Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rebuilding Elmer Studios – Tsuneo

In some ways, Tsuneo was the least problematic of the main cast. He had a well-defined role, he had a well-defined personality and he definitely had provided us with a lot of good material. In many ways, he would be the least changed of them, but still required some work.

What worked?
Tsuneo at heart was a fanboy, albeit a smart one. He was the one who liked a series for its themes and concepts and bigger ideas, not because it was full of, say, giant robots blowing stuff up. He also had a nice thing going where he would be a fan of the obscure, the off-beat and the alternative, stuff that might not be easily recongised and, as such, provided an opportunity to do some jokes that wouldn’t work otherwise; his love of Brain Powerd being a very good example.

Likewise, his tendency to get easily riled worked well for us, with Tsuneo’s rants becoming the stuff of legend and running gags. Many times he would explode outright, which lead to extreme measures to get him under control. Other time, he would be the opposite, acting as the voice of reason and the mature one (despite being the second youngest of the cast), helping reign in the others when they went nuts or were veering wildly off-course. “Don’t go there” was as much a catchphrase as many others.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Episode 204 - Rebuild of DELTA, part three

Episode 204: Rebuild of DELTA, part three

Once again, the girls are rendered useless while Tom gets to do all the awesome cool stuff.

There is an inherent dichotomy to DELTA Invasion, one that becomes no more apparent then in the third chapter. This chapter features not one but two of the series acclaimed battle sequences, both of them loopy and incoherent messes that read more like pro-wrestling bouts interspersed with explosions and ludicrous gibs that exist mainly to make Tom look good. They’re nonsensical, defying all laws of time, space and reality and make for such terrible reads that you wish they were over. But then you get to the attempts at characterisation, which are not only shallow and stilted, but also are largely nonsense that exits only to make Tom look good. They’re so drawn-out and pointless, that you wish that the fic would get to a fight scene. See?

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tataeo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R

Rebuilding Elmer Studios – Dan

Much like Rick, Dan represented a challenge for us. However, in his case it was a different one. Whereas Rick had struggled with connection and relevance, Dan had, by comparison, had problems with definition and role.

Dan was the “youngest” of the cast at launch, his game having only just ended shortly before the first MSTings began.

What Worked?
At his core, Dan was a bit of a loudmouth, a bit of a jerk, a bit of an idiot and a lot of a horny letch. That much had worked well for us, giving him a strong personality profile and a good base to work from, albeit one that was not being properly used. Likewise, he had a strong background, maybe the strongest of the team, although again it was not being well utilized in our MSTings. His evil twin sister also provided us with some good material, and not just from doing one guest spot. All up, Dan had some great ideas and background.

The other one that had worked fantastically was his prior relationship with Rebecca and their shared mutual antagonism. The pair of them playing off each other, taking shots back and forth and trying to get whatever advantage they could had proven to be a goldmine that we used throughout the entire run. The intensity of this hatred waxed and waned – on a couple of occasions, Dan even tried being nice to her – but never let up.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trolled by Imperial Order

From Hero Games Book of the Empress, we have what is either a hillarious coincidence or some brilliant trolling:

There you have it. Invadors come from another dimension!

Episode 203 - Transformers: Prime Directive #1

Episode 203: Transformers: Prime Directive #1

When a comic is called Transformers, features Transformers on the cover and half of the dialogue is variations on the word “transform”, then not actually featuring any Transformers doesn’t make it clever. It makes you look stupid. And certainly after slogging through six thousand pages of Mr Lazarus spouting Anime Villain Clichés, you’ll feel stupid as well. A professionally written and published comic book, this still feels like somebody’s bad fanfic gone rouge. Features a last page twist that isn’t even a twist!

This MSTing was actually begun as a “classic” Elmer Studios MSTing, then abandoned. That’s right; it’s taken ten years to get here, and yet that’s still a better workrate then Pat Lee manages

Riffers: Rebecca Bartley, Natasha Isavia, Matt Simmons and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Rick R

Rebuilding Elmer Studios - Rick

When we began the “Rebuild” process, we took a look at each character to decide what worked, what didn’t work, what needed to be changed and what could be improved. As much as we wanted to modernize, clean up and improve, we also wanted to keep the fundamentals of what made the characters themselves intact. The result became something of a balancing act between the old and the new.

And in many ways, Rick represented the biggest challenge.

What worked?
Rick was the “oldest” of the three, having made his debut in 1994-1995 or something. In many ways, he was older then that, as I’d been using the name “Rick R. Mortis” or variations thereof for years before that. The initial premise was that he would be the “everyman” of the team, one that would be the most ‘normal’ and relatable of them. He became something of an anchor between Dan’s idiot slackerness, Rebecca’s trigger-happy menace and Tsuneo’s all too easy fanboy rages.

Instead, he would sit back, relax, take it easy, not get too worked up over things and generally have fun at laughing at the fic. He was the voice of reason, the sane one, the guy who could say “it’s just a bad fanfic, not like it’s the end of the world or the like” while everyone was about to have their heads explode. It was those traits that made him useful, especially in the particularly nonsense or bad fics.

Finally, Rick’s “struggling comic book writer/artist” thing gave us a lot of material to work with; its something that got stronger over time as we used it more and more often.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Episode 202 - Rebuild of DELTA, part two

Episode 202: Rebuild of DELTA, part two

I think they’re the product of a five-year-old describing things to his comic artist brother

What could be more exciting then Tom Dyron cooking breakfast? How about Tom Dyron cheating on a maths test? Or Tom Dyron ordering at an Italian restaurant? Or Tom Dyron talking about his motorcycles? Or Tom Dyron playing basketball? Oh, all right, if you insist we’ll have an attack by enigmatic alien creatures and the revelation of their unusual nature, but really, that’s not why I read Evangelion fanfic. I read it for the gripping menu-reading action. You should too.

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tataeo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rebuilding Elmer Studios

So, why the rebuild?

There are a number of reasons, but the core of it came down to this: DELTA Invasion is my favourite bad fanfic, a fact that you’re probably aware of if you’ve been reading this Blog (Or have known me for the last decade or so). Our MSTings of DELTA Invasion were considered classics and some of our best material. Hell, the thing got its own damn TV Tropes page.

However, for all that, the MSTigns have not aged well. In general, it came down to three things – 1) References that, while contemporary and/or witty at the time now were meaningless or cringingly backwards. 2) Stuff that I thought was funny over a decade ago but now was cringe-inducingly bad and 3) References to other Fanfics and MSTings, both Elmer Studios ones and others that made no sense out of context. This last one was particularly difficult as it relied upon communities or individuals that were no longer in existence or had vanished from the face of the interweb.

This was the seed of the “Rebuild” of DELTA. To take the best of the old and rebuild it with new stuff that a) Hopefully wouldn’t age as badly b) wouldn’t be as crap and c) wouldn’t rely on assumed knowledge. However, to do this, one very big step had to be taken.

Rick R's fiction blog

After Rick quit making fun of bad fanfic, he began writing his own bad fanfic. Go figure.

Anyways, I'm putting together an archive of my stuff, as well as some general ramblings and bumf. Go take a look if you're interested

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Episode 201 - Rebuild of DELTA, part one

Episode 201: Rebuild of DELTA, part one

How bad can it be?

In a moment that is both alien and strangely familiar, previous continuity is disregarded in favour of going running of wildly in some nonsensical direction. Instead of a bunch of intellectual themes and concepts and such that the source material was all about, we instead get a fic that is centered on two things. The first is the need for gratuitous over the top violence (and more explosions then Michael Bay on speed), and the second is, of course, the presence of an omnipotent self-insertion character to stomp all over the cast and be the center of the universe. Features Instant Parental Angst and special guest dialogue by Tommy Weisau!

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tataeo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rick R's "bottom six" best worst fics

I’ve read a lot of badfic. Gord alone knows how much, but… lots. But even amongst all that crap, there’s a few that stick out and have strange soft spots in my heart. So here are my top (or bottom) “best worst” fics. All of them are available at the Elmer Studios Archive for your “pleasure”.

(dis)Honourable Mention: The Dark Spiner
Had Elmer Studios still been in the MSTing business c2003, then this one would have been in the lineup. It’s your basic idiotic, horribly over-powered, centre of the universe Gary Stu (Who shares their name with the author, no less!) in a loopy, incoherent fic that isn’t so much read as it’s shouted at you by your monitor. Added to that, it somehow became the sort of fanon that gets mistaken for canon by idiots, which only increases the suck.

(dis)Honourable Mention: Robotech Sentinels Rubicon
Sentinels Rubicon isn’t a fanfic, but rather it’s a professionally published comic. Yet, it manages to reach levels of stupid and crap that makes some of the worst fanfic you’ve ever read seem professional by comparison. It manages to be bad on every level; bad art, bad writing, bad chracterisation, bad plot, bad inking, bad toning, bad lettering and even bad staples. And then when you go behind the scenes and realize the sheer levels of BS that went into the creation of the comic, it gets even worse.

On the other hand, it gave me the White Light Of EEEEE, so I can’t fully hate it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Old Conflicts Renewed

Bonus Continuity Theater: Old Conflicts Renewed

At least I have a life outside this fic. You were created to be spanked.

What’s like an Elmer Studios MSTing, but isn’t? How about a MSTing by the former Elmer Studios crew in the style of Elmer Studios using many of the running gags from Elmer Studios in the format for Elmer Studios. Something like that?

Written for a now-defunct Zoids fanfic bitching community c2005, Old Conflicts Renewed was an MSTing of an infamously bad Zoid fic (Well, infamously bad within that Fandom, for what it's worth) that had managed to somehow become fanon within the fandom – specifically, the vile sort of fanon that is mistaken for canon by idiots and, as such, leads to a generation of self-replicating errors within subsequent generations of badfics. Yeah, that sort. That it’s about an unbearable god-boy who walks all over the canon cast while demonstrating no knowledge of grammar, structure, punctuation, dialogue, spelling, descriptive prose or, even, the English language makes it just that much more awful. Sound familiar?

I will admit straight up that the MSTing is rather in-jokey, not only to the Zoids fandom but, specifically, the community for which it was written. However, at the same time, there’s still plenty of good stuff to be had here. And, if you look very carefully (well, not really), you’ll find an old reference or two. Or seventy.

Riffers: Sandra Blackmore (Not the one you're thinking of), Tasch Storemer, Christina McCade, Tara Squamanta
Written by: Zogster and Rick R; guest riffs by Koobine

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Wandering Star Saga, Part Two

Episode 151: The Wandering Star Saga, Part Two (incomplete)

Just to reiterate the point, Krokojam is also an idiot.

And now, from the very depths of Rick R’s mail archives comes the lost Episode 151. Unfortunately, what was originally intended to be either a grand finale or an epic re-launch (the jury was still out on that) got way-laid by real life and other such minor inconveniences. Consequently, it was never completed beyond an initial run of riffs and some fragmentary host segments before all work was

However, all was not lost. The draft would shuffle between different e-mail accounts for several years before being rediscovered and, for the first time ever, released to the public. And, while it is rather painfully incomplete, there’s still certainly some good stuff to be had here. So sit back and enjoy the missing episode 151. Who knows, there may still be more to come.

Riffers: Lightspeed, Sel Magyari, Alistair Woof Growl-Yip, Rick R. Morris
Written by: Zogster and Rick R

The return of Elmer Studios

Back in the wild, heady days of the 1990s, one of the "Big Things" was MSTings. A cultural phenomena of the early days of the internets, MSTings of fanfic and other material, inspired by Mystery Science Theater 3000, was a big thing. In short order, zillions of MSTers were leaping at the burgeoning fanfic "industry" providing laughs and "alternative criticism" based not only on the original MST3K cast of Mike/Joel and the Bots, but also using their own original characters, settings and situations.

Elmer Studios was one of those groups. And I'm one of the people from Elmer Studios. Hi! I'm the "Rick R." half of it, who had a hand in 150 151 MSTings as well as a wealth of other material and side stories.

For a while, it was a hell of a lot of fun. Relentless mockery and laughs at some of the epic badness out there was amusing. The combination of community and entertainment was driving and encouraging, as well as the never-ending "I cannot believe something could be this bad" level of bile fascination that sent us looking for more. Along the way we made friends, created running gags, discovered some epic badness and maybe, just maybe, launched an internet legend or two. Fun times.

But then, real life happened.

For the Elmer Studios team, it became a hard truth. Jobs, changing schedules, lack of free time and other such matters took their toll. The riffers were struggling to find time and energy to work, which resulted in a slowdown and eventually a halt. Projects were abandoned and left unfinished by the roadside, vanishing into the depths of e-mail archives and dead hard disks. With the imminent demise of Geocities, it seemed like Elmer Studios would simply vanish into internet history.

It didn’t. One thoroughly awesome guy took it upon himself to archive the entire content of the site, preserving it for all time. Likewise, the memories of certain fanfics would never dim.

And then, inspired by these things as well as a particularly silly conversation, a pair of MSTers decided “let’s get back into the game”. What became a single idle thought quickly snowballed into a whole new MSTing, with plans for a lot, lot more.

This Blog will be used to post new MSTings as well as host other information and the occasional ramblings of one (or both) of the writers. It's also a handy place if you have comments, questions, feedback or general jeffs. You can also e-mail us at elmerstudios00 (at) as well.

It's good to be back.