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Transcript:When Extremes Meet (commentary)

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Long Feng and Dai Li agents
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Michael DiMartino Hello once again. This is Mike DiMartino. You know me by now.
Bryan Konietzko Yep. This is Bryan Konietzko, I am the "br" part of "Bryke".
Mike Mmm.
Bryan Mike is the "ike" part of "Bryke". [Mike laughs.]
Janet Varney I didn't know if you wanted to explain the rest of that. [Janet and Seychelle laugh.
Bryan I tried to get the fans to say uh, "Brychael", cause I felt like just giving Mike the "ike" was, it just didn't seem fair. [Seychelle laughs.]
Janet Uh I'm Janet Varney, I'm the "Jan" of [Mike and Bryan laugh.] "Jan..chelle". 
Mike Ooh.
Bryan Man you keep trying to steal Seychelle's uh, thunder.
Seychelle Gabriel I'm the "chelle". [Mike and Janet laugh.] You can just call me that. Janchelle. 
Janet Janchelle are here to do commentary together.
Mike That's cool. 
Bryan I like that. That's good new pairing. I'm gonna start pushing that one. 
Mike Fans are gonna love that one. 
Bryan Believe me. There's already a Tumblr page set up, dedicated to that url. 
Seychelle Right now. 
Janet It's already ...
Mike It already exists. [Everyone laughs.]
Seychelle Cute little Pabu. 
Mike So after all the craziness of the last couple episodes, we had a little chance to take a little bit of a breather, while everyone gets settled into their new homes on Air Temple Island.
Bryan Although [Laughs.], I know I'm always the one going "this is all so hard" but [Seychelle laughs.], you know in live-action they call it, I think they call it a walk-and-talk. Like "do a little walk-n-talk" you know and the camera will track, like on a dolly or something, characters as they you know, just do some exposition or something. But uh [Laughs.] in animation it's really hard.
Mike Yeah. 
Bryan To do a walk-and-talk. So, even though we were like "yeah, let's take a break", it's like, nah, not really, this is hard also. So Mike, there's a little, Mike didn't intentionally borrow or reference this from Mad Men, but that, [Mike laughs.] a creepy little boy saying, "can I have some of your hair?" to a [Laughs.] a pretty woman was uh, also a scene in Mad Men, and uh ...
Janet We have an actor from Mad Men ...
Bryan We do have an actor from Mad Men
Mike This was much sweeter and more innocent I feel.
Bryan It's true. It's a little creepy [Mike laughs.], but uh, yeah Kiernan Shipka is brilliant on Mad Men, one of my favorite TV shows. And uh.
Janet Her character on that show is so complicated and fascinating and so well-acted. 
Bryan Yes. And when you turn a certain age, viewing audience [Mike laughs.] you too can watch Mad Men. [Janet and Seychelle laugh.] Please do not tell your parents that we told you to watch it. Uh. So, this was a really fun scene. 
Mike Some crazy Ryu hand in there.
Seychelle I died when I saw that. [Janet laughs.]
Bryan Yeah Ryu uh, who, did that um, we didn't, we did a lot more of that whacky, uh, anime stuff in the old series, and then ...
Mike Yeah for some reason in this episode kinda, it kept happening. [Mike Seychelle and Janet laugh.]
Bryan So apparently Ikki can also go into the Avatar State ...
Mike Yeah. [Everyone laughs.]
Bryan Well, I dunno, that's for a ...
Mike Well, I brought that up when we were doing it I was like guys, this is gonna be weird, I'm like the naysayer who's like, "well, uh, technically it looks like she's in the Avatar State, so I don't think we can do that". 
Janet It's good that someone's gonna be that voice because the viewer certainly is that voice also.
Mike But everyone was else was like, "nah, it's fine". [Laughs.]
Bryan Mike and I, yeah, we are the like, we're kind of like, the buzzkillers of like, you know, "no, bending doesn't work that way", [Mike laughs.] "no, that can't happen in the Avatar world". You know, I'm always most of my notes are like just really pedantic annoying things like that. But you know, someone has to do it, but uh, someone's gotta be the ...
Mike We still trying to ground it in reality.
Bryan Yeah. 
Mike But, when there are times to go a little crazy it's fun to do it. And I think when they're used like, sparingly then it has more impact. 
Janet Absolutely. 
Seychelle Definitely. 
Mike It's not like every scene there's like, a whacky crazy face. 
Bryan So when we had the idea for this series, right behind council meetings was press conferences. 
Mike Press conferences!
Bryan Yes! 
Bryan Uh, but honestly, I think that does speak to this era, it's a very kind of uh, iconic ...
Mike Yeah. 
Bryan Scenario for this.
Mike Well specially for a guy like Tarrlok, and stuff, that's how they manipulate the public and ...
Bryan Yeah. And manipulate he does, he's so good at it. Which is you, those are always really fun characters, Azula was one, uh, she was already five steps ahead of everyone else like, playing them like marionettes. 
Seychelle And he's always got a little smile, too. 
Bryan Yeah. 
Mike I just noticed those two council people are having a really interesting conversation in the background 
Bryan Yeah! [Bryan and Mike laugh.
Janet Oh, they sure are! 
Bryan They're like, "so, Judy, what's uh ..." 
Seychelle What're you doing tonight? 
Bryan What'd you get up to in the hamptons? [Seychelle and Janet laugh.
Mike Lot of important backstory going on there. [Janet laughs.]
Bryan They're debating some really divisive policy back there. 
Janet It's funny too cuz you guys actually bring in extras to the recording booth and then they're not allowed to talk. [Mike laughs.] Inside showbusiness joke. 
Mike Mhmmm. 
Bryan So again, Korra, you know, like Mike, was saying in another commentary is seemingly all powerful, master of three elements, uh, very brazen, but you know, everybody has their weaknesses and uh, Korra, her ego is so attached to her physical abilities and uh, it's kinda like when you do yoga or something it's like, "ah man, I'm not good at this" or something, but it's like the idea is not to be better than other people it's just to go on your own journey and grow and, she's really like judging herself and what she sees as her shortcomings. And that's probably what ...
Janet That makes it even worse. 
Bryan That's what's holding her up, are these hangups that she has. 
Janet I'm telling you, she's not gentle enough with herself. 
Mike Mmm. 
Seychelle And that's what air is, right.
Bryan Yeah. 
Seychelle The gentle element. 
Bryan This is a walk-and-talk where no one has to walk.
Mike Yeah. 
Bryan It's more of a ...
Mike Walk-and-fly.
Bryan Float, float talk ...
Janet A walk-and-float.
Bryan Still have to do these little ...
Mike Talk-and-flies. 
Bryan ... these little wind cycles on the hair and the clothes, all that stuff's a lot of work for the animators. So, if anyone thinks that Tenzin rubbing his beard when he thinks, and ponders is uh, overdone, Mike does it all the time [Everyone laughs.] all the time!
Janet That's why people grow beards. 
Mike Welcome to my world. I'm doing it right now.
Bryan Yeah. 
Mike Can you tell? 
Bryan When we uh, when we were in the writer's room doing this ...
Mike It's helps ...
Bryan Mike rubbed his beard for about nine months. [Seychelle and Janet laugh.]
Mike It helps. 
Bryan I always that little moment, uh anyone who has a pet particularly a dog knows that dogs are so in tune with uh, energy, you know, people's energy, they're very empathetic, and you know I've had a very horrible incident when my dog was a puppy he was attacked by a loose dog and [Janet sighs.] I fought the dog off, um, I just kind of bear-hugged it, and I got all bloodied up ...
Janet Oh, no. 
Bryan ... on the pavement, and um, I didn't hurt the dog, or anything, but I just kind it away from my dog so he could run away. And, then the dog [Laughs.] sorry as I'm telling [Janet and Seychelle laugh.] this ...
Mike Meelo farts!
Bryan Meelo farts.
Janet You should've timed that better. [Seychelle laughs.]
Bryan Anyways, my dog ran away, and then the attacking dogs wiggled out of my arms and ran after my dog ... [Janet sighs.] and I was, my glasses got broken, and my knees, I couldn't feel it but my knees were just complete, just skinned, and I'm running, as fast as I could down the street but you know you can't catch dogs and uh, luckily these neighbors heard the whole thing go down and they helped me find my dog and saw where he went and um, just this little puppy, and was so scared and like, he knew, he forget all of his own, he was like shaking and had like, had like gone to the bathroom on himself but he sensed I was hurt and started licking my wounds, and like rubbing up against me and stuff so. Anyways! All of that for you know, those little moments, are you know, we try to put those little lifelong moments. I completely talked over this Asami's ...
Mike Asami's car!
Bryan Asami's car. 
Mike What do you think of your car, Asami?
Seychelle I could say a word that I'm not supposed to say [Everyone laughs.], but it's darn ...
Bryan It's bad butt. 
Seychelle Bad butt. [Bryan laughs.
Bryan Yeah yeah, we love Asami being this uh, kind of uh, you know she has many facets to her personality. I think in some ways she's very feminine, very girly, kind of an uh, you know, fancy rich girl, but she's also like ...
Seychelle She's not too cool for anybody. 
Bryan She's a grease monkey and she probably built this car herself ...
Seychelle Right. 
Bryan ... and like tuned the engine. You know. 
Seychelle I like reading these scenes too, cause like you guys say about the actions, I find that I think the car ones and the chasing scenes are really, or like when there's boats involved or whatever. [Mike laughs.]
Janet Yeah. 
Seychelle It's always like this ramp, or this turn, and, I have to read it like five times before I can like visualize what I'm doing. 
Bryan I just love how fearless Asami is like, she just comes up with that plan like, "this'll work", you know. [Mike laughs.]
Janet And to Seychelle's point, the fact that she's not relying on bending at all ...
Bryan Yeah. 
Janet ... like that's super cool. 
Bryan I like that she's just like using the benders, like, "hey, do this for me." [Everyone laughs.
Seychelle Like an army commander, right. 
Bryan Yeah. 
Seychelle They give the orders and everyone else follows. Not follows, carries it on. 
Bryan Yeah. There's a little, if you didn't notice she turns the headlights off so they don't see her make this turn. 
Seychelle Oh wow.
Bryan Yeah I love that like, the benders are probably used to calling the shots just like, "okay". You know like, [Everyone laughs.] she's got the plan. 
Seychelle This is like ... is this one of the first times we see Team Avatar really get in action. 
Bryan This is the like, yeah ...
Mike Yeah. 
Bryan ... "Team Avatar" episode, yeah. 
Seychelle Yeah. 
Janet And look at Korra she's just like hanging out the back seat, barely doing anything! Along for the ride.
Bryan Just chuck that guy in the back seat. [He and Seychelle laugh.] So there's, I don't know if we've ever mentioned this but um, yeah some people were asking like, hey, you know in Aang's time, lightning bending was such a rare skill but now it seems like so many people can do it I mean Mako and all these other like low-income guys are doing this grunt work at the power planet, but, the idea was like, you know, that's kind of the evolution, you know, look at sports. Things that seemed like uh, if you compare like, the winning Olympic pole-vault jump, you know like vaulting jump, from like forty years ago to the one this year, I mean, they look like ...
Seychelle Mmm. 
Bryan ... insane, one is just, she puts her hands down [He and Seychelle laugh.] does it like a somersault and now it's like, five twists and two flips, you know and so the idea was like well now these things have sort of been pioneered, they become more and more common. I think someone just walked by with a balloon.
Mike Yeah, there's a kid with a balloon.
Bryan I've never noticed that before. Um, but anyways, we had this little backstory idea that Mako learned it from Zolt, from running around ...
Mike Right. 
Bryan ... with the Triple Threat Triads, that he picked it up from the streets ...
Janet Interesting.
Seychelle That's super cool. 
Mike Yeah. 
Bryan We, we like this kind of theme of like, good guys learning things from bad guys.
Mike But then using it for good.
Bryan Yeah. 
Mike Again. 
Janet There they are! 
Mike What a surprise. 
Bryan But you know, Tarrlok, like so many politicians he's playing the fear card. 
Mike Mhmm. Well, after again, like after watching Lincoln, sorry to keep bringing it up but it's like all they were doing was, let's convince this guy to vote with us and even if they didn't believe it, it, that's what they do you know. That's what they end up doing. 
Seychelle [Laughs] Bolin.
Mike I like this little ...
Bryan Yeah. 
Mike ... jealous moment right here. 
Bryan [Laughs.] Awkward. [Janet laughs.] Yeah that, we like that she like peels out of the parking spot [Seychelle laughs] like really intense. So, the idea was that this is sort of like, if Republic City is New York city-ish, in its geography, uh, this is sort of like, where Queens would be, something it's like a burrow where it's uh, nothing about Queens but this is like ...
Mike What are you saying about Queens ...
Bryan I'm not saying anything about Queens, [Seychelle and Janet laugh.] this is like this low-income, really big, densely populated area that is pretty much just nonbenders and um, they're the ones that have all the like kind of service industry jobs in the city and uh, so these jerks ...
Mike I believe that was one of the few times where Janet did another character ...
Janet It was I'm so excited ...
Bryan Oh! Was it!
Mike That mom lady.
Janet I was really excited.
Bryan I don't know that I knew that!
Mike Yeah. Cause she did it so well you didn't know.
Janet Ohh. 
Seychelle Sly. 
Bryan Anyways, so these jerks uh, under Tarrlok's order they just shut off their power, and you know just this awful kind of, well Korra's seeing it right there ...
Mike [Laughs.] Yeah. [Janet laughs.] Yeah, I just like the way they're kind of, Korra and Tarrlok's conflict kind of builds over the course of the series and then this episode.
Bryan So this stuff, I like getting into this stuff, where um, you know any ideology and any, any kind of uh, group can hold something over any other group. Even if it's supposedly you know uh, a good thing, a positive thing, people get out of balance they can start using those things to impress people. And this is like, we introduced the metalbenders like, "oh well, they're the cops they must be good", but then, you know with someone abusing that authority like Tarrlok, you can see how easily that's turned to something impressive. 
Mike Mhmm. 
Bryan So true. 
Seychelle Relevant topic, as well. 
Janet Yeah. 
Bryan Kids cartoons. [Mike and Seychelle laugh.] So here's a moment were obviously Korra could just smash [Mike and Janet laugh.] smash him even though she has the ability and the strength and the, you know and the gumption to do it, it's not always the solution. 
Seychelle I just watched The Hobbit the other day and Gandalf said something very similar, [Bryan laughs.] said something like, "courage is not knowing when to take a life, but when to spare one." 
Bryan Mmmm. 
Mike Spoiler alert! [Everyone laughs.]
Janet I tell myself that every day when get up in the morning. [Everyone laughs.]
Seychelle Good ol' Gandalf. 
Janet Will I take a life today? Probably not. [Seychelle laughs.]
Bryan That is one of my favorite drawings of Korra.
Mike Yeah, she's cool right there. 
Bryan I remember I put that on my blog and people were like, "wow, I feel really bad for whoever she's talking to" [He and Mike laugh.], she looks, she means business. So there's a little uh, unseen thing, I mean in a later episode when they find Asami's car parked at the docks, the idea is that Korra was left there, with Asami's car [Janet laughs.], everyone else got arrested!
Mike And then she somehow made it to the police station, so.
Bryan But she is like, "I don't know how to drive", you know. [Everyone laughs.] She, like that's like a little side-story uh, anyone is welcome to draw, like Korra had to ...
Mike Korra getting to this police station. [Laughs.]
Janet Oh, I love that!
Bryan It's a stick shift, so you know she's like, "errr err!" You know, all over and uh ...
Janet That's why I didn't drive as a teenager cause both my parents had stick shifts and I was like, forget this [Bryan and Seychelle laugh.]
Bryan So she, yeah, has somehow made it from Dragonfly Flats borough over to the docks, and then got Tenzin, but smashed up the car. 
Seychelle Maybe the Avatar State knows how to drive [Bryan laughs.
Bryan Yeah, she was scared for her life, so. 
Mike All the past Avatars are just like, what, oh we didn't know. 
Janet Good luck!
Bryan Kyoshi? No. Avatar Susan? No, I don't know how to do it [Seychelle laughs.]
Mike I love how in that drawing his teeth, you can see his like molar indentations, super detailed. 
Bryan Yeah, well that's cause like a lot of times like, the mouth animation is not like, super detailed, but in a some of those closeups they did amazing mouth details. I like that little Tenzin moment. 
Janet I think Tenzin might have really small feet. [Bryan and Seychelle laugh.]
Bryan That was in that scene. 
Mike Maybe just in that scene. 
Bryan On his model sheets, he's ...
Janet I'm gonna keep my eye on his feet guys, that's gonna be my chore. 
Mike These are what we do in retakes when we come back and we're like, "dammit, his feet are too small!" [Janet laughs]
Bryan This is like Molly Ringwald, please understand we can't control every drawing.
Janet I know. 
Bryan You know. I'm sorry, Molly. She's, I'm sure she's listening. I hope she gets the message. So, this is one of Mike's and my favorite ones, especially from here to the end, just so happy with how the music and the storyboarding, and the animation, and the lighting.
Janet Stunning. It's stunning. 
Bryan Voice acting, especially, this long drawn out like, tense standoff between Tarrlok and Korra is just ah, it's one of my favorites. And you know, sometimes we get notes uh, from the network that are like, "uh, there's a lot of talking, people are gonna get bored, you know, like we have to keep action" and we're like, this is tension, this is dramatic storytelling, and it obviously leads to a fight but that fight is so much better because you know it's gonna happen you're like ...
Janet Yeah. 
Bryan ... ahhh, but just, building it up with this uh, verbal sparring I think is, so worthwhile. 
Mike And again, the bad guy kinda has a point here. It's like she does intimidate people with her bending. 
Bryan Yep. 
Mike And he thinks that they would be a good team together if they both used that ability. 
Bryan This is a challenge in life you know like we have ideals, like I am vegan and have been for two years now and, you know if you, I finally became vegetarian and vegan because I had all these ideals but I wasn't living up to the, and uh, but there's always someone out there looking to point out hypocrisy or something inconsistency and um, and I think a lot of people you know like me feel like, oh I couldn't do that or I couldn't live up to my ideal or whatever it is, so you don't do anything. And uh, I think as humans and society we have to at least try. And do what you can and even if you just do first of all, if you do it you'll find wow this wasn't so hard I, the only thing I regret is not doing it earlier. That's certainly my cause, um, so I think this idea that Korra like, he's pointing out these hypocrisies but, I think it can just only lead to her becoming a better person and better world leader. 
Mike Totally. 
Bryan And a better wall bender. She's like, "oh yeah? How about I bend an entire wall, you jerk." [Janet and Seychelle laugh.]
Mike We did well. This was her going to extremes and is like, "man, when is she gonna stop", is she gonna ...
Bryan She's kind the bad guy here! I mean, he is awful and he takes it even further.
Mike We also had to get it to a point where it was like, why does Tarrlok reveal his ability to bloodbend and it had to be in a moment where it felt like, if he didn't, uh who knows what Korra would have done there.
Bryan Yeah. She's uh ...
Mike She was a little out of control there. 
Bryan She's feisty. 
Seychelle The sound of bloodbending [Mike laughs.] makes me cringe.
Bryan Yeah. 
Janet Yeah. 
Seychelle I can't stand it. 
Janet This was a scene that you let us see early, you know before it was, when this was animated we were doing ADR, and you said you wanna see something? 
Seychelle Mmm. 
Janet And you let us, I can't remember who I was with but this was like, uh oh. I'm blown away. 
Mike But you were so good at those being bloodbended noises.
Seychelle Yeah. 
Mike Have you been bloodbended before? [Everyone laughs.]
Bryan Ben Wynn our sound designer did the sounds and uh, we had to dial them back they were really gross. [Janet laughs.] But yeah I mean, uh you know, Korra is an intense person and Tarrlok really pushed her buttons but a little too - I think he underestimated ...
Mike Yeah. 
Bryan Uh, what he was dealing with. So now he's kind of in a tough spot. Yeah. Very noir-ish, this outcome. 
Mike It's the first time his hair is all messed up too. 
Bryan Yeah. You know it's getting serious [Janet laughs.]
Mike When people's hair gets messed up. 
Janet Ahhhh. 
Seychelle He doesn't even pull it back. 
Mike Yeah, he's like, "I got no time for ponytails now." [Janet and Seychelle laugh]
Janet Ending on an up note!
Bryan Always!
Seychelle Like a happy face [Janet laughs.
Bryan It's a happy show, like, kidnappings ... 
Seychelle Wall bending.
Bryan Corrupt politicians, wall bending. 
Janet Let's all make the sound like our blood is being bent right now. 
Janet Thanks for watching you guys!
Seychelle Have a good day. [Bryan laughs
Bryan There's no lasting damage, if it's done right, [Everyone laughs] You know, it's just uncomfortable. It's just an uncomfortable experience. 
Janet That's good to know. 
Bryan You might have some bruises. 
Janet I'm glad to know that medical uh, backstory. [She laughs.]


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