The Calgary Expo is just around the corner and many stars and creators will be heading there. One of them is Felicia Day. Don’t know who she is? Well, you may remember her from major TV cult shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and House. If you are a gamer, you might have heard her voice in Dragon Age 2 and Fallout: Las Vegas. Without the cult following of her costars had, Day took to the internet, probably one of the wisest decisions she has ever made. First, Joss Whedon had her singing alongside Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillon in the online musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing along Blog. Her cult following really stared to grow with The Guild; an online series about the lives of gamers.
A real life gamer herself, Day plays Codex, an obsessed gamer. As the episode begins, she is in a rut. As she explains in a video log, she’s unemployed, hasn’t left the house in a week and her therapist just broke up with her. Each episode begins with a brief vlog from Codex, discussing her life as it is now. She also confides, “There’s a gnome warlock living in my living room, sleeping on my couch.” We are about to learn how this happened.
Cut to the moment her therapist breaks up with her, accusing her of not working on her gaming addiction. Not helping matters is the fact that she’s playing an online game as they argue. Codex is adorkablility before it was a thing. Created and written by Day, these opening scenes reveal a gawky charm in her’s performance. She also displays a comedic touch in her deliveries like: “Dr. Hammond, you’re killing me literally.”
The gaming is never seen, but we can assume the game is along the lines of World of Warcraft. We only see the gamers. If it was just Codex it would have been enough but Day surrounds herself with a small group of oddballs, creating a small community. Like Day, these actors have appeared in major shows including Community, Glee and Parks and Recreation but were never given memorable roles. The Guild allows them to shine in their own way, each unique in character and performance. There’s Bladezz (Vincent Caso), a slacker horn dog and Tinkerbella (Amy Ohuda), a teenage girl. Though entertaining characters, they are the most stereotypical and least interesting of the characters even though Tinkerbella delivers the funniest line in the premiere: “I’m being raped by trolls and you’re standing there with a stick up your ass.”
The most original characters are Vork (Jeff Lewis) and Clara (Robin Thorsen). On the surface, Vork seems like a monotone attorney. But in a later episode, we see his personal life, living off the grid and playing online. Basically living in his neighbour’s shack and mooching off his Wi-Fi. The funniest character is Clara, the only character who uses her own name. She is a neglectful mother, preferring to spend hours playing online games while ignoring her children. But once her super nanny leaves her again, she has to take care of her children. Instead, she continues to game on. She should be hated for being a terrible mother. But she is so innocent in her oblivion that it’s downright funny. She tells her two-year-old twins “Tomorrow, I’m teaching you how to use the microwave.” She’s the female equivalent to Homer Simpson.
And the gnome warlock Codex was talking about? He is actually Zaboo (Sadeep Parikh), a non-magical, sheltered momma’s boy. The episode ends with Zaboo at Codex’s door, convinced she is in love with him. The episode is only three minutes long. In fact, a whole season is about an hour long and seems more like an episode. It is a tale of a group forming a bond outside of gaming and applying gaming techniques in everyday life, especially when facing Zaboo’s overbearing mother.
Online shows have opened new opportunities for artists. Here is a place for complete creative freedom. With low budgets and no production interference, it is a creativity breeding ground. With no time limit, shows can be as long as the creator wants. Finally, there is an endless possibility of fans waiting for shows. With comments, creators can communicate with fans directly. The Guild is proof there is a fan base for online shows and they can be a home for well written, comedic slice of life stories.