(YouTube) The Guild is a show with a rather unusual history. It premiered on YouTube in 2007 before being financed by Microsoft and moving to channels like MSN Video and Xbox Live Marketplace. The show subsequently moved back to YouTube to allow creator Felicia Day to retain control.
Day is known to fans of Joss Whedon's work as Vi on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Penny on Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (she's also been seen in Dollhouse, Lie to Me, House, and Eureka). She wrote the show based on her own experiences as a video gamer, hoping to show gamers as a more diverse group than just teenage boys and overweight men living at home.
In The Guild, Day stars as Cyd, AKA Codex. She's a geeky girl living alone. Her therapist has just dumped her because she refuses to address her gaming addiction. She set her ex-boyfriend's cello on fire after she caught him in bed with an oboist. She spends all her time playing an unspecified MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) with a group of misfits she's only talked to through her computer microphone.
The show originally premiered in smaller snippets that were later edited together. Thus, each season is one hour-and-fifteen-minute episode long. The first season focuses on the mayhem that ensues when Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh) runs away from home and shows up at Cyd's apartment to live with her based on a perceived online flirtation. In a side-plot, the sarcastically inappropriate Bladezz (Vincent Caso) is threatening the guild's existence with his obnoxious behavior that may get them banned.
The show is filled with witty one-liners and quick references to video game and geek culture in general. It's tailor-made for gamers to enjoy, but it has enough human interest and bizarre humor to draw in viewers from other walks of life. For instance, there's Clara (Robin Thorsen), the stay-at-home mom who seems sweet as honey but leaves her kids penned up in the kitchen to eat crayons because she doesn't realize her nanny has quit. There's also the guild's leader Vork (Jeff Lewis), a middle-aged man who has abandoned his career and lives in his dead grandfather's house illegally collecting Social Security checks.
Clearly, Day isn't too interested in painting these characters in a flattering light. The Guild is more an over-the-top parody of life – but with a warm, fluffy heart at its core. These people behave selfishly, thoughtlessly, and childishly, but they have a grudging respect for each other, and they stick together when the microchips are down. One of the best scenes in the first season has the gang line up in RPG battle formation to face down Zaboo's domineering mother. After delivering a stinging remark, Clara sags and says, “I'm out of mana.”
The Guild's sixth season premiered in October 2012, so we're likely to see more of this unique show in the future. It's been a big hit so far, and has won multiple online awards. Fans of edgy comedy and loveably ridiculous characters will find much to appreciate in the twisted real / not-real life adventures of this intrepid band of immature outlaws.
Why We Like It: decidedly un-PC, gives a female perspective on the gaming world, lots of great in-jokes and references