In an alternate universe of sorts where Calvin and Hobbes was a television show, what would happen if it didn't stop when Bill Watterson left? The answer: a drastic Retool into a Variety Show, with many changes occuring, including the addition of Calvin's baby sister Paine and an abundance of Special Guests. Despite the Seasonal Rot, the show (now The Calvin, Hobbes, and Paige Show) still continues on to this day on popularity alone.
The story itself focuses on Calvin, now a bitter actor who regularly smokes weed between skits and believes that Watterson leaving was the point where the show jumped the shark. Now, however, he finds himself wondering wherever Watterson went to, and he'll soon find an answer.
This fanfic provides examples of:
- Excited Show Title!: Still Building Character!, Dad's (fake) autobiography.
- Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Calvin.
- Jumping the Shark: In-Universe, Calvin thinks this of the show.
- Postmodernism: The fic is drenched in it.
- Seasonal Rot: In-Universe, Calvin specifically remarks that it was just too popular to ever get cancelled no matter how mediocre it got (like The Simpsons).
- Show Within a Show: The main plot centers around the titular show.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Very far on the cynical end of the scale.
- Wham Line: The message on Calvin's answering machine."Hi, Calvin. This is Bill Watterson-"
The Show Within a Show provides examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: Rosalyn confuses My So-Called Life with The Facts of Life at one point, while conversing with the former's star.
- The Artifact: Principal Spittle, after Miss Wormwood left the show, became this after all classroom stories were discontinued.
- Big "NO!": Calvin does one after his mother mentions a babysitter.
- Celebrity Star: A Christmas-themed story shoehorned Tom Jones into its plot. Calvin wasn't fond of it at all.
- Cliffhanger: "Adventures in Babysitting Part II" ends with the revelation that Calvin and Paige never made it home.
- Continuity Nod: The episode shown to the audience references a prior one.
- Cousin Oliver: Paine.
- Executive Meddling: This is what forced the show to do a parody of The Blair Witch Project around the time it was popular.
- Fun with Acronyms: Since Paine became the first female G.R.O.S.S. member, the club's name was changed to "Get Rid of Susie derkinS".
- The Host: Calvin himself.
- Hostile Show Takeover: Out of universe, David Arquette (guest host of an 1998 episode, around the time Scream was popular) tried to do this and accuse Calvin of being the murderer of Gianna Versaci. It didn't pan out, thankfully.
- Laugh Track: Calvin can't tell if this is the case, or the audience is actually laughing.
- Misery Builds Character: The notes reveal that this had become Dad's Catchphrase, mentioned when he appeared on The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live, and that his autobiography (actually written by his personal assistant) was called Still Building Character!
- The Movie: Hamster Huey apparently has one, subtitled The Kablooie Movie.
- Named After Somebody Famous: The new baby, continuing this trend, is named after Thomas Paine.
- Noodle Incident: Calvin gets interrupted before he can reveal it, and the notes show that Calvin is really tired of people laughing at it.
- Retool: After Watterson leaves the show around the time he stopped the strip in Real Life, the show became The Calvin and Hobbes Show and adopted its Variety Show format.
- Shout-Out: Rosalyn and Charlie's child is named Chandler.
- Special Guest: A lot of them post-retool. Some of the stranger choices include Stick Stickly and Bart and Lisa.
- The Un Reveal: Calvin tries to directly state what the Noodle Incident was, but his mom interrupts him.
- Variety Show: Post-Retool.
- Wham Line:Mom: Rosalyn? Are you there? Calvin and Paige never made it home.