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New post on Mrshawking.com!

"The Mrs. Hawking Drinking Game"


Oh, look, it's time for the ballroom scene!


When writing a serialized adventure story, you tend to develop some signature features, both of the associated genres and for this particular continuity itself. It helps build the series’s unique identity and gives it a recognizable character. But as we rehearse the shows and continue to develop more, there’s always the challenge of maintaining that signature identity and not falling into formula.

As such, we like to joke about how “now it’s time for the ballroom scene!” or how “now Mrs. Hawking is mean to the client!” It helps us not take ourselves too seriously and have fun in rehearsal. But it’s always a useful reminder to not fall too much into patterns. As I work on part 4, I need to remember to vary from the expectations to keep things original and fresh.

So, in the spirit of fun and keeping all this in mind, I present to you the Mrs. Hawking Drinking Game! For your enjoyment as you get to know the stories better:

Read the rest of the entry on Mrshawking.com!

Vivat Regina and Base Instruments by Phoebe Roberts will be performed at 2PM and 6PM respectively at 274 Moody Street in Waltham, MA as part of the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2017.
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I saw the Lego Batman movie this past weekend and it was a blast. I spent about seventy-five percent of the film cracking the hell up, more so than the mostly families with children that surrounded me, to the point where they might have even been a little annoyed. But not only is it funny for its own sake, I think it's WAY BETTER if you are a serious Batman fan. The film is a parody, the best of which have a deep understanding of the narrative being parodied. These writers must have been real fans, because all the humor and the essential spin on the storyline came from a real understanding of the essentials of Batman. As a person who has spent MANY HOURS picking apart the character and the most significant storylines, I had such an appreciation for what very well may be evidence of the work of very similar kinds of nerds. Because even on top of all the great jokes, the central struggle was based in the true heart of Batman-- his fear of getting close to people will just result in him getting hurt again, and they conveyed that in really effective terms. I wouldn't exactly say it had a ton of dramatic weight, but it was grounded in a real story that fit the character well.

So I highly recommend it. It may be the strictly best movie involving the character that's not part of the DCAU.

Some stuff I loved about it, in no particular order, with a spoiler warning:

- The driving conflict of the narrative was the Joker's need to be the most important person in Batman's life, manifesting as an obsessive romance with an emotionally withholding person
- Will Arnett's hilarious, gravelly, douchey performance, particularly in how Bruce Wayne was basically a non-self-loathing Bojack Horseman.
- Batman's persistent "fuck that Superman guy" resentment
- They embraced the father-son relationship between Alfred and Batman and Batman and Robin
- The basic acknowledgement that a Batman left to his own devices is kind of a huge douchebag and needs other characters like Robin affecting him to make him tolerable
- The romantic song playing in the background when Batman first lays eyes on Barbara Gordon is "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight"
- "Batman lives in Bruce Wayne's basement?" "Bruce Wayne lives in Batman's attic!"
- COSTUME TRYON MONTAGE
- Batman flopping around on the ground in protest of Alfred making him do stuff. (Bernie's comment: "Oh, my God, you are Batman.")
- The fact that the JLA doesn't invite Batman to parties because he's no fun to be around
- I have never actually enjoyed Michael Cera in any role before, but he was pretty great as Robin
- Barbara being played by Rosario Dawson, who I love, not least because she's CLAIRE TEMPLE AND I LOVE CLAIRE
- Barbara says there's gotta be a better way to deal with crime than just letting "Batman beat up poor people."
- The weird voice they gave Bane to make fun of the weird voice Tom Hardy used in Dark Knight Rises.
- The writing for the Joker is strong enough to make up for the fact that Zack Galifinakis is COMPLETELY BLAND and A TOTAL WASTE OF THE ROLE.
- Ellie Kemper's weird and weirdly adorable little cameo.
- Superheroes without pants jokes.
- When the Joker infiltrates the Batcave, he puts his butt on all Batman's stuff. (Bernie's comment: "OH, MY GOD, YOU'RE THE JOKER TOO!")
- Because they had Ralph Fiennes already in the cast as Alfred, they had him play Lego Voldemort too.
- The ceaseless mocking of earlier, more self-serious Batman films
- The final saving of the city involves SHREDDED ABS, which one could argue were seeded like a Chekov's gun throughout. So you could say it was a CHECKOV'S GUN SHOW WHAAAAAAAT
- "I AM A HUNDRED PERCENT NOT BRUCE WAYNE."


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Apparently I feel like telling funny stories about my stuff lately!

Today I was asked where the name I use online, and as a sort of "company" name for myself, Breaking Light, came from. I use it to represent myself because I like the sound of it-- for some reason "break" and variations thereof are among my favorite words --and because it has some meaning that's important to me. I see it as evocative of light that bursts through the darkness, a nice metaphor for hope, a concept I've struggled with for a lot of my recent life.

But as to how the actual words first occurred to me? They're a mishearing of a lyric in a Scott Stapp song.

...yeah.

For those who quite understandably don't know who that is, Scott Stapp is the former lead vocalist of a band called Creed. This band no longer exists, and seem to be best known for their weird undertone of Christian rock religiosity and the exceptionally melodramatic character to both their lyrics and the particular performance style Mr. Stapp brought to their songs. Seeing as my taste in music is flatly terrible, of course I kind of liked them and still have a couple of their songs in my iPod. My dear [livejournal.com profile] youareverysmall mocked me mercilessly for it back in the day, as was right and proper, and there's still one song I can't hear without imagining them imitating the ridiculous singing style.

So upon the breakup of Creed, our main man Scott embarked on a solo career, which I gather was not terribly successful as nobody knows who he is outside of Creed. But he released an album where the title track had a fair bit of play on the radio, so while you probably wouldn't know it by name, you might recognize the sound of it if you heard it. I spend a lot of time in the gym, which always tends to constantly have pop stations playing, where I recognized the voice and of course my awful musical tastes kicked in. I found it pleasing enough to pay attention to the song, which is called "The Great Divide." But because Stapp's voice singing voice sounds like he's midway through a transformation into a werewolf, his diction is not always the best. And I misheard "the great divide" in the chorus as "the breaking light," which immediately fired my imagination, and stayed with me to the point where I've adopted it as my branding.

Honestly this happens to me fairly frequently, where I think I hear a song lyric as something that I think is really cool, but it turns out I didn't hear it accurately. But that turns out to be even better, because then it's MINE now, and I'm not stealing from the song. Like in this case, where I got a cool expression!

So, yes. I chose my name from an inaccurate perception of a song in the unremarkable solo career of the former lead singer of an awful Christian rock band. Inspiring!

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I really need to overhaul my personal website, PhoebeRoberts.com. I slapped it together years ago so that it would exist in case anybody wanted to look up me or my work, telling myself I'd improve it later when I had a minute. But I never really got around to it, and as it is, it doesn't look very slick. I'd like to make it look a little more aesthetic and professional. I'm no web designer, but I did put together MrsHawking.com and it looks okay, so I can probably do a little better than the thrown-together version I've got now.

Now I'll tell you a kind of funny story about my personal website. A while ago I wrote a post on Captain America's hair in The Winter Soldier, and it's easily the most popular post on there. It gets more hits and comes up in more Internet searches than any of the others. Sure, it's partially because it's the only one that deals with a popular branded character. But it gets a LOT of hits specifically from people searching his hairstyle in that film.

But what cracks me up is probably NONE of these people are searching for what that post actually is-- an exegesis on what that styling tells us about the character from a narrative standpoint. I'd bet money that every single person searching that wants information on how to imitate that hairstyle, or what to tell their stylist in order to get it. That post has NOTHING in how to do that hair, only what I think that hair "means" as character information. Which is interesting to only the very tiny subset of the population that cares about the semiotics of costume design as a storytelling tool.

It cracks me up that the far and away most popular post in the site is probably enjoyed by literally zero of the people that were drawn to it. 😝

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According to Bernie, I am somewhat capable of carrying on a conversation while mostly asleep. Usually it's just head shakes and nods, but pretty often I actually say things. But just because I can form words doesn't mean they make much sense. There are two particularly good things I've told Bernie while mostly asleep. Apparently in both cases he was trying to find a way to climb in around me.

The first time, I informed him, "I'm a globe. I take up aaaaaaaaaaall the space."

And the second was, "Be careful. There's a snake in the hole." I paused a beat. Then, "It's me. I'm the snake."

I have no memory of these, or any of the other weird things I've told him while asleep. But those are the two best ones he's reported. 😁
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I was drowning in work today-- but I did manage to write something, however tiny!

The original Frasier always had a little dialogue-free scene running over the credits, so my piece will follow the same form. I figure that by the end of the pilot episode, Freddy and David will have come to some accord and attempt to get along, so I figured the tag ought to reflect that. It's just a little thing, but I think it's cute and hopefully kind of funny.

TAG:

As the credits roll, Freddy and David amuse themselves from the couch by trying to toss hats onto Brody’s head. Finally, Freddy gets up and fetches the mortarboard from his Harvard graduation. Tossing it like a Frisbee, he expertly lands in between the bear’s ears. David cheers and holds up his arms in the “it’s good!” sign.
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This scene piece for my Frasier spinoff pilot feels particularly not cohesive. It's got lots of good ideas and the beginnings of funny jokes, but it doesn't have the right rhythm or flow yet. It's designed to set up Freddy a little as a snarky, lonely person who feels a bit trapped in his life, but it doesn't completely demonstrate that. Still, I think with editing it could be made to work nicely. It also would be the first scene featuring Leah Keoh, a fellow adjunct that Freddy works with, tentatively filling in the Roz role. I wrote about her already in Day #20 - Reaching Out.

This would be the first part of the scene that is finished off with the piece from Day #4 - The Cousins Crane. As I mentioned before Day #22 - Men of the Ivies, I'd want to edit the second part of this so that David had not yet told Niles that he was suspended, and that he wasn't sure whether or not he'd be going back to Yale after an attempt was made to straighten things out. I haven't made those edits yet, but I will when I start assembling the pilot from the scenes.

Day #24 - Grading Circle of Hell )
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And the completion of the scene where David moves into Freddy's apartment in my Frasier spinoff pilot! This is the last piece, after part one in Day #19 - Lucky Bear and yesterday's part two, Day #22 - Men of the Ivies. The parts probably could probably be a little more unified, but I like the overall direction. It does a good job of setting up the problem between Freddy and David, I think.

Day #23 - Hanging )
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Another Frasier spinoff scene! This is the next part of the scene started in Day #19 - Lucky Bear, picking up directly where that one left off.

I've decided that, despite what I established in Day #14 - The Cousins Crane, it would be better if when David comes to Freddy with his problem initially, he simply been suspended from Yale rather than expelled, and hasn't told Niles. That will permit it to be a question of whether or not he's going to go back, and telling Niles can be a hurdle he'll have to take in the course of the episode. When I put a full draft of the pilot together, I'll go back and edit that, but for now I'm just continuing with the scenes making that new assumption.

As a side note, [livejournal.com profile] londo has been very helpful in encouraging me to work on this and clarifying my thinking on it. He is a Frasier fan and a very funny guy, so I'm glad to have his perspective.

My jokes will definitely improve with editing!

Day #22 - Men of the Ivies )
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Another scene from my Frasier spinoff idea. Needs to be funnier, but I'm rushing to catch up and just posting whatever I can bang out.

This occurs after previous scenes Day #15 - "Subtle but Unmistakeable Disappointment", Day #14 - The Cousins Crane, and Day #19 - Lucky Bear.

Day #20 - Reaching Out )
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A scene from the pilot of my theoretical Frasier spinoff. This scene would of course occur after the opening scene from Day #15 - "Subtle but Unmistakeable Disappointment", probably directly after Freddy agrees to let David move in, in Day #14 - The Cousins Crane.

This is only the first section of what would probably be a multi-part scene. I outlined the whole thing and found it would have several discrete sections, so decided to pause at the first complete part. It introduces something I was musing on including, an element that served the same function as Martin's chair, but translated for the new characters and situation.

As with all these, they need to be punched up so that they're as funny as possible. But it's a start.

image.jpeg


Day #19 - Lucky Bear )
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This is totally banged out. I was working on other things today so I didn't really spend a lot of time on it. It's not refined in any way or nearly funny enough. But this is another scene for that (pointless) theoretical Frasier spin-off I was musing on. It would probably come before Day #14 - The Cousins Crane, as it sets Freddy up to find something to take him out of himself, rather than stewing constantly on his dissatisfactions.



Funny, it's the second TV show pilot scribbling I've done that involved the main character talking to a therapist. It's also the device I use for the opening scene of Bridesmaids, as in the first half Day #9 - Nothing Common and the second half Day #13 - About Me. It's a pretty convenient way to have them talk about their life and situation.

Day #15 - Subtle But Unmistakeable Disappointment )
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The results of my (otherwise mostly pointless) labors— an early scene imagining the next-generation Frasier spinoff I was musing about, at ridiculous length, in my entry yesterday. This would be the first scene between the two main characters, cousins Freddy and David Crane, almost twenty years after the end of the previous series.

The challenge of such a show would be twofold. One, to evoke the tone and style of the comedy of Frasier without copying it exactly. And two, to update and modulate for both modern comedic tastes, as well as for significantly younger characters. Even if Freddy is in many ways my Frasier stand-in, he’s thirty-three in the near future, not the eighties like Frasier was, not to mention the fact that Frasier was over forty for most of his show.

I’m tentatively assuming the multi camera setup like Frasier had, and I’d want to use the title cards between scenes. But I’d also want to include allusions to familiar elements of the show non-literally. Like, for example, there could be a physical point of contention between Freddy and David similar to how Frasier hated Martin’s old chair in his apartment, or a similar animal companion issue the way Martin’s dog Eddie was. Maybe something with a call-in element? I don’t know. It could also be fun to have an unseen character that people talk about, like Maris on Frasier or Vera before her on Cheers.

As a side note, I’d probably have to take into account the time skip with the setting. I would probably look to how Parks and Recreation handled it for inspiration, as they incorporated it pretty well. The future-stuff also might be another source for humor.

And NBC, if you’re paying attention: PLEASE BUY THIS FROM ME TO LEGITIMIZE THIS OTHERWISE RIDICULOUS USE OF MY TIME.

Day #14 - The Cousins Crane )
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This is the second half of the scene started for Day #9 - Nothing in Common, which would make up the opening scene of a theoretical Bridesmaids comedy pilot. Again, trying to establish the premise, the primary players, and their relationships, all the while making the audience laugh.

All resemblances to persons living or dead are not coincidences, but done entirely with love. 😁



Day #13 - About Me )
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Okay, so I did it. I took a stab at actually writing scenes for a "Bridesmaids" comedy series. This is roughly based on the jokes I made about how we as as [livejournal.com profile] inwaterwrit's bridesmaids looked like we ought to have a Sex in the City-style TV show about us. A couple people suggested it would actually make a good show and I should try to write it. So here's my first crack!

It's adapted a fair bit from the original jokey premise. Like, I made the cast more ethnically diverse. And I decided that it needed a central unifying figure, so I added in a bride character, as very, very loosely based on Jenn as the others are on the rest of us. (I emphasize the looseness as in comedy you can't always do the most flattering portrayals of the people the characters are inspired by.) This scene is probably only half of what it should be, but I found a reasonable cutoff and I will continue it later. Perhaps in an entry for another day of 31P31D2016. For now, I hope this makes you laugh.

Day #9 - Nothing in Common )
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Saw the new Ghostbusters this weekend. I admit I went with a fair bit of trepidation, given some of the early indications, but after all the backlash from jag off internet misogynists, I was going to throw money at this thing whether it sucked or not. So I went in the first weekend to register at the box office, and my verdict is that even though it is technically flawed in many ways, I had a blast just enjoying the fun of this extremely delightful film. SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!

Now I actually believe the first Ghostbusters is a really good, lightning-in-a-bottle kind of film, and I am generally not a fan of remakes, especially of lightning-in-a-bottle classics that don’t really bear comparison. But the fact of the matter is, we’re in a culture that is reimagining existing IPs almost entirely right now, and if they’re going to do it, it makes sense to actually try and put a fresh spin on those IPs. Giving women a presence in a context where they didn’t get to be is about the best possible way to achieve that, so even bearing all that in mind, I was definitely going to support this film.

The charm of the movie lies in the characters, as I would argue any truly engaging storytelling does. Based on the marketing I was afraid we were going to get “female equivalents” of the original cast, which I thought was a bad move— particularly since that seemed to be at fault for relegating the one black Ghostbuster again to the only non-scientist role. But they were actually all fairly unique and interesting, with relationships I cared about. Kristen Wiig’s Erin was chased away from her fascination with the paranormal by public derision and the desire to establish a respectable reputation in scientific academia. Her childhood friend and former partner Abby, the Melissa McCarthy character, is a fearless eccentric dedicated to proving her paranormal theories and showing the world that ghosts are real. Kate McKinnon’s Holtzmann, easily the breakout character, is a hilarious mechanical genius with a skewed point of view and buckets of awkward, out-there charm. Leslie Jones’s Patty Tolan is a tough, practical optimist who’s an expert in the history of New York City and rolls to adapt to deal with the weirdness around her. (You may be interested to know that the trailers cherry-picked all of only a handful of Stereotypical Sassy Black Woman moments, and I found her to be much more of a witty, insightful comedic presence. Others may disagree, and she could have been less stereotypical than she was, but I thought she was way more nuanced than the commercials suggested she’d be.) Easily the best moments are when these characters are hanging together doing Ghostbuster stuff, and you wanted to just watch them figure out their shit as they go and use cool gadgets to bust spooks. All the performances are good, and special mention goes to Chris Hemsworth, who is both hot and hilarious as basically the airheaded bimbo they hire as a receptionist because they like looking at him!

The writing, unfortunately, is not great. It doesn't have the philosophical underpinnings of the original-- check Moviebob's excellent exegesis on it in this video. It’s packed with great ideas that are either not fully explored or could have used an extra pass in the script editing process. The biggest problem to me was how choppy and weird the pacing was. The whole movie smacks of something that was cut up and reassembled in the editing room due to last-minute fears and insecurities. They would talk about doing a thing or a thing happening, then the very next scene things would sort of happen just as they talked about it—I can’t quite articulate what the problem was, maybe too little conflict, maybe too predictable, maybe too much telling with the showing, but it was somehow odd. Also, it was clear a lot of stuff got cut out, which led to weird transitions or total lack of any kind of sensible explanation for how we got from point A to point B. It also meant a lot of things never got the payoff they deserved. I liked the idea of making Patty a historian of New York, giving her a particular expertise even though she wasn’t a scientist, but it didn’t lead to anything substantive enough. There was this suggestion that the villain, who was pretty underdeveloped, was sort of the dark-reflection of Erin and Abby, which is a very interesting idea, but it was never realized in any way.

But the whole thing was a ride for me. Once things got going, I found myself having so much fun laughing at the jokes, enjoying the character interactions, and cheering at the cool busting action. It made me not really care so much about the inconsistencies. There are lots of little low-polish things— a lot of the dialogue and humor was clearly improvised, and a lot of it goes on a bit too long, there are subplots that really don’t make sense, and the final act is a logistical clusterfuck. But it was so damn fun. Getting to see cool female characters bust ghosts made me clap and yell and throw my fists in the air. Holtzmann's dual-weilding proton guns was one of the coolest action bits I've seen in a flick in years. And I’d like to point out that with the exception of Kate McKinnon, all the actresses were older than the original actors were in Ghostbusters ’84. That meant a lot to me, with my morbid fear of age-related feminine obsolescence.

And moreover, it’s going to mean a lot to kids. It might be an emotional rather than critical response. Bernie rather insightfully said it might be like Pacific Rim was for him-- a movie I found to be utterly ridiculous but he found a spiritual experience. But that means kids will feel it even more strongly. And not just little girls who are crying out for girl heroes. When I saw it, there was a little boy in the audience just down the row from me— LOSING HIS SHIT IN GLEE at every cool thing the ‘Busters did. It made me so happy. Not just for his infectious joy, but because it flew in the face of every asshole executive who ever declared that boys can’t be interested in or identify with girl heroes. As in_water_writ said, those are HIS Ghostbusters. For a whole new generation of kids, their Ghostbusters are women. And that makes it a blast despite any imperfection.

And I know I have terrible taste in music, but I actually like the new theme song cover. 😁
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In case you haven't caught my the summaries of my NEW SHOW DEBUTING THIS FALL ON HBFAUX, here are the first seven episodes of BRIDESMAIDS.



You'll notice most of the titles are based on rap songs. I'm going with that.

Episode 1.01 – “Maids 4 Lyfe” we meet the Bridesmaids on the day of the wedding, where wig envy, pink champagne, and the need to lean out the window catcalling groomsmen threatens to tear them apart. Will they be able to overcome their differences long enough to get the bride married and develop a friendship that will last a lifetime?

Episode 1.02 – “Maidin’ Ain’t Easy” - The burgeoning friendship between the ‘Maids is delicate still. Tanya’s insecurities are aggravated when she notices her dress is from a subtly different dye lot than the others girls’. Nancy’s constant wig switching makes the group question if they really know the real her. Hannah feels betrayed when Paulina eats all the cake. Claire’s side eye for their nonsense grows withering.

Episode 1.03, “The Friendship Rainbow” - Friendship is on the line when Tanya and Hannah discover that they were both pursuing the same side plot NPC in the monthly campaign larp. Paulina’s ruthless quest to always be the prettiest girl in the room, dammit, leads her down a dark path of bullying hairdressers and eating protein sludge. Cara puts on her Serious Scrotum-Crushing Heels when a man dares to go head to head with her for partner at the Business Firm. The ‘Maids learn an important lesson about diversity when Nancy points out that a main cast with one black girl and three out of five Italians for some reason is still pretty damn white.

Episode 1.04, “Bring the Girl Noise” - The ‘Maids have to talk Paulina down from a ledge when she is dumped by Julio, her circuit trainer/life coach/fen-phen connection. The girls are shocked when Tanya meets a one-eyed anarcho-communist lesbian with whom to experiment with alternative knitting patterns. A mysterious figure from Nancy’s past shows up and begins leaving decapitated dolls on her doorstep. Hannah sees a cute dog out and about and can’t shut up about it.

Episode 1.05 - “Bust a Maid” - Chaos ensures when Paulina is arrested for biting the neck of movie star Tuck Speedman (played by special guest star Chris Evans). Can the ‘Maids bust her out in time in time for her to stow away inside his suitcase? They girls encourage Tanya to tackle her intimacy issues by seducing the warden, while Nancy’s talent for knife fighting reveals another piece of her dark past.

Episode 1.06 - “Maid Tricks Playing on Me” - Nancy’s stalker escalates, leaving messages in Vaseline on her windows pleading alternatively for her love and for gum she’s chewed. Hannah locks herself in her closet until Mercury is out of retrograde and Cancer enters the fourth house. Claire must decide whether to keep dating her current boyfriend when she learns of his proclivity involving elbows and tapioca pudding. Tanya discovers her sophisticated new brunch friends are actually meeting as a front for their drug cartel.

Episode 1.07 - “Maids Coming Out at Night” - The ‘Maids are horrified to find that their so-called friend Corky Van Dyne (played by guest star John David) has made a porn movie based on their lives. Paulina is outraged that the actress playing her has a bigger bust and Claire has to stop her plot to puncture the woman’s implants. Tanya is terrified that Corky’s movie will reveal how she told him in confidence how she lost her virginity to a gator hunter on a fan boat. Hannah accidentally mixes up the DVD with the home movies she’d burned for her grandmother’s eightieth birthday. Nancy seduces the lead actor to sabotage the production, but breaks the number one rule of the porn world— no falling in love.
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Coming this fall to HBFaux, from hit producer Jenn Day…

Starring Nuance Bryant, Phoebe Roberts, Tori Bright, Cara Giorno, and Holly Bianchi, the hit new dramedy that all the ladies are talking about…

BRIDESMAIDS

Nancy (Bryant) is the life of the party, but her high spirits conceal the heartbreak within.

Paulina (Roberts) is so pretty she gets away with being mean. Will she ever learn it’s really what’s on the inside that counts?

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to outfox somebody with a brain like Tanya (Bright). It’s listening to her heart that’s the problem.

Claire’s (Giorno) got her career all locked up, but it’s her personal life that’s still on the loose.

Hannah (Bianchi) has wide eyes full of big dreams. Will she survive a dose of big city reality?

Together, they are BRIDESMAIDS. Catch it Tuesdays at 8/7c.

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We had another successful Festival of the Larps this past weekend, one of my favorite weekends of the year!

I ran my short silly Wodehouse-inspired game, Woodplum House, twice this weekend, and I was pretty happy with both runs. As always, as long as the players are laughing and silly, it's a success, and by that metric I was quite satisfied. I think the Saturday morning run was the highest-energy and most amusing runs ever. They latched on to the "presence haunting the house" plot in a really great way, and somebody even came up with the idea to hold a seance! I like that so much I'm going to write that into the character sheets. It's perfectly in character, suits the fashions of the 1920s time period, and gives great opportunity for humor and silliness.

There were a few challenges this time around. Some of the characters are technically gender-flexible, but had never actually run as anything but their originally conceived of gender, so I saw for the first time how that functioned. Some of course worked a bit better than others. The socialite is just as biting, but I think is more amusing as a lesbian than as a straight man. The raucous American heir from Texas is fine either way, though perhaps a bit weirder as a woman. The only real problem, as usual, was making sure I caught all the pronoun switches in the materials. Particularly for the solving of the mystery, which involves a logic puzzle, this can have important-in game consequences.

As usual, I spent a great deal of my game NPCing the prize pig, who is afflicted at game start with an unnamable porcine ennui. I have gotten quite good at laying on my side, squealing sadly to myself. Due to an unfortunate drop, I also ended up playing Cedric Tweed the valet on Sunday. I prefer the character to have a player, but it was a surprisingly functional role as a GMC-- given that the valet's job is to respond to people's needs and concerns, you can act the character and the game master role quite easily together.

So it required a bit of improvisation and messing about on my part, but I like seeing how I rise to the challenges presented by any given GMing condition. As long as I can keep my players having fun, it's a good test for my game running skills. I think I did okay. :-)

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