Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are You Afraid of the Dark?: The Tale of the Full Moon

It's Frank's one year anniversary! One year ago he was brought into the Midnight Society, and now as is custom, it is Frank's turn to tell a tale. (You have to wait a year before they'll let you tell another one? Lame--I kid, I kid. I know how it works.) Frank does a lot of backstory on full moons. Then he tells us that one very special thing happens when the moon is full and calls his story, "The Tale of the Full Moon." Wow, way to ruin the suspense, guy. Either this story is about a werewolf or someone gets mooned. I hope it's the latter.

So, the story. Our main character, Jed, and his best friend Hughie (Hughie, really?) are pet detectives. Looks like I wasn't the only one who saw Ace Ventura eight times in theatres! Hughie points out that Jed's mom won't let him get a dog, and Jed replies that she'll change her mind when she sees this:

Awww, a scruffy but scrappy looking olive skinned boy! Can I keep him? Oh, wait, no, I mean, a puppy. Jed's mom will totally go,"Look at the puppy dog eyes--don't you just want to smooth his hair out of his eyes and give him a big old smooch?" Not! Nice try, Jedster. The above quote is exactly how I hoped my mother would react when I brought home Rider Strong. I have a feeling your mom will be just as stern. (Also, why is there a men's room sign in your clubhouse? Is your clubhouse just that much cooler than mine was?)

Today's task is to look for a missing cat named Misty. They go through the list of things they'll need, like a catnip mouse. Jed takes out a silver dog whistle (you know, the kind only dogs can hear). Either the boys are really bad at cat hunting or this SILVER whistle is going to come in handy. Cue the looking for Misty montage. Since looking for missing cats is pretty boring even in real life, I tuned out for most of this. (Multi tasking is so much easier with

Jed notices that the house across the street from his has just been sold to a new neighbor. And he finds a collar with the name Misty on it is in the backyard. How creepy! When I pick up strange women and make them wear slave collars, I always make sure to clean up after myself. Harrumph.

Jed decides to spy on the neighbor. He heads on inside without knocking and opens the fridge. Little brat. God, it's like watching an episode of Seinfeld without even getting to hear a 90s catchphrase. Well, let's look inside. Lots and lots of meat. Ooh, the new neighbor does Atkins. Super ahead of his time.

Jed spies on the neighbor taking out said raw meat and preparing it with pepper, soy sauce, Tabasco and an egg. Jed seems fearful, but living as I do in an apartment that doesn't even have an oven, let alone barbecuing capabilities, I gotta say, neighbor man doesn't seem so bad. Even if he is a werewolf. (Oops, did I give something away?) Jed hears the neighbor coming and skedaddles. Later that night...

AHHH!!! It's hideous. No, wait, that's Jed's house. (I kind of wish I was spending the night at the house across the street, despite its distinct lack of carbohydrates.) Jed tells his mother about how the neighbor is killing animals. Jed's mother thinks it's an excuse for him to adopt pets to save them from the "Butcher of Maple Street." Jed thinks she's being unfair. Aw, Jed, your mom can't become crazy cat lady. She can't. That's like the only thing going for her--the fact that underneath all that Aquanet is a woman who at least doesn't have a pet collecting disorder.

Jed's mom goes back to watching My Cousin Vinnie for more fashion and decor tips. Well, she is nothing if not reasonable. Dogs are expensive, and besides, how else will you guys afford a garden gnome to keep the pink flamingo company? Not to mention the zebra print loveseat Mom's had her eye on?

Jed growls that his dad would probably let him have a dog. Jed's mom agrees sadly and then looks at a photo of herself, Jed, and Jed's dad before muttering, "Creep!" and slamming the frame down. Uh, why do you have a picture of him IN YOUR HOUSE if you hate him? Shouldn't you be busy cutting out out his face from all the pictures and replacing them with Joe Pesci's visage?

That night, Jed sets up a video camera aimed at the house next door. Kinky. Someone wants to get in on the Misty action. Okay, but seriously, spying on your neighbors is not cool. I haven't needed to do that since living in the suburbs during Lawn Stravaganza season. (People dumping ammonia on each other's lawns is no laughing matter.) So, Jed waits, and next door neighbor heads over to the window and starts moaning and clutching his throat. (Why do people always wolf out in front of a window?) He conveniently ducks down and when he reappears, he's already transformed into a werewolf. Good god, Cinar and Nickelodeon sure did have huge special effects budgets for wolf-outs. For what it's worth, this did scare the Gak out of me as a child. It took me a while before I could even screencap the werewolf. (And don't ask me to screencap The Witches. Just don't.)

Incidentally, the neighbor is never given a name. I even looked it up online. He's credited as "Boyfriend." I think he looks like an Eric. Eric the half-wolf.

Jed screams and his mom enters. She doesn't believe him and somehow the video camera didn't catch the werewolf. Even though we just saw it. Plus, it's VAMPIRES who can't be caught on film. God, writers, it's like you aren't even trying.

Later, Jed and Hughie do research.

After you guys are done reading about werewolves, can I look up the chapters on Michael Jackson and Cher? Hughie tells Jed that real werewolves (or lycanthropes) can transform at any time. And that they HATE silver and red roses. "Great," cracks Jed, "all we gotta do is trap him in a flower shop." Nice snark, Jed, but if it were me, I'd say something like, "So what, they like chocolate and diamonds? All I can say is they better put out." Oh, wait. It is me. And that is what I said.

I've seen the Lost Boys and Fright Night, so I know what's coming. Date night. There's nothing werewolves and vampires love so much as seducing lonely divorcees and/or widows with paranoid children. Because you know no one else is going to look past their weirdness.

Hmm, this can't be a really big date. That yellow bow looks way understated and she didn't break out the leopard print dress leggings. Gotta say, though, I also take tips from Amy Winehouse when I'm doing my make up for a special occasion. Jed's mom tells him she met a new guy bowling two weeks ago, and he's excited for her. There's a knock on the door, and Jed opens the door to...Wolfman Eric! If you didn't see this coming, even as a child, you need to be shown every single vampire/werewolf movie ever with your eyes forced open a la Clockwork Orange.

Though I do have to wonder. Have two weeks gone by since the opening scene? or was he here for two weeks and Jed just didn't know? I would scream shenanigans, but all this meat is making me hungry.

So, the most awkward dinner ever ensues. (Seriously, she met the guy two weeks ago and it's already time to bring him home to meet her son?) As the waves of desperation emmanate off of Jed's mom, Wolfman Eric says that the people here are friendlier than they were in their old area. Jed snarks, "Transylvania?" (Silly boy, it's London. Werewolves of LONDON. And what is it with the writers mixing up their vampire/werewolf stereotypes?) Wolfman Eric says, "Actually, Seattle." A little hairiness is nothing to worry about in Seattle. For example, have you seen Frasier Crane without a shirt on? (I still haven't stopped shuddering.)

Jed stabs Wolfman Eric with a silver fork hoping it will kill him, and then runs to the curtain to open the curtain and indicate the full moon, hoping he'll wolf out. Nothing happens and Wolfman Eric smiles and says, "No harm done" (meaning: "Sweet, her kid stabbed me, and I didn't lose my cool--I'm so in her polyester panties). Jed gets sent to his room. The lesson here is that if you meet a man who's this tolerant of your bratty kid, run. He's either a pedophile or a member of the undead. Or possibly both.

Next scene: Jed's room.

Mother Jed opens the door to let Jed know that she and Wolfman Eric are heading out for coffee. (He's from Seattle. He's used to Starbucks. He won't know how to order coffee in this new town that seems to be trailer park meets New Jersey.) As she closes the door, we see a Shar Pei poster on the door. Whatever gets you through the night, Jed.

So Wolfman Eric passed the werewolf test (or failed, I guess). Jed's still not sure. He calls Hughie up to go werewolf hunting. I usually like to go with Garey Busey and the kid from the Wonder Years in a wheelchair, but okay.

Inside the lair, they do a little searching.

First, the fridge.

Hey, did we sneak into Maris Crane's house? Wow, yet another Frasier joke. Forgive me, our celebrities are way too chubby to make anorexic jokes about anyone current. I'm reduced to making jokes about pre-snarked fictional characters from the 90s. And yes, pre-snark does taste like already been chewed food. Back to the episode. So, the wolf is probably either hungry or he's bulimic, in which case, let's show him a little courtesy and stay out of the bathroom.

Next, a closet! Jed puts his hand on the doorknob.

The two boys open a door and...gasp as...

an ironing board falls out. My god! I agree, boys, closet space like that and Wolfman Eric wastes it on an ironing board. (Okay, someone's been watching House Hunters way too much.)

After a little searching, Hughie finds a picture of Wolfman Eric...but there are two of him. Turns out mom's dating a twin. Oh no! What if Eric's twin tricks her into having sex with him because they're identical? This is why you should never date a twin. Oh, and, it also means that the werewolf isn't trying to order a Double Mocha Venti but is rather here. Conveniently, he roars to life and pops up from beyond an empty box and chases the boys up the stairs. They barricade themselves into a room. As Jed picks up a squeaky bone toy, they realize they're chez werewolf.

Sidenote: he's only a werewolf some of the time. What do they do when he's a person? Does he get to sleep in another room? Does he still make use of the squeaky bone?

They try to make it out the window, but the wolf pops in. Jed takes out his foreshadowed silver whistle and blows. Wolfie cowers in fear.

Not-really-Wolfman Eric comes up the stairs and explains that his brother's not really a wolf. Werewolf is an offensive term. They prefer to be called Lycanthrope Americans. Anyway, the wolf's name is Gordon and he suffers from lycanthropy, a horrible disease. The boyfriend/brother still doesn't have a name. He strokes Gordon lovingly. Aww, who's a good wolf?

Jed tells him that when his mom finds out, she'll be pissed. Mom comes up and says she already knows. You know, guys, most people wait until at least the third date before mentioning they have a problem (jealous knife wielding ex, a tendency to secrete green pus from certain places, a criminal record, a love of the Twilight series). And some people wait until they're almost married before letting their lover know they've got a family member chained in the attic (Mr. Rochester, I'm looking at you). Well, a good man is hard to find (and a hard man is good to find, rim shot), amirite, Mama Jed?

Jed: "You're not scared?" Mama Jed: "I was at first, but I'm trying to understand, honey." This will end well. I love this episode's message. If you can't get a man, settle for one who has a werewolf chained up in the attic.

The boyfriend smiles. "There are lots of different kinds of families, Jed. This is just one of them." Hurrah for blended families. I start to say something snarky about how I'd rather live with the Brady Bunch, Cousin Oliver and all, but then I realize what I'm about to say. Okay, Eric-the-not-a-wolf, you have a point. There are fates worse than sharing a bathroom with a werewolf.

Jed asks if Gordon eats children and Eric says, "Rumors. People can be so cruel." (They CAN?! All right! Oops, better finish recapping the episode before I go off to commit mayhem.) Jed seems okay with this, but points out that if he's going along with this arrangement, Gordon has to stop with the feline snacks. Aw, come on, Gordon only ate one cat. Who are we to judge--this month alone I ate at four Chinese restaurants and one Korean place.

Incidentally--what does Eric eat? If the fridge full of raw meat was for Gordon, then does Eric just eat out a lot? And hey, doesn't Gordon eat normal food when he's not a wolf? No, no, don't, "It's just a TV show" me--it's got the answers to the meaning of life and you know it. Also, if werewolves can change at any time, why is this episode even called The Tale of the Full Moon?

Cut to a midnight barbecue. The background narration tells us that Eric and Mama Jed got married. They barbecue steaks while Jed plays fetch the stick with Gordon. The last line is "And as for Jed, he finally got his dog."

Way to not show the werewolf again. I wonder if it was because they thought it would be too creepy or because they only paid for two werewolf sequences. Wait a minute. If Gordon suffers from a terrible disease, why is it okay to treat him like a household pet? When Charlie Babbitt used Rain Man to try to get rich, everyone thought he was a typical evil eighties asshole (which is true since he was Tom Cruise). If you had a schizophrenic, bipolar, or hunchbacked brother and you decided he was basically your pet, you'd be up on abuse charges. This is so not cool.

And scene! The Midnight Society kids look evil and tell Frank they're going to have barbecued Frank in honor of it being his one year anniversary. Frank looks nervous and they point out that they mean hot dogs. This joke is as tired as I am, and it was done better on Goosebumps. You know, that one with the pedophile (er, okay, monster) librarian who gets eaten for dinner?

Well, hope you guys enjoyed that. I'm probably going to try to stay true to this blog's title and do a Ghostwriter episode this weekend.