Tag Archives: golden rule

Episode 609: Nobody Understands Dark Shadows But Me

“Why do I remember that sometimes the trees have no leaves at all, and at other times, the leaves are green?”

So Adam the enormous Frankenteen is standing around in the drawing room, when his mate Eve opens the door and gives him a look.

This is what she does all day, apparently, just walks around the house giving people looks. Turns out that’s a job.

Continue reading Episode 609: Nobody Understands Dark Shadows But Me

Episode 547: Justice in Hell

“Instead of a dream, you threaten me with a gun. Are you bored with your tricks and your spells?”

In yesterday’s post, I did a little compare and contrast exercise between Dark Shadows and a March 1968 episode of General Hospital, which was DS’ lead-in at the time. What I found was two shows that share the same network and afternoon timeslot, but feel like they were made in different decades.

By 1968, General Hospital’s storylines were starting to break away from the old-fashioned kitchen sink approach to soap opera, where the stories are supposed to be a slice of life that the audience can personally relate to. The GH episode that we looked at includes a girl who’s accusing her stepmother of killing her father, and a woman who’s struggling to put her life back together after a traumatic car accident that resulted in a miscarriage.

Those situations aren’t really a part of typical daily life, especially when they happen to the same extended family at the same time, but they’re not outrageous.

Meanwhile, a Dark Shadows episode starts at unbelievably insane in the first scene, and then ratchets the tension up from there.

Continue reading Episode 547: Justice in Hell

Episode 542: The Diary of Anne Frankenstein

“Woman loves man.”

The room is dark, and grim. The single window — if it even counts as a window — lets in stray slices of sunlight through a torn shade. The cobwebs are an inch thick, and there’s a large picture frame dangling at an odd angle from a beam, apparently supported mostly by dust and despair.

The room is more than just unused. It looks like a pack of timberwolves came through sometime around the Civil War, and it never really pulled itself together after that.

Also, there’s a monster in it.

Continue reading Episode 542: The Diary of Anne Frankenstein

Episode 447: My Family, and Other Crazed Animals

“I told you I killed her. I never said she was dead.”

Okay. It’s Tuesday, we’re still in the basement, Barnabas is still talking to his dad, and we’re not getting out of here until somebody shoots somebody.

Joshua Collins has descended into the underworld — also known as the cellar in the Old House — where he’s found his dead son climbing out of a coffin. As you might imagine, the discussion has become somewhat complex.

Here’s where they left off: Barnabas has finally confessed that he’s a vampire, and he feeds on human blood. Horrified, Joshua raises his pistol, and says, “Forgive me. Forgive me, dear son.”

And then: Ka-CHOW! Joshua shoots his son, right in the chest.

Barnabas clutches at the entry wound — and then straightens up, unharmed. He walks over to his father, and says, “Don’t you understand? What I’ve been trying to tell you all along is that I am already dead.”

It’s kind of a dream situation, if you’ve ever had a long argument with your parents. I mean, who wouldn’t take a bullet, just for the satisfaction of delivering the ultimate “I told you so”?

Continue reading Episode 447: My Family, and Other Crazed Animals

Episode 402: Plan A

“It’s like some nightmare. Such things just don’t happen.”

Don’t believe them! They tell you lies, nothing but lies. And worse than that — they’re boring lies, which make the world less interesting, and that is something I can never forgive.

They say that the point of the 1795 storyline is to make Barnabas a “sympathetic” character, which is some brand of vague applesauce that presumably means that we should “like” him, and agree with his goals. If we like Barnabas, according to this point of view, then we’ll be more likely to root for him, and we’ll want him to succeed.

This is entirely false, in every way that matters.

For one thing, we were all rooting for Barnabas pretty much from day one. Obviously, by “rooting for him” I don’t mean that we want to watch him murder small children. We just want to watch him.

We want Barnabas on the screen as much as possible, because he does improbable and surprising things. The show is more interesting when he’s around, for reasons that have nothing to do with whether you’d want to invite him over for a cookout.

Barnabas is a mess. He makes nothing but bad choices. He’s got a gorgeous, rich fiancee coming over to America to marry him, and what does he do five minutes before Josette walks into the house? He makes out with the maid.

And once he gets Angelique all worked up, he pulls away and says they have to pretend that this never happened, and she needs to be totally supportive of his upcoming marriage to the woman she works for. That’s the level of emotional intelligence we’re dealing with here.

It’s impossible to “sympathize” with Barnabas when he talks about his romantic future; it’s like rooting for a sea lion who wants to work on a space station. Yeah, he’s applied to graduate school. That’s fantastic. It’s not gonna happen.

Continue reading Episode 402: Plan A