The Guild

by f

The Guild

In case I’ve never mentioned this before — and I don’t think I have — I’m a huge fan of this online show called The Guild. It’s a very interesting look at this group of (local) RPG-obssessed knuckleheads who become friends in real life. The show is written by Felicia Day, who also takes a starring turn. There’s something about Felicia Day’s presence on screen that turns just about anything into pure gold. This series is no exception; Day’s character is a woman named Cyd — avatar, Codex — who is a former violin prodigy turned semi-employed and perpetually anxious gamer. She brings her nervous effervescence onto the screen in such a real way. Everything about her, the humor on this show, and the writing is just fantastic.

The show is specifically made for the web and is shot in bite-sized episodes ranging from two to seven minutes in length.  The first four minutes of the show, for instance, tells us everything we need to know about Cyd/Codex and her life: she’s painfully awkward and spends time on raids with her Guild, she has her therapist on speed dial.

And then, one day, her worlds intersect. Zaboo, a fellow Guild member and online warlock, manages to show up at her door carrying a suitcase and demands that Codex, the love of his life, take him in. From that meeting onward, the show becomes progressively twisted as it delves into the real life misadventures of these maladjusted players.  It is a standout commentary on the lives of the fluid gaming community and the effects that prolonged gaming and alternate universe immersion have on those who play them. The supporting cast is amazing and go a long way to make the show as stunning as it is. Look out for Sandeep Parikh, who plays Zaboo. He’s pitch perfect as the needy mama’s boy whose testosterone acquisition scheme leads him to interesting places. (Also excellent; the comedienne Viji Nathan, as his mother.)

The women in the Guild make up a fascinating set. Aside from the insecure Codex, there’s the spaced out Clara whose complete neglect for her children echoes the horrible death of a real-life South Korean girl who died when her parents neglected her for a virtual baby. The other Guild female —  Tinkerballa — is equal parts mean, manipulative and deeply insecure. The best lines in the show belong to her. She’s cutting and devastating when angry. Somehow seeing her even consenting to play this game seems outside her personality until 0ne realizes that beyond that very well constructed facade is a girl who wants to belong with others who like to kill, maim and raid.

The other two characters — Vork and Bladezz — are amazing comic relief. Bladezz cocky demeanor belies his age and actual skill — he’s often called the Guild “retard” in the first season — and Vork’s penchant for misguided honor, simultaneous naivete and cunning, and need to always steal free food is a source of constant delight in the series.

Underneath the humor and charm of the Guild, however, are some serious issues. Codex’s insecurity is crippling. A comic prequel shows her introduction to the game. A boyfriend discovers he’d rather sleep with the oboeist — a man — than his girlfriend. Codex burns down her ex’s cello. Then after extensive therapy, she find herself playing the Guild and interacting with the members as if they were flesh and blood in her own living room.

There are four seasons, and I believe you can get them all done in a few hours. Fantastic acting and great guest appearances. (Will Wheaton in a utilikilt should be an excellent incentive for any red-blooded female to make her way through three seasons. The man is smoking.)

2 Comments to “The Guild”

  1. Oh, how I love The Guild! One doesn’t even need to be into games to enjoy it. Felicia Day is definitely Girl Crush-worthy. She clearly has an incredibly grasp of human nature to be able to write some vivid, real characters.

  2. I’ve never heard of this before! I’m not very into computer games (my brand of RPG is not the same as this at all, but you and D probably know this already :p ), but it sounds very interesting in a dysfunctional sort of way. Good post, very interesting!

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