My brother and I used to add stuff to our coloring books for laughs. Here’s a selection of pages we changed that were remotely funny. Right-click each page for full size.
Sis-in-law got involved when we got the Super Doodles book.
Several Julie-related updates this week. First, Julie C.O.P.S. Out (Series 2, Ep 3) got a significant revision: turns out Tre-Harr finished his fanfic after all, so I got to add more material and more riffs to that episode.
Second, Episode 17, Psychological Swiller, is finally uploaded, and involves more Owlfeather Academy alumni engaging in magical shenanigans. Roasting on the stake this time is a relatively reknowned creepypasta called Psychologist, by CrashingCymbal. I haven’t read his other creepypastas, but given how he was a Writer’s Lounge interviewee at the Creepypasta Wiki, I sincerely hope they’re better than this one.
You may also have noticed the new banner, which also features Jules. Apparently she has a great agent.
Hope Ep 17 was worth the wait to all three of you who actually read this webseries. Click the Fan-Friction tab and get reading!
However it was around this time that Stephen started acting strangely.
It was nothing too major. Hell, back then I didn’t even see it as a problem. He started growing a huge interest in Psychology. The study of the human brain of course.
>FURY: (narrator) Meanwhile I developed a keen interest in the Obvious.
I still stand by my claim that I know how best to riff bad fiction in a way that at least approaches entertaining. It’s probably the only thing I can brag about with confidence, which is pretty sad given that this is a dead art most people don’t even know how to read anymore. Every time I see other people trying to do MST’s, riffs, sporkings, or whatever you wanna call them, they break the following rules:
– Avoid bad gag delivery. Brevity is the soul of wit, but people have to get the metaphors and references you’re using, too. The gag also should try to relate to what’s going on as often as possible, not be completely random every time.
– Structure the riff for easy reading. Separate the riffs from the narrative so it is obvious at a glance when you’re interjecting.
– Don’t riff too often. Give the readers time to digest the awfulness of the story themselves, so they can then appreciate a clever joke at the story’s expense. If you riff too often, it’s easy for the reader to lose his/her place in the narrative, and eventually they’re not sure what’s going on in the story because there are too many jokes breaking it into pieces. It’s okay to riff every line for the first draft, but you then need to go back and cut out all but the best gags. Das Sporking users violate this one constantly with their riffs: every single gag is an in-depth essay about what’s wrong with the story (and an unfunny one, too).
– Without context, it’s a drag to read. I don’t want to read a story riff if I don’t know who’s riffing and why. Mystery Science Theater partly worked because it wasn’t purely making fun of bad movies: there was context to the situation. The characters were stranded on a satellite, and forced to suffer through the movies FOR SCIENCE. Each character had a distinct personality and favored certain kinds of gags. Fanfic MST’s used to do the same thing: they’d open with “host segments” just like MST3k to introduce the riffers that the reader will be suffering through the story with. It’s more fun when the riffers are distinguishable characters rather than a disembodied voice poking fun at a story. If the story and riffs somehow tie in with the host segment, even better!
– Remember that it’s all in good fun, and also for the sake of criticism and encouraging people to raise their standards. Try to minimize personal attacks on the authors themselves (unless you think of a really funny one).
– Don’t riff good stories, or stories that are deliberately bad. The whole point is to poke fun at genuine ineptitude, in order to encourage others to try harder when they write. Making fun of good fiction is just an exercise in masturbation. Making fun of deliberately bad fiction is pointless, because it makes fun of itself already. That would be like doing a Rifftrax of Sharknado (oh, wait, they did that already…sigh…).
– Proofread and edit your damn work! Don’t upload a riff the day you write it: quality over quantity. You should be taking the time and effort to refine your gags just like you would anything else. You might think of a better gag as you edit, or a better delivery for an existing gag. One episode of Fan-Friction ususally takes me at least two weeks.
Two new episodes are finally up: Noh Pain, Noh Gain takes Arnold to Japan in search of a legendary sword, and forces him to choke down the terrible creepypasta Wendigo of the Hurricane, by 1dra7. Then in Failbreak, he’s reunited with femme fatale Bonny, who is used as a pawn in a scheme that might just destroy the DIS, unless he can stomach the dreaded Sesame Street/Twilight crossover A Crazy Furry Hell, by TwilightCullenLvr9 & Angelnlove52. It’s a double-dose of internet pain, Fan-Friction style!
“Uhhh…Edvard, vut is she? She doesn’t get picked up on my vampire radar,” the count explained as he looked back at me with confusion written all over his little purple, Styrofoam-looking face. I snorted as Alice explained that I was have vampire.
>ARNOLD: You mean “I can HAS vampire.” Learn to meme!
The latest episode, Going Mentalist, is finally done. Hope it was worth the wait (ha-ha, like anyone’s waiting for any of these). It features another My Little Pony fanfic: It Takes A Village, by Determamfidd. Check it out!
I was struggling to finish this episode and at least two others at the same time, to see which one got to be #14: sometimes I get swamped with other projects, or I’m just not sure where to go with a particular plot until I take an extended break from it. Hopefully the next one won’t take quite so long to finish.
Spike sat motionlessly for a while, his heart in his feet.
>MARILYN: (narrator) –his balls in his throat, his brain dangling down where his balls once were. God knows where his spleen went.
Two new episodes got posted today, featuring a stinky C.O.P.S. fanfic by Ter-Harr and the equally stinky creepypasta, The Miners. It’s Two-For-One Day here at Dead-End Solutions!
You can also get a print version of Series 1 on lulu.com (for the moment anyway). It’s a nonprofit project done purely for fun (and free promotion for the featured fanfic/pasta authors, who are listed on the back cover and title page). I designed a fun cover for the book based on Episode 2. Go to the Fan-Friction page to check it out while it’s still available!
“Nobody knows why it stopped or what they were, but the townsfolk started referring to them as The Miners.” found something similar in Native American mythology. Go ahead, I have got the page marked.” I turned to page 67 as the book instructed and saw a black and white photograph of a grayish figure on all fours with its arms around its legs and staring in an intimidating pose. The page on these things was very short and to the point:
>FURY: “‘Alien Lemur Startled While Taking A Shit,’ clay sculpture, 1898.”
Ep 11 is now available for download, featuring a riff of “NoEnd House,” a popular creepypasta.
The adventure segment got a little goofier than usual, but I blame the source material. For some reason it’s tougher riffing creepypasta than it is fan fiction, but I’m not sure why. The plus side to doing pastas over fanfics is that pastas are usually one-shots, not 28-chapter monsters.
Room four was dark, but it didn’t come close to what was completely engulfing me. I wasn’t even sure if I was falling after a while. I felt weightless, covered in dark. Then a deep sadness came over me. I felt lost, depressed, and suicidal. The sight of my parents entered my mind. I knew it wasn’t real, but I had seen it and the mind has trouble differentiating between what is real and what isn’t. The sadness only deepened.
>AEGAEON: Maybe I was too harsh on this story. Maybe it was a writing experiment, like “tell a story without metaphor or pathos.”
>RHODES: Somebody should’ve told him to tell a story without WORDS.
Greetings, fellow riffers! I’ve restructured the Fan-Friction page and capped off the official first “season” of the series, since The Continuity Continuum felt like a good finale. Season 1: Arnold Odyssey feels pretty complete now, since it’s comprised of the original 4 (re-vamped) episodes and the new episodes that resulted from the series revival (including the two crossovers and the introduction of creepypasta riffs).
Season 2 has officially begun with a 64-page special featuring the ungodly huge One Direction fanfic “Unexpected Fate” by TuxedoNails, counted among the highest-rated 1D fics on the ‘net apparently. I had no idea boy bands had fan-fiction, let alone fanfic communities, so I couldn’t pass it up. Turns out there’s even fanfic communities that are so exclusive you can’t even read the fics, let alone post them, unless you’re a member. Kind of mind-boggling.
I have a bunch of stuff queued up for this season, including more creepypastas, so I hope you nice readers will stick around (all three of you).
During the internet fanfiction boom of the 90’s, doing Mystery Science Theater versions of bad fanfics was a relatively popular thing: it wasn’t uncommon to visit a favorite fanfiction emporium and find “MSTs” as one of the genres. “Lemon” fics — AKA fanfic erotica — were the favorite targets, since they were almost always the worst of the worst, combining tasteless content, asinine plots, annoying characters, and incompetent rhetoric into a rancid, godawful package.
Lampooning bad fanfics was a fun humor-writing exercise — taking something truly terrible and making it funny — but it was hard to pull off. Sometimes you’d luck out and find an MST’er who was actually funny (Loden Taylor’s “Escher” series inspired me to do MST’s in the first place, and fellow riffer Karthesios became a longtime friend of mine), but the vast majority of fanfic MST’s were painfully unfunny… especially to the original authors. It wasn’t long before author complaints began to pour in, and fanfic sites all over the web began to forbid MSTs altogether in their site rules. As quickly as it’d proven popular, the art of MST’ing basically died off, reduced to small communities skulking in obscure corners of the internet.
So why the hell would I continue to do it? Because an MST’er is ultimately a critic: one who feels obligated to pick apart bad internet fiction in an era where “crap” is the standard for too many readers and authors. And because I wanna have a little fun and express myself while doing so.
My early efforts, called Mike’s Desk Theater, followed the typical fanfic MST structure: a framing device which introduced the riffers and established why they had to riff bad fanfiction; and the fanfic riff itself, which was the bulk of the episode. A few years later I tried doing fanfic MST’s again, but they were outlawed by this time and I didn’t have anyplace to upload them. This new run of MST’s was called Fan-Friction, and unlike Mike’s Desk Theater, it was funny rather than tiresome. Fan-Friction took a unique approach to the MST format by introducing the fanfic(s) in a different way each episode: one episode the fanfic is a method of brainwashing, the next a means of coding an important message. I only wrote four full episodes before retiring from the hobby again for a decade.
I recently returned to Fan-Friction while between serious projects, to remaster the old episodes and write new ones: new riffs bookended with newer, better framing devices. All of them are as amusing to new readers as they are offensive to the original authors. I hope Arnold and the gang bring you lots of laughs, if not a bit of nostalgia for the good ol’ days when publicly mocking terrible fanfics was acceptable behavior.