Author has written 21 stories for South Park, Total Drama series, My Little Pony, and Loud House.
Welcome to my profile. I want this to mainly be a hodge podge of biography, philosophy, and other stuff. If you like fluff, enjoy.
Although I'm still a long way to becoming a great writer, this is not my first time writing fanfiction (as you may have noticed by reading my short description on my profile). My experience goes back several years spanning three websites (including this one).
My true start was on August 24, 2011. I had been a fan of The Amazing World of Gumball since its premiere in May of that year. Aside from seeing every episode, I was a regular visitor to the wiki-- although I did not have an account and remained anonymous.
On the aforementioned date, I was going through the wiki and I stumbled upon a blog. I clicked on it and I discovered a link on the blog. Me, being my curious self, decided to click on it and let it take me wherever. It's destination was Gumbapedia Fanon Wiki: a site that was devoted to writing TAWOG fanfiction. At the time, it was small (there were only 12 articles), young (it was founded on August 2, only three weeks before), and the content wasn't very good (although I didn't notice or care at the time). I devoured the stories that existed at the time and I was fascinated at the idea of "extra" episodes that were made by people like me.
Instinctively, I wanted to write an episode myself. But what would it be about?
I thought about it for the whole of several minutes before it hit me. I recalled a family vacation I went on just the month before to Washington D.C., Six Flags Great Adventure, and New York City. Although I enjoyed all portions of the trip, Six Flags was by far the most interesting for writing a story (in my mind). I imagined all my favorite characters going on a wacky cross-country trip followed by a chaotic day at the theme park. It was perfect.
Although I still did not own an account, I was still able to create an article as a "Wikia contributor". And boy was I ever quick to write. Within, my first "masterpiece" was completed: The Field Trip. Lame, nonsensical, confusing, rushed, and everything wrong all squeezed into a ten-chapter story. I dare you to read it.
After that, I wrote a series of other stories that were similar in quality. Although I won't provide links, you can dig for these on the wiki (I'm sure you'll find them). But I consider this to be a primitive stage in my fanfic career. Most of my fics literally read out like a Wikipedia synopsis rather than an actual story, although they did evolve (to a small degree) in my time on the wiki.
As the wiki was getting bigger, however, I was finding it harder to accept credit for my work. This was because there were more anonymous "Wikia contributors" coming to the site. I realized that I had to create an actual account in order to solidify my identity. And I did so on November 20, 2011. I originally wanted the username "The Wiki Master", however that was already taken. I was tuck.
Looking around a bit, I decided to go to the profile of GumballFan2, the wiki founder. This user had left the wiki about a month after I came along and had basically moved on. It was then that I decided to alter that name to get "Gumball2". I submitted the title and thus became my official name.
With a clear face, I created two things that December. One of them was a fic entitled Survivor Gumball Island. This was intended to be a script-fic series that placed the TAWOG characters as well as pre-established OCs into a Survivor-like competition. Although it was never completed and paled in quality to subsequent works, I consider it to be the best thing I wrote on the wiki.
The other thing I did was create an event called the Gumball Awards. This program was intended to honor the greatest works on the site from its inception until December 2011. Although participation wasn't large (given the small size of the wiki), it was appreciated by those that did. I planned to do the same thing in June 2012, but such a ceremony never came to fruition.
As 2011 became a thing of the past, my interest in Gumbapedia Fanon Wiki declined. In 2012, I didn't write as many fics and I slowly lost interest. It was part of the reason why Survivor Gumball Island was never completed.
The final blow came on June 28, 2012 when I discovered FanFiction.Net. The discovery of this site was similar to that of Gumbapedia Fanon Wiki. I was on Youtube going through South Park stuff when I saw a video entitled "The Day Stan Slipped Away". I clicked on it and saw the video. The video itself was nothing special, however the description led to a fanfic on Fanfiction.Net with the same title. I read it and I personally enjoyed it (at the time) and decided to delve into more fics like it. What followed were several sleepless nights in early summer (although I fell asleep on the following mornings). Although I remember feeling really good on those nights, my body could never go through them again (the closet I got in recent times was 3 AM).
On July 3, I created my FanFiction.Net account with the same username. I really wanted to create something "epic", however I realized that I had to fix my style in order for that to work. Luckily, reading those fics has given me a good idea of the law of the land.
For an actual story, I wasn't exactly sure what it was going to be about. I knew what I wanted, however: to have Stan go through as much pain and suffering as possible. I know that sounds awful, but H/C was by far my favorite genre at the time (and still is).
I then got the basic idea-- the catalyst for the conflict. I started writing and then I just continued. Unfortunately, my writing on this site led me to leave Gumbapedia Fanon Wiki. I posted an official retirement announcement on July 17, 2012.
It took nearly two years to write, but I had my first novel, My Best Friend Warning: Contains mature content
My Best Friend is probably one of the largest turning points in my fanfiction career. It vastly changed the way I view storytelling and writing in general. I think a big reason for this is because it took a long time to write, and I was literally changing as a person during its creation. I think the biggest thing it taught me is that not all forms of H/C and tragedy are good. Just having your "hurt" character getting raped or committing suicide doesn't automatically make the story compelling or good. In fact, it can sometimes make your story nonsensical or worse, make your protagonist unlikable. My taste when it comes to H/C has become more refined in the two years it took to write this novel, both from a reader and creator perspective. I now realize that the "hurt" character has to be likable in order for the audience to care when they're put through torment. I also learned that I have to make the actual torment reasonable and not gratuitous.
I think the other big change I underwent is my view on shipping. Before I went onto FanFiction.Net, shipping was something completely alien to me. Most of the shipping on Gumbapedia Fanon Wiki was either with characters that had chemistry in canon or with OCs that were heterosexual. But then I was suddenly bombarded with countless gay and lesbian couples getting it on (some of which made absolutely no sense).
In my early FanFiction.Net days, I was relegated to the South Park archive, and I grew fond of several popular ships-- particularly Stan/Kyle and Stan/Wendy. Amongst the many fics I read, it was inevitable that I would run into these ships more often than not. And I really liked the two ships I just mentioned. In fact, My Best Friend is a Stan/Kyle ship fic.
However as time went on, my favor towards shipping itself started to weaken. Now I don't mean to offend people that do shipping, but the idea started to make less sense. I saw stories that shipped characters that had no chemistry whatsoever, stories that flat out state that friendship is never good enough, stories where everyone is gay despite the even distribution of boys and girls. All these stories seemed to exist for no other purpose than to have two characters of the same gender “express themselves”. And it got pretty annoying. So annoying, in fact, that it continually got longer to post new chapters of the story.
I should probably state, though, that this was merely my opinion in the past. Nowadays, my feelings toward shipping have cooled back down. Although I will probably never write a ship fic again, I do enjoy some MLP shipping. I'm not going to pretend that those ship fics in my favorites don't exist.
But I digress. My Best Friend is a pretty bad story in my opinion (I dare you to read it). There are times where I can't believe that it exists, but I will never delete it because it is a reminder of my progress. Also, there are some people that like it despite its absurdity.
The next phase of my FanFiction.Net career was focused on the Total Drama archive. Total Drama is a show I have seen since its American release in 2008. FanFiction.Net has somewhat allowed me to extend my involvement with the show's fandom. The major thing I noticed there was the plethora of "Submit Your Own OC" competitions where you would "audition" as an OC that gets to be in a Total Drama-style competition. I decided to submit several OCs to various stories, although none of these stories ever finished. I then decided to start my own, entitled Total Drama Survivor.
Although it is currently a work in progress, I have a very clear plan for it. I hope to use it as a way to make statements about the quality of entertainment and the definition of true art.
It was also through this that I met a very good friend: a fellow user named DaleJr.88. If you also have an account on FanFiction.Net, you should really check him out.
The FanFiction.Net era in my career is still going on, however it has been somewhat pushed to the side with my introduction to this place, . I officially became a brony in March 2014, however I cannot pinpoint an exact date. Although I remain a brony, I have largely returned to Fanfiction.Net when I started writing stories for the Loud House, which is my current status.
This has been the subject of my latest slate of fanfics. While I do my best to insure that each story is self-contained enough to be enjoyed on its own merits, I should stress that all of my Loud House fics (past, present, and future) are all designed to function in the same universe. A lot of my stories contain explicit and implicit references to my other stories for the fandom.
I believe it's important to establish this distinction because there are elements of my universe that vary sharply with the show proper. Some of it is headcanon stuff that I added and other are deliberate alterations/deletions of canon events. By creating this AU, I hope to create stories that are grounded and human (whether or not they achieve this effect is up to you to determine).
Below is an incomplete list of important departures from the show's canon that may be helpful when reading these stories. This list is likely to grow as more content is published that requires explanation.
- Lynn Sr. and Rita are much better parents than their canon counterparts. They love their children dearly, would never let them get in harm's way under their watch, and are not afraid to stand up to any combination of them when they create trouble. Because of this, Lincoln is never kicked out of the House in "No Such Luck", the siblings' conflict and Sister Fight Protocol doesn't go nearly as far as it does in "Brawl in the Family", and both of them are generally quicker to come to their kids' need when they are troubled.
- the Louds used to live in a small, one-story home. Unlike the white-painted House, this one was red and rather than having seven bedrooms, this one only had three. The family lived there from the parents' engagement in 1995 until shortly after Lynn's birth in 2003.
- Rita has carried a total of twelve fetuses. One of them was a twin sister of Lori and was supposed to be named Leni. Although they both exited the womb, Leni was a stillborn.
- the AU has no will against Lincoln. He is only punished for things that anyone else would be punished for committing.
- Luan's pranks on April Fools Day are significantly toned down. While she does do a bit more than her usual fare, they are far from the horrifying catastropes that she inflicts on the show. And the overall attitude is certainly lighter. After all, Luan just wants her family to laugh (as most comedians do), so there's no reason for her to flat out abuse her family. In "The Fool of April", she tries to pull off an extravaganza similar to what you would expect on the show, however she is immediately met with anger by her family and guilt for having caused them so much harm. From that point on, she went out of her way to insure that each April Fools Day is about all parties having a good time. Because of this, the episodes "April Fools Rules" and "Fools Paradise" never happen in the AU.
- Lisa does not own chemicals or other hazardous materials in her bedroom. Her room mainly consists of books, a desk, and some tools/equipment that would allow for simple, safe experiments (we're talking labs in a high school Newtonian physics class). This is consistent with Lynn Sr and Rita's increased responsibilities. Why would good parents allow their four year old to work with chemicals that could not only hurt herself, but the entire House as well? And not helping the case is the revelations in "Room with a feud" and "Potty Mouth" that such dangerous working conditions have damaged Lisa's health. In the AU, Lisa is only allowed to work with chemicals at the local state university under the professors' supervision.
- there are three institutions in Royal Woods Public Schools. The Elementary School serves all kids from grades K-6. The Junior High serves all kids from grades 7-8. And the High School serves all kids from grades 9-12.
- This is a breakdown of each of the kids' birthdays. While this hasn't been debunked, I'll put it under AU anyway. Besides, I think it's a good metric of tracking how old each person is at different points throughout the year:
Lori- April 23, 1999
Leni- May 14, 2000
Luna- October 9, 2001
Luan- July 25, 2002
Lynn- April 26, 2003
Lincoln- February 13, 2006
Lucy- December 19, 2008
Lana- January 1, 2010
Lola- January 1, 2010
Lisa- September 6, 2012
Lily- June 5, 2015
Loud House Rambling
This is literally gonna be a ramble, a compilation of thoughts I have on the show without caring about how it's organized. Maybe that's what you'll find charming about it. Maybe you'll find something amongst the nonsense that you can latch onto. But this is purely gonna be me discussing various stuff on this matter.
Here's a ranking of the eleven children from least favorite to favorite.
11) Lynn- This is a character that needs serious development because I find little to like in her. At best, she leave no impression on me. At worst, she makes me wonder whether she actually cares about her family (particularly Lincoln). And I think that's a shame because I feel like we could learn so much more about why winning matters to her, how her abrasive was is received outside her family, and maybe we could even see her recognize and try to work through her cardinal flaws. The reason why she's the lowest on the list is that while Lola and Lisa also suffer serious moral limitations, I can at least forgive those two simply because they're young and shouldn't be placed on the same level. Lynn, however, has clearly demonstrated an inability to reel in her problems (such as being a sore loser) despite being older than Lincoln (whom she had gone out of her way to harm).
10) Lisa- While I don't hate her, she is both consistently annoying and trite to me. Growing up, I did enjoy some of the boy genius shows such as "Jimmy Neutron" and "Dexter's Lab". When I was little at least, these shows were tolerable because my young mind was attracted to the inventions and to a lesser extent the supporting characters. While these shows still have some charm now that I'm grown, they are not shows I would rush to defend. So with that in mind, I am generally not a fan of the fact that not only is this a child prodigy, but their favorite subject is science. At this point, it's a cliche and the writers really had to go out of their way to insure this character was fresh. To me, at least, this hasn't happened at the time of writing this. I would have preferred if they made her primary subject of interest a different academic discipline, such as literature or economics (sure she does makes references to these other subjects, but she is overwhelming willing to support science). This lends itself to a bunch of experiments that create more trouble than they should. Also, it doesn't help that Lara Jill Miller (her voice actor) uses a spit-nasal voice to exaggerate this nerdy aspect. With that in mind, there are several features that redeem her. For one, I recognize that she's only four years old and that lends itself to some emotional immaturity. It does explain some of her ignorance regarding ethics but it also lends itself to some cute moments where she acts like a normal kid. I can't put her too low on the simple basis that she's very young. But even with that, she has some untapped potential and her on-screen appearances leave much to be desired.
9) Lola- This is easily the most polarizing character in the family (with Lynn as a runner up) and I am generally more likely to agree with her detractors than her supporters. With that said, however, I don't think she's the absolute worst. While her spoiled brat tendencies get old fast, she has demonstrated several moments of notable development. In "Sounds of Silence", it's apparent that none of the aforementioned "disasters" actually happened and she only played that trick to get Lincoln to realize that it's not cool to tune out his family. In "Tattler's Tale", she realizes how her ratting has deprived her of her other siblings' trust. The climax where she confesses to her parents and is invited to join them on their secrets meeting is quite touching. But my personal favorite moment from her is in "Undie Pressure" where she buys Lincoln that new underwear. The reason this scene stuck out to me was because it was one of the first scenes in the show where the sisters notice unfair treatment towards Lincoln (that they get to keep doing their habits even though they lost just because Lincoln lost and now even though he came in second, he is forced to give up his habit) and correct it. And it's great. But while her persona still outweigh those shining moments, said moments are still worthy of mention.
8) Lily- This one is mostly a placeholder. While Lily doesn't really have any bad moments, she doesn't have any moments where she shines all on her own. Most of the great scenes with her in it involve other characters working off her. And that's just it. Lily, so far at least, has largely been a plot device (a smiling, laughing, crying object that the other characters put sentimental value into). Granted it's not her fault, given how she's a baby. But the fact is I simply cannot place her above characters that, while flawed, actually carry significant pluses as well. The only way she will likely change her position is if we start seeing her develop interests and personality traits. Until then, she can simply be seen as a neutral zone.
7) Lori- Outside of Lincoln, Lori is the most complex and developed character. While development is always welcome, it also makes a character that's messy. Indeed, Lori carries some serious baggage that makes it difficult to like her at times. Firstly, there's her bossy and self-righteous nature. Lori is clearly someone that clings to being the oldest and uses that to exert leverage on the others. And unfortunately, the writers sometimes try to portray her bossiness as a good thing when it clearly isn't. The case in point is "No Guts, No Glori". While the episode tries to make argue that Lori's overzealous authority is the only way to stop the House from falling apart, it fails to convince me of this because it mistakes Lincoln's actively enabling actions as any management style more lenient than Lori's, it makes most of the other characters uncharacteristicly trigger-happy to engage in destruction, and it fails to consider the middle-of-the-ground authority that's usually in place when the parents are home. In the end, that episode only convinced me that Lori just acts bossy because being the oldest is all she has over the others. The other serious flaw Lori has is that when it comes to her relationship with Bobby, she is prone to losing emotional stability. As much as I like "Relative Chaos", I think she was way too reckless in handling the news of Bobby moving away (at least at first) and it made me feel bad for Lincoln while he's in the speeding Vanzilla. And one cannot forget to mention her intimidation tactics she imposed on Lincoln in "Saving the Date". Now while these flaws on their own are bad, the reason she isn't lower on the list is due to extra screen moments that imply some rationale to this crazy behavior. Returning to "No Guts No Glori", while I don't the claim she made in that episode for why she's bossy, I am fully convinced by the admission she made in "Driving Miss Hazy" about her wanting to feel needed. If you watch "No Guts No Glori" with that in mind, it becomes more believable why Lori would overcompensate with her babysitting style. You can also see it in her relationship with Bobby. It's implied that Lori is quite insecure, probably because of her lack of talents/quirks that make her stand out and more well-liked within her family. Even if it doesn't forgive her behavior, it can at least make me understand it. And I hope that this aspect of her personality is expanded upon in future episodes.
6) Lana- While she isn't exceptional for me, Lana is certainly more good than bad. She serves as an interesting foil for Lola (she's dirty, nature orientated, handy, and genial). I don't have too much to say about her, but I'm glad that she lacks any serious disaster that damages her reputation. With that said, though, she isn't very interesting to watch; out of all the Louds, she's the one I'm most likely to forget. So in the future, I hope we get to learn some more interesting stuff about her character.
5) Luan- The concept behind this character is something I love. Here you have a girl whose passion is to make others laugh. She reminds me a lot of Pinkie, my favorite pony from Friendship is Magic and for good reason. Most of her outings are endearing, even if others groan at her puns. It's sorta like when my brother sends me a bunch of weird, outdated memes. It may not be funny per se, but there's a charm to it. And then there's her Funny Business where she spreads her joy to others and makes money on the side. I love how she not only knows what she wants, but has found ways to transfer that passion to other things (a business, a YouTube channel, and theater). While Luan for the most part is charming, there is an elephant in the room that must be addressed. When it comes to April Fools Day, those good intentions melt away and are replaced by a mean-spirited twistedness. In both episodes to focus on this, she clearly doesn't feel even remotely sorry for all the misfortune and grief she inflicts on her family, which I personally disagree with. To me at least, it's a shame that the writers are fond enough of this premise to make two episodes about with Luan learning very little from either of them. All I hope is that eventually, Luan will snap out of this madness and realize that she has made April Fools the exact opposite of what it should be (a light-hearted, fun time for everyone involved). But even with those two episodes, I still maintain a decent amount of appreciation for Luan, which is why she is here on the list.
4) Lucy- There are a number of things that attract me to this character. First, there's her interest in writing. I can relate to a character that looks to words in order to express feelings and thoughts (I have already done it to express my feelings on episodes, I use it to get points across in my stories, and I'm even using to make this list where I just spout out my thoughts on these characters). Outside of that, Lucy is a character we have a lot of content to sink into. Next to Lincoln, she is the most likely to be labeled as weird and outcasted given her aloof, passive nature. We have already seen how this has manifested into conflicts, particularly in "Back in Black" and "Spell it Out". The unintentional stomping over she received in both these episodes give me good reason to believe that the dark themes she espouses in her writing may be more than just her fetishizing these abstract ideals (it could be shades of how she truly feels). It is also for this reason that I see her having an excellent relationship with her older brother, as she can look up to him as a model of how to act when she feels lonely and misunderstood. All I can hope is that future episodes continue to develop at least some of these notions.
3) Lincoln- I am in the camp that sympathizes with Lincoln more so than blame him for "bringing it upon himself". When I was eleven years old, I wasn't exceptional. I wasn't exceptionally providing or exceptionally kind or exceptionally astute. I mention this because I think Lincoln is an exceptional eleven year old boy that deserves so much more than what he receives. He is courteous to everyone he comes across, he is always willing to help his other sisters with their things, he seems rather fine in lacking a brother (or at least that's what he lets on), and he is surprisingly well-adjusted (given how he can bounce back from atrocities being inflicted onto him). Granted he still has the desires and instincts of someone his age, so he isn't too unbelievable. However, it's all these things that he is and does that should make anyone take a step back and admire how strong of a person he is. I think the one person that least understands this is himself. He's used to things not going his way, to the point where he's surprised when his sisters do something for him. This is the protagonist, so it's good having an enjoyable person to spend all that extra screen time with.
2) Luna- I find a lot to love in her. Firstly, there's her passion for music. Rock may not be my favorite genre, but when you've spent years doing band and learned three instruments, there's a connection to be had. She's pretty fun to be around and it's clear that her siblings appreciate her means of expression (especially with Lincoln). And then there's her development. We learn that there was once a time where she wasn't a rocker and was lost in the world. This helps us understand her better and even sheds a new light on her (already great) relationship with Lincoln. She fears that he will become just as lost and uncertain as she will, so she treats him especially well so that he will be happy. Granted, she could be closer to Lucy as well, but the writers have already made it a point that the sisters will try to improve their treatment of Lucy. Overall, she's a delight to watch. She's good to her family, I can relate to her passion in music, and she carries a number of avenues that can lead to even more development than what's already been done.
1) Leni- I am a member of the Loud House Amino. And although I stress in the profile that the account says it belongs to Gumball2, I think it says a lot that my username on the Amino is "Leni Loud". I recognize that there are plenty of people like myself that will "protect" her at all costs, idolizing her as some omnipotent being. I am one of those people. But some of you may wonder why. She's not outspoken like Luna. She doesn't have as much screen time as Lincoln. So how is it that every time I see her on screen, I end up smiling? For me, at least, she is a perfect balance between what I can relate to and what I aspire to be. Now I am gonna be perfectly honest. I have never cared for "fashion", as in I don't care what brand or designer I get my clothes from. Sure I have a "style", but it comes purely from what I want (and my family actually pokes fun at me for some of the stuff I do). But when it comes to Leni, it's not about fashion. It could be anything: comedy, music, writing, or art. What matters is how she chooses to impart that passion onto other people. When it comes to fashion, it's about making others feel beautiful. She clearly lacks a mean bone in her body, so it's not too much of a stretch to assume that's a motivation for her when she helps a friend out. Her overflowing compassion (an attribute that's often cited by other fans) is something I strive to achieve even with my own inner demons holding me back. What's less cited, however, is how her other characteristics are a beautiful mirror for people that are misunderstood and underestimated by others. Throughout my life, I have had difficulty with adapting to the world. When it comes to tasks and socializing, there are times where communication feels jumbled and that results in me either saying or doing something stupid. I know I have a mind, complete with thoughts, feelings, and observations, but I can have difficulty conveying them to the outside world. This has resulted in me being labeled as slow, awkward, or brainless. It can be disheartening to have others think you have nothing to offer, that you aren't to be trusted with responsibilities or respect. Lincoln and Lori are often viewed as the "relatable" Louds and I can see why; they're grounded and developed enough so that a wide rang of people can see at least something in them. While I too relate in part to both those characters, Leni is the one I personally relate to the most. Seeing her going about her day, taking a lot of what comes her way in stride, while appearing completely aware of how others see her ("It's a 4xLoud House") warms my heart. It reminds me that I'm not alone and it gives me someone that I can support on a much deeper level than any other character. Whenever she comes on screen, it becomes an experience that even reason can't always explain. I adore this cinnamon roll and wish that she continues to grow in episodes to come.
Next, I thought I'd leave some thoughts on certain episodes of the show. This is not a list of rankings nor a review service. This is a collection of episodes where I feel expressing my thoughts for either because I want to or because you'll find it interesting. For the time being, I'll try to avoid episodes where I don't have anything to say that hasn't already be said (that doesn't mean I don't have feelings towards them, it just means that said feelings are ones that other people have already expounded on the Internet). Finally, it's important to keep in mind that not all of these thoughts are gonna be critically sound. This is me talking with purely my heart (and sometimes my brain). So if you find yourself not agreeing with this stuff, then it's just because this is coming from my "taking the show seriously" perspective. With that said, here it goes.
Driving Miss Hazy- I like this episode because of what it teaches about the characters, particularly Lori and Leni. For Lori, I went away thinking that she's insecure about her place in the family. In Making the Case, it was seen that Lincoln wasn't the only one without a trophy (Lori being one of them). While she might have a golfing medal lying around somewhere, I could see her being threatened by the siblings that are more outspoken of easily defined by their interests/talents. It appears that the only thing she has over any of them is her seniority and she wants to cling onto that as much as possible (in this case, making sure she's the only one that can drive). It's apparent that her actions have made her unpopular and perceived as someone that others shouldn't go to for help (because she'll just ask for something in return). Therefore, she's left herself in this vicious cycle of making sure she uses her seniority to get all the power so that people will need her while her abrasiveness has encouraged the others to open up to possible ways out of getting her assistance. And then there's good ol' Leni. In this (early) episode, it's established that Leni is very capable of learning new things when it's explained to her in a very specific way. This suggests that her brain functions in a different way than Lori (and apparently most of the others for that matter). She has a unique way of forming associations and memories that has piqued my interest in more ways than one. Also, I noticed that after she failed the test for the second (fourteenth) time, she was quick to blame herself for not being good enough to learn even though she was doing just fine in the days leading up to the test. While she does come around when Lori confesses, however the fact that her first instinct when met with failure is to blame herself also says something to me. Needless to say, the info learned in this episode has been a bedrock for me when writing my versions of each of these characters. The only problem I had with this episode is the part when Leni said that everyone has given up on her. While failing the test twelve times can be discouraging, that attitude is completely unacceptable to me. If I were writing this episode, I would not have the parents be this willing to give up on their own daughter. But other than that, I'm glad I saw this episode.
No Guts No Glori- This is an episode that fails in itself and presents interesting queries the broader context of the show. I guess I'll start with the episode by itself. So here's the thing. The episode argues that Lori is the only person capable of keeping the House in tact and that the only way she can do that is by being an iron-fisted drill sergeant. The episode tries to support this argument by having all the kids rally around Lincoln, who not only allows anarchy, but enables the kids to unleash their most destructive tendencies (he turns up the volume on Luna's amp, for instance). Obviously this extreme is untenable and the House inevitably falls apart. Lincoln is forced to admit that Lori is right for being a drill sergeant and order is restored. What bothers me about this is that Lori is never wrong for being on the opposite extreme. Her excessive authority is rewarded and is implied to be the only way to even keep the building in tact. However this is simply ridiculous. It's obvious that anarchy isn't the answer, however authoritarianism is not the bare minimum to establish order. This episode fails to have Lori compromise in a significant manner (other than agree to play video games with Lincoln). The truth is that there is a balance that is very manageable. For proof, look no further than Lynn Sr and Rita, the parents. They lean towards a laissez fairs style of parenting and yet the House is perfectly fine. This leaves me to believe that this episode twisted the other kids' temperament just to create an environment where Lori's excessive style is the only manageable style. And to me, that's just sloppy.
The Road to Hell
This is the boring part where I talk about my own stories and provide some stuff about what I have in mind regarding them. If you're someone planning to read my stories, then you should probably not read this part. One thing I will always promote is Death of the Author. In other words, my intentions (however good I think they are) are not the "be all end all" way to interpret my stories. If you read anything I write and come up with your own idea of what it's about, then that's perfectly okay. In fact, I'll be glad that I got you thinking in a way that makes you feel good. So take everything I say down here with a grain of salt. Consider it more trivia than doctrine.
You can think of these as Author Notes. Nowadays, I have moved away from including these in the story itself. While I recognize their value, I don’t want to deceive people with the word count. I want my Loud house stories to read seamlessly between chapters and for the word count to accurately reflect the story’s actual length. So without further interruption, here’s what I have to say.
My Sister Leni (Spoiler Warning)
I guess one place to start is "My Sister Leni". At the time of writing this, this is my longest story for anything really. When I started it in January 2017, I had no idea it would get past 100k words. But then idea after idea came along that sorta bridged the gaps between the stuff I had planned out early on (I figured out the ending pretty early in the writing stage).
I can't say when exactly I subscribed to the "Leni had autism" theory, but once I did, it seemed to make sense to me. There are things in the canon that suggest that she shares features with those on the spectrum (Ducky arms and "Leni" speak are among the most distinct). I realize this may generate some disagreement, but I do not think Leni is stupid at all; she has every bit of potential as anyone else to understand and learn concepts. The explanations are that her brain is wired to learn in a different way from most of the people around her and she often has difficulty coming up with the right words to express her thoughts. Both of which display symptoms of autism. In recent months, I have come more and more to terms with the fact that my views are headcanon more so than fact, but I still pay close attention to Leni in the newer episodes (and she's surprising).
The next thing to note is that I myself am on the autism spectrum (specifically PDDNOS). As I brace myself for the accusations of self-insert, I want to elaborate my stance on this. When preparing this "My Sister Leni", I put a lot of thought into how she would be presented in the story. I knew I couldn't stray too far from canon, but at the same time I told myself that there's untapped gray areas that I could fill in. Even aware of the fact that anything I established could be rebutted by a future, I decided to take a leap of faith and fill in some gaps the show left. I know I want to make this (along with my other stories) as grounded and human as I could possibly manage. Going back to this, I realized that there are things about my experience with autism that are worth sharing (topics and perspectives that I personally haven't seen brought up in discussions about autism real or fiction). The story is by no means an autobiography, but there are aspects and scenes where I draw heavily from my own life.
Next is the question of why this story exists and why it's so long. For the second question, I want to say that this story is already much longer than I anticipated it to be. While my plan from the beginning is to work on it for at least a year, I originally thought it was only gonna be 100k at the most. Needless to say, I passed that point when Leni was in middle school (a segment of the story that went on for far longer than I thought, but maybe more on that later). And now that it’s complete, it rests at an astonishing 274,290 words (including the “The End”).
As for the first question, this story mainly exists because I want it to. But to be more specific, I had an idea where Leni had autism and a prequel/sequel to "Lori's Birthday". And yet, it turns out that the story grew to be so much more than that. Idea just spawned more ideas and stuff just happened for me until it got to where it is now. Some of them were conceived later in the writing process (such as the Carol arc and the entirety of Chapter 49) for various reasons. Some of it was filler to slow down the pacing between goal posts I had designed very early in the writing process and others were for thematic/drama/Action/entertainment purposes.
What started off as the idea of a character I like having autism eventually turned into a personal project all on its own. Like I said, I have autism and with that comes very real challenges. But one thing I had in mind while writing about this topic is the impressions I’ve gotten from other pieces of media that depict autism. There are plenty of popular books, movies, plays, and TV shows that try to depict autism with varying levels of success. While these works are well-intentioned and make serious efforts to portray autism in a respectable and/or realistic fashion, there are two trends I have seen in some of the more popular depictions that can be problematic:
1) Many of the popular portrayals focus primarily on the challenges non-autistic people face when learning to understanding and accept their autistic peers. Don’t get me wrong: that is certainly a dynamic non-autistic people continually perpetuate in their efforts to connect with autistic people. But more often than not, this emphasis on the non-autistic people is used to craft a narrative based around acceptance, akin to accepting people for other attributes (such as race, gender, or religion). I’m not saying all works do this, but the popular ones tend to do this in order to promote an underdog story (which people are naturally inspired by). While the autistic person faces the challenges and tics associated with the neurological disorder, these struggles are welded into the more generic narrative of acceptance. These characteristics are in the forefront in order to give the nonautistic people a quirk that needs accepting, something they may find irritating or confusing, but must be reconciled in order to become open-minded. Generally speaking, using autism for an acceptance story is lazy and overdone. It may teach people the basics of autism (“just because they struggle to speak their thoughts doesn’t mean they have nothing to say”), but I feel like this doesn’t adequately cover autism from the autistic person’s perspective. Even if everyone in their lives accepted autistic people for who they are, there are lingering issues and dynamics at play (or at least from my personal experience) that aren’t even mentioned in the popular depictions of autism.
2) Many popular depictions of autism focus on the extreme ends of the spectrum. In the acceptance stories, the autistic person will be high-functioning and maybe also have Savant syndrome. While they have difficulty with socializing or communicating, these autistic people will be fiercely intelligent in one subject or have a perfect memory. On one hand, these attributes are desirable and the writer of such a character has good intentions; to make the autistic person an asset, a diamond in the rough. But on the other hand, such a portrayal is not an accurate representation of autism. While many on the spectrum may develop a narrow set of strong interests, only 10% have savant abilities. Many autistic people (like myself) don’t have perfect memory nor can they know everything there is to know about their interest. The best an average autistic person can do is learn as much as their passion or resources allow. While this is perfectly acceptable, the prevalence of autistic savants in the media (especially in acceptance stories) can be problematic. Given the trend, the message to both autistic and nonautistic viewers could be interpreted as such: “Autistic people have many difficulties. Talking doesn’t come easily for them, their tics make them stick out like a sore thumb, and all you wanna do is go back to what you’re more familiar with. But all of that’s okay because despite those problems, autistic people make up for it by possessing superhuman intelligence that no one else can muster. And it’s for that reason that you should see beyond the eccentricities.” While this can certainly inspire some autistic people to pursue their passion, I can also see it as a danger when they try and fail to meet this higher standard. It raises expectations to a level that may be unattainable: to achieve perfect recall or superior knowledge in their narrow interest of study. While anyone can fall into this trap, autistic people have to also grapple with whatever challenges they possess in socializing. This, when mixed with black and white thinking (one characteristic of autism) can result in insecurity seeping in. Autistic people may grow to feel that they’re not good enough because not only do they have quirks and social awkwardness that can complicate their ability to make friends, but they also live knowing that they can’t stack up to a Savant being plastered everywhere and inspiring many.
I want to once again stress that creators of these depictions are not ill-intentioned. They do it to tell a compelling story while doing what think will empower those with mental and developmental disabilities. And I think that some of these depictions even attest to certain elements of the experience in a positive way (such as mannerisms and the difficulty in translating other people’s words into coherent information). But as someone on the spectrum, I saw an opportunity to explore aspects of the spectrum that I haven’t seen in popular portrayals. Whether you think the ideas I present in the story have been explored by others or not will depend on what media you’ve been exposed to.
While I include typical autistic characteristics in the story, the one major question I seek to address is the role early intervention plays in shaping the lives of those on the spectrum. The answer appears obvious: a lot. But from my personal experience, I find that there’s multiple ways to go about that.
When Leni starts showing symptoms, Rita and Lynn Sr notice and are relatively quick to take concern. They sense that it isn’t normal and promptly take action. Leni is diagnosed at a young age and her challenges (for lack of a better word) are discovered. Because of their determination, resources, and time (since at this point, they only have three children), Leni is able to receive a plethora of services. This includes in-school special education and out-of-school services (Maddy) that help give Leni a headstart. Of course, not all her complications go away, but she improves over time.
This stands in contrast to other kids with autism. When she encounters Derek, she is stunned to see how different he is from her despite having the same condition and being in the same preschool class. The challenges Derek faces in his life are not the result of living in a bad household (his mother Eileen loves him and does the best she can). His difficulties are mainly the result of receiving less services than Leni did as a young child. Most of his services came directly from special education programs at school. While these programs are staffed with wonderful people, they can only do so much to help students with severe challenges. They have limited funding from the school system, they have to work with multiple students at varying levels of academic/social/emotional progress, and bureaucratic duties can limit a program’s potential to improve the lives of all students. This was the best Eileen could provide for her son given her personal connections (specialists like Maddy have to be discovered), time (specialists like Maddy have to be researched and sought after), and finances (specialists like Maddy have to be paid). None of these make Eileen a bad person or a bad mother; she’s doing the best she can with her limited resources.
Discussion of this implies that much of an autistic person’s ability to overcome their challenges lies outside of their control. While I don’t think that’s absolutely the case every time, I do believe that it does take a village to raise a child. When an autistic person is young, they’re especially vulnerable and early intervention is essential for overcoming difficulties. A parent’s ability to provide resources for their child at a young age can make a significant difference in helping their autistic child learn to talk, basic social skills, and to understand how their mind works. I also don’t intend to make judgment calls on autistic people or parents that cannot accrue resources at a young age. Autistic people (regardless of background) can learn skills later on or otherwise live fulfilling lives. What I’m stating about early intervention, however, is based off my assessment that it does result in autistic people making progress in school and in social situations.
With this difference in mind, Leni is ultimately affected at a later age when these circumstances become obvious to her. She not only learns that others like her have turned out substantially different than herself, but that her parents went through great lengths to get her the resources that have allowed her to speak, attend public school, and other things. Of course, the latter is something her parents did out of love and urgency. They were determined to make the services happen even if it proved to be a financial burden. One could talk endlessly about just he parents’ side of things, how they go through their own underdog story to fight for this “grand” cause. Hearing that story is pretty uplifting at the end when the services are granted.
But I want to look beyond that; I wanna show how knowledge of this underdog story affects the recipient. The only way I could understand this perspective is to live it, which I do (for better or worse). The gratitude of receiving services (of being able to talk, for instance) should be the only thing I feel nowadays when thinking about my abilities. And it’s the necessity of the services that sweeps anything else under the rug in most people’s eyes; after all, I receive the services and know they’re necessary, so what else is there to it?
Leni is in a similar situation as myself. Ultimately, the knowledge of how hard her parents worked to give her services leaves behind some complicated emotions. She feels obliged to live a worthy life to show her parents that their sacrifices were worth it. In junior high, this compels her to make friends and test out of her IEP. In her mind, continuing on her IEP is her just sucking on other people’s resources while demonstrating little progress that she believes her parents expect out of her. Leni succeeds in testing out of her IEP, which in theory should mean she’s perfectly “acclimated” to make friends.
But as she learns the hard way, the challenges don’t go away. Leni continues to go about life making mistakes; she doesn’t make any close friends outside Helen, she continually struggles to figure out other people’s speech, and misinterprets things. Leni is forced to face the fact that she doesn’t meet the high bar she set out for herself in Jr High. She feels like she owes something back to her parents and those that had worked to make her who she was. The last crucial step, in her opinion, is to take steps of her own to prove that all of those people work had been worth it. And given how Leni continues to mess up, this creates a dangerous path.
To me, this also connects to something I notice in canon and discussion of Leni’s character within. Leni has mainly been cited as not having any real flaws on the show. Sure there’s her “dumbness”, but this rarely affects the plot, essentially just being a joke. At the same time, we see how nice she acts, how others turn around to believe that this niceness is a good thing, and just move on. But since Season 2, Leni-centric episodes don’t have the same guise as focus episodes for other main characters. Particularly, “No Spoilers” And “Shop Girl” Don’t focus on Leni so much as they focus on the other ten siblings trying to act around Leni. These episodes Center around the other siblings struggling to understand some aspect of Leni’s personalities only to come around and realize that it’s a good. Some may call this character development for Leni, however these episodes fail to challenge Leni in any meaningful way. Any flaws that could be explored are either ignored or treated as strengths. “Everybody Loves Leni” does address this problem somewhat, in that Leni experiences some bad stuff from her flaws, but even then, Leni doesn’t end up solving the problem on her own. Others do the work for her (even Lori flat out gives her instructions on what to do other than sit on the couch and eat chocolate pudding).
Now I’m not calling these bad episodes by any means. I love these three episodes and I think they each have something interesting to reveal about Leni. But the key issue is that they don’t actually show how Leni feels or what she’s really made of. She’s not challenged in a way in which her strengths (or perceived strengths) have limitations in light of limited reflection. Or maybe there are other skeletons in the closet that have yet to be revealed. In addition to the two episodes stated above, “Crimes Of Fashion” is the most egregious example of this problem. Leni is faced with a problem. But instead of taking any responsibility in resolving it, Lincoln and Clyde literally fix it all for her. Now I’m sure Leni, being loving as she is, is grateful that these two would work so hard to help her out, but let me ask you: how embarrassing does it sound to cry and sit on your hands (helpless) while two kids five years your junior hand you a solution on a silver platter, like superheroes saving a damsel in distress? I suspect there’s a part of Leni (even if it’s tiny) that feels a bit inadequate after that.
Well imagine if this hypothetical portion of Leni became central to her character and she is constantly mindful of it. Now take that vision and put it through a word processor riddled with tons of spelling errors, awkward sentence structure, and confused messaging, and you’ll come out with a product that’s slightly better than MSL.
Leni must confront a long legacy of struggling to be assertive in order to fulfill her promise of paying back the people that bothered to invest time into her. She must also face the fact that she imposes an amorphous, seemingly unattainable bar for said goal, leading to virtually guaranteed disappointment. One could say that this perception is in part driven by an absolutist, black and white mentality. After all, one thing many autistic people struggle with is understanding gray areas and “good enough”; to these folks, something is either all good or all bad. But I think another element of this is Leni’s strong feelings about all this. She loves her family and given the stakes she faced growing up, her gratitude for their advocacy and hard work further solidifies these feelings. And when Leni feels something rather than contextualize it rationally, the moral standards increase because her mistakes are reframed in this mindset, ignoring the broader circumstances around it.
In the end, MSL culminates as a story of acceptance. What is Leni accepting exactly? At no point does Leni directly blame autism for her problems. When seeing the entirety of herself as the problem, she talks about her mistakes, her inability to meet this golden standard, her lack of redeeming qualities, and the moments where she causes her family inconvenience or pain. You could lay out some causal pattern where autism facilitates certain attitudes and tendencies that lead to these outcomes, but I don’t want to argue that autism is in itself destructive or saddening (more than enough people in the “cure” and “pity” movements do that already). There’s more at work here and none of the feelings Leni experiences are inevitable. So with that said, we return to the question at hand.
I think what Leni is trying to accept is that despite everything she goes through, she is lovable and that she deserves to be loved by those close to her. This isn’t supposed to be about complacency. After all, Leni’s life is filled with pushing herself to her limits. She’s pushed into learning to talk despite what Dr. Henry first observed. She cultivates a hobby that can be turned into a career. She works to give back through the Fashion Club. And she tries to do right by those close to her. She cares for her family, for Helen, and for the others she encounters in the course of her story. But even if none of her efforts ever amounted to material gains, she, like everyone else, deserves a baseline of love because she is inherently human and inherently worthy. This goes directly to one of the show’s main themes: that family love will prevail through trials and tribulations, through personality and arguing, through laughter and tears. Leni comes to realize that her acceptance by those closest to her is unconditional. Because Leni exists and is worthy of love, her parents see that she is worth fighting for on those premises alone. And Leni learns that failure is not grounds for being stripped of that love. If anything, her parents grow to love her more because they know that they raised Leni to be able to grow, to learn, and to lead a full life.
Leni herself understands this concept of unconditional love and empowering others to grow through her interactions with others on the spectrum. But given her sharp awareness of her own history, actions, and thoughts, she’s led to believe that she’s the exception. Why should she be entitled to unconditional love when her flaws are so potent in her mind? How can she know that when others smile around her that it’s not due to pity? Leni herself tries never to judge others herself and she genuinely believes that everyone else is worthy of these high ideas, but she is the only one that’s broken and therefore unworthy. In this respect, Leni’s journey becomes one of seeing through these alternative explanations and recognizing that there are people that genuinely care for her. We all may face doubts or insecurities, but these feelings are the product of us looking inwardly on ourselves. We see everything we are, both above and beneath the tip of the iceberg. And when we normally only see the tips for other people, it’s easy to conclude that they are perfect or above emotional barriers as it’s more difficult for us to apply our own feelings to those of others in that way. In a way, this is a double standard against ourselves. When it’s so easy to see everyone else as perfect and moving through life in a breeze, why should her fumbling clumsy self be entitled to the same treatment? Learning to accept that unconditional love is, well, unconditional is critical to her being able to move on.
I figured now would be a good time to share some other components of this story worth mentioning. One smaller point is the use of the word “autism”, which for these purposes I will dub the “a word”. Originally, I had no intention to use the word at all for two reasons. One, I figured her behavior and circumstances would speak for themselves. And two, I was concerned that using the word too much would elicit the very kind of pity I sought to avoid (or for a cynical reader, a sense that I’m using the buzzword autism as a crutch for creating unearned emotional moments). I wanted the story to flow organically, to allow Leni and her actions to speak for themselves and allow readers to come to their own conclusions. Indeed, if the reviews are any indication, multiple people had put the pieces together even without dropping the word. And I personally think that Leni’s emotional struggles later in the story are grounded enough to where it’s not antagonizing autism itself.
So...if I got my points across, why did I use the word at all? Well, I think I figured it out while I was writing Chapter 16. So there’s a moment while Lori is in the attic finding stuff and she comes across some books with puzzle pieces on it, along with a vague reference to how Rita forbids her from insulting Leni due to...whatever the books are associated with. That was probably the most on the nose reference I used up to that point. I mean, they’re very obviously supposed to be parenting books for kids on the spectrum.And although I found a way to describe that without using the word, I realized it was pretty forced. Doesn’t there come a point where efforts to hide autism seem less natural than shows like The Good Doctor, where one of the very first lines of dialogue is a doctor giving a dictionary definition of the word autism to a boardroom full of other doctors? Given the direction I wanted the story was going in, I realized there would be at least one scene where using the word wouldn’t hurt. So, my strategy shifted from avoiding the word like the plague to using it just enough to get the point across. It turns out that in a story with 274,290 words, that magic number is three.
Looking back, I’m glad I used it at least once. When Rita says the word in Chapter 20, I never intended that moment to be a reveal. I had spent enough time before hand filling the screen with moments that show that claim. Rather, I meant it to set the stage for the visit to Dr. Henry, yes, but also to give my readers a moment of satisfaction. Yes, you cracked the code. You weren’t just seeing things. This is exactly what you think it is and reading the word printed on the screen is supposed to be a pat on the back for sticking with the program. So that explains that.
There’s also Leni’s relationship with Linky. Now this is one element I had a lot of fun writing. From the moment he’s born, Linky is supposed to mean something very special to Leni. At first, it’s supposed to be because he’s cute and that he’s the only boy around. In that sense, he’s a novelty in Leni’s eyes. But later on, the course of their interactions complements Leni’s arc (specifically, her descent into self hatred). Despite Leni’s overwhelming adoration for Linky, almost all of their interactions highlight some flaw in Leni’s character. In their very first scene together, Leni hogs Linky while failing to realize Luan trying to have some time. This culminates in Luan shouting and making Linky cry. Now granted, this isn’t exactly Leni’s fault per se, but that first scene sets a precedent of what’s to come. Leni makes Linky cry again when she refuses to let go of him one night when Lori is trying to get her to come up for dinner. Leni gets his hopes up by promising to make him a Halloween costume, but then sees how disappointed he is when she forgets to make the costume. When Linky takes the fall for Lucy about Princess Pony and gets teased, Leni is unable to assert her belief that such teasing is wrong and is left to stew in her own guilt. Even the more “uplifting” moments don’t really demonstrate her strengths. Rather than giving away Bun Bun in some grand intentional gesture, she just kinda lets Bun Bun fall into his hands while she just shrugs it off. When Leni tries to make Linky feel better after one of her messups, it comes across as overcompensating and weird rather than heartfelt. Linky feels embarrassed and uncomfortable by Leni’s attempts to “cheer him up”.
Leni continually fears that she is failing her special Linky and not being able to deliver to him what he deserves. But I also try to use this arc to feed into a unique perspective on Linky’s situation. A lot of people like to portray Lincoln as getting the short end of the stick a lot (particularly in Season 1) and he’s just sick and tired of that. Others like to show Lincoln’s relationship with his sisters as completely level, balanced, and no wrong doing whatsoever. But for my story, I thought it would be interesting to twist these ideas a bit. So basically, Linky loves his family and thinks he’s treated just as fairly as everyone else. But Leni sees her interactions with him as well as the Season 1 stuff and she fears that’s this levelheadedness is induced from trauma more than anything else. In her mind, Linky is getting beat down and not getting the treatment he deserves. She wants to change that by parading him with love and special treatment. Any time Linky says he’s just fine, she gets nervous because to her, that sentiment is due more to him being used to getting the short end of the stick than from any objective truth to his vocal claim. Once again, Leni is applying a double standard against herself. She wants to help Linky overcome his supposed tendency to beat himself down while continually beating herself down and denying herself the entitlement to love and fair treatment that she is trying to instill back into Linky.
But here’s the thing: nothing
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