I was emailing back and forth the other day with fellow BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fan Rob Kutner…and things got a bit dense, BSG-fandom-wise. We geeked all over the place, called in An Expert (his DAILY SHOW cohort John Hodgman), and then I even quizzed Rob a bit about his day job. Wasn't it nice of them to let me publish our chat. Enjoy.
ProgGrrl: Hey RK, what's up. Happy new year. We haven't talked in a while…how's it going these days with our chances of apocalypse? Still looking good?
I've been having some serious geekalicious happy lately, watching the new BATTLESTAR season 4.5 promos, the webisodes…and today even a cool new clip of the way-before-the-apocalypse CAPRICA series. Great stuff to tide us over till our own apocalypse hits. We BSG fans…we KNOW apocalypse.
Rob Kutner: Come on ProgGrrl, war in the Middle East? A smart Black man elected President? How could anyone interpret either of those as signs of the End Times? At the very least, that means there must still be five to go. Actually, I'm tremendously enjoying the leadup to season 4.5. Right now, the whole show is sandwiched between two apocalypses -- like the meat in an Armageddonwich. Which, if you made it out of human-cylon hybrid flesh, would be guaranteed not to give you cancer!
But yes, I'm full of questions. Like, which gender – or species – Gaeta is going to smooch next? Where on Earth is Tigh going to find an ambrosia still? And what exactly is it that – in the trailers – Kara freaks out upon seeing? I'm guessing it's the smoldering remains of a Starbucks. Talk about "There are many copies…"
PG: Mmmm, Armageddonwich.
Have you been checking out those mindbender clues over on www.YouWillKnowTheTruth.com? If you play this one backwards, it may reveal that the walrus was Adama. As for Gaeta...who knew about his thing for architecture? All that, and such a fine singing voice.
So I suppose an Armageddonologist like yourself must have enjoyed the final scene of "Revelations," the last episode from 4.0, when the rag tag fleet makes it to Earth..."Earth?"..."Earth!" (we fans aren't quite sure). What was your reaction?
RK: Gaeta truly is a Renaissance man. I bet he could talk your ear off about fine Leonis Estates wines. And a lotta good stuff in those teases. For instance, who knew that Adama actually washes his face? I half-expected all the crags to fall off and him to be the smooth-skinned Adama from Razor. Baltar seems to play a key role in the events to come -- meaning he's going to continue getting laid like a madman. Also, from the looks of it, there's a human-cylon hybrid baby born with a case of heartburn so bad, you can see it from the outside.
As far as the end of "Revelations," wow. It takes a special kind of armageddon to turn everything that precise shade of brown. Sort of Ron &co's way of saying, "Earth? You ain't found shit." And after seeing Earth, you have to imagine the humans and "good" cylons are pining for the verdant lushness of New Caprica or even Old Caprica. Speaking of which, I assume they wouldn't just hightail it back there because Sharon and the 1s, 4s, and 5s (great name for a band, btw) would find them there? It's a pity, because I love its oddly 50s-style cars. Do those come equipped with FTL drives? How cool would the new "Caprica" series be if characters were saying, "Hey baby, wanna jump with me to the drive-in?"
PG: That’s not all they’re jumping on Caprica, from the looks of this.
RK: Yowza. Based on that clip, you get the feeling if the Cylons hadn't done Caprica in, Holo-chlamydia would have.
PG: Who is your favorite character on the show? Or do you have more than one?
RK: My favorite characters... I would say Roslin, the Old Man, I kind of dig Cavil in a strange way, and I'm endlessly amused by the Hybrid. Talk about a multi-tasker! ("...shall spell the doom of all mankind 'ere his first blossoming... oil low - check engine soon")
PG: Who do you love more: funny, clever scientist Gaius, who is always hanging with cylons and getting laid…or Christ-like, suffering, guilty preacher Gaius who is being either tortured, imprisoned, or getting laid?
RK: As much as I enjoy seeing Gaius get the frak beaten out of him, I do enjoy him more when he's talking fast to save his own skin - I particularly enjoyed him in "Torn" way-too-easily blurting out how to get to Earth to the Cylons, and trying to talk his torturer D'Anna into reconciling science and faith -- while simultaneously having projected-sex with #6. No wonder he can go head to head with the Hybrid!
PG: Let’s talk burning questions. I have some, our readers certainly have even more… What are the things that keep you awake at night about this show? I come up with new questions every few days. Right now I want to know if Gaeta will begin randomly slaughtering Number Eights whenever he sees one around the ship… if Adama’s going to punch that dude who spray-painted FRAK EARTH on his wall... if Tigh will decide he wants to settle down and raise a family with Six…if Kara will ever find out why The Hybrid was throwing all those big words at her, like “harbinger,” and stuff.
RK: So, my questions: I, too, wonder whose ass Gaeta will claim next - let's not forget Sam "the leg-shooting toaster" is also on the list. If Tigh and Six do settle down on Earth, how will he be able to grow a lawn that he can yell at kids to get off of? Will Bill Adama ever be able to settle down even anywhere on land, or will he be forced to grow another "orbit patrol 'stache?"
As far as outstanding series questions (ie: Truth I Hope Will Be Known): Who/what saved Starbuck and sent her to Earth and back with coordinates and shmancy new Raptor? How could a skinjob like Tigh have been created so long ago, and with such an alcohol problem? How did the birth of cylon-human Hera spark such mystical awareness among both Roslin and D'Anna, yet his fellow cy-man (or is it "hum-lon") Nicky did not? Why were the Five separated, how is it they've "seen the way to earth" yet the lone models we know have no clue where it is, and why are they suddenly switched on now? And how did young Bill Adama in Razor come upon the original Cylon prototypes and Raiders, yet not one Daggit? (Sorry, new-BSG purists.)
PG: Good stuff, big questions...we're both pretty stumped here. My head is spinning. What we really need is...an expert.
What about your friend John Hodgman? I bet he could help us. I know he's incredibly frakkin busy with non stop book tours, Daily Show appearances, Mac ad shoots, and twittering...but...there's just *so many questions*, my gods.
[It takes a bit of time to adjust the signal here… Rob waits… I wait… then, suddenly, we received the following.]
THIS IS HODGMAN ACTUAL
Hello friends. I am writing to you from the fabled lost colony of Park Slope, where I have been catching up on all the Gaeta-sodes, and it was a marvelous experience. I got to watch the movie "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" ten times! (At least, I presume it was the whole movie. There can't be much more to it than that, can there?)
As an added bonus, I got to enjoy the BSG material itself, which as you know was co-written by Kevin Seamus Fahey and the very lovely, generous super-genius Jane Espenson. As you may also know, it was Jane who gave me something to say on my very fleeting appearance on one of those last 10 episodes. (Do not ask me about it. I would not say a word to spoil it, and I am hardly sure I will end up in the finished product anyway).
But it leaves me in a strange position. Through the palimpsest of partial scripts, I have glimpsed at least some of the answers to some of my biggest burning questions. But these answers lead only to more questions, which also burn. And so, like you, I am equally looking forward to the cooling answer-poultice of the new episodes.
Until then, I will recline, hybrid like, speaking cryptically, knowing more than I can say, but traveling with you, and bathed in glowing slime.
But I can ask these questions:
1. WHEN DID THEY DECIDE TO TURN UP THE LIGHTS IN THE CIC? Did someone just discover the dimmer switch finally? A cache of old fluorescents they forgot about?
2. WHY DID GAETA PUT A BOOT ON THE END OF HIS PEG LEG? I'm sure it aids his getting around, but it is hardly as stylish as plain old pirate gear (as Tigh figured out some time ago). And I really think it increases the chance of him tripping every time he walks through a pyramid door.
3. IF THE GAETASODES DO OCCUR AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF EARTH, where is Earth now? If they are still doing long jumps all over space to evade hostile cylons, does that mean they have abandoned earth already?
As for my favorite characters, I agree with Espenson's assessment in her commentary for Gaetasode 10. Michael does more acting with his one visible eye than a lot of people do with their whole body. Like Gaeta, Boomer8thena, Tyrol, and Cottle, these are all really amazing Canadian actors whom I probably never would have seen were it not for this show.
Another reason I am grateful almost everyone on Caprica died.
For now, THAT IS ALL
PG: Hmm…I always suspected Hodgman might be a Hybrid. Ain't it always the trouble when chatting up a Hybrid: cryptic statements, full of promise, and most of your questions remain unanswered.
So we shall have to wait and see if, where, and when Mr. Hodgman appears on BSG. Meanwhile I see he has already gone back to twittering...like you said: those Hybrids sure can multi-task.
RK: First off, I want to echo what John said about how - in addition to being a great yarn - the Webisodes gave us 10 exciting glimpses at "Underworld." As it happens, I'd been wondering what we could be, instead of being slaves. I now know the answer: "LYCANS!!!!"
PG: You know Rob, seeing as you are a writer on another one of my favorite shows, THE DAILY SHOW, I can't resist asking: are there any other TDS staffers who are BSG fans? We've heard that BSG is loved by the entire Late Night With Letterman writers' room. This summer I was waiting for you guys to make the McCain/Palin -- Tigh/Roslin connection…but no dice.
RK: I took a poll, and about half of us are into it. The rest are clearly lesser-evolved Centurions. But I resist that political analogy – even Laura Roslin knows way much more about 21st Century U.S. foreign policy than Palin.
PG: There've been a few passing mentions on THE DAILY SHOW this year of BSG…is Jon Stewart in on this? Stewart has always had a bit of geek cred. Not as much as Stephen Colbert, but not bad.
RK: Jon doesn’t watch it, but he has this eerie all-knowing sense of what’s in the ether. However, there have been legions of BSG pitches that never made air. For example, that Rod Blagojevich’s censored wiretapping remarks were actually him repeatedly saying “FRAK” – bleeped out because CNN doesn’t want to get into copyright violation territory. We tried to get Jon to ask Education Secretary Margaret Spellings if she hoped for a global nuclear holocaust so she could become President. When Biden was making those ominous remarks near the end of the campaign about how an Obama administration would get “hit within six months,” I worked with Jane Espenson to find suitably disturbing Hybrid clips to intercut with that.
PG: When are Katee Sackhoff or Tricia Helfer gonna guest on the show? I'm amazed Helfer hasn't been on yet…can you possibly make a case to your producers on behalf of BSG/TDS crossover fans everywhere?
RK: You know our show – they’d have to first write a book about Iraq. Actually, my strong preference would be Grace Park. Shouldn’t be that hard to book – there’s like a hundred of her, right?
PG: Well Rob…and John (wherever you are)…thanks so much for taking time away from Apocalypse Research, Generally Being an Expert, and skewering the body politic with the DAILY SHOW crew to talk Galactica with me. It's always a pleasure talking BSG with other addicts.
Rob Kutner is an Emmy-award-winning writer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and lots of other things. His book “Apocalypse How” is available. Right now. You should buy it. He twitters too.
John Hodgman is currently a Famous Minor Television Personality, the Resident Expert on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and the author of “More Information Than You Require” and “Areas of My Expertise.” We BSG fans might recall that he wrote this, back in the day. You can also read a bit more from him about BSG here.