Classics 17 (EP 76) - Apologies All Around

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jdfreivald
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Post by jdfreivald » Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:08 am

Norm, I'm Jake from Flash Fiction Online, where "Apologies All Around" was originally published, and I have to say you blew me away with your rendition of the story. When I read the stories (as when you read them) there's no laughtrack, just (usually) 12-point double-spaced Courier. My job is to find the best of those stories and translate them into good HTML and PDF so that people can read them effectively. When I did that for AAA, I thought I was done; you took it a step further, completely transforming the story with a great ironic treatment that people can (and, based on the comments here, have) take a whole new set of things from. Super work.

Adam said:
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 think Jeff dealt with this well in the story, because the robot wouldn't just go away -- part of the point is that if we're persistent we can find things to apologize for. Look at how Winston tries to get away easily with things that are a lot less profound than the broken heart, but when he actually pays attention he knows what he has to apologize for. I love that.

Great job to Jeff Soesbe. I'll be watching for his name in future publications...

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Post by Igwiz » Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:42 pm

I guess my take on this story was a bit different. The character change that I saw during the piece was the recognition of the cathartic value of an apology. To me, it seemed that using a robot was perfect, because if the apology was delivered in person, there wouldn't be enough distance from the person apologizing to allow the apologee to process.

I actually thought that Winston's intent to build another robot was excellent. Because, he wanted to record another apology, and the first robot wouldn't let him. In a way, the decision to build a second robot showed me that he had fully internalized the true message of the story, which is that there is true and honest power in an apology.

As to production... the sit-com approach was genius, Norm. The "iinnnsufficient valuuuuuue" line was delivered with perfect comic tone and timing.

Well done.
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Post by tbaker2500 » Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:55 pm

Igwiz wrote:I guess my take on this story was a bit different. The character change that I saw during the piece was the recognition of the cathartic value of an apology. To me, it seemed that using a robot was perfect, because if the apology was delivered in person, there wouldn't be enough distance from the person apologizing to allow the apologee to process.
I see this different take as the difference of an extrovert vs. and introvert. There are some relationships where and apology can be much more profound when conducted long-distance, yet for many relationships it's better to do it in person.
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Post by strawman » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:21 pm

...except when to do so would injure them or others.
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Post by thebrog » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:57 am

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinsufficient value!

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Post by Goldenrat » Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:05 am

Loved this one. The laugh track was kooky fun. I guess Asimov's laws don't address robots being pains in the arse.
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Post by The Dunesteef » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:41 am

great stuff. I still get a chuckle every time I think of the story. Thanks for that.
Check out some great short stories at The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine

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Post by Goldenrat » Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:13 pm

Mr. Tweedy wrote: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.
Well said Tweedy. I listened again and laughed out loud several times, especially when the laugh track audience member said "he said it again". This is one of my favs. Great fun.
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Post by RG » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:37 pm

thebrog wrote:iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinsufficient value!
Plagiarist. I already said that.

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Post by bolddeceiver » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:48 pm

Well, it looks like I'm all alone on this oen, but I didn't care for the sitcom angle. And I'm going to differ from a lot of people in saying that I don't think it's in the tradition of Drabblecast so far. Sure, the heavy production has always been one of DC's oddball strengths, but for the most part it's been done in a way that supports the story; here it just feels like a random tangent; the sitcom thing seems to have nothing at all to do with the original work, which I think deserved to stand on its own, supported rather than undercut by the production.
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Post by McToad » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:22 pm

I'm glad Jake Freivald posted his comment and link to the text version. After all the discussion about the sitcom presentation, I had to go read this story on its own and see how different it felt from Norm's presentation. I have to say, I like both. Norm's was very entertaining and really captured the feeling of '50's sci-fi when any old dad could build a robot in the garage and technology could solve any problem. Reading the text version, the story came across a little more somber and the ending felt more serious.

Thanks to Norm for turning us on to this story.

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Re: Drabblecast 76- Apologies All Around by Jeff Soesbe

Post by Unblinking » Tue May 03, 2011 5:39 pm

Still one of my favorite Drabblecast episodes. At it's heart, it had a decent message about humility and finding something to apologize for.

I also found the sitcom wrapper very entertaining. The laugh track was a bit off, but in a way that made it all more funny. I used to watch lots of shows with laugh tracks and I didn't really notice the laugh tracks, but I suppose I just got used to them. These days though, they generally drive me nuts on every show but one: How I Met Your Mother. I didn't even realize that show had a laugh track for a while, until Heather pointed it out to me when I was bitching about another show's laugh track. The reason why it doesn't bother me is simple: I'm actually laughing when the laugh track is on, so I don't notice it. With most other shows with laugh tracks, they're used after many lines that I didn't find funny at all, and nothing makes an unfunny joke even less funny than a laugh track. So the "offness" of this laugh track reminded me of that, but in a way that it seemed that Norm made the laugh track off a bit on purpose for comic effect in parody of sitcoms (which worked), instead of taking a badly written joke and trying to amplify it (which doesn't work).

An alternative explanation of the laugh track is that this show has had the misfortune of running on FOX. The poignant message is buried beneath for the fans who can appreciate depth, and the off laugh track is there to provide some comic relief at the parody of other sitcoms. But the FOX execs are fooled by the parody's facade and think it actually is a typical sitcom and therefore allow it to stay on the air for a decade while they cancel every other show that aims too high.

Did anyone else see the apology robots as a plague though. This guy's made this one big apology, so that's presumably an apology he can't make again. Sure, he's gotta have other things to apologize for, but at some point you're going to have trouble thinking of any more. I'm imagining the point where you have two dozen robots following you wherever you go, making it impossible to back out of your driveway just backing over them and ruining your tires. Whenever you can think of something to apologize for you do apologize, and one of the robots leaves, but two more soon takes its place. Pretty soon you're intentionally wronging people with wrongs that will justify a sufficient value just so you can apologize to them and get one more damned robot off your back. But even that doesn't work, because they just wrong you in return and send the damned robot right back to you! What a vicious cycle!

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Re: Drabblecast 76- Apologies All Around by Jeff Soesbe

Post by strawman » Wed May 04, 2011 12:37 am

This would necessitate an apology bankruptcy law, plus a bunch of companies who specialize in apology settlements. And an Apology Equifax for Remorse credit scores.
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Re: Drabblecast 076 - Apologies All Around

Post by sandrilde » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:56 pm

No, the existence of this robot or it's ability to calculate the value of various apologies doesn't make any sense, but the story was touching and different and weird. Loved it.

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Re: Classics 17 (EP 76) - Apologies All Around

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:20 am

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