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I used to use my LJ for geeking out over random (sometimes VERY random) things. So now that I'm here at DW, going to do that in this blog, even though I have approximately 5 readers total and I'd have to guess that not a single one of you has even heard of what I'm about to geek out over....

So... in the early 1990s there was a cartoon called ExoSquad. It ran for 2 seasons and it had been created in an attempt to be an American anime, since dubbed anime had become popular over here. It was about mecha and space war and was inspired by World War II and was really impressive. I knew precisely no one who watched it. When I first saw it, I was about 14 years old. I caught an episode during a snow day or snow delay and was intrigued. I started setting my VCR to record episodes every morning (I think there were 2 a day at this point; it was already canceled and in repeats when I started watching it.)

[Note that I recorded 2 minutes before and after everything I set a timer for, just in case the clock was messed up in some way. This means that along with every episode of ExoSquad, I also recorded the credits for some show about robots. The credits were entirely in rap. While these tapes still exist, I don't have access to them, so I don't know what show this was, but I can picture it and one day I'll have to find a way to hunt it down.]

Anyway, at 14, despite having wonderful best friends, I was embarrassed to like this show. I did not think said wonderful friends would understand and they wouldn't have gotten into it like I did. (In retrospect, maybe they would have, maybe they wouldn't have.) Since this was circa 1994, I hopped onto America Online and found me a discussion board about the show. I lurked. It wasn't a super active board, since, as I mentioned, the show as already canceled by this point, but it was nice to not be alone in my love of this kids show. And when my favorite character was killed (spoiler for a 20+ old show, I guess), it was to this message board I turned in a panic. (I can't remember having a favorite character killed of in a show before that. I mean, since then, yeah, of course, as I've been a fan of the Joss Whedon-verse, Supernatural and Game of Thrones, so it's a common occurrence at this point.)

So Exosquad was my first fandom, long before I knew the term fandom. And two of the characters (Alec and Maggie) were my first 'ship, long long before I knew what shipping was.

In retrospect, this show was really good for me, in many ways. I mean, I was already a sci fi fan, so that wasn't new. But the fact that this show about space pilots had gender integrated squads, and no one made a fuss about it, in show, with the women just as capable (sometimes more) than the men? Well, it mattered. Maybe I didn't know it at the time, but it mattered. (This is the same time in my life that I spent frustrated and angry a lot, arguing with people about gender equality a lot. In this same time period, for example, I had a history teacher who literally called Abigail Adams "Some broad" and argued with me about women's importance in history. I needed this kind of entertainment. And the fact that it was aimed at children? And it wasn't putting this equality as a Message front and center? That was huge.)

These days, every once in a while-- about annually, actually-- I get in the mood to either watch this cartoon or find something as good as it in the same genre. I'm almost always disappointed. (Note: please feel to recommend character/plot driven space opera in the comments.) Early last month I got pretty sick and was laid up for about 4 days (and then coughed for another 6 weeks when it became walking pneumonia and I was too stubborn to see a doctor. I digress.) I went through a space opera phase that week and dug out my DVD of Exosquad. I watched the first 13 episodes (the only ones on DVD) pretty much straight through. (It's a 20 minute cartoon and I wasn't capable of getting out of bed anyway, so don't judge me too harshly.) Then I hunted down the second season. (I wouldn't pirate things if they were legally available, so again, don't judge me!)

Then I went to Connooga with [personal profile] pyrite and upon seeing all the cosplay and while planning future cosplay, decided I was going to cosplay as an ExoSquad character, even though no one is going to know who the F I'm dressed as. FORTUNATELY, Pyrite is an enabler, even though she has no idea what this show is, so this is a plan that is going to happen (although it will take time as it requires brightly colored 1990s-future armor. Also, a wig. A lot of work, is what I'm saying. A lot of work do create a costume no one will recognize. Ahh, geekdom.)

In the past year or so, I've also gotten into podcasts. Not many, to be fair. There are only a couple that I listen to routinely. (Hidden Almanac every MWF, What the Folklore? every Tues/Sun, and to which I donate on Patreon because I love it so much, and occasionally various others as the mood strikes but not routinely.) On a whim I searched PlayerFM (which I use for WTFolkore) for ExoSquad. And HOLY CRAP THERE'S A PODCAST. (If any of this post sounds amusing, you should check out said podcast, called "ExoSquad Goals".) I don't think I can explain what this means to me. Three guys talking about ExoSquad -- taking it seriously (but also being hilarious), looking at it like a real text, like it matters.

Remember, I felt like this show was a guilty secret when I was a teen, and non-existent as an adult. I was so embarrassed about liking this show that when I found some of the toys at KayBee on clearance, and bought a couple, I hid them. From who?! I have no idea! My parents wouldn't have cared. I made up some excuse about them, that since they were on sale I bought them as inspiration for the sci fi I was writing at the time. To be fair, I did spend most of my time writing, but who needs an excuse to buy a toy?! And no, no one ever asked me about them anway.

So yeah, I'm pretty damned pleased about this podcast and getting to geek out over this show.

I'm not saying that ExoSquad was perfect. Like just about every mainstream piece of media, it has its issues. (And terrible hairstyles.) There are a few episodes that make me cringe. But it was also ahead of its time and just what I needed at 14.

August 2017

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