Xtine returns to the podcast for the long-awaited Vriska episode. Topics include luck, societal conditioning, depression, Tavros (oh no), Vriska’s alternate self as an expression of self-loathing, John and Vriska as foils, and Vriska and Terezi’s love story.
- optimisticDuelist’s “Lilith in Starlight: Light as a romantic motif in Homestuck”
- Mirror of “Vrisky Business” by Andrew Hussie and Mallory Dyer
Listen to this episode at https://perfectlygenericpodcast.com/updates/episodes/8
Kate: The Perfectly Generic podcast contains spoilers, occasional adult language and Vriska. You’ve been warned.
Kate: Welcome to the Perfectly Generic Podcast.
Xtine: What the fuck is up, every-pony?
Kate: I’m your host-
Xtine: What the fuck is up- Oh sorry [Crosstalk]
Kate: [Laughs] I literally hate you so much
Kate: Hey, everybody, as you can already tell, it’s an Xtine episode, which means it’s gonna be a giant clusterfuck and basically a huge disaster.
Kate: This is the Perfectly Generic Podcast. I’m your host, Kate Mitchell. Our guest today who is only supposed to start speaking now is Xtine @ GAlNAX. How’re you doing?
Xtine: I’m like okay. Apparently, I was like, a little bit late but in my opinion, I was decently on time. But swag-ever, I guess… [Laughs]
Kate: Alright, [Laughs] Yeah let’s just stretch up our sorta private, interpersonal laundry about you being late.
Xtine: What was that? I- Well ok, it’s whatever.
Kate: [Laughs] I wasn’t gonna call you out in front of the people.
Xtine: Oh! I like to call myself out. That’s like…my thing- Is that I will lay out all my big laundry on the clothes line for everyone to see.
Kate: Alright, shut up. Let’s talk about Vriska.
Kate: Actually, well, first off I usually talk about this week in Homestuck but I don’t really think anything happened.
Xtine: Um…Yeah I mean I read homestuck.
Kate:… [Laughs] Congrats?
Xtine: [Laughs] Thank you! I worked very hard.
Kate: Uh-huh. Alright so this is episode 8. This is the one that people have been waiting for and that I’ve actually been dreading.
Kate: I’ve actually been, like, nervous about this all week. Because you say “Vriska” and people would get into this super Fight or Flight response mode, right? Like, they get their hackles up and they’re like ready to rumble.
Xtine: They are. Yeah I feel like it was actually- a recent plane of conversation on Homestuck twitter. Shoutout to Zich ‘sburbd’ for bringing that up, Being like: “I’m not gonna start Vriskcourse-“ and then [Laughs] starts vriskcourse, which I think is extremely funny.
Kate: I’m just letting you die there, you just called out Zich. You just called out the most powerful person on Homestuck twitter.
Xtine: I mean I also tweeted it so… and he can see it at any time, so I was just reiterating a tweet I already said but- Just so that he can definitely hear it- So Zich, this is me calling you out. Well… not really calling you out but, just my commentary. [Laughs]
Kate: Alright, I want the both of you to come on at the same time and fight now.
Xtine: Oh good!
Kate: So last week we did talk a little bit about Vriska in the episode with James. And James had some opinions about Vriska.
Kate: And you have- I think you might have had some issues with James’s opinions on Vriska.
Xtine: Ugh… Let’s see. I’m trying to remember… Like the only thing that’s coming to mind is that he called [Laughs] Vriska a sociopath.
Kate: It happened!
Xtine: [Laughs] Yeah!
Kate: That happened on my show and I didn’t challenge it.
Xtine: Well, I mean- I don’t agree… but- I mean that also stems from the fact that I don’t really think it’s a great thing to call anyone a sociopath. Because I feel like it’s not a very great term anyways.
But also I do agree with James’s reasoning for hating Vriska, which is that Aradia is his favourite character. Which is same; Aradia is my favourite character too.
I mean- Yeah! Aradia and Vriska are both my favourite characters. So I understand where he’s coming from but at the same time I’m like ‘hmmmm…’, y’know?
Kate: Fair. Also last week something that we talked about was: “What are the components of a Vriska?” Vriska is like such an important shorthand for talking about characters from other media.
Kate: For example from Night in the Woods fans I was talking about Bea, the main character of that game was one of the best executed Vriskas I have seen in other media. What for you makes a Vriska?
Xtine: Alright, so… I actually tweeted about this and I’m just gonna read off of the list I wrote on twitter because I think it still stands.
To me, the component of a Vriska is [Laughs] first of all: Oppresses the beta male specifically, the color red, has mom issues, alienates other people because of shitty attitude, has at least one violent breakdown on screen, is a big plot mover or is otherwise a very powerful action girl I guess… grey morality, which is kind of optional, because there are some- I feel like- Vriska-adjacent characters who are one way or the other.
So when I made this list I actually made it specifically so that it could apply to these three characters in my mind who all are kind of the same character…?
So basically I think that Vriska, obviously, Asuka Langley Sohryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Azula from Avatar the last Airbender are all very similar characters. And all three of them encompass all those traits that I just said.
Also another thing that I had was that they’re all [Laughs] Lesbians.
Xtine: What I mean was that their most important relationships are with girls. But I feel like that one is a little bit more iffy.
Kate: You see that one is actually close to my most important understanding, is that if you do not have a significant and important and difficult relationship with at least one woman you cannot be a Vriska. It’s like the Vriska Bechtel test.
Xtine: [Laughs] Interesting. I mean, I put that as optional because frankly I feel like female + female relationships in media aren’t often- Well, no, sorry… they are pretty good but there’s not a lot of great lesbian representation in media so that’s why I left that off as iffy- Not because it’s not an important part, but just because there could be more characters who would be considered Vriskas, y’know?
Oh also, one character I just realized today is Kyoko from Madoka Magica. So… yeah. That’s what I think composes a Vriska.
Kate: Alright, well, so. Now that we got your take on the component of Vriska let’s go to the very start, I guess, because we both are very well-known Vriska sympathizers, which is part of why I was nervous about this episode.
Kate: Because the people who dislike Vriska- really strongly dislike Vriska.
Kate: And they often have good reasons.
Kate: But sometimes they also have frustrating reasons and sometimes I think that they don’t take enough time to empathize and consider this character’s origin and the challenges that this character has faced.
And the first thing that we have to talk about is… just her childhood.
Xtine: Oh oof!
Kate: And how her childhood defines her.
Kate: And just as a note for the listeners: there’s gonna be a brief discussion of Doc Scratch as a predator in this. If you feel uncomfortable with that, go ahead and skip ahead a few minutes.
Xtine: Well, basically, Vriska is just a trauma victim and when she’s introduced in… wait what’s it called? It’s not Hiveswap-
Xtine: Hivebent! Yes, Hivebent! She’s undergoing trauma so we meet her basically at her lowest moments because she does one of the worst things in her lifetime, y’know, paralyzing Tavros.
We see just see her there- Like, I dunno… we just see her there at her most vulnerable. Like, at the core of her she is a victim of trauma.
Like for example- well, not even for example, just straight up- the thing with her mom is extremely complicated... and awful; she has to murder other people her own age and she does not like it.
She puts on a lot of bluster and bravado and cultivates this entire persona of being ‘Oh I’m so badass and I’m killing people who are weaker because they wouldn’t survive” or whatever. It’s just very clearly a thin veneer for a very vulnerable girl, who is very scared, who just doesn’t want to be eaten [Laughs] by her mom!
And she also doesn’t really have much of a support system because of her terrible attitude. Hurt people hurt, y’know?
And that’s not even getting into all the stuff with Doc Scratch, [Laughs] where he’s like, yeah, I dunno… he’s a big manipulator. He’s also very creepy.
Kate: Right. Right. And I think that is obviously intentional on the part of the narrative and it’s talked about in some of the forum springs it’s that Doc Scratch specifically manipulates young girls.
Kate: That is what he does. That is the specific expression of that component of Lord English’s misogyny, is a predatory one, in Doc Scratch.
Xtine: It’s also lamp-shaded by the characters that he’s manipulating; they know who he is and they say it multiple times. They’re like: ‘You’re just a creepy old guy’ and it sucks. It’s uncomfortable.
Kate: Yeah, it really sucks. And it happens to both Rose and Vriska. It happens to our light players. And it happens to the…two of the more confident women, two of the more confident young girls in the comic.
And there’s only two adult influences in Vriska’s life and one has required her to be a relentless serial killer and the other has specifically intended to sabotage her relationships with her friends for nothing but personal enjoyment.
Kate: Doc Scratch calls her a wretched little girl in one of his narrative pieces. Like...[grunts]
Xtine: Yeah… and there’s also technically one other adult figure in Vriska’s life and that’s Mindfang. But Vriska definitely views Mindfang as a positive influence in her life.
Y’know she, [Laughs] for a lack of the better way to put it, she kins Mindfang in order to cope with her trauma.
Kate: Yeah, absolutely.
Xtine: But Mindfang has also taught her a lot of not great stuff, like the reason why she does all the stuff- Like why she fixates on Tavros so much is because of Mindfang’s relationship with the Summoner, who is Tavros’s ancestor. And Mindfang is also who she emulates when she FLARPs, a.k.a. When she kills people so of course she’s learned a lot of…
Not- I almost wanted to say it’s not- “Toxic Masculinity”, it’s the Toxic Aggressiveness that Alternia encourages in Cerulean bloods and also higher bloods and so…yeah.
Kate: I actually wanted to talk about that, because we’re talking about how Alternia shaped Vriska and so I’m gonna read a bit of the Andrew Hussie forum spring:
‘Before Hivebent, most of the trolls were portrayed as incompetent at trolling. And when the roster expanded, the question was begged: Are any of these trolls any good at trolling?
So part of her profile was also to serve as the Ultimate troll. Karkat was an effective troll and so far as he was loud, angry and obnoxious but that’s about as far as it went. Vriska was designed to be a good troll in a purest sense of the word; she gets people legitimately riled up in the story and even more importantly, outside it.’
Kate: ‘There’s no other troll or really even any other aspect of Homestuck which generates more debate. This was intentional and continues to be.’
Xtine: Yeah. That’s just crux to Vriska’s character, even years and years after the initial debut of her character, she still inspires so much debate. And that’s why she’s such a great character I love her so much!
Kate: Right, well again, that’s the point. We talk about- y’know as homestuck fans- we talk about trolls a lot and we often sort of miss the original intention of trolls, which is a commentary on things online that make us upset.
Xtine: [Laughs] Right.
Kate: And that is what Vriska is. Vriska is a thing online that is designed to get us to fight with each other.
Xtine: For sure!
Kate: And in that way she is the ultimate troll and also the ultimate troll in the way that she seeks to embody the principles that guide Alternia, right?
Kate: When we see her at the start of the story, she’s the only troll that we see that is actively pursuing all of her quadrants. And is-
Xtine: That’s- Oh at the beginning of the story…OK.
Kate: Yeah. When we see her at the start, she’s got her half-assed kismesisstude with Eridan which is just kin-dating, again.
Xtine: [Laughs] Yeah. God.
Kate: And that hyper violence is expected. That disregard for those lower than you on the spectrum is expected. And she was in many ways the troll of the twelve most prepared for the adulthood-
Xtine: For the game.
Kate: -Right, well, not just for the game but for the adulthood that would’ve been expected of her on Alternian society if it didn’t end.
Kate: She was the one that was ready to go do a space war [Laughs] and just be an awful conqueror. But to argue that she didn’t feel any remorse or pain about this is exceptionally wrong. She talks to John about this…
Xtine: John! yeah
Kate: About how these societal expectations put on her are killing her. She tried so hard to be this violent expresser- She tried so hard to stand up for the challenge and learn to respond with violence and…
Xtine: And the weird thing is that she mostly succeeded, like, she was a successful, ideal troll. She was good at what she does, but she wasn’t happy about it. Which I think kind of speaks to how Alternia isn’t natural. [Laughs]
Like, it’s that trolls aren’t naturally supposed to be violent, which kind of goes back to how Doc Scratch kind of manipulated all of Alternia to bring about the beginning of Lord English.
Xtine: At least that’s how I read it.
Kate: Yeah, he did. Well- Yeah, that’s just canon.
Xtine: Oh well, ok. I haven’t- I’ve never read Homestuck.
Kate: [Laughs] Go fuck yourself.
Kate: And actually, so I’m moving the discussion of luck up the outline because it’s impossible to argue she was happy at the story’s start on alternia!
She’s obsessed with the apocalypse. She’s obsessed with the end of the world. She’s actively trying to build doomsday devices to end the world because she hates her own society so much.
Kate: She’s got this thing that’s described as an addiction. To breaking 8-balls, to bringing about her own bad luck… She’s punishing herself repeatedly.
And you had something to say about Vriska’s relationship with luck.
Xtine: So at the beginning, she’s introduced as someone who’s extremely unlucky- She describes herself as extremely Unlucky. And she says it’s all because she breaks 8-balls. So in turn she is unlucky and she is also the reason why she’s unlucky- in her own personal mythos.
And I think it’s just kind of another aspect to her control freakishness, for the lack of a better way to put it, because you know that she always has to be in control of everything and that even goes down to ‘uncontrollable things’ like luck.
But I just thought it was interesting that- at the beginning she’s always unlucky. Like when things happen to her she’s like: “Ugh this is because of my un-luck!” but not because of something terrible that she did.
It’s kind of weird because on one end she is shrugging off all culpability of some of the things she’s done- I can’t… name any specific examples off of the top of my head. But also at the same time is assuming responsibility for it because, by her own definition, she is the one bringing the un-luck down on herself by compulsively breaking 8-balls.
And it’s something interesting that when she enters the game, all her luck turns around and she’s suddenly gotten all of the luck. Which, I know of course, relates back to her classpect. But I’m just analyzing it kinda like on its own.
Kate: Well classpects are just in service to the narrative. The only rule about classpecting- and you can fight me on this if you’re listening- is that there are no rules unless it serves the narrative. [Laughs]
Xtine: Basically…Yeah. One thing about homestuck that I always keep close to my mind is that things happen because the characters want them to happen.
Kate: Yeah exactly.
Xtine: Paradox space works the way it does because all the characters want something to happen so it does. Like Caliborn for example, [Laughs] he really wanted extremely badly to be whoever- whatever Lord English is and he got that!
Xtine: Vriska wants extremely badly to be an important character and she is.
Kate: Right, she wanted to be important and she wanted to be…redeemed in many ways, is also what she was looking to do, especially post retcon at the end- Actually both versions of Vriska in act 6 want to be redeemed.
Kate: And both take very different perspectives toward it.
And that actually sort of lets us talk about the next thing we wanted to talk about, which was: Vriska vs. Alternate Vriska, right?
Kate: The game over timeline Vriska who was killed by Terezi on the meteor vs. the retconned Vriska who defeated Lord English in act 7.
Xtine: So do we mean Vriska literally versus (Vriska)? Or do we just mean: comparing and contrasting them?
Kate: I don’t know what that question means…[laughs quietly]
Xtine: Do you mean as in if they were literally fighting head to head? Or-
Kate: [Laughs] No! This isn’t a podcast where we’d say what characters would win in a fight.
Xtine: No- [grunts] Oh my god that’s not what I mean, but anyways whatever. I’ve always thought that Vriska’s relationship to (Vriska) was just a reflection of her self hatred.
Xtine: So people who hate Vriska because of how she treats (Vriska)-
Kate: Alternate Vriska.
Xtine: I mean, I’m just gonna call her (Vriska)
Kate: [Laughs] Alright, fine.
Xtine: The people who hate Vriska- Or cite this as a reason to hate Vriska for how she treats (Vriska) is just… You know that’s just because she hates herself, right?
This is just a reflection of how she feels about herself, so you’re hating her, or you’re disliking her for the reason that she hates herself. So that’s just something- And also! I don’t really have an opinion on who’s “better” because they’re the same character…?
Kate: Right, when people talk about how “Oh. I loved Alternate Vriska but I hated the Post Retcon Vriska.” That actually is maybe the Homestuck take that annoys me the most.
Because they’re the same character; alternate Vriska is just Vriska freed of the responsibility of the events of the plot.
Xtine: Of everything. Like, of all the things that I’ve talked about before all the traumas that have shaped her; that toxic environment and those- Basically every single major, I guess, adult influence on her, So: Spider mom, Doc Scratch and Mindfang, she was completely removed from that and that is how we get (Vriska).
Kate: Right, and there’s no reason, I think, to say that the Vriska after the retcon would be different than that in the same environment, but that Vriska still had work to do. As was evident by the retcon being necessary, her presence and her labour was important to the overall victory of our characters.
Kate: And was literally a life-saving influence on Rose and Kanaya, for example.
Xtine: Mh-hm. I mean, I guess I can kind of see where people are coming from as a serial reader just because (Vriska) just had such a great conclusion.
For me, in my first phase of homestuck, Vriska’s finale of her character for me, was basically when dead (Vriska) is standing outside of John’s window and John doesn’t remember her and that was kind of it.
I guess saying it now seems like a lacklustre ending but that was it and it seemed like a pretty complete arc to me. So it’s kind of like that Vriska who ended there for me and this Vriska as I know her now… my perceptions of Vriska has drastically changed every time and I can kinda see where people are coming from but that’s just a symptom of being a fan of homestuck for a very long time.
Kate: Yeah. And when people talk about how the retcon erased Vriska’s character, I get really pissy about that.
[Laughs] Congrats this is the episode of the podcast where my opinions are gonna come out the most.
Xtine: [Laughs] Yeah! You’ve been talking a lot more than usual.
Kate: To say that, I want to sit down and I want to ask- First off, to ask readers who think that post retcon Vriska is a bad character and that her character development was erased to tell me what are the crimes of post retcon Vriska after John saves her life on the meteor?
And the answer is that she isn’t very nice to a few characters a couple of times and I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry.
Kate: But the answer is that she is verbally not very nice to boys twice.
Kate: While also putting the entire timeline back on track, saving Rose’s life, and sacrificing her life potentially to defeat the greatest evil in the history of the universe. And I’m sorry Jake English fans, but… everyone in the story is rude to Jake.
Everyone in the story is; Jane is rude to Jake. Like… [Laughs]
Xtine: That’s kind of a- There’s a whole sequence of Jane being rude to Jake.
Kate: Yeah… It happens. It happens. And Vriska apologizes to Tavros in the post retcon timeline, sits there and takes it while Tavros does a five-minute dance number about how she owed him. And brings another version of Tavros back to life… And again, is she a dick in that sequence?
Yes! She is verbally not very nice and I’m sorry about that.
Xtine: The thing about Vriska, is that she’s mean.
Xtine: And for me I think that’s a reason why I like her [Laughs]
Xtine: Because I do like mean female character but it’s just that, I guess when someone is mean to your favourite character it sucks… and I understand that
Kate: And I understand that. But it’s… I just think it’s a compelling enough reason to argue against both the construction of the story and the interest of the character. And that’s me. And we’ve just lost all of our listeners because I was mean to Jake English so I’m sorry about that [Laughs]
Xtine: I’ve just let you go on for a bit there.
Kate: You surely did.
Xtine: Should I have stopped you?
Kate: Uh-huh well we haven’t even gone into the- I’m gonna have another spiel at the start of the reader questions phase, so. [Laughs] And that’s when we’re really gonna lose all our listeners.
Xtine: Oh Yeah…
Kate: So let’s talk about Terezi-
Xtine: OH! Terezi! Oh what a delightful character! I love Terezi!
Kate: You turned into Taako for a second, there.
Xtine: [Laughs] [Taako impression:] Vriska did nothing wrong!
Kate: [Taako impression:] Vriska did nothing wrong! [Laughs]
Xtine: Wow… Terezi is a great character and she’s in love with Vriska- Wait did I just say Vriska twice?
Xtine: Okay well, Terezi is a great character and her best trait is that she’s [Laughs] in love with Vriska.
Kate: She is! She is. The alternate Terezi- Game Over Terezi, when faced with everything in the universe falling apart, all of her friends are dead,
Xtine: Oh… my god…
Kate: And she can think of only one thing to fix it, what does she think of?
Xtine: Oho! My god! Okay- Mm. Nah. I was gonna say something but I can’t say it- I was gonna… Nah, don’t worry about it. I’ll tell you later.
Kate: Just say it and I’ll cut it… Just say it.
Xtine: Okay I was gonna say that, that’s so NaruSasu. [Laughs]
Kate: [Laughs] I’m leaving that in!
Xtine: [Laughs] But anyway, I’m not gonna get into NaruSasu but um…yeah! Terezi is just in love with Vriska and that’s all that there is to say on the matter.
The relationship between them, it’s just… the driving point of the entire webcomic. A lot of events happen because of Vriska and Terezi’s relationship to each other. Vriska chooses John to be patron to, and Terezi chooses Dave to be a patron to just because they’re enacting their rivalry towards each other through these boys.
Xtine: Which is great! Using boys for your relationship- well not for the relationship but, y’know basically… y’know what I mean.
Xtine: No, I don’t remember where I started [Laughs] so just keep that in and hopefully everyone knows what I’m talking about. So that… and basically all the events in Hivebent were pretty Vriska and Terezi oriented, I wanna say.
Kate: Yeah. The revenge spiral of Hivebent was really about Vriska and Terezi’s FLARP team breakup. That’s really what happened there.
Xtine: I mean usually I’m all gung-ho about agreeing with you about ‘Vriska’s the reason why this happened’ but I have to say: Aradia in there too. I’m here pining for Aradia right now.
Kate: We’ll okay! We’re talking about Terezi right now, we’ll talk about Aradia next.
Xtine: Yeah, ok whatever.
Kate: So I wanted to do a bit more of reading about the very last conversation that Terezi has-
Xtine: Oh my god…
Kate: The messages that Terezi sends Vriska at the very end of the comic. I’m gonna read some of them… Get your tissues.
Kate: ‘You never seemed to have much trouble saying whatever was on your mind, maybe that’s why I have so much trouble with the idea of letting go of you.
You aren’t afraid of what’s inside your mind. You always seem at ease with your own capacities even though they lead you down a road of self-destruction. Yeah we’ve clashed on stuff… I acted like it was all about ideals and how mine were better or something.
But maybe I was just pissed about your attitude of certainty and angry at myself for not having it. I think it’s something I need in my life, even if it came from someone else, in order to keep me assured as possible to feel that way.
I know you think I’m weak for needing you, not that you’d ever tell me that. It’s nice that you cared enough to never jab me about it. But I could always sense it, that you knew.
You knew I depended more on you than you did on me… and you pity me for it. I mean, not like maliciously, you probably see me as a bit tragic, you can’t help it and I don’t blame you.
I think spending time with all those cute goobers, seeing how they are when they’re all together, they seem to like… complete each other?
I think it made me realize this about us- or about myself; I never felt whole, I still don’t. And you made it so I didn’t have to face that feeling… for a while at least.
And now that I think I know this about myself, I think I get it, the feeling will probably never go away. Only covered up at most, maybe.
We could win this fight, create another universe, succeed in every way possible and I’ll still feel incomplete. Victory won’t fix me, maybe nothing can.
Maybe there’s too little substance inside me to even be fixed.’
Xtine: Jesus Christ…
Kate: Yeah holy shit!
Xtine: [Laughs] oh my god… I mean, ok we had a question about how Vriska would have responded to this and… First of all, I don’t think what Terezi thinks Vriska thinks of her- If that sentence makes sense?
Kate: Yeah, it’s true. I don’t think it’s true.
Xtine: Yeah, it’s just Terezi projecting her self doubt and that’s very sad… Terezi’s just… depressed.
Kate: She is. She’s very depressed.
Xtine: She’s very depressed in the Game Over timeline and she’s extremely depressed even in the timeline she fixed for herself to bring back the girl she cares the most about back.
Xtine: And that’s just mental illness, baby!
Kate: That’s mental illness, baby. Nothing fixes it.
Kate: There’s no magic solution, even the love of your life is not the magic solution to mental illness. And Terezi is good at introspection, always.
Kate: And recognizes the gaps in herself… and she doesn’t feel like Vriska completes her, but she does feel like Vriska lets her function a little better. [Laughs]
Kate: Aw man… now I’m just sad.
Xtine: I know…
Kate: Now I’m just sad-stuck from reading that.
Xtine: Me too… I mean also, [Laughs] here’s some sadstuck for you: Remember in the GO timeline when Terezi- Following the ideals that she’s lived for her entire life, like, Justice! Good and Evil. And she enacts justice on her most beloved ‘friend’, it just tears her apart so much…
Her belief system just wrecked her so badly, she fell into extremely deep depression. And I feel like the justice system that she’s subscribed to so strongly is a reflection of her teal-bloodedness, which now is just canon; all teal bloods have to do with the law or whatever.
Kate: Yeah, I mean, her story is a foil to Vriska’s story. And she also talks to John about how she doesn’t feel like enough of a killer to fit in with the troll society.
Xtine: I guess John is the most ideal… [Laughs]
Kate: He’s a good shoulder! He’s a good confidant. That’s part of what being a breath player is, he naturally brings change and reality out of people.
Xtine: I’m glad you drowned out what I just said, because it was kinda terrible. [Laughs]
Kate: What were you gonna say that was kind of terrible?
Xtine: I said, well, I mean it’s not that terrible but I called him a pale slut.
Kate: Oh! Yeah well he is… Like MSPA reader, like a lot of my favourite characters [Laughs] …It really do be like that sometimes.
Alright… we’ll talk about Aradia-
Xtine: It’s the reason why he’s a good friend leader!
Kate: He is a good friend leader, in a way that Vriska never could be and was always jealous of how John could be.
Xtine: [Gasps] Shut up! You’re right!
Kate: [Laughs] Alright! Talk about Aradia.
Xtine: Oh what? Oh ok ok. Alright so, Aradia and Vriska in my opinion they have a potential for a kismessistude that just went extremely wrong. And the key reason why it went wrong is because of Doc Scratch because he basically manipulated and coerced Vriska into killing Aradia.
Because if you go back and reread the conversation right before Vriska kills Aradia, Vriska didn’t want to kill Aradia, she was just content with reliving all her traumas and stuff in the form of her literal ghosts coming to haunt her.
And then Doc Scratch has to get his shiny, white bulb head involved- but anyways, um yeah! Something else I noticed a couple of months ago while I was just thinking about it was that they’re always in opposition to each other… I think their storylines run parallel to each other but always opposite each other, if that makes sense. That metaphor is probably not the best.
Kate: Foils. They’re literal foils
Xtine: Yeah. Oh, Yeah!
Kate: They’re alternate protagonists of the story.
Xtine: Well… I wouldn’t call Aradia a protagonist-
Kate: I’m sorry I thought you were talking about John and Vriska. Not Aradia and Vriska. Sorry!
Xtine: No, I’m talking about Aradia and Vriska. For once, you’re the one making it about boys [Laughs]
Kate: [Laughs] Yeah.
Xtine: Because Vriska is…They’re both big movers of the plot. Vriska is a very active mover of the plot… She explicitly involves herself in all the important beats of SBURB and all the events happening before, I wanna say, Cascade, right?
She’s the reason why John went god-tier. She’s the reason why Bec got prototyped. Yeah! And she’s the reason why because she wants to be the reason why. But Aradia is also involved with some important key points but not of her own volition.
Like she’s extremely passive about it and also behind the scenes about it. It’s very…not ‘subtle’, but you can easily ignore it.
Xtine: I ignored it on my first reread through. She’s the reason why they were able to kill the black king. She’s the reason why, I think, one of her Aradiabots has the code for how to create Doc Scratch, I believe?
Xtine: I dunno. Aradia is the one who is controlled; she’s the more passive mover of the plot, which is a nice juxtaposition to Vriska’s active movement of the plot.
Xtine: And also, my favourite flash “[S] Wake” is… I always call it the flash where two of my favourite characters have their best moment and their worst moment. Because Vriska kind of reaches her moral event horizon, if you think that she hasn’t already crossed it by paralyzing Tavros and at this point she kills Tavros [Laughs] which kind of cements her irredeemability in Terezi’s eyes at least.
But then again Terezi was manipulated into thinking that Vriska has killed more people than she did but that’s neither here nor there. So yeah. It’s Vriska’s moral event horizon and it’s also Aradia’s big moment… She comes back to life! And also at the same time she comes back to life she kind of removes herself from the plot.
Which is also a nice conclusion to her arc. So I dunno, for Aradia, it’s an extremely high beat and for Vriska it’s one of her worst moments.
Kate: The lowest of the low.
Xtine: Yeah. And they also never see eye to eye. Aradia is always empathetic; whenever they talk to each other Aradia is super apathetic or just plain annoyed at Vriska. But Vriska, I feel like genuinely consider Aradia like a friend. Which is just sadstuck [Laughs]
Kate: It is.
Xtine: I always compare it to… for those of you anime fans out there, I always compare it to Asuka and Rei’s friendship in Neon Genesis Evangelion, where Asuka did, in her own way, kind of reach out an olive branch to Rei… But Rei was like: “Ah…hmm… Nah.”
And that just enrages Asuka even more. Because we see that one of Vriska’s first breakdowns on screen is because of Aradia. Don’t quote me on that because I know she also has a breakdown with Kanaya. I don’t know which one comes first but one of her breakdowns is definitely because Aradia is apathetic and not caring, which in my opinion would have been kismessistude material in less fucked up circumstances.
Kate: Yeah! I agree. She literally throws a tantrum because Aradia doesn’t hate her properly.
Xtine: Exactly! God! Yeah, Vriska definitely, genuinely wanted to make it up to Aradia but it just… falls flat because Vriska is not very good with people [Laughs]. Vriska always considers herself as a leader but she’s just not good at the people side of things, is the thing…
Kate: Yeah, it’s true [Laughs]. She’s just extremely socially inapt.
Xtine: Yeah… But I mean, if she has to do things herself, then she is very capable. But if she has to put other people into the equation, then she kinda fails at it.
There’s also this breakdown on tumblr of how Vriska’s plan for “Collide” exactly did not go through;
Xtine: Because everything that she said should not happen, happened. And everything that she said people should do, didn’t happen. Whatever- it was dope, That’s my opinion on Vriska’s leadership, it’s that she’s not a very good leader but she’s a very…she’s an important character- I mean, an important player. There we go!
Xtine: She’s also an important character but…Yeah. Y’know. Just my opinion.
Kate: Uh-huh. Alright, so you did put “Vriska is a Lesbian” on the bullet point chart here.
Xtine: Oh yeah she is a lesbian!
Kate: Just in case there’s any JohnVris shippers still listening to this episode [Laughs]
Xtine: [Laughs] We’ll throw you all a bone, though. I think that JohnVris as a moirailegence is pretty good? [Laughs]
Because I mean, here’s also me jostling JohnVris as a romantic ship; when you go back and read those pesterlogs, it just doesn’t seem that John’s got his heart in it. [Laughs]He’s just kinda listening and is like: “Uh-uh.. yeah. Uh-huh…Oh, okay.”
I mean he’s a really good listener to the point where it seems like he’s having an actual conversation with Vriska but he doesn’t really put out much in that conversation.
Vriska is definitely the one who over-shares and John is just like: “Uh… this is kinda weird…and scary but okay. And she’s helping a lot so I’m just gonna put up with this.” It means he’s good at calming down Vriska which is why they’re moirailegence material… And also! I’m a little bit biased because I love Prom-stuck which is a very popular 2010/2012 era of fanwork and that’s one of the ships I meant.
Kate: I’m gonna read one more pesterlog archive.
Xtine: Yeah. Go for it.
Kate: And here we go! This is me throwing a bone at least to the people who think that John had feelings for Vriska. [Laughs]
Kate: And it’s, ok- So it’s a conversation between John and Roxy (44:10)
‘John: yeah she’s actually pretty awful. she’s so full of herself and mean to her friends and dangerous. really, really dangerous
Roxy: ouch, well what can i say, john? love sucks
John: yeah, it does’
He agrees with the characterization of it as love or at least, does quickly. I don’t think John ends the story with romantic feelings for Vriska. But I think he did at some point and I think that-
Xtine: Yeah… I agree
Kate: Vriska literally asks John on a date. I think there was a potential crush there that just didn’t work out once they’d learned more about each other.
Xtine: I think that once Vriska realized that she’s a lesbian that it all didn’t work out.
Xtine: And also, John realized that probably Vriska is too much for him. I mean that’s just contexture on my part…
Kate: He describes all of troll girls as dangerous lunatics [Laughs]
Xtine: Oh god…
Kate: So [Laughs] You can make of that what you will. Let’s get to some-
Xtine: And also- Oh yeah?
Kate: Sorry… No, you go.
Xtine: No, you g- Alright so Vriska’s a Lesbian. I don’t think- I don’t really subscribe to bisexual Vriska much; just because all her relationships with the boys in the comic are very… perfunctory?
Kate: Yeah. There’s, y’know…She’s only with Eridan and only pursuing Tavros because it’s what Mindfang-
Kate: It was a mirror for hers and Mindfang’s relationships.
Kate: And also, there’s a paradox space comic where Eridan asks her for a hate kiss and she sinks his entire ship as retribution for that. Which is pretty, y’know, young gay behaviour [Laughs]
Xtine: [Laughs] yeah!
Kate: So yeah, let’s get to some reader’s questions.
Kate: But before we do that, Xtine you don’t have to say anything about this, but a ton of people asked about Tavros. So I do want to say a piece about Vriska’s relationship with Tavros…
Kate: Yeah, I know, right? [Sighs] We joke about the accords on Homestuck twitter; which is like the delicate treaty that allows us stans to exist and continue talking in polite society as long as we never talk about Tavros.
Kate: So I am violating the accords and you are free to arrest me after this.
Xtine: On your own podcast?
Kate: Hah…Vriska’s relationship with Tavros is, I think, a metaphor for compulsive heterosexuality.
Xtine: Oh yeah I agree.
Kate: And what Vriska did to Tavros was, let me be clear, entirely unacceptable… Obviously, not right. And this is the official opinion of the Perfectly Generic Podcast, that you shouldn’t paralyze people and then you shouldn’t ridicule them for having done that.
Xtine: Wow, strong opinions.
Kate: Yeah, I know, right? However- This isn’t even a ‘however’- I just want people to consider the fact that what she did, she did while playing a life-or-death game that losers often, if not typically died playing, was encouraged and sanctioned by society and nothing she did was a crime on Alternia. And that sucks.
That extremely sucks and it’s something that she feels bad about later in the story once being away from Alternia for a while. It is- Her relationship with Tavros was toxic, it was bad for Tavros, it was bad for her too but that’s less important.
Kate: [Laughs] um…It’s an example of how the hemospectrum and how the class dynamics on Alternia harm-
Xtine: Are fucked up!
Kate: Yeah! Are fucked up! It’s not supposed to be a good thing but it’s also not a unique thing. And also people point to Vriska’s mockery of Tavros as examples of Vriska’s unique ableism in the story…?
When you actually look at the story, you see that many other characters use the R-slur…like, Dave and Karkat use it the most.
Many other characters are cruel to Tavros for his paralysis and for example: even Karkat uses ‘Autistic’ as an insult while describing Nepeta.
Kate: The ableism among trolls and humans in homestuck is not unique to Vriska and it permeates the work, like it does with most media. This is a… a fucking old chestnut of a tweet by me but it’s like:
’Broke: Vriska is ablest. Woke: Homestuck is ablest. Bespoke: All media is ablest and it’s up to us to identify how to make us better consumers of media and creators of media in the future.’
So there we go! That’s my piece about Tavros. Cancel me if you wanna cancel me, I hope I was reasonable. Let’s get to some questions… [Laughs]
Xtine: I think everything you said made sense.
Kate: Alright… Vitor Luiz asked on twitter: ‘Remembering the Girls Episode, and the comment on “male rage vs female rage,” I’m wondering what would you say, and what do you think people would say about Vriska if she were a man?’
Xtine: [Loud grunts of agony] God! I know what they would say and I feel like there would be- Like… I mean, when I think about it, is that basically; you know the fandom that Kylo-Ren has?
Kate: Or like Draco Malfoy.
Xtine: Shut up but yes.
Xtine: But that’s I think how it would be perceived and yeah. Basically there would definitely are many die hard fans of Vriska. I just… [Laughs]
Kate: She just wouldn’t be as controversial! People won’t be posting discourse about her.
Xtine: She wouldn’t be as controversial and also there would be a lot more die hard fans of her. There are a lot of die hard fans of Vriska for sure, I’m one of them, but we’re very loud but we are a minority. [Sarcastically] We are oppressed! [Laughs]
Kate: [Laughs] [Sarcastic Voice] The real oppressed group. Vriska stans.
Xtine: [Laughs] Yeah exactly! But- Yeah! I mean there aren’t a lot of Vriska likers out there and I know that if she was a guy, there would be a lot more Vriska likers.
I also wanna draw another external media comparison to Bakugo from Boku no Hero Academia, who does not have high of a body count as Vriska, I must admit, but is guilty of the same ableism crimes and has similar violent tendencies, and Bakugo has a very, very active fandom. So I just wanna put that out there… That’s what my opinion on that question is.
Kate: Uh- Let’s see… 8bots asked on our discord: ‘We saw the effect killing Vriska had on Terezi very clearly and she talked about it a lot, but Vriska almost never brings it up. Even when she talks about dying she doesn’t mention Terezi. How do you think she actually feels about what happened?
Xtine: I feel like, she probably at that point thought it was her comeuppance.
She probably was like:”Yeah, I had that comin’.” Just because maybe- at that point- maybe not in Terezi’s face because, y’know, to Terezi’s face she’s all like, haunchy about it; “Oh yeah you’re finally here, Redglare? Finally taking me seriously?”
But in the conversation she has with John, she clearly regrets killing Tavros and- Yeah I think she would just be “Yeah , well.. I kinda deserved that. I had it coming.”
Kate: Yeah. She doesn’t- That Vriska never once argues that she didn’t deserve to die [Laughs sadly]
Xtine: Right. So-
Kate: Which is actually very sad!
Xtine: Right! Well…that’s mental illness [Laughs sadly]
Kate: That’s mental illness, baby! Uh…optimisticDuellist asks on our discord: ‘Now that Terezi remem8ers (Terezi)'s experiences and knows the full extent of Vriska's feelings for her, what do you think Alpha Terezi will do when she confronts Vriska in the epilogue? Any guesses?’
Xtine: What will Terezi do… if she confronts Vriska in the epilogues…
I think Terezi would probably- ugh, god- okay… Let me think about this. I wanna say…
Kate: I wanna say-
Kate: What Clubs Deuce would say, which is: “Kiss the girl, you moron!” [Laughs]
Xtine: Oh…yeah I, I- Okay. That’s what my shipper heart immediately went to-
Kate: Of course, of course.
Xtine: But I’m trying to figure out if that would actually happen. Considering how, like the tone of the entire webcomic- Yeah
Kate: Well I’m also biased.
Xtine: You’re a little biased. [Laughs]
Kate: Well I’m biased by being a shipper but I’m also because of the asker of this question, which is- optimisticDuellist wrote an excellent essay about light as a romantic motif in Homestuck
Kate: And which includes a discussion on Vriska and Terezi that I really, really enjoy and I’m gonna link it in the show notes. And, yeah! Y’know, optimisticDuellist makes a very compelling argument, that I firmly believe, that Vriska and Terezi is a romantic arc and one of the core ones of the work.
Xtine: I would agree. I have read some of optimisticDuellist’s essays. I didn’t happen upon that one, I don’t think.
Kate: It’s good. Thanks for the question. Alexis Ross asks on Twitter: ‘What do you guys think of trans girl Vriska?’ And I’m gonna take this one. This one’s in my court.
Kate: Now I’ve talked about this a great deal on the TwitBox… but whether or not you think Vriska is literally trans, and I don’t really care what you think about that- when we talk about analyzing media with a trans lens…we talk about what do trans themes tell us about media. What do trans themes tell us about the stories- Y’know, the heroes and the villains that we have in our works.
And Vriska is somebody who is very clearly damaged by the assigned role that she has in society. She is defined by it, she leans into it with a desperate enthusiasm. Y’know… as a killer and as a cerulean,
Kate: as a high-blood who tries to be that perfect troll. And much the same way that Karkat’s experience with not fitting into the quadrant system is the mirror for Dave’s experience of not fitting in with the, y’know- The quantifications of human sexuality that he grew up with.
I think it’s very easy to argue that Vriska’s experience- Chafing at the bounds of the societal role defined for her can be read as a trans narrative. And it is close to the exploration of trans themes and that is a similar mirror for rebellion against societal opposed roles, y’know, that we see with humans. Yeah, that’s my argument on that.
Thanks for the question Alexis. Do you have anything to say about that?
Xtine: Oh I agree. You put it very good. You used the words that- You used very well- You said them!
Kate: Thank you so much, I really appreciate that.
Xtine: [Laughs] You’re so welcome!
Kate: Cassandra asked on discord: ‘What are your thoughts on the Paradox Space comic Vrisky Business-
Xtine: [Stifled laughing in the background]
Kate: ‘and the insights it gives into the dominating role Vriska's lusus played in her upbringing?
Xtine: [Still laughing]
Kate: ‘Should this have been better explored in the comic itself rather than in auxiliary material?’ -Xtine, are you okay?
Xtine: Ohhhh Vrisky Business! How sweet- feeling… something- Vrisky Business is good I didn’t even hear the rest of the question because I just had such a visceral reaction. [Laughs]
Kate: Alright, I’m gonna take this then. So Vrisky Business on the paradox space website is only available on the first half. It is, I think, the strongest writing of Vriska by Andrew Hussie. It has the best arc of Paradox Space-
Xtine: It’s written by Andrew Hussie?!
Kate: Yes, it is.
Kate: And it is not available anywhere. If you want to give somebody money for the second half of Vrisky Business you cannot. And it doesn’t appear as though there is any plans to restore the Paradox space books to purchase?
So with that, I feel morally justified in linking to the full comic in the description of this podcast’s episode.
Xtine: Oh my god…
Kate: If somebody from What-Pumpkin has an issue with that then please allow me to pay you money [Laughs] for the rest of Vrisky Business.
Xtine: I think I own a hard copy of this comic specifically!
Xtine: And I- the other comics in the book can be bonus content but [Laughs] basically it’s Vrisky Business in hardback form! I want to own it.
Kate: Just let me pay, like, 5 dollars for a Vrisky Business Zine.
Xtine: [Laughs] God, if only. Well I just think-
Kate: Yeah but-
Xtine: Oh sorry, you go-
Kate: I think that everybody should read this comic. I think that every fan of Homestuck who wants to learn more and understand more about either Vriska or Equius- Although, I don’t know what your motivations would be there [Laughs]
Kate: Kate roasts Equius stans! 3 people are upset!
Kate: But y’know, I really do think- especially if you’re not someone who considers themselves sympathetic to Vriska I would really encourage you to read this comic; the writing and art are both really affecting.
Xtine: Yeah… like the art- some of the expressions in Vrisky Business are some of the most vivid I have ever seen in any piece of media and also I am biased because I love Vriska. But, it’s just- The art is great! The art is really what sold it for me I think.
Even reading the first half- that is available on the website- on Paradox Space- is affecting enough. But reading the second half really- Oof…yeah!
Xtine: It’s a crime that it’s not available easily is what I have to say.
Kate: Yeah… it is and it sucks. I hope to see the return of Paradox Space one day and I hope to be able to purchase that.
Xtine: Like I said- [Laughs] Vriska… [fails to stop laughing] stans are oppressed!
Kate: Okay [Laughs] Yeah it’s true.
Xtine: [Still laughing]
Kate: So that’s our show! That is the Vriska-
Xtine: Oh I guess it is.
Kate: We survived the Vriska episode of the Perfectly Generic Podcast.
Xtine: Oh yeah.
Kate: The music this week is by myself: The opening track is “Endless Vriskcourse”
Kate: The ending track is “Light and Mind”…um [Laughs]
Xtine: It’s a good soundtrack, you did a good job!
Kate: Thanks! Thanks! Obviously, if you are listening and you’re a talented musician and you don’t wanna listen to my music anymore, just throw mp3s at me and I’ll put them on the show. [Laughs]
Xtine: [Laughs] But yeah! This has been the Perfectly Generic Podcast. You can find us at perfectlygenericpodcast.com [Note: it has now been changed to: pgenpod.com], twitter.com/pgenpod [spells it out] pgenpod, pgenpod.tumblr.com which is our new tumblr. Thank you to Hexa for running that tumblr for us. And you can find us on iTunes, the Google Play store and in your favourite podcast app. Please give us a rating or a like in your favourite podcast app, we really appreciate it.
You can find me on twitter: twitter.com/gamblignant8 that’s my homestuck account, or my main which is @katemitchellOW. We’re currently running a giveaway and it’s running for about 15 more days. We’re giving away about 5 copies of hiveswap act 1 and friendsim volume 1 through 14 if you haven’t played them yet or if you have and you want a copy to give as a gift to a friend go ahead and enter. You can find information on both of those on our twitter and tumblr.
And Xtine, where can people find you on the internet?
Xtine: Oh yeah, you can find me on twitter.com/GAlNAX like Gainax but with an ‘L’. That’s yeah… I’m mostly there.
Xtine: I live on twitter.
Kate: Alright. Any last thoughts for the audience?
Xtine: Hmm.. Let’s see. Um… hmm… Vriska [Laughs] I can’t- Vriska that’s it!
Kate: Alright, Vriska- oh actually, y’know what? Before we finish this show, I wanna say: if any of you think that I was too apologetic for Vriska’s actions towards Tavros, I wanna contrast my reaction with that of the author’s own reaction.
Andrew Hussie- asked on forumspring, on January 18th, 2011, “May I ask why exactly would Vriska straight up murder Tavros. She doesn’t seem the type to psychotically and lightly murder in cold brown blood at least in person anyway and when not pressured by events like aradia’s ghosts in regards to her murder.” First off, question asker, horrible, horrible structure to your question. But Andrew answered that with: “He attacked her, it was self-defense. And even if it wasn’t, how much stupid bullshit are you supposed to put up with from a guy before you’re ready to run a lance through his chest? Seriously.”
That’s our show, goodnight everybody!