Saturday, August 4, 2012

Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight Society, I Call This Post, "The Tale of Me Writing about 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?'"

Back in 1991, if you watched Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark?, which aired at the witchiest hour of the day (10PM!), after having read a Goosebumps book, you were basically going to die--the human heart can only handle so much unadulterated spookiness.

The intro alone was so horrifying that I don't think anyone would have judged you if you'd decided to go to sleep before the episode even began.


The one thing scarier than ghosts, demons, monsters, and serial killers is an off-centered, attic-dwelling hobo clown. 
The Midnight Society, a super exclusive group of Canadian youths whose parents obviously didn't give a shit about their kids' welfare, met up in the dark woods (at midnight, naturally), sat around a bonfire, and took turns telling chilling tales. The storyteller would sit in a stone chair constructed by ancient Canadian druids...





...but the kids would never just launch into their tales from there, they'd tease them out a little, preface them with some pithy observation about the human condition. Something like "sometimes things look one way, but they're really another. But are they really that way? Or still, yet another way? How many ways can things be?" And then everyone would demonstrate how thought provoking that preamble had been by exchanging stunned looks.





After the group's minds were blown by this introduction, the person sitting in the stone chair would take the bag of "Midnight Dust," say, "Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story 'The Tale of the Spooky Something or Other,'" and then throw dust onto the bonfire, stoking the flames. At the end of the night, they'd put out the bonfire because they were responsible scary storytellers.

Meet the Midnight Society
Members of the group would come and go, their departures usually explained away by Gary, the mature leader, saying, "so-and-so's family moved away" and never "so-and-so has entered puberty and has decided to start making out with people instead of frittering away his/her teen years telling scary stories."








One time it looked like they were all about to get wasted.
But then, that didn't happen.

M. Night Shyamalan isn't afraid of the dark
According to something I read on an IMDB message board (so, a super trustworthy source) the idea for The Sixth Sense was lifted from an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? called "The Tale of the Dreamgirl." (In case you don't live in the world and don't know how The Sixth Sense ends, beware, spoilers follow.)
In the episode, a guy sees a hot girl in his dreams and he tells his sister about it because they apparently have the kind of relationship where it's cool to talk about nocturnal emissions. The sister finds an old newspaper clipping that sheds some light on dream girl's identity.
Before the dude can get too excited, his sister, who likes to dole out information in juicy slivers, unfolds the top portion of the newspaper article.
Dream girl is dead! Later, brother and sister visit Donna Maitland's grave where they discover that half of the grave stone is not-at-all strategically covered in leaves.

They clean off the leaves because they're bored or whatever...

Bah! John Angelli is the brother's name. He's dead too!

The sister begins to unfurl her handy newspaper clipping once again and...

yup! Confirmation! He's been dead the whole time.


You can watch Are You Afraid of the Dark? right now!
Like, a year ago, people were trying to sell the first season DVD on Amazon for more money than a human could ever even have: $219.99.

But now you can download episodes on iTunes at an affordable price, giving you the opportunity to track the transformation of Gary's bangs over the years...
and to see what Jay Baruchel looked like when he was tiny.



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You can watch the Ryan Gosling episode here: The Tale of Station 109.1. But you'd better hurry up before Viacom has it removed!

18 comments:

Kate Weber said...

*Loved* this show when it was on. I had a thing for Gary; not sure why.

Fear Street said...

One of my favorite shows EVER.

I really like that newspaper article about Johnny. "Young Johnny had just purchased his first automobile after working for two years as a mechanic at the bowling alley." A mechanic. At the bowling alley. Ok.

whatireadbackthen said...

Eeep! Tiny Ryan Gosling!

Megs said...

That clown in the intro always scared me way more than the actual stories.

soft nonsense said...

Thanks to this God damn show I couldn't sleep without the covers up around my neck from the ages of 8 to 19 due to being terrified of vampires swarming through my window/force of habit.

...And why am I still attracted to 12 year old Ryan Gosling?

Erin McCarthy said...

First there is the fact that I love your pithy observations of their pithy observations and then there is the fact that you mentioned they were Canadian--this was never explicitly said on the show but MAN, it bothered me!
Did you ever throw hot coco dust on your stove top and say the magic words? Do it today, you won't be sorry you did.

Misty said...

Yeah, this takes me back. I love this blog. I'm totally sharing this on social media.

Miriam said...

first time i'm visiting yr blog and for some reason i get "90s fever", weird donno why(not) haha love it

Lola said...

Hilarious, I must have laughed out loud like a billion times whilst reading this. I was OBSESSED with this show, I'm pretty sure I've seen EVERY episode and yeah, the intro was too scary, especially the clown! and also there were some episodes that were way scarier, like the talke of quicksilver, THAT episode gave me trouble sleeping

epitaphforaheart said...

I have a tonnes of favourite posts from Nostomanic, (see: David Bowie, Goblin King) but this definitely makes it to my top 10.

I used to LOVE AYAOTD? and wanted to be Kiki (I know, I know) for a while.

Amiee said...

I was only able to watch AYAOTD occasionally as it was only on paytv in Oz. I'm now finally able to watch them in order because I was always a bit confused. They're not as scary as I remember but the hobo clown still creeps me out.

Jessie said...

THIS POST,THIS POST.

I'm so glad other people in this world still watch this show,it's one of my favourites!I absolutely love the tale of the laughing in the dark! ^.^

chukichi said...

HOLY COW. This is the best post ever. I totally had a crush on Gary. I just want to start belting out "Wind Beneath My Wings" because you are totally my hero!

Sophia Vale said...

This made my day, I'll never forget those awesome make me pee my pants episodes

Ally said...

Your blog is fantastic! Just thought I'd say hi. Hi! This entry made me laugh so hard my wife thought something was wrong.

Kacie Kratzert said...

Hilarious post! I love(d) this show. Watched a few episodes on youtube a little while ago and they are really scary, still, at 29..

Pink Rabbit Foot said...

HAHHAHAHA. Love your commentary :P I once saw Gary in a convenience store in Toronto, at first I was like "Naaaaah it isn't THE Gary..." then I kept looking at him so much he turned around and asked, "Sorry did I cut in front of you?" And I started silently freaking out ... "No" I said...then he let me go in front of him in the line up ;) Man oh man such a great show.

victoria uren said...

it's been confirmed
jay baruchel was always a cutie