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Season 2 Q&A Part Two - A

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Please note: due to Wix limits on blog post length, this transcript has been split into two posts. However, the PDF linked here is the complete transcript. The split occurs at 35.07.00 and the second part of the transcript can be found here, and at the link at the end of this part. Links open in new tabs.

Monstrous Agonies Season 2 Q&A Part Two Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It fades out as Hero starts speaking.]

Hero: Hello, friends and welcome to the Season Two Q&A. I'm Hero, the creator of Monstrous Agonies, and I'll be answering your questions with Sophie B., the voice of the Understudy. Once again, we were recording in less than perfect conditions, so please interpret this sound quality generously.

Sophie: So these are questions are kind of for me, which is exciting.

Hero: Oooh. Do you want me to read them?

Sophie: You can if you want to.

Hero: Okay. Uh, so Tagapinta. Fabulous.

Sophie: Also--I know--And I'm glad you went there first 'cause I was thinking, "Am I going to botch that?"

Hero: How else would you say it?

Sophie: I don't--honestly, I don't know. That's--I get in my own head about it, though.

Hero: No, you're going to have to do that one.

Sophie: Yeah, I'm going to do that one. It's fine.

Hero: Yeah. I'm pointing at a username that is... fun.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: "If it's not too spoiler-y, how did the Understudy get her position in the radio? Has she been the Understudy as long as the Presenter has been the Presenter? Or have there been other understudies before her?" And do you want the second half, or.

Sophie: We'll get to that one after.

Hero: We'll get there.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: So, so how long has the Understudy been there, and how did she get her position? So this is going to be Sophie's headcanon.


Hero: This is just things that Sophie thinks are cool because I haven't written it in the show, so it doesn't count. But. I think you are vibrating with excitement at sharing your theories.

Sophie: I just love--I love thinking about the Understudy. I--so I personally don't believe the Understudy has been the Understudy for as long as the Presenter's been the Presenter because we know, canonically, that the Presenter has been the Presenter for a very long time.

Hero:[laughs] People's reactions to that Holy Roman Empire joke was like--

Sophie: Which is funny to me because like, I always just assumed that. Maybe that's just because I knew you and kind of knew--but then people being like, "How old is the Presenter?!"

Hero: Yeahhh.

Sophie: I'm like, well, as old as--as old as balls. [laughs]

Hero: These trees are old. [laughs] [simultaneously] Old as balls.

Sophie: Old as balls. [laughs]

Hero: Yeah. Yeah. Well there's--there's, 'cause... 'cause 131.3 FM is outside the range of FM radio. It's not possible. And they have already had references to things that happen before the invention of radio.

Sophie: Yes.

Hero: But I think the Holy Roman Empire--you'd have to know when--like, what the FM frequency was and when radio was invented to know either of those things. Whereas Holy Roman Empire, you go "Holy what?"

Sophie: [laughs] "Eh, uh, pardon me?"

Hero: "Excuse?" [laughs]

Sophie: Yes. Um. So yeah. I personally don't believe the Understudy has been the Understudy for as long as the Presenter's been the Presenter. I think that there weren't other understudies before the Understudy, however. I think the Understudy was brought in as a much-needed desperate measure because things keep happening, and the Presenter is the sort of being who would just be like, "No! I'm just going to keep on going!"

Hero: "I'm just going to muscle through!"

Sophie: "I'm just gonna--just happen, and radio is life, and I'm going to keep going, and this is me." And then the station--not Station Manager, because up until--

Hero: No.

Sophie: But the station--

Hero: There was a Station Manager before Mab. But he died.

Sophie: Yes.

Hero: And the Presenter never replaced him.

Sophie: Yes.

Hero: Because.. they were like. I can do it myself.

Sophie: Yeah. Yeah.

Hero: No worries.

Sophie: Well then maybe--okay, I'm adapting on the way, I'm adapting on the way.

Hero: Oh, okay.

Sophie: I think that Station Manager hired the Understudy.

Hero: Mm-hmm.

Sophie: And that's part of why the Presenter never replaced him, because of uppity ideas like that.


Sophie: "Bringing someone else?"

Hero: [sinister voice] Getting ideas above their station.

Sophie: Yeah, so.

Hero: [regular voice] Yes. I like the idea that--that... I always think of the station as Station because I really like Ancillary Justice and the Imperial Radch books.

Sophie: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Hero: And they talk about Station as like, the space station that they live on in the later books, as Station.

Sophie: Like an entity in and of itself.

Hero: And like, Ship. You know.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: So I definitely think of Station as--and I like the idea that Station had a hand in that.

Sophie: And I--And I think the way that the Understudy got the position as the Understudy was--so, my personal headcanon for the genus of the Understudy, which we've talked about before, is wine ant?

Hero: [laughs] That's A-N-T.

Sophie: That's A-N-T.

Hero: Yeah.

Sophie: And again, this doesn't mean that anyone who's drawn fanart that I'm not, you know--you can draw the Understudy whatever genus you like. People have come up with so many cool creative ideas.

Hero: Yes.

Sophie: But for me, she is a wine ant, which means she is a big ant... person. That loves to drink wine and wear fabulous clothes and have baths.

Hero: Mmm.

Sophie: And I think she got the position--because this is how I ended up with my cat. Not me personally, but my cousin who I live with got really, really, really high--

Hero: Ah.

Sophie: And then woke up the next day with a bunch of notification emails that he'd applied to various cat shelters.

Hero: Ohhhh.

Sophie: Which he hadn't been intending to do--

Hero: Ohhhh.

Sophie: --up until that night, apparently.

Hero: And that's how you got Special Agent Cooper!

Sophie: And that's how we got Special Agent Dale Cooper, was one of the cats that he applied for. Because he woke up, thought "Oh, God." And then thought about it a bit more, and was like, no, I really want a cat. So I think the Understudy got really, really drunk one night, and then woke up the next day with a notification to say, "Your application's been submitted." And I think it just said, "Your application's been submitted."

Hero: Oh, yeah.

Sophie: And she didn't actually know what her application had been submitted for?

Hero: Excellent.

Sophie: Um, and then she just got another notification saying, "Approved."

Hero: Oh, brilliant.

Sophie: And then uh, one day several weeks later, the radio equipment was there.

Hero: Yes.

Sophie: And... that was it.

Hero: And that was it.

Sophie: Off to the races.

Hero: And that's been her ever since.

Sophie: And that's been her ever since.

Hero: Just uh, randomly appearing radio equipment.

Sophie: Yep.

Hero: That's... phenomenal.

Sophie: Thanks!

Hero: Excellent idea. If anybody else has any other ideas, do send them in.

Sophie: Please send them in or write some fanfiction. That will be lovely.

Hero: That'd be really dope.

Sophie: So I'm going to read this one because it's kind of for you.

Hero: Okay.

Sophie: Um, Tagapinta also asks if the Presenter and Mab are allowed to decorate the studio. Does Station allow itself to be decorated? And if so, then does the Station have a favourite way for itself to be decorated?

Hero: Aww.

Sophie: Is that something that is allowed? Is there things tacked up on the walls?

Hero: I think Station loves to be decorated. I think it makes Station feel special and loved, and I think--I think the very few little bits of Station acting as a semi-sentient... thing with opinions and things, clearly extremely affectionate--

Sophie: Yes.

Hero: --towards the Presenter and Mab.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: And--and likes them and ships them.

Sophie: [laughs] Like, I love the idea of Mab coming in one day and hanging a bunch of frames on the walls and coming in the next day and several of them have fallen down.

Hero: Yes.

Sophie: Some of them are still up!

Hero: Some of them are still up.

Sophie: But some of them have come down. She's like, "Oh, I see."

Hero: I see.

Sophie: "All right, you weren't into that one. I'll get something else in that space."

Hero: Yes. And I think she's better at doing that than the Presenter. 'Cause I think the Presenter is probably a bit like--well, I dunno. Actually, no. Mmm. I think they both... 'cause one of my favourite jokes that kept coming up that I didn't mean to keep coming up was that they—them being rude about people's furniture.

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: And so you've got--you've got a reference to Mab's hideous chaise lounge that she bought--

Sophie: Mm-hmm.

Hero: --in... Florence, I think. And you've got like, the very specific example of not losing a friendship over arguing over who gets to keep the seventeenth century Dutch oak armoire. [laughs]

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: Um. And there's another one--oh, there's something about like. You know. Maybe you just agree not to make personal comments about each other's decorating choices.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: So I think actually like--

Sophie: It's very When Harry Met Sally wagon wheel table.

Hero: [laughs] "I will never want that hideous--" Yeah. "I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table." Um, yeah. So I think that they--they have very strong aesthetics. And also like, appreciate aesthetics in a way that like, I don't.

Sophie: Yes.

Hero: Do you know? Like I--I would like to live in a really lovely-looking house. I haven't really got the attention span or the interest in really, really committing to that.

Sophie: Mm-hmm.

Hero: Um, and doing what you have to do to have a beautiful home. Whereas I think that they probably do, both of them.

Sophie: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Hero: But their aesthetics are quite different.

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: And I think Station gets to...

Sophie: Pick and choose the best bits of each.

Hero: Gets to pick and choose the best bits of each. And I like the idea of Station--Station as a place becoming a--a place that looks like--So of the things that drives me wild is when you look at somebody's home and like, you have no idea... Anyone could live there. There's no personality. It's just straight out of the box. And it's--it's not when it's like, I don't have any [bleep]-ing money. It's when they've really gone to the effort of decorating it in the most boring, inoffensive way possible.

Sophie: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Hero: And it's like--our house. It does--it does not look like people who have had a lot of money to invest, but it's really, clearly ours. We've got like Star Wars Lego up, we've got a framed painting of Carrie Fisher dressed as the Virgin Mary giving you the finger.

Sophie: [laughs] Yep.

Hero: [laughs] Um, we've got, you know pictures and postcards and things, and like. You know, our--the bits of furniture that we own are very us, I think. And we've got a knitted Eminem cushion cover, um, that my mum made for me, and all these kinds of things. And I think that--I think the space becomes more real and more like, you know--in--when--when you talk about like thresholds in magic, one of the really sort of--I don't--I'm not a witch. I don't do any of that kind of stuff, but I um, follow a lot of witchy blogs for the Monstrous Agonies Tumblr.

Sophie: Of course.

Hero: So I've learned quite a lot. Um, but they--they--this idea of like, your threshold becomes stronger and more able to protect you and look after you--

Sophie: Mm-hmm.

Hero: --when you really occupy a space. You know, intentionally. And really sort of thoughtfully, and it's a--it's a good space for you to be in. Um, and it's a real home and a hearth, and that kind of thing. And I really like the idea--I don't think it's probably there yet because they're still a bit, eurgh.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: I like the idea of Station perhaps eventually becoming just a place that is realer than other places because it's full of people who love it and--

Sophie: Who love each other.

Hero: [crosstalk] --and who love each other, exactly.

Sophie: [crosstalk] --and who want to be in that space, yeah exactly. And there was a tiny little extra part on Tagapinta's question here--

Hero: What?

Sophie: --which was "How many goblin shark plushies does the Understudy currently have?" Again, you are allowed your own personal headcanons about this, but um. [stammers] Do you know about the Flanderization Effect?

Hero: No.

Sophie: Okay. So the Flanderization Effect is to do with when a character has a quirk, and it's something that's mildly brought up and is part of their--

Hero: Alistair cheese! Dragon Age.

Sophie: Yes! The longer something goes on, the more it becomes the only thing that character is known for or does.

Hero: Mm-hmm.

Sophie: To the detriment of any other character development. So obviously Flanders is like, the Hi-Diddly-Ho, the kind of like--

Hero: Yeah.

Sophie: That sort of thing, and or like um, Leslie on Parks and Rec mentioning liking waffles.

Hero: Is she the blonde one?

Sophie: She's the blonde one. Mentioning liking waffles once very early on until the point where they get so far in the show that every scene to do with her has some mention to her loving waffles--

Hero: Why?

Sophie: --and things like this. Um, and I'm worried here, listener.

Hero: [laughs]

Sophie: That goblin sharks are going to be the Understudy's Flanderization Effect. And I don't want that to happen.

Hero: Okay.

Sophie: But I am aware I have no control over it, so that's fine. Um, I don't believe that--for me, the Understudy doesn't really own plushies. Um. I think what the Understudy would do with her love of goblin sharks would be she would commission a oil painting--

Hero: [snorts]

Sophie: --a very dramatic scene involving goblin sharks--

Hero: [laughs]

Sophie: --playing... croquet. Or sword-fighting.

Hero: Yeah.

Sophie: Wearing a lot of ruffles and lace and things like this.

Hero: Yes.

Sophie: Um, and would hang it in her bathroom.

Hero: Yeah, yeah. Perhaps not goblin shark merch. Just extremely weird goblin shark things.

Sophie: Yeah. Or she will have found a little goblin shark statuette somewhere. And that is now in her possession in her home. But plushies... not so much.

Hero: Not so much.

Sophie: Not so much. She's got a thorax. [laughs] She doesn't need a plushie.

Hero: She's got a thorax, yeah.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: Yeah.

Sophie: In my personal headcanon.

Hero: Yeah. I think she's got five hundred.

Sophie: There you go.

Hero: There you go.

Sophie: Lol-G-Ma-Lol-G.

Hero: Ooh, is that what you're going for?

Sophie: Lolgmalolg.

Hero: Mlolgmalolg.

Sophie: Lolg-ma-lolg. L-O-L G-Ma. L-O-L-G.

Hero: [laughs]

Sophie: [laughs] Lolgmalolg-did-nothing-wrong asks--

Hero: Suddenly it all falls into place that that's a username and not just--

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: --noises you're making. [laughs]

Sophie: [laughs] Yeah, it's a username.

Hero: Yeah. Season Two Q&A: Supplemental.

Sophie: Lolgmalolglog.

Hero: Lolgmalolg-did-nothing-wrong, what's--what's your--what's your name about, honey?

Sophie: What does it mean?

Hero: Please.

Sophie: We tried Googling it, and all we found was your blog.

Hero: [laughs]

Sophie: Good job on a unique name.

Hero: Lolgmalolg blolg.

Sophie: Lolgmalog blog. Bob Loblaw. Bob Loblaw.

Hero: Blobble-what?

Sophie: Do--it's an Arrested Development joke. You don't know about pop culture!

Hero: [whiny voice] No, I don't know anything!

Sophie: Bob Loblaw. Bob Loblaw. Bob Loblaw's law blog.

Hero: [whiny voice] ... I don't know why you're doing this at me.

Sophie: Bob Loblaw's law blog.

Hero: [whiny voice] Stoppp.

Sophie: The username that did nothing wrong--

Hero: [regular voice] Lolgmalolg.

Sophie: Asks. "What kind of bones would the Presenter and the Understudy collect?"

Hero: [long exhale] Native bird skulls. Natural causes. For the Presenter.

Sophie: Mm-hmm.

Hero: And um. Uh. [long pause] Human.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: For the Understudy.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: It's really the only-- [crosstalk] Y'know? Yeah. It's human. It's absolutely human, innit.

Sophie:[crosstalk] It is human. No, it's--it's human. That was, yeah. It's human bones. [crosstalk ends] It's human bones. Acquired in ways.

Hero:[exaggerated doubtful voice] Ethically... [regular voice] Like not weird, weird bad ethics. 'Cause there's actual people who collect human bones, and--and it's incredibly [bleep]-ed up.

Sophie: Yeah, there was um. There was a period in my very early twenties when I really wanted a human spine?

Hero: Mm-hmm.

Sophie: Like I really, really wanted one. And I got so far as like, researching how you can legally and non-badly buy them, and then kind of realized, that's not a thing that can happen.

Hero: No, you can't actually buy other people's body parts--

Sophie: No.

Hero: --and it be fine.

Sophie: No. 'Cause even if people are like, "It's fine! This person consented!" It's like, I don't know [crosstalk] how to--that's no way to verify that.

Hero: [crosstalk] I don't know. How do I verify that?

Sophie: And um. Yeah, so, it came very close and then several very lovely friends of mine were like, Sophie, you can't do this.

Hero: Yeah.

Sophie: And I went no, you're right. I can't do this.

Hero: Friends don't let friends commit microaggressions. Or steal people's bones.

Sophie: [scoffs] Micro is kind of generous!

Hero: Well, because the phrase is friends don't let friends commit microaggressions.

Sophie: Yeah. But friends don't let friends... steal bones from people.

Hero: But! Monstrous Agonies isn't real.

Sophie: No! And also the Understudy is whatever genus she is. (Wine ant, wine ant). Um, and so yeah, it's human.

Hero: It's human.

Sophie: She absolutely has a skull goblet.

Hero: Yeah. Hundred percent.

Sophie: Yeah. I don't think she drinks out of it. Because skulls have lot of holes in them.

Hero: They do.

Sophie: Not very good for holding alcohol.

Hero: Also you have a lot of feelings about the kind of glasses it's okay to drink different kinds of wine out of.

Sophie: I do. I do.

Hero: Um. So--

Sophie: But that's me. I'm not the Understudy.

Hero: I know, but you are. You are a bit.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: You're more the Understudy than I am the Presenter. And I've only just in the course of this Q&A realized how much I'm the Presenter.

Sophie: Yeah. Which I did tell you last Q&A.

Hero: I literally--I literally--

Sophie: And you were like naaah.

Hero: No, no, it's not that. It was the [bleep]-ing--this is so stupid that I genuinely didn't see this--of like, oh, the Presenter never takes time off when they're sick. I never--I genuinely didn't make that connection.

Sophie: Yeah. Presenter's really good at giving out advice, but can't take their own.

Hero: Anyway, lolgmalolg-did-nothing-wrong asked the bone question.

Sophie: And, um, also asks, "What genus would the different voice actors on the show be in universe?" Now, you have collated answers from your--

Hero: Yes!

Sophie: --myriad cast of wonderful--

Hero: Yes.

Sophie: --colleagues and friends.

Hero: So the only people who didn't get back to me in time was Jonathan Tilley and May Toudic, and May writes Murray Mysteries which is the, um--if you have--if you have signed up for Dracula Daily and have not yet listened to Murray Mysteries, you're really missing out because it's a--a modern retelling of Dracula. May writes it and Jonathan plays Drac, and Jonathan also played Drac in the call-in that May wrote.

Sophie: Yes.

Hero: So. So I haven't heard back from them.

Sophie: But I think you should uh, you could go through the list of your pals here.

Hero: So Matty OK Smith said, "Changeling, because autism." Excellent.

Sophie: Yeah, nice. Direct to the point. [crosstalk] That's great. Was the only one--

Hero: [crosstalk] Just straight to the--He was the only one who just answered.

Sophie: Yep.

Hero: Um. Naomi first said, "I want to be a selkie, but just more feral and more teeth. I am a water baby but from Scotland. And covered in blubber, and I draw men to their watery graves. It's that I'm from water, and I drag people under the water to their death... in a sexy way." And then the next day texted me saying, "Can I change my answer to feral swamp girl?" And I was like oh, also wet and sexy in a bitey sort of way. And she said, "Maybe bog instead of swamp. But yes." So.

Sophie: So feral bog girl was the--the ending.

Hero: Yes. Wet. Sexy.

Sophie: Sexy. Death... causing.

Hero: Teeth.

Sophie: Perfect.

Hero: William, uh, off of Hello From the Hallowoods - excellent podcast, 10/10, do recommend. Um, said, "I'd probably be a decrepit wizard with a crown that sustains and alters me in terrible ways through the ages. Or a happy crabfolk!"

Sophie: The--the great thing, uh, William, about being a decrepit wizard with a crown that sustains and alters you in terrible throughout the ages is that, as we all know, eventually the last stage of any evolution... is [simultaneously] crab.

Hero: [simultaneously] Crab.

Sophie: So you can be the wizard and eventually, you'll become the happy crabfolk.

Hero: Yeah. Yeah!

Sophie: Yeah!

Hero: Become the happy crabfolk--

Sophie: That you want to see in the world

Hero: That you want to see in the world. Uh, Dom from The Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Mortality. And I thought it was hard fitting Monstrous Agonies--

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: --onto things. My God, Dom. Uh, so they said, "My first thought--" [laughs] This really makes me laugh. "My first thought is a gryphon because they're supposed to be wise and mighty, but they're catbirds, so you know they're dumb as hell." [laughs] "My partner reckons I'm a nuckelavee--" I think I'm saying that right, um. "--or a dryad." I had to look up nuckelavee, I didn't know what it was.

Sophie: Me, I don't know what it is.

Hero: So it's a--a ho--like, horse demon thing--

Sophie: Oh, I--I--I--I've stopped wanting to know what it was.

Hero: Because you are [simultaneously] scared of horses.

Sophie: [simultaneously] Scared of horses.

Hero: Like a big baby. What--uh, anyway. It's really, extremely exciting, and very, very cool. Um. "My partner reckons I'm a nuckelavee or a dryad. Honestly not sure if there's an explanation. I think the nuckelavee is just because the most recent Mistholme preview mentions them, and they're on their mind. Dryad because I like the environment and I don't like people." [laughs] Which--

Sophie: I think that's very sound logic.

Hero: Excellent. Excellent. And uh, Liz, who plays Mab, gave exactly what you would think [simultaneously] someone who plays Mab--

Sophie: [simultaneously] Someone who plays Mab.

Hero: --would say. [laughs] So Liz said, "Methinks I would be a hivemind kind of creature, as it's a running joke in a couple of circles I'm in that I'm everywhere at once, so if there was some way to stretch that to work, laughing crying emoji." She goes on to say, "Maybe like a creepy but saucy eldritch lady that happens to control a hivemind to do her bidding, and by that I mean 'tend to her many houseplants and provide backing music when she walks anywhere.'"

Sophie: Oh, that's the ultimate.

Hero: Just--

Sophie: That's the ultimate.

Hero: --such a good answer. Such a good answer.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: 'Cause I think we did us last season.

Sophie: So we did us last season. Do you--have you changed since last season? Would you be something else?

Hero: I just want to be a hobbit, man.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: But I want to be a hobbit in Middle Earth, in the Shire.

Sophie: But also be gay and Edwardian.

Hero: I want to be a gay, Edwardian punk hobbit.

Sophie: Mmm.

Hero: I want to be a punk rock, homosexual, Edwardian hobbit who lives in the Shire but also solves crimes. But not like Midsomer Murders crimes. I want to solve like--

Sophie: Little crimes. Big crimes?

Hero: No, I want to solve murders.

Sophie: Oh, okay.

Hero: Yeah.

Sophie: You do know that they do solve murders in Midsomer Murders.

Hero: [laughs]

Sophie: It's right there in the name. [laughs]

Hero: But they're always pants.

Sophie: Yes.

Hero: They're always pants.

Sophie: For really ridiculously small reasons--

Hero: Yeah.

Sophie: You want to do fun, big crimes.

Hero: Yeahhh.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: I want to be like oh--

Sophie: Gumption and pizazz.

Hero: Gumption and pizazz. I want to be like oh, he got turned inside out.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: He's got--he's got no eyeballs, has he? He's got too many eyeballs, hasn't he?

Sophie: Well maybe you'll get to do that very soon.

Hero: [shuddering noise]

Sophie: Maybe something'll be on the horizon, where--yeah.

Hero: A little gay, Edwardian crime solver.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: Imagine.

Sophie: Imagine that.

Hero: Mm-hmm. Moving on.

Sophie: Oh, you don't want to ask me if I've changed my answer?

Hero: No, I don't care. Go on. Go on! Is it ghost?

Sophie: It's not ghost.

Hero: Oh. [laughs]

Sophie: It'd be a Jellicle cat.

Hero: [laughs] Oh, [bleep] off.

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: [bleep]

Sophie: [continues laughing] No, but genuinely, I would be.

Hero: [groans]

Sophie: We've now--I have now facilitated making Jellicle cats a canon being.

Hero: No you haven't. You haven't!

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: [laughs] No. No, you [bleep]-ing haven't. What you have done is... spread the seed of doubt as to whether or not the Jellicle cat is a genus, or if it's a conspiracy theory. Which is much weirder in a world where Nessie exists.

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: And has an Instagram.

Sophie: People got to get their conspiracy kicks somehow! This actually ties in with a question from Toblerones--

Hero: Toblerooones.

Sophie: --who asked if there are any liminal [laughs] genuses which you would never feature on Monstrous Agonies.

Hero: Jellicle cats.

Sophie: Jellicle cats. Even though we already have, so.

Hero: Yeah.

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: Jellicle cats, I have nev--I just want to be really, really clear here. No Cats reference in Monstrous Agonies is ever there because I have willed it to be there.

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: It is all Sophie ad libbing and just being Sophie. There is a serious answer to that question as well, um, which is that yes, there are, and there are things that are in closed traditions that I'm not going to touch because it would be incredibly disrespectful to. There are things that I don't mind having them on the show, but I probably shouldn't write them, you know?

Sophie: Yes. Yeah.

Hero: Where it's like, look, if it's a submission--first of all, you never have to tell me your identity in order to justify you writing something.

Sophie: No, of course.

Hero: So just to be clear, like. But there are things that I'm just like, you know what? It's not actually--I'm not going to write the golem story. D'you know? Like, I'm not going to do that. I'm not Jewish. That's--that's really quite a specific thing and means a very specific thing in a specific tradition that isn't mine. And there's a reason why a lot of Monstrous Agonies refers back to British and Irish folklore.

Sophie: Yeah, and you don't want to do a... she-who-must-not-be-named with her American schools of witchcraft and wizardry.

Hero: Oh God, yeah.

Sophie: Exactly. Yeah. You don't want to do that. And you don't want to write the racist truck episode.

Hero: ... What?!

Sophie: Supernatural had a racist truck episode.

Hero: Of course it did.

Sophie: It was very early on. You'll have seen it.

Hero: I cannot emphasize enough how much Supernatural I've blacked from my brain.

Sophie: Yep. That's fair.

Hero: The only lingering remnant is a mild obsession with butch lesbian Dean Winchester.

Sophie: Yeah. I know.

Hero: I just... she would have a lot of feelings.

Sophie: She'd have a lot. She might have had a better life.

Hero: Ehh.

Sophie: Ehh. So now we have a special segment for the Q&A, which we've never done before.

Hero: Mmm.

Sophie: Uh--

Hero: We have only done this once before.

Sophie: We have only done this once before, but we're gonna start doing it now. And this is [singing] The Rapid Fire Roooound.

Hero: [attempting to harmonize] Rapid Fiiiiire.

Sophie: That was amazing. Good job, us. We sounded so good.

Hero: So good.

Sophie: So all of these have come from Alex--

Hero: Hi, Alex.

Sophie: --so thank you to Alex. So the way we're going to do this--because you do like to lengthily answer a question--

Hero: Yes, but I'm not gonna.

Sophie: But you're not gonna. [crosstalk] This is the Rapid Fire Round.

Hero: [crosstalk] I'm gonna be focused. [end crosstalk, serious tone] I have the focus.

Sophie: And I'm going to cut you off if you start rambling.

Hero: Okay.

Sophie: I'm just going to go to the next question. So we've got--we've got sixteen questions to get through here.

Hero: Thanks, Alex.

Sophie: Here we go.

Hero: Hoo!

Sophie: Aaaand, first of all, "How are you, Hero?"

Hero: Great.

Sophie: "And how are you, Sophie?" I'm great! "Did we remember to drink water today?" [simultaneously] Yes!

Hero: [simultaneously] Yes! [both laugh]

Sophie: Second question: "How do you choose the clips before and after the show?"

Hero: I listen to a big chunk of the static that I recorded--I record ten minutes of static at a time or more depending on how much I hate my neighbours that week, and I go through and I cobble them together into something that I think is rhythmically satisfying or a bit funny.

Sophie: Amazing answer. "Since we know that the Presenter doesn't like the outdoors and hiking, what activities do they like?"

Hero: The Presenter doesn't like camping, thinks camping is stupid. Thinks sleeping outdoors when you don't have to is stupid. I think they'd like walking and rambling and hiking, actually.

Sophie: Mm-hmm.

Hero: So, that's my answer.

Sophie: "Do they play any sport?"

Hero: No. Also because I would have to confirm a kind of body--

Sophie: Body, for certain sports.

Hero: For certain sports. 'Cause like the only sport I ever play is rugby. I don't think you can play rugby if you're a nebulous cloud.

Sophie: Potentially. Stop! "Does the Understudy play sports?" Absolutely not!

Hero: [laughs]

Sophie: "Does Mab play sport?"

Hero: Roller derby.

Sophie: Amazing. Let's go. "Is 5D chess with multiverse and time travel an actual sport in the Monstrous Agonies universe? I'm asking because time travel and different dimensions are real there and chess is a sport in ours, soooo."

Hero: Yes.

Sophie: "Hi, hello, what the heck is going on with the brain worms?"

Hero: Oh, that was just--it made me laugh. I just--yeah. I mean.

Sophie: That's enough, you're done. "If you had to choose just one--"

Hero: [laughs]

Sophie: "--what animal from Avatar: the Last Airbender would you like to have in the Monstrous Agonies universe?"

Hero: There is an episode where they go to the swamp, and the camera pans down through the trees and you see a little fat bird on a twig, and it goes [screeches].

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: That one.

Sophie: Also, this question had a 6.5 addendum which was, "Hero, do you know what ATLA is? I trust that Sophie is a proper human being that watched the show or at least knows of it--"

Hero: I consume media!

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: I am a human being who consumes media all the time.

Sophie: You are pop culturally-challenged.

Hero: [short pause] I grew up... pop culture-adjacent...

Sophie: Yes. Uh, question seven is, "Is the Presenter a cat or a dog person?"

Hero: Cat.

Sophie: Mab?

Hero: Both.

Sophie: The Understudy?

Hero: Dog.

Sophie: [wounded] Ooooh.

Hero: Yeah, well, like, she's not you, is she?

Sophie: Yeah, but she love the Jellicles.

Hero: She loves the Jellicle cats. That doesn't mean that she--

Sophie: She doesn't love the Pollicles.

Hero: Look. I think--what, there's dogs in Cats?

Sophie: There's dogs in Cats. Did you know that originally it was going to be--

Hero: I'm not--[loud noises to cut Sophie off]

Sophie: --cats and dogs.

Hero: [claps] I'm cutting you off!

Sophie: [laughs] Um. Question eight, "How is the banshee from Episode Thirteen? Is she okay? I hope she's okay.” I think a lot of people want to know about this.

Hero: Make it up. Whatever you think.

Sophie: Question nine, "If the Presenter and Mab have a movie date, what is the genre of film they're going to watch?"

Hero: [pained, thinking noise] Mmmmm. Rom-com. Because Mab's gonna pick.

Sophie: I would say documentary.

Hero: No, I think that's what the Presenter would pick, and I think Mab would refuse to go. I think the Presenter--my mum once told me about a movie that she saw, that was literally--there was no dialogue for the first like, half an hour? And then it was about like, people like burning charcoal in the north of Spain or something? Uh, and I think the Presenter wants to see that, and I think that Mab wants to go and see When Harry Met Sally.

Sophie: Question ten. "Is the"--ohh, ooh, this is--

Hero: It's a bit heavy for rapid fire!

Sophie: Bit heavy. Bit heavy. "Is the climate change situation at least a little bit better in the Monstrous Agonies universe? Since they have so many different people, they need to have those environments because of needs of their genus, et cetera."

Hero: Absolutely not because we already live in a world completely FULL of things that need lots of different environments, and also because the fact that it affects people hasn't stopped anybody so far.

Sophie: Yep. We're gonna have to stop you there. I know you have lots of feelings.

Hero: [angrily] Ooh. Ooh. Ooooooh.

Sophie: Question eleven. "Did the--"

Hero: I can feel the soapbox rising up underneath my feet--yeah, yeah. No. Unfortunately it's exactly the same.

Sophie: Stop talking.

Hero: I'm stopping!

Sophie: I've told you to stop. Question eleven, "Has the Presenter already gone to the wedding of the car ghost and Josh from Episode Thirty-Five, or do they still have a chance to ask Mab to be their plus one?"

Hero: Make it up. You decide.

Sophie: I think we should put the wedding in Season Three. Live broadcast from the wedding.

Hero: You can think what you want, Sophie.

Sophie: Thank you. So question twelve, "Is there a 99% Invisible segment on the Nightfolk Network? Stories about supernatural design would be awesome. Maybe 100% Invisible?" Now, my dear, dear, Alex. I, um, saw a little comment on this question from Hero being like, "I have absolutely no idea what this means."

Hero: I don't.

Sophie: "I think something's got lost in translation sending these questions to us."

Hero: I don't understand this.

Sophie: And they didn't initially tell me what the question actually said, so then I read it and was like, well they're talking about 99% Invisible with Roman Mars.

Hero: Which I have never heard of because I've never heard of anything.

Sophie: Because Hero doesn't listen to podcasts.

Hero: I listen to some podcasts!

Sophie: Mm-hmm.

Hero: I've named them all in this [laughs] Q&A.

Sophie: Um, Alex, I think 100% Invisible is an amazing name for the Monstrous Agonies equivalent of 99% Invisible. I will do my utmost to make sure that that gets onto Season Three at some point.

Hero: Okay.

Sophie: 'Cause it's really, really good. So yes, is the answer. Absolutely yes. Question thirteen. "What happens if someone in-universe makes a spelling mistake in their letter? Does the Presenter read it with that mistake, or do they correct it to how it was supposed to be?"

Hero: It's how it's supposed to be. Because there's no way that you could write all of the intonation into a letter, so the Presenter is absolutely reading the intention of the letter.

Sophie: Mm-hmm.

Hero: So. They--they correct it.

Sophie: That makes sense. "In Episode Twenty-One, the Presenter said they would like to be more well-travelled. What is the Presenter's dream destination?"

Hero: Uh, so the Presenter said that they are not as well-travelled as they would like because they haven't spent much time on the bottom of the ocean.

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: I think the Presenter is incredibly well-travelled, and I think goes all over everywhere. I think, you know--

Sophie: When.

Hero: What?

Sophie: When do they have time to do this?

Hero: I don't flippin' know!

Sophie: Oh, okay.

Hero: Make it up! Come up with it yourself.

Sophie: The Presenter's moving the station.

Hero: Stop making me write things. [laughs, desperately] Stop making me write my own podcast!

Sophie: [laughs] Um, "What's Mab's dream destination?"

Hero: Hmm. Iceland. [pause] The supermarket.

[a pause, both laugh]

Sophie: And the Understudy's.

Hero: Iceland. [pause] The place.

Sophie: [laughs] Question fifteen is, "What is your favourite line or favourite quote from the second season?" And Alex has provided hers which is, "They got her to teach me what she knew, and I took to it like a duck to violence."

Hero: Um. [laughs] "Want more bones?"

Sophie: [laughs]

Hero: [laughs] My favourite act--my favourite bit of that is "If the answer to any of the questions is yes: ... why?"

Sophie: [laughs] Yeah, that's a really good one.

Hero: [laughs]

Sophie: Oh, you do--you are very good, aren't you?

Hero: That wasn't me, that was Art.

Sophie: No, I know, but like just your--your intonation.

Hero: Oh, the ol--

Sophie: Your voices, your delivery is just really, really good.

Hero: Yeah, I did that in one take. [snorts]

Sophie: Amazing.

Hero: I have already released the five minute blooper--

Sophie: I know. Of you having a little--

Hero: --of me... handling that.

Sophie: --a little laugh. Okay, so--

Hero: Rapid!

Sophie: I kind of lied because this isn't actually a question.

Hero: Oh.

Sophie: But I think it's very lovely.

Hero: Ohhh.

Sophie: And I think it deserves to be told to you.

Hero: Is it going to make me blush?

Sophie: It's gonna make you... blush like anything. So this is just something to wrap up the Rapid Fire Round and just cool us down and let us have a bit of a breathing moment--

Hero: Yup.

Sophie: --before--before we um, head on--head on over to the--to the final segment.

Hero: Ooh!

Sophie: And--

Hero: [to the tune of The Final Countdown] it's the final segment.

Sophie: [to the tune of The Final Countdown] Do-do-do-dooo. Do-do-do-do-doo.

Hero: Rapid fire! Come on!

Sophie: It's not rapid fire, I told you. It's the cool-down.

Hero: Oh.

Sophie: This is you going--you've been in the rave, and now you're in the ambient room. [laughs]

Hero: Okay.

Sophie: Yep.

Hero: I'm a person who's been to a rave.

Sophie: Yep. Alex writes, "Hero, do you even know how much joy this show brings?"

Hero: Aww.

Sophie: "I don't really have a word to fully express myself, not in English, not in my native language. I love your voice. It's very calming and reassuring. I love the way Monstrous Agonies makes me laugh, even if I get some weird looks on a tram."

Hero: [laughs]

Sophie: "I love it when it hits me right in the feels, making me tear up. I love the way you interact with us, the fact we can write to you with our ideas and later on we can hear them in an episode. It makes me feel part of the creature community. Thank you."

Hero: Ooooohhhhhh.

Sophie: "Thank you."

Hero: Well, I know now!

Sophie: You do know!

Hero: Um, honestly, like. To--ugh, God. I fee--I hate sincerity. But um.

Sophie: Good job you don't write a podcast about being sincere.

Hero: Incredibly sincere and sane.

Sophie: And--and ex--discussing your emotions with people and things.

Hero: Yeahhh. No, I do know. Because people tell me, and it's wonderful, and it's really, really, really, really nice, and literally everything from like--like if you reblog something and put a little tag being like, "Ahhh this episode made me cry!" or something. Or if you sit there and work at--work away at this big fanart or something. It really doesn't matter what it is or if you leave a comment or something. I--people tell me how they feel about it, and that means the world to me. And thank you, everyone, who has told me nice things about my little show. And my little show that we make together, because it is so submissions-based, and--

Sophie: Yeah, that's it, like--

Hero: --and community-based.

Sophie: For so much of the emotion that you feel listening to Monstrous Agonies and so much of the--the community part you feel, that comes from the community. Like yes, Hero is the conduit who is writing and putting all the stuff together, but as we've already discussed, like. Most of the letters this season came from you guys--

Hero: Yeah.

Sophie: --and the adverts and the--the plot.

Hero: And like so many of the--I mean, the one that sticks out in my mind is the--there was the uh, asexual aromantic couple--

Sophie: Mm.

Hero: --who um, one of them was a vampire and--and realized that feeding could be considered sexy, right?

Sophie: Yes.

Hero: And so I had never explicitly written a character using those words about themselves before. But somebody made a submission where they did, and that was something that--that--that the audience has really, really, really, really valued of this like. Very explicit representation of identities that are not very explicitly represented. And like, I didn't do that. [laughs] Like--

Sophie: Yeah.

Hero: That wasn't me. That was people writing in going, "Oh, this is going to be a safe space for me to tell my story with the language that I want to use."

Sophie: Mm-hmm.

Hero: And it was, and they were right about that. And yeah, that's--that's beautiful. So it's not just me. It's not just me show, it's you show. [laughs]

Sophie: It's you show.

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