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This is hard.
It's been a bit of a stressful weekend, as my father went into the hospital with chest pains. A stint that had been replaced last year had failed and was replaced again Saturday morning during an angioplasty. I've been concerned, worried. But the procedure seemed to go well, and he was set to go home today. We seemed to have dodged a bullet.
But there was a second gun.
I slept in today. I woke up to two pieces of news:
1. My dad was good. Solid. My sister picked him up at the hospital and took him straight to breakfast. (My mother was annoyed at not being included - but that's a whole other story.) He's home now. I've talked to him. He sounded cheerful. All good.
2. Ed Asner had passed away.
I spent most of the day doing laundry and other mundane tasks. Life goes on, right? It has to. But it's been difficult getting my head around the whole thing. I've gotten many calls and texts today, offering condolences as if I were part of the Asner family. Folks seem to know how close I felt to Ed. But I don't want to exaggerate. Ed was my friend. I hope he knew I was his, as well. But I haven't talked to him in at least a couple of years. (You can partially blame that on the pandemic, I suppose. There are a lot of people I've lost touch with. If anything, this is a reminder to GET in touch. And I'm going to make an effort to do that.) In any case, there are many, many people who knew Ed better than I did, who were closer to Ed than I was.
Nevertheless, at the risk of turning this post into my own self-aggrandizement, I am going to spend a few paragraphs here on the subject of the Ed Asner that I knew and loved.
I was a fan of Ed's long before I met him. Like many, many people, he first entered my awareness playing Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. (Later, I got a kick out of picking him out of reruns, where he usually played the heavy in such series as The Wild Wild West and others.) But as Lou, Ed was simply brilliant. One of the truly classic scenes in all of television is the scene in the TMTMS pilot, where Lou interviews Mary for a job. Do yourself a favor and view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj286uBKCu0
That scene had a major effect on me, even seeing it as a kid.
Now, having just rewatched it, the genius of the writing and the two performances still knocks me out. But there was something else about Lou and Mary. Watching their interactions was a bit like watching my parents. The connection in my mind between Lou and my dad was especially strong.
Ed and my father were two Ashkenazi Jews from the midwest. My dad was from Chicago; Ed, from Kansas City. They were gruff AND loving. They even had mannerisms in common. There was much more, I'm sure, that they DIDN'T have in common. But something connected the two men in my mind. And, meanwhile, my admiration for Asner as a performer knew no bounds. When I saw him in the Lou Grant series, in Rich Man, Poor Man, in Roots, that admiration only increased. When I learned of his activism - and the price he paid for it - that admiration shot through the roof.
Years later, when we had begun pre-production on GARGOYLES, I thought of Ed Asner - or of Lou Grant, at least - as the inspiration for Hudson. In fact, when we held auditions for the role, I wrote at the bottom of the character description that "Hudson hates spunk." This was, of course, a variation on Lou's classic line from the above job interview scene. Now, to be clear, I never imagined we'd get Ed to play the role. I figured he was way too big a star for us to land. But low and behold, a few days later, Ed came in to audition for the part. Later, he told me that when he read the character description, he was initially thrilled. The "Hudson hates spunk" line made him feel like he was a lock to land the role. Then a couple minutes later, he thought that if he didn't land the role it would really be awful. But of course, he immediately understood the character and nailed his audition... only for Jamie Thomason and I to throw him a curveball, asking him to do it again in a Scottish accent. He nailed that, too.
Working with Ed was a joy. He was fun and funny and so supportive. In addition to playing Hudson (and Burbank and Jack Danforth/Dane) on Gargoyles, I also cast him as recurring characters on Max Steel (Chuck Marshak), 3x3 Eyes (Grandpa Ayanokoji), W.I.T.C.H. (Napoleon the talking cat), Young Justice (Kent Nelson) and Rain of the Ghosts (Joe Charone). When casting Peter Parker's late Uncle Ben in The Spectacular Spider-Man, Ed was the only person I ever considered. He always brought so much to each and every role.
And more than that he was a great friend to me. After the first season of Max Steel, when I couldn't find a job for over a year and thought I might have to give up on my writing career, Ed was there, offering me support. We had lunch at Musso & Frank's. He looked at pictures of my kids out of my wallet and told me to laminate them. He introduced me to his son, Matt Asner, a producer. He didn't allow me to wallow in self-pity or to badmouth guys who I believed had done me wrong. He just reassured me that I had ability and would find my way through. He was, in essence, my work dad.
So today, as you might imagine, has been complicated. My dad is home and healthy. And Ed is gone. I'm grateful and sorrowful. And struggling. But life goes on. It has to, right?
Finally, I'm going to quote Hudson from Gargoyles. In "The Price," an episode that spotlighted the character, Ed as Hudson told Xanatos: "A friendly word of advice: True immortality isn't about living forever, man. It's about what you do with the time you have. When all your scheming's done, what will be your legacy, Xanatos?"
I think we all know that Ed Asner did amazing things with the time he had. And though we'll miss him dearly, his legacy is clear and shining.
So, since the askbox is closing soon to get a chance to catch up, I thought I'd finally send in an ask about one of my favorite bits of the new season - Terra's plotline. I'd been hoping to see a Young Justice take on Terra since s2, and when we started seeing the first trailers of the team going to Markovia, I got even more excited. And I was not disappointed! So often Terra is a flat character, a betrayer, a monster, a madwoman - if there's any sympathy towards her, it's usually in a vague tragic backstory of abandonment, or her having a moment of realization before the end and taking Slade down with her (and often with an implication that Slade is the more reasonable, understandable one in the equation.) It was so refreshing to see a take on her that remembered she had been a child, was [i]still[/i] young, and being manipulated and abused by a much older adult - and that made that abuse and manipulation [i]not[/i] a death sentence. Terra doesn't die, she lives, she chooses to face justice - and, in a note I'm particularly fond of, she does all of this not because she's fallen in love with a heroic boy, but because of her platonic and familial bonds - with Artemis, with her siblings, and with Halo. Seeing her finally get to turn her back on Slade, come clean, and [i]live[/i] made the entire finale for me. So thank you for that, and now some questions about Tara Markov herself:
1) Why did Bedlam originally have her kidnapped, then tarred, then sold off? Had Slade's 'rescue' of her been a scheme between those two?
2) How much time passed between her original kidnapping, tarring, and the 'rescue'?
3) Tara can be extremely reticent in the show, often holding back in large conversations (though her glances around, gestures, and expressions have been very interesting to keep an eye out for on my rewatches). When she chooses to speak she's generally very forthright and direct, even if she's not sparing with her words. How did you decide on this pattern for her, and how did you decide on when she'd speak up and when she'd hold back?
4) Tara seemed very reluctant to tell Slade when Gregor was visiting them in America - had she expected the coup to take place, and if so, how did she expect it to end? Once Slade ordered her to kill Gar, what had she thought would happen afterwards?
5) In the ending montage, we see Tara and Halo attending Happy Harbor High, after her trial at the Hague. Even if Snapper Carr smoothed over any legal issues, how did the other students, teachers, and parents react to finding out that a foreign princess assassin had been attending, and would continue to attend, public high school in Rhode Island?
1. DeLamb had learned he was a meta-human and wanted to see if his niece was, too.
1a. In essence, yes.
2. Tara was abducted on July 28th, of Team Year Six. She was meta-activated in early August of that year, and "rescued" by Deathstroke in Early September.
3. It seemed to work for someone who was keeping secrets.
4. Tara was conflicted - and so turned around that the notion of consequences had been blurred to non-existent in her mind.
5. It may have been overshadowed by Fred Bugg revealing himself as Forager. But basically, having two Outsiders at the school was largely applauded by the student population. Some teachers and parents may have been more reticent, but there wasn't any significant protest...
REALLY GLAD OUR VERSION OF TERRA WORKED FOR YOU! I MEAN IT!
Long time Gargoyles Fan, just started rewatching the series on Disney+
I was wondering where Elisaâs Cat, Cagney got its name?
Would she have named him (is it a him), after actor Jimmy Cagney, or more likely after fellow police-woman character, Chris Cagney, from Cagney and Lacey?
A little of Column A. A little of Column B.
Hmm, I haven't asked a question here in a while. So I figured I'd get one in before the temporary close.
Here's one for the timeline. Since I last asked, there have been two Radio Plays at CONvergence. I've watched them both on YouTube and loved them. Abby's singing voice as Miss Martian really impressed me, and Marina as Demona playing almost every character on her IMDB from Queen Bee to Hurrican Julia to Deanna Troi etc amused me greatly. And nobody but the Queen of the Impact Grunt herself could earn a Stunt-Grunter. ;)
Since we've had dates for every other Radio Play...
1. What happened in the Gargoyles Universe on July 2nd, 2016?
2. What happened in the Gargoyles Universe on July 7th, 2018?
I miss the Radio Plays and I cannot wait to attend and hopefully participate in one again.
I miss conventions in general, and CONvergence specifically.
1. No spoilers.
2. No spoilers.
Hey! I'm a recent gargoyles fan (and am currently obsessed), and I actually have a couple of questions about the comics.
1) If you were to ever adapt the comics into a cartoon or a comic dub/radio play, for the comic exclusive gargoyles, like Katana and Gnash, who would your dream cast be for their voices?
2) Also, have you ever thought about adding onto the comic series after "Phoenix", or do you feel like the Clan Building arch is good where it was left and it would be good to move on to a new chapter of the Gargoyles saga?
1. I've learned not to answer that in advance of actual casting. You can't always get the person you're thinking of, and I prefer not to make the actor who actually helps bring the character to life to feel like a second choice.
2. I've been DYING to make more Gargoyles comics and have been trying to sell Disney on the idea ever since.
This question isn't for Greg, but if he can please pass this on to Edmund Tsabard?
Oh, Edmund... when will you bring back Last Tengu In Paris?
Edmund Tsabard was one of the few human beings, EVER, who actually LOST MONEY doing porn. Until or unless he can find a way to reliably monetize his work at Blue Mug Productions... well, let's just say Tsabard isn't altruistic.
Hi Greg. I have a few questions:
1) Why was Jade so absent in season 3?
2) Was there any problem with Kelly Hu?
And since in episode 325 Lian said something like "we need to find Cheshire for Daddy" (if I'm not mistaken):
3) Does Lian know that Cheshire is her mom?
4) In fact, does she even know or remember who her mom is?
And last but not least:
5) Did Will actually believe what Jade said about being a soccer mom and all that?
1. Was she? Did she get significantly more time in Seasons One and Two? If so, I guess the answer is that story drives the use of our characters, as always.
2. No. She was great, as always.
5. Believe? I don't understand.
Hi Greg. There are a few things related to the anti-life equation that I am still unclear on following season three.
1)What was the original purpose of Granny's machine? I ask because it seems to me the only thing it was good for was inflicting pain - without Halo to provide the anti-life equation.
2)I'm still not sure how Halo = the anti-life equation. Could you please try to explain it to me?
3)Thank-you for treating Kirby's anti-life equation seriously. In Kirby's fourth world mythology, the equation was something very specific. Some other depictions depict it very vaguely. You didn't. You did your homework. Thanks.
4)What did you think of the Hunger Dogs as an ending to Jack's Fourth World saga?
5)How are you?
1. It created the ability to spread the Ghost Dimension ad infinitum.
2. Halo does not equal the anti-life equation. She's part of its mathematical formula. Watch the episode again. Granny spells it out mathematically with a lot of clarity.
3. We try.
4. I try to avoid offering up those kinds of reviews on DC Comics stuff, as I don't want people to tie my opinions to what may or may not happen on Young Justice.
5. Can't complain. (I mean I do complain all the time, but really I shouldn't.) I'm employed (at least through early November), and everyone in my family is healthy. So, really, I'm doing great. Thank you.
Hello. I'm the anonymous 7 posts back who asked about Icon not being at the big meetup in Nevermore, and I realized that I just missed his name in Guy's list. Whoops.
I'm also the anon who asked about the A-series designations between Tye Longshadow and Dolphin. As was the case with that question, I assume I'm gonna get a big old "SPOILER REQUEST" for most of this, but maybe you're in a sharing mood.
1. Did El Dorado and Cyborg receive B-series designations upon their joining the Outsiders?
2. On the Young Justice backpack that was given away at SDCC 2019, some characters had designations listed with their names. Should the ones not used in the show be considered canon? (I'm thinking specifically of the Z-series for "Batman, Inc." and Stone, Victor G-08.)
3. If Vic is G-08, and Halo is G-03... care to reveal who are G-04, G-05, G-06, and G-07? The only possible option I can come up with is Dr. Jace.
4. There are three Z-series designations missing on said bag (Z-03, Z-04, and Z-06). Should I assume they are Plastic Man, Hardware, and Metamorpho (in that order or another)?
5. Long shot time. Will you reveal the League designations between Aquaman 27 and Steel 36?
Thanks for your time!
2. They are accurate (if now, as of the end of Season Three, outdated).
3. No spoilers.
4. No spoilers (but you're two-thirds right).
Dear Mr. Weisman,
First off, big fan of Gargoyles, even though I was born after the show ended. I only have one question I would like to ask you, if that's alright:
1. Is there an official backstory for Jeffrey Robbins? I wrote a fanfiction featuring him, and couldn't find an official backstory to him from before the start of the show, so I made one up about him and his family. However, I was wondering if there was an actual timeline or something with his history.
That's basically all I have to say. Have a great day, and thank you again for your time!
I'm not sure what you mean by "official backstory". We know he served in Vietnam and was blinded there, teaching himself to read braille and becoming a successful novelist after. Anything beyond that (or other details already revealed in the series) is basically a spoiler.