Cover art by Ron “AAlgar” Watt. Click to see full-sized.

Credits

Duncan Boszko - Kevin Kutchington, Caller 1, Deputy Troyhamun, Teenage Billy, Clorm, Clam Bindle

Mark Boszko - Tron S8dghenthe, Case Kutchington, Dr. Mutterschaft, Sheriff Trace Irons, Professor Ace Kutchington, Afghan Bellhop, Dennis, Agent Raines

Kristy Brannon - Trojan Malloy, Felicity Brimstone, Cathorn Zirconia, Evelette Virino, A Ghost

Robert Cooper - Satan

Terry Drosdak - Gondola VanDerBork, Candida Prim

Brian Lynch - Errol (deceased), Sheriff Bax Magma, Jad Cortland, Narrator

Kara O'Connor - Dr. Kale Minofen, Zyzzyx Jones, Caller 2, Erasure Delacruz, Profeto, Chrisly Sinuous, DiDi, Cat the Daog

Caitlin Obom - Casistro, Sheriff Metalious Steele, July Virino, Felton, Giselle Geroux

Matt Rowbotham - Kevin the cow, Aaron Faucet, Nick, The Bear, Sandra

Nicole Santora - Vatican St. Corby, Ottawa St. Corby, Tanda St. Corby, Fawn, Caller 3, Clover, Tangus

Amanda Smith - Ravina, Mary Madison (deceased), Saltness O'Hallarhan, Sinder

Sabrina Snyder - Pernicia Cortland-Tartár, Hibiscus Jørgensen, Caller 4, Pierre Von Frank-Bob,

Jason Wallace - Broyce Champson, Joe Conklin, Cleg Jørgensen, Not Spider-Man, Psychic, Lanx Kontakto, Jim, Neighbor, Cephalapuss, Domingo

Ron “AAlgar” Watt - Gart Champson (deceased), Presidents Wilson, Truman, Hoover, Bush, Pierce, McKinley and Harrison, Angus the cow, Lojack Cortland, Willikins, Mikey After Midnight, Cooter, Frank, Niff, Himself, Glenn Irons, Sinjoro, Playground kid, Emerati Bellhop, Agent Ocean, Doug

Written by Ron “AAlgar” Watt with Kristy Brannon, Kara O'Connor, Matt Rowbotham and Amanda Smith

Directed by Ron “AAlgar” Watt

© 2017-2018 AAlgar Productions

Annotations

Season 3, episode 1: “Myriad”

• Here's a note!

Season 3, episode 2: “What’s That Stand For?”

• Here's a note!

Season 3, episode 3: “A Jørgensen Scørned”

• Aw, I missed the cows. Making Tron potentially schizophrenic was the perfect “in” for reviving one of my favorite pairs of characters from SV.

• Kevin the Cow did, indeed, run for President. It did not go well for him, as indicated here.

There is also no law on the books that says a goose can't be sheriff.

• It was originally my intention to imply that the 2016 election went a different way in the SV universe, but I guess Kevin's smug comment here about “everything turning out okay” kind of undermines that. Nevertheless, I'm in no hurry to add our 45th Chief Executive to my ever-shortening list of Presidential voices.

• Cleg Jørgensen was a soap opera archetype we hadn't done yet, but I'd seen a lot of them in my research — that white-haired dude who's clearly the patriarch of whatever dumb thing that particular soap is about. Usually it's the one actor who's managed to stick around for 30-40 years, so you can sort of see the original rugged handsomeness he was cast for, only now he's more of a silver fox-type. As he does with pretty much anything I throw at him, Jason completely nailed this... though it took us a few episodes to completely hone in on what Cleg's whole deal was.

• I just could not let Zyzzyx Jones go. And I'm glad I stopped trying in this season.

• People do put a lot of work into this!

• People on soap operas are always going on about their “birthrights.”

• Sabrina did a great job with the constantly lovesick Hibiscus. The character never completely gelled for me entirely for writing-related reasons. This “falls in love with everyone she sees” schtick was okay at first, but I wasn't really sure what her next step should be and then I sort of got caught up in other plotlines and forgot she existed entirely. I feel kind of bad about that, to be honest.

• I was a little disappointed I couldn't make Jad sound more autotuned. That's a tricky effect when the lines are read as... you know, lines. I probably should have asked Brian to sing his lines. Lesson learned... for the next time I want to replace a tracheotomied character with autotune.

• I really wanted to focus more on the dumb corporate intrigue stuff this season and, while it took me awhile to get things completely where I wanted them, this Cleg vs. Jad scene was a good start.

• “Being a patriarch doesn't necessarily mean you're a part of the patriarchy” was one of those lines I threw in because I knew Amanda would like it.

• Characters in two different soaps I'd watched had been “exiled to France,” which just... doesn't seem like a thing that would happen to someone in the 21st century?

• What is the deal with Saltness?

• T-Dro did a great job as Gondola VanDerBork, a character who would become more prominent as season three progressed. But her audio quality was... less than ideal. Which we then made some very mean jokes about in subsequent episodes.

• Gondola being unflappable in the face of a gruesome serial killing, as well as being pretty well-versed in the general MO of same, was based on T-Dro's passion for serial killers.

• I don't love a mystery either, Kevin. I think that's pretty apparent from this story.

• Of course Jad still retains his handicaps in the afterlife. That's long-established SV canon at this point.

• This “cows can't see the ghost/ghost can't hear the cows” bit was very classic vaudevilley-style comedy and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. I'm not too good for dumb setups like that.

• That hatch is, indeed, from season one, Tron!

• Those rising strings and someone saying “shall we begin?” is one of my least favorite tropes in anything, ever.

Season 3, episode 4: “Don’t Get Too Close!”

• The title of this episode refers to a cheesy line of dialogue that was repeated ad infinitum in TV's Hannibal, a show that many people I know were extremely passionate about. I was, as it turns out, not impressed.

• Duncan brought a really good characterization to Deputy Troyhamun... though, in retrospect, I don't think any of us realized he was doing something a bit similar to his Crazy David from seasons one and two. It still works, though. You've certainly run into two people in your life who have similar voices, right? Even if they weren't mummies or aliens from the sun.

• Neck and knuckle cracking does not impress me either, Tron.

• I had always planned for Dr. Minofen to secretly be an FBI agent, but the original plan was a lot more involved than that. The serial killer was meant to be a CIA (or something) agent, who was posing as a different thing... and it was going to be this unending series of reveals meant to parody... basically about 50% of television. But then I got bored with that and, more importantly, I grew concerned that making things overly complicated might drive away our listeners.

• Gondola getting stuck taking care of Jad's flamingo was meant to be a one-off joke in this episode, but (as you'll see as the season progresses) it became a major part of Gondola's arc.

• Here, as promised, is some merciless taunting of T-Dro's horrible recording setup. What do the kids say? Sorry-not-sorry?

• One of the fun things about moving the story into the 21st century was imagining what each character's ringtone might be. Minofen's was Heart's “Barracuda” for no reason other than I always wanted to associate that song with a tough woman character.

• This “I definitely believe you're on the other end of this phone call” bit is a dig at an extremely painful scene from the Twin Peaks revival, where Sheriff Harry Truman was obviously on the phone despite the fact that the actor who originally played him didn't come back.

• Something I really wanted to do with Contentment Corner was get things to the point at which the plot didn't matter nearly as much as the characters. Putting Minofen and Cleg in a room together is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind — just watching two reasonably well-established characters bounce off one another for a few minutes. This would very much inform the second half of the season, once we sorted out some of our more convoluted plot elements.

• “Que sera, vici” is one of my better terrible wordplay jokes.

• That is, indeed, a cameo by Willikins. I'd been trying to work that one in since we established that Zyzzyx spent a semester in England.

• I usually don't love asking a performer to play two different characters in the same scene (or, in this case, in a flashback and the scene bookending the flashback), but Kara was very much up to the challenge. Her Agent Minofen and her Zyzzyx are incredibly distinctive voices.

• I actually wasn't 100% sure who the serial killer was after I'd decided not to go with my dumb original plan. We happened to establish the deputy skeleton/mummy a couple of episodes back and this idea just fit everything perfectly. (One of my favorite parts about writing is when I think up the perfect puzzle piece for a plot.)

• I've done this “at your service” joke a lot. Because that expression makes zero sense to me.

• “Frankenstein...'s monster” is another of my favorite terrible wordplay jokes. I'm trying not to just point out “jokes I'm happy with” in these annotations, but sometimes I can't help it.

• “Call for help” is another reference to the revival of Twin Peaks. That show ended up being a colossal disappointment for me, but I was still completely fascinated by it while it was airing and I couldn't resist throwing in references from time to time.

• YAY! AARON!

Season 3, episode 5: “Unfathomable”

• One of the best things — if not the best thing — about bringing the story forward to the present was that we could finally just use “completely out of his goddamn mind Aaron Faucet.” He was, of course, well on his way there when we last saw him at the end of season 2. But I wanted to see if we could actually work in some old school Aaron like in the sketches while continuing to tell a story. And I think we pulled it off!

• That being said, some of these calls were a bit weak. This is largely because I wrote them all myself. Matt brings an essential element to Aaron that I simply cannot duplicate and I think that really shows here.

• Oh hey, it's Mikey After Midnight again!

• “Gwadoline” is a deep cut from my embarrassing childhood — that was the name I gave Princess Leia and Han Solo's daughter in the Star Wars fanfic I came up with at age nine. There are a lot of seriously deep cuts from my embarrassing past in this one. Some of it worked; some of it didn't... but it did clear out a lot of material from the ol' notebooks.

• Yep, Cooter and the Bear are still doing their thing!

• “Wind up your radios, Faucetites and Faucetoids” is Aaron's version of Dr. Demento's standard intro.

• This dig at Garrison Keillor came well before he was revealed to be a super-creep. I didn't exactly feel bad about this joke before, but now I feel like a hero for making it!

• Speaking of references to the Twin Peaks revival... this Winchester Tires spot is literally just a scene from that. It just fit so perfectly.

• I don't think I meant to point out that I'd duplicated the name “Tron S8dghenthe” from an early Aaron sketch, but once I decided to work Aaron into the story it felt like I had to acknowledge it.

• Fawn is another incredibly deep cut that nobody but me cares about. She's based on a not-funny-enough-to-bother-retelling story involving me, Bob and Mark Darin. We tried to turn this vaguely remarkable encounter into a recorded comedy sketch, which was terrible. So it went into the oft-referenced notebook for Someday Recycling... and someday finally came.

• This M&M story was also from that notebook. It was not really worth recycling, upon reflection.

• I was obsessed with what the hell Pac Man was supposed to be when I was a kid. And I thought it was the absolute height of hilarity to wonder this out loud. Again, I probably should have left most of this garbage in my notebooks. Or just thrown the notebooks away. Not every idea I've ever had is gold. (Hey, sometimes I pat myself on the back for jokes... sometimes I beat myself up for them. You never know what I'm gonna do!)

• Somehow, early on in our coverage of Star Trek: Enterprise on the Post Atomic Horror podcast, we had trouble distinguishing Malcolm from Trip. It seems weird now, but that's what that joke was about.

• I like Aaron using his callers as a weapon against people who annoy him.

• This jealousy/envy joke was another one for Amanda.

• This interminable “JFK's brain” bit is, I think, the last of my ill-advised ancient notebook material. It was part of an aborted story I originally called JFK II: The New Batch and then, as Tron mentions here, Hey You Cyberpunks, Get Out of My Yard! Honestly, that latter title is the only thing I should have kept from any of this.

• Aaron leaves so Nick can appear. Obviously.

• This Nick appearance actually is something from this episode that I'm happy with. Not only do I get to do more dumb world-building, but it actually gives this seemingly directionless episode a bit of an arc, because Nick has been long-established as a character with meta-awareness. So who better to lead Tron to the next beat of his character development?

• Do, indeed, be sure to check out the Adventures of Nick and Willikins adventure game!

• By an extremely weird coincidence, Spider-Man: Homecoming was in theaters the week I wrote this episode and I'd just seen it. Not that that has a thing to do with what happens here. (Whatever voice it is that Jason's doing here, though... I love it and I always have.)

• Action is a terrible reward!

• Sometimes there just isn't an outtake, because everyone reads their lines flawlessly the first time. (Or at least they don't mess up in a hilarious way.)

Season 3, episode 6: “The Three Faces of Miss St. Corby”

• I had intended to tell the whole story of Tanda/Vatican/Ottawa St. Corby in a different episode, where it could be given room to breathe and not feel like it was conflicting with other plotlines that were obviously headed in certain directions. But scheduling this many performers on a biweekly basis sometimes meant that I couldn't plot things exactly the way I'd originally planned. Which, all things considered, was actually a good thing... I really got to work on my "make this seem like it was the plan all along" skills. Which I'm sort of undermining by writing this annotation, I realize.

• Saltness' “I can help!" is inspired by the Minsky robot in Fargo season three.

• I forgot that I'd cut through the expositional bullshit and just had Hibiscus say "oh, so this is what's going on?" Nicely done, Past Me.

• Nicole did an amazing job playing three different characters with effectively the same voice. I feel like she was a bit frustrated by the impossible things I was asking her to do, but in my defense... she just kept doing them, so I kept asking!

• That ice cream thing happens to me a lot.

• I love Ottawa's pointless speeches a lot.

• This pop song in the radio is a bit of foreshadowing for episode 11. Kara wrote and performed the song(more about that in the annotations for episode 11), and we were tossing ideas back and forth for months before we finally managed to properly work it into the story. But I'm all for unique, funny background music so I figured we could set it up here and pay it off later.

• Hibiscus' line was originally “show me how to be a patriarch, daddy” and it sounded unsettlingly sexual so I mercifully trimmed that part out.

• Sheriff Magma never quite gelled into the hilarious new law enforcement officer I'd hope he would be. Which is something we'll end up remedying a couple of episodes hence.

• Woah! What a twist! (I was actually really happy with this one.)

• Kara's song really is amazing. And I'm not just saying that because this episode was running really short and including the song helped get us closer to our target length.

Season 3, episode 7: “Be Fearful of What You Wish For”

• This title feels like it could have been a Beyond Belief episode on Thrilling Adventure Hour.

• Boy, Satan is kind of a dick to the audience, isn't he?

• A lot of this “how the universe works” stuff was actually pretty carefully considered against all the other times we've addressed the issue across SV stories. We tried our best to add to the tapestry without directly contradicting anything that came before. Honestly, I don't think anyone but me has ever paid attention to that sort of thing, but it's not a bad skill to build. And it's fun.

• This whole sprite thing is also meant to evoke a bunch of old MST3K shorts — most famously, Mr. B Natural and A Case of Spring Fever.

Pierre Von Frank-Bob, the world-renowned mushroom physicist is a pretty deep SV cut, but I have always loved that character.

• Putting things on top of things is basically how Amanda lives.

• “I wanted to pick a name that was really easy for everyone to say” was me sort of? apologizing for the name “Saltness O'Hallarhan.” But not really.

Death of a Salesman was definitely created by Satan. I hate it so much.

• “Yes, hi, hello” was an awkward catch phrase we used to open SV in the early days.

• I was pretty happy with the idea of Satan continuing to try to interfere with Contentment Corner even after he'd been cast out in season 2.

• Oh hey, it's Niff and Clorm!

• Oh, hey! It's Frank and Sandra! (I was honestly not sure if I'd be able to work those idiots into this thing.)

• The Codex bovem de stercore does indeed mean “bullshit,” which is my general opinion of, you know, magic.

• Erasure is me, regarding her attitude towards D&D. The sudden rise in popularity of D&D podcasts and my resentment of same is also pretty apparent here, I think.

• I gave D&D an earnest try once, some time ago. I played as a Tiefling Warlock, as our character do here. And I basically could choose between one of two actions every single turn into infinity. It was the most boring thing I've ever experienced and I saw Eyes Wide Shut in the theater.

• Satan saying “I don't even see race” was some not-very-subtle social commentary because I am a genius.

• I'm pretty sure Tron breaking the podcast took him to the plane of non-existence that Willikins visited in The Omce and Future Nick.

• I never exactly planned to appear as myself in this show, but I kinda got to the point at which no other ending to this plot made sense. Unless I wanted to take Tron to where the SV station crashed back in SV episode 200. Which I didn't, because one of the cardinal rules of this show is “never leave the town.”

• Here's the Luke Perry sketch in question.

• This did, unfortunately, mean that I was now the narrator. Which I never really wanted. But I'd have that one sorted within a few more episodes, thankfully.

• Take that, Baltimore.

Season 3, episode 8: “Case Reopened”

• Here we enter a weird sort of transitional period. I was fairly happy with how the whole Tron/serial killer plot had resolved, but I didn't exactly have a plan for the next several episodes. So this three-part arc clears away some long-needed exposition and also brings back one of my favorite characters that I'd always regretted killing off.

• Watching someone learn to speak and use a toilet would be unenduringly tedious! I'm looking at you, Dougie from Twin Peaks!

• Amanda's Sinder was never meant to be a recurring character — mostly I just wanted to flesh out the personnel in the sheriff's department. But I ended up needing her for a lot of reasons in this next story and the character actually turned out more interesting than I realized. She's basically Mike from Breaking Bad.

• I feel like any town in a soap opera should have a book like this. (This also gave me a chance to unload a bunch of stuff from my big list of soap clichés that I didn't think we'd ever be getting to.)

• More brilliant impossible acting from Nicole here.

• Vatican has always hated people ruffling her hair. That goes all the way back to the season 1 finale.

• Turns out the St. Corby women have a pretty wicked sense of humor!

• Okay, so here's the real reason why Ottawa, Vatican and Tanda are in the same body: I always felt like our town should have two rival families competing to control whatever industry that town had. When we cast Nicole as Vatican, I didn't give much thought to who would play Ottawa... until we needed Ottawa in the story. And then I realized that I was trapped in a potentially problematic area, because Vatican was a woman of color. Which meant that her mother would be as well. But we only have the one person of color in our cast, and I wasn't sure if it'd be appropriate to cast someone else as Ottawa. (I'm still not completely sure to this day.) So I began to contrive reasons why Ottawa would be off-mic during the story. And then I came up with an excuse to make them both sound the same. And then, when we jumped forward a further generation, I realized there would probably be three of them... so I solved the problem in the most absurdly soapish way I could think of. It's a weird, awkward situation that I painted myself into and I don't mind telling you I'm a little uncomfortable telling it to you now. But it ended up being a pretty major driving force in the way we told this story, so I figured it was worth sharing. I really am trying my best to do the right thing here!

• Felicity did indeed see Case in Hell in the season 2 finale.

• Any opportunity to bring back Jason's absurd psychic character is an opportunity that I relish. I also enjoy writing the terribly mangled rhymes he uses to summon the dead.

• Patting my back on that Enrico Palazzo joke.

• Finally we find out the answer to that burning question on everyone's mind: is Glenn Irons related to the former Sheriff Irons? (Literally nobody but me had that question on their mind.)

• The Compendium Contentmentium will figure prominently into the series finale in about 10 episodes.

• I will never run out of axes to grind via Glenn Irons, re: NPR.

Season 3, episode 9: “Sinder’s Game”

• This is another one of those episodes that went a very different way than what I'd originally planned, largely because of cast availability. The initial outline had this one taking place entirely in Admiral Hospital (GET IT??), where we could do some fun soap opera doctor stuff. We ended up having to go in a different direction and honestly, this might be my least favorite episode of the season because of all the exposition... but I like where we ended up in the next one, so I guess it was kind of worth it?

• I also intended to do something very different with this whole pregnancy plot before realizing I could be taking it to a gross, problematic place. So I put the brakes on that pretty quickly.

• T-Dro tells me that “yes, doctor?” is the most soap opera line I have ever written.

• I would have liked to spend more time with Dr. Mutterschaft, honestly.

• I actually had a WTF? stamp at an old job, and I explained it much the same way.

• I spent a long time on this timeline of sheriffs. Far too long. Nobody cares about this stuff. I know this because I, the guy who created this show, don't care.

• Sinder did, indeed, have the mumps at the time. (This wasn't exactly part of any master plan or anything... it's just a thing we mentioned late in season 1, to allow Vatican to become the only active law enforcement officer in Contentment Corner.)

• The dragonfruit reference comes from Amanda's and my other podcast, We're Trying.

• Part of me wanted to go into more detail about exactly how and why Sheriff Rust was regarded so poorly, but this sequence was already so interminably long that I didn't bother getting into it.

• “Lanx Kontakto” is Esperanto. Which is what I often use when I'm trying to think up a weird name for something or someone.

• I like how this “call the cops” sequence plays out. It's dumb, but it turns out I do dumb pretty well.

• And speaking of dumb, “Clam Bindle” may be the dumbest name I've ever thought up.

Season 3, episode 10: “To Serve Man”

• I actually did some research into multidimensional physics for this one. And then I didn't understand a single goddamn word of any of it and made everything up myself.

• I was most decidedly not meant to play the third of these three multidimensional beings. I had someone else in mind, who ended up not being available. And it was kind of a last-minute thing, so I didn't have time to think up a voice for the character. All in all, this is my least favorite performance in 45 episodes of Contentment Corner. Thankfully, Caitlin and Kara are awesome as their guys so just... you know, listen more to them than to me.

• I also did a bit of research for these characters — specifically, types of trios in classic comedy. I believe I ended up going with something along the lines of "gleeful child" (Caitlin), "cynical middle-aged parent figure" (me), "elder grandparent figure who has regained their sense of wonder" (Kara). Not exactly comedic (maybe more in the classical sense of comedy as “not tragedy”), but it definitely gave each of them a distinctive character to play instead of just being "aliens 1, 2 and 3." Also I'm certain their names are Esperanto versions of the concepts they're meant to embody.

• I do enjoy a good “alien interlopers actually want to help” story and I'm not sure this is a good example of that, but that was my intention here. For all the sinister forces in Contentment Corner, I genuinely believe that most of the people are inherently good and the people in power are earnestly trying to make the town a better place.

• Zyzzyx's tendency to wrestle Ottawa in all manner of liquids comes from her original inspiration, Alexis from Dynasty.

• I had always intended to reveal the connection between Professor Ace Kutchington and his brother Case, and I think this was a bit of a convoluted way to do it... but here we are.

• I hate when science fiction stories spend precious screentime/word count waiting for the characters to believe that the story is actually happening. I hardly ever use that myself when I can help it.

• Chrisley Sinuous, voluntarily under the thrall of Mayor Tyrannus, turned out to be a decent enough character... though obviously I would have preferred to have the actual Mayor in this scene. The performer was, sadly, unavailable that week... so this is our “War Doctor” solution.

• This “building Sheriff Steele” bit was quite obviously lifted from Robocop. I do not apologize for this.

• I met so many people's kids who were grossly unqualified for their jobs in the small town I grew up in. I was actually one of those myself for a time!

• Case and Ace Kutchington both died in season 1.

• “That's not how doors work” turned into a dumb runner for the rest of the season because... I don't know. Because I like doing that sort of thing? Not everything has a profound triple-meaning.

• While I still say this 3-part story was a bit too talky, I was happy with the little arc that I gave Sinder here — turns out she would make a good sheriff after all. I feel like the town is in good hands with her at the helm. Having someone with no tolerance for nonsense is exactly what this nonsensical town needs.

Season 3, episode 11: “Boys Boys Boys”

• It was my intention to break free of the exposition and do a bunch of one-off stories next, starting with this one that I'd been batting around with Kara for a few months. We ended up going in a different direction in the episodes that followed this one, but this was a fun single-serving episode, I thought.

• That being said, a lot of what happens in this one informs the remainder of the season — largely via the introduction of Evelette Virino and establishing Case's whole quest to reclaim his life.

• Evelette is the sister of Malison Virino, who made one appearance in the “graduation lock-in” episode back in season two. It feels more like a small town to me when you occasionally run into two people from the same family. There wasn't particularly any other reason for the connection beyond that.

• Evelette started out as “Lucille Bluth if she had to live in a trailer park,” but was thankfully elevated well beyond that by Kristy's performance.

• Something about the way Caitlin plays July puts me in mind of Kate Micucci. I don't know if that's what she was going for, but I really dig it.

• Contentment Corner still doesn't have a train station, but the tracks do, indeed, run right through the town. It's lose-lose!

• I may be grinding an axe here with the whole “inconvenient streaming app” bit. Maybe. Who can say?

• Nobody likes Cooter and the Bear. Nobody.

• We were obviously drawing on a lot of those old sitcom episodes where a celebrity came to town and interacted with our main characters. That premise — and the character of DiDi herself — was all Kara. Which is probably why this is one of the best episodes we ever did.

• Take that, commercial radio.

• I love the way Jason's Cleg says “Miss Vanderbork.”

• This “equal time” thing was weird and nonsensical, but it barely even scratches the surface of the weird shit that soaps expect us to believe is completely normal in their dumb universes.

• Kara wrote three original songs for this episode and they're all amazing. I mean, I'm gonna be honest: I don't know modern pop music at all. I believe she was going for a sort of Taylor Swift vibe here, but I kinda had to take her word for that. They're catchy and funny and they sound like something you might actually hear on the radio, so that was enough for me. But if they work on additional levels for people with greater pop familiarity, that's even better.

• I really like the way Kara and I collaborated on this episode. I basically created July and got her to DiDi, and then Kara took over as they meet and the sparks fly. A+ experience, would do again.

• Also, god, the voice Kara did for DiDi is the most gloriously obnoxious thing I've ever heard. I love it.

• I just realized there are almost no dudes in this episode. That wasn't even by design, exactly — we'd just gotten to the point where we had enough great women in the cast that this sort of episode just happened naturally on occasion. Which, honestly, is something I'd been aiming for since the beginning. I never wanted to come off like HEY LOOK, THIS PASSES THE BECHDEL TEST! but I did want to create a world where this sort of story unfolded organically sometimes and it just wasn't a big deal.

• Biz Markie's Pickin' Burgers is further proof that I missed my calling as a Guy Who Gives Business Terrible Pun Names.

• I kinda love that Contentment Corner has a sleazy secret underground sex club.

• "Weird-butt sex party" ≠ "weird butt-sex party."

• "You are not a role model! You're not even human! You're a cartoon!" is almost word-for-word the disclaimer that ran before Beavis and Butt-head.

• The soft rubber battering ram joke was... mine, actually. To this point, I'd been a bit hesitant to write explicit sex jokes, mostly because I didn't want to make my performers uncomfortable. But Kara kinda threw down the gauntlet with all of Didi's weird sex stuff, so I felt like we had finally reached the point where it was okay. The rest of this season really felt a lot more like a soap opera to me now that I no longer felt weird writing about the main thing in every soap opera ever.

Season 3, episode 12: “The Flamingo ’round Her Neck”

• This final stretch of episodes is probably, collectively, the work I'm most proud of with Contentment Corner. I'd made a conscious decision to dispense with heavy exposition from this point forward and, whenever possible, to commit each performer to one main role. We'd created enough characters by this point that I could effectively cherry-pick my favorite one for each performer and basically just let them all bounce into each other for nine episodes. The result was the comedy soap opera to which I'd been aspiring from the start. Ditching myself as the narrator didn't hurt either, and Brian (a self-professed Contentment Corner superfan) was an excellent choice to take up that role. His character was more than a little influenced by the narrator in the excellent Jane the Virgin, which is another one of those shows I started watching for mockery fuel and then got completely sucked in by how good it actually was.

• I also briefly had the idea that we should do shorter episodes more frequently, which is why this one and the next one don't quite hit our usual 20 minute target. We abandoned this idea pretty quickly, though — mostly for practical reasons, because the production schedule we had in place after all this time was already working great for us. It wasn't broken, so why fix it?

• Also, if we're being completely honest, this last run of episodes is my favorite because I'd made the conscious decision to stop worrying about listeners. I've never been good at promoting things and to this day I have no idea if anyone actually listened to this show. But, starting with this episode, I swore to write the show I'd always wanted to write and just ignore (as much as I was capable anyway) the audience. Admitting to myself that nobody was listening was weirdly liberating, in a not-entirely-unsad way.

Season 3, episode 13: “Raising Up the Joneses”

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Season 3, episode 14: “The Patience of a St. Corby”

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Season 3, episode 15: “A Talking Like This Contest”

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Season 3, episode 16: “Mysteries of the Unrequited”

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Season 3, episode 17: “Like a Banana”

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Season 3, episode 18: “The Edge of Reckoning”

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Season 3, episode 19: “You Had One Job”

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Season 3, episode 20: “The Thousandth Step”

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