Schmoes Know, Dads, and Star Wars
Everyone has a journey, full of twists, turns, and backroads that will supposedly "get us where we want to be quicker." Some people have journeys that are on the way to goals that they've had for their entire lives, and some people have had to change course because they met someone or something on their journey that changed their direction. It happened to me, all because of what some may call a "silly Internet show."
Mid 2014-mid 2015 was potentially one of the darkest points of my life. As someone that suffers from depression, the fact that I couldn't find a job after graduating from the University of Virginia politics department, one of the most politics-saturated schools in the nation, with excellent recommendations from professors... it was mortifying. I was embarrassed, hurt beyond words, and my confidence was at an all time low. It was even lower than in high school, and considering I was suicidal and going untreated for my depression then, that alone should tell you it was low. This time, I was an adult, living with my parents in a slightly larger town than the one I had grown up in, and only a short distance from said town. I didn't have the escape of college to look forward to; that time of my life was now over. So, I kept promising myself that next month would be better, then the next month, and so on, much like I used to tell myself at the beginning of each school year. Something changed, though.
As an only child, my dad raised me on many of his favorite things. While I think he's probably upset that I'll never bagpipe (he's amazing at it!), he passed along a love for movies, particularly anything sci-fi, fantasy, or action. Movie tickets in my little hometown of 1,000 people were only $3, so we went constantly, and my grandmother accidentally got a subscription to Variety; I was reading the trades at seven years old. Movies were my escape from what I considered to be a terrible world. My parents, as amazing as they are, were not able to protect me from all the bullies, as happens with most parents, therefore, movies were a place that I could escape into and live in another world, and my favorite: another galaxy.
I was seven when Star Wars: Episode I arrived in theaters. My dad wouldn't take me until he'd seen it, to make sure I could handle the story. Upon realizing that I obviously could (George Lucas says that they're children's films), he took me, and I was brought into something larger than my little small town mind could imagine. I had all the Queen Amidala toys, short story books, and my dad was even able to find a large amount of the '77 Kenner action figures - the originals that you had to send away for they were in such high demand. He had all the Original Trilogy movies on laserdisc, and we watched them all in one weekend. Suddenly, I was creating stories with my little action figures, having Leia steal Han's gun, and having Darth Vader get crushed by Chewie. I had Greedo in the Kenner wrapper and still do to this day. I suppose I knew that I would one day be a collector. Needless to say, Star Wars was a thing of escape in my life.
Star Wars came back into the forefront of the pop culture lexicon at just the right time for me. After surprising my extreme nerd levels to so many people, it was suddenly cool to be into geek culture. I started going to the local comic book store and became a comic junkie, something my dad had introduced me to long before. Those people became my "Earth 2 Family". I also happened to run across a show called Jedi Council when I searched for "Star Wars leaks" on YouTube.
I was so shocked to see other people talking about Star Wars and other films with just as much passion as I had. I started watching Movie Talk on Collider every day, watching John Schnepp's Heroes on Tuesdays, and eagerly awaiting Jedi Council on Thursdays. Thursdays ended up becoming a double whammy because the Schmoes Know Movie Show (now the Schmoes Know Show), came on afterward. Not until later did I realize that the boldness that all of these people on each show possessed was what pulled me out of my extreme depression. Seeing people who were happy, talking about movies with such passion, and that genuinely appeared to be friends did a lot for me. It gave me hope (no pun intended, folks).
Schmoes Know was different, though, as it was a more freestyle approach, and as I just mentioned, they appeared to really care about each other. From "Bobby Finstock" having a crush on Tiffany Smith, to the humor that Mark, Kristian, Macuga, and Napzok brought to the table, it was truly unique. How were these people so lucky that they were able to do this for a living? Most of all, it was important for me to realize that I wasn't alone in my geekdom. There were other people who loved Star Wars, Christopher Nolan, and anything Batman-related just as much as I did. For the first time in a long time, I had something to look forward to that made me happy, and something that gave me the confidence to actually be myself, instead of the suppressed version that wasn't really me. If these people could embrace how "sweaty" they were for movies, by damn, I could, too. And I did, and my life ever since has been so much better.
I have a job now where my degree is being put to use, and I live eight hours from home, so no one here witnessed when I busted both my lips in the 4th grade, when my mom kept telling me that I looked like Angelina Jolie to keep me from crying (I really loved Angelina Jolie as a kid). The thing that hasn't changed is my love for movies and my love for Collider and Schmoes Know. For a year now, I've been a subscriber to Screen Junkies Plus, Jeremy Jahns, and Chris Stuckmann, and I saturate myself in movie news. I talk about the latest production rumors to friends, who all say: "How do you know this stuff?" I have the confidence to be who I am thanks to a few guys that decided to do some movie reviews one day and upload them to YouTube. You might think that sounds silly, but I think it sounds just right for me.
They are the reason I started this blog, because part of me hopes to maybe, somehow one day be on the "Wanger" table and write for Collider. They brought out the kid in me, and because of it, I was able bring my dad into this new world of Internet geekdom. My dad often talks about how after the first Star Wars came out, he couldn't wait to get back to school in August to talk to all his friends about it. They kept it in the theater for such a long time that he saw it over and over. He talks about being so shocked during the "I am your father" reveal that he left the theater with his mouth hanging open; that's how stunned he was. We now send the latest rumors to each other throughout the day. Schmoes made my relationship with my dad even stronger.
My dad and myself are going to Star Wars Celebration Orlando this year, and it's going to be our first ever father-daughter trip. I'm so excited because this is going to be an experience we'll be looking back on for years to come, something that I'll hopefully one day be able to take my own not-yet-in-existence children to. That's why when Kristian Harloff announced that he was leaving the Schmoes Know Show for a while, I was indeed upset, but I was also happy for him. While I hadn't realized this until tonight, Harloff reminds me a lot of my own dad. While us as fans are not brought into his personal life, which I think is for the best, I do know that he has a wife and a daughter. Guess who that reminded me of? His daughter has a dad that also loves movies, especially Star Wars, and would probably like to teach her about it. He probably wants to have all of those same experiences with his daughter that my dad did with me. He probably wants to take her to the movies, talk about said movie the entire car ride back home, and wants to participate in her action figure stories, where Chewie may or may not defeat Darth Vader. He wants to be a dad that when he's gone, his daughter can tell her own grandchildren about all the good times that she had with her dad; that he was the best dad ever.
As someone who has their dad to thank for almost everything I love in life (movies, comic books, action figures, etc.), I really respect what he's doing because I know what it means. He's not dumping the show, but if that's what it takes, so be it. There's nothing more important than family, whether it's by blood or one you create. Because of my dad, I probably would have never loved Star Wars, and therefore, I would have never found Schmoes. I'm going to miss him, but just by thinking of how my dad influenced my life, I'm also excited for him.
Schmoes is important to me. It's part of my routine, and it's something that makes me happy, where I once thought that there would never be any happiness in my life. It's also brought me back to my childhood in a way I didn't know was possible. It makes me laugh until I cry sometimes, and it also infuriates me when I see anyone make a lewd comment toward anyone on the show. I respect and appreciate that crew so much, and that's why I think what Kristian is doing is awesome. From an only child daughter to the father of an only child daughter, bravo, sir. She's a lucky kid to have a dad like you who is that committed to spending time with her. Wise decision have you made. Mhmmm!
In conclusion, if you don't like what's happening, shave your head and go to sleep, you ball bag!
May the Glitter Geek be with you!