fearthebootOf late, I have listened to Fear the Boot with an awfully critical ear – despite my abiding affection for the hosts.  I’ve settled into a habit of enumerating all the many ways Chad and Dan are wrong, suffering from narrow perspectives and absence of vision as they are.  In fact, I wrote about some of that this week.

And last month.

In episode 144 of Fear the Boot (a show about tabletop role playing games and a little bit more), there’s a lot to dislike and to quote Dan, “Here’s why:”

  1. The hosts presume to review and critcize character motivation for the new Star Trek movie, which doesn’t open for another two weeks!
  2. The inane discussion that a true Science Fiction movie emphasizing science over action-adventure cannot be commercially viable (please reference CONTACT and ANDROMEDA STRAIN for my rebuttal).
  3. Dan’s assertion that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a plot-driven story.  “It’s about what’s happening,” He says, “It’s not about the people, it’s not about the place…”  Horse.  Shit.  I’m sorry has he not seen the film?  The movie’s A-story is all about Khan’s burning need for revenge against the man that beat him 15 years earlier.  The B-story is focused on Kirk’s mid-life crisis.  Without these two elements, none of the story happens!  WoK is not just a character-driven story, it’s a freaking prime example of a character-driven story!! AIGHHH!

Deep breaths.

There are other things that drive me crazy about the episode, and right as I was about to toggle to something else… Chad says what’s been on my mind, and the minds of many others for awhile now.  In fact, Chad references things that have been mentioned on this blog and elsewhere:

Dan, here’s the flaw I see in your reasoning… not in your negative reasoning.  It’s a flaw I see in you… Some people in the forums have pointed this out.  Some people on blog posts have pointed this out about you and I have come to totally agree with it.  When we start doing debates on can you play, like in the last episode, can you play an Anthro, or can you play an animal.  And you say things like… things such as ‘I really can’t get into it.  We’re playing in a wolfpack, and I don’t really see how you can do an extended (campaign)… you can do a one or two shot in a wolfpack, but I don’t see how you can carry it on…’

I’m sorry to say, but I have to agree with them, you’re not being imaginative enough.  You are not following the thought out enough.  You are not saying enough ‘what-ifs.’  You are holding on to certain prejudices…


I whole-heartedly agree with Chad’s assessment, a sure sign of the end times.  Chris and Pat were awkardly silent during this intervention.

I went from ready to turn off this ep, to listening through it, eager to hear how it resolved.  A compelling podcast, I must say.

Dan, who held up under Chad’s criticism with grace, suggested that they make episode 144 the first of two parts in which the co-hosts and listeners help Dan develop his vision.  The test-case: get him excited about a supers campaign.

For the first time in awhile, I am eager for next week’s FtB.

10 thoughts on “Your Morning Head: FtB's Chad Drops Bomb, Blows My Mind

  1. I suggest everyone go to the store and buy distilled water and non-perishable food. The end times are nigh. I agree with Chad. (The solution makes for good podcasting but poor humanism, the notion that if Dan truly does lack imagination others need to get him excited about what imagination can offer.)

  2. To call a section of this show ‘awkward’ just because Chris and Pat aren’t saying anything is like saying that an episode of Buffy is awkward when Giles and Willow aren’t saying anything.

    I do find it fascinating the process that people go through when podcasting – I was just listening to ep.20 of the TrapCast, and they were commenting about how much doing the show has changed their outlook on gaming.

    Perhaps that’s one of the stones in my Boot…it’s like a TV series where the characters have been exactly the same from ep1 to ep100+…

  3. @Joe – Let’s not paint Dan with such a broad brush. the guy certainly has imagination, but may apply limits to certain areas. I think we all do that to a degree.

    @Tim – What exactly are you suggesting with your comment. Should there be some sort of “wacky, urban sidekick” or “gay comic relief guy” on the show?

  4. Every time someone (anyone, really) goes off on the “they [judge] [reason they shouldn’t be judging it]” route I just want to ask them if they have ever listened to the show.

    The ‘cast is as much, or more, about the hosts than anything else. This is true of any podcast I have ever listened to. Never have I continued to follow a ‘cast if I didn’t like the hosts. Case in point, I listened to about half of two separate “Brilliant” Gamologists shows. Can’t stand the hosts on mic (nice people IRL), so I don’t listen. I think that’s a pretty good litmus test, and frankly if a show doesn’t appeal to you I have no idea why you would continue listening.

    As I mention about BG, I completely understand the “I know the hosts” bit of the whole thing, but if a show doesn’t appeal to you, then why waste the time? Surely these people won’t hold it against you personally if you don’t enjoy their show. And if they do (they being general here, even thought I’ve mentioned a ‘cast I don’t like and am operating off of your apparent dislike of FtB as a podcast), then do you really want to try and continue to associate with them?

    Anyway, thankfully, I listen both because I like the hosts and because I find the show entertaining. Every episode? Nope. A great majority of them? Yup. So I keep listening.

    Of course, I also realize that a lot of the vitality of these incestuously linked blog/podcast/website/network things is based in commenting on one another, contributing to one another, and so on, so it’s understandable in that respect.

    Anyway, that’s my blathering on the subject. No offense intended to Aron or anyone else, but I’m not in charge of that I guess. Carry on.

  5. “ ‘It’s about what’s happening,” He says, “It’s not about the people, it’s not about the place…’ Horse. Shit.”

    Story is like train
    Character? Locomotive
    Plot is railroad track

  6. Good article, Aron. As for Dan’s supposed lack of imagination … I have a different spin on it. He seems to do two strange things: 1) make an extreme presupposition about some insurmountable problem, 2) ignore all other efforts, by others, to surmount said problem.

    Case in point: playing a wolf pack. First, he assumes that to ‘do it right’ you actually have to act like wolf and evaluate everything as either something to eat, run away from, or hump. Not much in the way of intriguing story telling is likely to ensue. At no point did I hear Dan ask the question: How do others approach this? Has anyone else ever faced this dilemma and overcome it? The answer, of course, is YES … and the method is to throw out his presupposition.

    “Playing as animals” has been done in RPG’s, and has been for years – Bunnies & Burrows, anyone? There are many Disney movies with animals as the protagonists, and there are non-Disney movies like Watership Down, in this category as well. How did all of those succeed? They treated the animals as humans in animal suits. See? It was that simple. Wolves would be treated as humans with some wolf characteristics layered over top, rabbits would be humans with some rabbit social structure & behavior layered over top, etc. etc. etc.

    In each case where Dan has declared something as un-do-able, he’s begun with an extreme presupposition and then stopped, before asking the obvious question, “How do others do this?”

    PS: If that’s the extent of his personality flaws, then he’s a lucky, gifted man. So, please don’t read this as any harsher of a critique then I mean it to be – which isn’t much.

    PPS: One of the blessings of a group of friends and a community of like minded folks, is to point out those areas in our thinking where we are limiting ourselves or our vision is poorly focused. So, you know … good on us.

  7. I just listened to episode #144 over lunch today. It was the first FtB I’d listened to in a very long time. The reason I listened to it just happened to be reading this column, so hey, “no publicity is bad publicity.”

    Sure the Star Trek discussion was based on early sketchy material but those conversations happen about any highly anticipated upcoming release whether it be 4e or a new scifi movie. Besides, there is a good chance they are right, although I am one of those looking forward to it even if it is just a frentic action movie in space.

    I found the Asimov inspired discussion incredibly boring.

    I did really enjoy the last 15 minutes or so. “The perfect is the bane of good” discussionwas quite good and I’m looking forward to listening to #145 in the next couple of days. Althouh I have to respond to what the Hussman stated at the top of this thread.
    “Simple listening”? I assume you guys are always listening to each other during the show but you’re also interjecting your opinions and thoughts. It’s hard to believe that Pat and the Hussman had nothing worth saying during Chad and Dan’s conversation about creativity. I personally thought it was a loosely scripted segment with Dan using Chad exclusively as his foil and the others on the dl to help avoid diluting the impact but. . . I’m usually wrong about these things.

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