Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why I Fight To Bring Back Old Shows

Hey everyone!

One of the trends that I have, when writing on this blog, is to cover old television shows and video games I liked as a kid, and to explore why.  Once in a while, like with Arrested Development, there's a level of success that's achieved!  It's sort of like bringing back the dead, in a sense, so let me ask a simple question:

Why do some people like myself get caught up on bringing back old programs from their heyday?  And why, in particular, am I so caught up with it?  Maybe it has something to do with this:

See, I'm a creator.  In particular, I'm a 28 year old creator.  Ten years ago, in 2003, I was an 18 year old wanna-be creator. Two years before that, some other 18-something year old wanna-be creator got a TV show approved by MTV.  It's a complicated story, but in 2001 this Pete Williams guy, along with Josh A. Cagan and Andy Rheingold, basically got this show off the ground.  It was immensely popular...In Canada.  In America, well, MTV didn't want to keep their animation department.  So says Williams in a recent interview on the "Guys With Pencils" podcast!  Plus, I've already looked into other reasons it was unfairly handicapped.  But this doesn't answer the underlying question of, "Jesse, why do you keep attaching yourself to these crazy creative causes!?"

Personal Identification

Well...There are two fundamental reasons.  First off is the fact that this show had an impact on me.  It aired just as I was getting ready to go to college (It aired 2001, I started college in fall 2002).  It's main creative drive was a few years older than me and a local native.  It was, tacitly, about a close-knit group of friends based on real people; and it was a group who, even dramatized, I found resembled my group of friends.  So there's just a great deal of personal identification, there.  Maybe, in my starry-eyed brain, I wanted to be like this Pete Williams guy.

It helped that the show was about an awkward college guy who was trying to become something of a new person, but at the same time tied unbreakably - and pleasantly! - to his friends.  That's the life I wanted, in essence, and to this day I'm proud to be close to many of my old friends.  I could name them, but they'd kill me, so I won't.  I also loved the music; most of it was spot-on, which is actually a surprise given that the show aired on MTV.  The animation was notoriously flawed, having been produced in a korean lab that didn't quite "get" what the show was going for; in fact, a fan going by Steffan B had to actually re-edit the ending to get the damned point across:

So, one thing led to another and, the show died.  At the time I was just sad, and I bought my DVD and wrote my e-mails to MTV without anyone knowing, at the time, just how vain that second prospect was.  And, then, I got older.  I always kept an ear open, but until 2012 I sort of assumed it wasn't going to happen - we'd get little tidbits here and there, but I understood better than many that the problem was simple - MTV and others owned the rights, and that was an impossible-to-procure object.  I moved on, in large part because everyone else involved had moved on.  Then, however, Pete made his way to Canada and discovered his canuck popularity!  This guy realized, to paraphrase him, that he actually had been quite successful!  He just didn't know it.  Him, Cagan and Rheingold got a goat (hah!) and appeared at Calgary Expo, and from there shit took off.  Now, there's a vibrant fan community and there is real talk about creating a movie continuation!

Willliams regularly communicates with the fan-base, answering long-standing questions and soliciting ideas for how we can best make things work in the future.  I'm infinitely proud to say I've actually earned some shout-outs, there.

More Personal Identification

But there's an even more fundamental, selfish reason I do this gung-ho stuff.  This second basic reason I push for old TV shows to get picked up, especially Undergrads, is that, well...I want my stuff to get picked up.  You've probably figured out I write, but did you know that I literally released a novel today?  It's called Physics Reincarnate, it's the sequel to my five-star rated book Physics Incarnate, and it's available now in paperback and on Amazon's Kindle E-reader.  If you count my kindle-exclusives, this is the fifth novel I have self-published (Pillars of The Kingdom 1+2, Protostar:  Memoirs Of The Messenger, and Physics Incarnate), not to mention a short story collection.

Moreover, just like Williams, I have plans to revisit my old work.  Even now, I'm re-editing Pillars of The Kingdom 1 and 2 for re-release as Kindle exclusives (the print versions are honestly not worth purchasing except for historical value, perhaps!).  Eventually I will finish the last few chapters of the third installment of that novel.  Protostar was my National Novel Writing Month project from 2011, and I fully intend to make a sequel this November - even if that, too, is a Kindle-Exclusive.

Using my copy of Abnormal Psychology For Masochists (most assuredly written by the author of Abnormal Psychology For Drunks, Rocko's most beloved textbook from the show!), I have determined that I am projecting my desires to be a successful creator onto the people who created Undergrads.  We have similar backgrounds in terms of geography, friends, and age-group.  We have seen success, faced defeat, and we keep going.  We've learned that the best way to help ourselves is to help other creators - writers, artists, animators, musicians, what-have-you.  Is it any wonder that I would have attached myself to someone similar to me, at least in my own perspective?

Sure, I might just be crazy.  I think all creators are crazy because we're standing here and attributing serious value to the stories we conjure out of our brains!  We're standing here saying, "you will be happy if you spend your hard-earned money on listening to our tale, because this tale will leave you changed."  Well, Undergrads changed me.  It served, most of all, as proof that someone could just walk into a room (in Pete's case, enter a contest), prove they're skilled, and actually get something produced!  Isn't that every creator's dream?

That's why I keep fighting to get this show a proper conclusion.  If you watch the show, you'll understand why you should, too!

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