Glitch is an online sitcom about a game tester whose life becomes a bit too much like video games—glitches and all. The series has great humor that old school gamers should get a kick out of, good quality filming, and enough originality to stand out from the hordes of YouTube.
The series follows a video game tester, Glitch, who wishes his life was more like a video game. He gets his wish, but the old 8-bit glitches come along with the package.
“The initial thought was, how could we be ambitious and yet simple at the same time?” said Tyler Hill, one of the series creators, via e-mail. “8-bit and old school video game glitches was an interesting idea because it meant that we wouldn’t have to spend a fortune on special effects.”
Hill and co-producer Brian Sutherland would joke that the 8-bit glitch approach would work well, since “the worse the graphics looked, the funnier it would probably be!” he said.
But after the concept of the series was set, he and Sutherland realized they had something special on their hands—a show, which he describes as, “zany enough to let us go anywhere we wanted with it.”
The series pulls inspiration from just about everything geeky. Hill says he watches just about every sci-fi/fantasy TV show and movie out there, and plays just about every game he can. “Even the bad stuff,” as he says—all in a hunger to “know all of it, good and not-so-good, because it’s all a part of this culture.”
Thus, the broad plate of geeky references Glitch pulls from has made it “a love letter to geek culture,” Hill said.
But it’s not corny, and it’s not one of the hip-geek shows made to make geeks look cool. Hill gave an example: “I’m not knocking the Big Bang Theory or anything, it’s funny and all, but it’s written by comedy writers, and the premise for the show is about geeks, the way Cheers is about a bar or The Office is about a cubical environment. Because of that, I think the idea for the show is that the characters are sort of a window for non-geeks to look in on the geek world.”
What they’re going for is pure, unrefined geekiness—what he refers to as “a show for super geeks, made by super geeks.”
They’re not trying to appeal to anyone else, either. Rather, they’ll “forever be going full speed on the references of nerd humor,” Hill said.
Taking this route makes things easier in some ways. They don’t have to think whether the community will get its jokes. “Anything that we think is funny we put in, and if we get it, we know the audience will too,” he said. “Because our audience is the kind of geeks that we are, we can operate with the knowledge that everybody who watches this show is smart, funny and quick, and wants these kind of references.”
Since nobody has taken this route, Glitch has become, in many ways what Hill calls a “celebration of the culture.”
But he also knows “the culture is seen by outsiders as a little childish.” Things like painting figurines and hanging out playing video games. But anyone who has soldiered through all that knows it has its charm. Hill said “when you remove yourself from the real world, you get the chance to comment on humanity with a little more punch, a little more accuracy.”
“So we know there’s something great here, but we all start out as kid-geeks, and the transition to being responsible adults, without giving up all this stuff we love, can be a little awkward,” he said.
The show takes this into account. Hill said it doesn’t focus on these things exclusively, “but it’s infused in every episode, at least a little.”
The main character, Glitch, and his friends are getting older, “but like everyone in our generation, they’re not giving up the video games, or the X-men movies, because dammit they’re awesome,” Hill said.
“I think we’re all going through that in our own ways, and some are more successful than others. But we can all relate to it,” he said. “We’re trying to make our characters something besides stock geek cliches. So I think an audience can really identify with what they’re going through, even when the storylines are a little crazy and over the top.”
They’ve already worked out the first six episodes in the first season, and have started planning out season 2 and season 3. Hill and Sutherland are raising funds through Kickstarter to help finish the production.
Each season will follow a different phase of one of the three character’s lives. “We don’t want to give away what yet, but as we go through the various phases of the show, it’ll open things up for more kinds of storytelling,” Hill said.
On a personal note, I was given an early screening of the first episode, and I can honestly say the show is genuinely funny. Hill said the humor usually starts with him seeing if he can make himself laugh, and then he goes from there. “I try to crack myself up first—since I watch as much as I can, I figure if I can make myself laugh, then I’ll test it against the other people on the team.”
The humor pulls from a few of his favorite comedies “and a lot of British stuff.” But its all completely, utterly nerdy at heart—and with a lot of subtle, reminiscent jokes.
“We focus a lot on older references,” Hill said. “But that’s because I feel like it will help the show stay contemporary—comedies that make jokes about the immediate now become dated, but this show is hearkening back to our childhoods; which, it will always be our childhoods.”
And comedy aside, it’s a show about growing up as a geek and staying a geek through all of life’s roads.
“I very much enjoy anyone who attempts to create a real representation of our people—because nerds are my people man,” Hill said. “I love the documentary Trekkies, you know? Warts and all. The docs on LARPers too. Because I know what it’s like to love something so much you can’t let it go. I feel that way about the whole thing. I think every true geek, from the coolest to the lamest to the downright scary, has something the rest of society will never know.”
[box_light]Images courtesy of Tyler Hill[/box_light]