The ’90s Nostalgia Project: Matilda


Hi again!  I swear you all will actually get another Canada post one of these days, but unfortunately not until my life calms down again.  Which, if I’m lucky, will be after this Friday, but we’ll see.  I’m not promising anything.

In the meantime, though, I’ve been busily livetweeting, and this time I’m here to bring you my tweet recap of Matilda!  Without further ado:

  • ah yes, hyper-closeup on a baby’s face, exactly how I wanted to start things off
  • tbh same tho
  • how is this kid so expressive
  • I feel like I’m watching The Sopranos by way of Arrested Development
  • god the cinematography in this movie though
  • all the overhead shots combined with the omniscient narrator, *damn*
  • k but why do I get the feeling Gaston would turn out very much like Mr. Wormwood
  • y’all, THIS LIBRARY. I’m dying it’s so beautiful
  • I want this chair.
  • so wait the time jump just happened and she’s like eight or nine now but she still goes to the library during the day?
  • is this kid literally homeschooling herself?
  • god I just. I have no words for how horrendous the rest of the Wormwoods are.
  • oh my god. she’s about to blow this joint omg I love her so much
  • dear god what is that Ninja Turtles mask Zinnia is wearing
  • I paused at exactly the right moment
  • wait why is Matilda going with them for a change
  • oh god I just figured out who Harry Wormwood reminds me of. oh god.
  • let’s just leave that there.
  • anyway, Donald Wormwood is at his car dealership showing Barron whatsisface and poor undeserving Matilda the Art of the Steel or w/e
  • I’m pretty sure half the stuff he’s doing to these heaps of garbage would make them explode
  • well, that gives “hat trick” a whole different meaning
  • wait am I seriously hearing the rules of this fictional game show right
  • that’s lowkey gross af. anyway, moving on.
  • “Moby what?” oh my god
  • getting highkey Clockwork Orange vibes from this TV-watching scene and I’m so sure that’s on purpose
  • ………………………..totally forgot Matilda was telekinetic. whoops.
  • oh christ please miss me with the “we only use a tiny portion of our brains” thing
  • can you believe ppl still use that trope. wow. (looking at you, Lucy and Limitless)
  • a wild Ms. Trunchbull appears
  • “they’re all mistakes, children… glad I never was one.” Agatha Trunchbull, confirmed cryptid
  • Lavender is a lil cutie and I want to adopt both her and Matilda
  • Trunchbull went to the Jaime Lannister school of disciplining kids
  • k but how does Hortensia have all this time for a backstory dump when the Trunch is going all Patton on everyone
  • ……………….super not appreciating the butch-coding with Trunchbull.
  • oh dear lord this is literally the school from Hard Times I can’t.
  • I’ve been getting Dickensian vibes from this whole movie and just now realized it
  • also, tonally, this movie is a perfect counterpart to A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • (which, incidentally, I got Dickensian vibes from before I’d ever read Dickens)
  • being Miss Honey in Crunchem is a perfect metaphor for being a teacher at all in the state of Oklahoma tbh
  • I’m amazed any classroom has windows in a place like Crunchem
  • I love how Matilda starts to answer that one multiplication problem and then starts mumbling halfway through when ppl notice her
  • Miss Honey is the only person besides Harry Potter himself who can actually pull off giant round Harry Potter glasses
  • you can tell this movie was made a while ago bc nobody whips out their phone to check Matilda’s multiplication
  • “what do you like to read?”
    k move over Miss Honey I’m adopting her
  • (or, y’know, we could co-parent… I’d be more than okay with that…)
  • okay Matilda just name-dropped Charles Dickens. Roald Dahl knew exactly what he was doing lmao
  • ugh fr Miss Honey’s soft voice is a Problem
  • Miss Honey is so much braver than I am, I absolutely would not have knocked on Trunchbull’s door if I’d heard those sounds from her office
  • it’s fine, it’s fine, I’m sure she’s just playing Grand Theft Auto
  • new hypothesis: this movie is set in an alternate near-future where Betsy DeVos has already gutted the Department of Education
  • also how did the set designers get ahold of so many school pictures for this what were those conversations like
  • “hey can I use your kid’s school picture in my movie”
    “sure, for what?”
    “the villain throwing darts at it”
  • wait hold on the kid playing Michael looks like the kid who plays young Wilson Fisk in Daredevil.
  • no way it’s the same kid, but that’s hysterical
  • for real how is it that Harry was humiliated by bleached hair but will answer the door while clearly in the middle of a dye job
  • SAME
  • when a Dump Truck supporter says some ignorant sh*t
  • when you realize the Wormwoods definitely would have voted for Dump Truck
  • when you realize Dump Truck definitely would have picked Agatha Trunchbull for Secretary of Education over even Betsy DeVos
  • “don’t sneer at educated people, Mr. Wormwood.”
    oh my god I hate that this movie is still so relevant wtfffffffffff
  • the Wormwoods’ house looks like the set of the Addams Family
  • which, fun fact, was pink in order to look the right shade of gray on camera
  • I’m not kidding
  • “well it’s hard for me to remember a specific cake” and just like that, Bruce Bogtrotter became one of my favorite characters
  • this is some book-Harry-Potter level sass right here and I am LIVING
  • on this episode of “I paused at exactly the right moment”
  • that is a, uh, bizarre idea of punishment you have there, Trunchy
  • okay yeah I definitely will not be able to eat chocolate cake for a while
  • actual footage of how well the inquiry appears to be going
  • lawl the scene where Trunchbull is coming to Miss Honey’s classroom is so very School of Rock I can’t
  • ah yes, schools with no children, just like health insurance that doesn’t cover any health-related matters at all
  • okay I’ll stop, that’s not fair, would have covered Viagra and hair implants and all stress injuries brought on by excessive golf
  • (k I’m really done now)
  • the whole class is subtweeting the hell out of Trunchbull with that poem and I am living
  • wait okay why has Trunchbull apparently not noticed that Matilda has mysteriously teleported from the Choker thingy to that classroom
  • that poor newt, ewwwww
  • sacrificial newt
  • (god that tweet would look weird out of context)
  • The Help (2011)
  • ooooooooooh Matilda, girlfran, you’ve got some nerve raising your hand rn
  • she’d better deliver the smackdown of the century
  • “why is there a swing [outside Trunchbull’s house]?” that’s my girl, always asking the real questions
  • me
  • wait ok are they using the same tiny child for young Miss Honey as they did for young Matilda?
  • Miss Honey’s rent is $50 a month??????? 😫😫😫 foh
  • I love this episode of Tiny House Hunters
  • “I wonder what Miss Trunchbull is afraid of” – sweetpea you literally just saw her do the newt lambada
  • that is not a particularly good hedge through which to spy on Trunchbull
  • that’s really not even a hedge
  • well this is, uh………. definitely some kind of look.
  • the belt. what is with the belt.
  • is it specially designed to keep all the bats inside her
  • are there spells worked into the leather to keep her from metamorphosing back into one of the Old Gods
  • I swear to God, Trenchfoot, if you touch that cat I will reach through my laptop screen and string you up by that beloved belt of yours
  • Matilda is so down for casual breaking and entering this is great
  • chaotic good
  • k back up, did Matilda pick the lock with her mind or did Trenchfoot leave it unlocked?
  • grudgingly impressed at Trunchbull’s ability to deadlift half her car’s weight
  • how in the snot did they not hear Trunchbull on the front drive
  • okay NOW they hear her
  • um, surely there’s a way out that doesn’t involve sneaking through the giant open entry hall
  • oh, NOW you mention the kitchen door? thanks, Miss Honey, that would have been great to know thirty seconds ago
  • dear god, Trunch, surely there are more effective ways to flush out an intruder than Hulksmashing your entire house
  • holy cannoli this is tense
  • “just wait till she leaves, then we’ll go get your doll”
    “just kidding.”
    Matilda you lil snarkmonster I love you
  • oh my dear sweet baby jesus one of the FBI agents looks like Stephen Miller
  • this sequence is better than any superhero training montage ever sorry I don’t make the rules
  • it just occurred to me that I haven’t seen her brother for the past half-hour, at least
  • spoke too soon
  • ah yes the rarely executed Reverse Carrot
  • oh yes pls tell me Matilda is about to Reverse Carrot the hell out of Trunchbull
  • okay well rescuing Lissie-doll Chamber-of-Secrets style is almost as good
  • omg. this is ARTFUL trolling
  • and Matilda is the most chaotic good to ever chaotic good
  • (definitely had to look up the lyrics for that)
  • just gonna leave this here
  • k but for real has somebody done a comparative analysis of femininity in Matilda and Carrie because I’d read the hell out of that article
  • OH MY GOD some kid just called Trunchbull “sir” this situation is about to escalate extremely quickly
  • here’s a novel idea for you, Trunchbull, people can do different stuff with their hair on different days
  • that red ribbon schtick is just flimsy evidence. inadmissible.
  • or, um, the chalkboard. same diff.
  • I’m surprised they’re not making more of the possible murder plotline, though. like what evidence do we have that Trunchbull killed Magnus?
  • beyond, that is, her eternally sunny disposition.
  • which they have taken great pains to emphasize.
  • Trunchbull hasn’t been shown as greedy, at least not that I saw. just unbelievably cruel.
  • so if she did kill Magnus, did she literally only off him so that she could torture Miss Honey with impunity?
  • I’m confused.
  • so wait is she dead
  • did that belt finally choke the life out of her or
  • nope. not dead. definitely not dead.
  • k as cathartic as this complete humiliation of Trunchbull is, I hope the movie has an equally devastating dragging coming for the Wormwoods
  • tag yourself I’m the girl with the glasses who’s all like “just try, I dare you”
  • I also have complicated thoughts about how food and weight are gendered in this movie
  • what do you want to bet Matilda did the bulk of Miss Honey’s redecorating for her
  • oh wonderful, here come the rest of the Wormwoods. please please please summarily humiliate them, Matilda
  • also I’m just lmaoing at “permanent vacation to Guam”
  • Matilda how on earth did you get ADOPTION PAPERS from a book in the library
  • it’d be one thing if you had Googled them, but sheesh
  • wait, they just got off relatively scot-free like that? come ON
  • ……………….hold up.
  • moral of the story: having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card
  • and I have Thoughts(TM) about the narrative purposes of Matilda’s powers and the gendering of food and stuff but those will come later
  • MMMPH I JUST REALIZED they totally dropped the murder plot thread. there was nothing about it after Trunchbull’s humiliation

Whoosh, there you have it!  I’ll be back with more Buffy soon-ish.  Till then:


The ’90s Nostalgia Project: Whitney Livetweets the Buffy S1 Finale


Once again, y’all are going to get a livetweet masterpost rather than a Canada update, because I’ve been swamped with work.  Here, then, is my livetweet of “Prophecy Girl”:

  • yall I know it’s a ridiculous time of night to be doing this but guess what??? more Buffy livetweeting!!!
  • only one ep tonight, that’s all I got time for, but still
  • tonight I’m tackling the S1 finale whoo boy
  • k so apparently Buffy and Angel have already smooched, duly noted
  • wait who’s this tiny kid
  • also Giles is looking for a super particular vampire almanac and Angel’s like “I’ll interlibrary loan it for you bro”
  • (and that’s what I missed on Buffy!)
  • we open on the Bronze, and tbh I’m having to suspend so much disbelief about this club being a real thing
  • vampires, sure. teenagers who actually go to a legit club?? does that happen????
  • oh christ who’s Xander confessing his undying love to
  • oh god poor Willow
  • (although……… Willow, babe, ilu but WHY are you wearing that dog collar like I know this is the ’90s but sheeeeeesh)
  • “what’s Buffy doing?” besides avoiding your unimpressive self, you mean?
  • k why does that vampire growl like the tiger noise at every Broken Arrow football game ever
  • is this episode the origin story of man door hand hook whatever?
  • those punching noises sounded weirdly hollow
  • wait whoa does Giles literally live at the school
  • um pls tell me that at some point in the series, characters reading to themselves backfires hardcore and they accidentally summon a demon
  • don’t worry, Giles, I’m sure that vibration is just due to the crapton of fault lines in California
  • (side note, where in California *is* Sunnydale?)
  • oh ok that’s actually one doozy of an earthquake
  • good lord is the Master always this melodramatic or does he just have the world’s worst case of cabin fever
  • brief theme song interlude
  • Gilesssssssss you are a mess
  • ugh hang on my wifi went out again, pls hold for technical difficulties
  • I choose to believe that Willow is purposely sabotaging Xander by being an exceptionally bad liar here
  • lord I can smell the secondhand embarrassment a mile away. I need to take a moment, hang on
  • right I’ve got some chips and very garlicky salsa, let’s endure this scene
  • oh my god he’s gonna say the mating thing isn’t he.
  • when you know you’re about to screw up royally but you just can’t stop yourself from running your mouth
  • ok he didn’t say the mating thing. thank god.
  • “Willow’s not looking to date you. Or if it is, she’s playing it pretty close to the chest.” oh m y g o d
  • I Cannot Believe the first gay joke on this show was from f***ing XANDER
  • relatable
  • “look, I’m sorry, I don’t handle rejection well” – I’m screaming???? did he actually just say that????????
  • god in heaven I do not understand how Buffy didn’t smack him down right then and there
  • oh this is agony
  • ugh pls miss me with the sad piano music
  • oh my god an actual phone with a cord! just like the one we still have at home
  • does she always open conversations by lovingly dragging people omg I adore her already
  • god, I didn’t realize till just now how Not A Thing the phrase “surfing the net” is anymore
  • Cordelia what are you going to do to Willow
  • a bit of subliminal messaging here
  • also Willow’s puppy eyes have me WEAK
  • yay creepy choir echoes
  • oh SH
  • LITERAL CRICKETS IN THE BACKGROUND when Buffy overhears the prophecy, I’m dead y’all
  • Buffy oh my god I’m emotional
  • she just went all ending-of-Order-of-the-Phoenix on him I
  • *wailing*
  • k now you can *not* miss me with the sad piano music
  • uh, no, my room totally doesn’t look a thing like this why would you possibly think that
  • (ARGH the lengths I go to in order to keep my reflection out of these but my nose still made it in)
  • oh hi Joyce, my favorite TV mom
  • ok but this Cordelia bit is actually uncomfortably
  • I’m just gonna guess they’ll walk in and the boys will be gruesomely dead
  • oh wow that is one hell of a shot
  • why is Buffy like the only person who has ever looked good in an empire-waist dress
  • that’s honestly not even fair
  • give her a damn hug ya monster
  • it’s such a shame because I know what happens to Jenny and I’m trying not to get attached but damn it
  • “Buffy’s not going to face the Master, I am.” uh?
  • armed with what, Giles, your stellar fashion sense? or do you actually know how to use those swords for something other than paper cutting?
  • omg my bby’s embracing her destiny and going to h*ck up monsters I’m so proud
  • ok but do we have this iconic Slayer to blame for the preponderance of ballgowns on YA book covers? genuine question
  • Buffy, don’t trust the damn kid, remember The Shining?
  • same, Jenny
  • the eternal Dealing With Xander Harris face
  • is that thing like…………. a trident AND a crossbow?
  • this conversation between Angel and Xander feels like the literal entire reason the Bechdel Test was developed
  • it’s like not even a Bechdel Test fail……….. it’s more like a reverse Bechdel pass
  • and honestly I’m not here for it, k, let’s move on
  • how did Angel not sense the giant cross before Xander shoved it in his face?
  • “at the end of the day, I pretty much think you’re a vampire.”
  • “you’re in love with her.”
    “aren’t you?”
  • please let this scene be over soon oh my god
  • man, I can’t imagine how much faster this research process would go with Google Maps and ProQuest
  • good move, Buffy, waiting till the kid is out of sight to move
  • “thanks for having me” – ICONIQUE
  • dude looks like an overgrown finger who spent too much time under a bandaid
  • there was no way to avoid the reflection in that one, lawl
  • “oh good, the feeble banter portion of the fight” – brb mad that I didn’t come up with that line first
  • am I really witnessing a vampire No Homo between Angel and Xander rn I swear to god
  • I mean I’m sure everybody thought prom was going to be a metaphorical agonizing bloodbath anyway
  • god help me now I really want a Grand Theft Auto/Walking Dead crossover video game
  • for real though I feel like Joel Schumacher took all of his aesthetic inspiration from this episode and none of the feminism
  • also I paused the video at the exact right moment and I can’t stop laughing
  • oh great
  • if either one of those patriarchal MFs is the one to “save” Buffy I’m gonna riot
  • oh my god no no no NO NOT THE ICKY CPR TROPE DEAR GOD
  • Xander do you actually know CPR
  • ugh yeah Xander’s CPR was what resuscitated her end me now pls
  • course, the flip side is that she just punched a giant hole in the school so now the vamps can come in easier. goooooooood job
  • Giles over [here] like “I know they did not just do that”
  • they’re building a barricade and I know this is not the time to snicker about Les Mis but just watch me
  • oh god the bite.
  • walk walk fashion baby
  • I love the super literal take on “game face”
  • ok no but biting a vampire back is literally the funniest thing I can possibly think of for a vampire story I can’t even deal rn
  • wait did the Sarlacc just burst out of the library floor or what
  • the Master over here clapping like Nicole Kidman at the Oscars
  • “I may be dead but I’m still pretty” – HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
  • I can’t believe Buffy dusted the Master in eight words
  • I can’t believe Buffy Summers invented the clapback
  • I can’t believe she just clapped him back to the bottom level of hell wow truly
  • Giles over here turning into Paul Bunyan
  • oh dear god why is it that the Master has to look like a literal horde of spiders when he kicks it
  • whoa okay WHY are they just leaving the creepy skeleton in the middle of the library why aren’t they torching that MF
  • dancing to the ending theme music like
  • OKIE DOKE FOLKS that’s all for tonight. the livetweet post should be up sometime tomorrow or Tuesday. sweet dreams, babies~

I’ll be livetweeting more Buffy, starting with season 2, later this week!  Till then…

The ’90s Nostalgia Project: Whitney Livetweets Buffy, Part 1


And no, that’s not the official title for this project, just the working title.

Sorry, but y’all aren’t getting another Canada post this week; grad school continues to be an absolute circus, and pretty much the only parts of Canada I’ve actually seen this week are my apartment and campus.  But instead, you get a livetweet post!  In honor of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s 20th anniversary, I watched and livetweeted the show’s first two episodes.  Here’s the roundup:

Episode 1:  Welcome to the Hellmouth

  • bruh just from that cheesy title sequence I have chills
  • general rule, if a character asks “are you sure this is a great idea?” it’s not a great idea
  • feel like I’m watching a Grease reboot here
  • is it just me or is there something super quintessentially ’90s about that overlay filming technique
  • I feel like Xander’s entrance is a perfect metaphor for who he is as a person
  • why is burning down the gym on her *transcript* though
  • I cannot believe Buffy was able to finesse her way out of that kind of slip of the tongue… “vampir–asbestos” honestly
  • Xander you are the most transparent ever
  • Buffy not even waiting till she leaves Xander to make a skeptical face
  • oh hi there Cordelia
  • god, Willow is hair goals
  • Aphrodisia. oh my god
  • that screaming girl looks like Michelle Obama tho
  • oh my god Xander please shut up
  • wait I can’t believe Starbucks was actually a thing when this first aired???
  • “a whole big sucking thing”
  • Buffy is a lil fireball and I’m in love already
  • oh hey I didn’t know the Phantom of the Opera moved to Sunnydale after the Daroga kicked his ass
  • aw, I like Joyce
  • is that one of her Slayer gifts
  • lawl I recognize this scene from the Buffy vs. Edward mashup video
  • what is with David Boreanaz’s vaguely Southern drawl good lord
  • oh good heavens I’ve seen more dinky warehouses like this in midtown Tulsa than I can count
  • the lead singer of this band is wearing khaki shorts on stage I can’t
  • Willow you are so relatable
  • Buffy is already so protective of Willow 😭😭😭
  • retro whooshing noises wheeeeeee
  • Buff, you’re still holding the stake. in the middle of a club.
  • a wild Voldemort appears!–wait no wrong franchise
  • mood marimba 😂
  • I can totally see how these special effects would have been amazing at the time, man
  • oh wonderful, Xander and Willow and that other dude just ran into a Twilight fan convention
  • he’s monologuing, Buffy, kick his–dammit
  • k well obviously I have to watch the second episode now

Episode 2:  The Harvest

  • provided, of course, that Netflix loads the wretched thing. 🙄
  • why is this the perfect “waiting for Netflix to load” face though:

  • pls hold for technical difficulties
  • also, a small thing that’s throwing me off: the beating-people-up sounds are actually really soft in these fight sequences
  • have fight sequences just gotten louder in the past twenty years or so? is that a thing?
  • ah yay history with Giles
  • tbh I probably have a whole essay in me about various versions of vampire genesis
  • this whole human-demon-mixing thing is super interesting and I’m excited to see how it’s borne out thematically
  • in contrast to Buffy, Darla has no finesse
  • “they can fly?”
    “they can drive.”
  • I just find it so hilarious that these here Phantoms of the Opera aren’t *sure* Buffy is the Slayer
  • “so yeah that girl I fought was super duper strong.” “she the Slayer?” “dunno, man, the rugby player I ate last week put up a good fight”
  • that computer is pretty sprightly considering it’s running, like, Windows 2000 BC
  • Xander that shirt is atrocious
  • and of course the boy takes EVERYTHING as an attack on his fragile masculinity my god this is already exhausting
  • dude. Buffcakes. at least wait till Flutie is out of sight to jump over the dang fence
  • How to Not Finesse but Still Get Away with Stuff: the show
  • k honestly of the three leads, Willow is the only one who really convincingly Looks Like A High Schooler
  • why is everything Angel is saying so forced ugh
  • hahahahahahaha “suckfest” I see what you did there
  • k another foley thing I don’t get: when characters are sneaking around, why oh WHY must they still have loud footsteps
  • that is not how you Sneak(TM)
  • god Xander you are so bad at this sneaking thing
  • this guy looks like someone but I cannot put my finger on who:

  • k good now I can resume the episode, I wasn’t going to move on before figuring that out 😂
  • wow whoops sorry folks, was talking with about the eventual essay I’ll write on Buffy ANYWAYS
  • “private discussions”? Cord, honey, you’re talking loudly in a small computer lab
  • oh they vamped him. I bet they vamped him
  • is it part of the vamps’ plan to just shamble around and look menacing?
  • knew it.
  • oh god this tunnel scene is giving me claustrophobia
  • god I just realized these guys sound exactly like monsters from DOOM
  • DRAMATIC ZOOM ON GILES for no reason
  • oh my god there is PIPE ORGAN in this dramatic vampire crypt music
  • they’re really leaning into the Phantom similarities, aren’t they
  • ah cool cool here’s a dramatic and weirdly homoerotic hand kiss moment cool
  • “my blood is your blood, my soul is your soul”
    …………….k like I was joking about the homoerotic bit two seconds ago but now, jeez
  • did I just witness a gay vampire wedding lmao
  • uh wow this just keeps getting gayer
  • cooooooool, Voldemort, I’m sure the ceiling appreciated you shouting your last couple words at it
  • ohhhhhh Joyce, Joyce, Joyce. you have no idea
  • oh no, that poor bouncer
  • oh man I thought he was gonna die
  • oh wait yeah he’s gonna die
  • of cooooooooooooourse the black guy dies first, *yay*
  • ugh
  • is anybody actually around your man cave to hear you yammering on, Voldy?
  • tbh it wouldn’t surprise me if the dude was talking to himself
  • or just to his ceiling again
  • seriously, these vampires have the world’s worst reflexes
  • of all the vampire attributes the Underworld series had to take and run with, they HAD to choose that one
  • “it’s in about nine hours, moron” – also
  • Angel WHY are you so useless jfc
  • “the Earth is doomed” – oh Giles, never change
  • I gotta say, I’m really glad they basically split a pilot episode in two
  • they did the plot much better justice that way

There you have it!  To recap the rest of what I said on Twitter:  because this is for a class project and time is somewhat of the essence here, I won’t be livetweeting every single episode.  Instead, I’ll Wikipedia my way through season 1 and then eventually come back with seasons 2 and 3–which I also probably won’t have time to livetweet in their entirety, we’ll see.  But there will be more of this coming your way!  In the meantime, keep an eye on Twitter for more updates on this big ol’ project.  Till next time…

The Phantom Coach, or Ghost Theft Auto: The Masterpost


Hey there!  I’m blogging twice in one day, which never happens, but what better way to finish 2016 than with a good old-fashioned livetweet post?

In keeping with an old British tradition, I livetweeted a ghost story on Christmas Eve, The Phantom Coach by Amelia B. Edwards.  I know, I’d never heard of it either, but it made for a fun little read.  Here’s the lowdown:

  • the story kicks off with our first-person narrator prefacing something that apparently really happened to them twenty years ago.
  • “I want nothing explained away. I desire no arguments. My mind on this subject is quite made up” – k, wow, gosh
  • anyway, wind the clock back 20 years, and our narrator is on some desolate moor in northern England, having like the worst hunting day ever
  • it’s the (ha) tail end of grouse season, so rather fittingly, he’s… erm, grousing about the lack of grouse to be found.
  • anyway, Ye Olde Google Maps has completely failed this poor sod, so he’s stumbling about in the middle of a snowfall, looking for shelter.
  • the snowfall graduates to a snowstorm, the specter of hypothermia rears its ugly head, & meanwhile the poor sod is on about his lovely wife.
  • “We were very much in love, and, of course, very happy” – maybe rereading Lady Audley’s Secret so much lately has made me a cynic but lol.
  • sure… uh, John. sure, John.
  • “Death! I shuddered. How hard to die just now, when life lay all so bright before me!” – is everybody this extra when they have hypothermia?
  • a wild old man with a lantern appears! John is saved!*

    *probably not, given that this is a ghost story, but whatever

  • good lord, according to Lantern Guy, John is literally so lost that he’s twelve miles from the nearest village and twenty from his home
  • it’s times like this when I really see the merits of GPS tracking
  • anyway, John invites himself into Lantern Guy’s house, which in any other circumstance would be rude af, and Lantern Guy’s like lol.
  • “It ain’t o’ no use,” growled he. “He ‘ont let you in–not he.”
    “We’ll see about that,” I replied, briskly. “Who is He?”
    “The master.”
  • (anybody else hearing drumbeats?)
  • so they get to the house and there’s a dog and suddenly I’m distracted wow ANYWAY
  • “the door was heavily studded with iron nails, like the door of a prison” – okay yeah I’m sure this is TOTALLY fine
  • “my, what an assortment of nails you have on your front door, Grandma!”
    “the better to hang Christmas lights on, my dear!”
  • “In another minute he had turned the key and I had pushed past him into the house” – okay, rude
  • did he just walk into a Walmart or
  • regarding that bell:
    “‘That’s for you,’ said my guide, with a malicious grin. ‘Yonder’s his room.'”
    dun dun dunnnnnnnn
  • “I crossed over, rapped somewhat loudly, and went in, without waiting for an invitation” – OKAY, RUDE. GOSH.
  • watch, the Master will be Irish, and this whole story will be a metaphor for British colonization
  • “‘Who are you?’ said he. ‘How came you here? What do you want?'” – k like I know this guy is old & white-haired but I’m picturing Edna Mode
  • oh and our narrator finally gets a name! James Murray. cool.
  • I can finally stop referring to him as either “John” or “poor sod” in my head
  • the master: tf is this guy doing here
    Lantern Guy (whose name is Jacob, apparently): dude don’t blame me, this guy barged in
  • the master: no seriously tf are you doing here
    James: trying not to die
    the master: ……………………………fair
  • “I placed my gun in a corner, drew a chair to the hearth, and examined my quarters at leisure” – wait when did the master give you quarters
  • James. bruh. honeybruh. literally one line ago you said he “waved [you] to a seat.” you’re still in the same room.
  • and yet you’re claiming this room as “your quarters”? jfc no wonder neither the master nor Jacob likes you
  • I swear to everything if this doesn’t end up being a metaphor for colonization…
  • an incomplete list of entitled male narrators in the books I’ve tweeted:
    -Robert Audley
    -George Talboys
    -this meatbrain
  • “The whitewashed walls were in parts scrawled over with strange diagrams”
  • “shelves crowded with philosophical instruments, the uses of many of which were unknown to me” – lmao I doubt they’re actually philosophical
  • unless somebody’s invented a Platoboe and nobody thought to tell me
  • or a Voltaireinet
  • (if anyone wants to jump in here with philosophical instrument puns feel free)
  • antithesousaphone
  • I need to stop
  • BACK SORRY had to shred some things for my mom ANYWAY WHERE WERE WE
  • oh right:
    “a small organ, fantastically decorated with painted carvings of mediæval saints and devils”
    Ghostbro would be over the moon
  • idk “a long array of geological specimens, surgical preparations, crucibles, retorts, and jars of chemicals” doesn’t sound super cozy to me
  • now James is staring at the master and making it weird, because of course he is
  • “much of the ruggedness that characterises the head of Louis von Beethoven” – ok what the snot
  • I’ve been googling away for like two minutes and I can’t find a single good reason why “Louis von Beethoven” is anything other than a typo
  • “His master then closed his book, rose, and with more courtesy of manner than he had yet shown” – oh you’re a FINE one to talk about manners
  • man, I gotta hand it to the master, I would have been way too petty to give this dude ham and eggs and only eat porridge for dinner myself
  • turns out the master’s been basically a hermit for a solid 23 years and he wants James to tell him what’s up with the rest of the world
  • like…….. I love the internet, you all know this, but rn the master is honestly
  • the master is mostly interested in what new scientific discoveries have been made, and at this point I’m pretty sure he’s just Doc Brown
  • (also, like. not that it’s actually relevant at this particular juncture, but what’s with him and Jacob. are they a thing.)
  • ah yes and now he’s going on a Jekyll-like bender about how ghosts actually exist despite what science says about ’em. charming
  • exactly one Venkmanesque rant later, it’s stopped snowing! cool! James is still a good twenty miles from home, though.
  • ooooookay–here, at least, is the “coach” part of the titular “phantom coach.” the night mail coach.
  • what do they say exactly–neither sleet nor wind nor… eh, whatever, it’s something like that.
  • ahahaaaaa the master just volunteered Jacob as a tour guide for James, and Jacob’s like “dude really?”
  • “A glass of usquebaugh before you start?”
    I have no idea what that is but it sounds awful
  • HUH now this is interesting
  • and sure enough, my main squeeze says it originated from the Irish “uisce beatha”
  • oh my god yall if I was right about this Irish invasion metaphor after all I’m going to be over the MOON
  • anyway, James drinks the usquebaugh, it’s sufficiently awful, and he and Jacob are on their not-so-merry way.
  • “My thoughts were full of my late host” – if this is a pun, I swear…
  • they reach the road James needs to take to get to the mail coach and Jacob is just like
  • in what might be an attempt to make up for his truly terrible manners earlier, James gets out his wallet to pay Jacob for his trouble.
  • and Jacob’s just like “on second thought lmao”
  • oh goody, Jacob only loosened his tongue to tell James about a nasty fatal accident the night mail coach had nine years ago.
  • that totally won’t come up later as a plot point or anything. totally.
  • at any rate, James is now left to find the way to the night mail coach on his own, and he’s trying not to think of the master’s stories.
  • “I ain’t afraid of no ghost” – James, probably
  • an admirable sentiment, James, but you should definitely be afraid of hypothermia. which is setting in once more.
  • so James looks back the way he came and sees a light… and then another light.
  • sure enough, there’s the Dwolding Express, barrelling along. James manages to get it to stop for him, hops on, and off he goes.
  • nobody on this coach takes James’s conversational bait and it’s a leeeetle bit awkward
  • in news that should probably surprise no one at this point, the coach itself smells awful and looks held together with spit and prayers
  • James, poor sod, still hasn’t realized there’s a very good reason this coach smells like death. I’ll give him a pass bc of the hypothermia.
  • ooooop, the other passengers on this coach are quite literally giving him death glares, and now the penny has dropped.
  • so I guess all these guys on this ol’ hellsmobile are………….. ghost riders?
  • it’s going down
    I’m yelling timber
  • so like, obviously James lived to tell the tale, but the whole incident quite literally cracked his skull open a little
  • don’t mind me, I’m just having wild theories that the master and Jacob are the ghosts of the two passengers who died later
  • dag nabit, I just went back and counted the passengers on the hellsmobile. no cigar. that would have been diabolical af
  • missed opportunity, Amelia B. Edwards, missed frelling opportunity
  • anyway, James never told his wife any of that freaky business, the surgeon who patched him up thought he was off his rocker, the end.
  • not kidding, that’s the end of the story.
  • WHEW. anyway, it’s nearly 1 am here, so I think I’m going to turn in for the night. toodles, kiddos, and happy Hogswatch to all of you ❤

So that was fun, and I may or may not be rewriting the story in my head at the moment (honestly, the master and Jacob should have been secret ghosts or something).  Stay tuned–I may be ringing in the new year in similar fashion… 🙂  Till then, though:

Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 10.45.35 PM

Northanger Abbey, or John Thorpe Ruins Everything: The Masterpost, Part 2


(part 1)

Wow, I think this is the longest I’ve ever taken to livetweet a book.  Sorry about that, folks.  I’ll catch you up on Cate’s adventures, but first, a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:  I think I found the sister author whose identity I was wondering about!  In her essay “‘At the Crossroads’:  Sister Authors and the Sister Arts” from the book Fetter’d or Free? British Women Novelists, 1670-1815, Katrin Burlin very briefly mentions “Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda, a novel Austen singled out for praise in Northanger Abbey” (page 61).  From what she says about Belinda later in the essay, it sounds like it fits in the context of NA.  That’s the closest thing to an answer I think we’ll get.

Anyway, without further ado:  chapters 16-31!

Chapter 16 in a nutshell:  all I wanna do is *gunshot gunshot gunshot* *cha-ching* and take your money

  • so this is awkward: Cate goes to hang out with the Tilneys, and while Eleanor and the General are nice, Henry’s being a total sourpuss.
  • now Izzy’s ripping into them and I honest-to-god want to reach into this book and put duct tape over her drama-queen mouth
  • Izzy’s about to praise John’s judgment when Cate straight-up interrupts her and changes the subject
  • but whaddaya know, that night when Cate sees the Tilneys again, everything’s fine and she gets to dance with Henry.
  • oh, and look at that, Henry and Eleanor have an older brother. who, it should be noted, is less handsome than Henry.
  • “ah ha ha ha I couldn’t DANCE, it’s too UNMANLY also I am a CAPTAIN IN THE MILITARY” – this dude, basically
  • whoa wait what what what
  • right, now that that mystery [of the sister author] has been solved, let’s figure out where the heck I left off.
  • I seem to have ended on a cliffhanger of sorts
    Screen shot 2015-09-13 at 10.47.23 PM
  • let’s see what the context of that tweet was, shall we?
  • I think Calamity Jane just implied Cate is about to be quasi-kidnapped again
  • “three villains in horsemen’s greatcoats” – what do you want to bet it’s James, Izzy, and John, AGAIN
  • so now Henry and his big bro Captain Crunch are talking, and Cate’s getting a wee bit impatient
  • turns out Captain Crunch wanted to know if Izzy might like to dance with him. ooh la la
  • Henry is totally calling Cate out on thinking everyone is as chill as she is
  • and poor Cate is so confused, because she is actually the chillest and she can’t comprehend not being chill
  • so now Izzy and Captain Crunch are dancing, which weirds Cate out, because she totally though Izzy wasn’t going to dance.
  • which would make sense, I mean, what with Izzy being engaged and dancing being a metaphor for marriage, according to Henry
  • fast forward probably an hour or so, and Izzy is complaining about how much of a “rattle” Captain Crunch was
  • she claims he was REALLY pushy when trying to get her to dance- I wonder how much of that is truth and how much is her being a drama queen
  • ooh, and now we’ve got some interesting news from James – Mr. Morland will give him an allowance of 400 pounds a year, in a couple years
  • plus a decent inheritance
  • though I can’t help but wonder where the Morland family income is even coming from tbh
  • where does anybody in a Jane Austen novel get their money? is it just an endless string of inheritances?
  • in news that should surprise no one, Isabella is less than happy about, y’know, actually having a guaranteed future income
  • and okay to be fair to Izzy – I just did some calculations, and I think L400/year in 1810 would be about $27k/year in today’s money
  • not exactly the best financial situation you’d want for the beginning of your married life
  • now Izzy and her mom are talking about money, and they still manage to engage in some self-congratulatory back-patting

Chapter 17 in a nutshell:  FINALLY we get to the creepy-house part, ish

  • oh, so apparently the Allens don’t actually live in Bath. they’ve just been chilling there for a month and a half.
  • the Allens are thinking about making like trees and leaf-ing, and Cate is freaking out because she’s not done making hearteyes at Henry
  • problem solved: they’re staying for another fortnight. EXCEPT the Tilneys just decided to leave Bath. oops.
  • oh my god Eleanor is trying to invite Cate to the Abbey except she can’t get the words out and it’s adorable
  • I almost ship Cate and Eleanor more than I ship Cate and Henry
  • so General Tilney came in prematurely, all like “did she say yes?” and Eleanor was like “um I haven’t actually asked”
  • tl;dr, the General ended up asking for her, and Cate was all like “oh man if my parents say yes I’m totally in”
  • and as luck would have it, Northanger Abbey is exactly the sort of historic, atmospheric, decrepit building Cate’s wanted to visit all along

Chapter 18 in a nutshell:  sure, Jan

  • [insert a rather large break here]
  • Happy Sunday, everybody! Ready for some more Northanger Abbey, for the first time in like a month?? Of course you are.
  • looks like we’re starting at chapter 18 today. get your books, kiddos.
  • we begin the chapter with Cate not seeing Izzy for several days, which can only be a good thing
  • and of course, because she has to ruin everything, Izzy shows up at the pump-room one day wanting to talk in private with Cate.
  • poor dear sweet Cate assumes, so innocently, that Izzy looks all eager because she wants to see James. ahahaha. no.
  • in news that might have been a novelty ten chapters ago, John is in love with Cate. well, as much as he can love anybody but himself.
  • lol-ing forever at the fact that he couldn’t just tell Cate himself, he had to get his sister to do it
  • honestly, the only person for whom this is a surprise by this point is our tone-deaf heroine herself.
  • “[John’s] attentions were such as a child must have noticed.” – agreeing with Izzy makes me so uncomfortable
  • “he as good as made you an offer” – yeah he did and it was embarrassingly transparent
  • with that said, though, that still totally didn’t count as a proposal
  • @ John Thorpe:
  • Cate right now:
  • “I am the last person in the world to judge you severely” – suuuuure, Izzy.
  • lol Izzy is still under the delusion that Cate ever thought of John as anything other than a nuisance
  • “But my opinion of your brother never did alter; it was always the same.” – YEAHHHHH GO OFF CATIE
  • Cate may be as naive as a newborn deer but she still has more common sense than most teenagers: the novel
  • me @ Cate right now:
  • “You know I carry my notions of friendship pretty high” – Izzy
  • a wild Captain Tilney appears! carrying a blazing torch for Izzy, for some ungodly reason
  • lemme guess, Izzy is going to run away with him later.
  • Cate is already sick of being the third wheel here, so she’s like “hey Izzy, let’s go back to Mrs. Allen”
  • and when Izzy goes “lol no,” Cate just up and walks away. girl’s got moxie.
  • oh and she figures out immediately that Captain Tilney has a thing for Izzy. so maybe there’s hope for her after all…
  • though it should also be said that she presumes Izzy’s as blind to Cap’s affections as she was to John’s, so.

Chapter 19 in a nutshell:  every teen comedy ever

  • the next chapter begins with Cate watching Izzy like a hawk in re: the whole Captain Tilney thing. it’s kind of weird.
  • although given her concern with propriety, it’s actually also really in-character.
  • “Isabella could not be aware of the pain she was inflicting” – about that, actually
  • and now Cate is going so far as to actually speak with Henry about it, like some sort of anti-matchmaker.
  • to be fair to her, she does so in defense of James and his feelings.
  • though in my opinion, James hasn’t ever done much to deserve her going to bat for him like this
  • update: Captain Tilney’s first name is Frederick. it fits him, somehow.
  • apologies if any of you are named Frederick.
  • ahahahaha Henry just subtly accused Cate of meddling too much
  • and like… he isn’t wrong, necessarily
  • aww, and now Henry is actually doing a pretty good job of reassuring Cate. the boy does have his moments.
  • and the chapter closes with everything being about 93% okay. we’ll see if that holds up.

Chapter 20 in a nutshell:  what a cozy little abbey this is after all

  • are we actually going to the Abbey in chapter 20? dare I hope?
  • Cate is joining the Tilneys, save for Frederick, at a pre-travel breakfast, and now I’m hungry. thanks a lot, Calamity Jane.
  • the Tilneys are so solicitous and Cate is really uncomfortable, and in this moment I feel like she’s all of Tumblr
  • oh good, looks like we’ve got another drama queen on hand in the form of General Tilney.
  • Frederick is late to breakfast and the General goes full Patton on him
  • the bit where they’re actually packing up and going reminds me so much of the Weasleys’ journey to King’s Cross in Chamber of Secrets
  • oh my god, the General is acting like every middle-aged white lady with the can-I-speak-to-a-manager haircut
  • for the next leg of the journey to Northanger, Cate and Henry get to ride in the second carriage alone. OOH GURL.
  • also, they made their pit stop in a place called Petty France, and I’ll be giggling about that for the foreseeable future
  • Henry, unlike hi-I’m-John-Thorpe-and-this-is-Jackass, proves to be a perfectly responsible carriage driver.
  • Henry: gosh, you’re… um, really excited about living in a possibly haunted old house.
    Cate: *completely unironically* yeah!
  • Henry, you turd, you’re having way too much fun with this
  • okay but this is actually hilarious though
  • “…on one side perhaps the remains of a broken lute, on the other a ponderous chest which no efforts can open…” brb snorting
  • Henry is quite possibly an even bigger geek than Cate is
  • “‘Oh, Mr. Tilney, how frightful! This is just like a book!'” – as much as I like to think Cate’s just playing along…
  • seriously, if she’d had a mind to try, I have no doubt Calamity Jane here could have written a hair-raiser of a Gothic novel
  • “The breeze had not seemed to waft the sighs of the murdered to her” – JANE
  • filed under “I wish I had come up with that line”
  • tl;dr the Tilneys have gone all Property Brothers on the abbey and Cate is disappointed.
  • I feel like Cate would fit right in with the Addams family or the Munsters
  • oh my god, though, Cate is basically Marilyn Munster and I won’t be able to look at this book the same ever again
  • so then Eleanor takes Cate to her room, and that’s the end of the chapter.

Chapter 21 in a nutshell:  something wicked this way might possibly be coming. or maybe that’s just the wind.

  • Cate’s quarters are perfectly normal in every way… except for the large, mysterious chest in the corner. hoboy.
  • of course, our daring heroine endeavors to open the chest, to… erm, limited success.
  • “having slipped one arm into her gown, her toilette seemed so nearly finished” – in which Cate is every college student ever
  • I have absolutely been there and done that in the not-so-distant past
  • there was one particularly intense finals week during which I put jeans on over sweatpants on Monday, bc it was effing cold out (1/2)
  • (2/2) and then I ended up not having the time or inclination to abandon that setup for another three days, and I think that sums up college
  • just as Cate gets the chest open, Eleanor comes in. awk.
  • the chest’s contents are, as it turns out, a “white cotton counterpane”… what precisely is that?
    • update:  some kind of blanket
  • by the time Eleanor and Cate make it downstairs, the General is can-I-speak-to-a-manager-ing at his own house staff. wunderbar.
  • in this way, at least, the abbey has something of a Gothic aspect – the sinister father figure.
  • everybody, including me, @ General Tilney:
  • it’s a dark and stormy night, and Catie is far too happy about that
  • Cate is the sort of person who would purposely buy a haunted house
  • in modern times, Cate would probably be one of the stars on Ghost Adventures
  • she’d fit right in with the American family of Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost”
  • relevant at this juncture:
  • oh and would you look at that, there’s an ebony cabinet in this room – the sort that Henry described earlier.
  • Cate manages to get the cabinet open after a fashion and finds… another locked compartment.
  • ooh, there’s a piece of paper with mysterious writing on it… again, as Henry mentioned.
  • her candle went out before she could read the paper.
  • and with this latest harrowing development, our courageous heroine… erm, leaps into bed and hides under her ample bedcovers, shivering.

Chapter 22 in a nutshell:  everything is awkward

  • when we left off, it had been a dark and stormy night, and Catie got so freaked out that she hid under her covers.
  • so what was this mysterious manuscript hidden in the desk, at which she had felt so apprehensive?
  • a laundry list. literally.
  • so now Cate is all like
  • so anyway, Catie gets dressed and goes down to the breakfast room all like “haha, I was so freaked last night, NO ONE MUST KNOW.”
  • Henry’s the only one in the breakfast room at the moment. prime flirting opportunity for Cate, right? right?????
  • “your sister taught me to love hyacinths” – basically what Catie just said to Henry
  • especially given the mythology behind hyacinths… that’s kinda gay, Catie. just a bit.
  • god help me, though, I ship it
  • “…you may in time come to love a rose?” – Henry “smooth af” Tilney
  • although I should add that this was prefaced by “but now you love a hyacinth”…
  • it’s like Henry can’t decide whether he ships Cate with himself or his sister. #same, Henry, #same
  • BUT ANYWAY, Henry’s great line is completely lost on Catherine “oblivious cinnamon roll” Morland
  • so she really wasn’t being purposely clueless to avoid John’s come-ons – she genuinely has no idea when anybody is flirting with her
  • to which I can only say: same tbh
  • “The mere habit of learning to love is the thing… Has my sister a pleasant mode of instruction?” – oh my god, Henry, make up your mind
  • Henry “multishipper” Tilney
  • a wild General Tilney appears! hopefully he doesn’t can-I-speak-to-a-manager anyone in this chapter
  • ……..well, he’s not going all middle-aged-white-lady on anyone just yet, but he *is* prattling on about his breakfast set
  • he and John Thorpe really would get along splendidly
  • aww, and now Henry has to go to his bachelor pad in Woodston. looks like he won’t get to be smooth in Cate’s direction for a few days.
  • blah blah blah, General Tilney is prattling on again
  • sorry, dude, I doubt Cate is silent because she agrees with you – I’m pretty sure she just doesn’t care
  • General Tilney is SUPER EAGER to show Cate the grounds. like, it’s a little weird.
  • on the bright side, the grounds genuinely sound idyllic.
  • also apparently Eleanor tagged along on this walk but it wasn’t obvious for a couple pages. ok then
  • oh my god, now Cate is describing Mr. Allen’s v much lacking garden, and General Tilney is totally having schadenfreude
  • like calm down, bruh, this isn’t HGTV
  • anyway, Cate and Eleanor go down a gloomy forest path and leave the General to his self-congratulating or whatever
  • “‘I am particularly fond of this spot,’ said [Eleanor]… ‘It was my mother’s favourite walk.'”
  • which was basically Catie’s reaction too, actually
  • Cate is bombarding Eleanor with questions now.
  • oh lord, now Cate is convincing herself that General Tilney was cruel to his dear departed wife…
  • (I mean, from what I read in the prologue, she’s probably not wrong, but her justification for it is flimsy af)
  • (side note, reading the prologue was a mistake)
  • anyway, they run into the General again and go back to the abbey, jiggity jig
  • the General doesn’t want Eleanor to take Cate ’round the abbey without him, which weirds Cate out
  • more than likely, he just wants to brag about every single piece of furniture he owns
  • here’s hoping chapter 23 is at least slightly more interesting than a self-aggrandizing HGTV show

Chapter 23 in a nutshell:  I never thought I’d say this, but I almost miss John Thorpe

  • chapter 23 starts out with the General returning from his ego-massaging
  • ahahahahahah I was totally right about General Tilney just wanting to brag about his house
  • “…all minuteness of praise, all praise that had much meaning, was supplied by the general…”
  • it’s like an episode of Cribs
  • “hi, I’m General Tilney, and this is MTV Cribs. welcome to my abbey”
  • Cate is mildly disappointed by the abbey… she would be one of those impossibly hard-to-please people on House Hunters
  • oh good, now General Tilney is waxing lyrical about the improvements he’s made to the kitchen. I wonder if his wife died of boredom.
  • the fourth wing of the abbey was demolished a long time ago because it was a literal hazard and Cate is still like
  • wow wow wow, Eleanor tried to show Cate some room or another in the house and the General just about bit her head off
  • “I was going to take you into what was my mother’s room – the room in which she died-” ohhhhhh. that explains it.
  • poor Eleanor
  • oh my god, Eleanor just said her mom died of a brief illness, and Cate’s imagination is still going wild
  • I fear we may have a raging paranoiac on our hands
  • oh thank god, it’s bedtime in the Tilney house. this chapter has seemed interminable
  • “I have many pamphlets to finish… and perhaps may be poring over the affairs of the nation for hours” – how utterly riveting, General
  • and Cate is just like
  • Cate fancies Mrs. Tilney secretly alive and locked up like Bertha Rochester – I wonder if this influenced Charlotte Bronte?
  • the chapter closes with Cate fast asleep, visions of imprisoned wives and cruel husbands surely dancing in her head

Chapter 24 in a nutshell:

  • when we left off: Cate = human version of a pika, General “can I speak to a manager?” Tilney, basically this part is like Regency-era HGTV
  • (and that’s what you missed on Glee!)
  • (god)
  • the chapter opens on a beautiful, not-haunted Sunday–oh good lord, they have to go to TWO church services? I could barely sit through one
  • there’s an epitaph for Mrs. Tilney in the family chapel and apparently it’s the sweetest thing ever
  • for a second Cate is all “aw how nice” and then her Criminal-Minds-bingewatching nature kicks in again, as per usual
  • oh my effing god, now Cate is hypothesizing that there’s a fake body in Mrs. Tilney’s coffin.
  • Cate, honey, I adore you but you need help
  • next morning, Cate asks Eleanor straight-up, “hey can we see your dead mum’s rooms?” what a good friend. wow.
  • okay to be fair, though, now that she sees Eleanor looking all doom-and-gloom, she genuinely seems concerned.
  • fiddlesticks, the General came back just as they were about to go into the actual rooms. talk about a party pooper.
  • Cate is outta there like a bat outta hell, and she proceeds to spend the next hour cowering in her room, going OMG DID HE SEE ME
  • thankfully, the General didn’t seem to see her. or, at least, he’s too distracted by the presence of guests to care.
  • “visitors? did you mean people to show my house off to?” – General Tilney at some point, probably
  • great, now Cate is planning to go to Mrs. Tilney’s room alone. secretly. that’s going to turn out SO WELL.
  • in news that should surprise absolutely no one at this point, Mrs. Tilney’s former room looks completely normal.
  • I mean, yeah, somebody died in here, but other than that it’s an airbnb listing ready to be made
  • Cate makes it out of the room without incident BUT THEN–
  • a wild Henry Tilney appears! several hours ahead of schedule!
  • Cate just up and admits to Henry that she was poking around Mrs. Tilney’s room. girl’s got more gumption than I do, I’ll give her that.
  • oooooohhhhhhh I didn’t remember this part, but apparently Izzy promised to write Cate a lot, and she totally hasn’t done so.
  • so much the better tbh. like, I miss Izzy’s outrageous antics but I don’t miss her on Cate’s behalf, y’know?
  • according to Henry, his mother suffered from a “bilious fever.” whatever that means.
  • now Henry is shattering all Cate’s illusions about General Tilney’s relationship with the late Mrs. Tilney. good. awk, but good.
  • oh man oh man, ish is getting real
  • Henry rn:
  • he is smacking her down so thoroughly it’s actually getting uncomfortable

Chapter 25 in a nutshell:

  • and with that, Catherine Morland’s emotional low point has officially been reached
  • as is her wont, Cate comes back from the pits of despair rather quickly, though she’s still very much humbled
  • god love her, Cate might be naive af but she’s still smart enough to recognize that reading so many Gothic novels got her wound up
  • oh my god
    “human nature isn’t at all like Radcliffe’s novels say… well, maybe in France it is” – Cate just now, basically
  • Calamity Jane strikes again
  • it got better
    “yeah maybe humans are horrible on mainland Europe but not in England… k maybe they’re horrible in the north and west too”
  • but central England, man, that’s the friggin moral bastion of the country!
  • lord, now I would dearly love to know what forces of politics might have induced Calamity Jane to write this
  • also I find it hilarious that Cate’s newfound faith in the good of the English is the very thing that’ll be questioned in Victorian Gothic
  • oh and through all of this, Henry is being a complete gentleman about the whole thing. the kid can stay.
  • Izzy still hasn’t written, and Cate’s really got a bee in her bonnet about it
  • “…when [Izzy] promised a thing, she was so scrupulous in performing it!”
    uh, Cate, are we even talking about the same person here?
  • ffs, Izzy’s middle name might as well be Caprice
  • Isabella “Contradicts Herself In Every Other Sentence” Thorpe
  • actually, I can do myself one better: Isabella “Hypocrite” Thorpe
  • like I know you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer, Cate, but come *on*
  • a letter finally arrives!!!!!!!… from James.
    cue the sad trombones.
  • OH HERE IT IS: “…everything is at an end between Miss Thorpe and me.”
  • finally James is realizing that Cate is a way better person than Izzy ever was. about time, my man
  • “She has made me miserable forever!”
    ok calm down Lemony Snicket I promise it’ll be okay
  • lmao dude just casually drops the bomb that Izzy is now engaged to Captain Crunch aka Frederick Tilney
  • “I dread the sight of [John Thorpe];…”
    “…his honest heart would feel so much”
  • Cate rn:
  • also Cate rn:
  • (side note, it took me WAY TOO LONG to find those gifs)
  • bless them, Henry and Eleanor are legit trying to help Cate out
  • meanwhile Cate is just like “lemme just fly into the sun, it’s fine”
  • at first Cate is all “no I won’t burden you with this terrible thing” but we all know how bad she is at keeping secrets soooooo
  • “[Izzy] must be an unprincipled one, or she could not have used your brother so.” – Eleanor f’n Tilney, pulling no punches
  • oh apparently Frederick heretofore “found no woman good enough to be loved.”
  • “I am afraid she will be very constant, unless a baronet should come in her way; that is Frederick’s only chance.”
  • neither of the Tilney siblings are anywhere near the general area of messing around
  • Henry clearly shipped Izzy/Cate more than Cate did herself
  • on the bright side, group therapy with the Tilneys made Cate feel a lot better about the whole situation.
  • see, that’s what you get when you hang out with people who aren’t *completely toxic*

Chapter 26 in a nutshell:  we finally get to see Henry Tilney’s Super Rad Bachelor Pad and it’s actually legitimately super rad

  • a new day dawns and the Tilneys/Cate are still hella salty about Izzy ditching James for Frederick aka Captain Crunch
  • both the Tilney siblings agree that Izzy’s relative lack of wealth stands a good chance of ending this whole circus once and for all
  • and on the one hand Cate’s like HA, KARMA but on the other hand she’s like “wait I’m not that rich either…”
  • but it’s okay, she thinks she still has a chance with Henry because the General likes her! (ha) (I’ve read the foreword)
  • neither Henry nor Eleanor thinks Freddy will actually ask the General for his consent to the marriage. yikes.
  • I’m legitimately not sure what the least prudent decision would be here: telling the General or not telling the General
  • Cate: maybe we should tell your dad about this
    Henry: are you kidding? Freddy doesn’t need us to make a fool of him, he can do that himself
  • meanwhile the General is oblivious and I’m just like
  • Henry and the General are making plans for some sort of dude dinner date now. mutton is involved.
  • lord and the General just spent half a page going over his busy busy schedule. dude that’s what Google Calendar is for
  • oh great, and now that the dude dinner date has been set, Henry has to leave Northanger for a time. for dude reasons.
  • (I mean, I can only assume, till I turn the page.)
  • anyway, Henry leaves, Catie is all up in those doldrums, and so is Eleanor kinda
  • several days pass, and the Dude Dinner Date is upon us!**apparently this dinner also includes Cate and Eleanor, I was mistaken
  • at any rate, the General and Cate and Eleanor are going to join Henry in this little hamlet called Woodston.
  • the General is so over Woodston already, but Cate is legit falling in love with this town
  • Cate is almost more in love with Henry’s house than she is with him
  • do I make the Hot Rod reference or don’t I?…
  • “…she was too guarded to say so [that she likes Henry’s house], and the coldness of her praise disappointed him.”
    I mean.
  • lololol now Henry is so nervous about what Cate thinks of his house that he’s spouting off at the mouth about it
  • Henry’s Magical Mystery Tour has moved on now, to an unfurnished drawing room
  • “It is the prettiest room I ever saw; it is the prettiest room in the world!” ah, there’s that trademark Cate Morland sincerity
  • oh my god. after saying this drawing room “waits only for a lady’s taste,” the General is now asking Cate how it should be furnished.
  • I spy a shipper…
  • Cate gets to spend part of the afternoon playing with puppies and I’m suddenly so jealous
  • puppies are played with, dinner is had, and all in all, Cate has an extraordinarily pleasant day free of toxic friend antics.


Chapter 27 in a nutshell:  @ Izzy

  • HEY HI HELLO WHO’S UP FOR MORE NORTHANGER ABBEY. you are. of course you are. that’s why I love y’all.
  • I’ve only got this much left. I CAN CONQUER THIS.
  • alright, where was I–oh right, Henry Tilney has puppies and Cate got to play with them. eat your heart out, Darcy.
  • chapter 27 ahoy!
  • Y’ALL. Izzy FINALLY wrote Cate. this should be good.
  • Izzy’s trying to handwave away her own lack of correspondence and I’m just like
  • the Thorpes are leaving Bath the next day, apparently. cue everybody who’s ever met John Thorpe breathing a sigh of relief.
  • “I believe if I could see you I should not mind the rest, for you are dearer to me than anybody can conceive.”
  • oh mannnn. Izzy says she hasn’t heard from James since he went to Oxford and is “fearful of some misunderstanding.”
  • blah blah blah, Izzy’s yammering about how terrible the latest fashions are, whatever I don’t care–oh she just brought up Captain Crunch.
  • she claims to “abhor” our favorite Frederick.
  • “He is the greatest coxcomb I ever saw” –
  • “Pray send me some news of [James]–I am quite unhappy about him”
  • “…a line from himself to me, or a call at Putney when next in town, might set all to rights” –
  • and of course, it wouldn’t be a letter from Izzy without a humblebrag about how hot she is.
  • bless Cate Morland’s heart, though–she isn’t swayed for a minute by Izzy’s letter. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. ❤
  • “…she made known to [Henry] and Eleanor their brother’s safety, congratulating them with sincerity on it” – WOWWWW. SAVAGE, CATE.
  • “I do not think Isabella has any heart to lose” – DANG, CATIE.
  • “But your mind is warped by an innate principle of general integrity” – Henry coming in with the slightly backhanded compliment

Chapter 28 in a nutshell:

  • the General has to go to London for a week. oh, the tragedy!
  • “…he left Northanger earnestly regretting that any necessity should rob him even for an hour of Miss Morland’s company…” – okay then
  • General Tilney, basically:
  • but hey, while he’s gone, Cate and Henry and Eleanor get to actually have fun!
  • General Tilney is that parent who makes an itinerary down to the minute for every family vacation
  • now Cate is worrying that she’s overstaying her welcome. honey, I’m pretty sure the General would be thrilled if you stayed forever.
  • if only because having the human version of a sitcom audience around at all times would do wonders for his already overinflated ego.
  • anyway, Cate brings up the subject with Eleanor and is subsequently reassured that she’s totally not overstaying her welcome at all
  • that exchange, pretty much:
  • Cate, thus emboldened, continues making hearteyes at Henry.
  • aw man, Henry has to go to Woodston for a bit to play with his puppies.
  • but Cate and Eleanor have a fun girls’ night at the Abbey, so it’s all good.
  • so the girls are alone at the Abbey when a carriage pulls up. DUN DUN DUNNNNN
  • Eleanor thinks it’s Frederick. oh boy oh boy oh boy, this oughta be good.
  • so Eleanor goes down to greet their surprise guest, and Cate is anxious all over again.
  • “don’t make it weird” – Cate to herself, basically
  • oh crap, y’all, Eleanor is back and she does NOT look happy
  • and Cate “obliged her to be seated, rubbed her temples with lavender-water, and hung over her with affectionate solicitude.”
  • Eleanor can barely bear to say what she came here to say. Cate is like OMG DID SOMETHING GO WRONG AT WOODSTON
  • ooooohhhhhhhhh. turns out this visitor is General Tilney himself, back early from London.
  • the General totes forgot that the fam was supposed to visit some other acquaintance for a fortnight, and they’ve gotta jet like now.
  • which means Cate’s gotta jet as well. Eleanor is… like… weirdly torn up about this.
  • Cate: oh well that kinda sucks but it’s okay–dude, seriously, chill
    Eleanor: *wibbly lip*
  • Eleanor Tilney is the world’s shyest sweetest most awkward lesbian ever, pass it on
  • literally I’m so attached to that headcanon. I can’t deal with these feels
  • oh my god. turns out the General is sending Cate away tomorrow at 7 in a carriage, with no servant to accompany her. no ifs, ands, or buts.
  • so that’s why Eleanor is so upset, at least in part–the incivility of it all. ok girl I gotcha now
  • apparently the General is in quite the state, and both Cate and Eleanor are at a loss for why. Cate’s afraid she offended him in some way.
  • tbh one of the General’s London friends probably just insulted his interior decorating Pinterest board
  • poor Catie doesn’t get a wink of sleep that night, and this time it’s not because of possible ghosts.
  • now Cate is having a miserable breakfast, thinking mainly about how she’s in hearteyes with Henry and won’t get to say goodbye to him.
  • Eleanor is now pleading with Cate to write to her–wait wait wait, Ellie, what do you mean “under cover to Alice”?
  • is Eleanor not even allowed to receive a letter from Cate??? what the dickens is the General’s problem?!

Chapter 29 in a nutshell:  @ Mrs. Morland and Mrs. Allen

  • chapter 29 begins with Cate being completely miserable in her carriage.
  • ooooohhhhhhhhhh gurl, the route is going to take her past Woodston. I think I see where this is going.
  • they’re approaching Woodston, and now Cate is second-guessing everything that happened when she and the Tilneys visited Henry’s pad.
  • “ya but did the General REALLY ship it” – Cate, basically
  • oh and now Cate’s wondering if somehow the General found out about her paranoia in re: him and his late wife.
  • but she and Henry were the only ones who knew about that, right, and surely Henry isn’t THAT much of a jerk?
  • personally I wonder if the whole thing doesn’t have something to do with the Izzy-James-Frederick love triangle
  • oh darn it, the carriage went right past Woodston. and here I was hoping Henry would see it and stop it so he could confess his hearteyes.
  • god, poor Cate. she’s super not looking forward to going home.
  • Cate pulls up to her house and her whole family comes out to greet her, and for a while she’s happy again.
  • aaaaand then she has to tell her parents what just happened.
  • “yeah that dude’s cray” – the Morlands, basically
  • “…you always were a sad little shatter-brained creature” – Mrs. Morland. EXCUSE YOU WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY ABOUT MY BB CATE
  • that’s it I officially hate Mrs. Morland bye
  • man, she went from “yeah General Tilney is cray” to insulting her own daughter in like .2 seconds. I’ve got whiplash
  • I’m hereby appointing myself captain of the Catherine Morland Defense Squad
  • next morning, Cate tries to write to Eleanor and has the worst kind of writer’s block.
  • Mrs. Morland: lol I hope you make better friends next time
    Cate: No friend can be better worth keeping than Eleanor.*
  • Cate is so ride or die for Eleanor I love it
  • oh boy, now Mrs. Morland is on about the whole Izzy disaster.
  • I guess Cate and Mrs. Morland are out on a walk, bc they just ran into the Allens.
  • the Allens are suitably peeved about how General Tilney treated Cate, so they’ve redeemed themselves a little in my eyes
  • oh my god, Mrs. Allen is literally just repeating what her hubby says and then changing the subject to her clothes.
  • some things never change
  • pffft they leave the Allens and Mrs. Morland immediately goes “see, THOSE are the types of people you should keep around”
  • TWO MORE CHAPTERS LEFT. I can do this.

Chapter 30 in a nutshell:

  • Cate is mopey af and Mrs. Morland isn’t having any of it anymore
  • “Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time” – Mrs. Morland
  • “literally shut tf up about the bread at Northanger already” – Mrs. Morland, basically
  • subtlety is not Mrs. Morland’s strong suit: the novel
  • why do I get the feeling Mrs. Morland would be addicted to self-help books
  • good lord, Cate is still being fidgety so Mrs. Morland literally gets up and goes to find the book she was just talking about
  • “…anxious to lose no time in attacking so dreadful a malady” – god, Mrs. Morland, could you slow your roll for approximately two seconds
  • somebody needs to find their chill, like now, and it isn’t Cate
  • OH MY GOD. Y’ALL. while Mrs. Morland was upstairs looking for her Regency Eat Pray Love book or w/e, Henry showed up!
  • ME RN:
  • that’s my boy
  • Henry wanted to make absolutely sure Cate had gotten home safely after what had happened. I am dead.
  • lmao now Mrs. Morland is trying to pretend she didn’t lump Henry and Eleanor in with the General like who do you think you’re fooling
  • Catie is so happy, y’all. my bb.
  • after a small awkward silence, Henry asks if the Allens are in town and Mrs. Morland does a Stephen Douglas by way of answering him
  • so now Cate and Henry are walking over to the Allens’, supposedly so that Henry can fist-bump them or w/e. yeah sure.
  • if “let’s take a turn about the room” is Austen code for “I’m a two-faced snake,” “let’s go for a walk” is code for “let’s get married”
  • they’re DTR-ing, y’all. this is happening.
  • …ffs, Calamity Jane
  • whatever. they’re still engaged. Cate is free forever from hi-I’m-John-Thorpe-and-this-is-Jackass. my ship is damaged but it still sails.
  • oh my god we’re finally getting an explanation for General Tilney’s awfulness
  • y’all. General Tilney thought Cate was much richer than she actually was, so that’s why he was shipping her and Henry so hard.
  • and apparently when he realized she wasn’t rolling in it, the only sensible course of action was… to kick her out.
  • but you know what, whatever, Cate and Henry are canon, so SUCK IT GENERAL
  • “John Thorpe had first misled him” – today on Literally Everything Is John Thorpe’s Fault…
  • omg. the General asked John if he knew Cate, and John was so sure he was going to marry Cate that he lied about her wealth, so he could brag
  • John Thorpe and his fratboy ego ruined everything: the novel
  • tbh General Tilney sort of brought this on himself, though. dude didn’t even think to google the Morlands before he got all shippy.
  • say it with me, kids: this is why you always check Snopes
  • and the whole time, Cate and Henry and Eleanor had no idea, though Henry began to suspect something was afoot.
  • it gets better: the General ran into John again later, and John was so pissed that Cate rejected him that he was like “dude I was kidding.”
  • god almighty, what a comedy of errors.
  • or wait, no, John blamed all his previous statements on James. of course. why did I suspect anything else.
  • so, tl;dr, General Tilney may not have murdered his wife in cold blood, but he’s still a top-notch a-hole.
  • as is John, but we all knew that already.
  • anyway, when the General explained all this to Henry, he was like SUBMIT TO MY WILL and Henry was just
  • oh my god oh my god the General literally invented that family vacation as an excuse to get Cate tf out of his sight. WOW.
  • that was wild from start to finish

Chapter 31 in a nutshell:  FINALLY

  • the Morlands may not be the best in-laws ever, but at least they’re okay with Cate and Henry becoming canon
  • (side note, do they have a ship name? I feel like this is crucial)
  • “Catherine would make a sad, heedless young housekeeper to be sure” – OKAY YOU CAN STOP TALKING NOW, MRS. MORLAND
  • oh boy, they still have to ask the General if it’s okay for them to become canon, though.
  • “lmao I still don’t ship it, sorry” – the General, basically
  • and thus the ship wars continue
  • bawwwwwwww but now Henry and Cate are secretly writing letters to each other
  • and the Morlands at least have the tact to look the other way
  • oh thank god, the General eventually loosens up… because Eleanor marries a genuinely rich guy.
  • like as far as I’m concerned she’s still gay as heck but at least she’s out from under the General’s thumb
  • “okay sure I guess you two aren’t my notp anymore” – the General to Cate and Henry after Eleanor’s marriage
  • so basically Eleanor married Prince Charming
  • “Any further definition of his merits must be unnecessary; the most charming young man in the world is instantly before… us all.” – JANE.
  • HA. turns out Prince Charming’s servant is the one who left behind all the washing-bills that scared Cate so much on her first night at NA.
  • daaaaaaang, Eleanor is a viscountess now. movin’ on up.
  • lmao so John lied just as badly about the Morlands’ fortune the second time he met the General. they’re middle-class af.
  • ahahaha the General’s consent comes in the form of “a page full of empty professions to Mr. Morland.” keepin’ it classy.
  • anyway the ship is canon and everybody’s going to live happily ever after. except Izzy and John, because screw them.

And there you have it!  I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.  I don’t think I’ll be livetweeting another book for a bit, because I’ve got a lot on my plate right now (what with this whole moving-to-Canada thing).  However, when I do eventually return, I’ll be tackling The Woman in White... 🙂

Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 10.45.35 PM

Beautiful Objects: Fathers, Daughters, and 2013 Animated Movies


So it looks like Hotel Transylvania is getting a sequel.  I’ll be honest:  every reminder of that simple fact sets my teeth on edge.  Heck, my teeth are on edge right now just from writing this.

But why? you might be asking.  Well, as it so happens, I’ve just rediscovered a thing I wrote back in 2013 about this precise subject!  I’ve cleaned it up a little bit and gif-ified it.  Here goes:

In a nutshell, movies like Hotel Transylvania and The Croods infantilize their teenage female characters by sympathizing unduly with their overbearing and at times creepy fathers.

Hotel Transylvania, I’d say, is the more egregious example of the two. The entire movie was basically Dracula and Johnny running around, getting into trouble, and discussing Mavis without her actually being present. Drac in particular made a concerted effort to keep Mavis in the dark about everything… in multiple senses of the word, actually, if you’ll forgive the vampire pun.

source: findsomethingtofightfor

For goodness’ sake, he specifically creates a fake town of scary humans so that Mavis would be tricked into thinking the human world was really as bad as he’d always made it out to be.  And it works, too.  She runs back to Daddy’s castle and Daddy’s loving arms, and Drac is satisfied.

source: giphy

That is an unbelievably low, manipulative thing for Drac to do.  But the film doesn’t focus nearly as much as it should on how wrong that is. Instead, we get an entire movie’s worth of borderline-fawning character development for Drac.  “Oh nooooo, my tiny helpless baby girl might have her own ideas!  What a tragedy!”

Screen shot 2015-08-11 at 6.54.26 PM

This might have been more forgivable if Mavis had gotten just as much character development, but her agency throughout most of the movie is blatantly disregarded. She’s just kind of clueless (not of her own volition, either, like I mentioned), and the movie and all its characters seem far more concerned with Drac’s feelings than hers. Good grief, people, if this is going to be a story about a girl gaining agency and becoming a full-fledged adult (which it REALLY should have been), then she needs to be the frickin’ heart and soul of that story.

source: btvs-reaction-gifs

The Croods is in this same vein, but the theme of a father losing power over his daughter is sort of a sub-theme of the larger story: a set-in-his-ways patriarch falling in the face of change. That doesn’t excuse, however, the crappy way this film handled the Eep/Guy romance, and just Eep in general.

source: candacedoesgifs.


For one thing, all Eep’s character development (which really wasn’t much, compared to Grug’s) was related somehow to the men in her life – her repressed-emotion relationship with her dad, her obvious crush on Guy, her bickering relationship with her brother. I can’t recall one scene in the movie where Eep had a quality conversation with her mom or grandma, or even where she played with Sandy or something.


Regarding Eep/Guy, it felt as if Guy and Grug were competing to be the dominant man in Eep’s eyes, which is weird and creepy on a lot of levels. Another disturbing thing is that Grug’s systematic denial of Eep’s agency was often played for laughs – I’m thinking in particular of the scene where Grug shoves Guy-trapped-in-a-log away from Eep and sleeps between them. Just from the way that’s framed, you can tell that’s meant to be funny, but to me it was literally the exact opposite of funny.

source: Pinterest

Yes, the entire concept of the movie is kind of that Grug is really overbearing. But he still gets much more quality character development than Eep does, and that sucks.


But you know what?  Epic actually had a far healthier model of a father-daughter relationship than either of the above movies.


This one, in case you had no idea what I was talking about.

I won’t deny that it had its own problems – the fridging of the only black character, the subsequent damsel-in-distress-ness of that seed-fetus-thing, and the repeated apparently-comedic come-ons from those two slugs come to mind immediately.


Seriously, whose idea was it to kill off Beyoncé’s character?!

But Professor Bomba was the farthest thing from overbearing when it came to his daughter M.K. He assumed at the beginning that M.K. would be all too willing to help him research his mysterious forest creatures, but (1) that seems to have stemmed more from a scientist’s obsession than anything, and (2) once M.K. told him she wasn’t interested, he backed right off.

source: wbpictures

M.K. is never fridged, either – her disappearance definitely advances Bomba’s character development, but it also facilitates her doing her own thing, having her own adventure. That’s something neither Mavis nor Eep really gets to do. The fact that Bomba was right about the Leafmen’s existence does imply a sort of father-knows-best attitude, but that’s mitigated in a sense by the presence of scientific inquiry rather than just a deep-seated and ill-supported belief. Furthermore, Bomba is shown to be perfectly fine with M.K. and Nod’s relationship – no overbearing-ness here.

Now that is how you dad.


Somehow, though, I doubt ol’ Drac Attack is going to learn that before movie #2.


And with that…

Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 10.45.35 PM

P.S. Speaking of Drac Attack, I swear I’ll get around to finishing Dracula soon!  I’ve been toiling away at job applications lately, but I’ll try to go back to livetweeting this weekend.


Return of the Gothic Livetweet: Special Double Feature Edition!


Yes, you read that right – I’m back at this Gothic fiction game!  Well, sort of – I’m at the Denver Publishing Institute until August 8, so that’s occupying a lot of my time, but I managed to cross both “Roger Malvin’s Burial” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” off my checklist last night.  Terrible jokes about the Bourne trilogy and lots of entirely-too-appropriate Spotify tracks ensued.

First up, let’s tackle Malvin:

  • so this is a bit of a departure from Victorian Gothic, actually – it’s Hawthorne, so maybe Puritan Gothic?
  • “Puritan Gothic” is actually a really good description of stories like “Young Goodman Brown”
  • anyway, SCENE: 1725, some sort of battle “for the defence of the frontiers”
  • oh and apparently like everybody died in this battle. cool. way to start a story, Nate
  • oh oh, and apparently it’s all okay because this bloodbath “broke the strength of a tribe.”
  • I’m not familiar enough with Hawthorne to know if he’ll really fly in the face of colonization tropes… tbh I’m not too hopeful
  • so basically Nate is making the next inspirational war movie with a “based on a true story” subtitle
  • first stage directions: it’s a sunny day, the birds are chirping, and a couple guys have just rebandaged their wounds. y’know, standard.
  • our characters in this drama include an old guy who’s, like, really wounded. guessing this is Roger Malvin.
  • “Languor and exhaustion now sat upon his haggard features” – believe it or not, Nate, I would have gotten the point with just one of those
  • and the younger one is having PTSD dreams. poor kid.
  • or wait, I guess the battle has already happened?
  • UPDATE: Kiddo’s name is Reuben. and darn it, now I’m hungry
  • the weird part is I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually had a reuben sandwich in my life
  • Roger has totally achieved Zen Master status in re: his imminent death. Lil Reuben Sandwich is having NONE of it.
  • I can’t decide whether I’m glad or disappointed that we skipped right to the equivalent of the scene in Cap 1 where Dr. Erskine dies
  • when does this get creepy
  • Roger: FLY, YOU FOOL
    Reuben: lol nice try
  • Roger’s dying wishes: “literally just leave my corpse here to rot, it’ll be fine”
  • “when friends stand round the bed, even women may die composedly” – thanks, Mr. Sandwich, for your words of wisdom
  • omg his full name is Reuben Bourne
  • still going to call him Sandwich, probably
  • oooooohhhhhhhh boy, turns out Roger is Sandwich’s father-in-law
  • basically all that’s going on here is a lot of manpain
  • Roger: lol maybe I’ll recover
    Sandwich: AHHHH MAYBE OMG!!!!!!!!!!
    Roger: dude I was kidding, I’m totally going to die
  • and of course Roger’s backstory involves being captured by some indigenous tribe in Canada, of *course*
  • wow, Roger. planting false hope in poor little Sandwich’s heart to get him to go away. dang.
  • oop, Roger just modified his dying wishes – he wants Sandwich to come back and bury him after all
  • ~follow for more soft Native American superstition~
    Screen shot 2015-07-23 at 10.22.16 PM
  • so Sandwich leaves but then sneaks back again to spy on Roger’s communion with nature or whatever
  • everything goes wrong on his journey home. our boy Sandwich has all the luck.
  • seriously, this is some Odyssey-style ish
  • but like Odysseus, Sandwich Boy eventually manages to wash up on his own doorstep, where his wife is waiting.
  • “They conveyed him to the nearest settlement, which chanced to be that of his own residence.” – how convenient
  • *insert Sandwich being in a coma for several days*
  • Dorcas (the wife): Honey, what happened to my dad?
  • or wait, never mind, I guess Sandwich and Dorcas aren’t married yet
  • Sandwich told Dorcas that he’d buried Roger, which was only sorta kinda halfway true.
  • and now it’s eating at him. as these things do.
  • *insert years of secret guilt and manpain here, like literal years*
  • Sandwich’s guilty conscience means he sucks at being a farmer, apparently
  • here’s a thought, Sandwich: maybe you literally just suck at farming, and it’s nothing to do with your deep dark secret
  • oh, and Reuben Sandwich Bourne now has a kid, whose Bourne Identity is Cyrus.
  • sorry, I had to
  • Cyrus is a total Gary Stu, and everybody in their lil hick town talks about his Bourne Supremacy.
  • so the Three Bourne Bears are moving away from their hick town, finally
  • basically how it goes…
    Papa Bourne: I hate everybody
    Mama Bourne: I love everybody
    Baby Bourne: *single-tears* this will be just right
  • Cyrus fancies himself some sort of Abrahamic figure. sighhhhhhhhhh
  • yay, time for an awkward road trip with the Bourne-stain Bears!
  • …………that was terrible
  • and whaddaya know, good ol’ Sandwich is taking a different course than the one they need. three guesses as to where they’re headed
  • Cyrus: Uh, Dad? The GPS said to turn here.
    Reuben: I know what I’m about, son.
    Cyrus: …………….ok sure
  • Dorcas brought an almanac on this trip. Sandwich, you married yourself one practical lady.
  • Dorcas: oh btw it’s nearly the anniversary of Dad’s death Reuben: *internally screaming* Dorcas: yeah that was pretty sad
  • now Sandwich is taking a pouty late-night walk around the woods
  • as a reminder, it’s strongly implied that they’re near Roger’s mouldering corpse.
  • Sandwich thinks he hears an animal and shoots it. three guesses as to what he actually shot.
  • surprise surprise, Sandwich is back at the gravesite.
  • a bunch of bushes have grown up where Roger last was. so I guess there’s no jump scare here.
  • interestingly, the tree to which Sandwich bound his kerchief as an SOS flag has grown into an oak with a major bald spot on top.
  • aaaaaaaaand all of a sudden, we cut to Dorcas, who is doing everything you’d expect of a housewife and still has no depth.
  • OH WAIT NVM, she’s singing a really crass song. I like her.
  • wait, I take that back. I misinterpreted the word “rude.” gosh diddly darn it.
  • oh NO
  • Dorcas just heard a shot and surmised that her little Gary Stu killed a deer.
  • three guesses as to what ACTUALLY happened
  • so Dorcas wandered through the woods to find Cyrus, but instead found Reuben looking even more horrified than usual.
  • okay but how can Dorcas not actually see what’s at Reuben’s feet
  • is she nearsighted as well as horrifically underdeveloped
  • yep, sure enough, Cyrus Bourne is dead.
  • right on his granddad’s grave, too.
  • but on the bright side, Sandwich is no longer cursed!
  • I guess in order to lift the curse, the ghost of Roger Malvin issued him a………….. Bourne Ultimatum?
  • “His sin was expiated, the curse was gone from him” – and with that, Reuben solidifies his………… Bourne Legacy
  • anyway, terrible jokes aside, Reuben Sandwich Bourne prays for the first time in years, and that’s the end of the story.

Now for The Yellow Wallpaper:

  • the song that just came on Spotify is “Evil Woman”……. from what I’ve heard about this one, that’s reasonably accurate
  • also, I managed to find a PDF of the original story, which is cool
  • with this story we get a return of the first-person narrator, typical for Victorian Gothic.
  • anyway, our MC and her hubby John have just rented some sweet new digs for the summer.
  • MC wishes this were a haunted house. be careful what you wish for, sunshine…
  • “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects this in marriage.” – uh-oh
  • “John is a physician, and /perhaps/… that is one reason I do not get well faster.” – oh MAN, Sunshine is holding nothing back.
  • “there’s nothing wrong with my wife, she’s just being a *woman,* you know” – John, basically
  • okay, now Spotify is playing “I Wanna Be Sedated”… what is going on here
  • tbh the words “a slight hysterical tendency” were a dead giveaway that John is a jerk
  • calling him Dr. Jerkface from now on, k? k
  • now playing: “My Life,” Billy Joel. y’all, this is getting freaky.
  • Sunshine’s prescription list:
    -phosphates or phosphites, “whichever it is”
    ………..and Dr. Jerkface still insists she isn’t sick?
  • oh, and the last item on Sunshine’s extensive prescription list is being “absolutely forbidden to ‘work’ until I am well again.”
  • complete with scare quotes.
  • “Personally, I disagree with their ideas.” YES SUNSHINE GO OFF
  • Sunshine has to be “sly” about writing this little journal, and I want to punch Dr. Jerkface.
  • “John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition” – wtf, Sunshine, you JUST SAID he didn’t think you were sick
  • so the house they’re in seems really gorgeous until she mentions the fact that the greenhouses are all broken.
  • Sunshine has a creepy feeling about this whole setup, and what does Mr. Sunshine aka Dr. Jerkface say? She’s imagining things.
  • Dr. Jerkface is literally every suburban white dad in a horror movie about moving to a new house
  • “I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes.” – oh, Sunshine, it’s perfectly reasonable.
  • they rented a gorgeous house and live in the ugliest room. this is going to turn out well.
  • “[Dr. Jerkface] is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction.”
  • oh my god. oh my god, y’all, Sunshine has to take prescriptions EVERY HOUR
  • Dr. Jerkface might as well put her on an IV drip at this stage, good god
  • update: they’re sleeping in the nursery. I feel like there’s some deeper connection to the idea of hysteria.
  • am I the only who can’t help but think the windows in the nursery are barred for a reason other than to keep kids falling out the windows?
  • oooohhhhhhh, and here we get the titular wallpaper.
  • to be fair, from the way Sunshine describes it, the wallpaper truly is hideous.
  • now [in part 2] we have a time jump of two weeks. poor Sunny is so tired she hasn’t been able to write.
  • “John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious” – now hold up now
  • what happened to him being all hovering and stuff?
  • so first Sunny says her case is “not serious,” but then she says “John does not know how much I really suffer.”
  • “It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby” – oH.
  • I’m not a doctor like Dr. Jerkface, but I’ll go ahead and diagnose Sunny with postpartum depression and Dr. Jerkface with being a jerk.
  • oh my god
    Sunny: can’t we at least get rid of this wallpaper
    John: no
    John: it’ll build character
  • Dr. Jerkface uses a slippery slope argument! It’s a fallacy, but it’s still effective!
  • at least Sunny has some pretty good views from her room… still not enough to compensate for the wallpaper, apparently
  • ah yes, nothing like telling your spouse they’re imagining literally everything. how romantic
  • yet another highly appropriate song: “Breakeven,” The Script
  • “There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down”:
  • this is so much creepier than Roger Malvin’s Burial and I’m loving it
  • now Sunny’s talking about the “kindly wink” of her old bureau and of a chair that was her “strong friend.”
  • this is all I can think about right now:
  • sorry for the brief break, folks – I had to actually watch Be Our Guest, of course.
  • alright, where was I?… oh yeah, Sunny fancies herself a regular Belle. of course.
  • unfortunately, there is no such harmony among the furnishings of this nasty little nursery.
  • omg they have COMPANY! yeah so maybe it’s just Dr. Jerkface’s sister, but whatever
  • oh goodness, now Sunny thinks she sees a whole person in the wallpaper. what a great note on which to end this section.
  • Part 3 has begun, and I don’t know how much time has passed, except the Fourth of July has come and gone.
  • they had more company, but it was apparently very boring. I would expect no less of Dr. Jerkface
  • Dr. Jerkface has basically threatened to send Sunny to Weir Mitchell, who’s like Dr. Jerkface 2.0
  • poor Sunny is getting worse.
  • at least Dr. Jerkface lets Sunny walk around the garden now
  • still, Sunny’s so bored that she’s taken to staring at the wallpaper, trying to figure out where the pattern goes.
  • has any artist ever tried to recreate this?
    Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 12.27.48 AM
  • the wallpaper, in short, makes no sense, and that’s the end of this section.
  • now we’re on Part 4, and Sunny’s energies are *really* failing her.
  • in response, Dr. Jerkface is having her take cod liver oil, among other “tonics.”
  • I looked it up, and apparently cod liver oil might actually help with depression. score one for Dr. Jerkface, I guess?
  • god, just tweeting that made me uncomfortable
  • and I mean, he’s plying her with “ale and wine” too. don’t drink and take meds, kiddos.
  • ahahahaha so Sunny tries to have ONE reasonable conversation with Dr. Jerkface, and of COURSE he shuts her down
  • blah blah blah, Dr. Jerkface is an infantilizing sad sack human being
  • Sunny just pointed out that at least the baby doesn’t have to use this nursery and put up with this wallpaper.
  • which……. is a really good point, probably
  • so apparently her wallpaper is haunted by a bunch of silhouettes of women who are crawling around and stuff. AWESOME.
  • that is exactly the image I needed in my head. sweet dreams, me.
  • Part 5 ahoy! in which Sunny tries to stand up for herself again and the attempt, naturally, fails
  • “‘What is it, little girl?’ [Dr. Jerkface] said” – omg please go back to your home on Condescending Sexist Island
  • Dr. Jerkface: trust me, you’re getting better
    Sunny: I’m actually not, though
    Dr. Jerkface: yah but I’m a doctor lol
  • “‘Bless her little heart!’ said he” – oh mY GOD
  • “‘Really, dear, you are better!’ ‘Better in body, perhaps-‘” OH. OHHHHHHHHHHHH GURL.
  • Dr. Jerkface uses Death Glare! It’s super effective!
  • and on that lovely note, this section ends.
  • Part 6, aka Sunny Obsesses Over the Wallpaper Pattern Some More
  • okay but this is actually a fantastic description:
    Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 12.51.48 AM
  • and the best part? now Sunny sees a woman behind bars in the pattern.
  • projection much?
  • “The fact is I am getting a little afraid of John.” – a sensible reaction, considering he’s a terrible doctor and husband
  • now Sunny is theorizing that the paper is messing with Dr. Jerkface’s mind, and also that of his sister/housekeeper.
  • so the paper apparently “stained everything it touched,” but Sunny has made no mention of actually touching the paper.
  • I hope I find like six articles about this when I search JSTOR later
  • what could those “yellow smooches” on their clothes really be from? who knows, honestly
  • now Sunny is paranoid that the others will discover the secret of the pattern before her. end section.
  • Part 7 is a really short section.
  • Sunny’s quest for the secret wallpaper pattern has reinvigorated her.
  • and that’s literally all that happens in this section.
  • Part 8, ahoy!
  • somehow Sunny has managed to almost completely reverse her sleep schedule, and I’m mildly jealous
  • oh, and NOW Sunny thinks to mention that the wallpaper smells weird. thanks, hon.
  • now Sunny’s trying to go all CSI on a weird mark on the wallpaper, and she’s meeting with limited success
  • end section.
  • Part 9 happenings: the woman in the wallpaper moves, apparently. shakes the bars. thanks for the nightmares, Sunny.
  • on to part 10.
  • the woman in the wallpaper is totally a Real Person(TM) who creeps on the house during the day.
  • stellar investigative work, Sunny. you should be a journalist:
    Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 1.08.07 AM
  • “I always lock the door when I creep by daylight” – oohhh is it just me or did this open things up to a multiple-personality interpretation?
  • end section. on to part 11. (just a couple more pages left, I think.)
  • “If only the top pattern could be gotten off from the under one!” Um, Sunny, I don’t think that’s how wallpaper works.
  • Dr. Jerkface and his sister (who, by the way, is named Jennie) are getting suspicious. about time.
  • part 12 is here, and it’s the last day they have to spend in the house with this wretched wallpaper.
  • Sunny’s latest bright idea is that she’ll free the woman by tearing down the wallpaper.
  • the rest of their things have been moved out of the bedroom. now it’s just Sunny and the bed and that wallpaper.
  • I wonder what interpretations scholars have assigned to the gnawed furniture……… I mean, I have my own ideas, but……………..
  • so now Sunny’s going all HGTV on this wallpaper.
  • aaaaaaand it’s only partly working. our heroic home improver is getting a LITTLE frustrated.
  • for context, she just entertained the notion of jumping from one of her top-floor windows.
    Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 1.18.47 AM
  • what just happened
  • I’m going to need a minute to process this, hang on
  • oh my god. I think I need to annotate this one on my phone. give me a few minutes.
  • Alright, here are my annotations (finally):
  • so basically I think there are two possibilities for what happened in this ending bit. they’re both terrifying and I love them.
  • option 1: the woman in the wallpaper is real. once Sunny tears out the wallpaper, she possesses Sunny and they both inhabit one head.
  • option 2: Sunny has been projecting her own subconscious state onto the wallpaper pattern, and when she tears out the wallpaper… (cont.)
  • (cont.) she officially, bona-fide goes into multiple personality mode.
  • and I mean, to a degree it doesn’t really matter whether either of those options is true (or if they’re even true).
  • Sunny has certifiably lost her marbles and may or may not have killed Dr. Jerkface.
  • gosh golly gee, I’m going to sleep well tonight.
  • side note, while I’m thinking about it, am I the only one who imagines this as another webseries? a secret vlog?
  • also, the slippage of referring to Jennie as “Jane” in the second-to-last paragraph makes me wonder if that was a Jane Eyre reference
  • so, in that light, this could kind of be a story told from Bertha Rochester’s point of view.

There you have it!  I’ll return to Twitter around August 8 to finish livetweeting Dracula.  Till then…

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