The Co-Optional Podcast is a weekly gaming-related podcast created by John "TotalBiscuit" Bain, Jesse Cox and Brooke "Dodger" Lawson, often with a guest appearance. It had a predecessor in the form of the TGS Podcast back when Polaris was called TheGameStation. It has currently gone through over 200 episodes taking anywhere between 2 to 3 hours apiece, with some conversations being used for animated snippets by JulianGD3.
The podcast normally airs live on Tuesdays on TotalBiscuit's Twitch channel. Though the VODs and animated episodes used to be hosted on the Polaris channel, due to creative difference new episodes are now hosted on his YouTube channel on Thursdays after the live show. You can view the entire library, including the animations, here. If you wish to see a specific individual episode, check out the Recap page where they are all listed in order with their respective guests and links.
The group also hosts a Spin-Off of the podcast called the Co-optional Lounge, where they play board games via Tabletop Simulator. It is hosted on both WowCrendor's and Totalbiscuit's channel, where you can watch from either of their perspectives.
Following the unfortunate death of TotalBiscuit in May 2018, his wife Genna Bain assumed his role as one of the hosts, as per his wishes. The show ended with no official announcement in October 2019 after Episode 257, with Jesse later indicating that he has no interest in starting another podcast to succeed it.
This list includes tropes from its predecessor, The TGS Podcast, for convenience's sake.
The podcast provides examples of:
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: If TB isn't there to keep them on topic, the other hosts tend to go off on wild tangents. Sometimes TB will join in.
- The Baby of the Bunch: Dodger's the youngest of the hosts.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: A male version in the sixth podcast, which has Jesse, TB, and Simon respectively, Badass Beards and all.
- The lineup after John's passing of Jenna, Dodger and Jesse.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Jesse and Dodger sometimes go off on tangents in caricature UK accents, to the ire of TotalBiscuit (the only actual Brit on the main hosts).
- Canon Discontinuity: The guest of TGS Podcast #59 was kicked off the show after the first hour due to him and his roommate being a bunch of assholes. He was never mentioned again, that hour was deleted from the VOD, and the entire episode is left off of the playlist on TB's channel(though the first hour can be seen here). However, the incident has been joked about on the podcast a number of times since.
- Catchphrase: "We occasionally talk about video games."
- A frequent occurrence in the podcast, particularly when Jesse would make an effort to make TB do so.
- TGS Podcast #10 provides a stupendous example of it. In the middle of discussion a woman enters Jesse's room and starts cleaning the shelf behind him. Jesse promptly loses it (albeit silently) and points her out causing TB and Dodger to start dying with the latter leaning out of frame to compose herself while JonTron sits there oblivious to it for a good fifteen seconds. He finally notices and starts laughing just after Dodger gets a hold of herself and leans back into frame causing her to start again. Finally after the woman leaves only to come back moments later causing Jesse to turn his webcam off and the others start laughing all over again. It's a full minute and a half of continued laughter from all four of them and a shining example of how contagious TB, Jesse, and Dodger's laughter can be.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Square Enix temporarily caused them to stop showing trailers on the show because they showed the trailer for Final Fantasy XV, and emailed them saying that they were now entitled to all of the ad revenue from that video because of it. TB was not happy.
- They also rarely show Nintendo footage (due to Nintendo's habit of copyright claiming any bit of footage that isn't explicitly marked as public) or Sega footage (due to TB's bad past with Sega issuing false copyright strikes against smaller channels).
- Devil's Advocate: Jesse usually fits this during discussions regarding ethics or arguments. He usually does a good job of at least representing the other side from the others, though he rarely believes what he's arguing.
- End of the World as We Know It: They joke that if Nintendo ever decides to release only a single amiibo for each Pokémon, the world will collapse into a Mad Max-style post-apocalypse where roaming warbands themed on pokemon types fight over the one-of-a-kind figurines.Jim Sterling: "We're joking about this, but the Amiibocalypse is coming, and it's gonna take us all."
- Fourth Ranger: Wow Crendor is one of the most common guests, has been on every Co-Optional Lounge episode thus far, and is the guy they dump the Co-Optional Lounge VODs on.
- Freudian Trio: The three regular hosts. Jesse is the Id, Dodger is the Ego and TotalBiscuit is the Superego.
- Off the Rails: The discussion frequently goes from video games to tangentially related topics like gaming rigs or equipment or just outright off-topic, much to TB's chagrin. Jesse and Crendor have been known to intentionally derail the conversation to annoy TB.
- Once an Episode: Jesse either consuming food that a fan has sent to him (usually Hilarity Ensues) or him plugging a "sponsor" that sent him free stuff.
- Only Sane Man: Totalbiscuit to his constant misery, though occasionally he joins in on the fun, and Jesse ends up taking this role when it happens.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Very often the podcast derails into some other topic, usually non-gaming related. Despite the continual exasperation of whoever's trying to maintain order (usually TotalBiscuit), these tangents have produced several of the show's most memorable moments. TB lampshades it with his "We occasionally talk about video games" catchprase.
- Happens especially often during weeks where very little happens or is released, like the month or so immediately after E3.
- Squee!: Nearly an hour of the 23rd TGS podcast was dedicated to general squeeing and glee over PAX. (And it is appropriately named the "PAX" edition.)
- Serious Business: The debate between dogs and cats can get intense some times.
- Take That!: Multiple jabs at DarkSydePhil in Cry's first appearance on the Podcast, and TB makes a jab at the Underbelly show at the end of Unit Lost's first show. Recently the website Polygon has been the entire group's chew toy due to the quality of their recent "gaming" articles.
- They also take shots at Kotaku from time to time, though not when they run into painfully on-point problems like being blacklisted.
- Episode 102 started with TotalBiscuit singing the #FucKonami national anthem.
- Theme Tune: Co-optional by Miracle of Sound