Sarcastic Voyage - Nick and Willikins - Series 2
• One of the things I mentioned in my annotations for season 1 was how little we really cared to provide any kind of continuity between seasons (or, to put it in a more British way, "series") of Nick and Willikins. Maggie and I both had a passion for Red Dwarf, which gleefully cast off any pretense of linear consistency. At the time, we sort of assumed all great British shows worked this way. Later, I would do my best to make sense of it all, and surprisingly, despite our fairly blatant contradictions, it wasn't especially difficult. But there's definitely a deliberate effort to resist making sense in this run of episodes (which, strictly speaking, is something like three series, not the one I more-or-less arbitrarily decided to compile them into).
• I wish I had a brilliant behind-the-scenes story about how this "what, you mean X?" "no sir, that's Y" bit that became kind of a cornerstone of Nick and Willikins. I don't. It was probably something Maggie and I came up with on a long car trip someplace. I'm generally not a fan of Family Guy-style "keep doing a joke until you've completely run it into the ground and then keep doing it for several long minutes after that point" gags, but this one turned into a weird challenge. "Are we done now?" one of us would ask, and the other would keep it going. In the end, we did five full minutes of this bit here. That may not seem like a lot, but it is. Try staying underwater for that long. Unless you're Guybrush Threepwood, it's probably not going to go so well for you.
• The sad haunted house, on the other hand, does have a behind-the-scenes story, although there's not much to it. On Aurora Avenue (highway 99) in south Seattle, there's a building that serves as a radio station-sponsored haunted house for probably two months out of the year. The rest of the time, it appears to be a kind-of shabby restaurant. The space is small and as far as we can tell, the scariest thing about it is that it's in the grimy, industrial part of town. How terrifying could this "haunted house" really be? Would it even bother with anything more than the requisite bowl of eyeballs/peeled grapes? Probably not. It'd probably be something more like what we created here.
• Nick always wanting to be an inventor is just one in a very long line of things Nick has always wanted to be. And obviously he has identical nephews. Why wouldn't he have identical nephews? Shame on you for doubting us.
• We'd definitely entered a bit of an experimental period here, between the word association stuff, this fairly complicated brain-swapping machine bit and some of the fourth wall stuff we did with the Narrator. Not all of it landed, but I have rather fond memories of writing in this period. There was a lot of "okay, this is a little weird, but I think it might be funny." Sometimes it was!
• The Colonel was, I believe, pitched by Brian, who played him and also wrote at least some of the episodes in which he appears. He was initially meant to be a sort of one-off extra antagonist for Willikins, but he has since become a pretty substantial part of the shared SV universe. He's effectively the Nick Fury of our world, heading the Ministry of the Unconventional for Canada and the United States (what a horrible acronym). He has, to date, appeared in The Radio Adventures of Matt and AAlgar (in fictionalized radio form) and Citizen Crotch, and Tales of the Odd. (He also appeared in an extended flashback in The Omce and Future Nick, where we witness him adopting young Willikins in the first place.) He just ended up being one of those stock characters that's easy to get across to the audience in very little time, which is an extremely useful thing to have.
• I'm still fairly certain Lucille Ball is a Dalek.
• Errol (also played by Brian) ended up being another pretty useful stock character to have — the cockney street tough. Errol shuffled off this mortal coil in the Adventures of Nick and Willikins point-and-click adventure game.
• Mr. Smlown is our good-great friend Gav Brown's longtime roommate and adversary. He pretty much speaks for himself here.
• This whole fourth wall business where Nick and Willikins end up doing a commercial for Bunny Bubbles was part of an elaborate — and now that some time has passed I think it's safe to say failed — experiment during Sarcastic Voyage's painful transition from chat show to sketch show. When we did these remastered versions, it was important to me that we not change the material, so I left in the baffling out-of-context appearances of Real Life AAl and Maggie (though, to be honest, it didn't make a ton of sense in context either). For what it's worth, we do still stand behind Bunny Bubbles and their fine products.
• This last run of episodes is where "experimental" turned into "okay, what the fuck even is this bit anymore"? But again, I don't regret it. Some good ideas come out of experimenting. It also gives you the opportunity to figure out exactly what works in a specific bit and what doesn't. And I definitely feel like, from the next installment onwards, we'd done that.
Dave Fields - Exasperated Narrator
Brian Lynch - The Colonel, Errol
Josef Ravenson - Alien, Brent
Maggie Rowbotham - Nick, Jick, Mick, Rick, Vick, Matt
Malvern Smlown - Himself
Amanda Smith - Lucille Ball
Sabrina Snyder - Haunted House Keeper
Jason Wallace - Hank, The Queen
Ron “AAlgar” Watt - Willikins, AAlgar
Written by Ron “AAlgar” Watt & Maggie Rowbotham with Gav Brown and Brian Lynch
Directed by Ron “AAlgar” Watt
© 2011, 2017 AAlgar Productions