Monday, August 4, 2008

The Tale of the Lonely Ghost (Season 1. Episode 3)

I meant to have this done by last Friday, but then the epic failure that is Breaking Dawn was released. My time would have been better spent writing this entry than reading that. Hindsight, and all that.

Anyway, let's get this over with.

We begin with a shot of Kristen walking through the woods. She's obviously nervous, as she keeps crying out, "Hello?" She of course has her huge pink backpack with her and her hair is in a stylish side ponytail secured with a blue scrunchie. But, oh no! she's not alone!

It's just David. He apologizes. OT: I love, what I assume, is the Canadian pronunciation of sorry. I could listen to Paige from Degrassi apologize all day. Hopefully I haven't offended any Canadian readers.

Back on topic: David hands Kristen a birthday gift. She promises to open it after the meeting.

At the campfire Eric is catching popcorn in his mouth and then is waterboarded by Frank. Cue prepubescent rage! Gary comes to the rescue and Kiki flashes gang signs.


David then tells us that his story has to do with two kids who don't get along because they are so different, and a love that survives even death. I see what he did there. How meta.

And then the magic words, "Submitted for approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story....


David, our friendly narrator, tells us that it's the beginning of summer vacation and everyone but Amanda is excited. You see, Amanda's parents are scientists and have left her in the care of her Aunt Dottie while they study something exotic in some exotic locale. Did R.L. Stine write this episode?

Cousin Beth is a bitch as she peeks out her window and smirks her early 90s smirk. Cue banging noise from abandoned house next door! Aunt Dottie (who also happens to be the realtor) informs Amanda that the house just doesn't want to be sold. Ever think that maybe people just don't want to live next door to you, Aunt Dottie?


Inside, Beth is on the phone mocking her cousin, when Amanda enters the room. Beth, barely able to hold her head up under the crushing weight of her bangs, hangs up and helpfully informs her cousin, that she will not, under any circumstances, be spending time with her this summer.

Amanda begs. I fucking hate Amanda. Beth tells Amanda that she has to "prove you're not a Zeeb" in order to hang out with her and her friends. And how, you may ask, does one prove to be a non-Zeeb? I'm glad you asked. According to Beth, this feat can be achieved by putting away your older, bitchier cousin's stuffed animal collection. Hmm. If you say so, Beth.

Cue plot intro: Beth then tells Amanda that there is also an initiation. Amanda will have to spend the night in the Place Next Door (PND), which is haunted. What a chilling, sinister name for a creepy, abandoned, home! Sends chills up your spine, huh?

Later that night, Amanda sits in the hallway and write a letter while reading it aloud. Seriously? And then we meet Nanny!

She reaches out to shake Amanda's hand, but before they make contact, Beth opens her door and screams at Amanda. Apparently if she touches Nanny she will be contaminated by her wrinkles and not allowed in Beth's room ever again. It's nice to see Aunt Dottie is a proponent of "respect your elders." Horrified and embarrassed, Nanny runs downstairs.

Amanda hurries into Beth's room. Beth tells her how much she hates Nanny because she is old and weird and somehow connected to the PND. She also mentions a pool party, initiation, blah blah blah.

The next morning Amanda is walking down the stairs, her vision blocked by the pile of Beth's dirty laundry she is carrying, and bumps into Nanny. Nanny drops a brooch and Amanda picks it up for her. The brooch appears to have a picture in it.

Cue overheard conversation between Beth and Aunt Dottie regarding how nasty and unwanted Nanny is. I hate these people. Aunt Dottie says they cannot get rid of Nanny because she has nowhere else to go. I'm not buying it, and neither should you.

What's the real reason why Nanny is still living there even though Beth is a hideous hag, too old to need a nanny?

A) Nanny is a Russian mobster blackmailing Aunt Dottie

B) Nanny is Aunt Dottie's secret lover

C) The entire situation is a plot contrivance

D) All of the above

Night time in bitchville! The initiation is about the begin! Fucking Amanda asks Beth and her assembled group of friends why PND is thought to be haunted. The gist of the story: On her way to her grandmother's house, a little mute girl is teased, followed home (PND!), locked in bedroom, and dies, all because her father was injured in the war. Or something like that.

Amanda must stay in the very same bedroom that the little mute girl died in! I just wet myself.

Into the house! Cue child laugh and footsteps! Amanda climbs the stairs to the death bedroom. Once in bedroom, cue the obligatory scared by own reflection in mirror scene!

But wait! Someone or something wrote HELP ME on the wall, but as super sleuth Amanda tells us, it's written backwards! Oh no, with only a mirror in the empty room, how will she ever know what it says?


GHOST IN MIRROR!!! I'm not too proud to admit that I jumped. Cue freak out and run home like a little bitch scene.

Amanda runs to her bedroom and slams the door shut. Sweet safety. I don't know, I'd rather take my chances with a lonely ghost than deal with Beth's bitch face.

Nanny emerges from her bedroom and then goes back in. I guess they could only afford so many sets for this episode. There is no other reason why so many scenes take place in the hallway.

Back at the campfire it's time for exposition. In case you were wondering where Beth and Aunt Dottie were, David tells us that Beth is at Sally's (who??) and Aunt Dottie is at work, completely disregarding a cardinal rule of storytelling. Show, don't tell, David. Jeez.

Back in the land of bitches and non scares, Amanda told Aunt Dottie what happened, and she and Beth are sold into slavery.


Amanda and Beth are forced to scrub the walls at PND, because someone or something wrote help me all over the walls. Once inside the death bedroom, the door slams shut and the mirror turns into a portal to the afterlife. I'll have to inform all my religion teachers from K-12 that heaven is not a beautiful party with loved ones and harps, but is just a small bedroom with an ass-load of stuffed animals and dolls. Beth seems to enjoy this glimpse of heaven. Of course she would. She's a non-Zeeb. Only Zeebs don't like neatly organized stuffed animals.

Beth walks through the mirror. Bye Beth! Ghost girl comes out. Must be the afterlife's idea of foreign exchange programs.

Amanda understandably freaks out and cowers in front of the locked door, crying and shaking. Ghost girl approaches. I hope she eats her face or sucks out her soul or something. Oh. She just wants to give Amanda a locket with a picture of Nanny in it. Nanny is Ghost Girl's mother. Amanda is taking this remarkably well.


Amanda realizes the writing is on the wall and promises to help Ghost Girl. Amanda runs to get Nanny, while Beth pounds on the mirror.

Oh no!!! Nanny is leaving, as we see from a bedroom window. Amanda runs out to the driveway, but Nanny is not buying Amanda's bullshit until Amanda shows her the locket.

They leave the taxi waiting and run towards PND. Hope the meter isn't still running.

Once inside the death bedroom, Nanny hugs Ghost Girl.


You know, all this could have been prevented if Nanny did not send a very young mute girl off to her grandmother's house all alone without even telling the grandmother that the girl was coming, nor inquiring if she even arrived!

Ghost Girl beckons Nanny to enter the mirror with her. Maybe this is when the face eating / soul sucking happens? Nope. neglectful mother and ghost daughter walk into the mirror and embrace in the doll and stuffed animal filled heaven.

Amanda awkwardly hugs Nanny's purse. I guess she's paying the taxi driver.

Beth is still trapped behind the mirror and begs for help. A opens the closet door and Beth falls out, just as her friends walk in the room.

Back at the campfire, David exposits that Amanda and Beth had a great summer. I was so worried about them.

Meeting adjourned!

David corners Kristen and reminds her that she never opened the present. She fakes an apology and opens the box. It's a locket. How much do you want to bet it contains a LIFE SIZED photo of a certain love-sick Midnight Society member's penis?

And then it's all over.

Grade: 3 Zeebs out of 5.

In Summation: The Tale of the Lonely Ghost is an allegorical meditation on the horrors and consequences of war.


LongWinter said...

Haha, Canadian apologies.

Love Kiki and the gang signs!

colleenn said...

I remember this one! That girl freaked me out. Not so much the story itself, but just the way the girl looked and the fact that she is mute.

Quite possibly the best Canadian apology ever is on the new Degrassi when Craig keeps saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" over and over again to Ashley and then he asks how many times he needs to tell her that and she says "till you mean it." ...yeah, I'm not 26 watching a show meant for the junior-high crowd. :)

Ashley said...

As a Canadian, I can say that not all of us say "Sore-y" when apologising. At least, I don't think I do..

Anonymous said...

I believe this was the first episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark that I ever saw. It was also one of the few that actually freaked me out!

Jim said...

I forgot about this episode. Memories.

Shane Marsh said...

This is really good job.