Okay, so apparently I don't know my way around this wiki nearly as much as I thought, and I only just discovered the blog post thread yesterday. But in it, I was taken by people's stories of how they got into the show/fandom in the first place, so I decided to write my own. Yes, I realize most of these were done back in early August and I'm VEEEERRRRRYYY late in jumping on the bandwagon, but I'm doing this anyway because reasons. :) Also, warning: I am a natural writer, which means this will be very looooooooong. I will completely 100% understand if no one reads this all the way through, which will make me sad but whatever.
So. How I discovered the show.
The first time I saw anything related to Odd Squad was around late September/early October. Back then, my school day ended around 3:20, and Elena and I would walk home and be in the kitchen getting a snack by, say, 3:35. This part isn't important now but it will be later. Anyhow, my sister Ruby would get home on the bus maybe five or ten minutes after that, and she'd immediately turn on PBS to watch whatever. (We are a PBS family and have been since the 1960s, because everyone in my conservative Christian family believes that any other TV programming is the work of Satan. That and PBS came free in the basic cable package, back before we switched to satellite.) Because I was a junior and had LOADS of homework and I had rehearsal for White Christmas in the evenings every weekday, I had to do as much homework as possible in the afternoon, but when I needed to take a break I would wander out of the laundry room (don't judge me, it's quiet in there and I can study) and see what Ruby was watching. Now, frankly, I'd gotten jaded with many of PBS's slightly older shows like Super Why, Dinosaur Train, Wild Kratts (sorry, Alpha!), and Electric Company, and I'd been EXTREMELY disappointed by many of PBS's latest shows, notably Cat in the Hat, Daniel Tiger (ugh! ick! blech!), and Peg + Cat - though I do love the way they make fun of teenagers because that is legitimately funny. Honestly, since Fetch! and Cyberchase had died out, nothing on PBS except for Arthur seemed like quality programming anymore; granted, I'm a teenager, but the programs from my own childhood still seem infinitely better. Now, in the back of my mind, I knew that a new show was due to come out soon, particularly since there'd been nothing on Labor Day and that's usually when new ones were introduced. Anyhow, one day during late Sept./early Oct., I walked by Ruby watching TV in the living room and out of the blue saw some teaser thing with two kids - whom I now assume were Olive and Otto - (and a third - Oscar - in the background?) sitting at a table talking about some group they were a part of; a huge COMING SOON was implied. On a tangent, I now have no idea what I'd watched then, because whatever I'm remembering, I haven't been able to find it anywhere. The closest I've been able to find are those two TVO videos where Olive and Otto were in the tube lobby and Oscar and Ms. O in her office, so maybe I saw a version of those and my brain smashed them together into one teaser or something. Anyhow, I saw that and thought, Oh great, here comes another yet new PBS show. (Another side note, I've never liked the change in programming over the years on PBS, even though some of the new shows have become my favorites in the past, like Fetch!.) But something was different: live-action. Regardless of my judgement, that caught my eye, and I wondered if we were going to have a new version of Zoom or Design Squad or even Fetch! again.
Goodness, the first part was that long??? Oh well, gotta keep going. Several more parts to go...
Fast-forward to November 26. I've since completely forgotten about the one preview I saw, and somehow missed all of the other main promotional trailers. I've also gone through a good deal of high school drama, namely a poorly-run singing competition, the performance of White Christmas AND my first kiss, my crush rejecting me, my parents finding out about and banning my MLP interest, and - you guessed it - tons of AP homework. Basically a bunch of stuff y'all don't need to hear about. So after everything's died down and Thanksgiving break is over with, I come walking home from school on a Monday morning at a later time than usual (don't remember why, probably had to make up a test or something), around 3:52 or so. Ruby's already gotten home and turned on the TV, and this time Elena's sitting with her watching: "But I can't put any more in, all my other players are hurt!" "I know one player that's not hurt." "...Agent Otto, I don't - " "Can it! You're number 99..." and so on. Suddenly I remembered that teaser I'd seen nearly two months ago, and realize that this must be the new show. Not really all that interested yet, I watch until the gatorade shower and then go put up my backpack and get a snack. When I come back, I sit through "Soundcheck" and "Double Trouble" for the heck of it, and several things stick out to me: one, the hilarious parody of One Direction. Two, the baker who looks awfully similar to Bianca from Cyberchase. Three, speaking of which, we actually have another math-based show for once, instead of the language and social skills crud from other programs. Four, who's that adorable little Bill Nye/11th Doctor blonde kid who shows up and makes the hilarious joke about his watch? Five, so wait, these kids run a legitimate government organization??? And six...the humor. The show's humor was so refreshing, so natural, so lifelike, so...modern. I'd never quite seen anything like it on any other TV program, and was intrigued. But then after the debut special ended, I got up, started on my homework, and once again forgot about the show.
The next month was a month of several vague firsts for me with the show, even though I still wasn't all that interested yet. I'd come home around 3:35 and catch snippets or even whole episodes of the show, in between homework and other stuff. I remember my first interview video was Owen's; my first scene of Ms. O's juice obsession was when Oscar gave her bottled water in "Reindeer Games"; my first jackalope short was the one where he was missing half his face; my first favorite scene of Oscar was where he did the cheese wrestling, especially when he said, "This is a feisty one!"; and so on. In some inexplicable way I felt myself drawn to the show, in a way I hadn't felt before with PBS Kids since Fetch!, Zoom, and every show that was on before I was five. And I wondered if I'd found a kid's show I actually liked. Furthermore, it wasn't just Ruby that was avidly watching it - Elena was, too. And since Elena is basically the epitome of Disgust (no offense meant because she's my favorite Inside Out character), anything she likes has to be really, really good.
But it wasn't until Christmas break that my interest in the show hit the turning point that marked signs of a fandom. During the break, my sisters and I stayed at our grandparents' house while our parents went out to California for my dad's cousin's wedding. With subzero temperatures, no snow, and most places in town closed for the holidays, my sisters and I spent our days on the computer, devouring books, cooking with Grandmom, playing board/card games with Granddad, and of course, watching PBS Kids. Normally I stayed on the computer during this time, but on Christmas Eve I was checking Facebook one afternoon when I saw I got nominated to list my top 5 dream theater/movie roles. And it just so happened that Odd Squad was on in the background. Thinking of some of the funny scenes Elena had mentioned to me from episodes I'd missed, plus my inexplicable affinity for that nerdy and adorkable miniature Bill Nye, I put this down on a whim as part of my post:
3. Agent Oscar - "Odd Squad" (this is for you, Elena! :D )
From that point on, I started watching the show regularly, learning the characters' names/statuses and catching many episodes I hadn't missed yet. I laughed at all their jokes and admired the way they blatantly called attention to plot holes or cliches as part of their humor. With it came the realization that for the first time in my life, I was watching a live action PBS Kids show in which all the kid actors are currently younger than me. And of course, I was increasingly fascinated by everything I've listed above. But in all this time, for some reason I never once saw the episode that had started it all, "Zero Effect". (There were a few others I didn't see until as late as mid-January, but that's irrelevant right now. I can tell you which ones in the comments if anyone's really that interested.) I was definitely curious, though, as I wondered if they would handle the whole zero concept in the same way as Cyberchase had years before. So the day after Christmas, I asked Elena if there was any way I could watch the episode online, and she said yes, all the episodes were on the Odd Squad website. While she was pulling it up in Granddad's study, Ruby wandered into the room and said, "Oh, did you know at the end of that episode, Oscar says he used to be Olive's partner?"
Elena and I both stared at her. I looked at Elena with a look that said, Is this true?
Of course it wasn't. "Ruby," she sighed, "Oscar does not say that. He says Olive had a former partner, yes, but he doesn't say who it was. And it's not him because he's a scientist."
But the gears in my mind were already turning. Sure enough, when I got to the end of that episode, I immediately (and erroneously, but whatever) agreed with Ruby. "He was TOTALLY her partner!" I practically shouted. "If that's not proof, I don't know what is!" Those gears that had been turning in my mind now took the form of an idea: what would it have been like if Olive and Oscar were partners? What made Oscar want to become a scientist instead? Why does Olive now act so annoyed with him every time he's around? All these questions came together until I had a lightbulb: this needed to be a fanfic. Now.
So that night, I submitted a request to FanFiction.net for a new TV category for Odd Squad, as well as with a list of characters I found on Wikipedia. (I'll admit some of the choices I made were a little weird and out of place, and are still there to this day, unfortunately.) Meanwhile, I started brainstorming. The background would be that Olive and Oscar used to be partners, but then something went wrong and they split. The current underlying tension would be the animosity towards each other, and that would have to be resolved. The conflict that would force the resolution would be the two of them trapped in a rapidly flooding room with no way out - the idea for which I'm not exactly sure where it came from, but it was most likely inspired by either Tangled or Timothy Zahn's Star Wars novel Vision of the Future (which, btw, has the best marriage proposal EVER in it during the flood scene). With this in mind, I went ahead and wrote out the prologue chapter, but when I got to the end of it, I realized something was missing. Olive and Oscar had everything going for them in their story except the most important part, which was motivation. I couldn't just have the two of them split and hate/avoid each other, I needed a deep and wounding betrayal or something to be an underlying cause, and perhaps the same reason they'd make up at the end. And that's when I realized I had to use the one angle I dreaded thinking about and refused to put into my story.
That's right, I started the shipping with Odd Squad, and not a day goes by when I don't regret it. But it was the only way I could make my story work. Plus, when I looked at other episodes, there seemed to be something subtle going on between Olive and Oscar that wasn't necessarily present between any other characters. Not even between Olive and Otto, who I still think to this day have a sibling relationship and nothing more. (Perilheart's story is the one exception for me, because when she ships OlivexOtto it's through a very delicate innuendo rather than overt and out-of-place romance.) (Also, I don't know if I saw this attraction because of any backstories with Dalila and Sean, as there is a rumor going around that one is, ahem, interested in the other; however, I refuse to offer any more commentary on that because the rumor in question is being circulated by a certain nosy 10-year-old stalker with no regard for child celebrity privacy or sheer coincidental career history.) Anyhow, [once again erroneously] figuring that if I kept the shipping at the harmless level of pretend elementary/primary school-style quote-unquote "dating", nothing bad would come of it. So I kept brainstorming with a much clearer and more functional idea in mind, got the OK for the new category from FanFiction.net, published my story on December 29, 2014, and the rest is history. To this day, I fondly remember the nostalgia of staying up late each night on Christmas break, sitting at my granddad's desk in their study, eagerly writing the next chapters on his laptop.
Now I had to officially admit to myself that Odd Squad was my new favorite fandom of choice. But was the show really a fandom? Time would tell, but if nothing else, I decided to make it one. So I shared Facebook posts, retweeted tweets, followed the actors' Instagrams, wrote more fanfics, liked YouTube videos, cosplayed Olive for spirit week at my school, wrote down favorite quotes (I have a whole journal full!), counted down the days to new specials, marked the characters' birthdays on my calendars, got my analytic history professor dad and my then-boyfriend to watch/enjoy the show, made oodles of lists on GoogleDocs of episode titles/headcanons/story ideas/outlines/etc., and made/promoted what I am proud to say is the largest Odd Squad pinterest board on the site. Eventually I also found Flying Saucers's forum, Alpha's and Oddotato's tumblrs, and then this wiki, getting involved in each one to get connected with other fans of the show as anyone in a fandom should do - for better or for worse. ;) I even have a funny story of how Ruby discovered Odd Todd in February, Elena and I combed through every episode for 43s, and I scared Josh into messaging me on Twitter when he figured out that I knew about his super-secret character; but that's a tale for another day.
Whew! That was long. I probably wasted a ton of time writing this that could have been spent working on the next chapter of "Viva La Vida" (sorry Josh, I promise I'll get it done!), but that's my story of how I got into Odd Squad. And boy, am I thankful I did. ^_^