Oddly specific things my D&D players are no longer allowed to do
Play in the sewers
Build a bridge out of birds
Buy 5200 thrushes, or any number of thrushes for that matter
Mention sea cats in any context, but especially a playable one
Waifu the same NPCs on subsequent playthroughs (The Don and Bryan Waifu Rule)
Make the DM ship even more goddamn ships involving the time traveling sad lesbian
Argue with the DM on how much damage a thrown frying pan can do
Debate with the DM about the merits of an ear trumpet or a tennis kit in combat
Buy ear trumpets or tennis kits to use them in combat
Look for genocidal, murderous spiders in castles, or anywhere else, really, unless they’re the small dragon cleric
Bring horses to space stations
Ask gods of immense power for horses
Be a local lord in areas where they don’t speak local languages
Be a local lord at all
Ask why humans are called “humans”
Name their character after another player but with two letters rearranged, be it by accident or not, especially if it’s at 3am when the DM checks new character sheets and doesn’t realize the ramifications of the name
Have +3 Natural AC for no adequately explored reason
Pester the DM to roll for divine intervention
Ask about the genitalia of fictional species
Make reference to Bad Dragon during games or in the group’s Skype chats
I can hear Conor and Bryan walking across the hall from my spot in the therapy room; they are excited about something and they won’t stop screaming.
“Dude, that one is adorable.” Conor says, walking in the room with a huge smile on his face. They are both looking at Bryan’s phone.
“But these ones grow a lot, don’t they?” Bryan wonders, scrolling down and stopping to read something. “I don’t want him to be like Beckham.”
“Beckham is the cutest thing ever.” Conor answers. Wait, what? Are they talking about David Beckham?
“Agreed, David Beckham is such a babe.” I tell them and both of their heads shoot straight up, looking at me from the door.
“You will agree with us when we say that Beckham Murray is way cuter than David Beckham.” Conor pulls out his phone from his pocket and types something, walking towards me and showing me the screen.
I have to contain a squeak when I see Matt Murray with a huge ball of fluff on the screen. I knew that Matt has a dog because he never shuts up about it, but I didn’t know that his dog was the size of a horse.
“Agreed. He is the better Beckham.” I chuckle and they nod. “So you two are stalking the guys’ dogs?” I ask while I put another yoga mat on the floor. Conor and Bryan are quite young and they don’t need much treatment, so we normally do Pilates, which they hate and love at the same time.
“We are looking at dogs for Rusty here.” Conor pats Bryan on the arm while he says it, making me laugh. Neither of them are really that big if you compare them with other hockey players, but Bryan has at least three inches and twenty pounds on Conor.
“That’s awesome.” I answer, taking my shoes off and sitting on my mat, waiting for them to do the same. “What breed do you want?”
“I want him to get a big dog. Maybe a German Shepard or a Golden Retriever.” Conor answers before Bryan can say a word. “Or even bigger, like Beckham or Geoffrey.” I’ve seen Geno’s dog before when one day he confessed that he misses the dog almost as much as he misses his family.
“Man, I don’t have that much space.” Bryan sits down, but keeps scrolling down what I assume is Pet CO’s website. “Think more Stella Kessel and less GiGi Wilson.”
And I can’t stop myself from laughing at how they talk about the team’s puppies like they are actual people. I know how great is to have a puppy, I have one myself, but it is just hilarious to see how serious these guys, and the rest of the team, are about their dogs.
“Are you buying or adopting?” I wonder, shooting Conor a filthy look so he sits down on the mat so we can start with today’s session.
“Buying.” Conor says.
“I don’t know.” Bryan says at the same time as Conor.
I roll my eyes, stretching my back. I’ve been on my feet all day massaging and putting elastic therapeutic tape on everyone.
“Maybe you should figure that out.” I suggest, indicating them that we are going to start with the exercises of the day.
We start slow, doing stretches and easy exercises. From time to time I make them do embarrassing ones like the siren, which consist on sitting down with both their legs on one side of your body like a mermaid and stretch your back, but those are just for my person amusement.
“Maybe I should adopt one.” Bryan is still thinking about the puppy. “There are a lot of dogs in shelters. The dogs in our calendar are always adorable.”
We are doing the, as Conor likes to call it, ‘rolling like a ball’ position, so his voice is muffled by his own body.
“Yeah, you should do that.” Conor says, struggling with his balance. “We got Damian from a shelter and he is the greatest dog ever.”
“Do you have pets, (y/n)?” Bryan asks and I nod, changing to a most advanced position that sucks but it is great for the hips and core. “Ugh, I have so much respect for the women that do Pilates on a regular basis.”
“I have a puppy.” I chuckle, taking deep breaths and trying to hold the position as long as I can. “She is a little piece of shit.”
“Why?” Conor asks, more interested on my dog than he is in doing the exercises correctly.
“She is so spoilt. She always gets what she wants.” I confess. I just can’t say no to that cute little face. I used to say that I wouldn’t let my dog sleep on my bed or beg for food and here I am, feeding her chicken breasts and snuggling up with her in my bed every night.
“What breed is she?” Conor is just sitting down at this point, not doing anything.
“She is a corgi.” I answer, thinking on my short legged, chubby puppy. “I feel really royal having her.” I say, referencing the Queen of England’s dogs.
“(y/n)!” I hear from my office and I get on my feet fast, thinking that there is something wrong.
I open the door and next thing I know is that a puppy is jumping all over me, seeking attention and belly rubs. I look up to find a very smiley Bryan Rust, who is carrying a bright pink leash on his hand.
“(y/n), I want to introduce you to (y/n).” He says, smiling even brighter and making my heart flutter. I can’t identify (y/n)’s breed, so I assume that she is a mix of many breeds.
“You named your dog after me?” I wonder, getting on my knees to rub the puppy’s belly. The dog just lies on her back and enjoys the rubs.
“It seemed fitting.” He just answers and I laugh. “She is the most sassy yet awesome dog I know.”
I’m not sure i knew what that title meant then, but the script was oh‑my-God superb, the best hour-long drama I’d ever read. Great characterizations, complex plots, nuanced story elements, surprises that left you thinking: What on earth is going to happen next?
By virtue of the writing, I began dreaming about this character, this Walter White. I was waking up in the middle of the night with him on my mind. I recalled being back on the Blue Ridge Parkway, marooned by rain. I got so lost in an Ibsen play, the story and the characters, that I forgot about the rain. I can’t describe how rare that is to find in script form. I can’t explain how an actor longs for that richness and depth and humor and humanity to work with. To build on. This was it. I had no idea where the story was going, but I knew it was gold.
I had a meeting set with Vince the following week. I told my agents: “Make it sooner.” I went into the AMC offices in West L.A., knowing I was scheduled for twenty minutes, and ended up staying an hour and a half.
“Do you know how he should look?” I asked. “Uh, kinda,” Vince answered, smiling.
I ventured some of the ideas that had come to me since I’d read the script. “He’s missed so many opportunities in life,” I said. “You can see that in every part of him. He has a mustache that isn’t manly. That isn’t anything. You look at him and say: Why bother? His skin and his hair are the same bland hue. He wears pale yellow and sand and taupe. He blends into the background. Invisible. To society. To himself. I’m thinking he’s doughy. One hundred eighty-six pounds.”
I saw this character, this man, so clearly. I knew how he carried himself. Burdened. His shoulders were slumped like those of a much older man. I was imagining a man who carried himself a lot like my dad.
When I asked about his plans for the arc of the show, Vince told me in his genteel Virginia drawl, “I want to take this character from Mr. Chips to Scarface.”
“So you’re going to take this guy from good to bad?” I said. He nodded and smiled slyly. “If they’ll let me.”
I couldn’t believe it.
All television, to that point, had been based on stasis, characters you come to know and love. The prevailing thought for most of the history of television had been that viewers want someone they can count on. Archie Bunker. In every episode of “All in the Family,” he’s consistently Archie. Jerry Seinfeld, same. Ross and Rachel, you see them in different situations — will they or won’t they? — but they’re invariably Ross and Rachel. Even the characters we’ve known to break new ground, like Tony Soprano. As genius and gamechanging as that show and performance were, you didn’t see Tony change a whole lot from the beginning to the end. Tony Soprano is Tony Soprano. Don Draper may change a little, but he basically remains Don Draper until the show’s meditative finale, and even that’s debatable. Some argue the workaholic adman was meditating not on the here and now, but on the creative for a Coke commercial.
Vince was proposing to blow up the model of a successful show. Walt would truly change. By the time the series ended, he’d be unrecognizable to viewers, to himself.
“You’re really going to do that?” I asked again. “That’s the plan,” he said, laughing. “Do you realize that no one’s ever done that in the history of television?”
Vince shrugged. “We’ll see if it works.” I didn’t know if it would work, either. But I knew I wanted in. I had to have it.
Walter White vs Frank Underwood: Who really is the one who knocks?
This is the age of anti-heroes dramas.
Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) are the living proofs of a change in the narrative styles adopted by TV writers these days.
Long gone are the days when the main character was a positive everyman with noble and saving-the-world like intentions. And when someone happens to be a positive character of such, he or she ends up being physically or morally harmed, or worse decapitated.
We are fascinated by anti-heroes. They tend to stay more hooked up on our feelings than positive characters do. There’s something magnetic and thrilling in supporting the bad guys that clearly makes us more disposed to forgive them and cheer for their progress in the storylines.
The American drama has recently given us two great examples of anti-heroes that are likely to be remembered and leave a cult image of themselves in the years to come.
I chose to focus on Walter White and Frank Underwood since they are the best examples of anti-heroes in television, though they’re not the only ones. Tony Soprano and Don Draper (from Mad Man) are two great anti-heroes of previous shows.
Then who, in an imaginary competition, is the greatest anti-hero?
As we all know, he is the chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer, who eventually decides to direct his life towards the criminal world by becoming the greatest methamphetamine’s cook and producer of the world. With a 99.1% purity, Walter White’s – in art Heisenberg – meth is the best ever manufactured. He eventually becomes a producer himself, unchaining his product from the hands of the villain Gus Fring.
Walter White’s story is about a man who has been given the chance to pursue his ambitions “thanks” to his disease and, therefore, has nothing to lose. He chose to exploit all these circumstances to reveal his nature, though he’s been hiding under the idea of leaving something for his family.
Conversely, House of Cards’ protagonist totally lacks an inner and more human side, showing to the world a meticulous, impassive, rational and machiavellian character whose only pursuit is to ambition and personal success. And if this means hurting others in order to succeed, that is completely accepted. He doesn’t need anyone’s permission and appears able to act with “ruthless pragmatism”.
In comparison, Frank appears to be the Heisenberg side of Walter White. He seems to lack humanity and he usually exploits his wide range of skills in order to accomplish his personal goal.
Contrariwise, Water White shows some kind of good intentions in what he does. He still retains some sort of humanity that eventually makes him vulnerable and weak. That is observable in the feelings he has for Jesse and how he’s not completely ruthless and schemer in every situation. “Ozymandias” is a clear example of what I’m talking about.
Nonetheless, after coming to know Walter’s personality I had personal doubts about his reasons: is he a good man transformed by the need to provide for his family? Or was wickedness already an inner side of his persona? Did the cancer give him an excuse to unleash his real personality?
Walter wasn’t a bad person: he truly believed his goal was to leave something to his family after he’ll be dead. But eventually, we come to know that what he was doing had awakened some sort of inner strength he had been covering for too much time.
Speaking about House of Cards instead, I think we’ve been played by Frank Underwood.
He’s not the anti-hero we want him to be.
He is the villain of the story and there’s something scary, thrilling, disturbing and peculiarly disarming about being confident of the bad guy. He has nothing that may justify his action — contrary to Walter White — therefore watching him playing his role to me is like watching the whole Harry Potter saga from Voldemort’s point of view.
Nonetheless, we cheer for Frank as we have supported Walt and we want both of them to win and accomplish their purposes.
Maybe there’s something evil in everyone’s inner side as I personally get excited every time I see Frank succeeding or talking directly to his audience. To us, to me.
It was afternoon, still bright and sunny out when Cathy got out of work, making her way to Gabriel’s apartment, as she received a message to come over. She was quite confused, she hadn’t heard from the co-worker in a few days and thought he might be sick, just now getting better. She had replied that she would be on her way after work and would text again when she gets to the place.
This would take a little less than five minutes as she had called a cab, seeing the place in view as the driver pulls up, paying for her ride and going up to the door. “Hey, I’m here” she texts to Gabe’s phone, smiling a bit as she likes the Brit, he is such a sweetie. She waits for a reply or for him to open the door for her.