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Welcome to Night Vale (purple logo), Welcome to Night Vale
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Welcome to Night Vale re-listen, episodes 28-35

This is where I started skipping the weather, though I'd already stopped commenting on it. I also only got halfway through 35 and did the rest through transcripts.

Episode 28: Summer Reading Program

I love Tamika Flynn, but kids having to commit horrible violence to survive breaks my willingness to listen to Night Vale-typical terrible things. Also the thing about the different secret societies breaking up and being renamed goes on SO TOO LONG.

Recommendation:

How I Survived My Summer Vacation, by Tamika Flynn, Age 12 3/4 (5516 words) by thingswithwings
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Welcome to Night Vale
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Tamika Flynn/OFC
Characters: Tamika Flynn, various OCs, Intern Paolo - Character, Librarians (Welcome to Night Vale)
Additional Tags: ragged band of misfit kids banding together, librarians want to eat your babies, Friendship, First Kiss, Books, lots and lots of books, Starvation, children in peril, how to instill a lifelong love of reading, the true victory today is for literacy
Summary:

The first book on Tamika Flynn's Summer Reading Program Sticker Chart is Lord of the Flies.

She doesn't really like it.

Oh, hey, since all the kids survive, Intern Paolo must too, that's at least two who do! (Brad, who solves the litter box problem in episode 9.)

Episode 29: Subway

Why this episode trips me "Oh my god don't any of you people have any sense of self-preservation?!!" reaction, I have no idea, but it does. Also the shift between "the subway's going to eat you!" before Cecil goes on and "the subway shows you truth!" after doesn't work for me.

Carlos's comment about DNA being "completely drained of its contents" also makes no sense based on our science.

Oh, and one of the messenger child from the City Council is faceless, so chalk that under the "Night Vale has a thing about faces" column.

Episode 30: Dana

I'd forgotten somehow that John Peters, you know, the farmer? was in the house, but when that came back up I remembered it reapppeared again recently; I think this makes the house that isn't there, plus the freestanding door, the longest-running plot arc in the show and perhaps tied into the deep mythology of it.

The problem with (1) listening to episodes two weeks apart and (2) having a poor memory for audio I only listen to once, apparently, is that I completely forgot the significance of Dana's last message, how she saw a blinking light on a suddenly-appeared mountain and felt something very large coming. Since the army next episode turns out to be real, can't tell whether that's a difference between the overlapping universes.

Also, I linked to this before, but this essay about Michael Sandero crystallizes the problems with that. I didn't specifically talk about this episode at the time, but now I'm really, really, REALLY upset by the fact that his mother killed him, they are different heads with different brains and different personalities and she had his original head surgically removed.

I was talking about this last night with folks at a party and they pointed out the class issues in the way his mother is voiced by Cecil, which is also an excellent point. And it's true that terrible things happen in Night Vale and we're probably not supposed to think she's a good person, but (1) doing that through a stereotypically lower-class speech pattern, bad and (2) the bad things that happen in Night Vale aren't generally about systemic hierarchies of kyriarchical oppression. Arbitrary governance by a--note--entirely different species? Sure. Common foodstuffs changing characteristics? Absolutely. But racism only exists in the form of the Apache Tracker, who gets called out on it and then dies (and, note, we never hear from any tribe members on their views, just Cecil); sexism only existed in the past, before women could vote; homophobia doesn't exist at all. But ablism alone exists and has unhappy endings, and that is a significant difference in the way Night Vale works and is really sucky. (More on this when it comes to my very least favorite episode ever, "A Beautiful Dream.")

(On a much smaller note, I wonder if there's any significance to his new head only speaking Russian, the way the Apache Tracker did after his body was also transformed.)

Episode 31: A Blinking Light Up On the Mountain

This episode is a little frustrating because Cecil, unlike me, should recognize the blinking light from Dana's description, and also remember that John Peters, you know, the farmer? was in the house and maybe that's relevant to him being missing? ETA: and in fact he does remember Dana & John Peters in episode 38.

This episode has the Ancient Aliens parody, where a professor tries to defend "his fringe views that the pyramids, and other ancient structures, were constructed by human beings rather than benevolent ancient aliens." Chad is weirdly fascinated that show so I've seen more of it than I would like, so that was great.

Other stuff: Man in the Tan Jacket wants the subway back to go home; and I already mentioned the weirdness of the resolution regarding what it implies about Carlos.

Episode 32: Yellow Helicopters

Cecil references the underground city declaring war when Josie asks why they don't go bowling any more. Are we really supposed to believe this is still an ongoing thing?

I linked this thingswithwings essay before, and having thought about it more and re-read it, I lack agreement with more of it, but the point about sunshine and darkness in this episode, that darkness is protective and sunshine (yellow, helicopters) is threatening Night Vale is important thematically.

Also, an intern becomes an angel after investigating the Man with the Tan Jacket in the City Records Office (and actually finding something, interesting).

There has at least been more movement on the StrexCorp plot in the episodes since, so I hope this has an actual resolution and doesn't just trail off like the underground city.

Episode 33: Cassette

I have no real theories about this one whatsoever. I note the reappearance of the dark planet lit by no sun (the radio station?! does this mean that in "A Story About You," that's what was following you around?), but otherwise my only speculation is that in "Lazy Day," Cecil definitely narrates things that no-one can have reported to him, so maybe the fan-created position of The Voice of Night Vale (which is the title that the credits gives Cecil Baldwin) does have mystical powers.

The voice acting is great--baby Cecil!--though distressing, but yeah, I got nothing.

Episode 34: A Beautiful Dream

Oh boy, here we go.

On the level of plot, this is a really boring predictable episode. They have YouTube and Facebook and smartphones, so as soon as they brought in a room-sized computer with a really old-school monochome monitor, I knew it was going to be an Evil Computer. And sure enough, there it goes, taking over the world.

On the level of disability: let's make a plot about how providing access to the disabled is impossible and actually dangerous! Except artifically so (give Megan a smartphone!). And then let's make the disabled a figure of pity and tragedy and nothing else, just an opportunity for Cecil to wax poetic about what a good person he is for wanting access, in a way that also makes entirely no sense because no actual person would choose "destruction of our economy" over assistance to a single person—which, again, is a FALSE CHOICE that the episode has set up.

I hate it. And that's the whole episode so I can't even get away from it. Least favorite by a long, long shot.

Episode 35: Lazy Day

Tamika Flynn, organizing a militia to challenge StrexCorp, go Tamika!

Otherwise: I liked the pyramid better when it wasn't viral marketing for Flaky-O's cereal, which this episode seems to suggest. "How was the day saved? // It wasn’t. It didn’t need to be." is very Night Vale, so I try not to find it disappointing.

Again, Carlos appears to have some immunity to Night Vale weirdness. And hey, intern Maureen lives!

Now to read transcripts, listen to the most recent episode, shower, eat, and go to my 1:00 panel, full of so many things to say. comment count unavailable comment(s) | add comment (how-to) | link


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