Yearly Wrap-Up 2020 (and the End of an Era)
It’s almost redundant to mention what a huge dumpster fire this year has been. I know that I’m not alone in saying that 2020 is one year that I’ll be glad to see in the rear view mirror. Yeah, 2020 suuuuuuuuuuuucked!!!!
Anyway, we’ve finally arrived at the tail end of 2020, and as usual, we’re going to our annual summation of the year in the review. But wait, there’s more! This year, our yearly wrap-up is going to be a little different because not only are we going to look back at Twinsanity 2020, but we’re also going to announce our plans going forward and announce some significant changes to this blog and discuss it’s future.
This is going to be a long one, so you might want to get some snacks…
Since both Damon and myself will be writing this, to avoid confusion as to who’s words you’ll be reading, we’ll once again be doing the colored text thing; Damon’s words will be typed in blue, while mine will be typed in purple.
I’m going to get right to the point here: not only is this our last blog post for the year, it’s also the last blog post for this site. Yes, Twinsanity the blog is done like dinner.
Damon and I have been doing this for at least eight years, and eight years is long time to be doing anything, and sadly, I have to say that this particular format just isn’t doing it for me anymore. I feel like I’ve done everything that I can do in this format and it’s been feeling increasingly limiting for me. Initially, I tried to shrug it off and continue as we have been, but trying to keep making text posts at this stage would be like pulling a car uphill with a rope and acting like it’s fine. I’m ready to move on and start doing something else, as I have been for some time now. Also, I’m really not sure if the blog format has been the best outlet for our particular approach as of late. Generally, we think of ourselves as cartoonists, writers and comedians. We’ve always tried to make our content just as entertaining as they are informative (if not more so). Whether or not we’ve actually succeeded in that depends on who you ask. And sometimes, I’m honestly not sure if some of the people who read our stuff know that it’s supposed to be funny. I mean, one of the most frequently visited posts as of late has been Damon’s “The Dumb Donald/Mushmouth Conundrum”, and some of the more recent responses to that post have left me baffled. There are people who have said “I’ve never seen Fat Albert and I don’t know anything about the show other than it existed.” But then you missed the entire point of that post. In order to recognize the humor in that post, it’s assumed that you are familiar with franchise and already know who the characters are and what their names are. If you possess zero knowledge of Fat Albert and don’t know any of the characters’ names, you’re going to miss the point of the thread entirely! “The Dumb Donald/Mushmouth Conundrum” is a humorous article, not a tutorial for newbies. Don’t read that post if your intention is to educate yourself about Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. That’s what show wikis are for. It was supposed to be funny! And I got no satisfaction by looking at the most frequently visited post and seeing that it’s the 2 Funny of the SNL sketch “Nadeen At Burger Castle”. We didn’t write that, we just embedded it from Hulu. Our site isn’t meant to be somewhere where folks can watch SNL sketches without having to sign in to Hulu. If you’re going to visit our site regularly, I’d rather it be so you read content that we actually made. Two of the main regrets that I have are: 1) I wish that I hadn’t typed that Unpopular Opinions on No New Animaniacs. At the time that I typed that post, the idea of an Animaniacs reboot had been discussed by fans, but at the time, I didn’t think that it was ever going to happen for real. Had I known that just a year or so later that Warner Brothers would actually greenlight a new A!, I wouldn’t have bothered writing that. 2) I wish that I hadn’t written that What The Funny for the Regular Show episode, “Free Cake”. Not because I thought that it was bad, but I don’t like to leave things unfinished. Originally, my plan was to eke out one more miniseries before moving on, but I couldn’t do that. There were supposed to be six entries in that miniseries, but I felt so stifled after typing the first one that I couldn’t make myself do the other five, and I always said to myself that as soon as doing this felt like work to me, that I would stop.
Despite how I’ve made it sound so far, I’d like to emphasize that Damon and I are NOT done with the internet, nor are we done with WordPress or this site. No, there won’t be any more text posts like this one here; save for the microblogs that we do on Tumblr. I don’t make a new one everyday, but I’ll at least try to make a microblog at least once a month. Generally speaking, though, we’ll be busy putting together the new format, which will hereinafter be referred to as Twinsanity 2.0.
We’re going to create a YouTube channel for ourselves (I’d like to use a different site than YouTube, but YT gets the most traffic, so we have to deal with them. I wish that Blip and/or VidMe were still around, but I digress). When we make a new video, we’ll embed it here, so you’ll have the option to watch the video on this site or on our YT channel. You’ll still be able post comments on both sites, but I will say that you’ll be more likely to get a response form us typed here rather than on YT.
I knew this moment was coming, and now it’s finally arrived.
As craptacular was 2020 has been, it did teach me to prioritize and give me the final push that I needed. By now it’s become common knowledge that we’ve both grown weary of the blogging format; I began to feel like I hit a wall with text posts somewhere around 2016 or 2017. I blame a lot of that on myself; for a long time I felt like I had to post something almost everyday without a break or a cooldown period or else we’d become irrelevant, so I would just post whatever, regardless of whether I had any real ideas or even if the post was actually a product of our own work and minds, a move I quickly grew to regret. This, in case anyone was wondering, was why we stopped doing 2 Funny: people were coming here not to take in what we had posted or what was on our minds, but rather just to look at whatever miscellaneous video we chose to embed. I know this sounds egotistical, but Twinsanity was meant to be a showcase for us, our creativity, our work, our opinions, not just a place where people can go to look at pretty pictures or someone’s else videos for free. Not only have I felt for a long time that we’ve just been screaming into the void, but my plans, goals and ideas were increasingly beginning to get too big and elaborate to be summed up with a few lines of text and some still illustrations; it’s gotten to the point where nowadays I don’t even think in terms of text posts anymore, outside of short quick bites like the stuff we put on Tumblr.
Speaking of recognition, another reason I’ve been wanting to get away from the blog format is simply because I want us to be seen. To this day I think there are still people who believe that we’re just 1 person, and the only conclusive way to disprove this notion once and for all is for both of us to appear on camera together.
So yeah, this format was really starting to not work for me anymore, and creatively speaking, I was beginning to feel more and more liked a caged animal, pacing around and wanting to pounce. This was compounded further by colleagues like DBK (the artist formerly known as Whimsical Crank) and Mr. Coat, who previously were just bloggers like us but began branching out into making videos.
Then in March, the whole plague thing happened.
SIDE BAR: After this pandemic hit, non-creative types would keep saying things like, “Artists and writers should be happy this happened. Now that everything’s been shut down, they should be creating their asses off now that they have all this free time”. Um, yeah, about that: the reason most people aren’t producing the next Mona Lisa or Hamilton on a daily basis is because this is a PANDEMIC, not a VACATION. Unfortunately, for many people art and creativity are a hobby not an occupation, and most people need to have peace of mind and stability in order to create, and it’s hard to have those things when you’re consumed by the daily concerns about whether you or a loved is going to get sick (especially for those who have pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems), plus worrying about how you’re going to get your bills paid, keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, not to mention creators who are parents now have the additional burden of having their kids home all day, which leaves them with even less time and space to create. So no, non-creative types, a pandemic is not party time for us. END SIDE BAR.
One good thing did come out of this plague, however, it gave us more time to reflect, think and plot about where we are with Twinsanity and where we want to take it going forward. This whole experience led to me thinking the ‘Big Thoughts’, which I usually try to avoid; not to get uncool and heavy, but I began to think about my own mortality, unrealized dreams, my lifetime goals, making my mark, etc. I don’t want to leave this planet with any regrets, so it was during this latest lull that I made my resolve: I wasn’t going to let another year go by without at least trying to make Twinsanity 2.0 a reality.
What’s that I pretend to hear you ask? What exactly is Twinsanity 2.0, and how is it different from Twinsanity the blog? Well, first there’s the obvious fact that Twinsanity 2.0 will be online videos instead of text posts. Obviously, some videos will take longer to make than others, but we’re going to try to produce about two videos each month (that’s the idea goal anyway).
Now, before we give a taste of what’s in store, first let’s break down what you shouldn’t expect from Twinsanity 2.0. Here’s what we don’t want to do as video content creators:
We don’t want to review movies or video games. Everybody and their Aunt Gertrude does movie reviews (plus we’re not really film buffs anyway) and we lack the skills and the knowledge to review the latter. There are already a number of YouTubers who reviews video games and they all do it 20 times better than we ever could; while we will have some game based content, ours will be more about video game aesthetics, our experiences with games, what we like about games, game tropes, game commercials, etc. (We’re those weirdos who enjoy watching games and the overall oeuvre of video games more than actually playing them.) In fact, I would hesitate to call what we do ‘reviews’ in the conventional sense. For a long time, every self-produced video was called a review because that’s the language that people used, but these days, thankfully, internet content has evolved beyond the standard review formula and expanded to include several various forms of communication.
We don’t want to be ‘Angry Reviewers’. We have no desire to be the Angry This or the Irate That. We really wish to avoid the typical Angry Reviewer/Angry Critic formula of show a clip of something, make a joke about it, show another clip, tell another joke, clip, joke, clip, joke, clip, joke, conclusion. That formula has been done A LOT by numerous online personalities, but as mentioned above, nowadays creators are able to expand to other forms of content. Of course, some producers still adhere to the Angry Critic formula, and more power to those who do it well, but that’s just not what we want to do. We want to do something wackier and more casual; I envision our main show as 2 jokers just kicking it and making a wise-guy talk/news/sketch/variety show where they talk (and crack jokes) about their favorite subjects, in our case animation, Saturday Morning TV, tech, video games, schlock consumer products, unique destinations and general geek culture. We both would rather celebrate (and goof on) the things that we like as opposed to ranting and complaining about the things we don’t like.
We don’t want to do essays or info-dumps. Again, not to disrespect the video essayists like Lindsay Ellis, Elisa Hansen or Kevin Perjurer of Defunctland, but that’s just not what we want to do. Essay videos require a lot of research and tend to be kind of long, and frankly we’re too lazy and easily bored to devote ourselves to the amount of time and research required to do those. Our style is more abridged and filled with jokes, quips, clips and cutaways, a la Black Nerd Comedy, Theme Snark and Some Jerk with a Camera. We consider ourselves entertainers first and foremost; we’d rather make people laugh and keep them entertained than drop an info-dump on them. You won’t be getting a documentary out of us is what I’m saying.
We don’t want to play fictional characters in our videos, least of all superhero-type characters. Once again, no disrespect meant towards the likes of The Blockbuster Buster and Linkara, but we have no desire or plans to play pan-galactic pop-culture superheroes entrusted with the task of beating down bad cartoons in order to protect the multiverse or whatever. On a related note, we also don’t plan to incorporate story lines, plots and ongoing sagas running along within our videos. Again, producers like the Nostalgia Critic have been gradually adding increasingly bigger and more elaborate plot lines into their videos and that’s fine, but we plan to go the opposite route, making our videos relatively short, wacky and fun. We don’t need to have stories going on alongside the videos; if we want to do scripted stories, then we’ll make separate videos for them.
Now, on to the content. The plan is for Twinsanity 2.0 to consist of a main show along with some smaller side segments. Right now, we’re calling our main show The Razzle Dazzle Show (some other names that we’ve considered are The Twinsanity Show, The Cartoon Show and The Big Show). The Razzle Dazzle Show is like a cross between the Escapist.com show The Escapist Show, Cartoon Network’s Cartoon Planet, Sifl & Olly, ESPN Classic’s Cheap Seats starring the Sklar Brothers (two of our role models), Fuel TV’s The Captain & Casey Show and Old School Wrestling.com (OSW). I like to think of Twinsanity as being for Saturday morning fans who grew up. It will still be as we originally envisioned it, “Where cartoons and comedy collide!”. Razzle Dazzle will be the show that we plan to do the most regularly.
As for the side segments, aside from the them being presented in the new format, they won’t be too different from what we’ve been blogging about. Some of them will remain unchanged, while some others may be altered accordingly. Talkin’ Nerdy, The Retro Bin, The Cartoon Couch, TV Special Showdown, Pop Dream, Nerdvana, Unpopular Opinions, Big Ideas and Brain Candy will stay pretty much the same. Cartoon Country will not be making the transition to videos, at least not entirely. Damon believes that CC too closely resembles a conventional review show, which we’re trying to steer away from. Meanwhile I’ve been concerned for some time now that Cartoon Country and my miniseries What The Funny are too similar to one another for them both to coexist as separate entities, but WTF is too popular and we both enjoy doing them, so there was never the thought of dropping that segment. I was going to bring CC back as something else, but I have no idea what that something else could be. If Cartoon Country were to continue, I think it would need to have some sort of specific theme (such as Tony Goldmark’s Escape From Vault Disney, Doug Walker’s Disneycember, Austin Hardgrave’s Zelda Month or Allison Pregler’s Baywatching) rather than just be a grab bag of cartoons in general, since that’s basically what our show is; having a mish-mash segment on our mish-mash show would be quite redundant. So for now I’m thinking that I’ll just absorb CC into What The Funny and carry on from there.
Vidiots will continue, but we’ll be giving it a new name: Ready Player Two*. And again, these won’t be video game reviews. Instead, it’ll just be us sharing our experiences with certain games and discussing game tropes and observances. Within this, there will be a new sub-segment that we’re calling Geeks On Games, where Damon and I (and sometimes a guest like our younger brother Chaz, aka Chazmosis of The Otaku Gamer Spot), watch a video game playthrough and make commentary on it.
*We came up with that name before author Ernest Cline announced that he’d be writing a sequel to his book/movie Ready Player One with this same title. No biggie, we’re not married to the name Ready Player Two, we can always give it a different name, like Player Two Start or something similar. We just don’t want to call the segment Videots anymore; that name has simply lost its’ sheen.
We haven’t done a new Beyond the Background in 3 years, so there’s no rush to bring that over, unless one of us gets struck with divine inspiration.
There will be a new segment that we’re calling Retroville. In which, we’ll be looking back at defunct restaurant and store chains, ad campaigns, TV program blocks, specialty themed cable channels, toy collectibles, theme park attractions and the like. It’s kind of like a cross between Restaurant Rewind and Defunctland, but with jokes. Since Retroville will occasionally look back at toys/collectibles, commercials, theme parks and theme park attractions, the blog segments Toon Adjacent and Ad Nausea will become part of Retroville.
We’ll still do Peeks every so often, provided that it’s a TV show or movie that’s of particular interest to us. However, we’re not going to preview every new show that comes down the pike.
-We can’t give you an exact date as to when our first video will be ready, but we’ll keep you posted on our progress and on upcoming events both here and on our Tumblr page. Speaking of, after the videos start rolling out on a regular basis and we’ve got a decent number of them under our belts (say more than 5) we’ll be doing something else we’ve been wanting to do for a while now: update the look of this site. We’ll soon be giving this place a makeover with new updated theme; we’ve been using the Shaan theme for a while and we’ll be switching to something more video-friendly, however the URL will not change; you’ll still be able to access this site at twinsanity.co, it will just look different, so don’t think you’ve come to the wrong place when you click here and don’t see the Shaan look anymore.
All of the blog posts that we’ve done will be archived so you can visit them whenever you want. There won’t be any new blog posts save for site updates, but the Animaniacs whatever thread will remained pinned, so if you have any news, articles or opinions you wish to share, just keep posting them there like you’ve been doing.
Well, that’s it. This new venture is going to be a little scary, but we’re both excited about this new chapter in our lives and this new direction that we’re taking Twinsanity in. We’re looking forward to Twinsanity 2.0, and we hope you’ll enjoy it too. For everyone who stuck with us all this time, big thanks for your support. We hope to see you on whatever new media we show up on.
Happy New Year, and we hope 2021 is a good year for you. Hey, it couldn’t get much worse than 2020, right?