Sarcastic Voyage - Contentment Corner - season 3

Annotations

Season 3, episode 1: “Myriad”

• A lot of the reason I'd kept Contentment Corner set in the past was so that I could tell stories that couldn't easily be solved with cell phones and the Internet. But it also felt like it was time to start telling some stories in the present day... if for no other reason, so that I could make contemporary references. Falcon Crest and 90210 were great, but there's so much on TV now that's practically begging to be parodied.

• The title of this episode is a synonym for the word “legion,” which is the primary reference we're making with this one. A lot of people really loved that show. I personally did not.

• Making Tron aware that he was in an interconnected world of sketches, radio plays and serials gave me access to the entirety of the SV canon, which... on the one hand was a bit self-indulgent, even by my standards. But on the other hand, it meant that I'd be able to revisit a lot of material that I was pretty happy with.

• I love this horrible reorchestration of the title theme.

• There's also a lot of Riverdale in Tron — specifically Jughead's esoteric film school wannabe voiceovers. I watched that show ostensibly for research for CC, but how do you parody a show that's already effectively a parody of itself?

• Tron's millennial speak gave me a bit of trouble, but I was fairly pleased with it in this episode. I also completely blew my wad in this episode and it gradually became a back burner thing since I didn't want to just keep repeating myself.

• Nicole is so good as “bad girl” Tanda St. Corby. (Tanda, incidentally, is one of my more terrible character names — it spells T AND A.)

• The rhythm of this scene with Ghost Ravina, Tanda, Tron and the principal turned out really well, I thought. (It turns out that Ravina's actually not dead... and now that the show's over, it's too late to either correct or clarify that. We'll just go ahead and call that an Actual Documented Mistake on my part.)

• Lexington Park is actually the horrible small town in which I (and Bob, who plays Tron) grew up. There's a lot of that horrible small town in this wonderful small town. But it still pleased me to kill off someone — even off-mic — with that name.

• Broyce and Kevin turned out kinda sad... which is something we will revisit in detail in our next episode.

• Kara did a fantastic job of vocally morphing from Dr. Minofen into Zyzzyx.

• Being in the present also allowed me to make references like this one to Kylo Ren with Gart. I was quite pleased with that.

• Someone has indeed been watching Twin Peaks. There's a lot of 2017's season 3 in the first part of this season — for better (the earlier references) and worse (the later ones).

• Sheriff Magma was meant to be based on a contemporary show that I'm quite fond of — Fargo — but unfortunately he never entirely gelled for me. This is entirely my fault and not Brian's, who still managed to do a pretty great job with what I gave him.

• I hate stories where mentally ill people throw away their medication because it's somehow bad for them. Proper medication is an essential part of the treatment of mental disorders. And I wanted to make it very clear that Tron just needed to take the meds that his doctor prescribed and his suffering would be almost instantly eased.

Season 3, episode 2: “What’s That Stand For?”

• This title's kind of a long walk. The high school from which I (and Bob) graduated had one of the lamer mascots – “hornets.” Since all of that “class of '92” stuff in season 2 drew pretty heavily on my experiences as part of the class of '92, it made sense to make their mascot the bees. The rest is a reference to an absurd Neil Cicierega track from Mouth Sounds.

• There's a lot of Luke Perry's sad sack Fred Andrews from Riverdale in modern-day Broyce, which worked out great since his younger incarnation was based on Luke Perry in 90210 in the first place.

• When we last saw Pernicia Cortland, she'd been pulled into all of the dumb drama of high school and didn't want to leave. I could not resist leaving her there 25 years later as the principal. She married a local and got boring, just like most people do. (Incidentally, I have never actually been invited to a high school reunion. If I were, I would almost certainly not go. They seem awful and depressing. I get the only high school reunion I ever need every time I hang out with Bob.)

• We will discover why Vatican is acting so peculiar soon, gentle listener.

• For some reason, I thought reading Stephen King's It would be good prep for writing this episode. Apart from the clown reference and the fawning over a famous author, none of that actually ended up in this story. So that's like... 50 hours of my life I'll never get back. (Thankfully I enjoyed the book, so that's something.)

• Remember that mummy. He's important.

• I don't think Trojan brought down the mayor so that she could eventually become mayor herself. I think those two things are unrelated? Probably?

• Children singing aren't scary to me. Neither are clowns. Most horror movie tropes just make me roll my eyes.

• Strictly speaking, these flashbacks to Joe Conklin's first appearances in SV weren't necessary... but I'm quite fond of those sketches so I included them anyway. Also it means that, including those flashbacks, I ended up playing like a dozen presidents in a single episode. (I'm still about 10 shy of completing my list, but this one helped a lot.)

• Oh hey, the cows! I love those cows!

Season 3, episode 3: “A Jørgensen Scørned”

• Aw, I missed the cows. Making Tron potentially schizophrenic was the perfect “in” for reviving one of my favorite pairs of characters from SV.

• Kevin the Cow did, indeed, run for President. It did not go well for him, as indicated here.

There is also no law on the books that says a goose can't be sheriff.

• It was originally my intention to imply that the 2016 election went a different way in the SV universe, but I guess Kevin's smug comment here about “everything turning out okay” kind of undermines that. Nevertheless, I'm in no hurry to add our 45th Chief Executive to my ever-shortening list of Presidential voices.

• Cleg Jørgensen was a soap opera archetype we hadn't done yet, but I'd seen a lot of them in my research — that white-haired dude who's clearly the patriarch of whatever dumb thing that particular soap is about. Usually it's the one actor who's managed to stick around for 30-40 years, so you can sort of see the original rugged handsomeness he was cast for, only now he's more of a silver fox-type. As he does with pretty much anything I throw at him, Jason completely nailed this... though it took us a few episodes to completely hone in on what Cleg's whole deal was.

• I just could not let Zyzzyx Jones go. And I'm glad I stopped trying in this season.

• People do put a lot of work into this!

• People on soap operas are always going on about their “birthrights.”

• Sabrina did a great job with the constantly lovesick Hibiscus. The character never completely gelled for me entirely for writing-related reasons. This “falls in love with everyone she sees” schtick was okay at first, but I wasn't really sure what her next step should be and then I sort of got caught up in other plotlines and forgot she existed entirely. I feel kind of bad about that, to be honest.

• I was a little disappointed I couldn't make Jad sound more autotuned. That's a tricky effect when the lines are read as... you know, lines. I probably should have asked Brian to sing his lines. Lesson learned... for the next time I want to replace a tracheotomied character with autotune.

• I really wanted to focus more on the dumb corporate intrigue stuff this season and, while it took me awhile to get things completely where I wanted them, this Cleg vs. Jad scene was a good start.

• “Being a patriarch doesn't necessarily mean you're a part of the patriarchy” was one of those lines I threw in because I knew Amanda would like it.

• Characters in two different soaps I'd watched had been “exiled to France,” which just... doesn't seem like a thing that would happen to someone in the 21st century?

• What is the deal with Saltness?

• T-Dro did a great job as Gondola VanDerBork, a character who would become more prominent as season three progressed. But her audio quality was... less than ideal. Which we then made some very mean jokes about in subsequent episodes.

• Gondola being unflappable in the face of a gruesome serial killing, as well as being pretty well-versed in the general MO of same, was based on T-Dro's passion for serial killers.

• I don't love a mystery either, Kevin. I think that's pretty apparent from this story.

• Of course Jad still retains his handicaps in the afterlife. That's long-established SV canon at this point.

• This “cows can't see the ghost/ghost can't hear the cows” bit was very classic vaudevilley-style comedy and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. I'm not too good for dumb setups like that.

• That hatch is, indeed, from season one, Tron!

• Those rising strings and someone saying “shall we begin?” is one of my least favorite tropes in anything, ever.

Season 3, episode 4: “Don’t Get Too Close!”

• The title of this episode refers to a cheesy line of dialogue that was repeated ad infinitum in TV's Hannibal, a show that many people I know were extremely passionate about. I was, as it turns out, not impressed.

• Duncan brought a really good characterization to Deputy Troyhamun... though, in retrospect, I don't think any of us realized he was doing something a bit similar to his Crazy David from seasons one and two. It still works, though. You've certainly run into two people in your life who have similar voices, right? Even if they weren't mummies or aliens from the sun.

• Neck and knuckle cracking does not impress me either, Tron.

• I had always planned for Dr. Minofen to secretly be an FBI agent, but the original plan was a lot more involved than that. The serial killer was meant to be a CIA (or something) agent, who was posing as a different thing... and it was going to be this unending series of reveals meant to parody... basically about 50% of television. But then I got bored with that and, more importantly, I grew concerned that making things overly complicated might drive away our listeners.

• Gondola getting stuck taking care of Jad's flamingo was meant to be a one-off joke in this episode, but (as you'll see as the season progresses) it became a major part of Gondola's arc.

• Here, as promised, is some merciless taunting of T-Dro's horrible recording setup. What do the kids say? Sorry-not-sorry?

• One of the fun things about moving the story into the 21st century was imagining what each character's ringtone might be. Minofen's was Heart's “Barracuda” for no reason other than I always wanted to associate that song with a tough woman character.

• This “I definitely believe you're on the other end of this phone call” bit is a dig at an extremely painful scene from the Twin Peaks revival, where Sheriff Harry Truman was obviously on the phone despite the fact that the actor who originally played him didn't come back.

• Something I really wanted to do with Contentment Corner was get things to the point at which the plot didn't matter nearly as much as the characters. Putting Minofen and Cleg in a room together is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind — just watching two reasonably well-established characters bounce off one another for a few minutes. This would very much inform the second half of the season, once we sorted out some of our more convoluted plot elements.

• “Que sera, vici” is one of my better terrible wordplay jokes.

• That is, indeed, a cameo by Willikins. I'd been trying to work that one in since we established that Zyzzyx spent a semester in England.

• I usually don't love asking a performer to play two different characters in the same scene (or, in this case, in a flashback and the scene bookending the flashback), but Kara was very much up to the challenge. Her Agent Minofen and her Zyzzyx are incredibly distinctive voices.

• I actually wasn't 100% sure who the serial killer was after I'd decided not to go with my dumb original plan. We happened to establish the deputy skeleton/mummy a couple of episodes back and this idea just fit everything perfectly. (One of my favorite parts about writing is when I think up the perfect puzzle piece for a plot.)

• I've done this “at your service” joke a lot. Because that expression makes zero sense to me.

• “Frankenstein...'s monster” is another of my favorite terrible wordplay jokes. I'm trying not to just point out “jokes I'm happy with” in these annotations, but sometimes I can't help it.

• “Call for help” is another reference to the revival of Twin Peaks. That show ended up being a colossal disappointment for me, but I was still completely fascinated by it while it was airing and I couldn't resist throwing in references from time to time.

• YAY! AARON!

Season 3, episode 5: “Unfathomable”

• One of the best things — if not the best thing — about bringing the story forward to the present was that we could finally just use “completely out of his goddamn mind Aaron Faucet.” He was, of course, well on his way there when we last saw him at the end of season 2. But I wanted to see if we could actually work in some old school Aaron like in the sketches while continuing to tell a story. And I think we pulled it off!

• That being said, some of these calls were a bit weak. This is largely because I wrote them all myself. Matt brings an essential element to Aaron that I simply cannot duplicate and I think that really shows here.

• Oh hey, it's Mikey After Midnight again!

• “Gwadoline” is a deep cut from my embarrassing childhood — that was the name I gave Princess Leia and Han Solo's daughter in the Star Wars fanfic I came up with at age nine. There are a lot of seriously deep cuts from my embarrassing past in this one. Some of it worked; some of it didn't... but it did clear out a lot of material from the ol' notebooks.

• Yep, Cooter and the Bear are still doing their thing!

• “Wind up your radios, Faucetites and Faucetoids” is Aaron's version of Dr. Demento's standard intro.

• This dig at Garrison Keillor came well before he was revealed to be a super-creep. I didn't exactly feel bad about this joke before, but now I feel like a hero for making it!

• Speaking of references to the Twin Peaks revival... this Winchester Tires spot is literally just a scene from that. It just fit so perfectly.

• I don't think I meant to point out that I'd duplicated the name “Tron S8dghenthe” from an early Aaron sketch, but once I decided to work Aaron into the story it felt like I had to acknowledge it.

• Fawn is another incredibly deep cut that nobody but me cares about. She's based on a not-funny-enough-to-bother-retelling story involving me, Bob and Mark Darin. We tried to turn this vaguely remarkable encounter into a recorded comedy sketch, which was terrible. So it went into the oft-referenced notebook for Someday Recycling... and someday finally came.

• This M&M story was also from that notebook. It was not really worth recycling, upon reflection.

• I was obsessed with what the hell Pac Man was supposed to be when I was a kid. And I thought it was the absolute height of hilarity to wonder this out loud. Again, I probably should have left most of this garbage in my notebooks. Or just thrown the notebooks away. Not every idea I've ever had is gold. (Hey, sometimes I pat myself on the back for jokes... sometimes I beat myself up for them. You never know what I'm gonna do!)

• Somehow, early on in our coverage of Star Trek: Enterprise on the Post Atomic Horror podcast, we had trouble distinguishing Malcolm from Trip. It seems weird now, but that's what that joke was about.

• I like Aaron using his callers as a weapon against people who annoy him.

• This jealousy/envy joke was another one for Amanda.

• This interminable “JFK's brain” bit is, I think, the last of my ill-advised ancient notebook material. It was part of an aborted story I originally called JFK II: The New Batch and then, as Tron mentions here, Hey You Cyberpunks, Get Out of My Yard! Honestly, that latter title is the only thing I should have kept from any of this.

• Aaron leaves so Nick can appear. Obviously.

• This Nick appearance actually is something from this episode that I'm happy with. Not only do I get to do more dumb world-building, but it actually gives this seemingly directionless episode a bit of an arc, because Nick has been long-established as a character with meta-awareness. So who better to lead Tron to the next beat of his character development?

• Do, indeed, be sure to check out the Adventures of Nick and Willikins adventure game!

• By an extremely weird coincidence, Spider-Man: Homecoming was in theaters the week I wrote this episode and I'd just seen it. Not that that has a thing to do with what happens here. (Whatever voice it is that Jason's doing here, though... I love it and I always have.)

• Action is a terrible reward!

• Sometimes there just isn't an outtake, because everyone reads their lines flawlessly the first time. (Or at least they don't mess up in a hilarious way.)

Season 3, episode 6: “The Three Faces of Miss St. Corby”

• I had intended to tell the whole story of Tanda/Vatican/Ottawa St. Corby in a different episode, where it could be given room to breathe and not feel like it was conflicting with other plotlines that were obviously headed in certain directions. But scheduling this many performers on a biweekly basis sometimes meant that I couldn't plot things exactly the way I'd originally planned. Which, all things considered, was actually a good thing... I really got to work on my "make this seem like it was the plan all along" skills. Which I'm sort of undermining by writing this annotation, I realize.

• Saltness' “I can help!" is inspired by the Minsky robot in Fargo season three.

• I forgot that I'd cut through the expositional bullshit and just had Hibiscus say "oh, so this is what's going on?" Nicely done, Past Me.

• Nicole did an amazing job playing three different characters with effectively the same voice. I feel like she was a bit frustrated by the impossible things I was asking her to do, but in my defense... she just kept doing them, so I kept asking!

• That ice cream thing happens to me a lot.

• I love Ottawa's pointless speeches a lot.

• This pop song in the radio is a bit of foreshadowing for episode 11. Kara wrote and performed the song(more about that in the annotations for episode 11), and we were tossing ideas back and forth for months before we finally managed to properly work it into the story. But I'm all for unique, funny background music so I figured we could set it up here and pay it off later.

• Hibiscus' line was originally “show me how to be a patriarch, daddy” and it sounded unsettlingly sexual so I mercifully trimmed that part out.

• Sheriff Magma never quite gelled into the hilarious new law enforcement officer I'd hope he would be. Which is something we'll end up remedying a couple of episodes hence.

• Woah! What a twist! (I was actually really happy with this one.)

• Kara's song really is amazing. And I'm not just saying that because this episode was running really short and including the song helped get us closer to our target length.

Season 3, episode 7: “Be Fearful of What You Wish For”

• This title feels like it could have been a Beyond Belief episode on Thrilling Adventure Hour.

• Boy, Satan is kind of a dick to the audience, isn't he?

• A lot of this “how the universe works” stuff was actually pretty carefully considered against all the other times we've addressed the issue across SV stories. We tried our best to add to the tapestry without directly contradicting anything that came before. Honestly, I don't think anyone but me has ever paid attention to that sort of thing, but it's not a bad skill to build. And it's fun.

• This whole sprite thing is also meant to evoke a bunch of old MST3K shorts — most famously, Mr. B Natural and A Case of Spring Fever.

Pierre Von Frank-Bob, the world-renowned mushroom physicist is a pretty deep SV cut, but I have always loved that character.

• Putting things on top of things is basically how Amanda lives.

• “I wanted to pick a name that was really easy for everyone to say” was me sort of? apologizing for the name “Saltness O'Hallarhan.” But not really.

Death of a Salesman was definitely created by Satan. I hate it so much.

• “Yes, hi, hello” was an awkward catch phrase we used to open SV in the early days.

• I was pretty happy with the idea of Satan continuing to try to interfere with Contentment Corner even after he'd been cast out in season 2.

• Oh hey, it's Niff and Clorm!

• Oh, hey! It's Frank and Sandra! (I was honestly not sure if I'd be able to work those idiots into this thing.)

• The Codex bovem de stercore does indeed mean “bullshit,” which is my general opinion of, you know, magic.

• Erasure is me, regarding her attitude towards D&D. The sudden rise in popularity of D&D podcasts and my resentment of same is also pretty apparent here, I think.

• I gave D&D an earnest try once, some time ago. I played as a Tiefling Warlock, as our character do here. And I basically could choose between one of two actions every single turn into infinity. It was the most boring thing I've ever experienced and I saw Eyes Wide Shut in the theater.

• Satan saying “I don't even see race” was some not-very-subtle social commentary because I am a genius.

• I'm pretty sure Tron breaking the podcast took him to the plane of non-existence that Willikins visited in The Omce and Future Nick.

• I never exactly planned to appear as myself in this show, but I kinda got to the point at which no other ending to this plot made sense. Unless I wanted to take Tron to where the SV station crashed back in SV episode 200. Which I didn't, because one of the cardinal rules of this show is “never leave the town.”

• Here's the Luke Perry sketch in question.

• This did, unfortunately, mean that I was now the narrator. Which I never really wanted. But I'd have that one sorted within a few more episodes, thankfully.

• Take that, Baltimore.

Season 3, episode 8: “Case Reopened”

• Here we enter a weird sort of transitional period. I was fairly happy with how the whole Tron/serial killer plot had resolved, but I didn't exactly have a plan for the next several episodes. So this three-part arc clears away some long-needed exposition and also brings back one of my favorite characters that I'd always regretted killing off.

• Watching someone learn to speak and use a toilet would be unenduringly tedious! I'm looking at you, Dougie from Twin Peaks!

• Amanda's Sinder was never meant to be a recurring character — mostly I just wanted to flesh out the personnel in the sheriff's department. But I ended up needing her for a lot of reasons in this next story and the character actually turned out more interesting than I realized. She's basically Mike from Breaking Bad.

• I feel like any town in a soap opera should have a book like this. (This also gave me a chance to unload a bunch of stuff from my big list of soap clichés that I didn't think we'd ever be getting to.)

• More brilliant impossible acting from Nicole here.

• Vatican has always hated people ruffling her hair. That goes all the way back to the season 1 finale.

• Turns out the St. Corby women have a pretty wicked sense of humor!

• Okay, so here's the real reason why Ottawa, Vatican and Tanda are in the same body: I always felt like our town should have two rival families competing to control whatever industry that town had. When we cast Nicole as Vatican, I didn't give much thought to who would play Ottawa... until we needed Ottawa in the story. And then I realized that I was trapped in a potentially problematic area, because Vatican was a woman of color. Which meant that her mother would be as well. But we only have the one person of color in our cast, and I wasn't sure if it'd be appropriate to cast someone else as Ottawa. (I'm still not completely sure to this day.) So I began to contrive reasons why Ottawa would be off-mic during the story. And then I came up with an excuse to make them both sound the same. And then, when we jumped forward a further generation, I realized there would probably be three of them... so I solved the problem in the most absurdly soapish way I could think of. It's a weird, awkward situation that I painted myself into and I don't mind telling you I'm a little uncomfortable telling it to you now. But it ended up being a pretty major driving force in the way we told this story, so I figured it was worth sharing. I really am trying my best to do the right thing here!

• Felicity did indeed see Case in Hell in the season 2 finale.

• Any opportunity to bring back Jason's absurd psychic character is an opportunity that I relish. I also enjoy writing the terribly mangled rhymes he uses to summon the dead.

• Patting my back on that Enrico Palazzo joke.

• Finally we find out the answer to that burning question on everyone's mind: is Glenn Irons related to the former Sheriff Irons? (Literally nobody but me had that question on their mind.)

• The Compendium Contentmentium will figure prominently into the series finale in about 10 episodes.

• I will never run out of axes to grind via Glenn Irons, re: NPR.

Season 3, episode 9: “Sinder’s Game”

• This is another one of those episodes that went a very different way than what I'd originally planned, largely because of cast availability. The initial outline had this one taking place entirely in Admiral Hospital (GET IT??), where we could do some fun soap opera doctor stuff. We ended up having to go in a different direction and honestly, this might be my least favorite episode of the season because of all the exposition... but I like where we ended up in the next one, so I guess it was kind of worth it?

• I also intended to do something very different with this whole pregnancy plot before realizing I could be taking it to a gross, problematic place. So I put the brakes on that pretty quickly.

• T-Dro tells me that “yes, doctor?” is the most soap opera line I have ever written.

• I would have liked to spend more time with Dr. Mutterschaft, honestly.

• I actually had a WTF? stamp at an old job, and I explained it much the same way.

• I spent a long time on this timeline of sheriffs. Far too long. Nobody cares about this stuff. I know this because I, the guy who created this show, don't care.

• Sinder did, indeed, have the mumps at the time. (This wasn't exactly part of any master plan or anything... it's just a thing we mentioned late in season 1, to allow Vatican to become the only active law enforcement officer in Contentment Corner.)

• The dragonfruit reference comes from Amanda's and my other podcast, We're Trying.

• Part of me wanted to go into more detail about exactly how and why Sheriff Rust was regarded so poorly, but this sequence was already so interminably long that I didn't bother getting into it.

• “Lanx Kontakto” is Esperanto. Which is what I often use when I'm trying to think up a weird name for something or someone.

• I like how this “call the cops” sequence plays out. It's dumb, but it turns out I do dumb pretty well.

• And speaking of dumb, “Clam Bindle” may be the dumbest name I've ever thought up.

Season 3, episode 10: “To Serve Man”

• I actually did some research into multidimensional physics for this one. And then I didn't understand a single goddamn word of any of it and made everything up myself.

• I was most decidedly not meant to play the third of these three multidimensional beings. I had someone else in mind, who ended up not being available. And it was kind of a last-minute thing, so I didn't have time to think up a voice for the character. All in all, this is my least favorite performance in 45 episodes of Contentment Corner. Thankfully, Caitlin and Kara are awesome as their guys so just... you know, listen more to them than to me.

• I also did a bit of research for these characters — specifically, types of trios in classic comedy. I believe I ended up going with something along the lines of "gleeful child" (Caitlin), "cynical middle-aged parent figure" (me), "elder grandparent figure who has regained their sense of wonder" (Kara). Not exactly comedic (maybe more in the classical sense of comedy as “not tragedy”), but it definitely gave each of them a distinctive character to play instead of just being "aliens 1, 2 and 3." Also I'm certain their names are Esperanto versions of the concepts they're meant to embody.

• I do enjoy a good “alien interlopers actually want to help” story and I'm not sure this is a good example of that, but that was my intention here. For all the sinister forces in Contentment Corner, I genuinely believe that most of the people are inherently good and the people in power are earnestly trying to make the town a better place.

• Zyzzyx's tendency to wrestle Ottawa in all manner of liquids comes from her original inspiration, Alexis from Dynasty.

• I had always intended to reveal the connection between Professor Ace Kutchington and his brother Case, and I think this was a bit of a convoluted way to do it... but here we are.

• I hate when science fiction stories spend precious screentime/word count waiting for the characters to believe that the story is actually happening. I hardly ever use that myself when I can help it.

• Chrisley Sinuous, voluntarily under the thrall of Mayor Tyrannus, turned out to be a decent enough character... though obviously I would have preferred to have the actual Mayor in this scene. The performer was, sadly, unavailable that week... so this is our “War Doctor” solution.

• This “building Sheriff Steele” bit was quite obviously lifted from Robocop. I do not apologize for this.

• I met so many people's kids who were grossly unqualified for their jobs in the small town I grew up in. I was actually one of those myself for a time!

• Case and Ace Kutchington both died in season 1.

• “That's not how doors work” turned into a dumb runner for the rest of the season because... I don't know. Because I like doing that sort of thing? Not everything has a profound triple-meaning.

• While I still say this 3-part story was a bit too talky, I was happy with the little arc that I gave Sinder here — turns out she would make a good sheriff after all. I feel like the town is in good hands with her at the helm. Having someone with no tolerance for nonsense is exactly what this nonsensical town needs.

Season 3, episode 11: “Boys Boys Boys”

• It was my intention to break free of the exposition and do a bunch of one-off stories next, starting with this one that I'd been batting around with Kara for a few months. We ended up going in a different direction in the episodes that followed this one, but this was a fun single-serving episode, I thought.

• That being said, a lot of what happens in this one informs the remainder of the season — largely via the introduction of Evelette Virino and establishing Case's whole quest to reclaim his life.

• Evelette is the sister of Malison Virino, who made one appearance in the “graduation lock-in” episode back in season two. It feels more like a small town to me when you occasionally run into two people from the same family. There wasn't particularly any other reason for the connection beyond that.

• Evelette started out as “Lucille Bluth if she had to live in a trailer park,” but was thankfully elevated well beyond that by Kristy's performance.

• Something about the way Caitlin plays July puts me in mind of Kate Micucci. I don't know if that's what she was going for, but I really dig it.

• Contentment Corner still doesn't have a train station, but the tracks do, indeed, run right through the town. It's lose-lose!

• I may be grinding an axe here with the whole “inconvenient streaming app” bit. Maybe. Who can say?

• Nobody likes Cooter and the Bear. Nobody.

• We were obviously drawing on a lot of those old sitcom episodes where a celebrity came to town and interacted with our main characters. That premise — and the character of DiDi herself — was all Kara. Which is probably why this is one of the best episodes we ever did.

• Take that, commercial radio.

• I love the way Jason's Cleg says “Miss Vanderbork.”

• This “equal time” thing was weird and nonsensical, but it barely even scratches the surface of the weird shit that soaps expect us to believe is completely normal in their dumb universes.

• Kara wrote three original songs for this episode and they're all amazing. I mean, I'm gonna be honest: I don't know modern pop music at all. I believe she was going for a sort of Taylor Swift vibe here, but I kinda had to take her word for that. They're catchy and funny and they sound like something you might actually hear on the radio, so that was enough for me. But if they work on additional levels for people with greater pop familiarity, that's even better.

• I really like the way Kara and I collaborated on this episode. I basically created July and got her to DiDi, and then Kara took over as they meet and the sparks fly. A+ experience, would do again.

• Also, god, the voice Kara did for DiDi is the most gloriously obnoxious thing I've ever heard. I love it.

• I just realized there are almost no dudes in this episode. That wasn't even by design, exactly — we'd just gotten to the point where we had enough great women in the cast that this sort of episode just happened naturally on occasion. Which, honestly, is something I'd been aiming for since the beginning. I never wanted to come off like HEY LOOK, THIS PASSES THE BECHDEL TEST! but I did want to create a world where this sort of story unfolded organically sometimes and it just wasn't a big deal.

• Biz Markie's Pickin' Burgers is further proof that I missed my calling as a Guy Who Gives Business Terrible Pun Names.

• I kinda love that Contentment Corner has a sleazy secret underground sex club.

• "Weird-butt sex party" ≠ "weird butt-sex party."

• "You are not a role model! You're not even human! You're a cartoon!" is almost word-for-word the disclaimer that ran before Beavis and Butt-head.

• The soft rubber battering ram joke was... mine, actually. To this point, I'd been a bit hesitant to write explicit sex jokes, mostly because I didn't want to make my performers uncomfortable. But Kara kinda threw down the gauntlet with all of Didi's weird sex stuff, so I felt like we had finally reached the point where it was okay. The rest of this season really felt a lot more like a soap opera to me now that I no longer felt weird writing about the main thing in every soap opera ever.

Season 3, episode 12: “The Flamingo ’round Her Neck”

• This final stretch of episodes is probably, collectively, the work I'm most proud of with Contentment Corner. I'd made a conscious decision to dispense with heavy exposition from this point forward and, whenever possible, to commit each performer to one main role. We'd created enough characters by this point that I could effectively cherry-pick my favorite one for each performer and basically just let them all bounce into each other for nine episodes. The result was the comedy soap opera to which I'd been aspiring from the start. Ditching myself as the narrator didn't hurt either, and Brian (a self-professed Contentment Corner superfan) was an excellent choice to take up that role. His character was more than a little influenced by the narrator in the excellent Jane the Virgin, which is another one of those shows I started watching for mockery fuel and then got completely sucked in by how good it actually was.

• I also briefly had the idea that we should do shorter episodes more frequently, which is why this one and the next one don't quite hit our usual 20 minute target. We abandoned this idea pretty quickly, though — mostly for practical reasons, because the production schedule we had in place after all this time was already working great for us. It wasn't broken, so why fix it?

• Also, if we're being completely honest, this last run of episodes is my favorite because I'd made the conscious decision to stop worrying about listeners. I've never been good at promoting things and to this day I have no idea if anyone actually listened to this show. But, starting with this episode, I swore to write the show I'd always wanted to write and just ignore (as much as I was capable anyway) the audience. Admitting to myself that nobody was listening was weirdly liberating, in a not-entirely-unsad way.

• There's a lot of table-setting and flashing-back in these next three episodes. In the overall scheme of things, it slows the show down a bit. But I was trying, as the narrator points out, to do a “soft reboot” that would be more palatable to new listeners. Those listeners, as far as I could tell, never materialized... but that was the reason behind all the narrating and jumping back in time. My heart was in the right place, I think, but if I had things to do over, I probably would have just gotten on with things. I mean, I actually like most of the material in the flashbacks... it's just generally my preference to move forward.

• Before we got to this “day in the life of Gondola” episode, I sent a new recording setup to T-Dro. Because those jokes were kind of getting old, and I really did want to focus on her character beyond making fun of her terrible microphone.

• A lot of this “Gondola is asked to do a lot of work-related errands for her boss” stuff is based on T-Dro's actual life experience.

• As I mentioned previously, I was keen to make up for lost time in terms of “sex in my soap opera” and these Cleg/Evelette scenes really go a long way toward that end. They're just so horny.

• The dry cleaner does, indeed, have deadly nightshade. As previously discussed in season 2.

• Gondola calling Domingo a penguin came from T-Dro, brainstorming this episode with me, and accidentally referring to the flamingo as a penguin. A lot of T-Dro's character's jokes come from me pulling her pigtails. I have it on good authority that she loves it.

• The Tordovian flag was first described in Kill the Front Page, and made its first visual appearance in our Adventures of Nick and Willikins adventure game.

• “Huspa” is a nonsense Tordovian food that Matt made up in a sketch about Tordovian tourism.

• Jason asked me once, years ago, to bring this psychic character back after his first appearance. After this, his (probably) 20th appearance, he is likely regretting asking me this.

• Gondola wasn't originally meant to be Ravina's sister, but once we realized how similar they were vocally (T-Dro is also kinda going for Catherine O'Hara's character from Schitt's Creek), it felt like a fun thing to do. And, I'm just gonna go ahead and spoil this now: Ravina will be back later in the season. Because...

• ...I had an epiphany regarding character deaths around this time. Typically, I very much believe in a “dead is dead” policy — too many narratives over the years have disappointed me by milking serious dramatic tension out of a character's death and then reversing it. I swore I'd never do that. But then I remembered that I'm writing a fucking soap opera and death is completely meaningless in this context. Which is why Ravina will come back. And Case already did. And Zyzzyx also comes back here and now.

• This also allowed me to move into the best possible setup for storytelling: giving each performer one primary role (ideally their best one), and just bouncing all the characters off of one another to see what happens. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Season 3, episode 13: “Raising Up the Joneses”

• More backstory, and way too much narration. (Again, Brian is excellent as the new narrator. I'd just prefer to keep things in the Eternal Present.)

• That said, I'm quite pleased with all of this Zyzzyx stuff and the Cleg stuff as well.

• When I was a kid, I caught a bit of a Bob Hope special (for some reason) and he pronounced “Bon Jovi” as Cleg does here, like it's a French word. And that was so much funnier than anything else in that special.

• Man, I hate “Don't Stop Believin'” by Journey.

• A character in the ridiculous soap The Bay actually referred to some sex that he just had as “delicious” and it was... well, just as ridiculous as it is in this scene. I couldn't make that one any more ridiculous.

• all of this ghost logic stuff turned out very well — especially the gross sound effects of Zyzzyx's skin suit.

Season 3, episode 14: “The Patience of a St. Corby”

• Okay, one more episode of flashbackstory and exposition. Trust me, this is all going somewhere. The show is about to get really good. Just bear with me for one more episode.

• This is one of my better titles for this season, I think.

• I can't believe it took us this long to get to the oft-referenced “John!”/“Marsha!” scene from old soaps.

• I can't promise anything, but part of me wants to spend more time with Case's parents, the ineffectual bootleggers. As our next project, Sarcastic Voyage Theatre, takes place in this time period, we may actually have a good medium in which to do that.

• Case's mother's name was supposed to be Edna Snr Kutchington, but Brian, for some inexplicable reason, wasn't sure how to read a word with no vowels so it got cut. (I stole this from The Carol Burnett Show. I have long since forgotten the original context, but it made Very Young AAl laugh a lot.)

• So... I am not proud of this story, but here it is. When I was in 11th grade, I was supposed to write a research paper for Junior English. This research paper was meant to be something like 75% of my final grade. It was impossible to pass Junior English without it. And... I didn't do one. At all. Didn't even start it. I was lazy and unmotivated and also I had an undiagnosed learning disorder... but mostly the first two. That's not the bad part. The bad part is where I lied to my English teacher and convinced her that I'd written the paper and handed it in to her... and she lost it. She felt so bad that she just put down that I'd gotten a B and left it at that. Which is why I made this part of Case's backstory, to illustrate what a horrible liar he is. If it makes you feel any better, I've been having anxiety nightmares about this for literally 30 years now. Like, it would have saved me an entire lifetime of extra worry if I'd just written the goddamn paper in the first place.

• These flashbacks did give us the chance to finally show how Case and Ottawa met, which was a nice detail to fill in.

• It was important to me that the narrator clarify this show's attitude toward kink-shaming. We are very much against it.

• Cathorn was originally meant to be Kara reprising her role as Ljiljana, but Kara was not available this week so we created this new character... with whom we instantly fell in love. Mostly because of Kristy's amazing performance. This is not the last you'll be hearing from Cathorn Zirconia.

• Niff — last seen on the factory floor of St. Corby Soap — is now the head of HR, so he's done pretty well for himself these past 25 years. Good for him!

• I had planned for Case to be unable to reunite with Ottawa because she's in the body of a 16 year old for awhile, but then Roy Moore was in the news and suddenly this already gross situation got a lot more real, which is why Case and the Narrator very firmly say “a 50 year old man has no business with a 16 year old girl. That's disgusting.” Christ. Dial it back, reality.

• As we began moving into what I was pretty sure would be the final run of episodes, it was important to me that everyone have some kind of motivation — a quest, to keep them moving forward. Ottawa's was to break this curse, which was technically a retcon, but the kind that makes a lot of sense when you recontextualize things that way. And Case's, as stated here, was to try to be a better person. And now that the backfilling is finally over, we can start all of that in earnest in the very next episode...

Season 3, episode 15: “A Talking Like This Contest”

• This title is a reference to probably my favorite line in 30 Rock, in which Tina Fey's Liz Lemon makes fun of the way Will Arnett and Alec Baldwin talk. (Which is, of course, very similar to the way that Case and Cleg talk.)

• Ah, right — that's why I had so much backtracking in these episodes. Because of the whole “getting potential new listeners up to speed” thing. I write so much meta-stuff into this show that I really should just wait for the in-show explanation whenever I'm not sure why I did something.

• Our soap opera needed a lot more “women slapping each other in the face.”

• Woah! Out-of-nowhere swipe at anteaters!

• This episode really does finally deliver on everything I wanted this last phase of the show to be: bouncing fairly well-defined characters off of one another and seeing what happens. I barely even had a plan for a lot of this — I just let the characters speak for themselves. Which is a weird, creepy thing that writers sometimes say that is entirely a thing that happens. At least for me.

• The logistics of an “each more ___ than the last” list has always bugged me. My characters handle a lot of axe grinding on my behalf and I am eternally grateful to them for this.

• Case really is a terrible security g— oh, he just said that.

• Who on earth would pronounce thesaurus “thess-a-russ”?

• this is one of those episodes where I don't have a ton of notes because I'm just listening to it and enjoying it. Like I just mentioned, this was finally the show I'd always wanted to make, right here. And there's not a ton of interesting information to share beyond that.

• Kristy came up with most of these ridiculous examples of cruelty and they are all fantastic.

• I'm certain that T-Dro must have given me these examples of things that can go wrong in a soap factory. She makes soap, and is my go-to expert for all soap-related knowledge.

• God, I love the goofy-ass names of classic grifts.

Season 3, episode 16: “Mysteries of the Unrequited”

• I had always intended for Aaron Faucet to be a sort of peripheral player in the events of Contentment Corner. In season 1, when he was still kind-of sane, he had some limited engagement with the characters, but I kind of assumed that once I got him into the radio station he'd just stay there and do his thing. But as I was brainstorming the rest of the season, I asked T-Dro who in the town she thought that Gondola would be most interested in, romantically. She said Aaron. And I kind of loved the challenge of re-inserting him into the action now that he was the Aaron that we'd all come to know and love from Mysteries of the Unexplained. I'm pretty happy with how this all turned out.

• It works because Matt, as I have mentioned in many other commentaries, is actually quite a good voice actor. Like, he has a fairly small vocal range when it comes to accents and pitches and stuff (I have the same limitation myself); but he's really good at injecting these silly characters with moments of genuine emotion. And at this stage in the show's run, one of the things I really wanted to do was exploit each performer's best abilities. Which I feel we did here.

• This also gave us one final chance to do some Mysteries of the Unexplained material, this time written or co-written by Matt. Which almost makes up for the horrible solo contributions I'd made earlier in the season. Almost.

• I love that everyone in town thinks of Gondola as “the flamingo lady.”

• The challenge for me in this part of the season was finding things characters had in common (like Evelette and Zyzzyx with their cruelty) or things that will bring them into conflict (like Zyzzyx and the St. Corby women with... everything). I didn't think I'd be able to pull this off with Aaron and anyone, but eventually I managed to find my way there when I realized that logic didn't have any place here.

• Ahh, there's “Snr.” I hate letting things go to waste, even if those things are stolen from somewhere else.

• God, I love what the performers bring to these Aaron sequences. Everyone gets so gloriously weird.

• Aaron not believing in any of the actual things that exist in Contentment Corner was the plan for him since episode 1, but we'd never gotten a chance to address it. This felt like the perfect time for it.

• This whole decluttering thing was based on T-Dro's actual experience.

• of course Ravina appears at the most dramatic possible moment

• “the Vulcan science council has determined that time travel is impossible” is a reference to Matt's and my other podcast, the Post Atomic Horror. Specifically to Enterprise, the worst TV show I have ever intentionally subjected myself to.

• I loved making Ravina do that dumb “or when”... joke? as often as possible.

• Gotta have a catfight in a fountain. Thanks for setting that precedent, Dynasty!

Domingo seems almost sentient here. Funny, that.

• “Welcome to the twenty-first century” is another Star Trek paraphrase.

Finally, we get to the dumb corporate plot I've been wanting to do from day one!

• It was very important to me that we show Aaron going back to his usual status quo at the end here.

• Man, I really like this run of episodes. See? These annotations aren't just me beating myself up for missteps!

Season 3, episode 17: “Like a Banana”

• This title was yet another Star Trek reference... sort of. “Time's Arrow” was TNG's first big time travel adventure. “Time flies like an arrow... fruit flies like a banana,” is, I believe, a Groucho Marx quote. It's a long walk, but I like it. ...or when.

• I love a good “everyone's just been standing around since the end of last episode” joke. Very Police Squad.

• Here's me yet again marveling over the show finally working the way I want it. I don't really care if much happens as long as all of these great characters get a chance to interact.

• By this point, despite the fact that I was finally very happy with the show, I had decided that it was probably time to wrap things up because, as much fun as it was to write and produce, it was also extremely frustrating to think that nobody was actually listening to it. So I was starting to move a bunch of pieces into place for the endgame, which meant going back over my list of unresolved plot points and doing my best to resolve them. Which meant bringing back Giselle Geroux one final time. Hooray!

• Kara wrote a lot of this Crazy Person in a Glass Cage dialogue. The rhyming stuff and the riddles, too. She's quite good at it.

• Agent Raines continues the long and pointless tradition of M.U.C.U.S. agents named after water.

• Of course Zyzzyx has an animal torture cellar.

• “We're not becoming friends” was a throwaway line in series 2 of The Radio Adventures of Matt & AAlgar, which Amanda really loved. So it continues to pop up from time to time in other things.

• Pretty pleased with the gross sound effects that accompany Zyzzyx's skin suit.

• the contents of this basement intentionally echo those in the basement of Nick Hall in our Adventures of Nick and Willikins adventure game.

• Given that so much of this show is the culmination of jokes I've been thinking about for nearly 30 years, I'm not sure that Giselle's punchline here is a record.

• Perhaps some day we will follow up with Giselle in some project or another. I have no specific plans for her or anything — she's just one of those characters I felt should be out there having adventures before I concluded things in Contentment Corner. Just in case I did want to use her again.

• I don't know where “anyhoodle” started, but it became one of my favorite runners pretty quickly.

• Oh, right! The doomsday device! That was another major plot thread we hadn't circled back to, and given that two seasons in a row ended with its near-activation, I very much wanted to get that sorted once and for all.

Season 3, episode 18: “The Edge of Reckoning”

• Not one of my better titles, but I felt like I'd used up all my best “doomsday” material already.

• I wrote these final three episodes together — I think in, like, two days or something insane like that. And we recorded them in one giant session. I didn't want it to be over, but once I'd decided that it was over, the momentum kinda carried us to the end.

• Brian stops giving “starring” credits whenever the episode becomes a true ensemble and doesn't focus on any one specific character.

• “Friends” is how I address the Post Atomic Horror audience at the beginning of every show. It's also how the Jane the Virgin narrator addresses his audience. So I definitely did not want to use it here as well. (Brian actually is a middle school drama teacher, incidentally.)

• I think I got a bit better at quickly recapping in this episode. Better late than never.

• The factory floors of both factories do sound the same, because I didn't feel like creating two different ambient sound effects.

• The usually very-sweet Ottawa being progressively meaner to Case makes me laugh still. That's all Nicole.

• Evelette left for a bit because Kristy wasn't available for the previous recording session and I am a genius at logistics.

• I love how freaky Cleg and Evelette are. This also gave Ravina a goal as we entered the final arc.

• Ottawa making light-hearted jokes about all the dark shit she's been through feels very Ottawa to me.

• Take that AT&T!

• We decided to simplify things in this last run of episodes and just have Nicole play Ottawa, with the understanding that the other two were still hanging out inside her head. Easier to write, easier to perform, probably easier for the audience to understand too.

• Names for weird sex positions entertain me just as much as names for weird grifts.

• Amanda has trouble with touchscreens. Probably because she doesn't have a soul.

• Hearing myself as Agent Ocean (water! Ha!) reminds me that I've barely been in this part of the season as a performer. Probably not a coincidence that it's my favorite part. (Honestly, I think I'm an okay performer in certain roles... but I hate having to perform when I'm also directing. It's just too many things to think about. I'd much rather just provide the script and watch these guys run with it.)

• Zyzzyx died in 1987 so of course she doesn't realize caller ID exists.

• Mistaking an old landline for a sex toy was a joke that popped up a few months later in an episode of Arrested Development, so I feel like I'm in pretty good company here.

• The evolution of Gondola's and Ottawa's friendship over the course of this episode is something I am very happy with.

• CorpCo International is one of those names I kept trying to work into sketches back in the sketch days and I finally found a place for it here.

• Somehow Zyzzyx had her landline converted to ring twice like a British phone.

• Zyzzyx taking a phone call with good news followed by her immediately taking one with bad news is the most “classic comedy” setup we've done in awhile, and I think it works really well.

• I'm also very happy that I managed to find a plot that affected all of the principals. That took a lot of puzzling. But, as I have mentioned previously, that sort of puzzling is one of my favorite things about writing.

Season 3, episode 19: “You Had One Job”

• “It's my birthday” was an ad-lib by Brian and it was also true. We'd recorded an episode of Post Atomic Horror with him earlier that day and he really tried to milk that birthday boy stuff as much as he possibly could.

• Zyzzyx has been trying to destroy Ottawa for almost this entire series and they've had almost no scenes together. This was something I finally wanted to rectify here. Also, Kara mentioned that it'd be great if they had to work together for something... but obviously that won't last very long.

• At this point, Ravina just wants to add as many of these people as possible (except probably her sister) to a giant orgy-pile, I think.

• The sound of Ravina “showing something off” was something I'd used in an SV history sketch some time ago. It was labelled “Eleanor Roosevelt unzips.”

• I definitely have a tab of British insults open when I write for Zyzzyx (or Nick).

• I wasn't entirely sure what Case's role in all of this should be, but turning him into a desperate mansplainer worked nicely. Also, he doesn't know what his role should be either, so that also works out.

• Oh, right. Evelette does have a daughter.

• Hey, there's “we're not becoming friends” again!

• I know I keep saying this, but honestly... I don't think I've ever been happier with this show than I am with these last 5 or so episodes. Everything that I and the performers have learned along the way is represented here in the best writing, producing and acting that this show ever had. I loved doing it so much, and these episodes remind me why.

• It's highly possible that Ol' Jim appears in Contentment Corner more than any other single character and I'm completely fine with this.

• I don't think I'd specifically planned for Zyzzyx and Ottawa to both be in legally dubious positions that left them unable to get their companies back. This is just one of those times where applying a bit of real-world logic to the insane world of Contentment Corner provided all the plot motivation I needed.

• I feel like Ravina is just gradually ruining her chances for this glorious hookup the longer she has to wait for it to actually happen.

• I totally intended to write Hibiscus out of the story long enough for the audience to forget about her so that I could then deliver this shocking twist. Yep. Definitely my plan and not something I pulled out of my ass. (Honestly, one of the skills I developed over the course of this project was the ability to improvise bigger-picture things like this. I wasn't always happy with the results, but I often was. This is a time when I was.)

• I love that Cleg is proud of his daughter. And that that's all she wanted.

• Because I wanted the final episode to mainly be about the characters we started with — particularly the central conflict of Zyzzyx and Ottawa — it was important to me that I start wrapping up the other principals' arcs a little earlier. Which is why Cleg and Evelette get their "ride off into the sunset" moment here, rather than in the finale.

• I also felt like we needed to touch base with Sheriff Sinder one last time, just to show how well she'd settled into the job. It's important to me that my town is in good hands when I leave it. Which is a weird thing to say, but I stand by it.

Season 3, episode 20: “The Thousandth Step”

• This title is meant to do that “full circle” thing that so many narratives do, which is to say that it ties in to episode 1's title, “A Thousand Steps.” Because the journey is over now, you see.

• Not gonna lie: it's been five months since we wrapped this series and I haven't listened to this finale (or any of these episodes) since then. As I compose these annotations, I'm feeling a lot of feelings. I loved this project and everyone involved with it so much and I hate that we're not doing it anymore. I also think that, while I sometimes get mired in the parts of stories that require a lot of explaining, I'm usually very pleased with the endings that I write. So I'm even more likely to get emotional over what was very much intended to be an emotional finale.

• I definitely did not intend for the doomsday device to end up like this at the beginning, but I also didn't think this outcome up at the end, either. It's one of those "A-HA!" moments that happened along the way somewhere. Given what an important role the thing played in both seasons 1 and 2, I knew it needed to be something huge... but I also didn't want to literally destroy the town. I think what I came up with manages to be worth all that buildup without actually seeming like the cop-out that it very clearly is.

• “Good work, Hawk” was a line that I mistakenly attributed to Agent Cooper in the original run of Twin Peaks. I feel like he said it a lot — like it was practically a catchphrase. Then we went back and rewatched it and he didn't even say it once. So I had at least two sheriffs in Contentment Corner say it just to satisfy my mind.

• If this show had become a mega-successful worldwide hit, I very much wanted to publish the Compendium Contentmentium as an actual book.

• “St. Corby” actually did come from a terrible fantasy paperback of Amanda's. At the risk of embarrassing an actual published author, I won't say specifically which book.

• The Stave of Remonstrance deliberately sounds like something from Beyond Zork, which (as I have mentioned previously) was a huge influence on me, for some bizarre reason. It was also a favorite of young Vatican in season 1, so it felt... not entirely like a callback, but at least callback-adjacent.

• Candida's speech to the Charming Lasses is exactly the speech that Ljiljana gave to her and Felicity when they were Charming Lasses. Bringing the coven and their mission full circle was a pretty big priority for me before the end.

• I love that every character Ottawa tries to explain her situation to already understands it. It's very Contentment Corner and also a lot easier to write.

• Erasure and Felicity have a real Spock/Bones thing going on and I would have loved to get into that more.

• The best way to defeat someone completely batshit crazy like Zyzzyx is with calm, dispassionate reason. Ottawa could never pull it off because she cared too much. But Hibiscus... while she cares about Zyzzyx as a distant relative, she's not emotionally invested in her, so she can completely deflate her by remaining calm. Also she's about a thousand times smarter than Zyzzyx. So while Hibiscus never quite gelled as the character I'd hoped for her to be, she did end up being the only one capable of taking down Zyzzyx, which worked out really well.

• “I'm not even sure where I live” was a pull from Arrested Development's original finale, where nobody knew where GOB lived. I'd have put Case in the lighthouse, but that got destroyed long ago.

• A lot of the magic on our show is just badly Google translated Latin, but I much prefer these terrible rhyming ones like what Jason's psychic usually uses.

• Me as the large flightless bird is a deep callback to an SV sketch that I'm still rather fond of.

• Domingo was definitely not always intended to be a human who'd been turned into a flamingo. I'm pretty sure that was a very late addition. But I'm glad it happened, because Gondola suffered a lot this season and it was nice to give her a very traditional romantic happy ending. Jason's voice for him was excellent, as well, given that my direction was something vague like "handsome and dreamy."

• Cathorn is a horse pretty much entirely because Kristy went a little nuts with the voice the first time she did it and it took on a weird horsey quality. We asked her to dial it back just a little for that appearance, but I put “turn her into a horse” into my back pocket and it paid off here. And oh boy did it pay off. There was so much I wanted to accomplish with this finale. I was very happy with my script and everyone really brought their A-game, performance-wise... and then Kristy almost completely stole the show from everyone with this utterly amazing reading.

• Every part of this final scene is exactly what I wanted it to be. This is a thing I almost never say.

• “I'm Ottawa Fucking St. Corby. If I don't get into heaven, there is no heaven" is the one moment of ego that I allowed her and I think it worked.

• Definitely not crying at my own characters' tearful farewell. That would be ridiculous.

• I have no idea where this final scene came from, but it really is a perfect ending. It shows that that central conflict I mentioned has indeed been resolved, and it sets the table for something new if I ever wanted to come back to this. And it should be no surprise that I very much do want to... if I ever thought we'd have the audience for it. I am extremely proud of everything we made here, but I'm also really terrible at marketing. And as far as I knew, literally no one outside the cast and maybe half a dozen friends were listening to this show by the end. If I'm wrong about that — if you listened to this show, enjoyed it, and would like to see more... you should tell me that. Write it, tweet it... however you think is the best way to reach me, just do that. Not to stroke my ego (though it would); but because I and the rest of the cast would love to do more of this. Of all the projects I've worked on over the years, this one may very well be my favorite.

Credits

Duncan Boszko - Kevin Kutchington, Caller 1, Deputy Troyhamun, Teenage Billy, Clorm, Clam Bindle

Mark Boszko - Tron S8dghenthe, Case Kutchington, Dr. Mutterschaft, Sheriff Trace Irons, Professor Ace Kutchington, Afghan Bellhop, Dennis, Agent Raines

Kristy Brannon - Trojan Malloy, Felicity Brimstone, Cathorn Zirconia, Evelette Virino, A Ghost

Robert Cooper - Satan

Terry Drosdak - Gondola VanDerBork, Candida Prim

Brian Lynch - Errol (deceased), Sheriff Bax Magma, Jad Cortland, Narrator

Kara O'Connor - Dr. Kale Minofen, Zyzzyx Jones, Caller 2, Erasure Delacruz, Profeto, Chrisly Sinuous, DiDi, Cat the Daog

Caitlin Obom - Casistro, Sheriff Metalious Steele, July Virino, Felton, Giselle Geroux

Matt Rowbotham - Kevin the cow, Aaron Faucet, Nick, The Bear, Sandra

Nicole Santora - Vatican St. Corby, Ottawa St. Corby, Tanda St. Corby, Fawn, Caller 3, Clover, Tangus

Amanda Smith - Ravina, Mary Madison (deceased), Saltness O'Hallarhan, Sinder

Sabrina Snyder - Pernicia Cortland-Tartár, Hibiscus Jørgensen, Caller 4, Pierre Von Frank-Bob,

Jason Wallace - Broyce Champson, Joe Conklin, Cleg Jørgensen, Not Spider-Man, Psychic, Lanx Kontakto, Jim, Neighbor, Cephalapuss, Domingo

Ron “AAlgar” Watt - Gart Champson (deceased), Presidents Wilson, Truman, Hoover, Bush, Pierce, McKinley and Harrison, Angus the cow, Lojack Cortland, Willikins, Mikey After Midnight, Cooter, Frank, Niff, Himself, Glenn Irons, Sinjoro, Playground kid, Emerati Bellhop, Agent Ocean, Doug

Written by Ron “AAlgar” Watt with Kristy Brannon, Kara O'Connor, Matt Rowbotham and Amanda Smith

Directed by Ron “AAlgar” Watt

© 2017-2018 AAlgar Productions