This episode originally aired as the Patreon bonus episode for May 2019. The original description follows:
Okay, this show is now officially called "Miles Has Feelings," so you probably think you know what you're getting into, but guys... Miles has so many feelings about NBC's sci-fi sitcom The Good Place, it's not even funny. Miles loves this show. And not in a half-trolling "I think this movie is deeper than it appears" way like Sucker Punch, or a novelty act "hey look, I like a video game way like VTM: Bloodlines. This is the real deal. Miles fell in love with The Good Place like you fall in love with another person, and the honeymoon period is far from over.
So what do you do when you feel this deeply for something you truly love? Talk about it with MeganBob, of course! Miles and Bob begin this bonus episode with a spoiler-free section aimed at those of you who haven't seen the show yet, in hopes of convincing you that you should rectify that immediately. Then it's time to dive headfirst into plot recaps, character arcs, and themes in an effort to unpack what, exactly, makes The Good Place so good. Along the way, they explore the new subgenre of hopepunk, discuss the difference between individual responsibility and systemic consequences, examine the show's focus on moral philosophy, interrogate its attitude toward gender, racial, and sexual identities, and explain why humans are fundamentally good while basically blaming all the bad stuff in the world on capitalism. So, you know, heads up if that's not your thing.
Don't worry, though, there are also jokes! Mostly jokes from The Good Place! Enjoy!
With an astonishing array of accents, Judge Liz brings us to the latest mishap at Hogwarts. Ron's just trying to get some dragons together for the "Quadwizard Tournament" and it goes pretty badly. Ron? Less than competent? Shocking #Ronshade. To be fair, Ron didn't know that Hogwarts was going to be temporarily housing all of Gringotts' gold. However, Ron probably could have figured out that it's a bad idea to send out an open invitation to dragons to descend on Hogwarts. Dammit, Ron.
Four dragons RSVP, or rather just show up in flaming glory, which is how dragons RSVP to events. Will Smaug be able to charm the competition? Perhaps Bahamut can weaponize his stoic gaze. Maybe Draco's need to get into dragon heaven will inspire him to win. Or, is Trogdor actually possessed of unimaginable powers that will ensure his victory is eternal?
The flames fly in this dragon-y episode as each advocate argues why their lizard boy should get the gold, and along the way make the case that dragons can do yoga, have their own bible, and might have some cultists on their side.
Press play and surrender to the fiery foolishness.
Claire and Dan are joined by special guests Jeff Eckman and Ryan Kasmiskie of the Final Fantasy podcast No One Can Know About This! These guys have clearly been spending a ton of XP on their storytelling skills, because what results is a tale of mystery and intrigue utilizing characters and story elements from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Larry Sanders Show, and King of the Hill. So grab some popcorn as we delve into a story of ancient conspiracies, young love, and mind-controlling cat poop: the stuff blockbusters are made of!
"Pray to the airwaves," the oracle said, insisting that we must not do this match. "Smash Fiction will fall. All of podcasting will fall. Trust not in Patrons. Honor the gods. But not the gods of thinking. Just the gods of yelling."
Well, to quote King Leonidas himself when faced with a similar situation, "an epic sneer that, could it be heard out loud, would definitely sound weirdly Scottish!" In other words, fuck wisdom and fuck the Carneia, we have to decide which idealized fictional version of the historic Spartans would win in an even fight, 300 on 300, at Thermopylae! Because while Leonidas may command a fighting force that includes both Faramir from Lord of the Rings and Magneto, before him stands a company of Daenerys Targaryen's Unsullied, aligned in perfect lockstep and led by Grey Worm himself. In a battle of phalanx formations and fearlessness between the hyper-masculine and the no longer functionally male, only one army can survive, while the other dines in hell (a meal that presumably includes unborn puppies, honeyed dormice, and whatever other awful foods George R. R. Martin feels like spending a full page describing).
To be certain, we are but humble podcast hosts and know little of the ways of war. Which is why we picked out 300 experts in both fictional and non-fictional history to be our personal bodyguards while we *sarcastic cough* just stretch our brains a bit. Unfortunately, most of them died in training and only Race for the Iron Throne's Steven Attewell was able to kill a child in front of its mother, but still, we're pretty sure he's enough. Can he help Miles finally take down both Zack Snyder and Frank Miller? Or will Liz Logan's obsession with abs carry her, once again, to eternal glory?
The end is in sight for our heroes. They've nearly collected everything they need to defeat Phyrexia once and for all--now it's just a matter of preparing for the final leg of their journey. But if you think the League's enemies are just going to sit idly by and let this happen, you're in for a rude surprise...
Stitch tries his hand at some cultural exchange; Dante explores a new vocation; Luna provides; and Mordin buries the hatchet.
"Doctor?" we can hear you ask. "Doctor who?" Which you're asking either because you're an insufferable nerd (like the rest of us), or because you legitimately don't know. In which case, it is incumbent upon us to inform you that the Doctor is an alien Time Lord who flies haphazardly through time and space in a magic phone booth called the TARDIS, solving problems and saving people. And this week, we put those skills to the ultimate test, as the Doctor (the tenth Doctor, specifically -- ask an insufferable Who nerd about his various incarnations sometime, they will have OPINIONS) must solve the ultimate problem: the adaptable, unstoppable cyborg hive mind known throughout the Star Trek universe as the Borg. Can the Doctor save a helpless colony of humans from assimilation at the hands of a bigger, badder, sexier version of the Daleks and the Cybermen? Or will he once again have cause for terrible, eternal regret?
To find out, the Smash Fiction collective has assimilated the biological and technological distinctiveness of game designer Jeff Stormer, of the Party of One, All My Fantasy Children, and Talking Nog podcasts (in our defense, he totally lowered his shields and surrendered his ships). Also, Miles repeatedly insults Montana in a bad British accent, MeganBob has many, many feelings about Star Trek characters, and the Lightning Round gets even weirder than usual, which, yes, that is apparently possible.
We are Smash Fiction. You will listen to this episode. Resistance is futile.
For those of you who understand the title, yes, you read that correctly. For those who don't...well, strap in, folks, because this week, we're putting on our spandex, lacing up our boots, and oiling the living shit out of our upper bodies before heading straight through that curtain and out into the spotlight. Just in time for Wrestlemania 35, it's a very special pro wrestling episode of Surprise Party!
To be fair, it's two weeks after Wrestlemania 35, but honestly, that show was so long it might still be going. Fortunately, this episode is also ridiculously lengthy! But why? Could it be each host's need to craft elaborate entrances for their characters? Could it be Dan's and MeganBob's valiant struggle to understand what in the blue hell is going on here? Or could it possibly be the fact that we're joined this week by Lucas Brown of The Math of You Podcast, who could literally talk about wrestling forever if we let him?
Whatever the answer, know that this Andre the Giant-Sized episode contains magical puppetry, sultry Southern accents, improbable victories, heartwarming collectivism, telepathic calls to action, bunnies with swords, and at least one broken barbershop window. It's a whole lot of fun. Really.
Also, we're extremely sorry. Blame Miles.
Let's face it -- this one doesn't require much explanation. This one is about as obvious as making a metric crapton of money adapting illustrated children's fantasy stories into major studio franchise tentpoles. And while you can rest assured in the knowledge that Judge Claire Mulkerin will spend the better part of ten minutes setting up the admittedly convoluted but undeniably cohesive narrative in which this week's battle takes place, you already know the real reasons.
Marvel vs. DC. The superhero known as Captain Marvel vs. the superhero who used to be known as Captain Marvel. The boss of space vs. Magic Superman. Over a billion at the box office vs. unusually good reviews for a DCEU movie. Carol Danvers vs. Billy Batson. Let the unrelenting comic book bullshit commence.
Sarah Langan makes her Smash Fiction debut and immediately proves that she belongs right here with all the other dinguses, while Miles, Bob, and Dan basically just grunt and make frustrated noises at one another. Will one of the many, many times somebody says "Shazam" manage to transform this comic book clusterfuck into a decent episode? Or will our audience drown alongside us in an endless sea of semantics, speculation, specific issue numbers, spelling corrections, and salty pickles?
Our heroes have escaped Phyrexia, but not without some considerable loss. Before they can turn their attention to their next mission, they need to address some loose ends, reflect on what's happened, and ready themselves for what's to come.
Dante is way out of his comfort zone; Stitch goes looney; Mordin completes a very important project; and Luna makes amends.
Additional music this episode is "Run Amok" and "Le Grand Chase" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Hey listeners! It looks like some of you are taking our ideas and running with them, because we came across this strange little gem buried deep in the dark web! Four friends sit down together to try and craft a movie plot using elements from other stories, and it turns out... um... well, it turns out. So join Rebecca, Neil, Michael, and Werner on a journey into a magical land of talking animals, undead horrors, and an unusually high number of car chases. Happy April first!
Our hosts welcome a guest to the lab as Claire, Dan, and Meganbob are joined by writer and YouTuber Magdalen Rose!
Magdalen proves to be a natural at crafting stories using mismatched parts, which is a good thing, as we end up with characters and plot elements from Star Trek, Clerks, and A Christmas Carol, and attempt to tie them all together using some misremembered David Bowie lyrics. How does it go? You'll have to listen to find out! And be sure to pay Magdalen Rose a visit at her channel, www.youtube.com/user/SilverScreenReviews.
This episode originally aired as the Patreon bonus episode for March 2019. The original description follows:
So here’s a fun opening story… The first thing I recorded for this song was the bass line. I then picked up my sax to play in order to figure out what key I had played the bass line in. Well, I actually couldn’t figure it out. No note or scale was matching up with what I had played, it sounded terrible! Of course, I then realized, I HADN’T TUNED MY BASS. I turned on the tuner and lo and behold, I was 20 cents flat. That’s enough to be its own unique note. I had already written the entire bass line and promptly forgot how to play it. My fix was to literally tune all my instruments to 20 cents flat! It somehow worked and my sax was matching up. Unfortunately, I had picked an extremely difficult key for an Eb instrument (which is what an alto sax is). It ended up being in the key of B, which has 5 sharps for the sax. Plus I was adding additional accidentals (other sharps and flats) to give the song a jazzy feel. Ok, that’s enough music theory.
This was quite a challenging song to write. I’ve played tons of jazz music in my lifetime but have actually never wrote/recorded a song. Instruments included are alto sax, guitar, bass, drums, and my lovely voice. This would essentially be a small combo jazz group. Some combos have three “horns” (i.e. trumpet, sax, clarinet, etc.) so this is definitely a small one. Jazz groups always have a bass, usually drums, and then some type of “comping” instrument (i.e. guitar or piano, one or the other, not usually both). Guitar or piano generally provide chords for the horn to play off of but as you can hear, at some points I just followed the vocal line with the guitar, giving it almost a rock type feel. Jazz is the progenitor of most modern music so I thought it was fitting. Here I am talking about music theory again, sorry!
Onto the actual League content of the song, I tried to make this a string of consciousness for Dante remembering the League’s various exploits. There really is no rhyme or reason to the song and I tried to make it seem like scattered thoughts. Of course, the song revolves around the events that Dante thought were cool (Corolla frames) or annoying (like Lace being a better distraction than him in the fight against Cthulhu). As I was listening to episodes, I came across a line that absolutely made me laugh: Luna asking if we were very likely or mostly likely to die. I had to incorporate it as it could have easily been a Dante type question. Then, there is the title… Shout out to my friend Evan Staves for this title immediately popping up in his head and helping me get my groove started. That made me just have to comment on the fact that yeah, I forget my swords and guns exist. Ultimately, Dante is happy to be involved with the League and loves the new friends he has made.
What’s the Name of That Sword Again?
Welcome to the Castle Club
Drummer, hit it
I’m gonna tell you about some of my friends
They’re called the League
And it’s gonna be their stories
Actually, it’s mostly gonna be about me
Feels like just yesterday, I joined the League
It’s been a fun time, with no reason or rhyme
Except I kinda lost my arm
This is the only job where I wonder
If I’m very likely or mostly likely to die
Sometimes people ask me to use my sword, but I don’t!
Luckily we’ve beat a bunch of Phyrexia
I don’t really use my swords or my guns much
But I do remember the Corolla
It was a good car…frame
Once, we stopped Dracula
Because I stole his cool ass cape
And everyone else got there too late
They were still clapping at my performance at that play
Dante saves the day! Yes I did. Without my swords and guns people
But y’all are pretty cool too, anyways…
Think about all the cool things that we’ve done
Except I got upstaged by a dino driving on the run
At least we beat Cthulhu
Then one time we got famous for playing rock without a clue
And too bad our only reward was a green slime Stitch fu Manchu
So thank you friends for the good and bad
Your double taps and your portal guns, take me to my favorite danger zone
Is he bothering you over there? No? Ok great.
Ever wonder what makes the Neverending Story so, well, never-ending? Well, it's largely because certain events just sort of keep happening over and over again, which explains why the unstoppable annihilating force called The Nothing has returned to creep across the land of Fantasia, erasing all in its path.
Last time, a brave hero was given a horse to go rescue the Childlike Empress and save the land from destruction, but that horse didn't make it very far into the quest before it was lost and the hero had to go the rest of the way on foot. This time, the allies of the Empress are leaving nothing to chance, assigning four brave young warriors the task of saving their world... and giving them each a singularly amazing horse to see them through.
But which horse will carry their rider to victory? Can Claire lead Agro to the glowing weak points in her opponents' arguments? Will Dan's increasingly specious claims about Shadowfax's running speed leave his rivals in the dust? Can guest advocate Rafael Medina's assertions prove as invincible as Epona herself? And will Meganbob ever get around to actually arguing for Maximus amidst her pitch for her bold new series, Horse Cop?
All this, plus the return of Kit's recurring fun animal facts segments! Which reminds me, extra-special thanks to Kevin McLeod of www.incompetech.com for the use of his songs "Hamster March" and "Loping Sting." Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. If that's true, then you must be dying for more of the multiverse's wildest dating game! Fear not, dear listener, for this week we bring you all the bad accents and worse puns you could hope for! Join us as characters from Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and 1960s sci-fi explore the stormy seas of romance in search of their other half.
Will any of them find love? Are our favorite characters doomed to loneliness? And what amazing twist ending awaits at the episode's--ahem--climax?
Judge Miles invites us all in to take a seat and tune in to the championship of High Fantasy TV Show Character Mania! Open up the chips and pass the guacamole because it's a triple-threat match of sword ladies!
From the land of historical inaccuracy and 90's special effects comes Xena, a mighty warrior princess forged in the heat of battle. Will her courage change the world, as the opening narration of the TV show promised? Hailing from the land of awesome remakes that fill our hearts with joy is She-Ra. Can she focus on the match, or will her mind be on failed friendships? Joining them is Dragon Age badass and recent crossover from High Fantasy Video Game Character Wrestling, Cassandra Pentaghast. Is she truly as metal as her amazing name?
In this match blows will be thrown, swords will be swung, and arguments will be had. Listen as Kit weaponizes the power of eyebrows, MeganBob is proud of teenagers, and Claire makes her strongest case against godhood yet.
Their quests completed, our heroes are keenly interested in getting the hell back to Grayskull... but it turns out that Phyrexia isn't especially interested in allowing them to leave. Can the Extraordinary League stand against the combined forces of the Father of Machines, or has their luck finally run out?
Dante gets crafty; Luna leaves an opponent tongue-tied; Stitch goes for a wild ride; Mordin sciences harder than ever; and Nico moves a mountain.
Additional music this episode from OminousVoice, based on themes written by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban. Check out more of their work at www.youtube.com/user/OminousVoice.
This episode originally aired as the Patreon bonus episode for February 2019. The original description follows:
Man oh man, I never know what sort of team we'll end up with when we do these bonus episodes, but the $5+ Patrons never fail to make some really interesting choices.
As usual, I didn't decide on the central concept of this episode until I saw what characters everyone was going to be playing. In this case, I wanted to give our stealth- and social-centric characters plenty of opportunities to be sneaky and manipulative, so I came up with a scenario that would lead them away from taking a forceful and direct route, at least at first.
Most of the PCs were pretty straightforward to design. The ones that gave me issues were Austin Powers and Esmé Squalor.
In the case of Austin Powers, I felt like it was important to give him abilities beyond just being a James Bond clone--I eventually came up with the Mojo mechanic, which allowed him to weaponize his catchphrase.
In the case of Esmé, both Claire and I wanted to make sure that she could at least handle herself in combat. Claire eventually came up with the idea of giving her a clothing-based weapon from another setting--we tossed a number of ideas back and forth before settling on the Dresspheres from Final Fantasy X-2. It felt very appropriate to essentially tie her combat abilities to being able to change clothes rapidly.
This was a fun episode to record and I hope it's a fun episode to listen to!
Howdy, stranger. Come on in from the cold, warm yourself up next to the fire. There's bad food, good whiskey, and a decent enough bed, if you're wanting a place to stay. Only take care, now -- you ain't from 'round here, so could be you can't smell it, but there's an ill wind a-blowing 'round these parts tonight, and the scent of gunpowder is in the air.
I'm afraid you don't have the motel to yourself tonight, friend. One of our guests is a gunslinger named Susannah Dean, and when she's not questing for the Dark Tower, she's dipping what's left of her legs into the multidimensional arms trade. That there's a powerful risky business, which is how you get Tulip O'Hare sent after you. She was hell on wheels before she got caught up with some preacher and ended up face-to-face with God Almighty, and now she's coming here to collect the bounty on Susannah's head. Either one of these ladies could kick your ass with both hands tied behind her back, only it wouldn't matter because you'd already have a bullet in your head, anyways. But which one's a-gonna win? That right there is a powerful difficult question. So settle in, let me get you some of that whiskey. It's gonna be an interesting night.
Also, Krista Contino Saumby of the Unspoiled! Podcast Network officially joins the Smash Fiction ka-tet, Matias Tautimez returns (he didn't know how he knew it was time for another Dark Tower match -- he just knew), and Dan and Miles make the Sundowner fight look straightforward and neighborly by comparison.
It's Valentine's Day weekend, so of course we're bringing you the Smash Metafiction episode that lends itself best to this particular holiday...
Oh, but you haven't experienced Surprise Party like this. Instead of retelling just one story, Claire, Liz, and MeganBob will choose characters to descend into five of fiction's greatest romances in an effort to maintain the power of love throughout the multiverse! From Nicolas Cage to William Shakespeare, no love story is beyond the reach of C.U.P.I.D.! And, yes, if you listen to this episode, you will learn what that acronym stands for. You're welcome.
Also, Claire invents infiltration by way of group therapy, Liz swerves Dan so hard you can almost hear his brain faceplanting, and MeganBob's passionate romantic storytelling breaks all of our hearts at the same time.
The ongoing SmashFic series of four-way elemental battles rages on, and this week, it's...THE LIGHTNING MATCH! Cue cheap thunder sound effects, insincere cries of terror, and a giant load of bullshit. But you already knew that.
Thanks to a vague and bizarre second-person narrative, four of the most electric characters in fictional entertainment have been imprisoned in something called the Thunderdome, and must now layeth the smacketh down on each other's candy asses until one of them drops that last elbow and gets free. Will Storm, mutant weather goddess of the X-Men, raise a triumphant eyebrow in victory? Will actual literal lightning god Raiden finally come back to Earthrealm as the winner of this new form of Mortal Kombat? Will Pikachu's millions (and millions) and millions of fans somehow be enough to drive this strange yellow rat thing to the top? Or will he and the other two competitors hit rock bottom, fatally letting their guard down after they smell what Sailor Jupiter is cooking?
Also, Miles really doesn't understand Pokemon types, Claire struggles to explain how anything in Sailor Moon actually works, and as always, comics are fucking stupid.
The number of people who would willingly get into a direct fight with Godzilla can probably be counted on one hand... and they all happen to be in the Extraordinary League. Our heroes have gotten it into their heads that they can free the King of the Monsters from Phyrexian control, but doing so puts their very lives on the line, and some of them may not be coming out of this in one piece.
Nico tries out some new talents; Stitch has to dig deep; Luna plays healer; Dante hits his breaking point; and Mordin may never be the same.
Thanks as always to Family Jules for all of the battle music used in this episode! Check out more of his work at youtube.com/user/FamilyJules7X
When the ongoing Astro-Kerfuffle brings two groups of opposing forces, one from the USS Enterprise, one from their assigned Star Destroyer, each comprising fifty members, into combat on the decks of the NSEA Protector...
You know what, no. The editor is protesting the continued existence of the Astro-Kerfuffle by refusing to write the normal style of description. I tried to kill this stupid thing more than a year ago, but the rest of you just won't let it go. I can't tell you how upset this makes me. Do you see what you've done? You've made me write this in first person! I never write episode descriptions in first person! Now I have to go weirdly meta with the whole thing, and it's all your fault!
When the Patrons of Smash Fiction demand a battle between history's most iconic space dumpuses, the hosts of Smash Fiction oblige. Not only do two of them argue that the red-shirted crew members of Star Trek's original series would survive in this match -- they argue that redshirts being especially death-prone is a full-blown myth, not supported by the text of the show! Not only do the other two argue that the Stormtroopers of Star Wars' original trilogy would survive in this match -- they argue that Stormtroopers being terrible at shooting is a full-blown myth, not supported by the text of the films! And thus did an entire sector of space become choked by the fog of shameless lies.
In this contest between those who can't kill and those who can't help but be killed, which team will have their accuracy praised by Obi-Wan Kenobi? Which team will be solemnly pronounced dead (Jim) by Dr. McCoy? And more importantly, which team will win the Lightning Round, and perhaps, if they're lucky, make the cover of OSQ?
It's time once again for Collaboratory, where four Smash Fic hosts attempt to cobble together a semi-coherent film using random characters and story elements!
This week, Claire is joined by Dan, Kit, and Liz, who have the unenviable task of attempting to craft a tale around a little girl, a cat, a dragon, and a serial killer, all while using elements from stories like Chronicles of Riddick, Jingle All the Way, and 1984. The hosts end up with a pile of really incongruous stuff, and end up making... something that actually kind of works? Listen and judge for yourself!
The Steve-ness is at an all-time high as Captain America (Steve Rogers) goes up against Steven Universe in one of the most wholesome matches Smash Fiction has ever done. These two Steves have each been tasked with training a group of upstart Power Rangers in the ways of teamwork and Steve-itude. In this match where normally you would find shouting, instead there are admiring sighs. Where normally there would be epithets, instead there are declarations of affection. Where normally you would find character with different names, you will find Steves.
Which shield-wielding Steve will save the day? Miles and MeganBob argue that age, experience, and beardliness are Steve Rogers' keys to victory. Claire and special guest Sharon Schneiderman argue that Steven Universe always finds a way. Dan presents the most Steve-ful Lightning Round yet! Listen in and unleash your inner Steve.
This episode originally aired as the Patreon bonus episode for December 2018. The original description follows:
Those of you $5+ patrons who get our monthly bonus content poll must have been surprised when Miles gave you a list of media he liked... and one of them was a video game! That's right, Miles is (briefly) putting aside his role as everyone's favorite curmudgeon to gush about the 2004 computer role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. He's joined by Dan, who has played the game, and Kit, who has not, and the three hosts have fun chatting about the video game, the tabletop RPG, and the wonderful, terrible World of Darkness as a whole.
There are some light spoilers for Bloodlines in this episode, but if you're interested in playing the game, our discussion should hopefully only whet your appetite for a genuinely great, if not perfect, cult classic of a game. Let us know what you think!