Tonight is the night G4 fans have been waiting for, as the people that brought shows like Attack of the Show and X-Play to life are all getting together for a crazy reunion. Names like Kevin Pereira, Olivia Munn, Morgan Webb, Adam Sessler, and more will come together and celebrate all the crazy sketches and content they brought to the screen and share new stories about how they made it happen during tonight's G4 Holiday Reunion Special. ComicBook.com actually had a chance to speak to Pereira and Sessler ahead of the big reunion special about all things G4, Attack of the Show, X-Play, and even their thoughts on what they want to see from the new G4. First though we had to start with the reunion itself, and from the sounds of it, the special was made with fans in mind.
"The reunion was, I think just as exciting and special for us as I hope it is for anybody who tunes in, because it was really the first time, like let's put up a circus tent and get together again and see what happens," Pereira said. "So it was really exciting to get together."
"Matthew, given the fact that you have that kind of affection for old G4... this reunion special was definitely made with people like you in mind," Sessler said. "Because of COVID content, reunion specials are becoming somewhat common, on TV or streaming and stuff like that. Well, this is similar to those in so far as people who once worked together are now together again, but it definitely retains the flavor, the irreverence, and danger that I think people would usually describe the content coming out of G4."
Now, one thing it will include is hot sauce shots, which Pereira was quite thrilled about. "No, no. Thankfully the food on this one was mostly plastic because they knew we would probably throw it and it did present a choking hazard for at least two of us, so thankfully, no hot sauce," Pereira said. "Although certainly we're going to go down memory lane a little bit. There's a lot of new content that's inspired by the favorite sketches or characters of G4 past, and we do sort of watch some of those classic moments and relive and reminisce a little bit in the way that I think those who enjoyed it the first time around are going to appreciate seeing it again."
Pereira managed to avoid the hot sauce, but he did still end up almost injuring himself. "Thankfully none of the new content involves hot sauce. I can say that I did almost lose my eye and that's not a joke," Pereira said. "It was ... I can say it was a prop sword, but I can still say that it was very sharp and you will see it in the special. I can confirm that much."
It should also be noted that Adam almost hurt his eye with a pillow, but that was not part of the show sadly.
Both Attack and X-Play balanced news and in-depth reviews with off-the-wall sketches and zany characters, and for both shows, it was kind of learn as you go, which had its benefits and challenges.
"It's kind of one of those... we were able to pull it off because we didn't know what the hell we were doing," Pereira said. "We had not worked in television before to any extent to know that what we were trying to take on was absurd on its face. That's probably what a lot of it... It was our ignorance that kind of fostered a lot of that. I'm older now. I'm the old fogey of the old house. There is that kind of twinge of nostalgia where it's like, ah, man, that way, when I looked out on the horizon, my eyes were still dewy with hope. Once we made those kind of special episodes, that we had a really good review, the amount of collective excitement we had, maybe going over to someone's house to all sit down and watch it as it hit the broadcast. Those are really fond memories and of a lot of that came back when we were doing the reunion special."
The reunion special will be the first time many of the G4 crew has been together and sharing all those stories and memories did bring a sense of appreciation by the time the event had come to a close.
"100%. I think in this lifetime people often say if I could just do it over again. Oh, if I, if I knew then what I know now, things like that. Watching it with the eyes that I have today, I certainly picked up a lot more," Pereira said. "There was so much more appreciation for that time that we had and getting to enjoy the silliness of it and the levity of it, especially as I gesture broadly to 2020. Morgan also talked about, at one point she speaks about being a female in the gaming industry. I don't want to try to paraphrase her words, but at the time, I knew gaming could be toxic or troublesome for certain folks, and it still is for many folks and you see that with streaming culture and all sorts of stuff that bubbles up. But I really have a new perspective on what a task folks like Morgan and Olivia and Kristin, and then Sara and Candace and all the female talent on the network as well have."
"It was really eye-opening and refreshing and it really made me appreciate just on an entirely new level, a level that I was not expecting whatsoever when we began the special," Pereira said. "Appreciation of the content, appreciation for the folks around the table and for the chance to rally around this amazing body of work that we all put together with fresh eyes. It was... I get tingly thinking about it. It was a privilege to be there and I hope people really enjoy what we did."
"On the flip side of what Kevin said, when we were kind of doing the reminiscing, both on camera and off, I started to go back to Morgan and I, when we would do signings at a Fry's Electronics in Burbank or something like that, meeting people and that kind of consistent reaction from a lot of young people who whether socially, or because of their gender identification, or many things that they're going through, it definitely felt like they were somewhat on the margins societally or at least within the high school or something that they were at and then would express with almost painful sincerity, how much the network meant to them and how much X-Play meant to them."
While the shows appealed to all fans and could fit in with more mainstream shows, there was another part of it that was specifically for those looking for a place to fit in and be a part of something off the wall and fun.
"A lot of what we did there, even though on one level looked mainstream was also trying to say to a much larger group of people, we see you there, and you're probably getting these jokes and these jokes are designed for you, who kind of sees a lot of hypocrisy in the world. Who sees, these double standards and things like that," Sessler said. "I don't think I could've acknowledged it then, but I'm older now and I can be nostalgic. So I think we did a lot of good for a lot of people that it was at least 90 minutes, two hours worth of some respite from a lot of the bulls*** that they were having to go through on a day to day basis where they didn't feel necessarily as alone. That there were these people who had a sense of humor and an attitude towards things that brought them a lot of comfort."
If you go back and watch some of those old episodes, you do see how big a part social media and technology played a role in the show, but also that the hosts connected to the audience in a way more traditional television had not to that point, and was a little ahead of its time in that regard.
"I don't want to say it was personality-driven, but the personality didn't fit kind of the custom that had been established with hosted television for the decades prior to that," Sessler said. "And I think that created a relatability and a level of affinity for a lot of people in the audience. That's definitely what streamers are doing. I have deep respect for a lot of people that are doing streaming, and it just sometimes worries me that... I wouldn't say that by television standards that old G4 was like staffed to the gills like other channels were, but compared to what streamers were dealing with and the amount of time they need to put themselves on the air, and just a handful of people at best. What they're doing is Olympian, and they probably didn't know how it could be done, just like we didn't know how it could be done when we were doing it as well, and it's both the good and the bad, the yin and the yang."
G4 was delving into social media like Twitter and YouTube, though yes, you could also get in touch with a fax.
"When I look back, just speaking with Attack of the Show, since that's where I cut most of my teeth, until my gums were bleeding, we had people kind of shaking their fingers at us at times saying, what are you doing putting it on YouTube? You're putting the internet content on TV? That's ridiculous. And we had a live show where we had a Twitter wall," Pereira said. "It was just a sideways TV, but we called it a wall. And we put Twitter on there and encouraged people to tweet us photos. We had fax machines, believe it or not, live on air and a bulletin board system that if you still had a modem, you could dial in and get bonus content and interact with us. Even during commercial breaks, we fired up our webcam and there was a webcam website, I'll never forget, it's called Stick Cam, which is... R.I.P."
"We would go on commercial breaks and chat with folks. 'Hey, what did you think about that? How did you feel about what you just saw, send us your drawings and we'll throw them on air.' So we were hyper-interactive and exploring all social networks and even legacy mediums, like a fax machine. We had a fax bear, which was a PA in a bear costume who would receive your faxes. And because we didn't know any better to Adam's point, we were just sort of figuring it out. At the time, we got finger wags and we were admonished a little bit by folks for... What are you doing? You're throwing spaghetti at the wall, and I think what stuck is what has inspired a lot of what you're seeing today. I love that in this marathon that is life that maybe everything that we did at G4, it might've passed the baton to those, to take it and run with it online," Pereira said.
"And now... we'll see what the future brings for G4 as a brand, but it's exciting to think about grabbing that baton back and entering the race and sprinting and seeing what craziness you can come up with now that there are so many connected technologies and the stuff that was groundbreaking is now taken for granted, so to speak," Pereira said.
In addition to the reunion, G4 is bringing back some of the people that helped make the original so memorable and creating something new. Since we had two of those people on the line, we wanted to know what they wanted to see in a new G4.
"I want to feed G4 figure it out," Pereira said. "That's what... As Adam alluded to, there was a lot of times that we've done Attack of the Show where we would high five because we finished an episode and we'd just... there'd be an audible sigh of relief. And we would say, well, we got another one tomorrow. I know creatively, we felt at times hamstrung by the technology, by the limitations of the interactivity, by the limitations of the platform. So in this sea of connectivity and technology and possibilities, I look forward to G4 figuring it out because as much as there was a competitive advantage to sort of being the only game in town with broadcast, I think what made G4 special was the people. Was the actual creators, was the tone and their tactics with which they approached covering stuff. So now I get excited by like, there are virtually no limitations. So what is this brand going to do to differentiate the show itself? How is the talent going to come together?"
"How do you usher in a new audience while understanding that there's an entire generation that grew up with it and now maybe they have to bounce their baby to sleep before they get some time with Skyrim or Among Us," Pereira said. "The whole problem with that... You know, how do you navigate both channels simultaneously? So at the risk of being incredibly vague, like so vague I could be talking about real estate ventures. I do say I look forward to the chief or figuring it out because that's acts where I think the network signed them with everybody banding together to go, what are we doing? How are we doing it?"
"I'll be slightly more specific, but once again, this isn't me saying this is what's happening," Sessler said. "I don't know, but what I would love to see is... I think that the key one for me is diversity. I think that was probably the biggest thing that G4, not initially, but still yet inadvertently sort of had to deal with both obviously with our talent, but also the diversity of what's happening in games. That had only just begun in 2014 when the network shut down."
"And now it's an entirely different playing field," Sessler said. "I think that the other thing I would love, and I think this is what is absolutely at the core of what old G4 was like, is that through the humor, through the very, very pointed opinions that can still be very, very humorous, to really once again deal with the fanboy-ism, the gatekeeping. The last thing in the world I ever wanted when I was on the show is that somebody would be made to feel like they shouldn't play a game, other than like a nine-year-old playing like Grand Theft Auto. Which is not a good idea. That games or these games were only for a certain sort of people, that you're not welcome there, and that problem is even more exacerbated with social media, just kind of reaching into everything."
"I think sometimes there are people who are trying to address it. I sometimes don't know if a more pedantic way is necessarily going to win people over, and that one of our stock and trades is we don't always gently mock and we can be a little bit savage," Sessler said. "Hopefully this new group of people can also sort of capture that and create that inclusivity, that really is what games should be all about. And push back against those who somehow think it's their island and their island only and they have the conch."0comments
You can catch Pereira and Sessler talking good times with Olivia Munn, Chris Hardwick, Morgan Webb, Sarah Underwood, and more on tonight's G4 Holiday Reunion Special, hosted by Ron Funches. The G4 Reunion will stream on Twitch Gaming and YouTube Gaming (available on VOD) tonight at 9 PM EST, and it will reair on SyFy on Friday, November 27th at Midnight PST.
Are you excited for the G4 Holiday Reunion Special? Let us know in the comments or feel free to talk all things G4 with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!