Critical Role - skip ahead?
October 14, 2020 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Want to get into critical role and started yesterday on part 1 of campaign 1. An an hour in and enjoying it except for...

It’s great fun except that already in this first hour there’s been just a lot more dick jokes, “whore”-house commentary, a bit about sexual assault including the comment that the character had “nearly gotten themselves into a bad situation” and so on. Egregious? No. How I want to spend a whole bunch of hours? Also no. Do they settle in a little later on and sound less like the kinda groups I avoid playing with or should I skip ahead to Campaign 2?

I get that they are goofing and I can cope with adult humor, this just has me listening with that slightly on edge feeling when you tensed for the next thing, will it also be just ugh, will it be worse, etc.
posted by J.R. Hartley to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
This may be confirmation bias but I feel as a whole it gets less gross (Maybe less vulgar would be the better word for my issue) with the exception of Marisha Ray, who is why I stopped listening.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:18 PM on October 14, 2020

I find that it gets better once they are actually doing a thing, rather than casting around trying to find the next thing to do. (It also settles down in general once you get out of the first few episodes and they adjust to doing D&D in front of a live audience.) The first arc in general is a little rough but once they actually get to the more dungeon-crawly bit rather than the "figure out what to do in Kraghammer" part, things move along better and there's less scope for the more annoying humor. You might want to read the recap of the first couple of episodes on the wiki and come in during a big combat sequence to see if you like the tone better.

I don't recall much sexual assault conversation (especially not jokey conversation) past that first arc. There are occasional mentions of sex work continuing through campaign one, but I don't remember them being as explicit as they are in the first ep ever again. Dick jokes (and occasional bathroom humor) and the like will continue throughout the show.
posted by darchildre at 3:28 PM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, there are certainly sex jokes (occasionally crude ones) throughout the show, not just in Campaign 1. For instance, in Campaign 2, Laura Bailey plays a trickster cleric who delights in drawing dicks all over everything. However, for the most part, the sex jokes seem good-humored and not particularly dark, and there is vanishingly little content related to sexual assault (the instance you mention is one of the very few passing mentions that I can recall). Throughout Campaign 1, there are occasional references to a "house of lady favors," but some of the harsher language that you mentioned does seem to mellow out. Whether that works for you depends on your specific concerns & sensitivities.

I respectfully but strongly disagree with Alvy Ampersand's point about Marisha Ray. For me, the only really uncomfortable moments came in the first part of Campaign 1, before Orion left the cast. If you'd like to skip past most of his time (his last appearance is ep.27), then I'd suggest picking up at episode 24, which is the beginning of the Briarwood Arc and is widely considered to be one of the best arcs of the show. If you don't much like that, then you probably won't much like the rest of the show either, so that might be a good section to try first.
posted by ourobouros at 3:29 PM on October 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

The first episodes are rough while they figure out their flow and stage presence. I agree with ourobouros to skip the first twenty-ish episodes, and by then it smooths out a lot.

I also just can’t get into season 1, but adore season 2. Production quality is higher, and the general arcs are all around the characters becoming better people — so to me there’s more of a general positivity to it (though certainly no lack of adult humor). By season 2 they have landed on their brand as wholesome liberal nerd spokespeople, so I think there’s much less punching down humor. A small number of episodes have extended drug trip scenes, which bore me.
posted by lilac girl at 4:02 PM on October 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I agree with Ourobouros - skip ahead to right after Orion (the guy who plays Tiberius) left the cast.

I've watched/listened to every episode of both campaigns and I really don't share your initial impression of the rest of the cast. They can be downright goofy, and sometimes that's silly sex jokes and strained innuendo - but it's stuff like drawing dicks on temples, not making rape jokes. It's also not the majority of the show.

So it depends on what put you off about it, and what your threshold is. If you're fine with watching a group of friends play a game where they sometimes make silly sex jokes, but not with rape jokes, then you'll be okay. If you're put off by sex jokes in general, I would skip ahead and see what you think after they've settled down a bit.

(There are sex worker NPCs in the game, notably the mother of one of the main characters in Campaign 2. As a character she's played as a loving/loved figure who is a talented and successful entertainer. So ... again, if your problem is jokes that denigrate sex workers, you'll be okay. If you don't want any discussion of sex work, you'll have to decide where the threshold is.)

Of course we're talking hours and hours and hours and hours of content. I liked to watch it while working, so I could have missed some incidents.

Starting with Campaign 2 isn't a terrible idea. Personally, I think the characters in Campaign 2 are more interesting overall. The players hit their stride more quickly and you get to see the story from the beginning. The Campaigns don't interact with each other much, so you can watch them in whatever order you like.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:07 PM on October 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I love the show but find the first arc unwatchable. It takes them a long time to start really roleplaying and embodying their characters rather than just making jokes and trying to shake down the NPCs for all they're worth.

I think skipping ahead to the Briarwood Arc (ep 24 as mentioned above) or Slayer's Take arc (which starts at episode 18 and has a lovable guest star played by Felicia Day) could both make it easier to get into, but if you just want to jump past the growing pains altogether, you could start with Campaign 2 after they've polished their craft (much less crosstalk/table chatter, and decisions the characters make feel more about 'what would the character do' vs 'what's the best way to win/make money at any cost')
posted by space snail at 4:08 PM on October 14, 2020

I'd echo those recommending starting with Campaign 2. That's what I did; now, I've gone back to Campaign 1 (and skipped the episodes with Orion).

Starting with the more polished Campaign 2 made me a lot more accepting of some of the roughness with Campaign 1, because I knew it would get better. It will take a few episodes of Campaign 2 to build momentum, but you get to see the characters develop from the beginning, as well, without all the missing backstory from the non-streamed parts of Campaign 1.
posted by synecdoche at 4:43 PM on October 14, 2020

Excellent, thanks everyone! I’m going to skip along to Campaign2 and then when I run out of content between campaigns or whatever I have post-E28 to look forward to.

I’m totally not calling out the show, I can’t imagine anything more horrific than having to perform D&D for an audience and I am super grateful that they even wanna. I’m not super delicate and love the phrase lady favors, it was just the average straight dude nyuck-nyuck tone of this first ep that had me wondering if I really wanted to invest in something that was gonna involve me making continuous choices re “do I like this? is this more problematic than I can put up with? should I dip now or keep going?”. It’s a weird sort of media stress that I’m becoming more and ore aware of and that I can’t afford. Right so, Beauyasha here I come!
posted by J.R. Hartley at 8:46 PM on October 14, 2020

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