RPGnet, TV Guide, 'Jesse', and WotC
09 Feb 1999
Say it ain't so!
So, one of our guest columnists, Spencer Lease, started up a
protest about the recent negative portrayal of roleplayers
on a recent episode of the TV show, "Jesse".
Now, Wizards of the Coast had approved the segment, a point which
we'll get back to in a minute. But first, the slings and arrows
of public whim.
While many people wrote nasty email to Spencer, saying 'Get a life',
and others urged him on. Then, TV Guide did a short mention of him
(and us) on their site. Their bit is excerpted below (thanks to
Richard "MrMental" for pointing this out):
Watch your back, Jesse. Fantasy role-play gamers are up in arms over a
recent episode of Christina Applegate's sitcom (Thursdays, 8:30 pm/ET,
In the Jan. 21 episode, Applegate's character attended a Dungeons &
Dragons club meeting with her night-school math teacher. "I saw the
episode and was highly offended," says Spencer M. Lease, a columnist for
the RPG.net web site.
"When the Dungeon Master appeared," Lease complains, "the players got on
their knees and apparently worshiped him." He has organized a protest
against what he describes as "a general attack on the gaming community,"
urging players to contact the network and demand an apology. "If NBC
refuses to apologize publicly," Lease warns, he is prepared to call for
a nationwide boycott of the network. "We are not afraid to refrain from
watching the network, picket local affiliates and generally embarrass
NBC. If they remain stubborn after the first steps, we will probably
continue the movement until the company collapses completely."
A spokesman for NBC said the network had no comment on the issue.
Okay, it ain't so
Shortly after, in response to the will of the masses, Spencer
withdrew his campaign. To further comment on this, though, we
got the inside scoop on WotC's approach. Said Peter Adkison,
Janitor (or President, depending how you read things) of the
The staff here at WotC worked closely with the writers for the Jesse
episode in question and we even granted approval to use some of our
trademarked terms, like Dungeons & Dragons and Dungeon Master. While it's
true the episode did portray D&D fans as geeks, there are many positive
aspects to this show. They did NOT portray D&D fans as satanists, the
portrayed the game as social, harmless, and having a math professor as a
player is certainly a positive rolemodel for D&D players. On the whole,
we're pleased with the exposure, and would be delighted if D&D was thought
of by the masses merely as geeky and not geeky and satanic.
Well, our take is simple. We love the 'geeks, not satanists' line
and think it's a great approach. We have to take baby steps here,
folks, to get a better image for the hobby. And, what our
columnists do on their own time is their own business--- we're
in fact pleased that one of them likes diving into game-related
controversy. Our own editorial stance remains neutral-- we print
the News, and let you decide the Truth.
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