Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crossover I Want To See: Frisky Dingo vs. Half-Life 2

The Participants

"Mmm, whose saddle is this? That's Uncle Taint's!"

Frisky Dingo
: A short-lived Adult Swim series created by the guys who made Sealab 2021 and more recently made Archer for FX. Only two seasons aired, featuring posh pseudo-villain Killface and billionaire playboy/idiot/superhero Xander Crews as the main characters. Killface spends the first season unsuccessfully trying to alert the world to the fact that he possesses a doomsday device, and the second season running for President of the United States after said device inadvertently solves the problem of global warming. Along the way, we become acquainted with a gang of imbecilic robot-armored soldiers and the harrumphing clones of an old man, among others.

Badasses with crowbars will always triumph over alien oppression.

Half-Life 2: A very successful sequel to the somewhat lo-fi but still very enjoyable computer game Half-Life, the series picks up to find Gordon Freeman in a world conquered by alien life forms and totalitarian occupiers, as the planet has been conquered by the entities released during a lab catastrophe in the first game. Awakened from stasis by the mysterious "G-Man," Freeman joins a resistance movement to fight back against the sinister Combine forces. Along the way, he takes down tripod war machines, head-humping alien crabs, zombified humans, and an entire friggin' city.

The Crossover Point

Robert Guillaume

Meet Robert Guillaume. He's earned his acting chops (and a couple of Emmy Awards) from work on the series Benson, as well as another series entitled Soap. He even had his own show for a short time in 1989, before making a more smashing return to the public sphere by voicing Rafiki in The Lion King. He picked up a few other voice credits after that film, after no doubt realizing that his voice is enviable and awesome.

One of the gigs Guillaume picked up was for Dr. Eli Vance, a key character in Half-Life 2. Vance is an essential part of the human resistance, and appears in the game at various safehouses and other locations that Gordon Freeman happens upon in his swath of destruction through extraterrestrial fauna and other baddies. A scientist and former co-worker of Freeman's, Vance is one of the warmest in a set of genuinely likable characters. He maintains an upbeat attitude; shows a strong compassion for Freeman and his daughter, and gets in a few jokes about the romantic tension which seems to exist between the two; and, fictionally at least, is responsible for the wonder that is the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator, or Gravity Gun.

I'm unfamiliar with Guillaume's earlier stuff, but in his voice work he seems to focus on playing the good guy. His characters have the feel of ultra-cool grandparents. Rafiki and Eli Vance have a lot of similarities, even if the former is in a dark yet still G-rated children's movie and the latter shows up in a mature-rated video game with plenty of blood spatter.

And then there's Mr. Ford.

Pretty much every person in Frisky Dingo is seriously lacking in morals, but the show's creators somehow got Guillaume to voice one of their more churlish and profane characters. Which isn't to say that Mr. Ford isn't downright hilarious. It's just that he isn't above providing security at illegal "death rabbit" matches in Chinatown or poisoning his way to the Presidency.

For whatever reason, Guillaume is not credited for the role. Google searches combining his name with Mr. Ford or Frisky Dingo, or either term with Eli Vance, come up with nothing. Perhaps Guillaume wants to keep the credits for his voice work limited to virtuous roles, but there's no reason someone can't have a little fun creating a mashup of Frisky Dingo and Half-Life 2.

How It Would Be Done

Simple: Mr. Ford's dialogue in place of Eli Vance's for various scenes in the game.

And it could probably work for The Lion King, too...