the government monster

Q&A Transcript with Alex Hirsch at MomoCon 2017

Question: Before you decided to make Bill the main bad guy, did you have another character in mind that would have been the villain? 

Alex: Yeah, um that’s a good question. Uh, so, when we came up with the villain of the show, I knew that… I knew that Bill was involved. And I knew that Ford had disappeared due to some deal gone wrong with some villain next to the mystery of how Gravity Falls was all assembled. 

Um, but, I didn’t yet decide that Bill was that character in the very beginning, y'know? I had always imagined it was some sort of evil character somewhere kinda hidden in the woods. I wasn’t sure I could go with the Bill idea cuz I thought it would be too much like Twin Peaks, but as we got further along the series we discussed it among the repairs and we were like, ‘none of our other villain ideas were as good.’ Bill, Bill was weirder than anything else we thought of. Um, I remember there were other ideas. Strange monsters and government officials; some kind of cthulhu– some weird crazy old man. But nothing was ever better than Bill, so it ended up sticking. Probably somewhere around, y'know, season one– midway through season one, we started thinking we might be– might be on point.

Q: Was Grunkle Stan ever aware of McGucket’s connection to his brother? 

 A: Oh, oh that’s such a good question. Wait, let me think about that for a second… Uh… lemme see… I don’t think so. I don’t think Stan was ever aware of McGucket’s connection to his brother. Because, by the time Stan traded identities with Ford, uh… McGucket had already gone off the deep end– Was already y'know, had already created the Society of the Blind Eye; had already lost his own memory. So Stan would’ve really only known McGucket as a local obnoxious fisherman. 

And McGucket, probably somewhere deep in the back of his mind, was eerily just drawn to Stan in a way he just couldn’t put his finger on, because he thought maybe he knew him, but– I don’t– I think Stan was ignorant of that. Um, I think Stan… I think Stan looking through the journals probably should’ve put two and two together, but Stan’s not the best at book-learnin’. Uh, so… my guess is Stan wouldn’t have known despite that uh, that there’s a lot of tumblr art out there showing them as like the Scooby-Doo gang. I don’t think Stan ever really knew McGucket before.

Q: What episode do you believe came out the strongest and the most well rounded overall? And is it the same as your personal favorite episode?

 A: Oh gosh. Um. That’s a great question. Hmm… I probably feel, personally, that the strongest episode is uh, “Not What He Seems” just because it’s such a dramatic episode. Like, we know– We’ve never had an episode that dramatic. But, when we first pitched it to Disney executives… they thought it was bad. [laughs] Um, Because it didn’t have a lot of jokes in it? Like, I remember normally when we’re pitching our episode, executives can usually gauge how good they are by how much people laugh. People didn’t really laugh for that one, because it’s really tense. So we thought, maybe we’d screwed up. But, when the animation came back we were like, 'Oh! It’s GOOD that it’s tense. Like, it worked!’ Um, So, I dunno if that’s my favorite episode, but I think– that’s the episode we should’ve won an Emmy for, and I’m still pissed we didn’t. [laughs]

In terms of favorite episode, like… I dunno. I think the first episode that I really felt that the show was really starting to feel the way I wanted it to– “Time Traveler’s Pig” in season one. Like, that was an episode where Dipper had an interesting story, and Mabel had an interesting story, and uh, felt nostalgic, and based around the summer, and had a big secret callback to even previous episodes, so– I just remember when we first just got that episode back in color, I was like, 'hey I think maybe I like how I’m making this cartoon show,’ so I think that has a particularly fond place in my heart, y'know.

Q: Is Disney bringing you to SDCC or NYCC later this year to promote the journal and other books coming out? 

 A: Right, um, yeah, Disney– Disney… Disney-general and me, have like– we’re divorced. Like, they kept the house, and the pets. Y'know what I mean? It’s… we don’t like get dinner or anything. But, the Disney Publishing department, separate from Disney Television, they’re really cool, and enthusiastic, and energized. And they wanna make new cool stuff. Um, so I think it’s possible I might be at D23 this year, and it’s possible I might be at Comic Con, but I don’t have anything confirmed yet.

Q: In the scene where Bill is trying to convince Ford to join him in the Fearamid, were there any other jokes or story beats that were considered? 

 A: Which episode specifically are you talking about? [Q: The We’ll Meet Again scene.] Yea yea yea, We had a– Every scene that you’ve ever seen in the show has a ton of ton of stuff we’ve thought of and had to cut for time or other reasons. Um, I remember there was definitely a version of that where Bill was a lot trickier. Like, he sort of more successfully lied to Ford about like: 'We’re actually going to make the world a better place. Though I present myself as this chaos lunatic that’s just my personality.' Like, 'here’s ways in which we’ll IMPROVE the universe.' 

Um, but it felt out of character. We thought it was much more like Bill to just draw smiley faces in oceans and eat the sun and just– hope, that the force of his charisma could convince Ford that that was a good idea. But uh, I feel like– I feel like Bill can be really really tricky when he wants to, but by the time Weirdmageddon showed up he’s so impatient, and he’s so convinced that he won, that he was no longer like, this brilliant chess master he used to be. He’s like, 'alright let’s do it! Do what I want or I’ll eat your face.’ Like, no more– No more, like– He wasn’t as smart a tactician as he used to be, y'know?

Q: Was “We’ll Meet Again” always the song you were going to use? 

A: Oh yeah, it had to be that. It was like… I think I’d just seen Dr. Strangelove recently around that time and it stuck in my head. It seems to me, if Bill has a taste in music, it would be, like, old timey music that ranges from either weird to obnoxious to obscure. 

Uh, Disney wanted me to cut it cuz it cost them a bunch of money to get the rights, even though it’s so old, it still cost them money to get the rights. And I just… said, please. Over and over and over again. I would send an e-mail that just said, 'please.’ And send another e-mail that said, 'please.’ And I would send another e-mail that said– Yeah. [laughs] Eventually I wore them down that they’re like, 'alright we’ll spend thousands of dollars.’ [laughs]

Q: Are real comics coming? 

 A: You want comics? Would you read Gravity Falls comics?
[Audience screams]
[Alex leans his ear forward]

A: It’s a terrifying noise isn’t it, Michael? I was at a… Gravity Falls gallery, and like, they didn’t tell us how many people would show up, and it was like, THAT noise echoing from every corner. And uh like, I think I lost a year of my life. My hair started going gray, and it was like, 'oh my god, this is too much love! It’s terrifying.' 

Comics. I would love to do Gravity Falls comics. Um, I have so many… One of the tough things about a half hour show like Gravity Falls is every now and then we think of an idea that we really liked, but it was too short for a half hour; 'oh that’s only five minutes of story’– Or it’s too specific and weird. And so I have tons and tons of ideas of the show that y'know we’d like to explore this character, we’d like to show this secret, this storyline. So, I’d love to do comics. But, that’s up to Disney Publishing, and I’m trying to convince them. So, hopefully, I’ll have something exciting to announce in not too long.

Q&A with Stan and Soos

Q: Is Dipper adorable or manly?  

Stan: Dipper smells like baby wipes. Even if I cut off all my shoulder hair, and taped it to him, he wouldn’t be 1/10th as manly I am.

Q: What would you do if Mabel told you she had a date to prom? 

Stan: I would… invite the gentleman over, have some coffee, tie him to a chair and interrogate him for 10 hours, and maybe throw him in the pit. [shrug] Hands off my neice, kid!

Q: What would happen if Soos met Giffany again? 

Soos: Oh yea, I recently downloaded this couple’s therapy sim? Uh, I think she and I would have to talk about our issues and pass around a conversation pillow, and really work out these struggles. Cuz she’s got some problems, dude.

Q: Soos, why are you so perfect? 

Soos: Yeah, uh, my grandma said that a whole bunch of doves flew down and formed the shape of a perfect angel over my crib. I dunno, dude I guess I was just born that way.

Summer 2015 anime in a nutshell:

aoharu x kikanjuu: ohshc but with guns

charlotte: nobody in this anime is named charlotte

durararax2: yandere olympics

gakkou gurashi!: haha this show is pretty cu- WHATTHEFUCKWHATTHEFUCKWHATTHEFU

gangsta.: hot people

monster musume: guy with no pupils is forced by the government to live with monster girls who are cute but also thirsty as fuck

prison school: *strategic fart noises*

ranpo kitan: young androgynous sinnamon roll enthusiastically solves brutal homicides and turns his best friend gay

rokka no yuusha: hot people

shimoneta: in a future distopia, a daring group of young rebels commit acts of terrorism to save dick jokes

blastar100  asked:

What do you think will realistically happen if the pacifist ending occurred in this world? like human sized talking animals and skeletons just appeared out of nowhere? How do you think the world will react?

Currently we kill each other for having skin with a different level of Melanin in it, and for how we may dress or speak, or for what religion you blindly follow. We are constantly afraid that immigrants will “steal our jobs” as if all jobs should only be filled by the people here, not the most qualified person for the job.

Those monsters would immediately be taken by the government, with special agents and SWAT moving in and killing any that didn’t obey, with the military using missiles to strike the monsters. It would be called a training exercise, the monsters would be contained and used for energy or military applications, and studied by scientists. Technology would be made to kill them. Any civilians that see them would be told it’s a marketing stunt for an upcoming monster movie, told it was a hoax, or killed or imprisioned in a mental institution.

Frisk would be taken and evaluated and studied, it would be determined that they hit their head when the fell down a hole, and that a combination of the brain trauma and active children’s imagination and possible mental illness caused hallucinations and imaginary friends as a coping mechanism for being lonely and struggling to survive. Frisk would end up being put in a children’s mental health institution or foster home, and parents charged with neglect and have custodial rights taken away (if Frisk has parents). Frisk would never see their friends again, and would be told that it was a hallucination and that it was just their imagination or mental illness and how scientifically impossible it would be for such a world as Undertale to exist.

The underground would be searched by the army and scientists, monsters killed or taken, and everything destroyed, the hole destroyed, and the caves destroyed and closed off, as part of a government mining operation.

If you ever thought that in real life the monsters would be okay and live in harmony, you clearly haven’t opened a history textbook or watched the news.

For day 18 I made another one of my species like Tateer, my alien nudibranch girl.

His name is Somnus and hes basically a previous diplomat (now an assassin) who defected from his species government

gdi I went and reread some of the Papyrus & Undyne phone calls and they’re hilarious and intriguing:


I’m super curious about what this means for monster government, actually?  I mean I know Asgore disliking dangerous puzzles is just a running gag, but if he hasn’t “unmandated” it, it sounds like there are some checks on his powers (which is good!  I like Asgore but he isn’t a very good king.) and the people in charge there are, uh, really into puzzles, and I want to know why!  Is it only that puzzles are a tradition underground?  Is it because puzzles are like, their only civil defense infrastructure and they know the royal guard is mostly cute doggies?  Do they just really love puzzles?  And are these the same people who instituted the snowball tax?

and then there’s this one:


Undyne: Yeah, someone else has to care so I don’t have to!


Undyne: I worked in an office pushing blocks for a month! My respect for block puzzles was depleted by corporate life.


Undyne: (I won’t tell him that’s not how it works…)


Undyne: Well, it was more of a, uh, community service thing.


Undyne: Uh, yep! Totally of my own volition there!

so again, this tells us something interesting and confusing about the monsters’ economy, but what I’m really interested in is, is there any fic about Undyne doing community service by pushing blocks??? and if so, was there a penalty for suplexing them?  because, omg.

nightshade-fairydust  asked:

I'm still having trouble reconciling Lawful Good's rulebook description as opposed to what it actually does (guardians of sanctity, angels of smiting, actively hunting evil, HAVING AN INQUISITION?!), and the best I can figure is that LG cares more about someone's *soul*, while CG cares more about their living conditions. Does that actually make sense?

Yeah, sounds about right to me. 

I’m of the opinion that alignment in D&D-esque games is kinda bullshit on the players’ side of things when it comes to mechanics and roleplaying motivation. 

I think it makes sense when dealing with monsters, otherworldly creatures, and deities. These are things mechanically coded as Good or Evil or Lawful or Chaotic. Their actions are beyond rational mortal thinking, so it’s okay for players to treat them as ‘other’ and kill them all they want. 

“Why’d you kill that family of orcs? They weren’t doing anything”

“Because they’re Evil!

“Why are we obeying this goddess? She sounds crazy and unhinged”

“Because she’s Good! Also she’s Lawful!”

That’s what I feel alignment does most mechanically: provide explicit rules to govern monsters in order to simplify players’ interactions with them. Use it, don’t use it, it’s all good. 

However when player characters are held to these same alignment standards, just like the ridiculous Byzantine standards of many actual religions, you run into weird dichotomies and conflicts of interest within the party.

Players often use their characters’ alignment to justify shitty behaviour: stealing from each other, proselytizing, going all ‘lone wolf’ in a game mostly about working together, going all murderhobo (or getting all judgmental or confrontational about murderhobo behaviour). Players sometimes use their characters a certain way that seems weird or counter-intuitive because they’re falling back on their alignment, using it like a crutch.   

I feel like it’s best to remind players that alignment is a moral guideline…and just like in real life, guidelines can be ignored, compromised, and built upon. They are also situationally dependant, working in some encounters and falling apart in others. 

Originally posted by goldlavender

Here’s a Thing I Believe. Part 4.

Oh, hi. Me again! So here’s one that’s been on my mind for a little while. Ever notice how the Yu-Gi-Oh! series has, like, almost zero decent parents in it? Never mind just how many of the characters don’t have parents at all, but think about the few that we do see.

Ryou’s dad is an absentee. He’s referenced, but we never see him. Kid spends the entire series ignored by everyone. Joey’s mom threw him to the wolves, and not once acknowledges the hardship he went through to pay for Serenity’s treatment. She acts like it’s expected, like she has no responsibility for taking care of her own daughter. Yugi’s dad doesn’t freaking exist.

Basically, the best parents in the series aren’t even parents to the kids they look after. We’ve got Seto Kaiba and Sugoroku Mutou. A brother and a grandfather. That’s it. And if you look at the manga … Seto’s debatable. Which means we would be left with exactly one fundamentally decent adult role model in the entire freaking series. Considering how many kids are in this show … that’s kind of concerning.

But I have a theory. Or, rather, I made a decision. I decided I would not be held by canon’s apparent need to ignore parents, and shed some light on who is perhaps becoming one of my favorite characters in the entire series.

Yugi’s mom.

So, picture this. You have this lady, living over a small business with her son and her … father-in-law? I think? I’m not sure. And said son has always had trouble making friends. He’s shy, kind of a nerd, can’t stand up for himself. What’s a mom to do? Well, in canon … apparently nothing at all. But that’s no fun.

So here’s what I picture. This woman — I call her Natsumi — may have had some trouble raising Yugi, because there’s only so much you can do to help an awkward teenager, but then something happened. Something changed.

Think about it. Yugi went from a loner with exactly one friend (everyone’s favorite dancing queen) to the center of a circle of about … seven? Eight?

Imagine, as a parent, if you watched your terminally shy kid suddenly break through whatever had been holding him back, and all of a sudden he’s got this army of folks ready to … basically go to war for him.

Personally, I think she’d be thrilled.

But here’s something else to consider. Yugi has this tendency to attract people with home life problems. Joey, Ryou, Mokuba, even Seto. Téa probably lives alone a lot of the time, if her parents travel as much as we’re led to believe while she stays in Domino. Who knows what’s up with Tristan?

Duke? Do not get me started on Duke.

So I think we just have to come to grips with a certain truth, here.

Natsumi Mutou is Team Mom.

Here’s a few thoughts I have:

  • Natsumi Mutou always makes sure that there are leftovers for Ryou to take home, whenever he visits, so that he has enough to eat during those long stretches of time when Dad is M.I.A.
  • If Joey shows up in the middle of the night, trying to escape another hopeless fight with his dad, Natsumi Mutou has a bed made up for him in roughly sixteen seconds.
  • Natsumi Mutou always gets this smug look on her face whenever Yugi and Téa are talking, because she just knows. She’s probably waiting for their first date, just so she can have banners and balloons and confetti guns ready for whenever Yugi gets home. She already has the banner made up, hidden in a closet, and all it says is: IT’S ABOUT FREAKING TIME.
  • The first time Serenity comes to the shop, looking for her brother, Natsumi Mutou immediately welcomes her as part of the family. 
  • Tristan and Duke both know better than to pull their faux macho dating rituals with Serenity where Natsumi Mutou can see or hear them.
  • Natsumi Mutou is a deft hand at making up the perfect cup of chamomile tea, for those of Yugi’s band that have trouble calming down or dealing with stress — which pretty much covers all of them.
  • The first time Mokuba comes over for a sleepover (because you know that he will), Natsumi Mutou becomes as embarrassingly fussy as Molly Weasley, and absolutely refuses to heed Yugi’s constant reminders that he’s rich, Mom, you don’t have to do this, he’s not being neglected, seriously, his brother’s kind of rude sometimes but he takes good care of hi — oh, for God’s sake, MOM!!
  • Mokuba is embarrassed at the attention, and part of him wants to be angry that this crazy woman apparently thinks his brother isn’t taking care of him, but part of him really does like it … and he wonders if maybe this is how his own mother used to act. Especially once he gets a chance to see her … in action, so to speak. I think Natsumi Mutou is a firestorm, and I think Mokuba would feel right at home with that.
  • The first time Seto is wrangled into visiting the shop for any length of time whatsoever, Natsumi Mutou insists that he join her for tea. She asks a lot of pointed questions about his business and his day-to-day routines, and Seto eventually catches the fact that she’s checking to make sure that Mokuba isn’t being neglected — like all the other people Yugi brings home.
  • Seto, like Mokuba, wants to be offended at the very thought. But some part of him can’t help but be impressed that there’s an adult somewhere in this city who actually cares about Mokuba’s welfare. Somehow, without realizing it and certainly without authorizing it … Seto likes this woman.
  • Sort of.

I hope you get what I’m trying to say, here. Basically, I think Yugi’s mom was criminally under-utilized, and the story would have been a lot more … heartfelt if she’d actually been given a chance to exist.

I have determined, from this day forward, any story that involves Yugi in any fashion whatsoever will also involve his mother. Because this woman is a treasure, damn it, and I love her to pieces.

378: Philadelphia Experiment(s)

The subject matter deserves a more compositional depiction if I am to be frank, but this was more an excuse to practice a bit of compositional illustration.

Requested by Anonymous


A Typical Saturday Morning

My first one-shot: I wondered what it would be like if the kids watched Saturday morning cartoons together and, well, here we are! Let me know what you think! :)

On a Friday night in the spring of 1985, after a grueling campaign of Dungeons and Dragons, Dustin, Lucas, Will, and El all stayed the night at Mike’s house. El slept in the fort that Mike always left up for her, Mike just outside of it in a sleeping bag, while the others were scattered around the basement floor in the sleeping bags that they’d started leaving there in the basement because they stayed over so often. As usual, Mike and El took longer to fall asleep, at least until they each grabbed the other’s hand and peacefully drifted off.

The next morning came quickly and as usual, Dustin appointed himself the official alarm clock of the group and violently shook each of the three boys awake.

“Okay fine, sleep,” he whispered loudly, narrowly dodging Lucas’ swinging fist as they all groaned. “I’m going upstairs to catch Super Friends.” Lucas and Will rolled, grumbling, out of their sleeping bags and trudged upstairs after him, but Mike stayed behind, taking a few extra moments to gently shake El awake.

“Hey El, the guys are going upstairs to watch cartoons. You want to come?” Still half-asleep, she frowned, confused.

“Come on, it’ll be fun,” he whispered patiently, smiling at the look on her face that said she doubted anything could be more fun than going back to sleep. But after a moment, she nodded, took his hand, and followed him upstairs.

When they reached the living room, Dustin and Lucas were already embroiled in a battle over the remote control.

“A few minutes ago you wanted to go back to sleep!” Dustin shouted, trying to pry Lucas’ hands off the remote.

“Well, I’m up now!” Lucas growled back, pulling the remote away and taking Dustin, who wasn’t letting go without a fight, with it. “If you have the remote, all we’ll be watching is Muppet Babies!”

“What?! Yeah, right!” Dustin scoffed. He turned to Mike. “MIKE! It’s your house! Who gets the remote?”

“I don’t care, just shut up and stop fighting! You’ll wake up my parents!”

The struggle paused for a moment and Will took the opportunity to jump up from the recliner and grab the remote with a triumphant laugh. Dustin and Lucas glared at each other before finally sitting down next to each other in front of the TV set.

“’Muppet Babies’? Really? What the heck, man?” Dustin whispered to Lucas, who threw his hands up in an exasperated shrug.

Mike rolled his eyes and sat down next to El on the couch. They were all used to Saturday mornings like this.

Will turned on the television set. The theme from “Super Friends” had already started to play and as always, El was riveted. The first time she’d watched with the boys, the music and bright colors had been jarring, but now it was exciting, especially as the characters that jumped and flew across the screen were becoming more and more familiar to her. The boys all grinned at her when the announcer boomed, “The Legendary SUPER POWERS Show!” She shyly returned a smile and curled her legs up under her. They still called her their “superhero” and it made her smile.

After the first hour, Dustin stood up and walked to the kitchen. “You guys hungry?” he called over his shoulder. “Hellooo?” The only response he got was Mike jumping up from the couch as if he’d been shocked and whispering a hurried “I’ll be right back” before running into the kitchen and sliding to a stop on sock feet next to Dustin.

“Wow, you must be pretty hungry,” Dustin laughed, opening the fridge.

“I’m not, I just - almost forgot – something…” he faltered.

“Okay,” Dustin shrugged. “Hey, there’s some chicken from last night in here. How about that?”

“I don’t care, can you just move already?” Mike said, bouncing from one foot to the other, obviously in a big rush.

“Okay, okay, geez, Mike! Sorry!” He shook his head and shut the fridge, walking back into the living room with the bowl of chicken, passing it around before he sat back down.  

Mike came back a few minutes later with a plate of Eggos, which he very casually handed to El with a quick, “Here you go,” before sitting down and paying very close attention to the show, his ears pink.

“D’awwwwww,” Lucas teased. A glare from Mike didn’t let him say anything else, although he and the other two grinned knowingly at each other.

“Thank you, Mike,” El said quietly.

“Oh. Sure.” Mike shrugged, trying to be nonchalant but failing miserably once she smiled at him.

After a few hours, Karen Wheeler came downstairs with a sleepy Holly, followed closely by her husband, Ted, who made a beeline for the fridge. He opened it, but then paused, staring into it. He turned to his wife and opened his mouth as if to say something, looked back into the fridge, then turned back to her again. Finally, he scoffed out an “Eh,” closed the fridge, and dejectedly grabbed an apple before retreating behind his newspaper at the dining room table.

Karen rolled her eyes and had to stifle a laugh when she recognized the empty bowl in Dustin’s lap that had been full of chicken when she put it in the fridge last night. Aha.

Seeing all five of the kids together again warmed her heart, and she smiled fondly as she noticed each of them starting to nod off. The events of a little over a year ago were still hard for her to wrap her head around: government conspiracies, faked deaths, monsters? That last part especially was mind-boggling. But what stood out in her memory the most was how helpless and heartbroken she had felt when Mike held onto her as if for dear life the night they had all found out that Will was “dead” or when Mike had sobbed as if his own heart had broken into a million pieces the night the little girl now sitting next to him on their couch had disappeared. Knowing that those government men were responsible for her son’s pain both times made her blood boil, but there was nothing she could do about that now, although if she ever got her hands on any of those government “officials” again… Well. All that mattered now was that all of them were safe and together again. To be honest, she didn’t want to know all the details of what happened to Will or even the little girl whose name was a number. “We call her El, for short,” Mike had told her, giddy with excitement and relief, when she had come back only a few months ago in the fall of 1984. Now she was living with the Byers, but she was here just as much as there, taking every opportunity she could to see Mike. It didn’t surprise Karen at all; Mike was awfully protective of El and was always so lovingly gentle with her, as if she were made of glass. It was obvious the both of them cared about each other, even though they were both so young. She could see it in the way they looked at each other and smiled and were always reluctant to leave each other’s side. Even now, looking into the living room, she could see that they had fallen asleep, El with her head on Mike’s shoulder and his head gently resting on top of hers. She felt her eyes tear up, her heart swelling in her chest.

She shook her head and sighed. She poured Holly and herself some orange juice and started preparing breakfast. She was just glad she didn’t have to see Mike waking up every morning with dark circles and red-rimmed eyes anymore. If she never had to see that again, she’d be one happy mother.

Back in the living room, Dustin yawned and dragged his eyes away from the screen. Suddenly, he slapped Lucas in the arm and Will in the leg, both of whom frowned and glared at him before realizing he was raising his eyebrows and grinning his signature grin at Mike and El asleep on the couch. They all covered their mouths to muffle their laughter before mouthing huge, exaggerated “AWWW”s at each other. They all knew how Mike and El felt about each other. They weren’t stupid. They were just glad Mike was happy again and especially glad that El was back home and safe. They’d all missed her, even Will, once they’d told him about her. He’d only seen her once, when he was in the Upside Down, and he couldn’t remember her very clearly. Not that he wanted to remember anything about that place very clearly. But once he’d met her, it was as if they’d been friends their whole lives. She was one of them now. They only teased Mike because they got such a kick out of watching their Dungeon Master turn the color of a fire engine. It never bothered El.

Will let an audible snicker slip out and clapped his hand back over his mouth, wide-eyed as El stirred. The combination of El’s movement and Dustin and Lucas’ badly-contained snickering at Will’s panic woke Mike. Lucas caught his eye and sighed dramatically, fluttering his eyelashes and clasping both hands over his heart before collapsing into laughter.

“Shut up, Lucas,” Mike hissed, blushing profusely. “You’ll wake El up!” He looked over at her and sighed in relief to see that she was still asleep, looking extremely peaceful. She smiled in her sleep and his stomach flipped over. He waited until the others had gone back to watching the television before allowing himself to smile bashfully, his face still warm. He stayed as still as possible, not wanting to wake her up, or worse, make her take her head off his shoulder and move away. It was probably stupid, but he felt better just having her next to him. Even with the guys teasing him, he felt happier than he had in a really long time. Because El was here. And she was okay. She was ALIVE. And here watching dorky cartoons with all of them.

When he’d first seen her in November at the Byers’ house, he hadn’t known whether to laugh or cry or what so he’d just run to her and hugged her as tight as he could. It had only been a year, but it had felt like forever. He’d wondered if she would even remember him at all or… if she would even feel the same way he did about her. But she’d hugged him just as tightly and whispered, “Mike, I missed you.” It made him feel like someone had hit him on the back of the head and he’d been so lightheaded, he was still surprised he’d been able to say anything. But he did say something: “I missed you too, El.”

When they pulled away, he saw that she’d been crying. With a start, he’d realized his own eyes were wet too. They’d both laughed shakily, realizing that everyone was watching them: Dustin, Lucas, Will, Chief Hopper, Jonathon, Will’s mom… and she was crying too.  

It had been almost five months since then and every time he saw El, he felt just as happy to see her, maybe even more because it reminded him that it wasn’t one of his dreams: she really was here.

El started to move and opened her eyes, looking up at Mike.

“Sorry, El, did I wake you up?” he asked.

She shook her head. “I wasn’t asleep.”

“Oh.” A grin spread across his face and his stomach did another backflip. “Oh, okay.”

And she didn’t move her head from off his shoulder.    

Night Vale is America, Steve is a Liberal

A lot of people are going to hate me for this. I don’t care.

Listen up you guys, Steve is a liberal, Night Vale is America. How? Well let’s see how many similarities there are between us and Night Vale.

We have a government run by monsters and a 70 year old child. Angels are minorities that everyone ignores because you’re supposed to ignore them, if you don’t then our country will get taken over by them. Our emails, phone calls, social medias, and more, are watched by government agents. Who knows, maybe our conversations are being recorded. Huntokar tried to help, but instead maybe doomed Night Vale, so perhaps we’ll call her the white house staff + Comey, who are giving us clues that nobody can see except… Steve Carlsburg, the American Liberal. Look, people often target Liberals as “conspiracy theorists” who are just plain out wrong all the time and look for the worst in every single leader. Hmm, sound like someone? But wait, there’s more! Conservative people are the ones ignoring all the things that are wrong with our america. They’re the people who only acknowledge angels to ask them to leave. They’re the ones who look at the City Council and Tameyka Flynn, and say, “now those guys are leaders”. They don’t question the fact that they are looking to monsters and a child to guide their country, they just accept it, lower their heads and keep going. But Liberals? No. They hear Huntokar speaking to them from the news, apologizing over and over about how she tried to help, but nobody would listen. How she drew the lines out, clear as day, and nobody looked to the sky to see them. “The key to the answers is to look at these lines”, say the Liberals, showing them the charts and diagrams. “The angels are RIGHT THERE”, say the Liberals, pointing behind themselves. “Can you hear the words that Huntokar is telling us!” ,say the Liberals, asking every government worker they know and see. The Conservatives avert their eyes, arrest the protesters, and talk about a man in the sun. The sky is falling to pieces. There is fire, and protest, and death and shootings, while a mayor, a child, and a city council are trying to divert attention from the disaster, citizens pick a perfect world and imagine it so that we have the perfect President, the perfect country. You see ghosts in the streets. And then somebody helps out an immigrant. “You are valid”, they say. Somebody joins an LGBT protest. “We are valid”, they say. A bit of the sky returns. and suddenly everything is being recognized. People talk about the FBI, the CIA and all those other government organizations that watch and control our daily lives. “Wow, government agents watching my email? That’s not normal, is it?” They say. “Our government is really corrupt, man, look at all the shady deals and completely unethical laws and views they’re spreading”, They say. “Trump is like a 5 year old–” someone mentions. “– who puts a five year old in charge of a country?”  And people nod their heads, wondering how on earth they didn’t notice that before.

A bit of the sky returns.

And as more and more people notice, the more they come together to find a solution. “Maybe it would be nice to not be watched, so how about we instead do ____?” “Hey, can somebody take a look at the bible and see if it’s really anti-gay marriage?” “Wow, immigrants are really having a hard time getting recognized. Maybe we should hurry up with that reform policy.” “Okay, from now on, have at least one all gender restroom in every school.” “You know, women never really seem to be in the room when we talk about abortion laws. How about we get their input?” “Hey, maybe somebody should revise the bible a bit?” “President Trump is really problematic. Why haven’t we impeached him yet?”

It takes a long time, but eventually, these solutions are put into place. Not everyone is happy with them at first, but they slowly come to accept them. America is not perfect, but things are getting better. We are no longer crashing and burning. Over time, other countries go through a revision, and the wars stop as we all stand and breathe together. Not just a United States, but a United World. There is no longer a need to draw out the lines, and Huntokar lays down to sleep. Night Vale is saved. America is saved. The world is saved.

And all it took was to look to the sky.

“Monsters In the Basement”

The major climactic events in MTMTE seasons 1 and 2 are both kicked off by an onboard, hidden threat - a “monster in the basement.”

In MTMTE season 1, that’s Overlord. In season two, it’s Getaway. They’re pretty different in that one’s a ‘bot and one’s a ‘con, that one is brought on board secretly and one joins as a member of the crew, that one represents a physical threat and the other is a behind-the-scenes manipulator. But in other ways they have a lot in common, and they serve a parallel function in the overall structure of each season.

They’re each introduced early in the season, and are each responsible for the “season finale” last act of the season, albeit unintentionally - Overlord’s escape drove Magnus to contact Tyrest, and Getaway’s mutiny is what allowed the DJD to target a relatively isolated Megatron.

Both were imprisoned, and both were treated in ways they found intolerable during that imprisonment - Overlord spent his time in captivity repeating “kill me” and had his mind violated by Chromedome, and Getaway’s speech to the Rod Squad post-mutiny shows just how intolerable he found his own treatment.

Both were also underestimated by those around them. And one way or another, both were freed by at least one member of the crew as a result - Overlord unintentionally by Chromedome, and Getaway intentionally by his co-conspirators.

There’s also a direct visual parallel drawn between these two characters, which I don’t think is unintentional.

Also, both of these characters and their imprisonment on the Lost Light have a direct tie to Rodimus. Bringing Overlord on board was his big failing in season 1. And Getaway mutinied during season 2 because of how he perceived Rodimus as captain.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that there is one more character who follows this general pattern. The dystopian Functionist universe government have their own “monster in the basement” - a hidden threat who they underestimated, imprisoned, and tortured. Dystopian Functionist universe Rung even gets a similar visual reference to the ones shown above.

I don’t have any other thoughts to add on this observation, and I don’t know if the dystopian Functionist universe will ever come back into the storyline, but it is intriguing to me.

What I love about Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that there’s something for everyone. Like, seriously, each season is like a different show. 

  • Season 1 is like a quirky, tongue-in-cheek, affectionate parody of horror movies, that celebrates but also laughs at their tropes, whilst defying and subverting the more sexist features of the genre. A camp, cult classic horror-comedy with a feminist twist.
  • Season 2 and 3 are character-based, supernatural high school dramas with an emphasis on family, friendships, and romance, whilst still being humorous and witty as well.
  • Season 4 is like a wacky college sitcom with monsters, government conspiracies, and other sci-fi hijinks thrown into the mix.
  • Season 5 is a domestic drama about two sisters and their loyalty to one another throughout terrible times, with elements of high fantasy juxtaposed with more mundane, real-life problems such as having to drop out of university or the unexpected death of a loved one. 
  • Season 6 is a deconstruction of the entire series, asking questions like ‘but what would the psychological ramifications be on someone so young being forced to risk her life slaying vampires?’ and ‘but after all that adventure, could the characters deal with relative normalcy? How could anything impress you after going up against a Goddess?’. It’s taking the preceding episodes and picking them apart bit by bit in an intense, macabre character study.
  • Season 7 is a full-on feminist fantasy reflecting on the way women are treated in society. It’s fast-paced with a strong focus on action and plot, as opposed to the other seasons which were mostly character-based. 

Like, this show encompasses so many different genres and themes that’s there’s something enjoyable in it for everyone. It works on so many different levels.