them, but it kinda sucks when I can’t share something with them that’s really good or even engage in a meaningful conversation about something that’s terribly bad. I’d be trying to pick apart a song on pop merits and comparing it to other pop music, my friends would insist on using their default standard of progressive rock, classic rock, blues, punk and varying forms of metal. You just can’t do that. So, I’m left to ponder pop music by myself. It’s a lot more lonesome than you might think.
When Todd appeared (silhouetted?) on TGWTG, it goes without saying that I was fucking stoked. Finally, someone that spent as much time deconstructing pop music as I did! … And yeah, I totally get why he chose to hide his face. If my friends knew I knew all the words to “California Girls”, they’d never let me live it down. Especially since I have declared loudly and often that one day, someday, I hope to punch Katy Perry right in the tits (I still would if I had the chance…). However, that is another story for another time.
It goes without saying that every time I hear something atrocious on the radio, I wonder if it will become a future feature on Todd’s Pop Song Reviews. So far I’ve only been able to successfully predict one: “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5. I usually don’t mind Maroon 5 too much, at least their music doesn’t offend my senses completely, but the second I heard that song … something like bile began to rise in my throat. Even for a band that was a quasi-sell-out to begin with, this felt like I was being approached by a hooker who wanted to peddle me the wares of NBC Prime Time. It’s definitely not what I’d call schmoegerty.
One thing I wish Todd would come back to are his “Top 10 Worst songs of (Insert Year here)”. I’d love for him to pick a year like … 1967, or 1968. A year where it would be extremely difficult to actually pick ten terrible songs. I really enjoy the two reviews he’s done like this in the past, I really hope he brings that back.
There’s something I’ve noticed during my tenure in various fandoms. The inability for some fans to separate the persona they idolize from the human behind it. This is especially common in the fandoms surrounding voice actors, where it almost seems like their fans are carrying on a relationship with their favorite character vicariously with the person that provided the character’s voice.
I’ve noticed a strange relationship with TGWTG fans, the personas, and the people behind them. Some fans see the persona and the person as a singular unit, others pay little attention to the persona and focus on the actual person, and others still seem to have little trouble keeping person and persona apart but have convinced themselves they know the creator’s character better than they do. And then, there’s someone like me, who has an opinion on a TGWTG producer and a completely separate opinion relating to their character.
For instance, a comment like this: "[Blank] was mean to me in a chat/said something offensive on Twitter/bashed something I like, so I don’t watch their reviews anymore."
Makes no sense to me. There are a couple of producers on TGWTG that I frankly don’t care for on a personal level. They have either been rude to me directly or rude to people I know, held opinions that I strongly disagree with, or publicly acted in a way that put me off. However, whatever issues I have with a person doesn’t change how I view their work. The producers that irk me all run very well done, entertaining shows… and I see no reason to deprive myself of a good laugh, knowledge, or both. See, I fucking hate Tom Cruise. I think he’s scum, a total nut case, and I really wish he’d just STOP FUCKING SMILING BECAUSE SERIOUSLY IT CREEPS ME THE FUCK OUT. Ahem. But yeah, you get the idea. Did my feelings about Tom Cruise stop me from going to see Mission Impossible 4? No. Did they stop MI:4 from being a fucking awesome movie? Hell no!! It’s the same thing with the reviewers. They make a product that I enjoy, I don’t really give a shit about much else.
There’s an odd flip side to this coin. There are a few reviewers who I happen to adore personally, but am not all that enthusiastic about their work. Either because the subject matter goes over my head or the humor just isn’t my style, I don’t enjoy their work as much as I enjoy them.
But back to the topic at hand: perception of a person and their reviewer persona.
A personal story. Back in 2009, right before I discovered TGWTG, I was volunteering at my local anime convention — Youmacon. Doug, Noah and Lewis were all guests that year, but I was oblivious as to who they were or what they were known for. I had spent all day Saturday in a back room, laminating badges and stuffing swag bags for the convention guests … I didn’t even have time to attend any panels or do other conventiony stuff. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and I’m a bit of a klutz to begin with so my fingers were covered in blister burns from the laminating machine and paper cuts from the the boxes of pamphlets and fliers I was sticking into bags. After I’d been there about 9 hours, they sent me away for the day. I went up to Con Operations to get my time signed off, and on my way up the stairs I bumped into one of the TGWTG guests (I won’t name names, but if anyone has ever spent five seconds talking to him they’ll know immediately who it was XD). We walked up a few flights together and chit-chatted. He told me about how much fun he was having, how great it was to see all the fans, and I told him I hoped to enjoy a few panels on Sunday morning after working all day Saturday. He actually stopped and thanked me for my hard work… and I felt bad because he was a guest and I had no idea who he was. I thanked him back, and told him I hoped he enjoyed his time in Detroit, and we parted ways. A few months later, when I became acquainted with the awesome that is TGWTG, I realized who I’d spoken to in that stairwell. It was neat experiencing the person before the persona, but I wish I would have known who he was at the time.
So, there. Some thoughts on person and persona. What do you guys think?
I exit my classroom at night school and immediately reach for my phone. I’d gotten a text about an hour ago, but even without looking I know who it’s from and what it says. With a quick glance at the screen my suspicions are confirmed, my best friend has texted me a single word:
Just before I shut down my computer for the evening, I’d hopped over to blip.tv and had a look around just so I could be prepared to answer that very question:
"Yep. It’s a movie called ‘Ponyo’ this week. It’s an anime movie, I’m actually really excited to see what he says about it. I’m out by the way, how long ‘til you’re here?"
"Be there in 10" he replies.
I step outside and light a smoke. Nothing to do but wait for him to arrive … and then we can get our real night underway.
The same way we have for over two years now.
I can’t remember exactly how or exactly when I happened upon the Nostalgia Critic and http://www.thatguywiththeglasses.com/, but it was somewhere in twilight of 2009. I don’t remember which review I watched first, but I know I watched every single one of them in a very short amount of time. I was completely bowled over, looking at the list of movies the Nostalgia Critic had reviewed up to that point was like looking at a Cliff’s Notes of my childhood. Naturally, I couldn’t keep something that amazing to myself, and I immediately shared it with my two closest friends.
Like me, they were in their late 20s and lovers of all things nerdy. While most of our tastes overlap (we’re all huge music nerds, for instance), we each branch off into different areas of nerd-dom. My best friend, who we’ll call J, is the resident Star Wars geek and Marvel Comics expert. He’s on his way to pick me up from class. My other best friend, who we’ll call Other A, is a lover of shitty b-movies and console gaming. He’s waiting for me and J at our destination. I’m the old-school anime nerd, and the only one of us who’s ever played a tabletop RPG. Needless to say, TGWTG had something for all of us, but the Nostalgia Critic ruled as our sentimental favorite. Every week Doug managed to stir up fading memories of trips to the movie theater, Saturday mornings spent in front of a television, or wandering through the aisles of the video store. You know, the best parts of being a kid in the 80s and 90s. Even when the memories that are brought back are of being disappointed, confused, or downright frustrated with the subject of a review … there’s a certain sweetness in recalling it all. We could hardly get enough of it.
Somewhere along line, we started congregating on Tuesday nights so that we could watch the new Nostalgia Critic reviews together. I don’t think we ever specifically planned to do things that way, it just started happening. That time was so hectic, so … uncertain. It’s no wonder none of us can remember exactly when we started convening for Critic Time…
My friend pulls up to the curb just as I finish stamping out my cigarette. I run to the car and hop in, and before I can even buckle my seat belt we’re well on our way.
"How was class?"
"Pretty good. Flash is fucking complicated. How was practice?"
"Killer. We have at least two new songs to play at the next show, maybe three."
"Sweet. We stopping for food?"
"Nah, Other A is picking up tacos from Armando’s before he heads over to my place. We might even beat him there."
"Shit yeah, tacos!"
"So … Ponyo, huh?"
"I think I’ve seen it up on Netflix, that name sounds familiar."
"Yeah, it is up on Netflix. It’s a Miyazaki movie. You remember that movie I showed you? ‘Princess Mononoke’? The one with the girl and the wolves and the forest spirit and all that? The guy that did that movie did Ponyo."
"Ohhh okay. Is it any good?"
"Umm … I liked it, but mostly because of the animation. Story wise it wasn’t as strong as some of his other movies, but I enjoyed it. I don’t think you’d like it much, but your girlfriend would love it."
"Oh yeah? I’ll keep that in mind."
"Yeah, it’s— oh, shit! Turn this up!"
We take a momentary break from our Ponyo talk to blast some Mandatory Metallica at max volume while we both sing along at the top of our lungs. Because if we don’t air drum and thrash around at a stop light, who will? We take our work very seriously around here.
By the time the last chord of ‘Battery’ has faded away, we’re pulling into J’s driveway. Other A is sitting on the front porch, chuckling at us as we emerge from the car grinning like idiots.
"I could hear you guys coming all the way from the main road."
We file into the house, into J’s room and get straight to business. J flicks on the 60” plasma screen, I start booting up the computer while Other A is busy putting tacos on to paper plates and divvying up the guacamole.
We didn’t always have it this good. When we first started getting together for Critic Time, we would crowd around J’s old laptop. The video card was a piece of crap, so the video was always jerky. Sometimes the damn thing would overheat in the middle of a review and shut off. Oh, and it didn’t help that we were sponging off a neighbor’s internet connection and often lost the signal. We put up with it, though. It was very important for us to spend that time together. Because …
Back then, our time together was really all we had.
I won’t bore you with exact details, but a few years ago … my friends and I had fallen on some pretty tough times. Financially, physically, emotionally, it was coming at us from all sides. In each of our individual lives, and in our shared existence as friends, our limits were being stretched and tested on a daily basis. There was a lot of sadness, a lot of anger, a lot of pain and a lot of fear.
But not on Tuesday nights. At least, not for us. No matter how terrible we felt, no matter what else was going on in our lives … we always had Critic Time to look forward to.
A lot has changed since those days. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two years since then, it seems like it’s been much longer. We’re all in much better places than we were back then, but our little ritual has remained important to us.
"After the new Nostalgia, I’ve got a movie for us to watch." Other A says as he hands me my plate o’tacos, "It’s called ‘Rubber’."
"Is that the one about the killer tire?" I reply, bringing up blip.tv on the big screen.
"Yep. It’s pretty fucking weird."
At last … the time has come. I navigate to the Critic’s show page and scroll down to the new review. I click on it and let the ad play, then pause it to make sure that everyone is prepared.
"Hell-o-o-o-o I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so YOU don’t have to!"
I can already tell that this is going to be a good week.
I’m new to this tumblr thing, and I’ve been debating what I’m going to tumbl about. Since I’ve been a long time observer of all things That Guy With the Glasses, I’m going to blog about them. ^^ I hope to share my personal experiences as well as gather experiences from other fans as well.
I find myself alienated from a lot of the fandom, and I think some of this comes from the age gap. You see, I’m old enough to remember most of what Doug (or anyone else on the site, for that matter) reviews, and all of the people I’ve come in contact with in the fandom are roughly half my age. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and please don’t think I’m hating on younger fans, but I find it hard to connect with them. I also find it hard to wrap my mind around the very … how can I put this….? The very … “Fandomy”…. fandom that surrounds the site. What I mean by that is the vast amount of fanfic (erotic and otherwise), fan-art, and roleplaying connected with TGWTG producers that’s out there baffles me. Well, no, it doesn’t really baffle me … I know why it’s there, it’s absolutely a testament to how much the fans love them, but it’s not a scene that I feel entirely comfortable participating in. Alas … I have nobody to share my fanjoy with when Spoony retweets a picture I drew of Oreo, or when Linkara addresses me by name while we’re playing Team Fortress 2.
I’m gonna change that right now. ^_^
So, uh … I think I’ll start with the man himself, Doug Walker. My first official post will be about how I found TGWTG and the interesting role the site plays in my social life.