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“Drawtectives”: A fun show for art, mystery, rpg and comedy lovers

“Drawtectives,” a youtube series started by the Drawfree channel, had its season 2 finale in early August, and given that I’ve been following the series since last semester, I figured that it was about time that I actually give it a review.

 

The show follows three new interns working mystery cases as part of a detective agency in an urban-fantastical world. The first season follows the cast in a fantastical whodunnit, with the focus being on talking to the suspects of a murder case and finding the culprit. The second season follows the three as they wind up in a strange location with no memory of getting there, and must figure out how and why they are in this situation. In both seasons, the interns receive art prompts as they talk to the various characters, which they must complete in order to trade for information needed to ultimately solve the mystery! Along the way, audience members get to listen to the cast joke around, both in and out of character, creating an overall casual and fun experience. 

 

Now, as I mentioned earlier, the setting is urban fantasy, and though the characters are more so drawn from the D&D handbook with Grendan/Grandma/G-Ma (Nathan Yaffe) being a dwarf druid, Rosé (Karina Farek) being a human rogue and York (Jacob Andrews) being a half-orc barbarian, that is more or less where the similarities end. Beyond that, the focus is on the roleplaying aspect rather than the mechanics, and the only more structured “rule” is the required art prompts coming from the characters. This more lax roleplaying environment is one that I genuinely enjoyed, not just because I love art, but because for me, the part I enjoy listening to most in D&D podcasts has always been the roleplaying. Therefore, having a show to watch that is almost completely roleplay was a wonderful treat, and this partnered with its aforementioned casual environment established a sort of comfort show.

 

Continuing with the roleplaying aspect of the show, I specifically want to address the narrator, and the one who came up with the idea for this series in the first place, Julia Lepetit. The majority of the characters that the main cast interact with are played by Julia Lepetit, with a few guest actors sprinkled in to play specific characters. That Lepetit is able to not only create, but also play so many different characters- each with their own distinct personalities- is not only extremely impressive, but was also incredibly fun to watch.

 

Following this train of thought, the creation of the characters, though fun to watch in their various interactions, did bring up an issue, specifically in regards to perpetuating stereotypes. The D&D character races have already been called out for its racist traits, and I find that the creation of York ultimately played into that. Orcs have historically (both in Dungeons and Drgons as well as in Tolkien portrayals (which is where a lot of D&D races ultimately come from)) been associated with people of color, and have served as negative and racist portrayals, ultimately causing harm to the community. Therefore, the idea of this almost “uncultured” half-orc who can neither read nor write and is rather crude (there’s a discussion of how he defecates in front of an NPC), though it may not be intentional, ultimately ends up playing into this issue.

 

Now, focusing specifically on its second season, I found that there was a stronger mystery sense than in the first: a whodunnit versus a rather more complicated mystery of figuring out what exactly was going on. Not to say that the first season wasn’t entertaining, but I found that the second season was a lot more compelling, with both players and audience members confused and trying to figure out the premise of this new story. Hearing the players freak out with each new revelation and trying to piece together the various characters and information presented is not only funny, but also allows for a sense of realism to the entire situation- everyone’s just so confused. In addition, the second season brought in a variety of guests, who played characters that the cast met and interacted with, something that wasn’t present in the first season. I’m rather glad Lepetit was able to get a bit of reprieve, and in addition, the guests added their own humor to the show, which solicited laughs from me and the cast alike. The work put into this second season definitely paid off!

 

“Drawtectives” has been confirmed for season 3, and I eagerly await to see what drawings, jokes, and mystery comes from this next journey! Whether used as background noise during work, or for a full viewing experience, I find the show to be a fun addition to the role playing world.



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