Justin does The Guild (Seasons 1 & 2)

“I like you guys the way you are… Cartoon characters who let me feel a sense of achievement in an imaginary world.”

The Scoop: 2007-2008, starring Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, Amy Okuda and Jeff Lewis

Summary Capsule: Six online guildmates meet up in real life, resulting in hilarious social awkwardness and MMO references

Justin’s Rating: +5 Sexterity

Justin’s Review: While you may have never heard of her, rest assured that a million geek guys strong have.  Who am I talking about?  Ms. Felicia Day, the bizarre conjunction of several nerdy properties — a gaming geek, a go-to actress for several Joss Whedon shows (Dr. Horrible, Buffy, Dollhouse), and a redhead.  Trust me, the ginger-haired thing is like the apex of a geek’s desire. Don’t ask me why.

Day became nigh-unstoppable with her 2007 webseries hit, The Guild, of which she wrote and took the center stage.  Drawing on her experience as a previous World of Warcraft addict, she constructed the tale of six gamers who are part of the same online role-playing game guild, but have never met together in real life.  Before now, that is.

These half-dozen guildies include:

  • Codex (Day) – A shy introvert who’s more liable to mumble passive-aggressive snark under her breath than confront things head-on.  Like the rest of the guild, Codex centers her life around the game.  At the start of the series, her idyllic and isolated existence is shattered by
  • Zaboo – An oversexed Indian kid who’s developed an unhealthy crush on Codex, to the point where he shows up on her doorstep and forces his way into cohabitation.  This, naturally, freaks out Codex, who calls the guild together for a real-life meeting.  They’re headed up by
  • Vork, who is described by Codex as a “fussy elderly lady with a penis”.  He’s the guild leader who’s part Spock, part homeless bum, and has the absolute best lines through the series.  He’s constantly vexed by the antics of
  • Bladezz, the guild rogue and immature jerk — the high schooler that everyone naturally hates in online games, and yet cannot be shut up for long.  His female counterpart is
  • Tinkerballa, a completely self-centered and manipulative girl who can barely stand the rest of them (which is why she’s always playing other games even when she’s gaming with them).  Rounding out the cast is the other female of the group
  • Clare, a spacey mom who fails every parenting and marriage test out there.

Both hour-long episodes don’t deal so much with the six in game, but how dysfunctional they are once they’re yanked out of the game by RL (that’s Real Life).  It’s amusing and somewhat awkward to see them try to cope with the world by defining it according to game mechanics and lingo.

Along with the Codex/Zaboo infatuation, the first episode deals with a betrayal from Bladezz, as well as Zaboo’s mother coming to fetch her boy.  As much as episode one feels very — how do I put this — webisodey, the second steps up in quality and delivers a more TV-like experience.  In it, Zaboo moves in with Vork and attempts to bond man-to-man; Codex develops a crush on her stuntman neighbor; Clare goes a little overboard with being alone all weekend; and Tinkerballa uses her feminine wiles to extort Bladezz for all he’s worth.

As much as this show’s been praised and cherished all over the internet, I have to say that it’s somewhere around “average” in terms of entertainment value.  Sure, it’s cool to see them touch on a niche of geekdom that isn’t often addressed on TV, but the jokes only work about half the time, as does the acting and plot.  The rest is a bit stilted and in need of more polish.  Then again, this really is just like seeing the first two episodes of a longer-running show, so how fair is it to judge it based on that alone?

Personally, I’d be happiest if they just jettisoned all the other characters, including Ms. Day, and had an all-Vork, all the time show.  The man is like six separate nerds that I know.

Left to right: Bladezz, Vork, Zaboo, Codex, Clare and Tinkerballa

Intermission!

  • Vork-tomino Bay sounds like an awesome place
  • Just how wrong Vork’s living conditions are
  • The Guild had a massive music video hit in 2009 with the song “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar”, which, at the time of this posting, had almost 8 million views on YouTube.  I gotta admit, it’s pretty catchy.

Groovy Quotes

Vork: Women.  Can’t live with them… they won’t go out with me.

Zaboo: Oops. I just dropped 8 gigs of ram down my pants.
Codex: Zaboo, it’s not going to work.

Codex: Um, so. Let’s say that you’re a puppy, and I’m finding you a new home. I don’t think I would leave you here.

Zaboo: Oh hey, babycakes? Don’t worry, you’re still my primary quest line.
Codex: *whimper*

Zaboo: Type high-five my brother!
Vork: Warning! Women in general are short term returns. They are not a suitable vehicle for long term investments. Also in my experience, very low drop rate. All I can say is, have fun grinding.

Vork: Why are you dressed like a harlet?

Tinkerballa: I like you guys the way you are… Cartoon characters who let me feel a sense of achievement in an imaginary world.

Zaboo: But I will honor your wishes and leave this questline unfinished. I guess my princess is in another castle.

Clara: I’ve been online for 48 hours straight. Humiliation is super funny to me right now.

Codex: I’m a strict [pause] theoretical vegetarian, so when I saw that guy fall down the stairs, most of me wanted to burst into tears and run in the opposite direction. But a tiny, tiny part of me was like, ‘Dude, I just pwned that guy!’

Zaboo: I tried wiping my pit sweat on her pillows for like a week. So clearly the pheromone route is a no-go.

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6 comments

  1. I’ve watched this as a webisode, and it seemed to work well for that. Some of it fell short, but all in all, it has been fun to see what would come in the next short. I’m not sure if that would hold up as well if you watch the full two seasons at one shot, though.

    Do You Wanna Date My Avatar is entertaining, though 🙂

  2. “Vork: Warning! Women in general are short term returns. They are not a suitable vehicle for long term investments. ”

    Not really. I myself consider women to be high return investments – only catch is to find the right one!

  3. What kind of movie is this? Is it like a “Popular” or “Glee” serial? I do not ever see this serial and I don’t know its story? Is this serial recommended to see?

  4. The show works as a web series, but not so much when you watch them all at once. Well, not exactly. It works if you watch them all at once, but online, clicking “next video” after each episode. Then it’ll have the feel of a full series. If you watch the DVD or on Netflix, it just feels like a couple episodes of a show that was quickly cancelled. But the show is a web series and a great one at that. I counter your underwhelming review with an enthusiastic recommendation.

    • I absolutely think it should be watched in installments rather than season chunks. I’ve loved The Guild from the beginning, back when I watched it on XBox Live and had to wait a week for the next installment, and I think it’s better suited to be watched that way. It’s a fantastic show, but I feel that it loses a lot when watching all the episodes together.

      Just because you can watch a whole season in thirty minutes doesn’t mean you should.

      I do agree with Justin about how amazing Vork is, though. I can’t imagine the show without him. I highly recommend everyone check out his other work, as well.

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