Spoo

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This article is about the fictional food item. For the American football coach, see Bob Spoo. For the Luxembourgish industrialist and politician, see Caspar Mathias Spoo.
Spoo close-up.

Spoo is a fictional food product that served as a running joke within the Babylon 5 science fiction television series. In the series' fictional universe, spoo is made from worm-like creatures of the same name and is generally regarded as the most delicious food in the galaxy; the creature itself, however, is regarded with contempt by most species.[1]:87 Despite appearing only in a few episodes, spoo was embraced by fans and became part of the series' extended mythology.[1]:86–88

Origins[edit]

Use of the word "spoo" to denote a food item predates Babylon 5, which began airing in 1993. The show's creator J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for the 1985 cartoon series She-Ra Princess of Power.[2] After a Babylon 5 fan recalled a possible spoo reference from that show,[3] Straczynski replied, "Yeah, I slipped some spoo in there once. A couple of real cute (as in wanna drop a truck on them cute) elf-types offer Skeletor a bowl of Spoo."[4] In a 1995 interview, Straczynski referred to that scene as his favorite of the show.[5]

Spoo appeared in the first episode of Babylon 5, where it was briefly mentioned by the Narn Ambassador, G'Kar.[1]:86–88 Straczynski, who wrote the episode in question, was asked about spoo by fans on various internet message boards on which he frequently participated.[6] At first, Straczynski's responses were terse: "Spoo is."[7] In another early post, he explained how he created the word: "Spoo is Oops spelled backward."[8][9] He eventually noted that the taste of spoo is that of "Meat Jello. Served chilled."[10]

After years of speculation from Babylon 5 fans, Straczynski finally offered an extensive explanation of the origins and nature of spoo. He said spoo are tiny, pasty, mealworm-like creatures that travel slowly in herds. Their main behavior is sighing, which "can reportedly induce unparalleled bouts of depression"[1]:87 in other creatures. They are raised on ranches and harvested through "whacking". Spoo are regarded with contempt by most species in Babylon 5; they "are the only creatures of which the Interstellar Animal Rights Protection League says, simply, 'Kill 'em.'"[1]:87 Despite this, they are "generally considered the most delicious food in all of known space".[1]:87

This near-universal delight in the taste of spoo apparently doesn't include human tastes. In the episode "A View from the Gallery", neither of the two maintenance men, Mack and Bo, find spoo to their liking, despite the high price of the delicacy.

Appearances[edit]

The Babylon 5 episodes in which spoo appears or is mentioned are "Midnight on the Firing Line",[1]:86–88[11] "The Geometry of Shadows",[1]:185[11][12] "Point of No Return",[1]:294 "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place", "A View from the Gallery",[13]:133 "A Tragedy of Telepaths",[13]:148 and "Meditations on the Abyss". Spoo also appears in the "Over There" segment of the Lost Tales episode "Voices in the Dark", where President Sheridan at one point jokes that the product is "Spoo: The other gray meat".[14]

Although mostly relegated to a background role, spoo was a key plot point in the season 5 episode "A Tragedy of Telepaths". The fact that Narn prefer fresh spoo while the Centauri prefer it aged was the clue that G'Kar used to figure out that there was another Narn in the Centauri Royal Palace.[13]:148 Spoo is referenced in the Straczynski-authored open gaming licensed Babylon 5: The Roleplaying Game.[15]

Real-world references[edit]

In 1998, Boxtree UK published a Babylon 5 cookbook, officially licensed from Warner Bros. Presented as if written around the year 2260, the time when most of the Babylon 5 series takes place, the book contains many recipes for the various foods mentioned and seen throughout the series. Included are recipes for Narn-style spoo and Centauri-style spoo, both using currently available ingredients, with sea scallops taking the place of spoo.[16] Straczynski claims that while dining in a restaurant prior to the 1996 Hugo award ceremony, "a fan had the waiter bring over a tray of food, christened spoo".[17]

Spoo is spoofed in the first episode of the South Park parody Babylon Park, Spoohunter.[18]

In 2008, rap-filk artist Luke Ski recorded and released a parody of the Beastie Boys song "No Sleep till Brooklyn" called "No Sleep Till Babylon", which references spoo.[19] A stanza attributed to the Babylon 5 character Londo Mollari contains the lyrics: "Spoo. All I really want is Spoo. And in the morning it's Spoo. Cause in the evening it's Spoo. I like the way that it tastes. It's blue meatballs in greyish paste..."[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lane, Andy (1997). The Babylon File: The Definitive, Unauthorised Guide to J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5. Virgin Publishing. ISBN 0-7535-0049-3. 
  2. ^ "Gateway to Trouble". He-man.org. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  3. ^ Humble, Ed (1994-02-15). "Spoo... Generation Two!". alt.tv.babylon-5. Web link. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  4. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (1994-07-07). "Boy, the most obscure reference...". JMSNews.com (archived from rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated). Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  5. ^ "Interviews: J. Michael Straczynski". He-man.org. 1995. Archived from the original on September 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  6. ^ Straczynski's use of internet forums is well known. See, for instance: "J. Michael Straczynski Biography". tv.com. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  7. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (1994-01-27). "Questions for JMS (some spoile". JMSNews.com (archived from rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated). Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  8. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (1994-08-01). "JMS: Spoo!?!". JMSNews.com (archived from rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated). Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  9. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (1994-08-01). "JMS: Spoo!?!". rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5. Web link. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  10. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (1996-12-18). "Spoo taste?". JMSNews.com (archived from CompuServe). Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  11. ^ a b Bassom, David (1997). The A–Z Guide to Babylon 5. Dell Publishing. p. 208. ISBN 0-440-22385-7. 
  12. ^ O'Callaghan, Scott (2000-11-02). "Babylon 5 - "Geometry of Shadows"". Space.com. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  13. ^ a b c Lane, Andy (1999). The Babylon File: Volume 2. Virgin Publishing. ISBN 0-7535-0233-X. 
  14. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (2007-07-31). Voices in the Dark (DVD). Warner Home Video. ISBN 1-4198-4706-6. 
  15. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael; Matthew Sprange (2006). Babylon 5 The Roleplaying Game. Mongoose. p. 271. ISBN 1-905471-20-3. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  16. ^ Briggs-Wallace, Emerson; Smith, Steve (June 1998). Dining on Babylon 5: Human Edition - The Ultimate Collection of Space Station Cuisine. UK. ISBN 0-7522-1143-9. 
  17. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (1996-09-04). "Small corrections... the Hugo space...". JMSNews.com (archived from GEnie). Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  18. ^ "Babylon Park". Infocorp Transgalactic. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  19. ^ Ski, Luke (2008-06-10). "No Sleep Till Babylon". Funny Music Project. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  20. ^ Sienkowski, Luke Collis (2008-06-10). "No Sleep Till Babylon". Funny Music Project. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 

External links[edit]