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Francois Ferland writes...

If nothing went right, you recently got a post I made by mistake that included every previous questions I asked you. But if everything went right and the webmaster got my mail, it's gone and you don't know what I'm talking about. I'm hoping for the former, so here's the question I was trying to send last time:

I'm still making my way through the archives (hey, it's been four years since I read it all) and each day brings forth new ideas to me, so forgive me for swarming you with so many posts in a row.

I've been reading several of the comments you made when seeing Gargoyles episodes with your family, and where you where interested in how we reacted at first to some events. So I decided to dig up those old memories and list a few key moments from the show where you (and your staff) managed to really surprise me.

Deadly Force:

This one surprised the hell out of me. When Broadway fires the gun and we hear silence, I was certain that this was a fake-scare. I mean, one of the show's hero shooting another one? Get real! And then I saw Elisa on the floor. And not just lying there with no sign of injury like is often shown in cartoons with serious accident, but resting in a pool of her own blood! If there ever was a moment where I finally took for granted that Gargoyles was a cartoon far beyond any other in terms of sophistication, that was it. And even better, we got that from Disney? Damn, I wish they'd take that kind of risk again for a TV series...

The Edge:

The opening scene where Xanatos, responding to Owen's offer to pretend to lose, replies "I'd fire you if you did". Almost any other cartoon (or live action show for that matter) would have had the villain either beat up or berate his underling for daring to beat him. You just expect it, as it's one of the most popular stereotype on TV. At this point, I still didn't know enough about Xanatos to expect that from him. It's also a defining moment where I also realized that Xanatos wasn't your ordinary bad guy. I don't think he ever really surprised that much afterward.

A Lightouse In The Sea Of Time:

Having Xanatos shown as the one responsible for the theft at first was actually refreshing. You don't know how many shows I've seen where even for very obscure reasons the right villain is always suspected right away, or how a mostly forgotten villain will suddenly be mentionned for no reason at all just to be revealed as being the brains behind the evil scheme of the day.

Maybe producers feel they don't have time to waste on a false lead, or that it's better to give the upcoming villain some introduction, no matter how clumsy it might seem.


When we meet Preston Vogel, there was an immediate alarm in my mind. We get another executive assistant type-guy who happens to look exactly like Owen? Can you say lazy Character Model re-use? It felt very cheap, and even though the rest of the episode was good, that particular detail always bugged me. That is, until several episodes down the road, we get to...

The Gathering:

First off, the scene where Petros comments on Vogel and Owen's ressembleance was hilarious. At first, I thought it was only a bit of self-derision, being aware the animators hadn't been very subtle about Vogel's character model, until Puck tells us Vogel was the inspiration for Owen. Great stuff.

And while Oberon was wasting his energy fighting the force field, I kept yelling "Just get in form the underside, it's not protected dummy!". It always seemed stupid in cartoons and comics when nobody ever thinks to go UNDER the blasted force field. Imagine my surprise when our favourite lord and master does just that.

I'm sure there are other instances where the Gargoyles staff played on our expectations as an audience. It gives the series a much more polished feel, that you were quite aware of what we might think and expect and deliberately used that to your advantage as often as possible to surprise us.

Greg responds...

We tried. HARD. I'm glad the effort paid off -- at least for you. Thanks for the kind words.

Response recorded on May 19, 2005