Abruptly Amy was a series of nine fanfics, eight of which ran during the fall of 2000. While Kara Wild wrote the initial pilot, she would be joined by C.E. Forman, John Berry, John Takis, Crazy Nutso, Mike Quinn, and Milo Minderbinder for the series.
Abruptly Amy (The Spinoff That Never Was)
In spring of 2000, Wild had just completed "Primarily Color" and was feeling burnt out writing the Driven Wild Universe. Although she wanted to finish her continuum, another story was burning in her mind. She had long been amused and exasperated by the "Saint Amy Barksdale" image perpetuated by fanfiction (most notably in C.E. Forman's "Quinntet" and "Alienation Legacy"), in which Amy was the only person who understood Daria. In her fanfiction, Wild sought to portray a more human, fallible Amy, but considered going a step further, completely subverting the image. Inspiration came in the form of Aaron and Barry Adelman's Daria the Movie fanfic, which was preceded by such an authentic "rumors" website, many fans thought it was real. The fanfic consisted of a film script for a live-action movie, emulating the poor movie scripts of then-current teen flicks. (Several movie "images," for example, came from the Jennifer Love-Hewitt movie Can't Hardly Wait.)
Wild decided that instead of a movie, she would create a pilot for a "spinoff" starring Amy, with the twist being that the pilot was written by someone ("Alan Smithee") with no understanding of the show, Daria. Using themes of then-current shows like Suddenly Susan and Providence, Wild came up with a storyline in which Amy was a glamorous FBI agent forced to take refuge in her home town to escape the mob. While Amy's abilities were inflated to ludicrous proportions, in keeping with her "Saint Amy" image, her personality was flighty and emotional. Wild created several new characters for the pilot and a "making of" special, "In Search of Amy," that delved into the behind-the-scenes tensions. Most notably, Wild enlisted several fanfic artists to do "screen captures" for the pilot. To preserve the mystery, she only e-mailed select scenes to the various artists who had volunteered. The result was an eclectic mix of images from artists as far-ranging as John Berry to SBBED.D. Finally, Mike Quinn agreed to read the pilot and do a "Delayed Reaction Review" as though he had watched the episode live.
Wild put all the parts together into one big fanfic called "Abruptly Amy (The Spinoff That Never Was)," which she premiered in spring of 2000. While some fans appreciated the joke, the primary response of people not involved with the project was shock. Many could not believe that Wild, who was known for her good characterization, would deliberately "dumb down" her writing in such a way. Michelle Klein-Hass was particularly critical, and to this date has not read any of the Abruptly Amy fanfics. Aaron Adelman, on the other hand, saw "Abruptly Amy (The Spinoff That Never Was)" as a "Jane" fanfic to his "Daria" fanfic. While his Daria the Movie, like Daria, conformed to certain stupid rules and mocked them, "Abruptly Amy" was free-flowing, going off in all sorts of crazy directions.
It was Wild's intention that she would eventually follow up with a "Where Are They Now?" special, not realizing that something more ambitious lay in store.
Abruptly Amy (series)
In late summer/fall of 2000, Kara Wild showed the pilot of "Abruptly Amy" to C.E. Forman, who loved it immediately. As the pilot hinted that eight episodes had been filmed, but never aired, Wild and Forman discussed writing these episodes. Soon Wild began to recruit other well-known writers to the series. The writers of the first eight would be Kara Wild ("A.A. A.O.K." and "A Very Amy Christmas"), C.E. Forman ("Corona, Corona" and "Double in Paradise"), Crazy Nutso ("Windy City Walkabout"), Mike Quinn ("Raiding the Bar"), John Takis ("Hot Head, Cold Fetus"), and John Berry ("Disaster Strikes!"). The writers sought to write all of the episodes at once so that they could be "aired" once every week for eight weeks. However, delays on John Berry's part meant that there was a few-week gap between the first four and the second four. The last of the eight, "A Very Amy Christmas," premiered December 2000.
While Wild served loosely as the head writer/show runner, the writers tended to come up with their own ideas. John Berry ran with an "Evil Tom" plot line. Crazy Nutso dragged in several random "guest" characters. C.E. Forman developed a wicked nemesis for Amy, complete with a campy secret hideaway. Otherwise, all writers tried to stay true to the show's over-the-top, cliche-ridden tone. The lengths of the finished fanfics tended to vary, with Wild's being amongst the longest and Berry's being the shortest. Milo Minderbinder, meanwhile, offered to draw "screen captures" for each episode. Each author adopted a silly pseudonym, with Wild becoming "Carrie D. Wildly" and Berry becoming "Shawn Perry." Minderbinder became "Milo Mindbender," who wrote angry notes to "Alan Smithee" over each of his images.
Before "airing" the episodes, Wild created a few promotional advertisements, which she posted on the PPMB. Wild hoped that the promotional ads would stir up enthusiasm, but as the episodes appeared week after week, they met with muted interest. Wild and Forman were a little discouraged, having hoped that fan interest would spur them to finish the season.
However, Milo Minderbinder's interest was great enough that he offered to develop an Abruptly Amy fansite. The joke would be that it was created by Amy Terwilliger, an obsessed fan first mentioned in "In Search of Amy." Modeled after Outpost Daria, Outpost Amy contained the pilot, the making of special, the eight episodes, and the screen captures. It also contained character descriptions (written mainly by Wild and Minderbinder) and illustrations (Minderbinder). Wild created supplemental content for the site, such as a Jump the Shark page and "Amy on Daria." Minderbinder created Abruptly Amy products, such as DVD sets, action figures, and play kits. The rest of the site contained Amy-centric fanfiction and artwork.
Minderbinder also wrote and illustrated the ninth episode of Abruptly Amy, called "Crouching Lawyer, Hidden Agenda."
Although Abruptly Amy never developed more than a cult following, it received attention from some unexpected places. One fan added it to the Daria page at Internet Movie Database, where it lasted for several days, until Wild notified them of the mistake. Minderbinder saved the page, and it exists at the Outpost Amy site to the present day. C.E. Forman noted in his interview with E.A. Smith that MTV employees were rumored to have read the fanfics.
Abruptly Amy Fanfiction
While the fan base for Abruptly Amy was never large, there were fans devoted enough to the the series to write fanfiction, including "Suddenly Smoochy" by Chad Page, "ABRUPTLY AMY in “COPS”, RUDELY RUTH in “GENERIC COOKING SHOW” and ANGRY ANDREA in “REAL WORLD” or so they think," by NapalmKracken, and "Corona Crisis" by Mitch.
- In Search of Amy the "making of" special
- Abruptly Amy: A New Beginning (the pilot episode)
- Corona, Corona
- A.A. A.O.K.
- Windy City Walkabout
- Raiding the Bar
- Hot Head, Cold Fetus
- Disaster Strikes!
- Double in Paradise
- A Very Amy Christmas
- Crouching Lawyer, Hidden Agenda
- Amy Barksdale
- Andrea Hecuba
- Rita Barksdale
- Ruth Barksdale
- Kristovo Martinez
- Corona Coronada
- Evil Tom
- Harvey "Big Harv" Clifford
- Mayor Danziger
- Charissa Fennell
- "I spend hours pondering what Amy meant in "I Don't" when she said: 'Change the radio station and you're a dead man.' Why was she so concerned about the radio station?? More so than about her very expensive car?? Did the radio station, perhaps, represent a window into her soul, and once it was changed, her soul was lost forever??" -- Amy Terwilliger, "In Search of Amy"
- "I mean God, don't these people have lives?! Do they seriously spend all their waking hours thinking about me?! Hello?!! I am a cartoon character! (pounds on the table.) I'm not even real! So why don't you all just get lives?! Move out of your parents' garages and get jobs! Find real activities, think about real stuff -- not what's happening in some imaginary television virtual world!!!!!" -- Amy Barksdale, "In Search of Amy"