Total Drama Island, by Gilbert and Sullivan (commonly abbreviated TDI-G&S, pronounced "Tiddigus") is a crossover based on a straightforward question, as stated in the Introduction: What If? Gilbert and Sullivan had written Total Drama Island (TDI)? It was written by Gideoncrawle.
TDI-G&S is technically an adaptation of Total Drama Island (the first Total Drama season), but is really more a work of scholarship. In fact, the author doesn't even call it a "story", he calls is a "compilation". Total Drama Island, by Gilbert and Sullivan uses songs and recitatives from the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas (which would probably be called musicals if written today) to retell the canon story arc of Total Drama Island, effectively turning TDI into a comic opera—in essence, a song fic expanded exponentially.
These seemingly disparate franchises have far more in common that one might assume at first glance, and over 70 percent of the total verse content in the Gilbert & Sullivan canon (excluding repetitions and the blank verse spoken dialogue of Princess Ida) are relevant to the TDI story arc or characters. As might be expected, most of the verse references are metaphorical to greater or lesser degree, but some are remarkably literal. At the other extreme, some verses fit more for their mood than for their description of events. Likewise, some of the character verses mainly fit the character's nature or background, as opposed to specific incidents.
Total Drama Island, by Gilbert and Sullivan comprises three major sections:
- Technical notes on the compilation and introductions to both Gilbert & Sullivan and Total Drama Island, on the presumption that most readers will be familiar with one or the other, but not with both.
- The verses used in the compilation. These are arranged in the order in which they appear in the operas, to preserve some sense of Gilbert’s stories.
- A “Guide to Incidents” presenting synopses of the TDI episodes in whatever level of detail is needed to support the verse references and to allow the uninitiated reader to understand the episode’s major events. Every episode has at least 13 verse references, and one has nearly 100. The synopses themselves are similar to the plot summaries that one might find on a Total Drama reference website, but with a more storylike flavor. The synopses also include commentary on certain storylines and characterizations to aid uninitiated readers, because TDI-G&S was originally written for a general interest website.
The compilation is available in two versions: a web-based version and a downloadable PDF file. The web-based version omits the “Introduction to Total Drama Island” section because it resides on a website dedicated to fan fiction for the Total Drama series. The web-based version also has numerous embedded music videos for some of the songs, whereas the PDF version has many more screenshots from the show.
Other troped works by this author include:
In addition to the tropes inherited from its source material, which are incorporated here by reference, this compilation provides examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptation Distillation: The summaries for the Total Drama Island episodes have enough detail to support the verse references and keep the plot coherent, but little more. The summaries rarely go two paragraphs without a verse reference.
- All Musicals Are Adaptations: Although the purpose of this work is different from a typical musical, the effect is similar. In a sense, it remakes Total Drama Island as a comic opera.
- All There in the Manual: Includes an extensive glossary and many hyperlinks to music files and supplemental information on ancillary topics
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Invoked. Because Cody's verses relate mainly to his unsuccessful suit for Gwen's affections, the cumulative effect is to depict him as a much more tragic and pitiable figure than the one that Total Drama Island portrays.
- The Annotated Edition: Includes an extensive glossary of now-obscure terms and references in Gilbert's verses. These are drawn mainly from Asimov’s Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan, by Isaac Asimov.
- Author Appeal: The author is a fan of both Total Drama and Gilbert & Sullivan, and the whole point of crossing the two is to introduce to one readers who are familiar with the other.
- Character Exaggeration: Due to the themes and character types that appear in the operettas, and corresponding limitations on the subject matter available in the verses, the verses for some Total Drama Island characters tend to focus on peripheral aspects.
- Chef Hatchet’s verses focus mainly on his military background.
- Cody’s verses focus mainly on his unsuccessful suit for Gwen’s affections.
- The verses for Geoff, Bridgette and Tyler focus mainly on their romantic relationships.
- Door Stopper: A borderline case. Although it’s “only” about 120,000 words including the Glossary and other supplemental materials, the PDF version clocks in at right around 500 pages because so much of its content is poetry (song lyrics) which is notorious for using page space inefficiently. The 700 Total Drama Island screenshots put a goodly percentage of that white space to use, though.
- Edutainment Show: It's definitely educational for the Total Drama Island fans who comprise the work's main target audience. In addition the to cultural element of familiarizing readers with the Gilbert & Sullivan canon, the lyrics are excellent vocabulary builders because Gilbert refused to pander to the lowest common denominator, so he used the entire range of the English language vocabulary in his verses. Indeed, he wasn't above using terms from other languages when he needed a rhyme.
- Epigraph: All of the episode plot summaries start with a verse or verse fragment that fits the episode's tone or major events.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The premise of Total Drama Island, by Gilbert and Sullivan is, "What If? Gilbert and Sullivan had written Total Drama Island?
- Footnote Fever: This manifests in two ways:
- Because the compilation uses so many verses, and to preserve some sense of Gilbert’s stories, the verses are segregated into a separate section. A cross-referencing system enables the reader to move quickly between the plot summaries (called the Guide To Incidents) and the verses.
- Many of the more obscure terms in the verses are marked either with underlining (in the web-based version) or a different color font (in the PDF version) to indicate that they have Glossary entries.
- Gender Flip: For many of the verses pertaining to romantic relationships and complications thereof, the gender roles in the Total Drama Island incidents are reversed from the original roles in the operettas. This is especially prominent with respect to Cody's unsuccessful suit for Gwen's affections.
- Lemony Narrator: The "just the facts" character of the episode summaries doesn't preclude drollery. For example, a certain summary doesn't just say, "Bridgette alarms a family of skunks and gets sprayed." Instead, it says, "Bridgette alarms a family of skunks and pays the customary penalty."
- The Musical: The crossover effectively turns the canon story arc of Total Drama Island into a comic opera.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The Gilbert & Sullivan operettas have been in the public domain since the 1950s
- Song Fic: But instead of just one song, it’s a whole series of 14 comic operas. The lyrics are collected in a separate section with a cross-referencing system that allows the reader to quickly jump back and forth between the synopses and the lyrics.
- Virtual Soundtrack: All of the verses, except for those very few that are spoken rather than sung in the operettas (or those drawn from Thespis, for which most of the music has been lost), come with links to MIDI files so that interested parties can hear the tunes. In contrast to the lyrics, which can't be skipped without defeating the whole point of the crossover, the music is strictly optional and is included mainly for people who think that Gilbert is incomplete without Sullivan.
- What If?: as stated in the premise: "What if Gilbert & Sullivan had written Total Drama Island?"