So … the Critic is back??
This makes me very happy!
… Annnnd from what I can tell, some people are pissed about it.
What, you bitch when he leaves and then bitch when he comes back?? For shame! I was enjoying the new stuff Doug was working on, but I can understand the pull of one of your own creations …
Anyone who has devoted time and energy to creating/writing/playing a character knows that they never really … leave ya. Even when you put your pen down or you get up from the keyboard, they’re still there lingering in the back of your mind …
Welcome back, Critic. I look forward to enjoying much laughter in the future.
I swear to God, if Critic is retiring, I will sob like a baby
He’s always said that he’d retire the character one day, and who knows? What he comes out with next might be even BETTER! While it’ll be sad to see the Critic go, I’d rather preserve my memories of him being awesome than see his show go the way of The Simpsons. See also: Trying too hard for the sake of the fans instead of the sake of the show.
The Ultima Ascent (A Collection of Thoughts)
It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything of worth, hasn’t it? I started out bright-eyed and full of ideas, then … I ran out of steam.
Oh, it’s not that I ran out of things to say. I just ran out of confidence. Even though I managed to reach some people with my writing, I got it into my head that it wasn’t doing anyone any good. I was just another blogger, hammering my TGWTG-related anecdotes and philosophies onto a keyboard and hoping beyond hope that someone, somewhere would think they’re worth while.
The handful of you guys out there that took notice of me back in February, which feels like ages ago even though it’s only been six months, are still with me today. I am so glad that I’ve met you guys, and I wouldn’t have met you had I not taken the plunge and made this Tumblr in the first place.
Now that I have all of that sentimental nonsense out of the way, let’s get down to business, shall we?
After a little more than two years, The Spoony One has completed his Ultima Retrospective. In the finale of his review of Ultima IX: Ascension, he spends some time recalling why the Ultima series was so important to him in the first place. It’s a very moving story, and presented without irony or punchlines. It certainly moved me, and I’m sure that anyone who saw it would be moved too. It doesn’t matter how you feel about Spoony, you don’t even have to have seen the other Ultima reviews to be able to get something out of his recollections of playing Ultima III with his older brother. It’s the most human Noah has ever been on camera. Period.
What Spoony said about his memories started me thinking about the things in my life that I hold dear … not just because they exist, but because of the memories that go along with them.
Turns out, that’s quite a lot of things. In fact, most of the things I’m intensely passionate about are more tied up in my feelings and experiences around those things than the things themselves.
Part of the reason I have such strong opinions and “interesting” things to say about internet reviewers is because of how they and their work have left an impression on me in one way or another. Would the Nostalgia Critic be half as awesome to me if I didn’t have such powerful memories associated with his videos? Would I squee with delight every time Lupa posts a new video if she hadn’t brought some much needed sunshine into a dark time in my life? While it’s impossible to provide definite answers to these questions, it is something that I find myself wondering about on this rainy Saturday morning.
The recent shake-up at Channel Awesome and the firestorms on Twitter have left me feeling … well … a bit betrayed. I’m not just talking about Spoony, here. There are others. I won’t get in to naming names, as that isn’t the point I’m trying to make here. These are people that I admire! These are people that I’ve defended when they’ve come under fire! These are people that, for better or worse, I’ve spent time trying to impress! And there they are, showing their asses and making me feel like an asshole for admiring them, defending them and trying to impress them in the first place.
While my opinions of certain people have definitely changed, I find that my fondness for their work has not. Also, keeping in mind that good people can sometimes say and do shitty things has helped me get over (most of) my bitterness brought on by the whole situation. No matter what someone might say tomorrow, how I felt about their funny review yesterday won’t suddenly become invalidated.
In Lindsay’s recent video about ‘Ender’s Game’, she mentioned how she has trouble reading Card’s published works without thinking about the incredibly bigoted and ignorant shit he says on a regular basis. Yet, even she had to admit, with her Chik-fil-A allegory, that it’s hard to stay away from something so good … even if the source should make you think twice about what you’re stuffing in your mind-mouth.
On a completely unrelated note: THAT GOOGLY-EYED SANDWICH WAS FUCKING TERRIFYING OH GOD OH GOD I STILL HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT IT OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now before I descend into a tangent from which I’ll never turn back, I’m going to sum up the general point I’m trying to make here.
1)The conclusion to Spoony’s Ultima Retrospective was amazing. Watch it. Even if you’re not happy with him right now, PLEASE give it at least one viewing. Turn on Adblocker if endorsing him makes you that unhappy.
2)Memories are powerful, wonderful things that can be forces of good or evil. It’s up to us how they are used, and we have no one to blame but ourselves if we feel they’ve failed us.
3)SCARY CHICKEN SAMMICH.
That about does it for me. For now. Perhaps I will find myself writing again in the near future … I still haven’t gotten around to talking about that snazzy Kyle Kallegren and the marvelous Ven. I’d like to talk about Paw and his work on reviewing musicals. Not to mention exposing myself to the work of some of the reviewers I’m less familiar with, like Blockbuster Buster and the Game Heroes. Somewhere, the words are in me.
Just gotta work on finding them is all.
This might end up being a post of disconnected, unrelated musings about various things.
Given the quality of my content lately, this will no doubt be an improvement.
The first thing I’m going to babble about is the most recent Nostalgia Critic video: “The Top 11 Simpsons Episodes”.
I cannot disagree with a single episode on the list. All of them are fantastic, and indeed ones that I go back to time and time again in terms of quotability. Fun fact: the Monorail episode is based off of a true story. A young man from the metro-Detroit area pitched the episode idea, basing it off the city’s recent ‘People Mover’ fiasco. Basically, in the early-mid 90s, the city of Detroit wasted an inordinate amount of money on a public transit system that does… NOTHING. It goes … NOWHERE. It serves… NO ONE. Parts of it are unfinished, and the parts of it that did manage to achieve completion are … cheap at best.
Another thing worth mentioning in this collection of disjointed thoughts is how much I’ve been looking forward to “Tuesday Tech Talk” with Nash and LordKat. While technically not part of TGWTG, it’s still one of my favorite produced shows. I don’t often catch it live, but I really enjoy every time I watch the video that Nash puts up on Radio Dead Air. I feel like I learn a lot about things that have … relevance. If you guys haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend it.
Classic 80s Cartoons - A Nostalgia Hard-on
While I didn’t start forming lasting memories until the latter half of the 80s, I still maintain a lot of fond recollections of the shows I watched as a child. I liked some “girly” type things, but most of the time I was watching boys cartoons.
For one thing, I had a 12-year-old brother who could easily dominate the television. For another, his shows were much more interesting than whatever pap was going on in Strawberry Shortcake or My Little Pony. I liked shows like ‘He-Man’ and ‘Transformers’ and ‘My Pet Monster’ and ‘C.O.P.S.’ The only girly or cutesy shows I ever watched with any frequency were ‘Jem’ and ‘The Care Bears’.
I’ll get to Doug’s newest review in a minute, but for a moment I’m gonna go back to last summer when both the Nostalgia Chick and Benzaie reviewed ‘Jem’. Lindsay didn’t care for the show, sizing it up as nothing more than a vehicle for advertising that had more style than substance.
Which is totally true! … That doesn’t mean I love ‘Jem’ any less.
Last summer, ‘Jem’ was running late at night on the The Hub network, alongside classic Adam West Batman and the Transformers cartoon. I watched it every night, and while the show didn’t hold up as well as I thought it might … I still retained a vast amount of affection for that silly little show.
The thing that I remembered most and was still impressed by were the music videos. While they might seem contrived and over-the-top silly by today’s standards, no other shows really did anything like this and managed to pull it off. The music videos in ‘Jem’ never feel out of place to me, and their use of abstract imagery (and some admittedly catchy songs) was always just … friggin’ cool. I can’t explain why those music videos left an impression on me, but they did. And even I as I rewatched ‘Jem’ they were the part that stood out the most to me.
One thing I appreciated more about ‘Jem’ the second time around was that even though the story was silly, it took a lot of chances. There was an attempt to take the audience a little bit seriously. Okay, it kinda ended up being edged out by the product placement and the iffy writing didn’t help either. Still, for a show born in the mid-1980s to acknowledge the simple fact of “people die, and it’s very sad” is downright groundbreaking. Consider that during this time, you couldn’t say the word “die” in a Nintendo game. Death was something that was rarely touched on, and even when shows did manage to go there… whoever died would mostly show up alive and well by the end of the episode.
'Jem' didn't fall into that trap. Instead, grieving was an important motivation for the main protagonist, Jerica. So it's not just death they were throwing out there, how it affects people was carefully handled, and honestly I think it was done — for the most part — extremely well.
The only thing that would’ve served ‘Jem’ better, in my opinion, is if the stakes were a bit higher. There never really seemed to be any real tension beyond… superficial girly things. Sure, there was saving the orphanage, and moving the displaced girls into the house that was the prize for the battle of the bands, but none of this ever felt like a fight for something I could find myself giving a shit about.
That’s where ‘Transformers’ shined. I may not have given a shit about Jerica, her secret life or her record contract, but you’d better believe I was fucking INVESTED in the battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Transformers also marks a milestone for me, it was the first time I was ever pissed off at how women were portrayed in media. Finally, a girl Transformer shows up… and she’s a)FUCKING PINK and b)FUCKING USELESS. I was mad that the boys got to be badass, but the girls didn’t.
I really liked Doug’s ‘Raiders of the Story Arc’ for Transformers. It covered everything well, and made the point of “Yeah, it’s cheesy… but it’s still better than those Michael Bay movies.”
Now, for some pointless babbling about a show that I FUCKING LOVED… but nobody seems to talk about.
Of all the ‘Team’ shows made to sell toys, this, to me, was by far the best:
I could literally watch this show all day every day and never fail to be entertained. I love the art style, I love the premise, and even though the good guys are often outshined by the villain cast… in a way, that makes this show all the more awesome.
The DVD set is available for sale, and a lot of episodes are up on YouTube… if you ever have a few moments to spare, check this show out. While it sports all of the tropes and cliches that these kind of cartoons were chock full of, it manages to present them in a new and interesting way.
For instance, the Anti Drug trope. It’s one thing for the good guys to team up against the evils of drugs, it’s quite another for your main villain to tell a drug dealer to fuck off because he thinks pushing drugs is beneath him. He doesn’t care about how much money it could make him, he’s too evil to waste his times on petty things like drugs.
One thing that I find reviews of this show mentions a lot is how “revolutionary” it was to have a black main protagonist. I almost find that insulting to the show, as there are about a hundred other reasons to heap praise on it without pointing that out. It’s one of MANY awesome things that made this show fresh and different in a sea of sameness, yes … but why do we gotta bring that up all the time? Huh? Can’t this show be awesome without having to drag that into it?
At any rate… yeah. Doug’s ‘Transformers’ video has put me in a Nostalgic mood this evening.
Hell yeah muthafucka. Hell yeah.