Our pitch black tale begins with two families who are super best friends: the Lius and the Jeong-Espinosas. Let’s meet them!
(Do bear with me, folks. The prose gets better. Earlier posts are being left as-is because I’ve found it encouraging to watch the progress of other bloggers, and hope readers get as much enjoyment from tracking the improvement of others as I do.)
The Jeong-Espinosas: Kale and Additional Kale
Claudia Espinosa (Foodie, Goofball, Bro; Bodybuilder aspiration), i.e. Patient Zero, is a master of health and fitness. While establishing herself in the neighborhood as “she who hits the gym 24/7,” she learned to grow her own vegetables and embrace her foodie nature. Her first boyfriend was Zach Griffith; they met at the gym where he worked as a very cute personal trainer. But despite his deep voice, deeper muscles, and cool purple shirt, he turned out to be hella emo, so they broke up. Next she targeted Rex McMahan, who also went to the gym and had cute little glasses, but he turned out to be an abusive fuck, so Claudia went back to the drawing board.
And by Claudia, I mean me, and by drawing board, I mean CAS, because nobody in the neighborhood was good enough for my Claudia. She immediately clicked with one of the two options, thank goodness.
Like most long-lived Sims, Claudia has lived two lives and stopped competitive bodybuilding after the birth of her first child. Nowadays she screams at people about food being RAW. She has a well-documented tendency to hit the sauce if you leave her alone for more than 2 seconds. She says her favorite drink is the EAPA, but, being a foodie, she will immediately complain about low quality if she actually orders one. Her favorite color is yellow.
Michael “Mike” Jeong
This dish right here is Claudia’s husband Mike Jeong (Bro, Music lover, Self-Assured; Comedy aspiration). MJ took a weird path in life. He started off as the gregarious, party-boy foil to his roommate’s shut-in artist, rocking and rolling all night and following his best friend around every day. First, he brought home the Simoleons as a comedian. I don’t know what kind of comedian he was, but, look at him. Doesn’t he look loud? He was probably one of the very loud kinds of comedian. His fame grew out of a very specific set of skills, skills he learned knocking people over with his barrel chest at the club. (I don’t know why people he bro-bumps don’t just bounce off.)
MJ developed a quick wit and hidden depths, but lost the ability to keep up with every girl at the club. Then Ms. Head Gym Bunny dragged herself out of the locker room for one goddamn hour and hauled her ass to where he was at. They started out as fast friends (presumably from screaming BROOOOOOO at each other over the pulsing electronica), but, at some point, they realized the only reason she was going out was to see him. Long story short, after a long courtship period, they lived happily ever after as Broseph and Brosephina.
The birth of their first child sort of scared the crap out of MJ (we’re starting in the middle, here), and he switched careers from comedy to BUSINESS like an ADULT. And while his legendary skills of schmoozing and manipulation work great here, MJ isn’t really the suit-and-tie type. (He may be the tearaway suit-and-tie type.) In a bizarre, unpredictable twist of personality, he started brushing up on home repair, math, and astrophysics, of all things. Now he still turns heads when he enters a room, but can also go to space. Maybe aliens like slices of beefcake? I don’t know.
Mike has a tendency to bounce around near stereos more than other Sims. His favorite color is blue.
Charles “Charlie” Jeong-Espinosa
And Charlie makes three. Charlie was the first child born in my Sims 4 games, and man, was he a little angel. By ‘little,’ I mean ‘massive,’ and by ‘angel,’ I mean ‘fucking dork.’ Even as a toddler! He aged up from Inquisitive into Genius, which may have been something latent from his father. God help him, though, he’s staying away from the videogames and making an effort to be well-adjusted. There are no such thing as neckbeards in this exercise-driven family.
Charlie isn’t really being challenged by anything right now. Later, he might struggle to find an identity separate from his parents, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
The Lius: Painting and also some of The Violin
After Claudia tanked it w/r/t the dating thing, roommates Mike Jeong (Fig. 2) and Xiyuan Liu (Creative, Perfectionist, Good; Music aspiration) were created. Two best friends making it in the entertainment industry! Each cuter than the last!
They eventually succeeded: Xiyuan became a famous pianist and violinist, Mike a famous comedian. Eventually, they (I) got bored and needed something else to master. Xiyuan quit his job as a professional musician to work as a… gallerina? I know Charlotte from Sex and the City is a gallerina, but don’t know what the male version is. Google says they’re the same! It also says that Xiyuan’s job has more authority than a gallerina, so scratch that. He and Mike moved into a bigger house on his artwork money. But as Claudia started dominating Mike’s attention, Xiyuan’s jealously prompted him to leave the house occasionally and try to find a suitable partner. He started going out to clubs with Mike and Claudia, looking for that special someone—and she never showed up. Everyone at the clubs was too different from Xiyuan: too hot-headed, too flirty, too wanting-to-do-stuff-and-not-stay-at-home-painting-for-hours. He had devoted a lifetime in Sim years to searching, and came up empty.
Then one night, he and Mike were invited to Aliens Night at a seedy dive bar. The party ended past midnight, and Mike was done—but for some reason, Xiyuan stayed. That’s when she walked in. Aileen: Music lover, Good, Neat; Fortune aspiration. It was a long and tedious courtship, but they married shortly after Mike and Claudia’s wedding.
Xiyuan is one-track obsessed with painting, to the extent that he paints autonomously if left alone for a second, and his walls are covered in masterpieces. When Mike and Claudia moved out, Xiyuan and his family were not allowed to keep the house, or even split the six-figure house funds. What they did instead was move in with the Jeong-Espinosa family, collect their furniture using a packing mod, and split to move into an empty lot. Xiyuan sold about 10 paintings. Tripled the household funds. Back into their old house with their old furniture in no time.
Xiyuan tends to want to talk to plants more often than other Sims, loves fruitcake, and likes his objects overly posh and light pink.
Aileen (Music lover, Good, Neat; Fortune aspiration; née Jensen) was rescued from a 60-second existence as a homeless, unemployed rando. As such, she started as a blank slate with few ambitions. Marrying Xiyuan prompted her to start a job in the Tech Guru industry and master programming. She now runs her own startup, Find Your Phone, an app which displays a screen of text saying “Your phone is in your hand.”
Aileen’s new role was solidified by a sweet New-Age-nerd-mom makeover. She loves maxi-dresses and hates fruitcake.
Xishu “Shu” Liu
Xishu inherited his mother’s looks and his father’s creativity. There are no tiger moms or screaming, raging, vein-popping dads here, because stereotypes r dumb. On the other hand, HE IS NOT LEAVING THE HOUSE WITHOUT KNOWING HOW TO PAINT AND PLAY VIOLIN.
Shu ended up surprisingly normal; that is, he would rather go out and play on the jungle gym than sit in the studio and constantly draw. Regardless, his activity table is in the middle of his dad’s professional art studio. His crayon drawings are displayed right next to the masterpieces. Cute!
Shu’s favorite color is red. He autonomously cleans up in other people’s houses. Actually, forget that he was categorized as surprisingly normal above, because one time he went over to Charlie’s house and made a beeline to the master bathroom to take a lavender bath. You know, like kids do.
Their story starts out slowly, then branches into an exposé of personal secrets, fatal flaws, and inadvertent mistakes. Everything that follows is a desperate attempt to stop these six people from ruining their own lives. Everything that follows is set in a universe where people, even simulated ones, are given the freedom to live in their own pain.