Classics 17 (EP 76) - Apologies All Around

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Kevin Anderson
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Classics 17 (EP 76) - Apologies All Around

Post by Kevin Anderson » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:09 am

Update (Thursday, February 26th, 2015): Drabbleclassics 17 - Apologies All Around
Feature: Apologies All Around by Jeff Soesbe
No drabble for this episode.
Genres: Drabbleclassics Drama Sci-Fi
Original Episode: 76

Image

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008
"Pardon, Winston Sinclair, I am not here to sell you something. I am not here to buy something. Winston Sinclair, sir, I am here to apologize..."

Episode Art: Bo Kaier
DrabbleNews: Romeo guinea pig causes baby boom

Originally published in Flash Fiction Online, February 2008.

No twabble for this episode.
Last edited by Algernon Sydney is Dead on Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: It's now a classic!

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Post by delfedd » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:29 am

Oh man... this looks like a great story.

I loved the "future sitcom" theme you went for. Really made me laugh.

Did you write the song at the beginning, or did it come with that?

Wow. I'm impressed. A drabblecast with a happy ending and a moral that wasn't "Go eat lots of Jelly." Normally drabblecasts, while not depressing, aren't exactly uplifting. They're funny or weird or scary, but this one reaffirmed my faith in humanity a little bit.

I think that anyone who's had to apologize for a major thing felt that way, they wanted to keep giving and such. This story left me with a smile on my face at the end.

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Post by RG » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:19 pm

Innnnnsufficient value.

That's what I'd say if the story stunk, but it didn't. It was one of the best I've heard on Drabblecast, and I think a lot of that has to do with the whole sitcom theme, funny voices, laugh track and the guy in the audience who said "he said it again." This would fit right in with that old classic sitcom Happy Days Lost in Space.

I missed the last ten drabblecasts, because I couldn't find them for a while. Glad to see them back. I've caught up on those last ten, and here are my reviews of them, from the most recent backward:

Good.
Good.
Bad.
Good.
Too long.
Good.
Okay.
Good.
Good but not great.
Great but not good.

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strawman
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Post by strawman » Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:03 pm

RG wrote:Good.
Good.
Bad.
Good.
Too long.
Good.
Okay.
Good.
Good but not great.
Great but not good.
Might also be entitled "The Last 10 Days of My Summer Vacation". Innnnnsufficient value.
I love the idea of the laugh track. But it seemed a little "off" somehow, like the wrong laugh track. Apparently there's more than one!?
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

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Post by zZzacha » Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:03 pm

RG wrote:Good.
Good.
Bad.
Good.
Too long.
Good.
Okay.
Good.
Good but not great.
Great but not good.
Might also be entitled "The Last 10 Minutes of a Very Busy Night with Sooty". Innnnnsufficient value ;]

All the fun aside *WHAAHAAHAA*, he did it again! What a great episode! At first I was sad because the episode was just 15 minutes long *WHAAHAAHAA* but I enjoyed every second *WHAAHAAHAA* of it. Real sufficient value, this one *WHAAHAAHAA*.

Hmm.. when I put a laugh track in my post, it gets boring real quick. *WHAA...* So I'll stop doing that. The laugh track in the story was very very funny however, and I loved that it sounded a bit off. I fell to the floor laughing when the guy in the audience said "He said it again..". Yeah!!! That's my kinda humor.
I'll be there in 5 minutes. If not, read this again.

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Post by tastycakes » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:24 pm

This story illustrates why The Drabblecast is waaayyy different, and better, than other spec. fiction podcasts. I believe this story wouldn't have had a chance if it weren't for Norm's brilliant production. That's not a shot at the author; the story was good, just by no means a "typical" spec. fiction story. It really needed something special to drive the story, and Norm provided it.

I also wanted to comment at how hilarious the background music is during the Guinea Pig Check 'Dis. Awesome.
One day he will look into what a ‘stigmata’ really is; for now, it is his trump card for getting out of work. He simply says ‘stigmata’ and they say ‘shit, hope you feel better soon.’ End of story.

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Post by auf_weiderzen » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:27 pm

Today, on a very special episode of the Drabblecast, Norm learns that putting your heart and soul into audio production can turn cheap saccharine junk into an ironic comedy-fest worthy of the Drabblecast.

Okay, I would like to apologize to the author, Jeff Soesbe. Jeff, your story was well-intentioned and decidedly uplifting. It closed well, with clean ending, not wholly expected ending (i.e., building a robot). I also sincerely hope that the sitcom format was your devising and merely cleverly carried off by Norm, because that one of the finest pieces of literary irony I have seen a while.

Good work all around.

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Post by normsherman » Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:20 am

Well I'd just like to throw in that I thought the story was a good, strong, contrasting bit of fiction on it's own. It was short, just under 1K words, and it really isn't easy to pull off a story with this kind of idea that isn't cheesy in that amount of space. When we get stories this good on their own it really is a lot easier to ham them up and make them even more fun for audio.
"Give us all some Jelly"

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Post by tbaker2500 » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:03 am

Got a chance to listen to this one whilst driving between works.

Awesome production. Fun to listen to. But all the while, I'm feeling guilty. Did the author intend for it to be campy?

If it weren't for the production, the story would be clean and well intentioned, but maybe a bit simplistic. I'd hate to think we'd turned a corner and started to make fun of the story itself.

On the other hand, I know I wouldn't have enjoyed myself so much if it had been read straight.

What's a person to do??
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normsherman
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Post by normsherman » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:23 am

The story wasn't trying to be campy at all. In producing it I wanted to find the middle ground between a unique interpretation while keeping the feeling that made me get a shiver down my back when I read the end- about the power of an apology. How it's so hard to do but it's so cathartic for us. I love when stories mix fear/humor or campy/poignant, so I try to go for that in production when I can. I can't stress enough how effective this little 1K word story was on it's own to me- none of my ideas or excitement would have been available had the story not been very well written and charming in it's own right.

Hopefully didn't overstep any bounds. Other places can read stories straight- I hope we stand out a little at least as the place that gives stories new life...and as the place that pays you half as much. But the first hopefully stands out a bit more. :-)
"Give us all some Jelly"

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tbaker2500
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Post by tbaker2500 » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:30 am

Well it sounds like the story was good on it's own then. (Kinda hard for me to tell, since you put such vivid imagery to it.)

All I can say, is don't stop!

The experience is easily as much about the telling as it is about the story. A good example is Frank Key's A Hooting Yard, which is absolute drivel, be yet engrossing when read by him.

I truly see the DC as a re-emergence in true storytelling amongst the piles of mediocreness of modern podcasting.

I'd be fascinated to hear you do some non-weird stories. They wouldn't be as much fun as the DC maybe, but it would be a challenge for you. :-)
You're my quasi-ichthian angel, you're my half-amphibian queen...

The Dribblecast, we don't care if you sound like an idiot.

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Post by normsherman » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:41 am

tbaker2500 wrote: The experience is easily as much about the telling as it is about the story.
That should be our mission statement. I agree 100%
tbaker2500 wrote:
All I can say, is don't stop!
We won't! As long as we don't go broke and we have you makin sure we stay online! :-)
"Give us all some Jelly"

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Post by normsherman » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:45 am

normsherman wrote: Guess we should go on a marketing campaign or something.
Get me that rap video, Norm! You Tube will crash under the weight of all the views!

Well... No, no it won't, but still...

OH CRAP!! I hit the "edit" button instead of the "quote" button! I am a moron! :cry: :oops: :cry:

Um, Norm was saying how the recent url feed mixup has caused a drop in downloads and wondering what can be done to get it back up... And something else...

Bleck! What a lousy way to start the morning. :(

With deep remorse
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"Give us all some Jelly"

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Post by cammoblammo » Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:33 pm

I think the hardest part of telling a story (as opposed to writing it) is in marrying the details of the telling with the story itself. That is a fine art, regardless of the medium.

For example, let's say you want to publish a book. You've got to get the cover art, illustrations, font choice and page layout just right. If you change just one of those things you have a different book. The differences may be subtle, but they affect the way you perceive and feel the book in very deep ways.

A similar thing happens in audio. You can't choose a funky font, but you can get a different reader. You can't change the illustrations, but you can add a laugh track.

Seriously, that laugh track rocked, and the cheap synth on the theme music was hilarious. But it was married to the story so well. It turned a good story that I probably would have liked into a whole new work of art.

Norm, this track is your love child. I take it you want us to pay child support?

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Post by andyd273 » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:51 pm

I really liked this one, a lot.

The story was really good, and I really liked the idea of these robots replicating through people that have more to apologize for.

I envision there being small armies of robots carrying apologies all over the place.

The production was good, as always, but the laugh track was a little off... but then again I don't normally like sitcoms that have laugh tracks.

I guess in my opinion, if a show is funny enough, I'll laugh at it, but if the TV laughs at it, it just pulls me out of the experience. That just feels forced to me.

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Post by adam » Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:30 pm

man, i've been mia for so long from these forums. moving, transferring schools and stuff really put a damper on my troll time.

as far as this story goes, it made a couple impressions on me- the aforementioned good theme about apologies being important, hard to do, and cathartic, and in that sense it was a positive story about a robot doing a good thing. and it was a neat story.

but i also couldn't help but wonder if it was a negative statement about impersonal apologies too, and im surprised that hasnt come up yet. i mean, sending a robot to apologize for you? kinda like doing it by email. i felt like the author was trying to say that's a pretty lame way to go about it. the main character would rather go through all the trouble of building his own robot than just call or *gasp* go visit and make the apologies in person. doing it out of duty because the robot is making you come up with an apology is a little disingenuous. and it's almost a hex on the person you're apologizing to, sending this little imposing robot to them that wont leave till they confess something of their own.

also, i was kindof curious what would happen if you didn't accept an apology, or refused to give one back of equal effectiveness. i was half expecting the robot to get rough, like if the guy couldnt come up with anything with sufficient value he was about to get taken down in a hail of gunfire. that mighta been a fun twist. like, the robot goes to apologize to the girl whose heart he broke, and she's a perfect saint who doesn't have anything of sufficient value she hasn't already apologized for, so the robot carves her up with lasers. i wonder who would have to apologize for that.

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Post by zZzacha » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:40 am

adam wrote:the main character would rather go through all the trouble of building his own robot than just call or *gasp* go visit and make the apologies in person.
That's exactly the thought I had. The robots do the things people are too lazy/busy/embarrassed to do themselves. Does that make us better humans? And after the Apologize Robot, some people will make Trouble Robots, to make trouble so that the Apologize Robot can go apologize for it. I think it will only create better robots, not better humans.
adam wrote:also, i was kindof curious what would happen if you didn't accept an apology, or refused to give one back of equal effectiveness. i was half expecting the robot to get rough, like if the guy couldnt come up with anything with sufficient value he was about to get taken down in a hail of gunfire. that mighta been a fun twist. like, the robot goes to apologize to the girl whose heart he broke, and she's a perfect saint who doesn't have anything of sufficient value she hasn't already apologized for, so the robot carves her up with lasers. i wonder who would have to apologize for that.
I was waiting for that to happen too. Or that he didn't have an apology of sufficient value, so he would blow up his wife's car, or kill the dog, just to make an apology afterwards.

Because, people, that is what this all will lead to! Total desctruction!!!
I'll be there in 5 minutes. If not, read this again.

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:15 pm

This story might possibly be unique in my experience. There have been lots of times when I didn't get something and consequently did not like it. I don't recall any other time when I didn't get something and I also loved it.

Why the laugh track? The story isn't a comedy. The laugh-tracked parts aren't jokes, and it certainly didn't feel like the story was being mocked. The faux sitcom thing made no sense at all, but, I've got to say, I think it was perfect. It just felt right. I feel like it was brilliant satire of something, but I'm not sure what.

I loved the symbolism of the robot in the story. As adam pointed out, it doesn't work very well if taken literally because building a robot is quite a lazy and impersonal way to go about apologizing. But I think the robot is pretty obviously a symbol of the way our deeds live on after us. One good deed has a ripple effect that can end up helping people you don't even know in ways you would never think of. Good deeds are robots going door to door. It's very common to see the evil side of that idea illustrated in fiction, with some evil deed becoming some kind of curse that just won't go away, but it's not nearly as common to see good given the same power.

The other moral in he story (it's a very moral story) is that acknowledging our own mistakes makes us better. Mr. Sinclair benefitted from receiving an apology, but he also benefitted from giving one.

I think I might have figured out why I liked the laugh track so much. It was funny in itself ("He said it again!"), but maybe it was supposed to be a satire of our culture and the way we perceive art? The story really isn't a comedy. It's actually a pretty deep parable with a lot moral content for such a shotry. But the producers of The Sinclairs don't get that and neither does the audience. They don't understand it as anything other than ten minutes diversion. Rather than contemplate the character arc as Mr. Sinclair goes from giving petty apologies of "insufficient value" to taking responsibility for his real wrongs, they just laugh that the robot has his own catch phrase.

We, The People, don't get good art because it just takes too damn much time to actually think about what something means. Give it a laugh track so I can respond to cues without having to think. Make "insufficient value" into a catch phrase so I don't have to think about what, exactly, made the value insufficient.

The real brilliance here is that this meaty satire was tacked onto the story without diminishing it in any way and while remaining completely lighthearted. It was like you added a whole second layer, a metastory about the story without distracting from the story.

It reminds me of how Shyamalan stuck a cynical movie critic in Lady in the Water to critique the story he was in, but even better, because it was more subtle.

Or maybe you're just lucky, Norm. Maybe you didn't really mean any of that brilliant stuff. Maybe you just stuck it in on a whim and here I am overanalyzing. :?

I also loved how you handled the guinea pig harem story. The background music made it into a satire of our own copulation-obsessed culture and the skit part mocked the press.

Awesome! I've given up on saying "best episode ever" because it's impossible to choose, but A+ job on this one.
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Post by zZzacha » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:48 pm

WoW, Mr. Tweedy, I envy your eloquence. Very sufficient value!
I'll be there in 5 minutes. If not, read this again.

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Post by thebrog » Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:53 am

I was rather impressed. Something just makes me laugh when trying to reanimate the really hokey comedy you see from bad sitcoms. I was reminded of the Jetsens in more ways than one.

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