Guild Musings: Musing #2: Chat channels and wifi
For Better or Worse: The Knights of Good
The third episode of The Guild, the plot hinges on Codex’s inability to bring the Knights of Good back together. Codex (Felicia Day) cautiously and politely asks the Axis of Anarchy (the rival, evil group headed by Wil Wheaton), if they could get Tinkerballa (Amy Okuda) back. The Axis of Anarchy smell an intruder in their midst and then verbally assault Codex with all manner of f-bombs and snark. Wil Wheaton snarked at Codex by quoting Ayn Rand. Considering Rand’s philosophy of utopian selfishness precipitated our current economic unpleasantness, my money is on the Knights of Good.
Meet the Villains: The Axis of Anarchy
The humor from the episode comes from understanding the media conventions of this webisode. As opposed to genre conventions, media conventions relate to how the media itself is used in reference to the narrative. Nearly the entire episode takes place in a “chat channel.” MMORPG players will talk to each other in real time when they use this “channel”. When the characters chat in the “channel,” the speak into their microphones and look at their computer screens. By extension, they are talking to and look at us, the audience.
The scene becomes comedic genius when Vork, with his beat-up van as a mobile headquarters, steals wifi from a local fast food joint. Holding up the drive-in lane, he attempts to use his diplomatic skills as Guildmaster.
While all the members of the Knights of Good have their social quirks, Vork stands out, with his passionate combination of assertive micromanaging and living in seclusion like Howard Hughes. Vork, harassed by impatient customers, orders fifty straws and twenty ketchup packets. (Since he lived in his grandfather’s house, mooching off the Social Security benefits, Vork’s lifestyle is one of seclusion and economic austerity.)
The episode concludes with Codex unsuccessful in bringing the Knights of Good back together. However, Tinkerballa, the Ranger, may not be lost for good. As an experienced back-stabber and “with the maternal instincts of a chipper shredder”, she may have ulterior motives.
The Guild continues to impress with its understanding of the media informing the comedy.