I stumbled on The Guild a few years ago and was an instant fan. It’s a webseries created by Felicia Day that centers around the awkward and neurotic Cyd Sherman – a.k.a. Codex – and her online gaming “Guildies.” The six main characters play “The Game,” a knockoff of WoW, in their guild called The Knights of Good. All six of them are strange and messed up, yet form a deep and unlikely friendship. While The Game isn’t the main focus of The Guild, it’s the tie that binds the guildies together. Personally, I don’t do much online multiplayer and I prefer console gaming to PC, but I love The Guild.
Recently Hubbles and I found The Guild on Netflix, and of course I demanded that we watch it together. Can you believe that Hubbles was a Guild virgin? The series started in 2007, but he had never watched any of it! Never fear – Katy Bug has taken his Guild virginity, and the world is now a better place. It was awesome for me because I got the joy of rewatching The Guild with my Hubbles, who will now get my Guild quotes and references. And, since the show centers around a (fictional) video game, I can write on my game blog about all the reasons I love The Guild. Booya.
Reason 1: The Guild is really funny. That probably doesn’t need any elaboration. However, I should say that the first season is a little weak compared to the next five seasons. It has some great moments, but the writing and timing hit their stride in the second season. If you watch the first season and don’t feel like its your thing, keep watching anyway. The second and third seasons hit the ground running.
Reason 2: Video games. Duh. Obviously, I love video games. I play them a lot, and it’s awesome for a show as great as this one to put a game at its heart. Also, my gamer soul delights in seeing other gamers in media treated as complete human beings. I mean, the Knights of Good are definitely over-the-top and ridiculous, but their roles in The Guild extend beyond “jobless loser living in Mom’s basement who serves as a foil for the main character and occasional comic relief.” Granted, several of the Guildies have let The Game take over too much of their lives and they use it to escape confronting their real issues, but the story addresses that.
Reason 3: The gaming references are great… Most of the time. The Guildies often use gaming terminology in regular conversation. Sometimes the references feel forced or cheesy, but usually, they’re like the cherry on top of The Guild’s tasty sundae. Crap. That was an awful analogy. For one, I hate cherries. For two, it sounds creepily sexual. For three, I’m hungry.
Anyway! If you get the references, you’ll probably like them. If you don’t – I’m not an MMORPG player, so I certainly didn’t get all of them at first – it just adds to the show’s atmosphere. These characters play the game a lot, and it makes sense that the game terminology would spill over into real life. Be honest, now. How many of us have slipped out a LOL in real life conversation?
Reason 4: Diverse characters. There’s the obvious inclusion of an Indian (or a “Hin-jew,” as the half Indian, half Jewish Zaboo calls himself) and an Asian. What’s great about them is that the characters don’t feel forced and their presence isn’t an excuse for cheap or offensive racist jokes.
I wish that their backgrounds were explored a little more, but there’s only so much you can do in the typical five minute webseries episode.* However, I like how their respective ethnicities were neither swept under the rug nor used as a tacky excuse to not develop their characters. Zaboo and Tink aren’t boring, one-dimensional caricatures of Indians or Asians. They’re just some unusual people living their lives and playing a video game way too much. Plus, their character arcs make me happy deep down in my heart.
Besides them, you have the neurotic female lead, the incompetent housewife/stay at home mom, the horny, childish teenager, and the possibly autistic, cheapskate guild leader. Of those, I think Clara, the incompetent housewife/SAHM is my favorite. She’s utterly ridiculous and a terrible mom to boot, but she’s also hilarious and is played by the cutest human being over the age of 12. Seriously, go look at Robin Thorsen’s IMDB page and tell me she isn’t adorable. One thing I love about Clara’s portrayal is that, while she is overweight, her jokes don’t center around eating or being lazy – which brings me to my next reason.
Reason 5: The overweight character is a person, not a joke. It’s kind of sad that this even qualifies as a reason in this list, but that’s where we are with how overweight people are treated in media. Too often, overweight characters are only used for mean fat jokes. Not so in The Guild! Clara’s jokes boil down to her marriage, her terrible mothering skills, and the fact that she’s the ditzy one of the group. She’s so ditzy it’s painful, yet hysterically funny. There are a few jokes about Clara mindlessly eating, but they have nothing to do with her weight. She’s mindlessly eating because she’s pregnant. As she says: “My fetus made me do it.” I nearly laughed myself into a damn stroke when she said that.
Clara is funny because she’s funny – not because she’s the butt of tired, hurtful jokes. I cannot say how much I appreciate that. What’s more, she’s confident. She’s even in a pole dancing class: “I have to stay nimble! How do you think I had three kids in three years?” Yeah, Clara sums it up better than I can. I wish more movies and TV shows would take a hint from The Guild and not use overweight characters for cheap laughs. Yes, being overweight is bad for your health (although everyone’s ideal weight is different), but overweight people are still people. Let’s treat them as such, yes?
Reason 6: Incredible, quoteable one-liners. I could post pages and pages of some of The Guild’s great quotes, but you could also watch the show. One of my personal favorites is when Vork yells “Aneurism!” because I really say things like that when something irritates me. Here’s my favorite quote from season one:
“You can’t be confident and bald?” – Codex
“Um, your scalp is out all the time.” – Clara
And that’s why I love The Guild. In over 1000 words. Apparently I like this show a lot more than I thought I did. Seriously, you should watch it. If you don’t, I will be very disappointed. If you’ve already watched it, did you like it? Do you agree with my reasons above?
*Luckily there are some Guild comics that might help with that! I haven’t read them yet so I can’t say if they’re any good. I plan to get them whenever my finances allow, but that might take awhile. In any case, a “season 0” of The Guild sounds pretty awesome. Have you read them? Are they good?