I think that making people laugh is good enough for me.
November 25, 2009 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Mike Krahulik (Gabe) and Jerry Holkins (Tycho) of Penny Arcade now have their own reality TV show. The first episode of PATV explores the unlikely rise of their video game media empire and covers the recent Penny Arcade Expo and the birth of Jerry's daughter.

Previously on Mefi:
The podcast
The other podcast
The charity
The video game
posted by Vectorcon Systems (41 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Looks like the Slurpee debate didn't make the cut.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 6:45 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


DO NOT W--

Wait, this isn't picked up by a network? So this is just video podcasting, right?
posted by cavalier at 7:13 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


(Because their audio podcasts are pretty great)
posted by cavalier at 7:14 AM on November 25, 2009


The podcast where they talk about the idea of making a reality show based on their lives is really interesting. Jerry (aka Tycho) is vehemently against the idea but sort of warms up to it after Mike (aka Gabe) sells it to him. I'm very glad to see it come to life and will be watching it as and when the episodes come out.

I really hope they dedicate one episode entirely to Child's Play which is undoubtedly Penny Arcade's biggest achievement.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:19 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's like the comic strip but with only 1% of the hair.
posted by DU at 7:26 AM on November 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


The video started off for me with "Warning, Rated M, features Blood, Violence, Sexual Situations, Foul Language." I thought I was in for a completely different Penny Arcade experience.

Then I found out there was an ad for Assasin's Creed 2 at the beginning. Sort of a let down. And wow, the hair. The lack of hair... Sort of a shock, seeing them for the first time as real people.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:30 AM on November 25, 2009


Wow - I'm amazed at how watchable that was. I totally expected it to suck - kind of like when Ben Croshaw does live action stuff... it's a total cringe fest. But that was really actually very good and I'm adding it to my roku.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:31 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The sweetness of Mike and Jerry's experiences with their children has a nice counterpoint in this week's two Achewood comics (1, 2).

My feelings waver wildly between both as I prepare to start preparing to consider becoming a parent.
posted by unsupervised at 7:33 AM on November 25, 2009


The moment where the guy is telling them about what reading PA meant to him while at sea, and Jerry's reaction - to hop down from the stage and go hug the guy - not only says a lot about why I love those guys (and why I wish I could get to PAX) but that there is going to be a lot more warmth in this than I ever expected.

I really didn't quite know what to expect, but in reality - the podcast but with pictures is pretty much it, and given how much I love (the increasingly rare, damnit) Downloadable Content, I'll happily take more of PATV.
posted by opsin at 7:41 AM on November 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


When I saw the PA guys give a panel at the first Blizzcon (2005, was it?) they were incredible: warm, natural, real, and really really funny. Blizzard had a bunch of video cameras going in the room, but apparently the footage all went into a vault somewhere. I've never seen it sense and haven't had a chance to see these guys talk since, either.

So thanks.
posted by majick at 7:48 AM on November 25, 2009


They don't look like their characters. At all. Weird.
posted by chunking express at 8:02 AM on November 25, 2009


It looks like they aren't doing the network tv bullshit of setting up contrived situations and making fake drama. No chance this is getting picked up by a tv network.
posted by empath at 8:18 AM on November 25, 2009


That was precious. What great guys. Thanks for the post.
posted by anifinder at 8:26 AM on November 25, 2009


"I've gotta go ....make sure a baby doesn;t die." " Well, I mean ...you play the Sims."


It's like hanging out with your nicest, dorkiest friends.
posted by The Whelk at 8:32 AM on November 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I know the comic isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the genuineness and warmth of its creators is one of the features that keeps me coming back. They really care about the things they care about and they speak with the infectious assumption that you do, too. If you don't, well, they assume you won't watch and don't spend time slagging on you for it or trying to win you over. They just are, and they keep communicating that enthusiasm (or frustration) every day.
posted by verb at 8:42 AM on November 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I had the privilege of working with them way back in the day at GameSpy ... I'm so happy to see them become so successful. I literally got choked up walking around PAX this year. Just ... wow.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:53 AM on November 25, 2009


Can't wait until PAX East!
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:59 AM on November 25, 2009


This was impressively awesome. This may be the only reality tv show that I watch if they continue to do it. It made me happy.
posted by lizarrd at 9:11 AM on November 25, 2009


Maybe it'll change as they need to make more episodes, but right now it feels a lot more like "episodic documentary" than "reality show."

Is there actually a difference between the two concepts, aside from how mad-cap and zany reality shows usually aim to be?
posted by explosion at 9:18 AM on November 25, 2009


It really surprised me how good their podcast turned out to be. I mean I like the comic but I would NOT have predicted that a recording of them sitting around thinking about the strip (and lunch) would be listenable, let alone hilarious.
posted by jcruelty at 9:20 AM on November 25, 2009


i hope they film the D&D campaign at some point.
posted by empath at 9:29 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


That attitude of confident dismissal of irrelevant criticism that verb mentioned is what I like best about Penny Arcade, too. I wish I could be more like that myself.
posted by Fraxas at 9:39 AM on November 25, 2009


i hope they film the D&D campaign at some point.

They just need to stop killing off the acting talent.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:42 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was way better than I expected it to be (and I expected it to be good.) Holkins and Krahulik have a genuine enthusiasm for everything they do that's very infectious and you can see that in all of their fans.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:09 AM on November 25, 2009


The second episode made me cry. In an utterly shameless, some days I feel proud to be a human sort of way. Those guys are good people.
posted by macmac at 10:40 AM on November 25, 2009


Man, these guys make me want to do something creative so damn bad. I love the fact that they have been able to be financially successful at something that is artistically great, and gives back. Gotta keep trying.
posted by jbickers at 10:54 AM on November 25, 2009


They've compared themselves to Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker from the Muppets, which is scarily accurate.

For people who've never got the point of PA, here's a kind of 'best of' thread I started on another forum.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:56 PM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, I just love this. I'm always so grateful when I get a chance to see someone really make a living at being creative. It's almost alchemy, you know? Some magic happened and these two nerds (in the best way possible) built this empire, and didn't turn into assholes. So great.

I agree with explosion -- this really has more of a documentary feel than what I'd call reality show.
posted by sugarfish at 3:22 PM on November 25, 2009


They don't look like their characters. At all. Weird.

What I've heard -- sorry, no cite -- is that the characters were supposed to be Generic Gamer Dudes with no visual resemblance to their creators whatsoever. Over time, readers kept on assuming that the Tycho and Gabe were supposed to be Jerry and Mike, so they eventually gave up and started using the characters are their representations.
posted by tickingclock at 3:52 PM on November 25, 2009


Love these episodes, looking forward to more.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:56 PM on November 25, 2009


Just got around to watching this. I kinda think it would be interesting to follow some Penny Arcade fans, too... i bet there are a million interesting stories from PAX
posted by empath at 5:18 PM on November 25, 2009


Penny Arcade is strong enough to bring tears to a giant!

I remember being surprised that they had such strong nerd accents when I first heard the podcast, but it actually made it better. Hearing obvious nerds being so articulate and charming is great.
posted by ignignokt at 7:21 PM on November 25, 2009


Yeah, nothing can express how much I think these guys are awesome. The comic is great, the podcast is great and PAX is pretty much heaven on earth for anyone that has even a passing interest in gaming or geek culture. The fact that they're making some kind of video documentary about themselves is more than awesome - it's a cheesy concept, but only really when applied to boring shallow people. Which they're not.
posted by saturnine at 10:05 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I actually kinda wish Jerry and Mike would try something else. I realize Penny Arcade has become a real cash cow for them, but it's really been getting stale in the last couple years. (Which is not to say there haven't been funny strips.)

I really liked that Automaton segment they did; although if they started making a full series out of it, I think some people would claim it's ripping off Atomic Robo.

Anyway, I'd love to comment on this thing, but my poor 1.5Mbps connection can't seem to handle the video; it keeps stopping to buffer every couple seconds. It took me like 90 seconds just to get through the Assassin's Creed commercial.
posted by Target Practice at 7:53 AM on November 26, 2009


Also, the reason Mike and Jerry don't look like the strip's characters is because Gabe and Tycho weren't originally intended to be avatars for them. In fact, there's a really, really old strip where they're referred to as "Jack and John".
posted by Target Practice at 7:56 AM on November 26, 2009


I just started to listen to their podcasts and it always sounds like Gabe is laying on the couch in the background.
posted by ODiV at 9:29 AM on November 26, 2009


I actually kinda wish Jerry and Mike would try something else. I realize Penny Arcade has become a real cash cow for them, but it's really been getting stale in the last couple years. (Which is not to say there haven't been funny strips.)

Hmm. I would agree it's a successful business, but stale? I mean, if you only go their for the comics, I guess maybe the style could get stale. Even then, they seem to intentionally change styles for at least a few dozen strips each year. Seeing as how they primarily comment on the ever changing and expanding videogame industry, I fail to see how the subject matter could get stale. Then again, I mostly go there for the writing, the comics being a secondary pleasure.

As for a cash cow...I mean, I'm sure they make a comfortable living, but I doubt they are raking in the millions or anything. Seems like the hospitals and sick kids are the real winners from the Child's Play donations.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:42 AM on November 26, 2009


I'm sad that living in Canada, so far away from PAX, makes it unlikely that I'll ever get a chance to go before the convention gets enormous and overhyped and starts to suck. :(
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 12:21 PM on November 26, 2009


I'm sad that living in Canada, so far away from PAX

Try living on the other side of the Atlantic. The guys don't really visit Europe that often. Plus, PAX is already pretty enormous, but it's somewhat unique in that it caters for gamers rather than press/industry so I'm not sure if 'overhyped' is ever going to be too much of an issue. Especially as I don't see them giving total control over to anyone else (with PAX branding remaining anyway).
posted by slimepuppy at 2:17 PM on November 26, 2009


OMG! That is totally my wristwatch and the corner of my shirt in the first PAX video at 5:23!

IM SO FAMOUS!!!

These videos are fun, but I really hope they don't replace the podcasts which are about 13x more entertaining.
posted by straight at 9:04 PM on November 26, 2009


As for a cash cow...I mean, I'm sure they make a comfortable living, but I doubt they are raking in the millions or anything.
Oh they're more than comfortable. PA has a full time staff of at least 8 now and Mike has posted in other forums that he and Jerry are each making more than 7 figures.
posted by PenDevil at 2:14 AM on November 27, 2009


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