Pop Culture Mysteries: Behind the Scenes – What Do You Think About Informant Zero?

Hey 3.5 Readers.

I'm looking for a better IZ pic but this will be him for now.

I’m looking for a better IZ pic but this will be him for now.

Another PCM Behind the Scenes, where I seek the advice of the 3.5 in writing Jake’s life.

So…Informant Zero.

What does everyone think of him as a character?

Here’s the lowdown of why I created him:

  • Originally, PCM was just supposed to be a fun, quick column.  I’d ask Jake, “Hey Jake, in the movie X, why did Y happen?
  • Then Jake would respond with a quick, “blah blah blah.”
  • But then imagination took over and I developed this long sweeping backstory that takes us through Jake’s past and his present with an ongoing hanging question of why did Jake fall asleep for 60 years?  (And eventually as the story progresses, why are all his past friends, enemies showing up in the present day?)
  • Therefore, Informant Zero will take on the “quick column idea.”
  • When the PCM site starts up, I’ll still give Jake “mysteries.” And he’ll go with the formula.

What’s the formula?

  • Jake’s doing something.
  • Delilah delivers him a mystery.
  • They banter.  Jake wants her.  Delilah rebuffs him.
  • Jake says “Oh this mystery reminds me of the time when….”
  • Jake recalls his adventure.
  • People who enjoy reading the adventures will hopefully have fun.  People who just wanted to know “Why X happened in Y movie” might get bored.
  • But then at the end Jake will offer his two cents as to why x happened in y movie or whatever the original PCM question was.

So basically, Informant Zero will just provide that quick Pop Culture Q and A.  A Q is asked and he gets right to the A without a big story in between.

But what do you think of him as a character?

I really enjoyed writing the parts about the “Anything Goes Club,” especially the first part where Jake and Delilah have to navigate past all sorts of debauchery.

Thoughts:

  • I wrote the part about the “Anything Goes Club” because I just enjoyed the absurdism and found the idea of a secret club where celebrities go to do whatever they want and have wild, out of control parties was funny.
  • And then I put Informant Zero’s secret lair in the basement of that club.
  • But wait, if Informant Zero is “a shadowy information broker” who collects and trades info about celebrities, then why would the celebrities party at a club where his office is located?
  • Good question.  I realized that and tried to write my way around it.  I tried to explain it.  Let me know if the explanation makes sense.

THE EXPLANATION:

  • Informant Zero uses his info gathering powers for good, not evil.  He’s not out to actively embarrass celebrities and/or the rich and influential, but will if he learns of some injustice afoot and needs to lean on someone with the power to change a bad situation into a good one.
  • He takes money from celebrities to use his powers to cover up their scandalous behaviors, ergo they like him and party at his club.
  • However, he’d never cover up a crime, just embarrassing scandals.

MAYBE IZ shouldn’t own the club?

All the debauchery described in part one is intended to be funny and more or less you could write it off, but then note there is a guy serving drugs at a bar, and that part was mainly added just so that there could be a joke where he rattles off a list of awful, hardcore drugs and then adds “Flintstone’s Vitamins” at the end.

Just random silliness, basically.

But then it hit me – If IZ owns the club, then he’s a drug dealer!  And we can’t have drug dealers working for BQB’s PCM spin off blog!

What would the 3.5 readers think?

So this will definitely need a rewrite.

Possibilities:

  • IZ doesn’t own the Anything Goes club.  The celebrities just give him sanctuary there because they appreciate his coverup skills for their minor infractions.  He ignores their general debauchery, but does get involved when he learns of a crime.
  • Seperate IZ from the Anything Goes Club entirely.  IZ works somewhere else.  Think of another mystery entirely in which Jake investigates the Anything Goes Club or has to visit there in the course of an investigation, because the scenes themselves are too funny to lose.

BOTTOMLINE:

IZ isn’t going to become that involved in the story.  His main function is to do what Jake was originally going to do, namely a quick Q and A about pop culture.  Occasionally, IZ might toss Jake a mystery or give him an assist with some info for a case he’s working on.

So it’s just a matter of coming up with an origin story.

Admittedly, a guy who collects info on celebrities with an office in a private celebrity depravity club is kind of problematic so I’ll have to figure this one out.

ALSO:

In PCM, BQB is already kind of the shadowy figure.

On the Bookshelf Battle Blog, BQB openly admits he’s a nerd from East Random Town, USA who by day works at Beige Corp and by night pursues his dreams of becoming a writer.

But in PCM, BQB is kind of like Charlie from Charlie’s Angels.

If you’ve never seen Charlie’s Angels, the angels were three hot 70’s women who worked for Detective Charlie.  They never actually saw Charlie.  When Charlie had a case for the angels, they’d meet with Bosley, Charlie’s assistant, and Charlie would talk to the angels through an intercom.

Mine’s different.  I, BQB, refuse to meet with Jake as I fear he’d just beat me senseless until I explain how he fell asleep in 1955 and woke up in 2014 and I’m withholding that info until he’s filed 100 PCM reports (in the hopes this will raise my readership past 3.5)

So I dispatch my attorney, Delilah, to deliver the mysteries to Jake.  Jake, in theory, could lean on Delilah to spill the beans, but he has the hots for her so doesn’t.

In other words, we have shadowy figure BQB and then we’d have a second shadowy figure, Informant Zero.

I don’t know.  Once IZ’s back story is set up he really won’t have much of a function than to write a quick, short weekly column, barely 500 words just providing quick explanations about PCM questions.

Redacted Celebrity Names

In the story, Jake’s new to the present, so he kind of recognizes the celebrities from TV, but doesn’t know them by name.  Delilah does recognize them, but when she refers to them, it comes up in the story as “Name Redacted.”

Because obviously, if Jake’s invited to a private club to conduct business, he wouldn’t blurt out the name of a celebrity he saw in his report to the 3.5 readers.

However, that cowboy with a cottage cheese problem – assuming there’s a point where I see this project is worth it to continue, I envision a season where Jake gets a job as a babysitter/security guard for a rambunctious actor.  Jake will continue to solve PCM’s but will do so out of the actor’s house where he’s staying instead of at his office above Ms. Tsang’s restaurant.  There will be a side story where Jake’s constantly bailing the actor out of trouble.  (Jake needs some kind of paying job above $5 a PCM case and can’t sponge off Ms. Tsang forever.)

So I’m thinking maybe this cowboy could become that actor (he’s not a cowboy he just likes to wear that hat while Czech dwarves…well, you can read the rest.

I’m not sure how to reconcile that.  Eventually, that celeb will have to be named.  Maybe when the time comes Jake can be like, “remember that cowboy from a previous post, well turns out I’m working for him now…”

Or forget the cowboy.  I could just invent a new, equally rambunctious actor.  There are probably a bunch of them.

What say you, 3.5?

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