Tag Archives: dognoise

Episode 414: That Thing You Do

“What have I become? How can I do things I do?”

Overall, it’s been a tough week for the women of Dark Shadows. Angelique was killed, Vicki’s in jail, and Josette probably shouldn’t be making any long-term plans.

1968 was the year they coined the phrase “Sisterhood Is Powerful”, which is good because these girls could use all the power they can muster. Today’s episode is practically a nature documentary about the lust, greed and hunger that’s making the pre-liberated ladies of Collinsport an endangered species.

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Episode 359: Love and Death

“I don’t think it’s very healthy, living in this house.”

Mrs. Johnson must be an angel in human form, that’s the only way you can explain it. I don’t care how many wings they’ve shut down — Collinwood is a mansion, and as far as we know, she’s the only person taking care of the whole place. She cleans all the rooms, cooks all the meals, and monitors the radio for plot-relevant air disasters. Plus, four months ago, Mrs. Stoddard held a wedding in the drawing room, confessed to killing her first husband, and asked the local sheriff to dig up his body in the basement, and Mrs. Johnson wasn’t even invited.

And now she has to deal with this nonsense. She walks into Julia’s room, and finds her standing on a chair, trying to take the drapes down.

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Episode 355: Julia Hoffman Must Die

“I’m sorry, Maggie, it happens to be my favorite scarf, but if my touching it bothers you, I’ll stop.”

You know that it’s been a fairly static week on Dark Shadows when the first line of dialogue in Friday’s episode is, “How long are you going to stand there?”

Lately, I’ve been postulating a lot of hypothetical writer’s room drama, because things are starting to seem a little fraught in there. Gordon Russell handed Ron Sproat a pretty interesting situation this week — Carolyn, now under the vampire’s control, discovers that Julia is hypnotically conditioning Vicki to reject Barnabas’ advances — and now Sproat is handing it back, two days later, entirely unchanged. He basically just had everybody walk in place for a couple days.

So today’s episode opens with Carolyn asking Barnabas what the hell he’s waiting for. After all, he’s been talking about getting rid of Julia all week. What’s the holdup?

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Episode 321: What We Talk About When We Talk About Ghosts

“There are men all over the place.”

It’s Monday, which means that Barnabas has had the whole weekend to think things over, and he still has the same stupid plan. He’s heard that Maggie’s started to remember what happened when she was abducted a few months ago, and the Sheriff thinks there’s going to be a big break in the case. If that’s true, then she’s probably already told everyone that Barnabas is a vampire, and now her agent is booking the promotional tour for her tell-all autobiography.

Barnabas’ brilliant response to this situation is to go to Maggie’s house while she’s sleeping, and kill her. Willie and Julia have tried to explain why this isn’t an award-winning idea, but it’s an uphill battle.

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Episode 318: Interesting Times

“I heard the dogs howling, Barnabas. I know what you’re up to!”

When we last saw our heroes, they were in the Collins family mausoleum, trying to figure out what happened to young David during the days that he was missing. They know that there’s some connection between David, the mysterious little girl named Sarah, and the secrets locked in the mausoleum.

That’s all pretty straightforward, at least as much as Dark Shadows ever can be. The problem is that there are four characters in the mausoleum right now — two on one side of the secret panel, and two on the other — and it’s not clear which side “our heroes” are supposed to be.

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Episode 296: United Stakes

“Is this really happening, or am I imagining it?”

We’re not good people, I think is the main thing. Every few years, somebody notices that there are a lot of popular TV shows where the protagonist isn’t a very nice person. The current list includes Don Draper, Walter White, Dexter Morgan, Jax Teller and assorted Bluths. In earlier days, it was Tony Soprano, Amanda Woodward, Bart Simpson, J.R. Ewing and Basil Fawlty, in a fictional rogues’ gallery that stretches all the way back to Falstaff and Tom Jones. (From the Henry Fielding novel, not the guy who sang “What’s New Pussycat”. Well, maybe him too.)

The disturbing thing — or, at least, the thing that disturbs people who are disturbed by things like this — is that after a while, you find yourself rooting for the bad guy. You want them to evade the police, to get away with murder, to swindle and seduce and blackmail and crush the opposition.

So, apparently, we’re not good people, at least as far as our television loyalties go. There’s a very short list of things that a fictional character can do that would make the audience actually turn against them. The only ones that I can think of are hurting a young child, or being cruel to cute and/or endangered animals.

Amazingly, in the female-focused world of the soap opera, a popular protagonist can even bounce back from committing rape, as fans of General Hospital’s Luke Spencer and One Life to Live’s Todd Manning know. That also applies to fantasy-metaphor rape, see also: Angel and Spike and Eric Northman and Damon Salvatore and every other sexy vampire in fiction.

Which brings us to Maggie Evans, who was fantasy-metaphor raped in a fairly comprehensive way, and now we’re rooting for the monsters who are trying to conceal their crimes.

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Episode 234: Adventures in Babysitting

“I don’t like people asking questions. And I like even less the people who inspire those questions.”

You know, it’s amazing the kind of thing that you can get used to when you’re watching a TV show every day. The show is clearly stalling while the writers figure out how to spin the Barnabas story out, and I’ve been grumbling all week about the recap and repetition.

But consider this: It’s May 1967. Thirty seconds ago, Nurse Sharon was emptying bedpans on General Hospital. And now we’re watching a walking corpse from the 18th century savagely beating a destitute con man with a cane.

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Episode 231: Bedside Manners

“How did you happen to come by these wounds in your throat?”

Maggie’s not feeling very well after her trip to the graveyard last week, and by not feeling well I mean she’s unconscious and somebody’s perforated her jugular vein. Sam and Joe hover around her bed, fretting and recapping. A dog howls, and Maggie starts moaning restlessly.

For a minute, it looks like the entire episode is going to be Sam and Joe standing around looking at Maggie. (Spoiler alert: That kind of is the entire episode.)

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Episode 229: Thirst World Problems

“Things are getting deeper and deeper, and people are saying and doing things for no reason at all!”

Maggie’s overslept again; she’s been out all night consorting with demons. It’s actually not clear what Barnabas and Maggie have been getting up to. We don’t see much on screen — for all we know, they could be going to nightclubs and working their way through the Kama Sutra.

However. At a certain point we’re just watching a girl sleep.

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Episode 223: The Me/You Fun Gap

“Barnabas Collins knows how to handle a man like Willie.”

It’s a new day at Collinwood, and darn it if Vicki and Liz aren’t playing another round of Where’s Willie. They’ve got to get more organized about this, maybe put out a newsletter or something.

The fun new twist is that now it sounds like they’re saying that Barnabas and Willie are dating. Liz says, “Barnabas Collins knows how to handle a man like Willie.” And Vicki replies, “No, that’s just it! Willie is staying there — living there! He’s moved into the Old House with him!”

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