Action Figure Diary—Episode Gallery

(#85) Brian: Humans are so lucky

I saw a show about early humans this week, and it has me thinking about one of the biggest differences between humans and living action figures. Humans have been fine-tuned by evolution for the purposes of function. Living action figures have been fine-tuned by marketing departments for the purposes of sales.

I enjoy being an action figure. I love the family life we have with Trish and Joe. But I envy them when I think about the fact that they are part of the greatest scientific experiment of all time: evolution. This entire planet is a self-maintained laboratory, driven by function. Variations that function well are able to thrive and reproduce. Variations that don’t function well are unable to thrive and less likely to reproduce.

By way of comparison, the design of living action figures is determined by marketing. Everything about us is the result of focus groups, surveys, customer comments, etc. Consumers said that one of the biggest advantages of pet ownership is companionship, so we are built to be sociable and capable of conversation. Consumers said that one of the biggest inconveniences of pet ownership is dealing with “waste,” so we are built to survive without eating or drinking and do not produce “waste.” Consumers said that they only wanted their pets to be sexual if it created cute offspring, but creating our own offspring would undermine the company’s profits, so we are built to be non-sexual.

One could argue that being designed for the purposes of sales is its own form of evolution. Action figure models that sell well are produced in droves. Action figure models that don’t sell well are discontinued. The primary difference is that all other beings on this planet evolve for the benefit of themselves. Our so-called evolution is for the benefit of those who sell us and those who buy us.

I wish I was part of the huge, wonderful laboratory that the other beings on this planet share. It must be satisfying to know that your body has been fine-tuned for success over millions of years. It must be wondrous to know that you are interconnected to all of the other living things around you on a primal level. You’re distantly related to apes—what could be cooler than that?!
| Posted by TSB | Week of 02/26/06 | Permalink |


TSB wrote:
Joe and I recently went to Defending the Caveman http://www.defendingthecave... with some friends. After the show, I was trying to imagine how my characters would react to it.

This idea of Brian's existential crisis really resonated with me, so it will be the beginning of an arc in which he talks to the other characters and searches for a way to resolve it. I think it also provides a natural opportunity for the characters to provide more detail about how the world of Action Figure Diary works.

I know this episode is a bit solemn, but this arc is going to bring the funny. You'll just have to trust me on that.
02/26/06 13:52:19

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