Yeah, we can do a shamelessly self-indulgent character page if that’d help.
So there’s two groups of dudes. The JEONG-ESPINOSA BRANCH:
Kendra Jeong-Espinosa (and yes she is rocking socks & ‘stocks with those acid-wash jeans)
Claudia Espinosa Castillo (Gen 1 protag)
Charlie Jeong-Espinosa (Gen 2 protag… maybe)
And then there’s the LIU BRANCH:
And if you’ve been here for any amount of time, you’ll notice we switch between households every chapter and the households keep changing. That’s the mathematical ‘we.’ As of now there are thirteen main characters and lord-knows-how-many side characters. We’ve linked the mains above and herded them by generation and branch below; ‘branch’ instead of ‘family’ because Shu wrecked it with his girlfriends. Again, mathematical ‘we.’
One last thing about the format: as suggested in the first chapter, the story ends when all of the original six characters (that’s Mike, Claudia, Xiyuan, Aileen, Charlie, and Shu) have addressed the optional-mortality issue. That is, because Shu was the youngest of the original six, the final book most likely ends with Shu’s death. So there’s the ending of Book VI spoiled.
Here you go.
Mike (Michael) Jeong
“Oh, really? The most important thing I look for in a woman is that she thinks I’m funny.”
Background: Being royalty in high school doesn’t mean that’s when you peak. Thanks to his spectacular natural talent, this legend in a man’s body united the jocks, nerds, class clowns, and popular kids—and when he hit college, the pond was still so small it barely reached his gills. MJ entered U-Britechester as their most distinguished drama major yet, a man who was larger in person than on his destined big screen, so to speak. There was no chance of him failing. What he didn’t expect was picking up an introvert sidekick, starting a lifelong friendship that would carry him through college and beyond.
Moving to Newcrest post-graduation—a strategic choice that only makes sense in real-life Summer 2016 when he was created, pre-Get-Famous and even pre-City-Living—let him build his comedic skills in suburban anonymity, getting to re-play the small-pond fantasy while dragging Xiyuan to places Xiyuan wouldn’t necessarily go on his own. One such place, the gym, is where his future wife was at. The couple bonded over humor and Claudia soon became the third roommate. At the beginning of Book I, Mike and Claudia are married but keeping their original last names and have one hyphenated-name child.
Before anyone asks, yes, Mike has mixed ancestry.
Personality: Mike is clearly the protagonist of Catastrophe Theory. He has the most skills, the biggest house; he’s a great husband and father, he’s charismatic, he’s gorgeous, and everyone loves him. Unlike everyone else whose lives are clearly falling apart, Mike is stable. He’s an all-around hilarious guy—the king of trash-talk—and an intergalactic hero. What? Mike’s fine. He’s a fantastic person. He never hit or yelled at his wife and kids. Just drop it.
Relationships: Husband of Claudia; best friend of Xiyuan; father of Charlie, Kendra, and Hector
Claudia Espinosa Castillo
“Ah, Madre, you wasted a miracle on a woman whose life was full of them.”
Background: Catastrophe Theory began with a little girl in Simpeche whose struggling single mother taught her to never give up on her dreams. But near Claudia’s 18th birthday, about 17 years before the start of Book I, Inés Castillo Reyes died. The little girl who fell in love with Simpeche started seeing her mother around every corner, and though it destroyed her, she knew leaving the city was the only way to move on. Upon emigrating from Mexico, she took a job as a personal trainer. That’s why every background character in CT looks like they live at the gym: they did, and they’re all Claudia’s friends on account of the relationship-plus-plus from training. She eventually earned the title Miss Universe, but not before a series of awful relationships with gym bros. Notably Rex McMahan who’s a dick. The last gym bro (above) charmed her with his ridiculous incendiary-Dad style of wordplay, and it seemed like she’d found the one. This did not sit well with Rex McMahan, who we again stress is a dick.
Giving birth to their first son, Charlie, seemed to induce a permanent change in her. She got into cooking, but more so, became obsessed with using the bar at every possible conceivable opportunity—autonomously, and there are many examples. To reflect her shifting interests, she changed jobs, and is now trying to get the gringos of Newcrest to understand that tacos and burritos are barely scratching the surface, minus points if they have cheddar cheese in them, and there is something called a pupusa. Etc.
Personality: Claudia killed all the negative brain cells that were holding her back and is now an unstoppable force of optimism. Genuinely empathetic—she has one of those syrupy singsong voices that’s positively dripping with it, empathy, and is everyone’s first choice of ear to listen or shoulder to cry on. Still has crazy tricep game at 55. She’s also constantly plastered. Some believe she started drinking to put up with the jackass above, or fries her brain with juice to keep up the cock-eyed optimism, or that her anti-worry pro-be-happy demeanor is masking her severe depression—but what we can say for certain is, the last time she was sober was before the kids were born. Claudia has a favorite child. It’s Hector.
Born in roughly 1963 in this universe, she’s the oldest non-undead cast member.
Relationships: Wife of Mike; best friend of Aileen and Xiyuan; mother of Charlie, Kendra, and Hector
Xiyuan Shallot-Liu, née Xiyuan Liu/刘熹愿
“Please, Bernard, don’t call yourself mad when we’re both rich enough to count as eccentric.”
Background: About 27 years before the start of Book I, Xiyuan emigrated from Shang Simla to attend a private boarding school out west. This was a dick move on his parents’ part because Xiyuan spoke zero Simlish, and good luck making childhood friends when you can’t talk to anyone. He instead did what his parents wanted: 24/7 studying and violin practice. So, funfact about that. When you spend your formative years hyperfocused on developing skills, you don’t do normal puberty stuff like questioning your sexuality—also, no one wants to be the Chinese kid and the dorky six-year-running concertmaster and the gay kid. That’s too many things.
By the time he started a distinguished degree in Fine Arts at U-Britechester, he was not prepared for a frat bro making it his personal mission to socialize him and even less prepared to process his feelings for said bro. Thus began the Dumbass Years. You get the gist of the Dumbass Years: half art and half pining over Mike. This period of Yuan’s life was marked by overwhelming success and fame in both the performing and visual arts, his marriage to Aileen, and the birth of his son, Xishu.
Half the San Myshuno art community owes their career to him. He could show up at soirees with an undead 19th century manslaughterer that he found in a haunted house and no one would say anything. They would never.
Personality: Xiyuan has no shame in the way people born rich and talented have a free pass to be publicly batshit. He’s equally likely to correct someone for saying ‘the reason is because’ or to stack mood enhancers, the Sim world’s heroin, in a hotel bathroom. And while some people may find his highly cultured and particular tastes abrasive, it’s hard to stay mad at someone whose son has a formal-event drinking game about him that accounts for multiple tailcoat changes. Not multiple tailcoats. Multiple tailcoat changes. In fact, the very thing that prompted CT to go public was Xiyuan’s exorbitant autonomous insanity.
Despite the blatant favoritism the author shows towards Yuan, marrying a woman to prove you’re not in love with your best friend and also because you want kids is a serious asshole garbage move. Don’t do that.
Relationships: Husband of Bernard, ex-husband of Aileen, best friend of Mike and Claudia, father of Shu
“Easy. Dump the bastard.”
Background: She was spunky and carefree in the way townies are—that is, luchador mask and green high heels with novelty socks rather than quirky Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl rescue fantasy, though she kept it toned down with big hair and a maxi dress—until the day she walked into Old Quarter Inn at 2 A.M. and crossed paths with a gorgeous, mysterious stranger. She felt like the luckiest woman in the world when he called her back. Then she found herself in a friend group of these overachievers and had to haul ass to catch up skill-wise as a software engineer. She succeeded, it felt good to put her name on something, and her husband turned out to be one of those legit sexy reclusive tortured-genius types, almost too good to be true.
And he was. Yet if Aileen had learned anything before the breakup it was how to channel her passions into productivity, and her passions had shifted from mastering general knowledge to getting rid of the pain her stupid ex had left her with. So in lieu of punching his stupid face in, which she realized wouldn’t have helped, Aileen sought to change her own mindset and drove the self-care movement forward with her instructional books. She drew inward for her positive mantras, focusing her energy on mental and physical healing. Fortunately her son’s an easy kid, responsible enough to care for himself most days and to act as a sounding board for whatever emotions she’s having at the time.
Aileen has mixed ancestry, if you like knowing that sort of thing.
Personality: Aileen devotes an hour of every day to meditating on her own pain and the pain of others, strategizing on how to resolve it, pulsing with it, refining, understanding, reflecting. And she acts like you’d expect someone obsessed with pain to act. Some statements seem glib to healthy people because they don’t need to be flooded with daily reminders that life is okay sometimes, and that’s what’s happening here. With the mantras, spa stuff, etc. But with the effort she’s put into introspection, Aileen’s as wise as they come, despite being the youngest first-gen character by a few years.
Relationships: Wife of Matt (who’s Matt? Don’t worry about it), ex-wife of Xiyuan, best friend of Claudia, mother of Shu
Bernard Shallot-Liu, née Lord Bernard Escargot Shallot IV
“Yes, I squandered my fortune ordering cucumber sandwiches for garden parties. That is precisely what happened.”
Background: Bernard was born in 1863 to wealthy landowner parents. He dreamed of becoming a painter, but his mischievous and abrasive behavior—and possibly his bisexuality—landed him in the Improprietous Box of Shame, from which he couldn’t escape despite his best efforts. So he went in-for-a-penny-in-for-a-pound with his villain role, figuring if people are spreading nasty rumors about him, they’d better at least be true. See quote. That’s when the canon Get Together stuff happened: married Mimsy, torched painting, torched house, torched himself and Mimsy. He awoke as a restless spirit with full memory of his own death and unyielding guilt for what he did to his wife. At the beginning of Book I, Mimsy had partially forgiven him; they had fallen out of love but got comfort from knowing the other was there. This left Bernard with endless free time to practice painting and lifetimes of trauma to throw into it.
Bernard requested he be buried with one middle finger pointed towards Thomas Bowdler’s grave and one towards Henry Labouchere’s empty burial plot. They didn’t honor his wishes.
Personality: Being dead for a century has exhausted any remaining fucks he had left. Basically picture what Allen Ginsburg would be like as a Victorian landowner who hung around as a ghost, and yeah, you’re there. He’s been known to occasionally say things that aren’t snarky, usually because a family member or friend is in a dire situation. Which is true most of the time, Catastrophe Theory being what it is.
Also described as the “twerk, charge they phone, be bisexual, eat hot chip & lie” of Von Haunt Estate patriarchs, which has exactly the same energy as the Allen Ginsburg line that made me go “oh shit, that’s Bernard” (“Smoke grass/Yass, yass/Shake ass”), and is more timely but just as accurate, in any case.
Relationships: Husband of Xiyuan, ex-husband of Mimsy, stepfather of Shu
Dr. Charlie (Charles) Jeong-Espinosa
“No, you’re the one who’s in too deep.”
Background: He’s the first sim born into the J.-E. family. Older-child syndrome dictates that the parents enrich the hell out of their first toddler, and that’s what happened to Charlie. It’s no surprise he showed potential at a young age. His father took a slightly competitive interest in the boy’s intelligence, showering him with praise for his achievements and abilities. So Charlie started racking up more achievements: he was thrown into the medical career straight out of high school, thrown into the dating world—MCCC had all the townie guys marry each other, so it was like releasing a live pig into a cage of starving lions—and then into a serious relationship, thrown into a marriage, parenthood, the usual legacy-style deal. Oh, and never forget that he hooked up with the smelly yoga lady who lives in the forest. Now he’s a Chief of Staff with a wife and young son, wondering how he got there.
I feel like I don’t have to put the mixed-ancestry disclaimer here, or for subsequent natal Lius or J.-E.s, because duh, the name.
Personality: An overachiever who lucked out with brains, brawn, and beauty. But because the expectations placed on him are so high, Charlie’s prone to overthinking and has trouble with the immeasurable and subjective. At any given time he has no idea why he’s doing what he’s doing. He feels like he’s floating through life—but not with ease, more like he’s not an active participant but rather life is a thing that’s happening to him.
But he likes the outdoors. Far fewer decisions to make.
Relationships: Husband of Josephine; father of Jasper; son of Claudia and Mike; brother of Kendra and Hector; best friend of Shu
Josephine “Jo” Jeong-Espinosa, née Josephine Liu (no relation)
“I also started a venture of my own, and our website Jumping Jasper! is now live. If this letter tickles your curiosity, you can go there to find out what those Jeong-Espinosas are up to this time.”
Background: Before she met Charlie’s butt at a bar and followed it to Willow Creek, Joey spent a quiet life writing and gardening and lived with her brothers Gavin and Maxwell. After following the butt, she now spends a quiet life writing and gardening in Charlie’s house, and proposed to him autonomously in the home gym. She was also wearing a swimsuit. They don’t have a pool.
And then her life’s trajectory hit a cusp. We’re referring to the birth of her son, Jasper. Hours after slicing the nooboo out and shooing the dozen oblivious guests that always seem to be in her house, Jo was already making executive decisions on which Anne-Gennes photo of the sticky deflated simling should be the backdrop for her new mommy blog. She picked the garden one. Anyway so most of Jo’s time these days is spent on internet research for Jumping Jasper! and parenting once she’s learned enough to do so.
Personality: The word ‘bougie’ crops up, and few others, when it comes time to describe Jo. I’m seriously trying here. So she gardens, runs a parenting blog, wears kitten heels, goes to the gym every day, recites speeches about not swearing, owns a stand mixer—arrrgh. There is a reward for anyone who can find a word to describe Jo other than ‘bougie.’ She doesn’t like aliens so much. Maybe ‘racist’?
This is more due to a lack of research on Dolly’s part than any ill will, but according to gallery stats, Jo happens to be one of the most frequently downloaded Sims of all time. Compare her to any other character and draw whatever conclusions you wish.
Relationships: Wife of Charlie, mother of Jasper
Kendra “Kenny” Jeong-Espinosa
“The government confiscated my fridge because they detected trace amounts of controlled substances. There were controlled substances in the fruitcake! Fucking epic!”
Background: Charlie’s her father’s favorite. Hector’s her mother’s favorite. Kendra didn’t give a shit and spent her time drawing or befriending monsters. She was bullied in elementary school for being weird, which she responded to by throwing the worms she’d collected in her pencil case at them—worms were still alive—and taking advantage of her main bully’s fear of octopuses to terrorize him with her drawings. That is, at no point did she contest the accusations.
Kendra currently lives in Strangerville because duh. Right now the locals are parroting the same lines about how mysterious things keep happening and gosh, they do really hope someone does something about it, while some transplant slaps “KEEP STRANGERVILLE WEIRD” stickers everywhere. Odds are the new bartender-slash-horror-poet chick burning potassium chloride on her front lawn isn’t coming to save them. Bodily possession is effing funny anyway.
Personality: A nightmare fetishist to the core. If she’s laughing at something, you’re guaranteed it would make people in their mid-thirties or later lie down on the couch and question their own mortality. Takes a ‘meh’ attitude toward both parents, in contrast with her siblings, who are each overwhelmingly in one camp. So what; she was raised by the monster under the bed and it shows.
Relationships: Daughter of Claudia and Mike; sister of Charlie and Hector; best friend of Wyatt and Shu
“I don’t get it. Chilis are cheap, tomatoes are cheap, so why are they giving us all this beige stuff??”
Background: While he’s still a teen and hasn’t done as much CT life-imploding bullshit as everyone else, Hector’s influence began before he could talk. Look left—that’s the one thing that could keep Claudia away from the bar for like five whole minutes. So he had no choice in the matter but to become the ultimate mama’s boy. And other than that, he’s just chilling watching cartoons.
Personality: The original garbage draft of Hector’s bio had ‘real smiley’ written twice and nothing else. Socializing may be the one thing he loves more than hats—or possibly Mexican cooking, or his mom. We’re not sure what he values most in life. Highly trained in Claudia things, like cooking and Spanish, which we’re calling Simlés to be silly, and not well-trained in Mike things, like humor.
Relationships: Son of Claudia and Mike; brother of Charlie and Kendra
Shu (Xishu) Liu/刘西淑
“Alright, buddy. At your next family reunion, do you want to introduce me as your son-in-law? Or your stepfather?”
Background: In childhood, Shu received extensive training from his father in the visual and performing arts. He mastered violin by the time he was six, painting at eight, and all other instruments by ten. It was clear he had immense talent and was groomed to be Xiyuan’s protégé. But then puberty hit, and without his dad’s sexuality confusion, there was nothing standing in between his inherited hedonistic tendencies and every single high school girl. Also Max Villareal.
He reached adulthood having mastered every creative skill, which is frustrating as heck if you’re a creative-genius sim because there’s an upper bound on your personal growth and nowhere left to go. He could’ve burned himself out in a rabbit-hole job, but that’s what people do when they’re out of ideas. Instead he found a way to make a living out of dating nearly every adult sim woman. Except his mom. He’s also not stealing Charlie’s & Kendra’s dates.
Personality: Look, everyone agrees that the man shifts the neighborhood eco-rating towards Industrial because he’s a dumpster fire that can be seen from Sixam. The women in this universe aren’t idiot objects. It’s more that he spent his teenage years caring for his suicidally depressed mother and managing a dozen relationships—one’s Chantel for the love of all things—so his EQ is off the charts. If he has a one-night stand, they’re waking up the next morning to find him gone and the kitchen clean.
Being a brilliant creative thinker, he despises external structure of any kind. Really, he puts everyone else’s emotions ahead of his own, but does so while interacting with the world in a way that makes sense to him. Too bad it doesn’t make sense to anyone else.
Relationships: Son of Aileen and Xiyuan; stepson of Bernard; best friend of Charlie and Kendra; boyfriend of Chantel Lucas, Genevieve Haskins, Shannon Bheeda, etc.
“I had to pick between vomiting raw emotion or vomiting formulaic drivel, and it wasn’t a choice really.”
Background: There once was a little girl who could do no wrong, according to her parents, and her sister could do no right. She hasn’t worked out that family dynamic yet. Instead, she materialized out of nowhere—‘Chanteleportation’ is a thing—near a cute boy playing the violin, and that’s where her life started. Would you believe it, she continued to show up in places he was at; even had a promise ring prepared for their first date. Then she watched rom-coms and waited for him to propose, became a musician and waited for him to propose, moved in with him and another girlfriend and waited for him to propose, threw City-Living snow globes off a bridge and waited for him to propose, set herself on fire at the Romance Festival and waited for him to propose at the Romance Festival. She’s still waiting.
Personality: Don’t be fooled by the Bohemian pretty-princess getup. She’s got Kendra’s spookiness, Bernard’s snark, Xiyuan’s excessiveness, Aileen’s upper-back flexibility, and damn well near most of Shu’s personality save the ennui-derived frustration, but she hasn’t yet figured out what makes her Chantel. For all she idolizes Shu, her own passion and impulsivity make her an artist to watch.
Relationships: Girlfriend of Shu
Genevieve “Gen” Haskins
“I don’t know how you could say Shu’s the coolest person ever when I’m sitting right here.”
Background: A problem with letting the chips fall as they may rather than diligent advance planning is that you could end up with a branch of characters whose favorite colors are mostly shades of red and pink, and then the red person falls in love with someone who wears both red and pink, like all the time, and your color-coding is just screwed now. Gen was the irreverent high school girl throwing the finger to color sense; now she kicks Shu in the face in their bee-filled apartment. She’s more well-known by her streamer tag, GENesis.
Personality: Gen has few priorities other than gaming and partying with the Liu Crew. But she does care for Shu and understands that this is the healthiest relationship he’s ever been in. So while she’s only gotten to tell rapid-fire pop-culture jokes up to this point, do keep an eye on her.
Relationships: Girlfriend of Shu
Jasper “Jasi” Jeong-Espinosa
“Mom. Guess what I’m doing. I’m pressing ‘F’ to pay respects.”
Background: Jo and Charlie’s son broke the internet parental controls seconds after aging up and won’t let anyone forget it. At five, he’s wise beyond his years as a 90’s meme historian, but not yet wise enough to productively process Shu’s texting history—the Holy Grail as far as any burgeoning internet humorist is concerned—or the bureaucratic injustice of Father Winter or the other thing that happened, spoilers, don’t think about it.
Personality: He’s a little kid. He mostly talks in memes right now.
Relationships: Son of Jo and Charlie; grandson of Claudia and Mike; huge fan of Shu