During the month of August, I’m participating in RPG a Day 2017. Each day I’ll answer a question, or my interpretation of a question, about tabletop roleplaying games. For those who have wanted your beloved UncleBear to get back into RPG blogging, this is the closest you’re going to get.
What Series is the Biggest Source of Quotes in Your Group?
Hands down, the most-quoted show in our group is The Venture Bros. The first caveat that I have to throw down, though, is that 99% of these jokes come from my wife Katie. She is the biggest Venture head I know. The second caveat that I have to make is that no one else in our group gets the references. They don’t show The Venture Bros. here in Finland. Cable subscribers can get a version of Cartoon Network, but it’s only on during the day; at night it switched over to Turner Classic Movies, so there’s no Adult Swim content. It’s not on any streaming services here. While you can go to the Adult Swim website and stream the show, that requires seeking it out.
It’s an odd situation, because I grew up throwing around quotes from Monty Python and various 70s and 80s flicks. Later, in the 90s, we’d quote riffs from Mystery Science Theater 3000. But because we live in an international community, and our group is comprised of players from several countries, we don’t all have the same cultural context. They don’t know Ventures. We don’t get the reference to a British show that never aired in the U.S., or some German movie, or something that was part of the childhood of every kid in wherever.
So the shared cultural context that all of us have is the game itself, and the shared experiences that we’ve had in the game. The quotes, then, have been replaced with running in-jokes. We don’t have the instant connection of a movie or TV show we’ve all seen a dozen times. It takes a little bit more work. As tradeoffs go, though, I think it’s a good one.