|January 12, 2009
|What Ever Happened to Baby Jen?
January 12, 2009
First off, if any of you work for YouTube, please email me. There's a question I need to ask that
only someone who works there can really answer.
Also, tomorrow Ms. S.J. "Sooj" tucker goes in for surgery. Here's wishing the best for her. Please keep good thoughts.
So, I've got some pretty mixed feelings about today's strip. I'm not a fan of weight jokes and I probably should have drawn Jennifer a little heavier for the
punchline. It was also pulling a twice-only character like Jennifer out of mothballs that bugged me,
Jennifer has appeared before - twice in fact. She never appeared again because of some interesting circumstances. See, the character's name wasn't originally
Jennifer. I changed it in year two when I did a strip about retconning (too lazy to look it up now). The character, like so many others, had a real-life basis.
I'd originally intended to make her an ongoing cast member but - well, shit got weird.
Here's what happened, and why I decided to change the character's name and divorce her from her original basis. So, the March 14th
strip happened. The real "Jennifer" went to Claire and T-Bob and Josh ("real" Jason) and went on about how excited she was to be in the comic and how cool it was
to open S*P one morning and see herself. Great, huh? Well, a Saturday a few weeks later we were all at lunch together (along with the head of the children's
theatre we worked with) and she had a very, very different tone.
"How come my boobs are small?" she demanded of me as we placed our orders.
Now, with no reference to my comic, how the fuck am I supposed to reply to that? "Uh, gee [Jennifer], could be anything. Diet. Faulty genetics. Is your mom
This went over like gangbusters as you might imagine. I was chewed out for giving her small breasts (again, I really don't think it's fair to blame me for
something that I wasn't a party to constructing) while I heaped the boobery onto Claire. Now, if I'm not willing to take the blame for Jennifer's lack of
endowment, I really can't take credit for Claire getting to sneak back in the boob line for seconds. I was bitched out for a while and, well, a week later, this happened.
And that was the end of Jennifer's stint in S*P - but NOT the end of the fun.
That same month, we had an incident in a children's show. Basically, Jennifer was showing less and less interest in working in the shows. Hey, fine. It can wear
on you - but if you've committed to a show, you see it through. One day, we held the show about ten or fifteen minutes while waiting for her to show up. Finally,
it was decided we couldn't wait any longer and we had to go on. Just as we're playing the opening music, Jennifer walks in, infuriated that we'd DARE to start the
show without her. Mind you, she wasn't a lead - but she WAS an array of background characters and in many, many scenes. I left right after the show ended so I
missed the fireworks that occurred, but apparently phrases like, "I'm the only good thing about this show," and, "No one else here is fit to act opposite of me"
were hurled about. And she quit, wishing us luck filling her acting shoes. Off she went into the theatre ether.
Oh, as for replacing her? We did... with stuffed animals. Not even puppets - stuffed animals. Another actress, Joye "I Can Do Anything" Thaller, who had
to share ALL of these scenes with Jennifer simply used stuffed animals to talk to in all of their scenes (which really made the marching fox scene awesome). The
children? They never noticed. They were just as enthralled. And it was the only time in the show that Jennifer's characters remembered their lines.
I've no idea what happened to Jennifer after that. We were all pretty young, though, and I chalk it up to youthful arrogance, lotsa personal life turmoil, and -
well, frankly, being an actor.
But let this be a little lesson to all of you actors. If you think you can't be replaced, just remember that somewhere out there is a teddy bear who's aching
to take over that scene in Glengarry Glen Ross. -R.