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Cro joins Kate for a discussion on the dancestors (well, ten of them) and their impact on Homestuck. We roast Kankri a lot. Take however much you were expecting us to do and understand this: it’s more than that. We also talk about disability issues in Homestuck, katabasis, the author insert as an unreliable narrator, and not being able to bring ourselves to care about Horuss.

Also mentioned is “The Ridiculous Adventures of MSPA Reader in Hussnasty Hell” by Jordan “DJay” Dooling, which is highly recommended reading.

WARNING: this episode does not contain the recommended daily amount of Vriska. Please consume as part of a healthy balanced media diet.

Transcript Edit

Kate: The Perfectly Generic Podcast contains spoilers, occasional adult language, and Aranea. You've been warned.

[intro]

Kate: As I walk through the valley of the shadow of life/ I take a look at my death and realize there's not much left. This is the Perfectly Generic Podcast, and this week I'm joined by Cro (Cullj0y). How ya doin', Cro?

Cro: I'm doin' alright! [laughs]

Kate: How's your week been?

Cro: It's been okay. I have two different nicknames at this point, 'cause there's 'cullj0y', and it's 'yoitscro' because Twitter hates me.

Kate: So yeah you got — you caught one of those little suspensions that Twitter likes to hand out for random bullshit.

Cro: Yeah and like — not even little, I was gonna do a giveaway and then I woke up one morning and I was like, hey guys what's up, and my friend was like, the ceiling, and then I threatened bodily harm against them and then suddenly I'm on timeout.

Kate: Yeah, that's how it goes.

Cro: Permanent timeout.

Kate: [laughs]

Cro: Christ.

Kate: So you — so what's your history of engagement with Homestuck? This is a question I like to ask whenever somebody comes on the show for the first time.

Cro: Oh boy.

Kate: Like, when did you first get into it and how?

Cro: Let's see — good question. [sighs] Well I was definitely in some other fandoms during a time, probably before I really knew what the word fandom even was. But in freshman year of high school I know that I ran into Homestuck via the internet. And for some reason one of the songs that I listened to was on a video game music website for — interesting reason, despite the fact that Homestuck wasn't really known as a video game at that time. And I listened to that and I'm like, oh this came from some webcomic I've heard before, what's Homestuck. So in freshman year high school I read up to Act 2 and then I got bored, and then I didn't touch it for another three years until senior high school. And then I'm like, okay, I'll read it again. And the reason I actually started reading it again during that time is because I actually got into some of the fandom content that was actually not provided from Tumblr but actually provided through YouTube. Like I used to watch a lot of fandom content such as comic dubs and animatics and stuff like that. And eventually I'm like, okay I kinda — I'm laughing, but I want to laugh more in terms of maybe some jokes that I would know more about if I knew some of these characters. And so I caught up with the Let's Read Homestuck series and then eventually when those videos ran out I read all the more myself, and I think this was also kinda tied with the fact that — I think Vriskagram came out during this time, and I'm like, this is all over my Tumblr and I wanna see what's going on and of course the YouTube videos helped with that. Now the funny thing is, is that the YouTube videos — of course they had like, the main characters and stuff, like the main kids, the main trolls. Some of the ones that actually got me was, funny enough, the ones with the ancestors and the dancestors, and I'm like, haha, I wanna laugh more. Not knowing that as I got into this comic that they were only going to be a very tiny fraction of all that content —

Kate: [laughs]

Cro: That I essentially like saw got like, shelled out by people.

Kate: Mhmm. I mean in the end the dancestors are like, they're a couple hours of gameplay! There's as much dancestor content as there is Hiveswap!

Cro: Oh yeah! [laughs]

Kate: And so that's our topic this week. It's taken — what even episode is this? I don't even know how many episodes my own fucking show has. This is episode twenty-five.

Cro: Twenty-five!

Kate: It's taken us twenty-five episodes to get here, but now we're finally talking about the — an interesting concept and a second-half addition of the comic, the alternate versions of the pre-scratch trolls, the dancestors. And I've been intrigued by them for a little while especially since my reading of them was impacted by an essay by friend of the show DJ, 'The Ridiculous Adventures of MSPA Reader in Hussnasty Hell' — which is a great title. The step one to having good Homestuck meta is having a really stupid title.

Cro: Absolutely.

Kate: [laughs] And I — it definitely impacted and it changed my mind about what the purpose of the dancestors in the story was and what I — what you could get out of them by comparing it to — especially Classical Greek literature.

Cro: Right.

Kate: So I'm gonna read a couple of selections from this essay and then talk a little bit about it. So enjoy the background music [laughs]

Cro: Hella.

[cue background music, some chill double bass]

Kate: First up there's a quote from Homestuck Act 4, the author notes. "The first walkaround game in John's house established the precedence that, since the reader of the story is now directly controlling John and therefore can't be issuing commands in the usual sense, the commands inside the game are being issued by an in-story character." And now the essay continues: "The above quote has one hell of an implication. If we can't be issuing commands during a game because we're directly controlling the character, then during a game we are in the panel. That is where MSPA Reader is preoccupied. Openbound is not the first time a character has gone to the afterlife, but it is the first interactive game set there. And so according to that precedent, it is the first time MSPA Reader goes there. We are free to explore directly, instead of being limited to just what the narration is willing to divulge. It is our descent and in the end our return from the underworld, it is our katabasis in other words." Katabasis is the epic convention of the hero's trip to the Underworld, like Orpheus rescuing Eurydice from the Land of the Dead. It's a common factor in a lot of — especially Greek epics, but it's also something that is applied to the study of the monomyth, which Homestuck is fascinated with and is sort of intentionally a take-down of. It's an epic for the internet age. And to continue: "The people we are about to see have been banished from their lives by Sburb, banished from Sburb and victory by Lord English's machinations, banished from life by Meenah's clever plans, and they've been on the very margins of existence for a very long time. The Beforan trolls have been lost in their memories for so long that they can't keep track of time; lost rehashing their personal conflicts; lost dwelling in the uncertainty of the abyss; lost with their only comforts, their personality quirks, who we see are shades of their former selves. Remnants of identities trapped in a very hussnasty hell." [laughs]

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: And —

Cro: I love that word.

Kate: Yeah! It's — it's the preferred adjective for Andrew Hussie's writing, according to the au— to the man himself.

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: It's the Shakespearean, I guess. I — so sure. But anyway — this idea of Openbound as the hero's descent into the Underworld sort of fits — squares with my reading of Homestuck as a story where *you*, you the narrative you, the reader, the thing that the narrative voice is talking to the entire time, are the protagonist and Homestuck is the antagonist. [laughs] And I love —

Cro: It's believable!

Kate: Yeah! And the idea of the dancestors as shades is something that made them click, and makes sense for me for the first time. I don't know, what do you think of this read?

Cro: I think it's a good read, and I actually happened upon this essay a bit ago and I didn't have time to really read it until recently. And it provides a very fresh take in my opinion, in terms of like, these characters that people kind of tend to overlook versus characters that have a lot more screen time and a lot more impact when it comes to the main meat of the story.

Kate: Mhmm. It's — it almost seems intentional that you're supposed to overlook these characters —

Cro: Oh yeah.

Kate: Especially the one that's most easily overlook-able — which we'll talk about Kurloz later — like, ends up being vital to the progression of the antagonist, right? It's —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: These things are almost designed to be easy to miss, and it's often obfuscated by intentional stuff like, y'know the way that Kankri's text is presented and, y'know, the way that some of their quirks are extremely hard to read, and the fact that you can meet the ghost of the author in one of the routes who just says that all of these characters are pointless and stupid. Like — [laughs]

Cro: Yeah. Yeah I didn't — I thought like, you think about the fact that Hussie — like his self-insert is in there and it's the fact that we see his self-insert appear a lot, but you don't necessarily think about the fact that his self-insert after his canonical death happens to show up, as he is, in the — in what is assumed to be the afterlife.

Kate: Mhmm, right, and this essay argues that the author insert character at this point is also a shade, also reduced to, y'know, the worst traits, like the other dancestors are, like reduced to a caricature. At this point, once the author dies, the author is just like, a silly person who says not to care about things and is in love with Vriska.

Cro: Exactly.

Kate: [laughs] Not that I would say that that's the worst trait of anyone! [laughs]

Cro: [laughs] Yeah, it's like — it's just being trapped in like, I mean for lack of a better term, your own hell.

Kate: Mhmm. Yeah, it's — obviously it's one of the most extended purgatorial metaphors, and it's one that I think sets up like, the Alpha kids' purgatorial metaphor in a very strong way. But it's like yeah, these characters are really in a hellish situation. [laughs]

Cro: Yeah. They're kinda like fucked over because when you think about it, yes they are in the afterlife but at the same time they're not technically dead because double death is a concept that kinda seems like it is a cruel fate for a — y'know, their existence to be erased. But at the end of the day, a lot of these trolls that are in the dream bubbles have been there for aeons and they continue in their own way to actually keep suffering from being lost in their own memories, and so while it does seem that they were saved from Meenah due to the whole Scratch happening and her letting the bomb go off for them to continue to exist, in a way they are continuing to suffer from their circumstances and from each other due to the fact that they are not able to rest.

Kate: Yeah. There's — there is this — they're clinging to life and it's not actually satisfying, right?

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: I think a lot about what's satisfying in media, and the story of the dancestors isn't. If you are used to narratives that are "fair", quote-unquote, then you won't like this one! [laughs]

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: And — and so I guess I think the best thing to do now would be to — since we got a lot — there's twelve of these fuckers, there's so many of them! [laughs]

Cro: [laughs] There's so many and I love 'em all!

Kate: There's so many and I have a complicated relationship with most of them. [laughs] There's — obviously there's some characters that I think we have very different opinions on, which I'm excited about — I'm excited to talk about.

Cro: Right.

Kate: [laughs]

Cro: It'll give us a lot of meat for this particular episode.

Kate: Yeah, to conti— the meat and candy metaphor continues.

Cro: There you go!

Kate: [laughs] So first off, let's start with Kankri.

Cro: [chuckles darkly]

Kate: [laughs] What you do — how do you sum up a character like Kankri? So I'm gonna introduce each segment here where we talk about the characters by actually reading what the author insert — what the ghost of the author says about them, just to sort of guide our discussion. "Did you know, it is a Homestuck fact that 99 percent of all readers didn't read or care about anything Kankri said? So in other words, he's exactly like all terrible social justice bloggers. Some social justice bloggers get angry at the joke that he is, but those are the terrible ones and being terrible is why they get angry. They want to be terrible in peace without being mocked. That is what it is like to be a justified target of ridicule. You feel sad and angry all the time and you don't know why. Kankri wears a cute red sweater and is otherwise fairly adorable. Porrim acts like his mom which is also cute as hell." [laughs]

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: And I — a lot of people took umbrage with Kankri, right, they thought that Kankri was a character that was trivializing being concerned with issues of equality. And I just fundamentally don't think that's true, I think —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: Kankri is intended — I mean Kankri's very obviously textually intended as a contrast to Porrim, and —

Cro: Oh yeah.

Kate: I also think he's very *very* clearly intended as — so he's concerned with all of these issues, no matter how trivial it may seem, he's extremely concerned with learning the proper vocabulary for every issue of social justice *except gender*! He absolutely refuses to acknowledge that sexism exists, it is his mile-wide blind spot and like, that's the joke! Kankri is a "male feminist", quote-unquote. Like, he doesn't acknowledge that gendered discrimination exists! [laughs]

Cro: Yeah, it's like — Kankri is definitely — like I can definitely see why people would find him to be one of those offensive stereotypes when it comes to social justice blogging, but when people — I actually have talked about this before — when people bring up the fact that, oh Kankri is this bad idea of what social justice is supposed to represent, it's like no, it's very clear that he is supposed to be representing those who ironically don't do it justice. And when you particularly try and look at the idea of him representing it and it being the only idea of, y'know, talks about equality and wokeness and all that, you might be one of those people who are very clearly ignoring Porrim, who is definitely his foil and is supposed to be one of the trolls who talk about this kind of stuff and has a clear idea of how to go about things 'cause she's more of the — she's one of the more mature Beforan trolls. And she constantly butts heads with Kankri because he has his particular ideal of how to go about things and she has her own, which I actually see is quite common when it comes to these particular groups of people. So when people say, oh Kankri is an offensive caricature of social justice, he in my opinion isn't really because I have definitely ran into a few Kankri's on my timeline on Tumblr —

Kate: Yeah!

Cro: And to say that he is the only social justice interpretation is blatantly ignoring Porrim.

Kate: Yeah it is, it's blatantly ignoring Porrim and y'know what, it's also blatantly ignoring like, the fact that one of the characters who's probably — you know what, probably the most popular character in this story, like, Dave Strider — is by the end of the story deeply concerned with issues of like, social marginalization and [laughs] the construction of gender and sexuality! Like, to put it bluntly, like Dave gets woke!!

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: Like, Kankri is not actually woke! Kankri doesn't actually understand, he surrounds himself, he clothes himself in the vocabulary of social justice while constantly talking over the marginalized! He constantly corrects them!

Cro: He really does! Like he literally — I think it's said within the text that, well for example Rufioh doesn't say the word mutant because he knows that Kankri doesn't like it, despite the fact that they are both in a way mutants.

Kate: Mhmm! [laughs]

Cro: So it's like basically trying to censor somebody from reclaiming a word, of sorts.

Kate: Yeah. Yeah, Kankri fucking sucks. I love him.

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: [laughs] Like —

Cro: It's like, he's cute but that's the thing, like he's so cute and he talks so much that no one actually wants to pay attention to what he's talking to, which —

Kate: Which is fine because what he's talking about is mostly valueless.

Cro: Yeah it's like no one pays attention to it but at the same time if you don't pay attention to it you are definitely going to miss the fact that he is basically a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Kate: Yeah — he also, to be fair, to be fair about what's buried in his rambling, is — although you get a warped perception from him — he is — he does give us some of our best insight into what life on Beforus before the game was like, which sorta gets us into the topic of how Beforus was different. And as like — as with — and y'know with Feferi as the Empress, how is the planet different and what is the different meaning of culling. Like, what is the alternate world where Feferi is the all-empowered dictator look like. And as it turns out it's a special, benevolent kind of hell [laughs]

Cro: [laughs] Yeah! Yeah, like —

Kate: It's —

Cro: Feferi's idea of culling just — it was kind of foreshadowed way back with — like if you look into Book 4 it's said in the author's notes that with the way she treats her cuttlefish and her little sea ponies that she has that that's kind of her idea of what she wants to change, the ideal of culling on Alternia. And it's reflected within Beforus and it's not a good thing.

Kate: No, it's not. It's fundamentally — it's — it is, and Homestuck is a work that has a really complicated relationship with ableism, and I wouldn't say that Homestuck's treatment of disability issues is 'good', as we'll get to later in this very same episode —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: But I think that that element is the best one — is the, sort of, work's best take on it, which is like, how this sort of condescending like, coddling mindset erases the actual ability of disabled people to be self-sufficient. Like —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: It's — like, that part is a good critique.

Cro: Mhmm. Yeah it's like we don't get a lot of stuff about Beforus but when you just parallel particular elements that are shown on Alternia, like the Feferi thing, you definitely get a sense of what it possibly could have been or what it definitely was.

Kate: Mhmm. And that's enough about Kankri now, I'm tired of him.

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: [laughs]

Cro: Same, let's get to some better characters!

Kate: Yeah, let's talk about Latula.

Cro: I love Latula!

Kate: [laughs] So tell me about her, and then I'll — and then I'll read Andrew's — the Andrew character, not Andrew.

Cro: Alright, well she's a rad girl, she knows how to skateboard, she has a mean high-five and that's all people think her character's about.

Kate: Hussie: "Latula is the game girl to Mituna's game bro. Game bros and game girls aren't really types of people so much as they are hollow cliches which are patronizing to multiple groups of people on multiple levels. So in other words, perfect attributes for some 1.5 dimensional NPC-caliber characters stocking a fun JRPG-style walkaround game. Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, Latula. Latula's so rad but she can't smell. I think I agree with Karkat, that's not a disability, that's just like having a cold all the time but without any actual symptoms or problems. Who cares? Latula likes to high-five people all the time but doesn't like to be left hanging. That's a pun, because Redglare liked to hang people with nooses. Mindfang ultimately left Redglare hanging that way too. I'm explaining jokes here. What? I told you their stories would suck. You get what you pay for."

Cro: I hate the fact that I really like that joke! [laughs]

Kate: Oh yeah! I — basically all of these jokes are just like, I hate that this is funny to me.

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: It's a critique of myself for enjoying reading that garbage. [laughs]

Cro: Oh absolutely.

Kate: [laughs] I will say, I will say, I do wanna actually acknowledge — I want to actually acknowledge one specific thing, which is that the lack of a sense of smell is actually something that does negatively impact your quality of life in like, a huge number of ways.

Cro: Yeah!

Kate: So that is actually super invalidating and another ableist element of this wonderful disaster of characters.

Cro: It's an ableist element and also another element that can kind of encourage you to not take this self-insert of Hussie serious 100 percent.

Kate: Yeah, and you shouldn't!

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: The self-insert character — people treat the voice of the self-insert character like the voice of God, but this —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: The little author guy is just another limited character with a limited perspective in this work.

Cro: Exactly.

Kate: And is clearly not omnipotent, or omniscient, or all-knowledgeable, because he gets fucking *shot*. Like he *dies* and then lives a pathetic afterlife. Like — there's — this guy, that's not the voice of God. The voice of God is in author notes. [laughs]

Cro: Yeah he's not the voice of God, he got got by God.

Kate: Yeah exactly. But yeah, Lord English is in charge of this fucking story, actually. [laughs]

Cro: Exactly.

Kate: And Latula — there's that element of like, Terezi is searching for katabasis, like going to the Underworld to find something.

Cro: Yep.

Kate: And what she's trying to find is a way to fill the void and emptiness inside her, and what she instead finds is jealousy of this character who also doesn't actually have a lot going on.

Cro: Yeah. It's — I think it's very interesting that, for example with the comparisons of their — of the dancestors and descendants and all that — Latula and Terezi both deal with insecurity. And I feel like especially with Latula's and how people how people interpret her character, that is very much an element that is overlooked and you can definitely find that when she's talking to Porrim.

Kate: Yeah, it's a — y'know, there's an — there is an element of just, compensation to Latula and everything about her.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: And I think what this story tells us is that, like, that self-doubt and that sort of inability to fully reckon with oneself is a fundamentally like, Mind-coded trait, to get all Aspect-y.

Cro: Yeah. Yeah, and with her insecurities I find it funny, because it's like — she — they are definitely there, and I always wondered where the source of those insecurities could be, and one of the ideas of course was particularly with her disability of being unable to smell, but then I wonder why would that possib— well, why, like when dead especially, would it come up as such of a problem for her to focus on. And then, y'know you kinda —

Kate: It's 'cause she trusts Kankri!

Cro: Yeah! It's like it wraps back to Kankri. And I got this with him and Latula, I got this with him and one of the other characters we'll talk about later, where he kind of inables insecurities for people to like, build up on and kind of hide behind a mask that they'll probably not be able to develop from while being stuck in this purgatory.

Kate: Yeah, exactly. Like, Kankri is actively harmful, and I think it's also a sort of a deconstruction or commentary on the suffocating relationship between Karkat and Terezi in the early comic.

Cro: Yeah. Yeah it's like — like some of the relationships between these characters are definitely like, possible callbacks to some of the relationships, either between certain ancestors or beta trolls, but at the same time I always read their relationship as definitely not just a kind of like, callback to the interactions that Terezi and Karkat have had, but more so a blatant like, dissection of what the problems were within their current friendship.

Kate: Yeah. And — and that is actually sort of like a touching scene for Karkat, is — like, y'know, being repulsed by Kankri and being repulsed by the fact that like, Latula — like Karkat sees through Latula's emptiness and is the one to like, tell Terezi like, "no" — like, "you shouldn't be jealous of this fucker!" [laughs]

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: And it's — it's some of the best — it's some of the actually good friendleader advice he gives. Karkat's a friend leader and Kankri is a friend destroyer. [laughs]

Cro: Exactly! It's funny because Karkat has a reaction to seeing how Kankri basically talks to Porrim and when you think about that I always wonder what is the — what could have possibly happened if, for example, instead of seeing that Karkat had seen how he y'know, talked to Latula and all that, would he have some kind of self-reflection?

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: Y'know, stuff that we'll probably never get a fuckin' answer to but y'know.

Kate: You never know. Maybe the — whatever's coming next will just all be about Latula [laughs]

Cro: Yeah. I personally am excited for whenever Openbound gets into book translations with the author's notes and I'm also equally terrified.

Kate: Oh yeah, I'm sure — yeah, it'll be — I've been quite enjoying the author notes, I think. Y'know, since before this the first — the last extended commentary we had were these, y'know, unreliable author quotes, or like, the extremely dated like, eight-year-old at this point CuriousCat answers.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: Which there are a number of them that, y'know, just aren't cool! [laughs]

Cro: Yeah, lots of like, the Formsprings and all that, like I've looked into some of that stuff and some of it — some of it could still hold up and some of it most definitely does not.

Kate: Yeah, I mean y'know. "Lesbianism is a kink" — no, that got retconned hardcore!

Cro: [groan of disgust]

Kate: [laughs]

Cro: Yeah! [laughs] We can just shut that in the vault.

Kate: Yeah! Yeah we can just shut that one in the vault, and also like — okay, yeah we're just — let's move on about that.

Cro: Yeah!

Kate: Alright. Porrim!! [laughs]

Cro: I love Porrim. [laughs]

Kate: Alright. Hussie: "Porrim is better at social justice than Kankri because she isn't a boring asshole. Some social justice people should try looking into that. Porrim wants there to be equality for ladies. Not everybody cares about that though, which makes it hard for people like Porrim. That's the way it is in the real world. Challenges. But in any case, she's a vampire with cool tattoos. End of story."

Cro: God.

Kate: And Pesty asks on Discord: "what are your thoughts on Porrim — where she stands on the hemospectrum and her initial mistrust of her duties, along with her concerns about gender equality in Beforan society and how they are, say, more reasonable and honest compared to other views we've seen in the comic and by other dancestors?"

Cro: Boy. Well first I just to emphasize in bold one more time: I love Porrim.

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: And with those notes — I don't know, maybe it's just me, but with the fact that the majority of [audio cutting out intermittently] like, Hussie's self insert — it kind of writes off these characters as being one-note. The thing I find particularly interesting about Porrim's part is that he kind of provides this more in-depth with her characterization than some of the others and then ends it off with "oh yeah she's just a vampire with tattoos. Next question."

Kate: [laughs] Uh-huh.

Cro: It's like it's almost trying to purposely tell us: hey, don't take me too seriously.

Kate: Yeah — all of these notes are like that, and —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: All of the Openbound sort of feels like a like, "don't take this too seriously" while also telling you very important things. And like —

Cro: Exactly.

Kate: Like, what Porrim has to say about both Beforus and Alternia is — is the like, most direct commentary we get, and confirmation that yes, there are — like, hey stupid, like there are gendered stereotypes —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: Among trolls, there is gendered discrimination among trolls, like you can't just pretend that that doesn't exist because, as it turns out, that would make you Kankri [laughs]

Cro: Yeah, exactly! [laughs]

Kate: Don't be Kan— the moral of the story is: don't be Kankri, be Porrim!

Cro: Don't be Kankri, be Porrim.

Kate: [laughs]

Cro: It's like — it's so interesting because like, outside of the fact that we just said that when people ignore like, Porrim, in favor of Kankri, they're doing like a disservice to her — people who also, even if they aren't involving Kankri, ignore Porrim's points just as a whole — 'cause she literally says in canon that people will just devalue her points because "matriarchy", but it's like there are a lot more problems within their world that people just gloss over. Like she mentions — I think she mentions the fact that the purple-blooded castes are more male-centric or primarily male, and then of course you have the jades that are primarily female within different identities and stuff — and the fact that those who are purple do more of the ruling of the system and stuff that affect the lower classes. And a lot of people will write her off because, since they have an empress, that it's just something that doesn't become a bother that she should like, flanderize according to Kankri.

Kate: That's the — that's the moderate liberal of like, "we need more women prison guards!" [laughs]

Cro: Yeah! And it's like — it's like she even elaborates on it with like — she like — she mentions the fact that even then — even though they have an empress, that empress is also being like, pulled at the strings by, y'know, a man. And also the fact that you have to take in the fact — the jades, and she is a jade, they — just because they are in the middle of the spectrum does not mean that they are like — they don't suffer from the system. Everyone in these different ways suffers from the system and jades in my opinion are some of the ones that suffer the most, especially with this chastity belt that they have to wrestle with.

Kate: Mhmm, yeah and that got expanded upon in Friendsim really elegantly and heartbreakingly.

Cro: Yeah. It's like — I think that maybe, like this is just my little mini theorizing, but maybe that's, for example, one of the reasons why Kankri doesn't take her seriously. Because y'know, outside of wanting to be right, it is the fact that if she is higher on the spectrum then what more does she have to argue over someone for.

Kate: Right, and Kankri just fundamentally doesn't understand intersectionality as a concept. He understands —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: The vocabulary of it without understanding the importance of it.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: I love that every — so far every single point about every single troll has just been roasting Kankri again and I think that's —

Cro: Exactly!

Kate: That's gonna keep going for a while! [laughs]

Cro: Yeah, 'cause Kankri — Kankri is like the essay says, the silent shepherd, but at the same time he really likes playing Oppression Olympics and it's like, there doesn't need to be a competition!

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: But yeah anyways, Porrim good.

Kate: Yeah, alright. Alright. Alright. Alright.

Cro: [sighs]

Kate: Hussie: —

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: "Cronus is the worst character in Homestuck by a nautical mile."

Cro: [deeper sigh]

Kate: "Any questions?"

Cro: Here we go.

Kate: And banavalope on Twitter providing an alternate take: "shoves every other question behind me — why is Cronus the best one?" Cronus is a piece of shit.

[silence]

Cro: Oh boy.

Kate: [laughs]

Cro: I'm not ready for this.

Kate: Cronus is a piece of shit and I think that makes him a delightful character. You add Cronus and Kankri together and you get Zebruh, who I think was the best-written character by four — he was written by four different authors and was consistent and funny the entire time. Cronus is a — is a very real dude.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: And he's — he's intentionally written to be bad. He is intentionally written to be unsympathetic, and I personally think the fact that — I personally think it is great to enjoy the quality of that writing and like, the sort of — his sort of pathetic nature, and understand what's wrong with him.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: But stretching to try and see him as a sympathetic character, stretching to try to see him as a tragic character misses the point entirely, and I think it's counterproductive.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: And that's my Cronus take.

Cro: Uh-huh. [speaking in an affected 'um actually' dude voice] Um, I actually think Cronus is misunderstood, jk.

Kate: [laughs]

Cro: It's like, it's funny because — y'know it's just interesting 'cause obviously I have to provide my own takes, like —

Kate: Yeah, that's why you're here.

Cro: Cronus is — yeah, Cronus is literally the reason that I have my nickname. Through like, you know, history. But it's like, it's interesting because I definitely agree with your points. Cronus is not a nice guy. Like he is a nice guy but he is not a nice guy.

Kate: He is a "nice guy", quote-unquote. [laughs]

Cro: Yeah! But it's like, it's funny because there is a kind of way that I can like, talk about his character. He definitely is flat but there are particular elements about his character that I feel people have been able to latch onto that aren't just from his nasty traits as much as it is maybe stuff that is not just that, and people can elaborate on within, for example, fandom works and stuff. Like with the whole stuff, like we have Hussie who provides like these kinda shallow interpretations of these characters, and then we have Aranea who gives a lot of bulk, even if it still is lacking in terms of what perspective she was able to get.

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: Yeah, with Cronus particularly I know that a lot of people like to find interest within his whole wizard shtick.

Kate: Yeah [laughs]

Cro: Yeah, it's like — it definitely — like, as much as some of us could wish, like those who actually like him, it was not going to be anything that was actually a staple within the main story, it literally is —

Kate: Right.

Cro: Just written as a reference and a joke, but it's fun to imagine and that's — that's one of the reasons why I just like the Beforus trolls in general. They're fun to imagine with, I like seeing them as sandbox characters. And Cronus just happens to be the one that I latched onto the most, so y'know —

Kate: Here, here, I'll give — here's my gift to you. I will read what Aranea has to say about Cronus.

Cro: Yaaay~!

Kate: Aranea: "The Bard of Hope may seem a little jaded these days, but he once had a deeply abiding faith in magic and dedicated himself to becoming a great wizard. He became convinced he was hatched to defeat an extraordinarily evil magician, one he swore the angels foretold of. Though when pressed for the name of the man he would not say it, claiming it was too dangerous to even enunciate. Part of his self-aggrandizing mythos was that this magician once somehow from afar tried to strike him down at a young age so he would never have to face him. But the evil spell was deflected, sealing the magician's spirit away in a series of unassuming vessels until he could find some other cunning way to enter our universe. The attack supposedly left him with his distinctive scar, which he was not reluctant to point out when trying to hit on me. Uh, I mean, he wasn't reluctant to mention in casual conversation. But at some point he became disillusioned with magic. If there ever was any truth to his far-fetched vision, the legacy of defeating the evil magician would have to be passed on to his descendant. Or if his descendant proved to be as much of a failure as he did, then perhaps on to some other Hero of Hope. [...] I'm unsure why he suffered this crisis of faith, aside from the obvious reasons having to do with an overall lack of character or any other redeeming qualities. Perhaps someone talked him out of his beliefs. Maybe a friend close to him, or if one is to believe his fantasy held any water, perhaps someone who was in league with the evil magician. Whatever the case, it was probably for the best, since pretty much everyone who had half a think pan thought it was all a bunch of ridiculous nonsense."

Cro: Mhmm — like —

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: It's funny because — it's funny because just — Cronus just stands — funny enough stands out to me as one of the dancestors that have a lot of bulk for theorizing and stuff like that, like you get mentions of like stuff in relation to the Hope aspect, you have that — depending on if you can catch the subtleties or not, that reference to what is probably Kurloz, and so on and so forth.

Kate: Yeah, I think that's a dual pointed reference to Kankri and Kurloz. 'Cause Kankri — we see Kankri talking to Cronus and just like, encouraging Cronus to just sort of decide he's oppressed.

Cro: Yeah [laughs]

Kate: Like, again, this is another *fucking* character Kankri makes worse!

Cro: God! This isn't the Beforus episode, it's the Kankri episode.

Kate: This is the episode where we fucking *roast* Kankri. Get his ass!

Cro: Yeah. [laughs] It's like — I definitely — like I used to think, oh it could have been Kankri, but then I was like, oh wait it definitely is Kurloz. But in a way it could be both and I — for like, not for the pun, but I could definitely see Kankri as being a partial red-herring.

Kate: Hussie: "Tell me about Mituna Captor." [laughs] Sorry! "Megaman Sollux has some problems."

Cro: [laughs] God.

Kate: "He falls down and stuff and talks on a 4chan background, because of 4chan. But in spite of that he's brave and does his best and everyone loves him. Also no-one can read a damn thing he says. His quirk is the least legible of all quirks, with Damara's coming in at a close second."

Cro: [sighs] Oh, yeah, I definitely had issues trying to read his quirk the first few times.

Kate: Yeah. Mituna is — Mituna, he — you know what, it's true, this is one of the more positive descriptions available in that it's entirely positive. He's brave and does his best and everyone loves him, and he sacrificed a lot for his friends.

Cro: Yeah. I just wanna know what that sacrifice was though!

Kate: Yeah, I know right, we're just never gonna know probably.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: There's a lot that's —

Cro: I mean — Mm?

Kate: There's a lot that's left to read between the lines with the dancestors.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: And I feel like that's on purpose because it sort of — it like, gives the fans a latching-on point to take their own interpretations. Is Mituna a good character? I — I don't know.

Cro: [laughs] He's a good character in concept. Yeah — because like — like I said, like with the whole thing with Cronus, it's the backstory that steals the show for me in terms of this character, and the ideas that you could form from that. In terms of how he stands by himself it's debatable and I feel that it is also debatable depending on the person you talk to. But he definitely is a character that exists.

Kate: [laughs] That's — he definitely is a character that exists, let's just admit that.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: And let's just also — I'm just gonna lay it down again, this segment has some of Homestuck's worst treatment of disability issues and I wouldn't say that Mituna is a particularly good one either, but also —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: I don't think the fact that other characters are cruel to Mituna means that the work is saying that that's okay.

Cro: Oh yeah, no. Yeah it's definitely not.

Kate: Much in the same way that I don't think the fact that characters — many many characters are mocking and cruel to Tavros does not mean that the work is saying that that's okay.

Cro: Oh yeah, absolutely not, it's like — and it's funny too because it's like these characters are cruel to Mituna occasionally and of course that shows ableistic like behavior and all that. I find one of the most interesting things however, and this has to do more with fanon interpretation [sighs] how do I describe this. Especially when you don't read Openbound I notice that a lot of fan works will definitely fall into that familiar pit trap of ableism, 'cause there have been one too many times in which I've seen fandom works with Mituna in which he's just treated like he can't stand on his two feet and it's incredible uncomfortable.

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: It's like, if you actually read Openbound, yeah he has particular issues but he still knows how to do particular things. He does know how to function as much as any other troll within the dream bubbles and he's not — like, essentially fandom needs to not treat Mituna like probably the actual Beforus culling system would.

Kate: Yeah exactly! [laughs] Ugh.

Cro: [sighs] As for the whole Megaman Sollux — that's an interesting take.

Kate: Yeah, I mean I think that's just a funny way to sum him up.

Cro: Oh yeah, with that helmet.

Kate: Yeah! Moving on. Kurloz Makara.

Cro: [exhales loudly]

Kate: Hussie: "He chewed off his tongue and sewed his mouth shut because he's a weirdo in cahoots with Gamzee and English. Who even knows what they're up to. It's probably just a lot of stupid bullshit. Meaningless clownish nonsense. Wanna know why they're assembling the wicked ensemble? They probably just think it's funny. Kurloz speaks in bones when he does his clown hypnosis shit but otherwise he mimes everything because, get this, he's pretty much literally a mime. Also a juggalo, because that's exactly what Homestuck needed. Another fucking juggalo. Homestuck needed another juggalo like it needed, well, another twelve trolls I guess."

Cro: [laughs] Oh, god.

Kate: And this one just speaks to me about the fundamental Rage coding. Like the thing about Rage is it tries to get you to not care. And like, the author — the limited author character dismissing the point of clownishness here, like — the fact that these things are clown-y is — is like, designed to make you ignore the fact that they are actually — actually the nefarious villains of the story.

Cro: Yeah. Kurloz frustrates me —

Kate: It's like the court jester. The wise fool!

Cro: Yeah, Kurloz frustrates me.

Kate: Okay.

Cro: Like, it's — because it's like I actually really like him but it's like he's one of those things where you almost wonder, what would have happened if some of these dancestors outside of Aranea and Meenah played a more important part, because I feel like if you don't count Aranea and Meenah, Kurloz is probably the — maybe the third most important dancestor because of what he does behind the works.

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: But I kinda just wish we saw more of that, 'cause outside of Openbound the last time that Kurloz has any relevance is when he picks up Vriska's coat. He has a very interesting relationship with Meulin.

Kate: Yeah, it's true. It seems sweet at first and then it turns very sinister.

Cro: Yeah, I — I actually —

Kate: Which I guess is also foreshadowing to the way that Gamzee's relationships go. [laughs]

Cro: Oh yeah. Yeah, like innocent purpleblood and then not innocent like, behind the scenes. And one of the things that's interesting is with — just with like — [noise of disgust] with all these Beforan trolls you just notice that they have — the personality that they show when you're talking to them as Meenah and then some stuff that just goes on behind the scenes when they aren't talking to Meenah, and I don't know whether that's just purposely to show that they have more underneath the layers or maybe even if it's like an in-universe thing when it comes to Meenah not being there for a long time and so they don't really have much of a reason to show true face around her versus those that they've actually been talking to for aeons alongside in death.

Kate: We talked about Kurloz a bit on the clown episode so if you want more about that go listen to that one. We talk about — I listened to an entire Insane Clown Posse album for that episode so more people should listen to it, just to make my sacrifice worth it.

Cro: Definitely.

Kate: I joke, that's mean actually — they're perfectly decent comedy rap.

Cro: [laughs] Agreed.

Kate: Alright. Eromancery — speaking of the clown episode — Eromancery asked on Discord: "how the fuck does Kurloz's hair Do That?" And that's the power of belief!

Cro: Yeah. Like, well, then you'd have to ask how does Gamzee's hair do that. My best crack theory — they're always just dripping with chucklevoodoos, that they give off the illusion that their hair just do that.

Kate: [laughs] Alright. Meulin.

Cro: [sighs] I love Meulin, I'm just gonna say I love every dancestor but I love Meulin.

Kate: Alright, let's see here. "Meulin is the deaf Nepeta in this kickass smorgasbord of disabled characters. She speaks in ASL to say memes, which are called "mimes" because it's one letter away and therefore a play on words. But you can't actually use ASL to say animated Tumblr GIFs, you can only say words. She otherwise reads lips, which is funny because her BFF sewed his damn mouth shut so they just sign memes to each other all day while stoned. It is implied that they smoke catnip together as if it were marijuana, which is an especially amusing notion to people who like drugs. Moving on."

Cro: God.

Kate: It is canon!

Cro: There's like a lot of — there's like a lot of drug use in this group, at least like two of them, not counting Cronus 'cause he's a fake.

Kate: They're fuckin' nineteen-year-olds trapped in eternal purgatory, obviously you're gonna get high.

Cro: True.

Kate: [laughs] And I also like that the author notes on the recent book say that Nepeta also gets high [laughs]

Cro: God damn it.

Kate: Nepeta is also a stoner, which is great.

Cro: I must be missing some stuff, some good stuff.

Kate: Yeah! [laughs] I don't know, Meulin's — Meulin's cute, she's being manipulated by a clown, it happens to the best of us.

Cro: She's cute, she talks aloud, she ships her friends with each other and writes fanfiction, that's interesting.

Kate: Yeah. She's nice.

Cro: Yeah. But — yeah, I like her. I feel terrible for her relationship with Kurloz in regards to what's happening in the current — within their purgatory. Just — something's going on there and she doesn't know it.

Kate: Yeah. That sucks.

Cro: Ugh.

Kate: Other than that she doesn't really do much, which is I guess maybe a commentary on the fact that Nepeta also doesn't do much.

Cro: Yeah. It's like now I just am wondering like — how do you sign a meme? How do you sign a GIF? I wanna know that logic.

Kate: That's — she's just that advanced. Alright let's move the fuck on from Meulin.

Cro: [laughs] Oh Rufioh.

Kate: Oh no, oh no, oh no! It's Rufioh!

Cro: [sighs] Oh boy. [laughs]

Kate: "With apologies to —" Hussie: "With apologies to Dante Basco. Dante I'm sorry about this, all of this. I'm so so sorry. You were leading the regular modest life of a Hollywood superstar and then this shit happened. Everything is broken forever. I liked your work in The Last Airbender. You know what's funny is how there are probably some people who are reading this right now who have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about, but you know what? What the FUCK else is even new. Anyway, bangarang dude." Alright, so that wasn't even about Rufioh, so lemme talk —

Cro: Yeah! [laughs]

Kate: So lemme talk — so as with the other description that sucked, I'm just gonna read what Aranea had to say instead.

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: "The Rogue of Breath was always a very popular member of our group. Probably the most popular, I'd say. Sort of the anti-me in that respect. Ever the recipient of romantic solicitations whichever way he turned. Sort of the anti-Cronus in that respect. (Ah yeah sick Ampora burn outta nowhere, high five!) Indeed. His mutation made him an outcast though. To avoid the unwanted attention his wings would bring him, he took refuge in the forest among those who welcomed his differences and learned their ways. The Lost Weeaboos were guild of youthful tree-dwelling troll otakus with a zeal for fisticuffs, flight and various forms of exotic eastern theater. Bane to the enemies of hi jinks, scourge to the seafaring classes who — " and then Meenah just starts saying "Not listening" — there's a whole buncha shit. Yeah, and then it's stupid. Alright. I mean — is Rufioh interesting?

Cro: I mean — well I mean I do enjoy the fact that the two characters that we had to pull Aranea's stuff out of because they're so lacklustre are Cronus and anti-Cronus.

Kate: Yeah!

Cro: Rufioh is interesting because — [laughs] dot dot dot. Well I'm actually gonna just kinda correlate this in a way, funnily enough, back to Cronus, because — it's said within Hussie's little self insert that Cronus is the worst character, and obviously take that as you will. But if you had to at least put it in regards to like my personal best-to-worst dancestor, Cronus in the very least would be beat in terms of [audio cuts out] to Rufioh in the end. Because Rufioh has that personality that people, because he's so timid and un— like he doesn't like to approach conflict — people don't necessarily — they don't visually see at first some of the stuff that he actually does behind his — y'know, his facade, which is that first of all he's a cheater and that's never good.

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: And essentially he cheated on Damara and he — even to the afterlife — doesn't know what her quote-unquote "problem" is. And it was so bad to the point where obviously Meenah had used that as fuel against Damara to the point where she snapped. He still doesn't get what happened or why anything could have possibly been his fault while still going out with Horuss. And —

Kate: 'Cause he's a dumbass!! 'Cause he's a Hope player and they're all dumbasses.

Cro: Well he's a Breath player but it's like, it still relates to his Aspect. He steals people's breath away because apparently about all the dancestors had a weird thing for him outside of Meenah —

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: During the session. But it's like — yeah, it's like where it comes with anti-Cronus, like people aren't interested in Cronus, a lot of people were interested in Rufioh, but at the same time Rufioh has just the stuff that's going on with his character when it comes to like, unfaithfulness and — even to the point where in Ministrife he flirts with Aradiabot while Horuss is there! It's just — Rufioh has some stuff to definitely learn, and just the homewrecking trait is not my favorite trait and it's just so overlooked. He treats Damara kinda meh, and doesn't necessarily find any fault with the fact that he cheated on her. And he even acknowledges like, gratitude toward Meenah for standing up to Damara for him, even though Meenah is the one who essentially bullied Damara because of what Rufioh caused. So essentially Rufioh — Rufioh's one of the aspects as to why their session failed, outside of there being a glitch, but you know.

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: Yeah, anyways, that was a little bit of a roasting for Rufioh, he gets a secondary roasting.

Kate: Yeah. Horuss — Hussie just says "This dude is just Equius on horse steroids. The end."

Cro: [snorts]

Kate: So —

Cro: Hmm!

Kate: Also — also Horuss is misspelled in that part! [laughs]

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: Really important character! [laughs]

Cro: Jesus.

Kate: So Aranea says: "The Page of Void was a self-taught master of mechanics, an avid patron of the fine arts, a passionate bodybuilder, archer, ambrosia collector and steamwright. A poet, a scholar, a warrior, a lover, he was all that his caste demanded and more. A true troll renaissance man. His name means 'he who stalks with the musclebeasts'. But all of his proficiencies we hard won, built from the blank slate as his aspect would imply, advancing at the slow pace his class would as well. And in spite of all he worked to make something of himself, he amounted to very little. Responsible for neither great feats of heroism nor acts of villainy, he was just another game piece to be moved about the board. The aspect ruling his life would always conspire to dampen his relevance." And then she goes into Void, which is not really relevant at the moment.

Cro: Yeah. Hmm.

Kate: I don't know, Horuss — I'm not — this is the little muddle of characters I don't give a shit about. Do you give a shit about Horuss? 'Cause I don't.

Cro: [laughs] Yeah it's like — Horuss, I could argue that maybe the Void kinda plays off the fact that all this stuff that he apparently was prior to like, death, is just not really even relevant to what he is now. And frankly what he stands as now is a — he's a guy who smiles despite the fact that he is still very much incredible racist.

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: Like, a lot of people like will maybe interpret him where he's like — he's actually very polite and all that but if you actually like — it's actually a thing I've noticed with like, different Homestuck characters, like if you like, change Karkat's quirk to lowercase or if you actually made Mituna's readable — like when it comes to Horuss and what he says within his diction, like if you just made him not smile then I feel that people would be able to read his text a little better for some reason. And in that text you could literally see that he is not actually polite, or — he's not polite in the sense of he doesn't actually — he's still a hemo-ist, like —

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: I think he literally refers to Damara as a peasant at some point —

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: It's so bad. He — like we have some different things with Equius, but I think Horuss definitely is a little worse. Like I know that Equius for example helped Tavros with his legs. Horuss helped Rufioh but he literally put his head on a horse body. He did not need to do that but he definitely did it for his own self-satisfaction.

Kate: Okay, so let's move on to my least favourite character in Homestuck.

Cro: Gasp!

Kate: Damara.

Cro: Here we go!

Kate: So let's — let's read Hussie — so just to mention in the framing device of the author insert conversations, it's Damara that's actually having those — that's actually talking to Andrew here. "You want me to tell you about you? Talk about self-absorbed, but alright. You say stuff in Japanese, and when people who actually speak Japanese read it they probably laugh because the Japanese is so shitty. Sorry to burst your bubble Damara, but the things you say started out in English, went through the Google translator and then out again so that it vaguely makes sense when translated back to English. So you aren't really authentic troll Japanese, you're fake troll Japanese. Woah, don't kill the messenger, relax. Everyone thinks you're great and in fact there's probably someone out there right now drawing some weird porn of you."

Cro: Oh boy. Oh god.

Kate: I fucking hate Damara, I think Damara's the worst part of Homestuck. I think Damara's writing is inexcusably lazy. Any attempt at lampooning a racist stereotype is lost in that laziness and —

Cro: Yeah.

Kate: Like, just frankly, like Damara is an interesting character that is wasted on being a caricature, a racist stereotype and an insult to Japanese people.

Cro: Yeah, it's — she just falls into one of those categories for me again, where it's like, for what information is provided about her character, like when it comes to what Aranea spouts, and some different things you may be able to find in the walkaround, I like her in particular concepts and theories and what-if scenarios, but when it comes to what her actual character and what is presented and how the narrative is formed around her in terms of the joke portion, it's just not good at all. Like she could have been written way better. Like she's interesting in terms of her backstory, but her backstory [audio cuts out] and the most that you're gonna get out of her character is this racist caricature. It's like, what's the point, it's like why not just make something better out of her.

Kate: Yeah, absolutely.

Cro: Yeah. Yeah. If anything it also serves an insult to the Handmaid as well, because —

Kate: It does, it serves an insult to probably the most interesting ancestor.

Cro: Yeah. I mean if anything if you wanna take it as like, a way to self-satisfy, you can ignore Damara and focus on Handmaid herself who is referred to as Damara in the text.

Kate: Yeah. I don't know man, fuckin' — Damara sucks, I don't like her, she's the worst thing in Homestuck. Next question.

Cro: So she's the worst character in Homestuck.

Kate: Yes.

Cro: Cronus isn't.

Kate: Yes, to me — yes. I think that Cronus is a good character, I think that if you sympathize with Cronus for like the wrong reasons then you're not being productive, but I think he's a good character who's well-written. I think that Damara is unforgivably poorly written.

Cro: Alright, well we're just gonna put that in the yearbook.

Kate: Yeah [laughs] Let's see. Aranea. Hussie: "Aranea is a blabbermouth, just like Mindfang. She says long things, both as a teen and as a sexy pirate adult, that make people ask 'what am I even reading?' It's about time I took over this exposition stand. The way I describe shit is a million times better. She sure charged me enough for it. God I took a bath on this thing. Why was it so expensive, it's made of fucking cardboard!"

Cro: [laughs]

Kate: So Aranea's great, I kinda wanna do a whole — we're — oh my god we're at an hour now!

Cro: Oh we are, fuck!

Kate: Dude I kind of wanna — like, Aranea and Meenah, it's like we saved them for last because they're the actually interesting characters. Maybe this episode should just be about the other ten?

Cro: God, I mean yeah I didn't even know — like it's so funny that we have so much to talk about with these minuscule characters.

Kate: Yeah.

Cro: God, I mean yeah Aranea probably deserves her own full episode 'cause she's not just in Openbound, she literally causes Game Over. She has a lot of bulk to her.

Kate: Yeah. You know what, how about we bring you back in a couple weeks — I've already got a show for next week — how about you come back in a couple weeks, 'cause I've had a ton of fun with this, and we talk about Meenah and Aranea, and I probably — we probably grab like a second person and we do a three person episode on this one.

Cro: That fuckin' works, I'll do some homework!

Kate: Alright cool. So we'll just skip the questions on Meenah and Aranea. And move to a couple listener questions. calefacientKoine asked on Discord: "to what extent would you say the more minor characters imply deeper backstories (Meulin being mind controlled by Kurloz, Latula's mental health issues, Mituna's vaguely referenced sacrifice, etc.) counteract or even excuse their initial appearance and popular perception as one-note joke characters?"

Kate: You have a lot of thoughts about this.

Cro: Oh boy. Well I definitely do think, for example the essay, the hussnasty essay, it definitely takes a lot of words out of my mouth in regards to the relevancy to the story. And in terms of the fact that they are seen as one-note cardboard cutouts of caricatures but at the same time they have interesting things to them that you almost are like, this isn't important in the main story but these characters have a story of their own that I wish could have been told. Because like, Mituna, Cronus, like Rufioh, Horuss, Porrim, they aren't contributing to the main plot but they have — they had their own plot. And I'm just curious about it, like I feel that just because they aren't relevant to the main story does not mean that they are unimportant to just the world of Homestuck and making the world feel more alive and broadened, versus just fixating on the main characters. Like they're neat — to have a world you need a population.

Kate: Yeah. I would say also that I think that — that Porrim actually does play a role in the main plot, by which I mean she as the essay that we've been discussing implies, is a successful example of katabasis in that Kanaya goes to the Underworld looking for something and she finds it in Porrim.

Cro: Yeah, like Porrim probably the best dancestor, especially with her maturity and how it's the fact that out of all of them, and that includes Meenah, Aranea and by extent Kurloz, she's the one that at least has more of a positive effect on one of the main cast.

Kate: Oharau on Twitter, and we talked about this a little bit: "for characters who aren't directly important to the story, is it valid to like a character solely on their fanon characterization while recognizing their flaws in canon, or should we only accept what is only in canon and disregard what other qualities fanon may give them?" I think we're actually pretty much exactly on the same page about this, especially since the question-asker says "while recognizing their flaws in canon". As long as you're not like "this predatory asshole is an uwu softboy actually" like, then we're fine, yeah.

Cro: Oh yeah. Like the thing is, if you just follow canon that just gets very boring. Like we're meant to infer and take things from the story, and —

Kate: Homestuck is a conversation, it's never been about just following canon.

Cro: Exactly! It's like, personally with Cronus for example like, I like his character I like having fun with things you can build off his character. But it's with the fact that I definitely know that he's an asshole. And when it comes to certain like, fanon interpretations, I absolutely *hate* it when people erase how much of an asshole he is. Like — it just does a disservice to what he's supposed to be, and frankly kinda — it definitely does go on that apologetic tier of trying to excuse things just because you like that particular character.

Kate: Alright, let's see. Lizardbinch asks on Discord: "Which dancestor do you wanna fight the most?"

Cro: [snorts]

Kate: Kankri!

Cro: [laughs] Hmm, maybe Kankri. I wanna say either Horuss or Rufioh, but I would say Rufioh because if Horuss even poked me I would disintegrate into dust.

Kate: Yeah! Yeah! [laughs] And wait — so we get this question so many times per week that I can't even say who asked it 'cause we got it like eight times: "who is best girl?"

Cro: Yeah. [sighs] I like all the girls. I've been kissing Porrim's ass a lot during this but I am still gonna say Porrim again, because it's like I once made a Twitter post about this — like I don't think you can always categorize something as the best without going into these subcategories, but like you have the under-developed, you have the under-appreciated, you have the character who was good against the group versus the main story, you have like, best villain which I would put as Aranea for my reasoning. But it's like, Porrim I think is the best within the subset of dancestor girls, in regards to their particular story not related to main. Because she's just more mature, she's more self-realized, she is aware of the fact that their session failed because of teen drama and she probably has some of the more off — maybe in her off-screen development versus the majority of others, despite being stuck in this purgatory.

Kate: Best girl is Aranea.

Cro: Alright. She comes as the close second.

Kate: [laughs]

Cro: It's like, they're all good, especially Porrim and Aradia, but if I just had to separate them each their own thing she's my best. Aranea's like, one of my best antagonists.

Kate: That's our show! [laughs]

Cro: Oh fuck!

Kate: Yeah!

Cro: We went on for a bit!

Kate: Yeah we did! So the songs this week are from President-for-Life of the Perfectly Generic music team, goomy's new EP "Flowerverse", which you can find at smoothiefruitee.bandcamp.com. You can find a link in the description and on the website. The entry music was "floating through the heir", a remix of "Doctor". The outro music is "garden". We're going to have a live show, Sunday March 24th at 6pm at the Guildhall Bar in Burbank, California. You can RSVP at perfectlygenericpodcast.com/live. The guests at this show are gonna be myself, Heather, Austin, Paige, Aysha, optimisticDuelist, James, Pip and Dia. It is going to be a — it is going to be quite the bash, and the theme of the episode is going to be what Homestuck has personally meant to all of us. And then in part two will be a discussion about Vast Error. You can find the show at perfectlygenericpodcast.com, on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, on Overcast, and wherever you find podcasts. Please leave the show a review on these platforms, it helps us reach a broader audience. And you can find the show also at twitter.com/pgenpod. Let's see. You can find me at twitter.com/gamblignant8, that's my Homestuck account, or twitter.com/KateMitchellOW which is my main account where I talk about my job in Overwatch League. Let's see. Where can folks find you, Cro?

Cro: Well, since my previous Twitter got nerfed, you guys can find me at @yoitscro on Twitter. You can also find me on @cullj0y on Tumblr. The alternative Twitter that I also have is the hsartkind server, which is essentially meant for a Discord that is supposed to be a general hub for Homestuck artists of all kinds, whether you be a illustrator, writer, voice actor, musician etc. And I guess another plug, because of the relevancy: check out the Beforus fanzine, because we did that last year and we worked really hard on it and that's just a little treat for anyone else who happens to like these Beforan trolls.

Kate: Alright. Well next week Pip and I talk Jake English and the question: what is the story of a Page? See ya next week everybody, thanks for coming on Cro.

Cro: Thanks.

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