They had all the character you’d expect from a store basically squirted out of a tube. But even a magicless place can catalyze formative experiences if it’s all you have. In the world before the Web, kids in places without hipper options discovered On the Road at the Waldenbooks by the Mrs. Fields, bought Horses and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back at Strawberries or the Wherehouse, and countless budding cinéastes undoubtedly began their education at a Blockbuster.
DAVID REES SNELL: I was really surprised at fans’ Gardocki love. I don’t completely understand it. I think to some extent it was the fact that Ronnie was someone we didn’t know very much about for a long time. It’s like people could project onto him whatever they wanted to and see themselves in him—if I were on the Strike Team, I’d be like that guy.
"Tumblr used to be three or four dozen people in Silverlake and Brooklyn and I still think of it in those terms even though it’s not been that for a long time. I’m waiting for an endorsement from any of the Mollys, basically."
BS: At rehearsal once I did a sketch inspired by Orson Welles’ film version of Kafka’s The Trialand it was one of the few times I ever remember hearing absolutely nothing from the audience.
AVC: But everyone can identify with that premise, right?
BS: Oh, yeah. [Laughs.] Rarely does a sketch make it on a show where we’re that wrong. Conan just liked the sketch and thought it was really fun and weird and the writers all liked the sketch but it was so weird to just hear this deep-space silence. That’s one of the few times a sketch was fully pulled from the show even though we all liked it. I guess it was too dark or weird.
The directness of this flat, declarative listing seems to amplify loss, in part because it highlights the difference between what we experience and what we can preserve of what we experience: “what constitutes an official version of events as opposed to a former version in imminent danger of being lost.” Reading this incipit is a little like getting caught up in the anguished gaze of a statue and remembering, suddenly, that the sculpture must be cool to the touch.