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alright since SOMEBODY wanted me to, i’m going to go into detail about why i feel the entire sober gamzee plotline was the worst part of homestuck. if you don’t care, please stop reading.
click here to read more…. if you dare…..
So, here we have Gamzee. During Hivebent, and shortly after, he is undoubtedly the most worthless troll. His entire existence is just a joke about drugs and an internet meme. He’s an idiot stoner who sits around rambling about miracles and being an obnoxious dipshit to his friends. Characters don’t come any less complex than Gamzee.
Right from his first conversation with Karkat, we are introduced to the main reason why I hate him. Gamzee tells Karkat, and the audience, that he and Karkat are best friends. Gamzee’s insistence that this is their relationship is all we have to go on. Even though Karkat treats Gamzee just like he does to every other one of his non-Kanaya friends. I never really get the impression that Karkat was particularly fond of Gamzee over, say, Nepeta. He just seemed like a dumbass that got the impression that he and Karkat were BEST BROS FOREVER. Gamzee doesn’t even seem like the kind of guy Karkat would like. He’s unbelievably stupid, and determined to stay that way. Why would Karkat like him? We never actually get to explore their relationship, because Andrew decided that just telling us that they’re best friends is enough.
Compare Karkat’s relationship with Sollux and Terezi. Karkat and Sollux are both assholes who seem to enjoy arguing with each other, and at the same time, we see Karkat apologize for the first time after a particularly heated argument. We didn’t need Gamzee telling us that they’re best friends (which he did) because we can tell based on their interactions. And if we took away that one “<3” Karkat sent Terezi, we can still get an impression that he has flushed feelings for her. The entire conversation before the heart did a great job implying that, the actual heart was just a confirmation. His friendship with Gamzee, on the other hand, needed to be stated to us, or else we might think Gamzee was just another troll to Karkat, no more important to him than Feferi or Tavros.
And hey, let’s compare Karkat and Gamzee to Tavros and Gamzee. They actually seem like really good friends! If Gamzee called Tavros his best friend, I would believe it. Because that’s how they come off. Tavros and Gamzee seem like they would be best friends. Karkat and Gamzee just come off as an angry guy being annoyed by an annoying clown.
His friendship with Karkat is actually a rather minor point that I wrote four paragraphs about. Karkat and Gamzee being best friends on its own doesn’t annoy me. My point is that everything important about Gamzee is told to us, instead of shown. Karkat and Gamzee had to be best friends in order for later plot points to work, so they are. Instead of developing their relationship, and showing us that Karkat cares about Gamzee, Gamzee is ignored throughout the comic and treated as a worthless joke character in order to make the twist where he goes crazy even more shocking.
So during Hivebent, Gamzee is obviously the least developed troll. All he really did was help develop Equius a little, and it was pretty funny, but he’s always the idiot stoner comic relief. Still, at this point, Gamzee isn’t completely terrible. His only real problem is that he’s the comic relief in a story where all the main characters are hilarious and interesting. But he hardly showed up in Hivebent. I think Nepeta is the only character with fewer appearances. So he’s alright. He’s just a bullshit minor character who’s popular with the fans.
Then during Act 5 Act 2 we get this update which is actually decent foreshadowing towards Sober Gamzee. I’ll admit that. When it first came out, it seemed like just a joke, but then it turned out Gamzee went crazy later on. It’s a good update, which makes Gamzee all the more disappointing.
wow wasnt i supposed to be talking about sober Gamzee instead. WHOOPS.
Then [S] Wake happened. For the first time in Homestuck, a character died for real. Tavros’s character arc came to a tragic end, where his newfound confidence got him nothing but a lance through the chest. About a week later, Feferi died. She really never did anything, but it was still sad and made Eridan seem like a credible threat. Kanaya’s death, on the other hand, was shocking, because Kanaya can’t die! She’s a major character! Oh my god!
To make matters worse, Gamzee ran out of pie, and now he wants to kill all the motherfuckers. Once again, I will admit that the first Sober Gamzee pesterlog was very effective. It was creepy as fuck. In fact, I’m going to admit that for about the first month since he appeared, Sober Gamzee was actually a really good character. Of course, on his own, he’s boring and one dimensional, but dear god was he terrifying. He was less of a character and more like an unstoppable monster. I didn’t care about his personality or motivation. All I cared about was that there was this big scary bad guy who wanted to kill the characters I loved (much like Jack, who is basically sober Gamzee done right.) A small honk in the background could change the tone of a scene from goofy crime scene investigation to survival horror. It seemed like at any moment, Gamzee could have shown up and killed Karkat or Terezi.
Of course, there were still problems with him during this time. The biggest one I had was Karkat saying that Gamzee was the most powerful troll, who can do more damage than Vriska’s perfect dice roll. Not only is this another example where we’re told something about Gamzee instead of it being shown, it makes no sense. Why is Gamzee more powerful than God Tier Vriska, using Ancestral Awakening even? Why did Karkat bring up Eridan as an afterthought, even though he just killed one of his closest friends? It felt like Andrew was trying way too hard to make Gamzee into a credible threat like Vriska and Eridan, but couldn’t think of a way that didn’t involve specifically stating that he’s a bigger threat than them.
EDIT 11/1/12: Also, going back to my point that Karkat and Gamzee’s friendship was handled horribly, I’d like to remind everyone that before papshooshing him, the first idea that comes to Karkat’s mind for dealing with Gamzee was to order Equius to kill him.
The moment his best and closest friend went insane, even though this sort of thing should be expected in troll society and they have an entire fucking system of romance specifically designed to deal with this situation, Karkat’s first instinct was to get someone to kill him. He didn’t even seem bothered or upset about doing this, like he was doing something awful but necessary. He seemed pretty alright with the idea of Equius killing Gamzee and was actually pissed off when Equius refused. This was probably the final nail in Karkat/Gamzee’s coffin. Karkat didn’t hesitate or seem the least bit saddened by the possible death of his dear friend Gamzee, and yet after he murders Equius and Nepeta (one who Karkat was shown to genuinely care for during [S]Kanaya: Return to core,) he immediately forgives him and pacifies him instead.
“[s] Equius: Seek the highb100d” and the updates after it, was the high point of Sober Gamzee’s run. It was, to put it bluntly, completely terrifying. An entire update dedicated to Equius and Nepeta being adorable moirails, before suddenly taking a turn for the survival horror. You just knew these two were going to die. You didn’t want them to die, because Equius and Nepeta are actually good characters, but it was obvious that they would run into him and he would murder them. Even after their deaths, I was afraid that the murders weren’t over. Two minor characters die, (Tavros and Feferi, Equius and Nepeta) then a major one. (Kanaya, ???) Looking back, it should have been obvious that Andrew would only have Gamzee kill the only people less important than him.
For a while, I tried to figure out why Gamzee stopped being threatening to me. Updates where Gamzee was literally in the same room as an unaware Terezi, or holding a Warhammer of Zillyhoo over a crying Karkat just didn’t scare me as much as a small honk in the corner used to. I think I found the reason for this. This update right here.
It’s not just the fact that getting kicked in the balls made him seem less threatening. It didn’t help, but it’s not the main reason. The reason is that Kanaya is the one who is kicking him in the balls. The only reason I felt that Karkat and Terezi were in danger at any point was because Eridan killed Kanaya earlier. Her death gave the impression that anyone could die, regardless of importance. Since Eridan used to be a pathetic joke like Gamzee, it was possible that Gamzee would do the same and kill a main troll. With Kanaya coming back to life, everyone was safe from Gamzee, except maybe Sollux. Vriska already survived an encounter with him, if she was going get killed, it would probably be by Jack or Terezi. And Sollux has been talking about how he’s going to die since the start of Hivebent, so the only tension in his story was when he was going to bite it. Unless you’re some kind of huge Sollux fan like my best friend is, you probably weren’t too worried about him.
(Fun fact, my friend was only concerned about Sollux because he didn’t want his favorite character to be killed by a shitty character like Gamzee. He told me he would be happy if Sollux died by blindly walking off a cliff instead)
(Also, am I the only one who didn’t think for a second that Jack actually killed the trolls? The first thing I thought when I saw this was “Why bother bringing Kanaya back if you’re just going to kill her again?” Kanaya’s revival made it so I never thought the main trolls were in danger, even when I was looking right at their dead bodies.)
Sober Gamzee first appeared on January 24th. Kanaya came back to life and kicked him right in the subjugglators on February 16th. That’s less than a month where Gamzee was an effective villain. When was Gamzee finally stopped? August 22nd. Six months later. He did absolutely nothing in that span of time. Okay, so he was responsible for the “Terezi fucks around in the secret room” part. But that didn’t accomplish anything. Terezi already thought Vriska killed Feferi, Nepeta, and Equius. This entire part only exists to make Gamzee seem like a cunning, manipulative villain. Even though he was previously characterized as a bloodthirsty psychopath. So now not only is he stronger than Vriska, more evil than Eridan, and more manipulative than Terezi, but he’s also inconsistent. Why does he even need to get Terezi to kill Vriska? He’s more powerful than her, and if she died trying to stop him, that would probably count as a heroic death. She does want to protect her friends after all.
So after six months of absolutely nothing happening, we are finally reaching the climax of Gamzee’s story. At this point, I am sick of him. I don’t care. When I saw the picture of Karkat covered in Gamzee’s blood, I got excited. The idea that Gamzee died off-screen made me happy. I didn’t want a satisfying ending; because Andrew just dragged it out for so long. Eridan’s death was awesome because he was such a despicable character, and it didn’t take forever for him to get his comeuppance. Sure it was anticlimactic, but it was an awesome and hilarious anticlimax. Gamzee being quietly written out of the comic would have been perfect for a character whose story could have ended four months ago with no change to the plot.
And that’s it. That is the end of a plotline that lasted almost eight months. Andrew’s usually a master at anticlimaxes, but god damn. I can hardly put into words how much I hate this update. Gamzee gets away with everything, and his only punishment is literally a pap on the nose. Karkat forgiving Gamzee is fine, they are “best friends” after all, but it was done so badly. Couldn’t they have talked at least? Nope, it had to be FUNNY. Ugh, fuck this update.
Okay so Gamzee wants to make out with Tavros. Comes out of nowhere, doesn’t go anywhere. It’s just what I expected from a romance involving Gamzee. Moving on.
Fuck, this update. This fucking update. This is everything wrong with Gamzee, right here. He talks to Dave, one of the funniest and best written characters in the comic, and he hardly says anything. All Dave does is talk about how awesome Gamzee is, and that he’s the best troll. Gamzee just rambles on about how Dave ruined his religion, which we already know. Cal’s apparently evil too, that’s kind of dumb. But I’m going to focus on one thing here.
Apparently chucklevoodoos are some kind of power that subjugglators have. They can influence fear in other people, which is why the highbloods were able to stay in power over the more numerous lowbloods. Gamzee used these chucklevoodoos in order to create the harlequin doll in John’s dreams, which caused his wall writings, which led to Dad buying the harlequin doll that got prototyped and led to Jack rebelling against the Queen and becoming Bec Noir.
The problem is that Gamzee was never implied to have these powers before.Gamzee just suddenly got superpowers in order to be responsible for Bec Noir.
Imagine if Vriska never used her mind powers until she put John to sleep and let Bec get prototyped. That would be fucking stupid as hell. She can’t just say “Oh yeah, I had the power to put humans to sleep all along!” We knew she had these powers long before they became important. Andrew just pulled these out of his ass in order to shoehorn Gamzee into Bec Noir’s creation. Chucklevoodoos are a cool concept, but they only exist for this sole purpose. And then Andrew talks about how MAYBE HE WAS USING THEM ALL ALONG. Would have been cool if that was at least implied anywhere other than Formspring.
One of MSPA’s most famous traits is how it takes minor details and turns them into huge plot points. Usually this feels very natural, but in Gamzee’s case, I feel like Andrew was trying to do that from the beginning. It feels forced, like he avoided doing anything with Gamzee just so he can surprise everyone by making him the most important character in Homestuck. I think Gamzee could have been a great character, but Andrew needed him to be as worthless as possible up until he went sober.
And that’s the root of everything wrong with Gamzee. Andrew was more concerned with surprising his audience than he was with actually developing Gamzee.
Fuck. I’m on page five on Microsoft word. I think I’m done here. There’s probably a ton of other stuff I could write, but this was already the biggest waste of time ever.