The Pretty People
As I mentioned previously, in both the Sims 1 and Sims 2, while the majority of the families in any given neighborhood were usually created by me, my wife always had a couple tucked away here and there that she would play from time to time (on those rare occasions when I wasn't hogging the computer). She would always focus on making nice, normal people in nice normal houses with nice normal jobs and, well, you get the picture. I'd tried doing that myself a few times here and there, but the natural weird tendencies of my sims and my own diabolical desire to see them in weird situations always seemed to get the best of me. Eventually, after one werewolf and vampire too many in our most heavily populated Sims 2 neighborhood, my wife decided things had just gotten too weird, and chose to create an entirely new neighborhood, totally seperate from "the weird families" (we know them as the Wilsons, Jacksons, Hartmans, and so forth). This new oasis from weirdness was dubbed "Lush Canyon", and thus, the wife went to work busily creating new normal families in new normal houses. Well, I started to feel a little dejected not being allowed to take part in this new utopia, so I begged for an opportunity to take part in its creation, promising to omit all forms of weirdness from my families and keep things as sane as possible. Did I succeed? Well...
The first trick to creating any neighborhood is designing the families. When I first sat down and realized that I needed to produce not one but several different households worth of sims in a relatively short amount of time, I started feeling a little overwhelmed. I decided since the houses were supposed to be "normal" anyhow, I'd just use some of the pre-fashioned ones available for purchase. The first house I chose was a ridiculously huge mansion, so large that it choked my computer's processors and it was nearly impossible to find the sims who lived there without clicking on their faces. Since the house was so huge, it meant that obviously rich people lived there, and since everyone knows that rich people always have last names that highlight how much money they have, I dubbed my first family the Fortune family.
"Will you hurry up and take the dang picture already?"
You'll notice signs of what I like to refer to as "simmers' block" with a few of these sims. For example, the girl to the far left is an obvious clone of Katrina Wilson from my old neighborhood, and maybe not so obvious are the two folks in the middle who are non-vampire clones of Melissa and Nicholas Everdark. I figured if I was going to have to start anew in a weird neighborhood, it would be nice to have some familiar faces. Not that I saw them for very long. The huge size of the Fortune family house made it a big pain in the butt to play, and nobody likes just sitting around watching rich people have fun (well, maybe they do, or we wouldn't have reality shows, but I don't). Next, I decided to challenge myself to create at least one couple with no similarity to anyone I'd created before. Below, we see the result, in the form of Kendal and Alan Thompson.
Kendal and Alan celebrate "Gray and White Day" at the Thompson home.
I know, making a "normal" family doesn't mean having to choose boring clothes, but I honestly wasn't shooting for the monochrome look with the couple. Despite a pretty bland wardrobe, Kendal and Alan managed to establish a fairly colorful existence by opening a cyber-cafe named "Cyber Punk'd" (witty now, but decades from now when everyone has forgotten Ashton Kutcher, well, forget it). I managed to keep my original promise, and Kendal and Alan engaged in no strange behavior and underwent no appearance altering mutations. Having a cyber-cafe was a good beginning business-wise, but let's face it, that's not everybody's "scene", and I was starting to miss Jam Land from the old neighborhood. Well, importing Jam Land to Lush Canyon was no problem, but finding the proper family to own the business was a different story entirely. I set about creating yet another family, doing my best to make sure that once again everyone was "normal" and original. Or did I...
"Marty Wilson? I've never heard of him!"
Okay, so yes, there's a slightly more tan Marty Wilson clone in the family, but it's not actually Marty. See here we have the Williams family, consisting of Joey, Corina, and Corey Williams. When it comes to having a fun loving bum in the family, you can't go wrong with the Marty Wilson look. Corey took on the mantle of owner of the new Jam Land, with Joey (his sister) serving as bartender and Corina (his girlfriend) as the greeter or bouncer or whatever that person who works the door and is supposed to entice people in but always scares them away instead is. Establishing a bar in town was a huge step, because let's face it, I never really took advantage of any of the other businesses in the old neighborhood quite like I did with Jam Land, and sims who have a local bar are happy sims (especially in a place called "Lush" Canyon). Despite some unethically high admission charges and questionable groping on the dance floor, nothing strange or unusual happened with the Williams family, thus, my promise of "normalcy" continued to be kept. At this point, I decided one more family was needed, because even with the families my wife had created (not pictured), there just weren't enough locals to really get a good turnout at Jam Land. And so, in order to remedy this, I imported the MacGregor farm from the old neighborhood and moved in the Lopez family. Hmmm, I wonder if anyone can spot the "clone" in the picture below...
Good lord, what's with these people and all the gray?
Yes, I know, it's an obvious clone of Antonio Wilson, but I made sure to mix things up a bit, so you're actually looking at Tony Lopez. Totally different. By this point, I'd proven to myself that I was more than capable of creating normal looking sims and stealing them normal houses to plop them down into, that part wasn't really hard. By creating so many families so quickly, though, I wasn't spending a lot of time in any one house, so that might have made avoiding weirdness a little easier. About this time, when I was beginning to grow a little tired of my "normal" families, fate intervened, and I finally purchased the University expansion for TS2, which, oddly, I'd been putting off buying for a long time. I'd already installed a bunch of the other expansions, but for some reason, I didn't think there would be anything I'd need from an expansion almost entirely based on the experience of going to college (something I'd lived first hand for almost seven years). Boy, how wrong I was. My first college sim, Reggie Cooper, took full advantage of the "college experience", managing to create plenty of amusing chaos while somehow still getting good grades. In the end, he graduated with honors, and even married an NPC cheerleader named Kelly. Sounds great, right? Well, it seemed that way at first, but once Reggie and Kelly moved to Lush Canyon, Kelly revealed that she would only leave the house wearing a llama mascot suit that she'd never once worn during her time in college. What the hell?
Kelly: "How could you let me leave the house without my llama suit?!"
Thanks to the miracle of cheats, I forced Kelly to take off the llama suit for that picture, although it probably would have been funnier to picture her with it on. Doh. Well, one college graduate was not enough for me, and as soon as the Coopers had gotten established in Lush Canyon, I went about sending off another student, William Birkin. William turned out to be something of a genius, and directed his studies toward the natural sciences and the study of a girl named Gina he met living in his dorm (how convenient is that?). After a stellar career of acing all of his classes, hanging out with professors during his free time (loser), and proposing to Gina, William graduated and became a natural scientist. As you may have guessed, he wound up living in Lush Canyon, where despite Gina's best efforts to keep him busy and my building him a duplicate of the house I lived in at the time, William began finding himself understimulated and looking for ways to express his creativity...
William: "I find myself understimulated and looking for ways to express my creativity!"
I can't say that I blame him. I lived in that very same house before with similar results, only I had the sims to turn to, and William seemed to have little or no interest in playing the computer games on the PC in his home (which, ironically, appeared to be The Sims). Despite the pity I felt for William and his plight, as you'll recall, I'd made a promise before moving my first family into Lush Canyon that there would be no weirdness going on, and I intended to keep that promise. I decided to spend more time with the Birkin family, since they seemed to need more help than others finding a way to derive meaning from their lives. And so, I sent them off to Jam Land in an effort to force them to meet other people and forget what a boring, uninspired life they themselves had achieved. William did manage to make a few friends, one of whom you may recognize as Rinoa Hartman from the old neighborhood. Yes, that's the real Rinoa. I figured she'd been through too much with her old friends and neighbors, and deserved a fresh start, even if it meant being moved to dull...er...Lush Canyon.
William: "What do you mean, 'at ease'? You're the one who looks like they need to relax..."
Looking at the picture of Rinoa above, you'd scarcely believe she was ever the fickle, guy crazy basket case she started life in the Monkeesim world as, but trust me, she still is. Unfortunately for her, I didn't spend a great deal of time monitoring her in her house, so she didn't get to enjoy the same degree of drama in Lush Canyon that she'd experienced in the former neighborhood. Anyway, while William had a decent time socializing with the other Jam Land patrons, and Gina spent the whole time playing the drums and talking to nobody, the outting eventually came to an end, and it was time to head back home to seek amusement. The amusement came in the form of the giant "bubble blower" the couple had out on their lawn. I know I said the house was a replica of my own, but I'd like to amend that by saying I never had a bubble smoking machine on my lawn or a cow plant fenced in by the side of my house. Just in case that needed saying...
William: "Hmmm. No, I don't think THAT'S supposed to happen!"
William's career as a natural scientist was raking in the bucks. He and Gina had the whole catalog of new goodies from the University expansion to play around with, and play they did, yet somehow, things felt somehow empty for the couple. The burden of living a "normal" life in a "normal" town was just too much to bear, and William began searching desperately for some way, ANY way to spice things up a bit. Well, the answer eventually hit him, and he was quick to pass on his brilliant plan to Gina.
William: "I think it's time we expand this family of ours!"
Sounds like a great idea, right? Well, surely you know me well enough from past posts to know that if it was just a simple matter of the couple reproducing through normal means like so many of our normal families, that wouldn't be terribly exciting or unique. No, William's idea of how to increase the size of his family was a little different from what most people would expect, and actually involved decreasing the size of the local population a little bit. It resulted in some tell-tale tombstones out on his patio, but hey, it was in the name of science, so it's all good, right? Now I know what you're thinking - "offing" local sims sort of counts as deviant or "abnormal" behavior, right? Well, William wasn't offing sims just for the heck of it, he'd had to dispose of a werewolf, a vampire, a zombie, and an alien that had "somehow" found their way into the neighborhood. See, he was just doing his bit to keep things "normal"...
What would Martha Stewart say about their taste in patio decorations?
Like I mentioned before, William was a natural scientist, and a very gifted one. As such, he'd been given a cow plant specimen, which he was using to "humanely" dispose of the aforementioned freaks. Okay, so it was he who brought them into town in the first place (with my help obviously), which was expressly forbidden, but as long as William's "test subjects" were disposed of before my wife spent time using her families, there was very little risk of discovery (I used to have to beg her to look at even my most far out houses I constructed, the chances of her dropping in on William's house, noticing the tombstones, and trying to resurrect those buried beneath were not only slim, but a violation of her own rules against zombies). Keeping the cow plant itself posed its' own set of risks. When William first moved into the house, right after graduation, he threw a big party, and one of his former college sweethearts by the name of Suzie Wade was eaten by the plant, never to return. Gina was constantly playing around in the cow plant pen when nobody was watching. Luckily, William was pretty good about making sure it was never hungry.
Gina: "Pretty please, can I have some cake?"
By now, you must surely be wondering what's behind William's weirdness and blatant disregard for the founding principals of Lush Canyon. Well, don't worry, he's not some sort of hobby serial killer or psychotic lunatic (not if you ask him, anyway). No, all of his efforts were devoted to the creation of the "perfect being". The lack of werewolves, zombies, and other freaks in Lush Canyon resulted in William becoming more curious than ever about the properties of such creatures, and he found himself wondering what would be the result of an experiment designed to combine the attributes of a vampire, werewolf and zombie all into a single creature (he played around with the idea of adding alien DNA to the mix, but threw out the idea and the alien specimen along with it). The experiment was more or less a success, and the end result..."Mr X".
If nothing else, he has a future in the Blue Man Group.
The road to creating "Mr X" was not an easy one. William had to initially find someone dumb enough to volunteer to become "X" in the first place, probably the toughest part. After that, it was just a simple matter of subjecting "X" to the plastic surgery machine William stole from the secret society when he was in college to give him the right look, subjecting "X" to attacks from both a werewolf and vampire, then feeding him to the cow plant so he could be brought back as a low budget zombie (using the resurrection machine William also stole from the secret society). The end result was an amazing being with the power to "bleh", "grrrrr", turn into a bat, bite AND savage people, and walk like either a zombie or a werewolf, depending on the time of day. Of course, his major weakness was the need to sleep his days away in a coffin, but hey, you can't have it all. Despite all these cool powers, "X" spent most of his time standing around making zombie noises, or angrily chastising William for being the one to bring him back to life. Man, what an ingrate. Perhaps one of the strangest aspects of "X" was his werewolf form. When it came time for his "transformation" each day, rather than fully transform, he simply adopted the walk and mannerisms of a werewolf and sprouted a really bad looking head of hair...
Mr X: "I'm not only a member of Hair Club for Freaks, I'm the president!"
You'll notice above that despite the presence of the Birkins' new ghoulish blue housemate, there were still guests aplenty, more than happy to drop by and eat free food and use the toilet and hang out, pretending most of the time that "X" wasn't there. Geez, if a guy can't get some attention by being part werewolf, part vampire and part zombie, then forget about it. Actually, "X" usually got along pretty well with most of the visitors to the house, it was William he really didn't like. Call it Dr Frankestein syndrome. Thankfully, aside from a lot of angry poking and verbal abuse, there was nothing "X" could do to cause William any form of long term damage, he just contented himself with short term abuse whenever he could find time for it. William, being the smart fellow he is, eventually realized that he had to either work to repair their relationship, or feed "X" to the cow plant once and for all, and he wasn't about to waste all his hard work. And so, after seemingly endless failed friendly interactions, things finally began to improve between William and "Mr X" to the point where they could be in the same room without fighting or "X" bringing up the whole "hey, you turned me into a freak" line of conversation. William decided to celebrate this breakthrough with a little freestyle rap.
Zombie Ghost: "Can you keep it down in here? This racket could wake the dead!"
Wow, that picture above is a real nostalgic blast from the past for me. That's pretty much the view the real me used to see about a year ago coming through my front door, minus "Mr X", the Birkins, and the zombie ghost. Anyway, the development of "Mr X" was deemed a resounding success by William, and it satisfied his desire to express his creativity. With that out of the way, William returned to focusing primarily on his work and advancing his career as a natural scientist. All seemed to be going well until William hit the top of the career ladder. Yes, you heard me right. I've seen some jobs with weird hours and weird costumes at the higher levels, but I was totally unprepared for the horrors of the Ecological Guru job. For starters, William was gone for days at a time when he went to work, which thankfully for Gina, was only once a week. The real kicker was the outfit for the job, a strategically placed leaf over his butt and his "junk". Oh, and did I mention he would take off up into the air and fly out of sight when it was time to go to work? I suppose his options were limited, I mean, who would want to carpool with someone dressed like that?
William: "Is this one of those 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' places?"
Ugh. Disturbing on so many levels. "Mr X" was creepy, but Ecological Guru was a whole new kind of creepy, but at the same time, it affirmed my belief that no matter how hard you may try to avoid "weirdness" in the world of the sims, it will still find you. When I visited some of the public hotspots as some of the other families in town, I noticed William wandering around in public quite frequently in his "nearly naked guru gear", and figured my wife would probably think I'd done something to intentionally violate the "no weirdness" code, and so, despite some thoughts about disposing of "Mr X" properly before she had a chance to see him randomly wandering the town, "X" was allowed to survive and fend for himself should she encounter him. Hey, they can't all look like underwear models...
Well, this officially brings an end to my remaining unposted Sims 2 material. As for the future of Monkeesims, I refuse to ever say for certain that we've reached an end. I may find myself someday moving on to Sims 3, or I could just as easily reinstall Sims 2 and do some damage there. I still visit this site myself and sometimes go as far back as the very earliest posts (stomaching the initial Stu Miller posts is rough sometimes, but I do it for the love of the sims). It's my hope that either some new folks stumble across this site, or that there are others like me who don't mind rereading some of the wacked-out moments in Monkeesim history. Whatever the case, feel free to drop me a line! As always, I love hearing from you, and hope to have something new to post here at some point. Until then, may the sims be with you! ;-)