art

Simple Shapes vs. Outlining Drawings

Who has drawn before? Pretty much all of us. We learned it in school. However, only a section of us have developed a passion or talent for them.

Most of us were probably taught to outline our drawings first as children. And that is fine. But if you go into illustration or animation, you’ll have to learn about drawing using simple shape blocks. Why? Well, consistency. The smallest can be greatly noticed by the general public.

While I still outline some drawings, when I want to be serious, I now use simple shapes. The image below shows a drawing I did using simple shapes.

It wasn’t meant to be finished as it was used as a reference template for someone I’ve worked with. Yet, you can see the simple shapes as building blocks for each character or element.

There are times where it’s acceptable to outline or be very simplistic. Like in math, you may have been asked to draw out problems but not use details. The focus was the problem and not the art. But I’m no math expert.

Anyway, if you’re in a hurry, by all means outline everything first, like you were probably taught as a kid. But if you’re a serious artist who wants to hone your illustration or drawing skills, then simple shapes are a must. I was taught this in college.

I don’t have a picture that I clearly outlined. Well, I’ve practiced using other drawings. But I threw them all away due to space issues in my room. Also, they weren’t my ideas.

Yet, I can tell you the technique. I would select a semi-realistic image and decide on the person’s age range and gender. The choices for age range were baby/small child, older child, teen/young adult, middle aged adult, or senior. I would use an image from the face to chest instead of the whole figure. I would tell myself to observe the outlines but not to trace. Pretty much no image came out exact. However, most did turn out similar. And I accepted that.

I would practice at least a couple times a day. Then I would move to the next level of making them look like cartoons of themselves. That was very, very difficult.

Why semi-realistic, you may ask? One, it’s the style I’m most attracted to. Two, it’s neither too realistic or too cartoony. Many people prefer cartoonish style over realistic. But I feel cartoonish is a little too easy for me.

I would like to return to that soon. You could try these techniques too. Good luck.

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It’s the Best Day Ever for My “Spongebob Squarepants” Analysis

In honor of the 20th anniversary, as well as give a tribute to the latest creator, Stephen Hillenburg (R.I.P), I am going to analyze “Spongebob Squarepants” and my opinions on it. This post will include moments from the TV show and the 2004 movie.

We all know the premise. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? You know the answer. You should probably know all the main characters too.

Remember that theory where they all represented the 7 deadly sins? It was more creative and interesting than other conspiracy theories, where the premise is just a dream or imagination. However, that theory has been debunked. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it.

The characters are great. Spongebob is funny, entertaining, and silly, as well as very immature for his age. Speaking of which, his age is inconsistent. His boating license says that he was born in 1986, which would have made him 13 when the show was released and about 33 today (I believe the license said his birthday was in July). The 2004 movie hinted that he has been working at the Krusty Krab for over 31 years. But the creators said that Spongebob has no age. He is just silly. Confusing, huh?

Another detail I noticed, especially in the earliest episodes, is that when Spongebob sings, his voice sounds totally different. This happened in the “Ripped Pants”, “Sweet Victory”, and “Pizza Delivery” songs. Why is that? In later songs, such as those from the 2004 film, the “F.U.N.” song, and the “Campfire Song” song, Spongebob’s voice sounds exactly like his normal speaking voice. It doesn’t seem like this has ever been explained.

Now onto the other characters. Patrick is just as immature and silly as Spongebob. No wonder they’re close friends. But why is Squidward called Squidward if he is an octopus? Although he’s anything but easygoing, he is still likable. The moments when he and Spongebob fight are hilarious. And Sandy? A squirrel who lives underwater in an air dome, yet misses Texas? She sang about missing Texas in one episode. And like Spongebob, her voice changed too. Although this was obnoxious, it was also funny when Spongebob and Patrick distorted their bodies and went, “I’m Texas”. Lol.

Mr. Krabs is great too and greedy for money. He also has a daughter named Pearl, who is a whale. Like others, I assume that she must’ve been adopted.

Anyway, another memorable character is Plankton (as well as his computer wife, Karen). Plankton—that little creature who is evil and wants to steal the secret formula to the crabby patties, (which, by the way, might be vegetarian). I love the episode where Plankton decides to turn Mr. Krabs into a baby to steal the formula. It was so clever. The ending to that episode was very, very funny. I laughed so hard that my mom told me to take deep breaths.

Unlike most people, I didn’t mind the post-2004 episodes. The old ones are good. And I get why many hated the episodes after that. They had new writers. However, I liked “Spongebob” for about a year or two and then lost interest for years. So when I reunited with it, I didn’t see any differences to the old episodes. I thought those episodes were completely fine.

That being said, there are old episode moments I like. “Is mayonnaise an instrument?” Ha, ha, ha. That line never gets tiring. The “Employee of the Month” award episode was super-humorous, as well.

Now one plot hole I noticed is that outside the ocean is real life, not a cartoon. Yes, in that dream episode, Sandy had a dream where the land was cartoon. But, hey, that was just a dream. So what happens if a scuba diver goes underwater? Do they freak out about becoming a cartoon? Would they reveal this to everyone on the land?

I believe the characters can understand and communicate with humans, like when David Hasselhoff brought Spongebob and Patrick back to Bikini Bottom in “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie”. There is a sequel where the characters become CGI’s and are on the land with people. I don’t know the plot. But from the trailer, the humans seem to casually accept them and not freak out. I could be wrong, though. Also, why is there an additional ocean under the water? Humor, I guess?

So that’s really it for my analysis. I don’t know how the show will perform after Stephen Hillenburg’s death. Hopefully, things stay well. I don’t watch “Spongebob Squarepants” regularly anymore. But I still have enjoyed many moments.

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Here They Come Just in Time: “The PowerPuff Girls” Top 3 Memorable Episodes

This show was my biggest favorite when I was 7. There’s a reboot now, but I like the old series better.

I have not seen much of the series in years, except for the Christmas special. But that’s another post, plus it’s off-season.

Anyway, these are the top 3 memorable episodes of “The PowerPuff Girls”. This does not include the reboot. I have not watched that, nor do I want to.

Note, these are not necessarily my favorite episodes—just ones that stand out to me.

3: The episode where Blossom has ice powers

Poor Blossom gets scolded for her ice breath, despite the boiling sun. Bubbles and Buttercup dislike her ice powers. Blossom has to promise not to use it, except when necessary. Even at school, when Ms. Keane demands everybody goes outside, Blossom has to resist the urge to use her ice breath.

Although Blossom is very bright, I felt sorry for her when her sisters put her down for her ice powers (I believe Buttercup called Blossom “Ice Princess” as an insult). This is, I think, the only episode where Blossom has ice breath.

2: The episode with Cooties

A girl in the PPG’s class panics when a boy has saliva all over his mouth and tries to kiss her. Even the PowerPuff Girls have nightmares about that kid giving them cooties. In the dream, several little clones of that child pop out of their skin.

As a little kid, it meant nothing to me. But now, as an adult, I find this offensive. I don’t think I’d voluntarily watch that episode now.

1: The episode where Bubbles keeps animals in the house

This I remember better than the others I listed. Bubbles has animals inside the house. The professor states that the animals need to be free and not locked up inside a closet. Later Bubbles has a whale because it won’t fit in a closet. But the whale gets dried up and even makes a noise. Bubbles, as her not-very-wise self, just gives it a glass of water. Of course, that’s not enough. At some point, Bubbles learns the lesson and frees the animals from the Townsville Zoo (and doesn’t get arrested).

I adored Bubbles’ little rhyme, “They’re Mr. and Mrs. Squeakers, inside your sneakers” to the professor. I think I’d like this episode now.

While I said these are the top 3 memorable episodes, I do have a bonus.

Drumroll…

Bonus: The birthday party episode

It’s the PPG’s birthday and many Townsville residents are invited. The girls are desperate to open their presents. They even use X-ray vision to see inside their gifts. However, the professor stops them and says that they can open their presents after cake.

The PowerPuff Girls are so rushed that Bubbles won’t let the guests sing “Happy Birthday”. The professor gives them the cake, which they blow away. Regardless of his request to eat the cake before they can open their presents, the professor seems to give his daughters a free pass to open their gifts. However, a few presents come from the villains and endanger the girls. I do admire the dolls that resembled the girls, though, and Princess Morbucks telling one of the other bad guys, “You gave them dolls?”

Well, that’s it. Do you have any memorable moments of “The PowerPuff Girls” you want to share?

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Disney Princess Types That Have Not Happened So Far

We all know the official Disney princesses as of now. Some of us may know about the forgotten Disney princesses. But that’s another post.

Anyway, have you noticed these details that have never happened to Disney princesses, both the official and forgotten ones? Read below:

1: A princess who wears glasses

Not one Disney princess wears glasses. In fact, not long after I noticed that, a little girl who wears glasses wrote to Disney and stated that it would be nice to have a Disney princess who wears glasses. Hey, glasses are NOT nerdy at all.

2: A princess with braces

Like glasses, braces are not geeky, either. Yes, many princess movies are set in historical time periods. But, hey, unchronological stuff happens in Disney movies all the time (like several times in “Aladdin”, especially with the genie). A princess with braces would be nice.

3: A transgender princess

In a time of people starting to accept sexual orientations and gender identities, it would be appropriate to have a transgender princess. There’s already been pressure toward Disney to give Elsa a girlfriend. While there haven’t been any hints to Elsa having a female lover on the “Frozen 2” trailer, it would be great if there were a lesbian or transgender princess.

4: A disabled princess

There was a petition for a Disney princess with Downs Syndrome. But not one princess has been blind, deaf, physically handicapped, or anything else. Well, Ariel becomes mute for a good chunk of “The Little Mermaid”. But her voice was physically removed.

5: A tomboyish princess passionate about science

Okay, I know. Science barely plays roles in Disney films. Probably because magic is more dominant. However, I think this would be hard to market to little girls. So if a tomboyish science-obsessive princess ever happens, she’d likely end up a forgotten Disney princess.

6: A princess too old to be official

I was surprised when I first discovered that Elsa is supposed to be 21 in the main events of “Frozen” (the first one in 2013). That makes her the oldest official Disney princess in age and the only one not a teenager. Some of the forgotten Disney princesses might be older than teens too (Wikipedia said that Megara from “Hercules” was 20) and some are definitely younger, like Vanellope from “Wreck-it-Ralph”. In fact, part of the reason Vanellope is not official is because she was considered too young. However, no princess has been deemed too old. Disney rarely made human protagonists older than teens before the turn of the century. But even now, a 30-year-old princess would likely be too old to appeal to young girls.

Well, that’s all. Have you noticed any missing details among the Disney princesses?

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The Scarcity of Stop-Motion Movies

Image from Pixabay

There are three types of animation: hand-drawn or 2D, CG, and stop-motion. Stop-motion is when an object is moved very slightly and then photographed. Several photos are done until each object moves believably.

Usually, stop-motion animation is done with puppets. Examples include those Christmas specials like “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. Then there are more recent examples, like “Paranorman” and “Box-Trolls”. There is also another kind called Claymation, where the animators use clay models instead of puppets. A couple examples include “Wallace and Gromit” and “Early Man”.

While stop-motion films look fantastic, I notice there are not too many. Why is that, you may wonder? I think it’s because they are extremely time-consuming.

Before CGI was invented, most animated movies were 2D and drawn with pencil and paper. There were some stop-motion films, like “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Then, after the turn of the century, when 2D animated films were dying out, and CG animation was booming, the number of stop-motion movies have pretty much remained the same.

Stop-motion animation may involve lots of skills, patience, and time, but I don’t know if they will increase the number of films, or decrease them.

Yes, there have been advancements, like the use of special effects in movies, like “Paranorman”. And I’m sure that involves more work, therefore, more time.

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Be Happy With this “Inside Out” Critique (2015)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

This film must have been so hard to produce. And that is what makes it so enjoyable. It probably involved a lot of studies behind the mind and emotions.

There were actually going to be more emotions than the five the film created for Riley. But that didn’t work out.

Enough said on the introduction. Let’s get down to the critique.

First, the strengths:

1: The mind and emotion constructions

The mind is an abstract place. The creators made everything so literal, and that must’ve been very difficult. There was the train of thought, the core memories, islands representing Riley’s different interests and life essentials, and, of course, the emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear.

The emotions matured as Riley aged over time. When Riley was a toddler, the emotions would react strongly to broccoli and no dessert if she didn’t finish her dinner (which had no protein, by the way. But that’s another topic).

By the time Riley was eleven, the emotions have matured even more. I appreciated how Joy could feel grief and pain as she was unable to make Riley happy throughout much of the film. She even cried in the “all is lost” moment. However, there is also a special feature of Riley without her internal emotions being shown. And I heard the viewer can understand why Riley can’t be happy.

2: Bing-Bong

Who doesn’t love Bing Bong? Or that cute little song Riley made up as a toddler? He was such an imaginative character as well as a fun one. I loved when he barged into Riley’s dream. But it was very sad when he died as Joy had to continue her way back to headquarters.

3: The “Triple Dent Gum” song

Why was that song so annoying to Riley and even the bus driver in the end credits? I found it amazing and funny. It was a great way to incorporate humor.

4: The boy’s emotions at the end

“Girl, girl, girl.” The emotions panic like crazy in his head. It was so hilarious. It is also realistic for boys if girls like them. Many have been nervous about impressing girls. The animals’ emotions were funny too.

Which brings me to the flaws…

1: Why do Riley’s parents have all male or female emotions while Riley has both?

This plot hole has been wondered so much by the general public. However, the creators revealed that it was just for humor. I guess that’ll work.

2: Why do the Andersons move?

When things go well, of course conflict has to happen. However, why did Mr. and Mrs. Anderson sell the house? Why did they move to a less-appealing building, both unattractive on the outside and the inside? Were they unable to afford the house in Minnesota? Did one of the parents get offered a new job in San Francisco?

It makes sense for Riley to be unhappy with the move. At the end, one of her parents says that they missed Minnesota (but they were the one who chose to leave). Is it supposed to remain a mystery?

3: Would a pizzeria really only serve broccoli pizza?

It’s believable for a pizzeria to only to plain cheese pizza. But just broccoli pizza, only for plot convenience? I can’t imagine so. Also, couldn’t Riley have just removed the broccoli from her pizza?

4: “Child runs away from home and parents comfort them after” cliché

I don’t know why the media keeps portraying this. It’s not really credible, let alone allowing an eleven-year-old to walk to school unsupervised in the 2010s (which would get you in trouble with CPS). Riley also stole her mom’s credit card to pay for a bus ticket back to Minnesota. Add that to running away, Riley would’ve gotten the beating of her life and been severely punished for months if this were believable. But the parents had to feel sorry just for plot convenience. Kids, don’t try this in real life. You will most definitely get the beating of your life as well as be grounded for several months—at least.

5: Toddler Riley has no nipples

Okay, this might be a bit much, although they show topless Toddler Riley. And she has no nipples. When I saw this in the movie theater, I found it strange and was thinking “Maggie Simpson has nipples”.

And that’s all. I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars. It must’ve been one of the hardest films for Pixar and Disney to create. I always found productions that look so challenging to make more enjoyable than those that look to easy to create.

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It’s Time We Try the “Lilo & Stitch” Critique (2002)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

I saw this movie with camp when I was eight. It was one of Disney’s few successful features in the early 2000’s. It had a few sequels and even a TV series on Disney Channel.

The story centers around an alien and a little girl from Hawaii desperate for a friend. Stitch is blasted off a planet. At that point, he is dangerous and his identity is Experiment 626. The POV switches to Lilo, a small girl late for her luau class after feeding Pudge the fish his peanut-butter sandwich. Lilo and the other girls break out into a fight and then she runs away unsupervised. Her older sister, Nani, gets in trouble with CPS as a consequence for the escape. After an arguement between the two, Nani forgives Lilo. The two go to adopt a dog. Lilo chooses Stitch, thinking he is a dog. Their time begins from there.

Now here are the strengths of this film.

1: The plot

In some ways, it reminds me a lot of “Beauty and the Beast”. The structure of scenes, the characterizations and actions of both Stitch and Lilo, and how they go from an unhealthy to heartwarming bond. Does that ring a bell? I can’t imagine this was intentional, but it was well-executed.

2: The Elvis music

Not often do you hear pop music in a Disney movie. Although “Lilo & Stitch” is sometimes treated like classics such as “The Little Mermaid” or “Pinocchio”, it sometimes is not. None of the characters sing. But the scenes where Stitch plays the guitar dressed as Elvis and where “Hound Dog” and “Burning Love” play are great.

3: The way this film was promoted (lol)

As a way to promote the movie, Stitch barged into classics, such as “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin” and “The Lion King”. I love this line from the others, “Get your own movie” (Belle really is a funny girl). I will admit, however, that the picture quality wasn’t the strongest.

Which brings me to moments that could’ve been improved or explained better…

1: How does Stitch learn to speak?

The alien somehow goes from monstrous feral beast to knowing how to use developed speech like a human. Yet, it is never explained why or how (correct me if it gets revealed in the series or one of the sequels). I was surprised to hear that there is talk on making a live-action “Lilo and Stitch” remake. I don’t know if this plothole will be resolved, though, depending on how many people are bugged by this. But it’d be nice if this question is answered.

2: Why was Cobra Bubbles there at Lilo’s birthday in that brief scene?

I get he was an important character, but doesn’t anyone find it a bit strange to invite someone from CPS to celebrate a child’s birthday? I wouldn’t do that.

That’s really it. I would rate “Lilo & Stitch” 5 out of 5 stars.

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What Can I Say, Except, “You’re Welcome” for this Wonderful Review of “Moana” (2016)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

I saw this film a year after it was released in theaters. I watched it at my house. It was such a beautiful movie.

As a baby, Moana is interested in the story she is hearing in daycare about Maui stealing the heart of Te Fiti. All the other children are scared. Moana is somehow called to the ocean. But her overprotective father forbids her to go near it.

Years later, when Moana has reached her current age for the main part of the story, there is a shortage of fish by the reef. Moana suggests going beyond the reef. But her father gets angry and will still prohibit anyone going further than the reef. Moana’s mother reveals why her dad is so against going beyond the reef. Moana tries sailing, but it ends up not working out. Her grandma shows the story of her ancestors and how they used to go beyond the reef all the time. They stopped because there were too many dangerous monsters, especially Te Ka the lava demon. Unfortunately, not long after, Moana’s grandmother is dying. She tells Moana to sail out to the ocean, seek Maui, and return the heart of Te Fiti. Moana’s journey begins from there.

I really admired many parts of this movie, from the story to the characters, especially Moana. She is one of the few Disney princesses to have no love interest. The other two are Merida and Elsa (which is why fans were begging Disney to give Elsa a girlfriend in the “Frozen” sequel). Anyway, Moana was fierce, brave, and strong, which is what many expect for female characters today.

The music was also fantastic. Many songs sounded different from traditional Disney songs. Some sounded more like pop songs, such as “How Far I’ll Go” and “Shiny”. I particularly appreciated the rap section in “You’re Welcome” sung by Maui.

That being said, there were a couple flaws in this movie, such as some urine jokes and (sorry to disappoint some of you) the coconut pirate scene. I loved when Moana said that they were cute and then they went vicious. However, I couldn’t see how important it was to the story. I felt it was just a little filler to add conflict. And the story told in Moana’s daycare is really too mature for little kids. It was only used for plot convenience.

The ending was beautiful. After violence with Te Ka the lava monster, Moana figured out that she was really Te Fiti without the heart. The scene where Moana returns the heart and Te Fiti turns back into a beautiful Goddess and Island was heartwarming. It was also funny how Te Fiti looks a lot like Moana.

I would rate Moana 5 out of 5 stars. It is such a wonderful movie that I would recommend to all, especially with a strong, independent female lead.

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Pocahontas Plot Hole (1995) – All About the Flying Leaves

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

Many of us have seen Disney’s “Pocahontas”, whether we grew up with it, watched it in our early childhoods, or first saw it in recent years. I was 21 when I first saw it. Despite the mixed success and criticism on the movie’s portrayal of Native Americans, I really enjoyed the film. I would give it five stars.

However, no story, in any form, is without its flaws. Aside from the grossly insensitive lyrics in the song, “Savages”, sung when John Smith is about to be executed (but he is rescued, of course), there are a few parts of “Pocahontas” that bother me a bit. They are plot holes. Regardless of what I said about them, I don’t obsess over them. At least not too much.

There’s the first plot hole, of where are Nakoma’s (Pocahontas’s friend) parents or guardians. The second is how did Pocahontas sneak out to see Grandmother Willow after her father yelled at her for wandering off at a dangerous time. And the third, which this post focuses on, is where do those flying leaves come from.

I noticed they come at crucial points of the story. They also seem to arrive when characters change. Obviously, Pocahontas is not unknowingly or secretly an enchantress (that would make an interesting conspiracy theory, but would be shut down by everyone). But what is the point of the flying colored leaves? I’ve actually recently nicknamed them the deux ex machina leaves.

Having you also noticed this? When Powhatan is about to execute John Smith and Pocahontas not only saves her love interest, but also defends him, the leaves fly into Powhatan’s face. He closes his eyes and seems to absorb the wind. Then he suddenly changes and decides not to fight the English. He also lets John Smith go.  

I don’t believe the leaves forced Powhatan to change. Nor do I think they have a bunch of supernatural powers (they do have some, though, as they alter John’s shirt during the “Colors of the Wind” number). But it seems to be a mystery to where they come from and what powers they have besides changing colors as they fly as well as a few other skills.

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All I Really Want for Christmas is Family Guy’s “Road to the North Pole” – Now onto the Review (2010)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

This is one of my favorite “Family Guy” episodes—not just their Christmas specials, but in general. I would even watch it off-season.

Stewie and Brian go to the mall to see Santa (a fake one, of course). However, there is a long line. By the time it’s Stewie’s turn, the mall closes and Santa leaves. Disappointed, Stewie makes Brian drive to the north pole. They stop at a Christmas festival, where Stewie blows up at Brian for taking him there and not the real north pole. He reveals the real reason he wants to go: that is to kill Santa.

The journey becomes tough and lengthy. But Brian and Stewie make it, only to discover something shocking about Santa. The types of gifts, as well as the amount, has overwhelmed Santa to the point that he is no longer jolly. He is sick and stressed out. The elves are inbred and some were born blind. The reindeer are vicious and eat the elves that have died. Santa’s health ends up in jeopardy. If he goes out to deliver presents, he will die. Brian volunteers himself and Stewie to give out the gifts. However, things end up ugly.

Everyone wakes up to no presents from Santa. Brian reveals the reason on TV and asks everybody in the world to request only one gift each Christmas. People are willing to accept that.

One year passes and Christmas turns out better. The north pole has had its place cleaned up. The elves and Santa are healthier. And the people enjoy Christmas, even with just one gift each.

There are many things I admire about this holiday special. First, there are the songs, “All I Really Want for Christmas”, sung at the beginning by all the characters. They express their wishes for Christmas. Then there’s the song, “Christmastime is Killing Us”, sung by Santa and his elves right after Stewie and Brian arrive at the north pole.

Speaking of which, I found this approach to Santa and his elves, as well as his workshop, to be the most realistic, compared to other TV shows and movies. Being destroyed by all the requests for Christmas, fancier gifts (like an iPod), and other factors made Santa’s stressed character more believable. I think this would, unfortunately, be the case if Santa Claus were real. But, as Stewie said, delivering gifts to the whole world in one night is inhuman.

There were some funny moments, as well, such as the Gary Busey scene, and the brief “Winnie to Pooh” scene, explaining why Eeyore is always in a bad mood, after Brian almost reveals to Stewie that Santa doesn’t exist (at that point, to Brian).

Overall, I would rate this special 5 out of 5 stars.