The Guild, originally on YouTube (s1) / MSN Video & Xbox Live & Zune (s2-5) / Geek & Sundry (s6)
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This was created by and stars Felicia Day, of whom I suppose I first really became aware because of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, though that came later than this (which was an inspiration for that, actually). I definitely started hearing more about "The Guild" after "Dr. Horrible," though it's probable that I'd heard of this before that came out. I dunno. In any event, Day plays a woman named Cyd Sherman, a gaming addict who escapes from real life by playing an MMORPG with a group of online friends, who call themselves the Knights of Good. Cyd is basically just... awkward, not good in social situations. She lacks confidence, or whatever. And her therapist has just dropped her as a patient. In addition to gaming, Cyd keeps a vlog about whatever's going on in her life, which mainly involves the game (or rather all the drama going on with the players), her unemployment, and her desire to lead a more normal life, which seems pretty much impossible, though she tries to be optimistic, which... she pretty much fails at. Whatever. (But I gotta say, Cyd is almost exactly the kind of girl I'd totally fall for.)
Anyway, the Knights of Good include Cyd's character, a cleric called Codex, as well as a fighter (and guild leader) called Vork (real name Herman Holden; played by Jeff Lewis), a rogue called Bladezz (real name Simon; played by Vincent Caso), a mage named Clara (real name Clara Beane; played by Robin Thorsen), a ranger called Tinkerballa (real name undisclosed; played by Amy Okuda), and a warlock called Zaboo (real name Sujan Balakrishnan Goldberg; played by Sandeep Parikh). When the series starts, Codex and the others are wondering where Zaboo is, since he hasn't been online in 39 hours (which is shockingly long, okay?) And then, completely unexpectedly, Zaboo shows up on Cyd's doorstep. He believes (and I guess the other "guildies" do too) that he and Codex have been flirting online, though she... disagrees. She wants to get him to leave (though she still considers him a friend), so she arranges a real world meeting of her fellow gamers. They've never met before IRL, and don't even know each other's real names or what one another look like, and... none of them seem particularly good at real world situations. (I'm mostly going to refer to them by their avatar names, since that's what they all do.)
Vork... seems to feel it's his responsibility to make up rules for everyone, which no one seems to like. Order and decorum are quite important to him. Also he goes to ridiculous lengths to save money. Zaboo has a Hindu mother and Jewish father. His mother has been massively overprotective, not allowing him to grow up. But he tends to become obsessed with girls he meets online (like Codex), and... he's kinda sweet, but also rather stalkery. And he has an odd habit of making up words by adding "'d" to the end, such as "doorstep'd," to describe whatever he (or anyone else) has just done. Bladezz is a high school student who treats everyone disrespectfully, and makes all sorts of crude or lewd comments, and hits on the girls, especially Tink. (He also has a little sister named Dena who frequently annoys him, though she can sometimes be helpful.) Clara has three very young children, but she seems like a very irresponsible mother, paying more attention to the game than anything else. Although she does have a pretty sunny, bubbly disposition, except when anything threatens to detract from her game time. Tinkerballa doesn't seem to like people at all, not because she's shy like Cyd or uptight like Vork, she... just seems disinterested, or annoyed. She sees people, especially men, as nothing more than tools. And even when she's not online, she's always playing a handheld videogame. And she doesn't let anyone know much about her real life.
Anyway, the guild members meet a few times, but Cyd's efforts to get them to help her get Zaboo to leave her alone are always sidetracked. One major issue is problems the guild is having with Bladezz's behavior. Another is helping Zaboo stand up to his overbearing mother, who wants to force him to return home, even though he's a grown man. In Cyd's efforts to help Zaboo claim his independence, she totally forgets that if he doesn't go with his mom, the only place for him to stay will be with her.
Cyd gets Zaboo to move in with Vork, telling Zaboo that he needs to become more of a man, which he takes to enthusiastically (in hopes of winning her love). Meanwhile, Vork agrees to this because Zaboo is going to pay him in-game gold as rent. But Zaboo soon becomes too much for him to bear. And Cyd meets a new neighbor named Wade Wei, a martial artist and stuntman who becomes a potential love interest. And then one night, the game's server goes down, so... the guys get together at Vork's place, while the girls get together at Codex's place, and Clara invites a ton of strangers, who bring kegs. And Wade and his roommate Riley (who Codex thought was his girlfriend) show up, and Clara and Tink try to hook Codex and Wade up. Which the guys hear about on Clara's status update, so they come over. And... well, there's all sorts of trouble. Between Zaboo and Wade. Between Bladezz and Tink (who had been using him for some time... tool'd). Between Vork and Clara (who had created another character- called "Teatsfortots"- that kept killing him as payback for something that happened earlier in the season, and he just found out at the party that Clara was the one behind that avatar). Anyway... everything's weird and hilarious and confusing and stuff.
The season starts with the release of an expansion pack for the game, which everyone's excited about. But an incident while waiting in line at the store instigates a rivalry between the Knights of Good and another guild, the Axis of Anarchy, which is led by a guy called Fawkes (Wil Wheaton). Vork loses confidence in himself and abdicates his position as leader, deciding to go on a road trip of self-discovery (while always searching for wifi he can pirate). Codex becomes the new leader, a position with which she is quite uncomfortable. Tink leaves the guild, to join the Axis. Clara has marriage troubles, and tries to fix it by getting her husband to join the Knights of Good (to replace Tink), but he sucks at gaming. Meanwhile, Zaboo is now in a relationship with Riley, who- and this is a massive understatement- doesn't treat him well (which Cyd tries to get him to see, though he just thinks she's jealous; plus, it's like his first real relationship, so... whatever.) Anyway, mostly the season is about the Axis messing with the Knights (mostly Bladezz) in real life. And Codex has to try to keep things together, but everything just keeps falling apart, and she just wants Vork to be leader again... but he has to learn a hard truth about himself, first. But in the end, there's a battle royale between the two guilds...
Cyd tries to have a relationship with Fawkes, after a one-night stand. He's disinterested at first, never having had any interest in relationships (he considers himself an "Epicurean"). But eventually Cyd realizes she doesn't like him, and then he wants her back. Meanwhile, the Knights of Good want to purchase a Guild Hall in the game, but there's disagreement about what kind of hall to get. Besides which, they don't have enough in-game gold. So, there's a race between Vork and Zaboo against Tink and Clara, each side trying to earn more gold so they can decide which hall to buy. Vork ends up getting some financial advice from Zaboo's mom, which leads to a weird plotline. And Tink and Clara try to start a real world business together, to make real money. Also, Cyd needs to get a new computer, so Bladezz gets her a job at the pirate-themed restaurant where he works, Cheesybeards. And Zaboo works on becoming a better friend to Cyd. In the season finale, everything comes to a head as the Knights obtain their Guild Hall, and deal with the Vork/Zaboo's mom plot, and then a Game Master called Kevinator (Simon Helberg) shows up to deal with a different issue... and ends up befriending Bladezz, who obtains tickets to a convention for the whole guild.
The Knights of Good attend a convention, which includes all sorts of different geek culture (and several guest stars who should be fun for fans to see). Sci-fi, comic books, fantasy, anime, computer games (such as the one played by the guild), etc. Clara discovers the steampunk genre, and gets quite interested in its visual trappings, even if she has no idea what the genre itself is about. Tink frequently dresses in different costumes (which is pretty cool). Bladezz is expecting everything to be comp'd for the guild, including their lodging, though for reasons I won't get into, that doesn't happen. So of course the guild has to worry somewhat about money, though mainly Vork deals with that. But Bladezz does end up enjoying some popularity due to his having starred as a pirate in a Cheesybeards commercial last season, which became an internet meme. Also Tink and Clara try to sell t-shirts that had been made up for their business last season. Codex deals with suddenly finding she has potential romantic feelings for Zaboo. Zaboo, meanwhile, just wants to visit as many panels as he can at the con, and to that end he starts a seat-saving buddy system which involves countless convention-goers texting each other (which eventually makes him a very powerful person). Also, Codex tries out the newest version of the game, which is being demo'd at the con, and complains about all the changes. She doesn't realize the stranger she's complaining to is Floyd Petrovski, the creator of the game, who later decides to sell control of the game to some guy from a big company, which Codex overhears. This greatly disturbs her, but she can't get any of her fellow guildies to care. Oh, and we eventually learn a bit about Tink's real life... after all these years of secrecy! Also, Vork meets an actress named Madeleine Twain (played by Erin Gray), who had been in a sci-fi shows years ago. He was a big fan, and the two of them now become close (and then not so close). And that's all I want to say about that season. (After originally airing on the Guild's website, this season reran on the new "Geek & Sundry" YouTube channel.)
(This is first season to premiere on "Geek & Sundry.") Codex starts a new job (which she'd gotten at the end of the last season), working for Floyd. Of course, everyone else who works on the Game immediately dislike her. And Floyd himself is totally neurotic. Bladezz sort of starts managing Clara's newfound interest in vlogging. Eventually all the guildies visit Codex at work, and make more problems for her. Tink sort of starts a relationship with a programmer named Donovan, who works there. Zaboo does free IT work (so he's really the only helpful guildie). But he also spends a lot of time hanging out in the test server of a new Game underwater expansion, where he totally crushes on a mermaid NPC. Vork gets banned from the Game, and starts a protest. (We also see more of Madeleine this season.) And... I don't want to say anything else, except that after all the chaos, there's a happy ending for everyone. And it was a pretty great series finale. (I hoped for some time afterwards that there would be more seasons, in spite of this being a perfect ending. But after reading Felicia's book, I accept that it's for the best that the series is over.)
Anyway, um... each season has 10 or 12 episodes (plus gag reels and holiday specials), and each episode is anywhere between roughly three and nine minutes in length. So, not a very long series. But a lot seems to happen. And yet, somehow not that much happens. I dunno. It's weird. But it's all really terribly funny, especially if you're an online gamer, yourself. (I'm not, but I'm familiar enough with the concept to get it.) It also helps your appreciation of the show, I think, if you suck at real life as much as these characters do (and personally, I think I suck even more than some of them). And, uh, I guess that's all I can say. Oh, except there's also a music video, Do You Wanna Date My Avatar, which is pretty cool, sung by Felicia Day, with a bit of rapping by Vork and Zaboo. There's also a music video called "Game On," a big, fun Bollywood-style song and dance number. There are also some comic books based on the series.