Tag Archives: teenagers

Episode 925: The Wolf of Wall Street

“I am concerned with the safety of other people, not what’s right.”

Michael is staring at Maggie Evans.

Maggie is a pretty young woman who used to be a waitress, and now works at Collinwood as David’s private tutor. Michael is a seven-week-old baby monster who came out of a time travelling box, and will someday cleanse the Earth of its human population. Everybody has to be something, I suppose.

Michael’s come over to the house today, unannounced and uninvited, because he wants to play with David and be insolent to grown-ups. Maggie was in the middle of a lesson with David, but now Michael’s here, and she’s not sure what to do.

The problem is that Michael is such an odd little boy. He says things that sound polite — “You wouldn’t do that, would you, Miss Evans?” he says — but he keeps his eyes locked on hers, unblinking, in a way that people generally don’t, unless they’re planning to murder you.

Maggie finally decides that it’s okay — she’ll grade David’s paper, and the boys can play in the drawing room. But as she’s gathering up the papers, she feels Michael’s eyes, still following her. She turns, and sees that he hasn’t moved; he’s just standing there at the door, staring her down.

She tries to collect herself, and says, “Michael, is something wrong?”

He keeps sizing her up. “What could be wrong, Miss Evans?” he asks, with a faint smile.

“You keep staring at me.”

Anxious to break the tension, David cries, “I’ve got it! We can play Wall Street. Do you like Wall Street, Michael?”

“It doesn’t matter what game we play, David,” the boy sneers. “You know that.”

So, yeah, of course they’re going to play Wall Street. This kid is the living embodiment of the Big Short.

Continue reading Episode 925: The Wolf of Wall Street

Episode 922: To My Fans, the Audience

“Barnabas never ceases to be exciting.”

My husband opens the doors to the drawing room, and finds me deep in thought, puzzling over an old book. I’m reading carefully, and transcribing some of the more difficult passages.

As he makes his way to the drinks cabinet, he asks, “Is that for the blog?” I tell him it is, and I show him the cover. He asks why I’m writing about this now, and I say that the book just came out.

“But that looks old,” he says.

“Yeah, it just came out.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m in January 1970. This was published in December 1969.”

“Oh, I see,” he says. “You were meanwhiling.” This is why our marriage works.

Continue reading Episode 922: To My Fans, the Audience

Episode 901: Sympathy for the Devil

“You gotta keep your bodies off each other, unless you intend love.”

Barnabas Collins has been brainwashed by cosmic horrors from beyond the mind, who are employing him as a kind of unpaid Faustian process server. Paul Stoddard has just learned that he made a bet with a baby twenty years ago, and lost. Young David Collins has shoplifted himself into a growing army of imaginary snake worshippers.

And to make matters worse, over the weekend, the 1960s ended, which is kind of a bummer.

Continue reading Episode 901: Sympathy for the Devil

Episode 854: Positively Like a Beatle

“I tried to get it off my finger, but I can’t!”

In a way, Quentin’s having a tough week. He’s scheduled to marry a psychotic sorceress in a week’s time, the girl that he was planning to elope with went and eloped without him, his enchanted portrait was pinched from his bedroom, and now a wicked wizard is casting some kind of mysterious hoodoo on him that will almost certainly lead to ruin, desolation and despair, in that order.

But in another and much more important way, Quentin is having the time of his life. He’s currently in a streak of 14 straight episodes, and over the next six weeks, he appears on 26 days out of 30. He’s booked solid from Monday to Friday, and now they’re even sending him out on weekend excursions to wave at people.

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Episode 819: War and Peace

“Instead of showing your own death, it may be showing you mine.”

And then something about Woodstock, I guess, although honestly I don’t have a lot of energy for it right now. There’s so much happening in the summer of 1969 — the moon landing, and the Manson Family, and the Haunted Mansion, and the MGM deal, and here it is August and I haven’t even talked about the green gum cards yet.

And then this weekend, there’s this super critical three-day Aquarian Exposition of Peace and Music, which is obviously integral to the entire 1960s, and I just don’t feel like doing the research. So maybe I’ll be like the other one hundred percent of kids in August ’69, who stayed home and watched Dark Shadows.

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Episode 786: The Blog Post About The Original Music From Dark Shadows with The Robert Cobert Orchestra & Featuring Jonathan (Barnabas) Frid and David (Quentin) Selby

“Listen carefully, and you’ll hear my dream.”

Charity Trask dreams of sexy scoundrel Quentin Collins, just like everybody else in the summer of ’69. “I’ve been waiting for you,” he says. She replies, “I feel so lonely when you’re not here.” This isn’t the part of the dream where he closes his eyes while she gets murdered by a werewolf. This is the other part.

Charity’s father has suddenly decided that she should marry Quentin, for reasons that are mostly product placement-related. The Dark Shadows soundtrack album dropped on Friday, and today’s episode serves up a full-length music video of the feature single, “Shadows of the Night (Quentin’s Theme)”. By music video, I mean that they play the whole song while Quentin and Charity pose and make thoughtful facial expressions. It’s 1969; they haven’t figured out how music videos work yet.

Continue reading Episode 786: The Blog Post About The Original Music From Dark Shadows with The Robert Cobert Orchestra & Featuring Jonathan (Barnabas) Frid and David (Quentin) Selby

Episode 761: After School

“This is no time to try to understand anything.”

This is a world of magical foxes, who approach young children and try to convince them to jump into a well. It’s a world where recipe books appear in the strangest places, filled with the most dangerous ideas. A world where stopwatches run backwards, where ancient stones murmur secrets in lost languages, where the walls are smeared with tears and blood and substances no one can explain.

This is a world where anybody — literally anybody — can address any god they can imagine, and get a fair hearing. In this world, “magic” is just another word for interior design, the careful placement of mirrors and candles and arcane symbols scratched into the carpet. Magic is so close to the surface here, it crackles and hums on the back of your hand. It will kill you. It will definitely one hundred percent kill you.

And the only rule that keeps this world turning is: Leave the mundanes alone.

Continue reading Episode 761: After School

Episode 749: The Big Break

“This was because Barnabas was only partly dead.”

Quentin Collins has been up all night, worrying about gypsies. He killed his wife Jenny yesterday, and as a result, Magda put a curse on him that will last all the days of his life. He’s terrified, naturally, as anyone would be, but eventually nature gets the better of him, and he settles into an uneasy doze.

He’s awakened by a woman’s voice — Jenny’s voice — calling his name. But that’s not super surprising; everybody’s been calling his name lately. He’s caught on.

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Episode 734: The Tragedy of Tim

“Children are animals, but with one important difference.”

The schoolteacher sighs. “Ah, Jamison, why?” he says to a recalcitrant pupil. “Why did you do this? To hand in a blank sheet of paper… I know that you knew some of the spelling words, and the mathematical sums really were very simple.”

It’s a sad moment, but not because of Jamison. I mean, if the mathematical sums are really that simple, then I’m sure he’ll pick it up somewhere. Jamison will be fine.

The problem is Mr. Timothy Shaw, the mild, fussy tutor at Trask’s malevolent punishment school. Tim is played by werewolf teen idol Don Briscoe, who used to be the hottest thng on the show, breaking new ground in afternoon sex appeal by regularly tearing off his shirt on camera.

They spent all winter building Don up as a tormented bad boy serial killer, and then when the 1897 story started — nothing, for two months. He just disappeared from the show.

This week is his return, and it’s a damp squib if I ever saw one. His shirt is buttoned all the way up to his chin, and he’s got wire rim Benjamin Franklin spectacles.

And worst of all, as far as the young set is concerned, he’s scolding a child about not doing his math homework. This feels like deliberate sabotage of a once-rising star.

So it looks like it’s time for another round of our backstage guessing game: Did He Fall, or Was He Pushed?

Continue reading Episode 734: The Tragedy of Tim

Episode 716: The Generation Gap

“What is your blood type?”

It’s tricky sometimes, in this postmodern lit-crit racket of mine, to fully explain why one pop culture artifact was embraced by the populace at large while another was not.

Why was Star Trek cancelled for low ratings in its original run and then become a seminal science-fiction classic, while Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was popular at the time and is now utterly forgotten? Why did the Pac-Man cartoon click, while Rubik the Amazing Cube was a step too far? Did you know that America’s Best Dance Crew is still on the air, currently in its eighth season? It’s difficult to fully account for the vagaries of public taste.

Except in the case of the 1969 ABC game show The Generation Gap, obviously, which failed because it was terrible, and that’s all there is to it.

Continue reading Episode 716: The Generation Gap