LNH: Onion Lad #9

Jesse Willey cabbagewielder at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 15 07:39:50 PDT 2006

> Um.  Wow.
> Willey made a very fundamental mistake here when it
> comes to using
> first person.  And that is, if you're using first
> person-- if you're
> putting us in another person's head-- _don't_ make
> us hate the person
> right off the bat.

  Strong emotion... ANY strong emotion is a sign of
good writing.   In fiction nobody wants a guy who you
'just sorta like' or a villain you 'only kinda hate'. 
  It isn't that she's really all that bad a person.  
Or even that she doesn't care about Onion Lad or finds
him to be someone to be maimed and destroyed.  If she
really hated him, she would have left him in the
doorway to get transformed into I-Can't-Believe-It's
-Not-Butter.  He annoys the crap out of her sometimes.
  And yes, she's based somewhat on a real person.  
One, who if she read this, would find the issue to be
completely insulting but also true.  

> I mean, sure: Onion Lad _is_ annoying.  He is
> _pathetic_, by which I
> mean he is worthy of our pathos, of our sympathy. 
> His incompetence is,
> in many ways, endearing.

  I, as a writer, know these things.  I've always
tried to write him as one half Piglet from Winnie the
Pooh and one half Woody Allen.  

>  And Teri does comment on
> this-- it's only
> sweet because he's so damn pathetic-- but the way in
> which she says it,
> the contempt that comes across, is unnecessarily
> harsh. 

  From my experience people are unnecessarily harsh.  
The person I based her on more so than most.

  My vision for Teryaki Chick is an intelligent,
snarky, sarcastic woman who has trouble expressing any
sort of positive emotion.   She is so uncomfortable
caring about anyone that if she finds someone who
actually gets close to her-- and still likes her
afterward-- she tries to push the person away and
convince herselves that that person doesn't mean shit
to them.  She casually wants to make the world a
better place but is a little cold when it comes to
taking action on things outside of what she considers
her sphere of responsiblity.  She helps others simply
out of potential benefit for herself.   
Maybe not a heroic person, but I wouldn't say they
were villains either.  She doesn't want to harm
anyone.   She's amoral, not immoral.         

> This scene has made Teryaki Chick my least favourite
> character I've met
> all year.  And I know what Jesse is trying to do:
> he's trying to make
> us think critically about the character, he "never
> said that she was a
> hero" or "worthy of admiration", et cetera, et
> cetera.

  Not trying to do that at all.   Again, I'm actually
taking this in another direction entirely. 

> But by using first person, Jesse _is_ asking us to
> identify with the
> character.  He is providing direct access to the
> character's unfiltered
> thoughts.  And, yeah, some of those thoughts may be
> ugly-- but I think
> it would be more complex than that.  As it stands,
> Teryaki Chick has
> less use and affection for Onion Lad than Master
> Blaster has for
> WikiBoy.

   People have lots of layers of thoughts.  I know
Freud said two... but there are many more.   When I
write first person I stick only to the 'surface' layer
or dominate layer of thought.   Because the other
layers of thought that all people have are often
contradictory or things about ourselves that we don't
want to be true.   In the case of Electra, I don't do
that as much.  She's a character I see as being much
more open to (and even tolerant of) the existence of
these other thought layers.   The type of person
Teryaki Chick is... wouldn't be.   In fact if
confronted on it would deny things outright.   

> But I'm not writing superheroes.  I'm writing
> character-based comedy,
> and I think meanness can be forgiven if it's funny.

  I think meanness can be forgiven in a character if
it is emotionally truthful.   Granted, I think this is
why I love watching House.  So many of the characters
treat each other like crap... while it is often funny
it is also true to the way someone like that would
  Having known someone like Teryaki Chick, I can say
that is exactly how someone like that would act.   If
it's funny, it's funny.  If it's drama, it's drama. 
As long as there is reason.    


> First, they bump into Vel, in a scene we first saw
> in VEL # 17.  Willey
> did this once before between these two titles, and
> it's a nice
> structural effect as part of the overall crossover:
> it gives the sense
> of things happening rapidly and at the same time. 
> On the other hand,
> though, and as Saxon noted in END OF MONTH REVIEWS,
> the timeframe of
> the KILLFILE WARS crossover is fairly confusing.  So
> even when things
> do intersect and come together-- and it was really,
> really nice to see
> this little scene with Vel-- even when we get a
> better look at the
> mosaic, we're still kind of lost and confused.

  It is a technique I use again in the LNH V2 issue
that picks up where the annual left off.  This time
using a scene from Onion Lad #9.  
> Um.  That was six years ago.  I think, by now, that
> Cheesecake-Eater
> Lad has learned his lesson.  After all, he
> inadvertantly created
> Student Driver Lass in his original revenge scheme,
> and met up with
> Simon Velcro as a direct result of that.  By the end
> of that one, I
> think he realized that his revenge scheme was quite
> futile.

  Yes, which why he claimed hitting Onion Lad with a
pie thinking he was hitting Vel as his revenge. 
Because he knew he'd never get another shot.

> At any rate, CEL and aLL struck me as being a bit
> out of character, as
> much character, anyway, that the two of them had. 
> And I don't really
> like Teryaki Chick.  At.  All.

  Nice to know you don't like my ex-girlfriend.   That
makes 1 and three quarters of us.  That other one
quarter of me realizes I'm an asshole masquerading as
the nice guy and that's why it worked in the first
> Which makes her an odd choice, to my thinking, for a
> viewpoint
> character.

   I could have told one from Peelix's point of
view... but we don't have a rating high enough. 

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