Alright, look. It’s Sunday, I’m terribly busy with prepping some artwork for a series of screen prints and trying to finish some last minute writing for something that isn’t nearly as awesome and mindblowing and helpful to mankind as these things have been but still has to get done, and, not to be upsetting, but, you’re inability to read is factoring in here a bit as well.
Today’s post will be much shorter than what I’ve been putting up this past week, and in this modern, information-microburst obsessed age, it’s probably for the best, yeah? Yeahhhh.
So I’ll cut the intro short, you can just suck the new bottle of knowledge up into the porny camwhore cootch of your mind and stun onlookers at just how long you can hold onto it before blasting it back out into the faces of those who maybe don’t know as much about the show as you certainly do now.
So pull down your restraints, make sure you don’t slide around in your seats too much, because this ride’s gonna be a lot faster than the last few, and there’s a bit at the end where someone always slides out from the car, usually around the very top of the loop part, and gets smashed to a human spray as the car comes back down to meet his screaming body. Me, I think it’s funny, but there’s always some angry mother or husband or wife who starts making a huge stink about losing their precious so and so. Pfft.
Did you know one of your favorite characters on the show didn’t even exist until tragedy in real life resulted in a promise kept and a character being given life? No? Sweet christ, you’re stupid.
But it’s true! Though all but one of the key players were in place, one character’s absence would have meant for a very different INVADER ZIM from the one you all know and love now.
Upon completion of the pilot episode, spirits were high, and bodies were tired, with everyone trying not to even think about whether or not the show would get picked up by the network. A little R&R was more on top of peoples minds, or in the case of one team-member in particular, time to grieve.
Andy Berman, Dib’s voice actor, had, at the time of the production, been dealing with every parent’s worst nightmare, the illness of a child, but was still valiantly pushing through with his obligations as a performer, much to our relief. To find another actor as perfect for my large-headed ball of frustration would have been a time consuming and near-impossible task at such a late stage. Now, I’m not one to say anything good could come from the suffering of a young one, but it’s possible Andy channeled his despair and anger at a God that could allow for such a thing as was tearing his family apart. Compared to Richard Horvitz, he of the barely human presence and terrifying madness, Berman’s approach to his art was professional to the very end, and exuded a magnificent, quiet dignity.
Andy had sexually molested a spider monkey while vacationing with his wife in Brazil three years before he and I crossed paths to breathe life into little Dib Membrane. The story behind the elicit encounter between actor and monkey varies depending on who tells it, but the short of it is that Berman had fallen ill that very night, vowing never again to use his sexual abilities on anything in Brazil.
But Andy was not true to his word.
This breaking of a vow was not nearly so sordid a thing as one might expect, as the object of his eventual desires was his wife later that night, the delirium of his monkey fevers still clouding what would have otherwise been a perfectly lovely bit of lovemaking.
Sure enough, the couple got pregnant, and, back in the States, the news was like a breath of fresh air breathed into a marriage that had grown shaky and dubious with each animal Andy would molest. Andy was a new man, however, and had inserted his sexual organs, and agreed upon foreign objects, into only his beloved and human wife.
The spider monkey? Well, its part in this tale is pretty much over, but for those curious few out there, know only that the thing had grown notorious in the area as a major attraction to warped tourists. Wanting nothing to do with that sort of reputation, the local Brazilian authorities tied the monkey up, placed it in a tiny sack, loaded it into a makeshift catapult someone had confiscated from some hooligans, and launched it point blank into a wall.
If you guessed that the baby would be born with adverse effects from being conceived from a father in the throes of something contracted from a slutty-monkey, you guessed right. Doctors were never able to satisfactorily conclude just what was causing the child to suffer so, but it was clear that every day of life the child knew was a miracle, for she was a weak, and pitiful thing.
The little girl was a miraculous three years old when Andy brought her to the studio to watch him work and to show her around the place where some of her least favorite cartoons were made, but the girl still loved just seeing her daddy do his thing, not quite understanding that he was supplying the voice for what would have been yet another cartoon she hated.
We all fell in love with that little girl that day, and each subsequent visit, perhaps three in all, only made that love grow stronger. To be reminded of how tenuous our grasp on life truly is, and to see it embodied in the broken little child whose life burned away before our very eyes. Each moment spent with her was a moment reminded of just how vital and special each and every second of existence truly is.
With the pilot completed, so came the news that Andy’s little girl was finally on her way out. She knew it, too, as on a tear-filled phone call, Andy related how she was saying goodbye to everything in that way little ones do when going away for a long time. The reason Andy called was to say that she had asked to visit the studio one last time.
We were all clearing out our offices then, our work done and no clue as to when we’d hear about a reason to ever come back. As far as I knew, I had just made a fun little pilot and was happy enough to have that to show, should any other potential job ops pop up.
The next day, when Andy brought the poor little thing in, we could see just how much worse she had gotten, her head and arms just a map of pronounced veins and throbbing vessels. the color of her had gone all off, and she smelled like what I could only describe as a spider monkey. A slutty spider monkey.
Even that fire in her eyes was dimmed, as the awareness in her child’s brain was clear enough in its finality. She knew she was going.
I didn’t want this to be a pity-fest, and I had no intention of acting like this visit was any different than what she had known before. I knew that this was a place of happiness to her, and that today was for being happy.
“I’m in hell and I want to die, Uncle Jhonen.”, she said in that tiny little voice of hers.
I wept. I broke down and wept right there on the spot and picked her up by her arm nubs, holding her to me and that’s when I said it.
“I promise, little one. I promise, that if this show goes to series, I will name a character after you that you may live on, immortal, forever remembered and loved.”
“I love you, Uncle Jhonen.”, she said, her voice barely a whisper.
And she died. Died in my arms. I held on just a little longer, but couldn’t stand the smell for very long, resting her back in her tiny little wheelchair.
“Is everything okay in here? We’re getting a lot of complaints about that smell.”, said a security guard who showed up just as Andy was recovering from his initial tears.
Everyone agreed to part, but to never forget. I especially could not forget after making such a promise, after uttering such a vow to a little girl who had died in my arms.
That girl’s name?
The little girl’s name was GIR.