The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posted by Matt on February 1, 2010

Here’s my current dilemma: I have a series idea, see? I’ve been working on it for years now, and it has over that time slowly evolved into various things, although certain crucial elements have remained constant. I am at a critical point with it: at this time, I feel that its ideas are strong enough to run with and I could actually write it (although that barely ever happens, even with ideas I feel strongly about).

The problem is that there seems to be something off about it still. I do understand why this problem exists: essentially, while things have changed, ideas came and went, and structures differed, little bits and pieces from every iteration of the series remains, and it feels like a grab-bag of various ideas that don’t always work together, or make creating an internal logic for the thing difficult.

What it essentially started out as is a silly Simpsons-style comedy that a friend and I came up with. When he lost interest and I carried on with, it became a sort of repository for funny real-life stories and random jokes that I have accumulated over the years. Eventually, while some parts of the starting point were kept, stories and additional characters brought something supernatural to the setting of the show, although in a silly/surreal fashion. At first I embraced that, but then found that the logical ways that would pan out just didn’t jive with what I wanted to do. So things started to separate out a bit…my attempts to bring a sort of Venture Bros.-inspired aesthetic didn’t work out. Currently, a show that I see as a positive inspiration for it is The Mighty Boosh, but I still have the ‘wall’ in the show that separates the more mundane stuff from the weirder stuff. It often feels like I have two different things that have been crudely welded together.

I try to justify why there seems to be an inconsistent tone in the series to myself, but I’m not entirely convinced. The Simpsons oftentimes went in bizarre directions, although there still seemed to be a basic set of limitations that kept the whole thing grounded. The show could go from episodes about school science fairs and adultery to hallucinating space coyotes and becoming a world-famous barbershop quartet, and you could have jokes about talking dogs and escalators to nowhere, and it all felt like it was one coherent show nonetheless.

Some parts of my series feel like episodes of South Park (the main characters find problems in a regular area of life and end up meeting wacky characters in the process and reacting accordingly), others are super-grounded and based on weird, dark humour (the main characters are forced to stay in the same room while waiting out a heavy storm and slowly go insane; or, a character is maltreated and everything bad that could possibly happen to him does), and others are way out there (an entire story based on obscure Beach Boys trivia, parodies of Digimon and Nicky Fury, Agent of SHIELD, the fact that I have a Dr. Doom-inspired supervillain as a recurring character). I just feel that I need to develop these ideas a bit more before I can find a way to make them a coherent whole. I mean, it’s not impossible for such varying stories to be brought together, but I still feel I need to have more confidence in the thing before I really take the idea to the next next level.

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