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RIPOSTES 2006-01 (Jan)

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Anonymous writes...

I read in a previous response that you don't read fanfics because of "frivolous lawsuits". Wouldn't the 1st Amendment protect you from such lawsuits? Even if it didn't, aren't you the least bit curious to read what some of your fans have done with your creation(s)?

Greg responds...

The first ammendment doesn't protect me from lawsuits at all. Not of this kind. Not at all actually.

(Not to be snide, but did you read the example at the head of ASK GREG?)

If someone believes that I've read something in THEIR work that I used later in MY work in some form, they can sue me. In fact, ANYONE can sue me. There's no law against sueing. (And fighting even a frivolous lawsuit is extremely expensive and time consuming.) And of course if they can prove that I stole from them they can win. And win HUGE.

But if I have a blanket NO EXCEPTION policy against reading fanfiction, then it's much harder to win a lawsuit, which of course makes people much less likely to sue.

As to my curiosity... if you've read the FAQ, you'll know that I have very mixed feelings about fanfiction. It is tremendously flattering. But as I'm quite territorial about GARGOYLES, it's also tremendously disconcerting. So the truth is, I don't want to read the fanfiction. I am certain there are indivdual fanfics that I'd enjoy. (I'm particularly sorry that I haven't been able to read any of the more erotic stories based on the series.) But even in the best fanfic there's bound to be something that annoys me -- because in my vision of the series it's bound to be off the mark.

So when you combine that ambivalence with the legal risk issues, you can see I have very little incentive to change policy.

Response recorded on February 03, 2006

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Michael McCarthy writes...

In the episode "Sentinel", the statues are shown facing towards the sea. I recently saw a documentary about Easter Island, and all of the statues in reality face inland. Just wondering if you are aware of this.

Greg responds...

Guess I am now. All of 'em, huh?

Response recorded on January 26, 2006

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Puckluver writes...

Hey Greg! Can you tell me if the new Gargoyles season actually comes up, will Owen/Puck find his love match then, or will it be later?

Greg responds...

I'm not saying when or what is happening. Blame the comic book.

Response recorded on January 26, 2006

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Vashkoda writes...

More Lex-related questions:

1) Will Lex be lucky enough to find the love of his life on his first try (I'm not counting what happened in "Turf"). In other words, do you see him going on multiple dates or having many relationships before finally finding "the one"? I know that gargoyles mate for life, but since his significant other may be of a different race, I don't know if it will still be the case.

2) You've said the LXM robots are all chrome-colored and "all but indistinguishable from each other" before the Master Matrix is stolen. Don't you think it might be difficult for the audience to distinguish LXM-994 and LXM-1057 from one another? I understand that once they begin having separate experiences, separate personalities will emerge, but visually, it might still be hard to tell them apart, especially at the beginning of the series when the two teams are still together. Do you have plans for some other way to distinguish the two (some obvious mark or voice difference or such)?

Greg responds...

1. I'm not answering this. I've given too much away already.

2. The possibility for confusion interests me. There are ways to distinguish, but at least initially they won't be immediately obvious.

Oh, and technically these are two unrelated topics. (The fact that LXM looks like Lex doesn't actually help.) I'm only letting it slide because I'm NOT answering the first question.

Response recorded on January 26, 2006

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Chapter  LX : "Turf"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LX : "Turf"
Story Editor: Gary Sperling
Writers: Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir
Director: Dennis Woodyard

The one word title is, as usual, one of mine, referring of course to the Turf War over Manhattan between Brod & Dracon, and the "Turf War" over "Angie" between Brooklyn, Lexington & Broadway.

We were careful NOT to have Broadway call her Angie here. He used it first, in a previous episode, but by now has already grokked that she doesn't like it.

There's some fun stuff with the Trio acting like goofballs here. Brooklyn is particularly transparent.

Lex: "He's doing it again..."

There's also some awkward audio moments. Reused dialogue. (Brooklyn's "Heys") Arguments between the three of them that don't quite have the right snap. Oh, well...

But I think the ending is nice. Her "Slow down" is kinda lovely. The kisses are corny, but I think they work. And I love the reaction to her having "Fifteen Rookery Sisters back on Avalon"... (most of which she must know are spoken for by her many rookery brothers)... Brooklyn: "When do we get our world tour?"

In a way, this was fun for us, allowing us to gather many of our gangster characters together in one episode: Dracon and Brod of course, but also Glasses, Danforth and Pal Joey.

I do enjoy Brod. He has some great lines...

--"That was my favorite restaurant." In the middle of a turf war, and he's bummed about the food.

--And after Glasses speech tips Brod off to his NEW goal, i.e. breaking INTO jail... I love how Clancy reads, "Time to cut off the head!" (By the way, I always liked the audacity of Brod. Most people try to break OUT of jail. He breaks in.)

--When Brod says "Easy as shooting fish in barrel." I wanted the line to be "Easy as shooting Moose and Squirrel". But I was overruled. No one appreciates a good Boris Badinov reference.

--It was fun to see Brod & Dracon trying to classify the Gargs. "Bats." "Reptiles." They can't even agree on what they're fighting. Notice, no one said "Gargates".

I also like Jack Danforth a lot. Ed's great in that role. I loved Danforth in "Revelations". So I brought him back here and gave him to Brod to try to balance the character scale a bit. We tried to give Jack the word "Bum" to say as often as possible, e.g. "The Bum's in Cell Block D".

And it was fun to see the Guards punish Brod & Dracon by making them share a cell. Fun to see all dem bums jailed there.

We used animation conventions here to try to fool the audience or at least to keep them off-balance. Because often the same actor plays multiple rolls, the mere fact that Salli Richardson was voicing Salli didn't guarantee that Salli and Elisa were the same person. (After all, Coldstone and Taurus aren't the same person. They're not even related. I PROMISE.) Plus models of humans can often be very similar. So the blonde Salli might or might not be Elisa as well. I figured some percentage of our audience would know. Some would miss it completely. Most would just be unsure... and that feeling of uncertainty was what I was counting on. Erin recognized Salli's voice as being the same as Elisa's. But neither her nor Benny were sure if it was really her or not until she took off the wig. When we had her sneak up to the Tower, they were pretty confident... and yet, and yet... I did like the garg's reactions after the fact. All sure. (To be fair, they were looking at a stranger from a distance.)

And by the way, I also liked that Salli's name is (coincidentally) nearly an acronym for Elisa. Maybe we should have spelled it "Salie".

Of course, Elisa looks damn good as a blonde. As always, it's nice to see her in different costumes.

Salli nearly gets the blame for the raid at the chop shop. She saves herself, probably literally, by mock accusing herself. Humor. Everyone's weapon of last resort.

It was also nice to see Elisa in the big sister (or young step-mother) role to Angela. I almost wish we had the time to play that more here.

Now, the question has been raised how Elisa got back on the force again, without getting in trouble after the World Tour. Here's a good part of the answer. She was needed. It's not that Chavez wasn't pissed about the disappearance. But the fact was that Chavez needed an unfamiliar face to infiltrate Brod's organization. Elisa's protracted absense wound up being useful. So Elisa gets in on a major undercover assignment that results in multiple high-profile arrests... and she's back in the fold.

It was also kind of fun to put Elisa in the uncomfortable position of having to protect Dracon.

Payphones. Salli looks wistfully at a payphone. Not that a cellphone would have helped her all that much with Brod watching her every move. But still...

Also, it seems that back in the 90s, a particle-beam weapon could shoot through the metal ceiling of a train... but NOT through seats on the same train. My wife gleefully pointed this out to me.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours...?

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In preparation for my next ramble, here are my notes on the outline for Turf... written after story editor Gary Sperling turned in the episode's outline but before work began on the script itself.

You'll notice that I didn't finish my beat outline. Didn't have time. But I got the ball rolling, and Gary was so good, he didn't need me to do the rest...

WEISMAN 5-16-95

Notes on "Turf" Outline...

She can't be a cypher. Nor can she be naive of the Trio's attentions for very long. She can miss it for a beat, then be flattered at first. Then annoyed at their presumptions. We can play the whole range, except non-responsiveness. Also, we'd like to make her fun in her own right. New York (and even the modern world) are still very new to her. Situational excitement can distract her from the Trio's antics. But lets try and get a sense of who she is outside of the context of her parentage.

Also, I feel that we need to know who Angela will wind up with in the long run (assuming there ever is a long run). Gary Sperling and I discussed it, and came to a semi-consensus that Angela and Broadway would make a nice couple. This should NOT be objectively reflected in this episode, and Broadway can make just as big an idiot of himself as Lex and Brooklyn, but if we keep it subtle, I wouldn't mind if viewers were able to look back to this episode and say, "you know, it really started here."

Independent of his romantic prospects, his appetite seemed overwhelming here. No arguments that he likes to eat. And I have no problems depicting him eating, but I don't want his appetite to ever overwhelm his common sense. No hunting for jalapeños when he's on a covert mission. Food does not become a priority when Elisa or the gargoyles' lives are at stake. And per Gary Krisel, we don't even want him to be talking self-consciously about food. It's a background element to his personality, not a defining element. He's imaginative. He likes to roll play. To have a good time. He likes pop culture. He's a fierce warrior. He's sensitive. Kind to animals. Protective. And, yes, he likes to eat.

I'd love at some point (that's that elusive long run mentioned above) to do a story about corruption. But I don't want to depict casual corruption in a story that doesn't have room to deal with it. Xanatos was in prison in "Thrill of the Hunt" and "Enter Macbeth" and got no massive privileges, except maybe a private cell. He ate prison food in the common room, etc. And he was in for a considerably lesser charge and has considerably more wealth at his disposal than Tony. So I don't want to see Dracon bribing guards or living the high life. Again, if our story was about that I wouldn't hesitate. But it's not. So prison is tough and cold and unpleasant. Dracon can have a private cell, a privilege he loses in the epilogue, and he is still running things via communication with Glasses. But he ain't having fun.

When the story opens, she's already in with Brod. In fact from her point of view, the first scene was designed to be the end of her undercover operation. She leads Brod to hit one of Dracon's illegal operations and the cops bust both sides. The plan is screwed up when she is knocked out before the cops arrive. She comes to later and has to improvise from that point on.

Brod's not a secret. This is an open turf war between two gangsters. Everyone, Dracon, Glasses, the cops, etc., know who the combatants are. The dilemma for the cops is that they cannot afford to let either side win. The winner would become too powerful. Putting Dracon away is embarrassing evidence of that. His operation is still in place. Elisa and the cops want to take the opportunity that the turf war presents to decimate the operations of both sides.

1. Some Dracon operation is raided by rival gangsters led by Brod. Brod's second-in-command is a woman (Elisa/Salli). Brod's men have the drop on Glasses and company, but "Salli" is knocked unconscious in the first early struggle. Suddenly, the raid is raided by the cops led by Chavez and Bluestone. (Morgan can be there too, but Elisa is conspicuously absent.) The cops nail henchmen on both sides, but Glasses and Joey escape (probably via some escape route that was in place for just this kind of police raid). Brod also escapes with the unconscious Salli, maybe to some extent because the cops don't want to fire on "Salli". (Though obviously, we don't want to reveal that here.)

2. In the hovercraft, Salli comes to. What happened? Brod explains that her plan to get the drop on Dracon's lieutenants worked -- until the cops showed up. Brod is generally suspicious, though not paranoid. The cops may have stumbled onto this thing on their own. Or one of Dracon's men might have betrayed the operation, and the Brod raid was just a case of bad timing, an unlucky coincidence. But Brod does not like coincidences. It's very possible that one of his people snitched. He still basically trusts Salli. (The fact that she got knocked out probably doesn't hurt her credibility.) But he doesn't trust anyone 100%. So for the time being, he's not letting anyone out of his sight.

3. Glasses visits Dracon in prison. Dracon orders a counterstrike against one of Brod's new operations.


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Chapter LIX: "Vendettas"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LIX : "Vendettas"
Story Editor: Cary Bates
Writer: Cary Bates
Director: Bob Kline
Voice Director: Greg Weisman

I don't usually list the voice director for each episode, because it's ALWAYS the same name: i.e. the incomparable Jamie Thomason. Out of 78 Gargoyles and Goliath Chronicles episodes, Jamie directed 77 -- and did a damn fine job on each and every one. This is the only episode I directed. I'd been sitting on Jamie's left hand (not literally, you sickos) throughout the first 58 episodes, and I wanted to take a shot at directing myself. I had done a few pick-up sessions here and there, mostly long distance phone patches with Keith David (who was starring in SEVEN GUITARS on Broadway). But I had never directed an entire episode. So I chose one with a small cast of people I knew very well and who knew me and would cut me some slack... FINDING an episode of Gargoyles with a small cast was no easy task, by the way. I tend toward casts of thousands. (I really drove the WITCH folks crazy this past year.) But Vendettas was perfect. Only five actors: Keith David (as Goliath), Edward Asner (as Hudson), Jeff Bennett (as Vinnie), Clancy Brown (as Wolf & Hakon) and Jim Cummings (as Mr. Acme & the Construction Worker). They were a great group, who made popping my voice directing cherry a pleasure.

In any case, I have a particular fondness for "Vendettas" for this reason. I don't think we got the animation to support the comedy. We didn't get the snappy timing. It's all pretty turgid. But I still think it's a fun story... with a great little cast.

The title is mine. Originally, back when "Hunter's Moon" was scheduled to be a separate Direct to Video and NOT part of our 52 episode second season order, the ideas in Vendettas were part of two separate springboards. The Wolf/Hakon villain team-up was going to be story edited by Cary Bates. The Vinnie/Pie stuff was going to be story edited by Brynne Chandler Reaves. When Hunter's Moon became our ending three parter, we had to lose three episodes that we were planning to do. One way NOT to lose anything was to combine these two thematically similar stories. Allow the comedy and action to play as counterpoint to each other. It was a great theory. But as I said above, I don't think we had the animation to support the slapstick, and so the comedy falls flat and just winds up undercutting the drama... making this arguably one of our weaker eps. Which doesn't mean I don't still like it a lot. A LOT. Cuz I do. (So depending on your point of view, Brynne either was out of luck or dodged a bullet when I pulled her Vinnie story away from her and combined it with Cary's Hakon/Wolf story. [Brynne was busy on the Gathering two-parter and on Reckoning, so she had plenty to do even without this.])

I think Jeff's performance as Vinnie -- another inspiration for the episode -- is hilarious. And the interaction between Clancy as Wolf and Clancy as Hakon is also terrific. (There's very little difference in the characters voices... just in the performance. Clancy's previous performances in these roles was, of course, another inspiration for the story idea. It came to me one day that Wolf was Hakon's descendant BECAUSE of the voice actor connection. But also because it just felt right.) Plus the normally stellar work of Ed & Keith. I'm not focusing on the voice actors because I directed them, but probably in spite of that fact. They were so great, that even my tyro effort couldn't make them bad.

Of course, it bothers me to no end that one of the biggest blunders in the series is right here in this ep. The whole haunted battle-axe idea is great. Except that it should absolutely have been a HAUNTED MACE. It should be the Mace that Hakon used to massacre Gargoyles back in "AWAKENING, PART ONE". We should have reestablished that in "SHADOWS OF THE PAST" and used the mace here. Instead we use an axe, which has no resonance for the series. It still drives me nuts. Though it does give us one good line of dialogue: "Tonight is battle-axe night!" I don't know why I like that line so much. Again, I'm sure it's mostly Clancy's reading. But it's still fun.

Of course, the name Carter was chosen (and we had Jim say "Carter" clearly as Acme so that we were legally protected) specifically because it would sound, with Vinnie's dialect, like he was saying "Mr. Kotter". This of course, because Vinnie sounded like Vinnie Barbarino (a.k.a. John Travolta) from the ancient sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter". Mr. Acme's name is of course a tribute to all the wacko-gadgets that the ol' Warner Bros. Coyote got from the Acme company. Vinnie in this episode is our Coyote. (Wile E. as opposed to the Trickster or the robot or Xanatos... although when you think about it, who's to say that the spirit of the trickster isn't present in all of the above.)

Of course (and yes, I realize, I'm saying of course a lot... all of this stuff seems kinda obvious to me... which does beg the question "Why are you writing about it then?" but I guess the answer is, cuz maybe it's not THAT obvious), the idea behind Mr. C. was that the audience would view Vinnie as a comic but real threat. You were supposed to think the gun was a gun. Vinnie threatens Mr. Acme with it. Threatens to "cream" him. But I tend to doubt on your first viewing that "cream" tipped you off to the nature of his ammunition.

There's some nice parallelism with Vinnie talking to Mr. C and Wolf talking to his axe. Of course, Wolf's axe is possessed, and Vinnie's just kooky. But we liked it.

Sometimes it's fun just to have an old-fashioned slugfest. Let Goliath and Hudson duke it out with Wolf/Hakon. Not every story has to have three hundred twists and turns. If they did, even that would get old. Sometimes you just want (as a creator, at least) a little satisfying ultra-violence. Even the characters agree sometimes. After the first skirmish, Hudson says: "I enjoyed that." Goliath not so much: "I'm glad SOMEBODY did."

There's a semi-funny double beat that can be hard to catch where Goliath cocks his fist to hit Wolf and accidentally smacks Hudson in the face. Later he NEARLY does it again. I really like that stuff. But I'm not sure the animation pulled it off.

The idea behind Vinnie as he developed over time to this point, was the idea of the shmoe. The guy who just keeps getting nailed by life. Life, in this case, being the gargoyles. They aren't aware of his existence, but they keep trashing him. Vinnie's narration is a riot to me. I love the shock in his voice after Lex takes his bike: "Can you believe it? He didn't know the first thing about motorcycles!"

"Can you believe it?" became Vinnie's catchphrase. Also "Uh oh."

In order to make Vinnie play, we actually had to visually "recast" the guy with the big nose from "Awakening, Part Four". I mean that guy had a REALLY big nose. He looked like Mr. Darling from 101 Dalmations. But I did like the contrast between the two versions of that scene. In Awakening, when Goliath grabs "Vinnie" he pulls him off screen and we hear an off screen BANG. And then "Vinnie" collapses unconscious. The implication being that Goliath knocked "Vinnie" out. Now in Vendettas, it's not off screen. And we see that Goliath BANGED his fist against the bulkhead, and Vinnie... fainted. Yet in his narration, Vinnie is always the hero.

Vinnie's true origins of course are in joke voices that Jeff did off the microphone. But when we had a security guard in "CAGES" that needed to be a bit dim, we had Jeff use the Barbarino voice. Then we ret-conned Vinnie back into the guy with the motorcycle and Big-Nose. There's also a scene with Vinnie that wound up being cut from the script for time from "Hunter's Moon". Remember when Goliath pulls the metal hatch off the Hunters' airship, so that he and Brooklyn and Lex can infiltrate. There was a follow-up scene where Vinnie's walking down the street and the metal hatch comes crashing down -- and nearly brains him. This was just going to be another example of Vinnie's "luck".

And it's just perfect here when after taking the pie, Goliath is asked by Hudson who Vinnie is, and Goliath answers, "I haven't the slightest idea." The gargoyles have no idea how they are changing life in Manhattan... not just by the big battles they win (ala Wolf/Hakon) but in many small ways. Most of these things are good. (Look at Mr. Jaffe, for example.) But they can't all be good. And the gargs can't possibly be aware of all the connections they are making. (BUT I TRIED TO BE.)

Of course, I later used Vinnie in "The Journey" (my one episode of Goliath Chronicles, my farewell episode). Vinnie at the end becomes something of a stand in for me, myself. At that point I knew I was moving to DreamWorks just as Vinnie was moving to Japan. But I also couldn't resist giving Vinnie the opportunity to grow and even be mildly heroic. We tried on Gargoyles to let all our characters grow, even someone as goofy as Vinnie. And seriously, anyone who would chose revenge by pie can't be all bad, right? Or even all stupid. There's something sophisticated in creating a gun that looks threatening... to the idea that you are letting your enemy know that you could have killed him. But instead you chose to hit him with a pie. I'm not recommending this in real life. But it's a bit more advanced than straight out revenge OR straight out pie-throwing.

"Since when do Werewolves fly?" It was fun to give a Hakon-possessed Wolf some ghost powers. This may not have been as effective as "Shadows..." but I think we had some play with it.

Hudson gets his "Jalapeña" here.

Wolf to Hakon: "Dream on, Casper!"

Hudson to Hakon: "Hakon Clan-Slaughterer!" I wish we had made more of this. (And again, I think the mace would have helped.) The idea is there, but I would have liked to push it more. Hudson was one of the clan's rookery fathers and grandfathers. He lost a lot -- A LOT -- of gargs he cared about. To Hudson, Hakon is the ultimate evil. I do like his line: "Get an afterlife!" But I do wish we had played this more. The idea was to comment on the foolishness of vendettas, vengeance, revenge, which is -- as a certain DX once said -- a sucker's game. And yet, I would have liked to see Hudson actually taking revenge here. Not just defeat an enemy, but take revenge. Although it seems contradictory, I think it would have helped to illustrate the point. Hakon sought revenge and wound up a victim of it. The cycle continues. This is all mostly there, but I would have liked to play the drama more.

"And now it's time to take my sweet revenge." And boom, the goofball whom we have been trashing for an entire episode gets the clean kill shot that neither Hakon nor Wolf could achieve. Only he doesn't fire a bullet (or cannon shot or whatever). Rather he fires a pie. The idea of the pie was Brynne's. I seem to recall that she got that off a Superman story she saw or read once. The choice of BANANA CREAM was mine.

That choice was a direct result of a pie memo I wrote to the original staff of Bonkers (including Duane Capizzi and Ralph Sanchez) on what makes a funny pie. We decided on that show (for a character named Gloomy the Clown) that cream pies were funnier than fruit pies (something Gloomy had trouble grokking). And we decided that the funniest possible pie was Banana Cream. So that had to be Vinnie's choice.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours...?

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Vashkoda writes...

Hi Greg. I've noted a lot of homosexuality questions/comments lately, so I thought I might add my own. Do you lean more towards the view that homosexuality is a genetic trait, or towards the view that it is based on environmental factors such as upbringing? My interest in your answer revolves a round a certain green gargoyle and his genetically identical (?) counterpart. Hopefully I'm not being too vague, but I'm trying not to get this question deleted again.

Greg responds...

I more-than-lean toward a genetic explanation for homosexuality.

Response recorded on January 12, 2006

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matt writes...

about the Humility Spell the Roman Magus cast on the Gargoyles species...

1. were any gargoyles aware that this spell was being cast? did any gargoyles object to it?

2. would this spell been possible without The Phoenix Gate, Eye of Odin and Grimorum?

3. is this spell common knowledge to gargoyles today? for instance, if Elisa asked Goliath why his clothes, etc turn to stone with him at dawn, would he know the reason?

4. does the spell cover gargoyle beasts as well?

thanks Greg!

Greg responds...

1. Some were aware. I'm not going to start telling the story here in this format however.

2. No.

3. I think it's inconsistent common knowledge. But, no, I don't think Goliath is aware of it. Not sure though.

4. In theory, but in practice... not much to cover, you know?

Response recorded on January 12, 2006

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Chapter LVIII: "The Gathering, Part Two"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LVIII : "The Gathering, Part Two"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves and Gary Sperling
Story: Lydia Marano
Teleplay: Lydia Marano and Gary Sperling
Director: Bob Kline

My initial reluctance toward calling this two-parter "The Gathering" revolved around the fact that we weren't actually showing much of the Gathering on Avalon. Basically one extended scene at the beginning of Part One. And then nothing. Nothing in part two at all.

But ultimately, I came to view "gathering" as a more metaphorical concept. Certainly, a lot of folk gather in this puppy even after we leave Avalon. Xanatos, Alex, Fox, Petros, Titania, Oberon, Puck/Owen, Renard, Vogel, Fortress-Two, Cybots, Iron Clan Robots, Goliath, Hudson, Angela, Brooklyn, Broadway, Lexington... etc. We're "all in" here.

The Gargoyle clan regathers. The extended (more extended than we knew) Xanatos family gathers. They form the start of a real alliance, laying the seeds for Hunter's Moon.

And, hey, if we hadn't called the eps "The Gathering", what would we call our annual convention now?

Goliath has clearly learned the lesson Diane Maza sought to teach him in "Mark of the Panther". He not only has no qualms about viewing Angela as his daughter, he
also has come to regard the bond between parent and child as sacred.

David has also learned a lesson or two. Not that he EVER would have let Oberon just take something (anything) that belonged to him, but you get the sense that in discovering in "Eye of the Beholder" that he really did LOVE Fox, he learned that he could love. And that his defense of his son here isn't just defending his property but, as Petros puts it, standing up for his family. That's what Petros is responding to here when he praises his son.

(And you got to admit that for a normal fisherman, Petros handles a lot of weird crap with surprising equanimity.)

Renard has likewise remembered what matters most to him. Not repairing his body or his company, but his family. He may not approve of his daughter and son-in-law, but he sure isn't going to let anyone take his grandson from them. He's a bit defeatist at the end. Maybe a tad self-involved, but being terminal, he may not want his final legacy to be failure. I thought it was nice to see Vogel buck him up some. (Though it was also fun to hear Vogel's flat sycophantic "You're a genius, sir." earlier.)

I liked the Iron Clan Robots. I wish it was clearer that they were scaled larger than the old Steel Clan. There supposed to be about 20 feet tall. But I'm not sure we ever see them beside anything that defines their height.

Benny suggested that they put the baby in an iron ball. The idea is so simple and brilliant, that I'm embarrassed that I never thought of it. But then, ahem, neither Owen nor David thought of it either, right? So why blame the writing staff, huh?

In general, I feel like we played a little too fast and loose with iron here. Presumably, Petros' harpoon was made of iron. If Oberon can be disabled by the ringing of an iron bell, you'd think an iron harpoon through the chest would have killed him. I guess he's just THAT powerful. It hurt bad, drained him horribly. But ultimately someone would have had to finish him in some way. NOW where is that bell?

Actually, there are moments of weak animation here that almost had me thinking of a whole 'nother way to defeat giant Obie. Moments that seemed cartoony enough so that the solution seemed to be for one of the gargs to fly into Oberon's ear, so that we could see him through the windows of Oberon's open eyes breaking stuff in there.

Oberon: "My decrees are mine to interpret."
Oberon: "Oberon does not compromise. Oberon commands!"

Eh, six of one, half dozen of the other.

He's promised that he won't use magic against Goliath's clan. But he interprets that loosely. He won't turn them into glass statues or zap 'em with a magic bolt. But he feels free to attack them physically with his hair. Or sic magically animated statues on 'em. (Liked those industrial age "gargs", btw.)

Of course those Industrial gargs wind up destroying themselves. Brooklyn says, "It's incredible how often that move works." Which is him covering for us the writers knowledge that we kept falling back on that same solution over and over.

And, hey, what's the deal inside Oberon's cape? Actually, I really like that. It's a nice weird, spooky cool moment to remind us how other-worldly Oberon really is.

You'll notice at the beginning of the episode that Xanatos still feels the need to come up with a cynical excuse for saving Broadway's life. He can't yet simply view him as an ally (let alone friend or fellow), but still as a resource that shouldn't be wasted. I love Jonathan's reading there. The cynicism rings so hollow. He's already going through changes.

By the end of the episode, he'll truly regard the Goliath and the clan in a new light.

So... honestly? How many of you were surprised? If not by the revelation itself, then by the details, as he tells his history to Oberon. (With "visual aids," no less.)

What we tried to do was let all thoughts of Owen AND Puck fall from your head by this time. There are a couple clues to their dual identity in episodes like "City of Stone, Part One" and "The Mirror", and I felt like there were a TON of hints in "The Gathering, Part One". But in Part Two, we tried to keep even the mention of the two characters to a minimum. So that the audience wouldn't be focused on THAT mystery and we stood a chance of at least catching everyone off guard.

I love X's line: "Owen has all sorts of hidden talents."

I also love Puck's, "I'm on a roll." This is delivered into camera. I always wanted Puck to be the one character in our series who could and would break the fourth wall. But I always met resistance from Frank and Dennis. But this ep was directed by Bob Kline, who tossed me a bone, I guess.

Puck had never played the roll of straight man. I loved that idea. That he would out Vogel Vogel. Of course, when Vogel was first introduced, many fans, as expected, were highly critical of the character. Saying he was just an Owen rip-off. It was great to turn the tables. It made us all feel so clever, as Owen is in fact a Vogel rip-off.

Puck has a bunch of great lines, some of which are probably only great because Brent delivers them so brilliantly...

"Sweet kids, but boring."

"One wish from the Puck or a lifetime of service from Owen"

"He chose Owen". Brent's reading there almost breaks your heart. As Oberon says, it's clear that Puck was impressed by X's choice. In fact, he's clearly touched by Xanatos' choice, by his loyalty. He extends a loyalty back to X that he's never, I think, felt before. As with Titania, it's Oberon's punishment backfiring on him. He sent the Children out into the world to learn humility. To learn to be ... "humane". Oberon himself did NOT learn. But many of his subjects did, and the results don't always please Lord O. Puck is loyal to Oberon because he has to be. But he's loyal to David because he wants to be. Guess which loyalty ultimately wins out?

"You hurt him with that one. Do it again." (LOVE THAT.)

"I've got a sunny disposition, and I'm always kind to animals."

It's also nice to see Puck's demeanor and Owen's side by side. Puck is horrified by his permanent banishment from Avalon. (An elegantly appropriate punishment if I do say so myself.) But Owen takes it in stride, as Owen takes everything in stride, right down to and including a stone fist. (Which is another vindication thing for me. Many people seemed willing to crucify us after "The Price" for the cavalier way that the writing staff and Xanatos allowed Owen to get that fist. But now that they knew that Owen is Puck, and that Xanatos (and the writing staff) knew it all the time, it all makes a bit more sense.)

Talk about elegant though, how about Titania's manipulations... assuming you believe her when she takes credit for everything. Do you believe her?

And no, I'm not going to tell you what she whispered to Fox. At this point, I'm quite convinced that the answer would be anti-climactic. Better left to your own imagination.

Oberon gives us the "Midsummer Night's Dream" reference. I like that.

I also like the last exchange between Xanatos and Goliath, starting with:
X: "Wait!"
G: "What?!"
So suspicious our G, huh?

And I like Goliath's line, "The future is not written yet." And it isn't. Not from their point of view. There's still free will. But certainly, Goliath hasn't forgotten the recent vision that was "Future Tense".

Is it here that Broadway calls Angela "Angie" for the first and last time?

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Secret_Agent_Gerbil writes...

Sorry for two different questions, but as I was browsing through the unanswered questions at the time, I noticed that one mentioned that they supported your move to make Lexington homosexual.

1) Is this true

1b.) If so, why?

2.) Is this referenced in the series? It probably isn't, but I've only started rewatching the show so I may have missed something about it.

As a fan of the show who is homosexual, this strikes me as strange, since this is technically a children's show. If you did do this, I commend you. If you didn't, you still rock.

Greg responds...

1. Is it true they support it? I don't know.

1b. Not sure.

2. It's not. Although I don't think we're inconsistent with the interpretation.

I'm not exactly trying to be commendable. The characters often tell us their truths. But I'm not unhappy that you like the idea.

Response recorded on January 10, 2006

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Wally writes...

I searched the archives, but I may have missed the answer...

In "Sanctuary":
Given his suicidal tendencies, why does Macbeth bother to put up such a fight against Demona at the end? As he opens his secret stash of weapons before the final battle, he says something like "Demona, it ends tonight." He's had 900 years to think about his situation, so it struck me as odd that he temporarily seems to forget that he can effectively kill Demona by letting her kill *him*. Why does he bother to jump out of the way of her shots? And why does he have such a quick change of heart after Elisa "kills" Demona?

P.S. Thanks so much for continuing to answer questions. Gargoyles was an amazing creation. I hope you feel some pride in the accomplishment. (I'm 31, and every time I watch an episode, I'm amazed at how well the whole story ties together. Truly great work. Thanks!)

Greg responds...

I think Macbeth has seen in the past that Demona is not as consciously suicidal as he sometimes (and I emphasize "sometimes") is. He couldn't count on her being willing to kill him, since she knows that would result in her own death. In fact the best way to get Demona to gun for him is for him to gun for her and raise her anger to overcome her reason.

Plus, let's be honest, the guy is pissed off and humiliated and he'd like a bit of payback on his way out the door. His preference: he kills her, kiling them both. Just more satisfying then standing there like a target.

As for jumping out of the way... see above and also instinct. The fight or flight instinct is hard to overcome no matter how suicidal you may be. And Macbeth has always been a bit ambivalent on the subject at best.

Finally, why does he calm down? Well, a lot of the white hot anger has passed. Also, once again, he has briefly experienced death, and perhaps THAT'S not all it's cracked up to be. And Goliath's words eventually help too, I would think.

But frankly, I'll leave that for each of you to interpret.

Oh, and thanks for the kind words.

Response recorded on January 10, 2006

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Chapter LVII: "The Gathering, Part One"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LVI : "The Gathering, Part One"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writers: Lydia Marano
Director: Bob Kline

This episode is/was so jam-packed with stuff that I literally couldn't take notes fast enough. I'm bound to have missed a ton of stuff that I might have wished to comment on. So this ramble is going to be far from comprehensive. Also, all quotes are approximate.

My original title for the episode was "Reunions". Finally, I think we all agreed that it should become "The Gathering". Originally, believe it or not, this was going to be a one-parter, with "The Reckoning" (then called "Endgame") as a two-parter. We realized that the Gathering was too jam-packed to fit in one part, and made the switch.

I think generally you'll see fewer comments from my family in the next few rambles. Having become too aware that I was writing down their responses, they started to play to THAT. And thus their responses have become, I think, less authentic and more designed to make good copy. Ah, well...

I will say that wife and kids have taken to calling out "And we live again!" along with Keith over the opening titles. They find it very amusing. :P

Sometimes you do just wish there were more hours in the day. Time to figure out who besides the usual suspects (Grandmother, Raven, Anansi, Coyote, Odin, Anubis, etc.) should have been there. Instead, we get some random designs. (Perhaps even some reuse from New Olympians where I had a similar problem?) Still it did give us Nought. So I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

I hate seeing Anubis laughing.

Note that Titania's mirror was broken in "The Mirror" but that Oberon clearly has his own mirror. A matching set. A wedding gift perhaps?

Love the Weird Sisters as Oberon's storm troopers.

Wish we had done more with Puck's flute. Oh, well. Someday.

Love Oberon's treatment of Banshee. "Anything to say?" he asks when she's frozen. And he won't take the magic-gag off until he can hear her be humble. Guy is tough to please.

Alexander is born and intro'd to all his eclectic genre-spanning grandfolk. Here's where I thought we were perhaps being too obvious about Owen's secret. But I do love Vogel's reaction to being "accused" of being related to Owen. And I like Owen's reaction to the news of Anastasia's remarriage.

"Alexander Fox Xanatos". A little bit of mom. A little bit of dad. A little bit of world conqueror. A chilling reminder in middle name and hair color of the events of "Future Tense". We expect great things from this kid...

The Jogger does our now standard bit where he blames something recently ingested to explain the "hallucinations".

Oberon obviously saw Star Wars. Maybe he thought "Obi Wan" was some kind of tribute to "Oberon".

Like seeing the Eyrie Nightwatchman again. Haven't seen him since "Awakening", I think.

I love the exchange between Oberon and Titania. Mortal jealousy over something as "mild" as an "illegitimate child" is beyond these two. Oberon is amused that Fox is Titania's daughter. (Of course, for S&P reasons, we had to make it very clear that Oberon and Titania were divorced and that Fox was born when Anastasia was married to Renard.) Some good lines here too:

O: "What is exactly is going on?"

T: "I'm gathering even now."

O: "Titania, what have you been up to?"

I like Anastasia's de-glamouring into Titania. It's as if Oberon's magic gives her a physical/sexual thrill. This plays into her relative descriptions of her two husbands. Halcyon proved to rigid for her tastes. Only Oberon can hold her interest. For an immortal, the one thing that she absolutely needs is variety. Only Oberon possesses that kind of infinite variety. He may not be perfect, but for Titania no one else compares.

Oberon's rationale for leaving Fox alone (as she's turned out human), but taking Alex away (as he has the potential to be one of the Children) makes perfect sense to me. Especially when you consider that he's interpreting his own laws.

I also love Oberon's version of not being heartless. "Hey, kids, come on. I'll give you one whole hour with your new born son before taking him away forever, 'kay?" (I told you all quotes were approximate.)

I dig Travis Marshall, who never resists an opportunity to point out who Xanatos and Fox really are.

Note BWay's response to seeing Elisa again. Note also the Trio's response to Angela. Broadway calls her "Angie" here. And the stuff with the chocolates is classic, I think.

I also love Hudson's line: "We're not the last. We're not alone." That, more than anything else was the main point of the World Tour. It isn't hopeless for the Gargoyles species.

Owen's abandonment is fascinating to me. There was still a piece of me here that felt like we had given his identity away earlier. But if not, this scene is so amazingly confounding. For the first time, Owen seems more in control of the situation than Xanatos. But also for the first time, Owen actually seems frightened. Then he abandons his post in David's greatest time of need. I am curious how many of you figured out either here or earlier that Owen was Puck. And if not, what did you think of this scene.

Elisa: "There's no place like home." And there's no place I won't stick a Wizard of Oz reference when given the chance.

G's basically making (or ready to make) his declaration of love right here on Elisa's terrace. But she stops him. She still views their love as impossible (the species thing). Watching it now, I'm reminded of "Tears in the Rain" that beautiful BLADE RUNNER moment. But I can't remember if we were consciously inspired by that or not.

Given all that gets revealed in this ep, this may seem minor, but it was very important to me. Avalon did not RELEASE the foursome from their quest. Avalon brought them where they needed to be, i.e. Manhattan because of this Alex conflict. After that, in essence, you have to assume that Goliath, et al, abandoned Avalon's quest. Not the other way around.

Some fun stuff with Morgan here. But I love the notion of Oberon putting the city to sleep. Summons back a bit of CITY OF STONE of course. But how can you do Oberon and not at some point give everyone a midsummer night's dream? Especially Brendan & Margot. (Who are making a comeback soon, trust me.)

Elisa and Travis are fun to see too.

And finally, KING KONG OBERON. Hey, Peter Jackson's not the only one who found early inspiration with the big ape.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?

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Happy New Year!

Gorebash, Todd and I are briefly opening the submit function here at ASK GREG. I plan on posting some ramblings soon on "The Gathering, Part One" and "The Gathering, Part Two" and "Vendettas". And I'd love to get your rambles on those episodes as well.

More than that, I'd like to get your response to the new DVD that came out last month.

I also don't mind getting a few legit new questions, but PLEASE... be reasonable. As of now, I'm still nearly two years behind in answering questions. Gore is planning a major retrofit of the site, but until then, it doesn't help to flood ASK GREG with questions that have already been answered or that could be answered much more rapidly in the comment room.

We'll be closing the submit function down at the end of January, 2006. (I don't want to get too much further behind.)

Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you about that DVD,