An Analysis of John and The Hunger | The Adventure Zone: Balance

An Analysis of John and The Hunger | The Adventure Zone: Balance

Background Music: “Space Cafe” by Coby Rylan Vandenberg:


TAZ theme –
TAZ: John Supercut –
“The Lure of Contentment” –
“The Last Question” –

The Adventure Zone: Balance is something I hold very close to my heart. It was my introduction to the “Mcelroy family of products” and since then I’ve religiously listened to “My Brother, My Brother and Me” and “Sawbones”. Season one of The Adventure Zone is full of amazing comedy, but also tons of great serious moments. If you tell me that you didn’t cry at Magnus’ death scene you’re lying.

Griffin McElroy created some very interesting and compelling characters for Balance. Characters like Lucretia, Kravits, and Angus McDonald are all really interesting personalities that could be analyzed. But that’s a video for another day. No, today I want to talk about one of, if not the most compelling character to me in The Adventure Zone. John.

Before I get into the ideologies and beliefs of John/The Hunger. I first want to talk about the 1956 short story: “The Last Question” by Isaac Asimov.

I will save you the ending, it’s a very quick read and I recommend reading it for yourself. But how does this relate to John and The Hunger?

Well, from my quick summary you might immediately assume that “The Last Question” is about entropy. Basically, entropy states that everything is slowly “decaying” and nothing can stay in the same state forever. But, I’d argue that While entropy is the driving force of the story. Isaac Asimov’s story is about Dissatisfaction.

In The Adventure Zone, we first meet John in Episode 63. He and Merle make an agreement to answer each question honestly. Over the course of the episode, John answers four BIG questions. The first 3 can simply be boiled down to:

John says here that the idea of the afterlife or any continuation of life into eternity is nothing short of contentment. John saw all the spiritual theories available to him and none of them made him satisfied. None of them made him content. Much like in The Last Question, Bertram Lupov lived in a world with nearly infinite energy and he never again would have to worry about that in his life. But he’s not content with it. There always will be something terrible will be looming closer. There will always be an end to what you have.

The act of being content is only something that has sprouted up relatively recently. With electricity and technology becoming more available by the day. We, as humans, have had to worry less about survival which in turn makes us feel like we should be content. Michael Karson said this in the Psychology Today article “The Lure of Contentment”: “It is not human nature to be content; it is human nature to dream of contentment. Many Americans act as if they are guaranteed happiness rather than the right to pursue it.”

John is an interesting, albeit probably accidental, foil to the Last Question. Everyone in the short story, when faced with the concept of the end of eternity, just worried. Other than asking a robot how to stop it, they all just went on with their lives. John was different, and it’s unknown how but John took action. And ironically became the physical manifestation of discontentment itself.

I find it very interesting that Griffin Mcelroy chose the name John for the man who fused with The Hunger. In fact, in The Last Question, after trillions of years, all of Mankind’s consciousnesses all merge into one. And the being that forms is just named Man. It’s such a simple name for such a complex mass of consciousness. Griffin could have named John Jackson, or Ezekiel, or Ramses. But he went with just John, a name considered by most to be simple, almost default.

The Mcelroy brothers are astounding storytellers. It’s insane to me that the same person who put Amiibos in his mouth on youtube is also the same person who created this extremely complex and dynamic character in John.

But that said, John is an amazing character. And The Stolen Century is probably the best experience I’ve ever had listening to a podcast. Being content is a strange concept. Because when you are content, it’s sad. Being satisfied is almost against our nature. But striving to be satisfied, striving for contentment totally is our nature. and if there’s one thing to learn from the arc of John and The Hunger…


Looking for basketball plays to help your team score against a zone defense? This article will surely help.

Playing against a zone can be a hard nut to crack… and extremely frustrating for coaches at ANY level. Whether you’re playing against a 2-3, a 1-2-2, a box and 1, or some other variation, there are a number of key challenges to face.

Challenge #1: The key gets almost completely clogged up. So there’s no easy way to get the ball inside to your “bigs.”

Challenge #2: Penetration is almost impossible too. Even if your wings can get past the perimeter of the zone, there’s always another defender right there to close off the driving lane.

Some coaches encourage their kids to launch up dozens of “Hail Mary” three-pointers… and pray that a few of them fall. But if you lack a real threat from “downtown”… or your team has an off shooting night… then this strategy won’t even stand a chance.

The truth is, there are 12 key concepts to attacking a zone defense that are almost never taught to today’s youth and high school coaches. These concepts are simple to learn, easy to teach, and (when used correctly) explosively powerful.

Best of all, they work for almost ANY team… even if your kids are small, slow, or can’t shoot.

Let’s go through these one by one.

Tip #1 – Inside Outside Theory

Getting the ball down into the paint is probably the single most effective strategy you can use against a zone defense. Interior passing forces the zone to contract, and when your post players kick it back out, the defense has to scramble to close out on the perimeter.

So you keep the defense off balance and get more open looks from outside.

Tip #2 – Recognizing The Zone

For starters, you and your players need to learn how to recognize the difference between a man-to-man defense and a zone… and how to identify the different zone formations you’ll see in your league.

Tip #3 – Poise-Patience Payoff

In the early part of a possession, the defenders inside a zone are crisp and energetic… quickly rotating from spot to spot and communicating with their teammates.

But after 10 or 20 seconds, the kids get tired… their rotations break down… and (almost like magic) scoring opportunities will open up for your team. If your players can be poised and patient against a zone, they’ll get plenty of chances for high percentage shots.

Tip #4 – Dribble With A Purpose

There are 2 key ways to use the dribble against the zone. The first is to dribble and draw defenders, then set up your teammates for an open shot. The second way is to penetrate through the gaps and beat two-fifths of the zone for a pull-up.

Incorporate those attacks into your zone offense, and encourage your guards to be aggressive whenever they’re handling the ball.

Tip #5 – Pass The Rock

There are 4 critical passing techniques your players need to master to break down a zone defense. The chest pass for swinging it around the perimeter… the bounce past for post entry… the skip pass to get it to the weak side… and the lob pass to get over top of the zone.

Tip #6 – Get Your Spacing Right

Never… ever… EVER allow a zone defender to cover two or more of your players. Train your team to use proper spacing on the floor so the zone is forced to spread out and cover as much area as possible. Make sure your kids are at least 15 feet apart on the perimeter… and about 10-12 feet apart inside.

Tip #7 – Game Situation Shooting

Spend at least 30% of your practice time on game-situation shooting drills. This is NOT just throwing out a bunch of balls and allowing your players to fire up jumpers from anywhere they want. Instead, pick out the spots where the “gaps” in the zone usually are (the high post, short corner, 3-point line) and run structured partner-passing drills to get as many reps in as possible.

Tip #8 – Offensive Rebounding

Probably the biggest weakness of a zone defense is rebounding. Since the defenders are not matched up man to man, they have a tougher time finding their boxing out assignments when a shot goes up. If you can teach your kids how to get after the ball with intelligence and aggression, you’ll EASILY get an extra 5 or 10 offensive rebounds per game.

Tip #9 – Screening Against A Zone

Using interior screens can allow your forwards to dive across the lane and receive a pass for a high percentage shot. Or (if you learn to do it correctly) you can use perimeter screens to set your shooters up for open looks from the outside.

Remember to remind your screener to come back for the ball!

Tip #10 – Use Triangles

The goal here is to move the ball to a point on the floor where you have 3 offensive players guarded by 2 defenders. This is the classic “overload” … where you try to outnumber the defense to gain an advantage and get more open looks at the basket.

Tip #11 – Attack From The Rear

Train your post players to “lurk” under the basket where the zone defenders are unable to see them and follow the ball at the same time. Then… when the opportunity presents itself… the “lurkers” can pop into the middle of the key for a pass and quick shot.

Tip #12 – Master The Timing

The single most important key to any half-court offense is timing. Your entire team needs to be on the same page, so that the offense is initiated by the first pass, and all 5 players have their movements, cuts, and screens timed correctly. Get the reps in at practice and this will come easily over time.

Source: Free Articles from


And if you’d like to learn more offensive tips and strategies, please visit my site for a free coaching video:

Coach Pat Anderson is a youth basketball coach and publisher of Visit his site today for more than 723 free basketball plays, drills and practice ideas.