Meta characters

Posted: February 15, 2012 in Reading, Writing

There are times where I intensely enjoy when things get all meta. A lot of times that’s just when things make obscure references only uber fans and/or nerds will notice. It’s easiest to notice this with TV. Family Guy has done this practically since day one. Simpsons does this all the time now that they’re on the cusp of their 500th episode. Just look at the opening that they revamped a season or two back? Tomacco juice? That’s a 13 year old reference. That appeared in one episode. I’ve see them all so I can personally vouch for that one. Watch the trailer for the new G.I. Joe movie or Bayformers. I make all these nerdy references ’cause I’m a nerd and those are the ones I get, but I’m sure they exist in any genre. Why wouldn’t a creator of any media not want to make the fans happy?

Another, less seen aspect of metaness is when characters break out of their piece of media into another one. Sounds odd when I put it in a sentence, but holy hell it’s cool. Going back to Simpsons again, there’s an episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio where the whole voice acting cast is interviewed and they do a stretch in character.

I hear you now, “Aren’t you supposed to talk about books and whatnot?”

I’m all about the whatnot. Anyone else read the books of Sam Sykes? You should. There’s much awesome and stabbing and really gritty fantasy. Even if you’re not familiar with his books, go check out his newest blog entry. He solicited questions for a relationship advise Q and A with his characters. It has been one of the most amazeballs blog entries I’ve read in a long time. Seriously. Read it then come back. Right now. You’re not doing it fast enough!

Back now? Good, cause I still have a few words to type.

Part of why I find this wonderful is my philosophy on entertainment. Paraphrasing a quote by Gabe Newell, one of the founders of the legendary video game company Valve, on why they still update and support their old games, “We provide entertainment as a service.” It stuck with me even though the Game Informer that printed it accidentally got thrown away a long time ago. If there’s a book I like, why wouldn’t I want to do more with it? Movies have been doing this for ever with toys and games. TV and cartoons have done the same just as long. Video games are catching on with tie in novels that are actually good now. I like maps and logos and pictures and such and I’m glad that the internet is letting the awesome world of extras is coming to my bookshelf. (check out this extra too by Myke Cole) It’s the kind of thing I doodle and plot about when I’m writing my own stuff. I’ve got ship logos and family crests for the characters in my novel and once when I was being particularly unproductive, I wrote a brief letter where the main character yelled at me for being unproductive. Which was weirdly motivating.

So an epic high five to Sam Sykes and more specifically to Kataria and Denaos.

  1. Mark says:

    I enjoyed you thoughts, so I give you a hug on one side and then another one on the other side to make it even

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