Top 11 Arya Stark Moments

I’m finally writing a post about Game of Thrones. I haven’t read the books, and to be completely honest, I was a casual viewer of the show all through season 5. I mean, I watched all the episodes, but I was a little lukewarm about it all. Then season 6 happened, and I started realizing I had to prepare myself for a lot of yelling, because I wasn’t going to make it through an episode without it. Well done, guys. I’m on board.

But one of the few characters I always felt strongly about and who kept me watching was Arya. The little unladylike lady turned delightful murderess. To me, she’s the most relatable character (especially in the beginning, though many of her strongest moments are more recent. I’m writing this 2 episodes into season 7). So if I’m gonna make a Game of Thrones list (again it’s my list, so I can choose 11 moments if I feel like it), it’s gonna be about her. She’s the best.

11. Arya Reveals Her True Identity to Gendry

Part of the reason I wanted to include this is I think it could turn out to be important. Sure, we haven’t seen Gendry for a good long while, but it seems he may return. When they last saw each other, Arya asked Gendry to be her family, and he said he couldn’t be, since he’s a bastard (even though he’s Robert Baratheon’s son, and maybe the rightful king?), but basically there was a thing there, and it’s Maisie Williams’ ship, so it’s correct. the scene that best encapsulates their relationship is when Arya admits to Gendry who she is. She’s been disguised as a boy, but Gendry’s already figured out that she’s not and calls her on it.

Finally, she comes clean, admitting not only that she’s a girl, but also a Stark. He’s immediately embarrassed (“I’ve been pissing in front of you and everything”), but after a moment, they’re dynamic falls back into it’s friendly bickering with Gendry taunting Arya, calling her milady, until she shoves him back once and then again down to the floor. But he just laughs as she stomps away.

10. Dancing Lessons

One of the fun things about Arya is how many of the things she does are the things a lady would learn to do, but with a twist. For instance, her father agrees to let her begin combat training, but her “dancing master” refers to the training as “dancing lessons.” And, indeed, the training she receives is about the movement. A block, a strike, it’s all like a carefully choreographed dance.

Arya’s a better fighter for being taught this. The dancing lessons also deserves a spot on the list because Arya’s relationship with her dancing master is so delightful. (And we didn’t see him die onscreen, so I get to chose to believe he’s still alive and just try and stop me!)

9. Jon Snow presents Arya with Needle

This whole scene is excellent. Nymeria helping Arya clean up, then Nymeria failing to demonstrate her training to Jon, Arya complaining about folding her clothes, the hug (Jon may not be Arya’s biological brother, but they have a lovely sibling relationship, nonetheless).

Jon gifting Arya with a sword just the right size for her demonstrates an understanding they have for each other that the other members of the family might not always get. And Arya naming the sword Needle, as a contrast to Sansa’s sewing needles is perfectly on brand.

8. Arya Names Jaqen H’ghar Cold. After her father is killed and her family is ripped apart, Arya’s never really in a position to push people around. She’s small and often has to lie about her identity. She doesn’t want to be too noticeable, while she absolutely hates being disrespected or underestimated. And she can be very stubborn. It’s a blessing and a curse. After meeting Jaqen H’ghar and his promise to kill any 3 people she names, she comes up with another way to get his help. By naming him.

He asks…well, more demands…that she unname him. She says she will on the condition that he help her and some others escape. Her plan works. But not before Jaqen H’ghar says “please.”

7. Introducing…

Arya had a lot of great little moments in the first episode. I always giggle at that moment when she flicks her spoonful of food at Sansa. Direct hit! But it’s the second direct hit of the episode that makes the list. Ned, Robb, and Jon are training Bran, practicing archery.

Just as Bran is about to release his arrow, another arrow whizzing inches away from his face, sticking into the target. A perfect bull’s-eye. He whips his head around to see Arya, twice as far away, holding a bow, a big grin on her face. She gives him a taunting courtesy and runs off as Bran chases her. Aww, simpler times.

6. Killing Ser Meryn Trant

‘Cause Ser Meryn Trant is a fucking monster, so Arya slays him. I was annoyed by Arya’s punishment for this, because in the moment, it was so satisfying. He was molesting young girls. He deserves every shit thing that happens to him. This was one of the first times the show made me a cheer for an onscreen death.

Still, it was before the face wearing thing had been used much, so it was more unexpected. And even her punishment (blindness) made way for something else even higher up on the list (but I really hated the blind Arya storyline).

5. Taking Down Joffrey

Before Joffrey had the audacity to have Ned Stark killed, he was just a bratty spoiled child. When he interrupts a pleasant game by being himself, things get a little rough between him and Arya. Okay, maybe she starts the physical part of the fight, but he takes it way too far, drawing his sword and holding it to her throat.

When Nymeria comes in to protect Arya, Joffrey shrinks back into the sniveling coward he truly is. And Arya gets the opportunity to point the sword at him.

Of course, it all goes dreadfully wrong after that, but seeing her put Joffrey in his place made me feel all warm inside.

4. “That’s Not Me”

Since the beginning, Arya’s destiny was far from being a proper lady. She always wanted to be a warrior. But that wasn’t what her family wanted. I’m sure they thought they were doing what was best, raising her by the customs of the time. It just wasn’t what she wanted for herself.

When she asks her father, “Can I be lord of the holdfast?” He replies, “You will marry a high lord and rule this castle. And your sons shall be knights and princes and lords.” But she’s upset by this, though also not convinced that’s what’s in store for her saying “no. That’s not me.” This was me as a kid, reading all the stories and seeing all the films with the male heroes. I’m so excited to see more female characters in those sorts of roles now, but Arya represented a very real part of me in this scene. It’s not enough the be the beautiful lady the hero fights for when you want to be the hero.

3. “Lady Arryn Died”

This is just my flat out favorite moment of hers. Maybe of the whole show. After dragging Arya from place to place, trying to find some surviving Stark family who can pawn Arya off on (partially because he’ll be rewarded, but maybe also slightly because he wants her to be safe?), the Hound arrives at Lady Arryn’s. She’s, like, Arya’s aunt or something. And she’s kind of awful, but as any viewer was aware, as of the previous episode, she was also very dead (this is why you don’t install a skylight in the floor. And then invite Littlefinger over).

After the Hound explains to the guard who they are, the guard tells them the news. He’s somber, expecting they’ll be upset. The Hound’s definitely upset. Arya’s completely stone-faced. Then the sheer ridiculousness of every person she’s gone to stay with dying just as she arrives washes over her.’s laughing at the situation, at the Hound’s continued failure, because she’s just too tired to do anything else. And she can’t stop. Anyone who’s had that how-is-my-life-so-shit-my-god-it’s-so-bad-it’s-funny moment and found themselves laughing knows just what Arya’s experiencing.

2. The Chase/”A Girl Is Arya Stark of Winterfell…”

The week before “Battle of the Bastards,” the show gave our vocal chords a warm up. If you were disappointed by this sequence, you need to watch it again.

The sequence is 8 minutes from Arya discovering she’s been found to her final words to the Faceless Man and follows the waif chasing a badly injured Arya through the streets of Braavos. I screamed at my television for the full 8 minutes. They’re jumping out of windows, off walls, falling into carts, tumbling down steps, and all the while Arya’s leading the waif to her death, leaving a trail with her own blood. How badass is that?

Then they get to the place where Arya has hidden Needle. The waif has her cornered. And here’s the thing, the waif always beats Arya when they fight. Arya can’t win this. She just can’t. Unless she can give herself an advantage. Remember that stupid storyline where Arya went blind and had to train to fight without being able to see? That shit finally pays off. The room they’re in is lit by a single candle. With the swipe of her sword, she slices the candle in half, plunging them both into darkness. She learned to fight without her eyes.

Everyone complaining that we didn’t get to see the fight is out of their mind and/or missed the entire point of sitting through a season of blind Arya. The fight was in the dark, you wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway, and it’s the only way Arya could win.

And then when we  and the Faceless Man discover Arya has defeated the waif, and the Faceless Man tells Arya that finally “a girl is no one” (like she kept claiming she wanted), she turns him down with possibly my favorite line of the series, “A Girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I’m going home.” And she marches out of that awful place to join her family in the fight for the Seven Kingdoms. SO MUCH YES.

1. Killing Walder Frey/”Winter Came for House Frey”

I’m counting her final scene from season 6 and her first scene from season 7 as one item on the list, because it kind of all goes together, and they both need to be mentioned, and they both probably top the list on their own merit anyway, and it’s my list.

The Red Wedding is, and always will be, the most notorious event in Game of Thrones. It was the lowest moment for the Starks, killing off a number of lead characters (including Arya’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and unborn nephew) and an army of their followers. Walder Frey soon became one of the most hated characters in the series. But he was just chillin’ in his castle. Everyone was so busy fighting everyone else, no one came for Walder Frey. Or at least someone who until recently was “no one.” baking Frey’s sons into a pie that she serves him, Arya reveals herself and slits Walder Frey’s throat, ending season 6 with a nice slice of vengeance.

Then season 7 starts with Walder Frey hosting a feast. So right away you know something’s up. The show doesn’t do a lot of flashbacks or time jumps (unless they’re happening in Bran’s head). I don’t think anyone was really surprised when all the soldiers at the feast drank a toast and keeled over dead, while Walder Frey took his face off and was actually Arya. She then turns to the girl sitting beside her, who she kept from drinking the poison and utters the warning for the Frey allies: “Winter came for House Frey.”

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Why I Never Wanted to Be a Companion on Doctor Who a Doctor Who fan, I get asked “I bet you’d love to be a companion, wouldn’t you?” And I always pause. Because, wouldn’t I? Wouldn’t I love to find that beautiful blue box? To step inside and discover it’s far bigger than it let’s on from the outside? To be able to go anywhere and everywhere in time and space? To live my life as a series of heroic adventures with interesting people and wonderful aliens? Wouldn’t I?

Well, I would like all that, but…no. As wonderful, amazing, and unique as the companions can be, I don’t want to be a companion. I want to be the Doctor. That’s who I relate to. No matter the actor in the role. And to be honest, it never occurred to me that there was any problem with that. I never thought, just because I’d never seen a woman play the Doctor onscreen, that I was any less Doctor. Some people are just Doctors. We know who we are.

So, it was no big deal to me when they announced the identity of the new Doctor, and I found out it was a woman, right? WRONG. A woman Doctor finally seeing a woman Doctor is a magical and emotional experience. It’s rather like having a mirror held up and realizing what you really look like. And liking what you see. This was how I learned about my new identity.

Hello. I’m the Doctor.

The night before the announcement video went out, I did the math and figured the news would be released at around 9:30 a.m. my time. When I woke up at 8:15 the next morning (I had to get to a podcast recording) and discovered the tennis match was over (more than an hour early), but the Doctor wasn’t revealed yet, I was suddenly very nervous.

At last, the video was posted online and with a shaky hand, I hit “play.” The slow build up drove me mad with nerves. Then, we see a close up of a hand. But whose hand? Then…an eye. It was hard to tell from the hand, but that was a woman’s eye, I wouldn’t let myself believe it before (didn’t want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed), but it must be. I’m not sure if my heart stopped or was beating so fast I couldn’t feel it anymore. My extremities were useless in that moment. My eyes were blurred with tears. And then. There she was. The Doctor. And the TARDIS had come to her.

It was a woman Doctor. It was a me! I had never actually seen one in an official capacity like that (no one had). And it was someone who’s face I knew 2 and a half seasons into Broadchurch. I’m just waiting for BBC America to air the rest. But I also recognized her because she’s the Doctor. I always recognize my Doctor.

And I know I’m not the only one. We are an army of Doctors. And we’ve found that beautiful blue box. We’re getting ready to step inside and discover it’s far bigger than it let’s on from the outside. And we’re ready to go anywhere and everywhere in time and space. To live our lives as a series of heroic adventures with interesting people and wonderful aliens. We just don’t need to be companions. We’re already the Doctor.

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A Definitive Ranking of the Thrilling Adventure Hour’s Beyond Belief Segments

It’s time to send the little ones to dreamland, and set your radio’s dial to “spooky.” Bolt the door, lock your windows, and steel yourself for mysterious suspense in tonight’s final features: all the Beyond Beliefs. Mostly. This list only includes episodes released on the podcast, doesn’t include multiple variations of the same episode, and only accounts for episodes from the regular series’ run (nothing beyond episode #219). But this a pretty complete list in order from ones I don’t like quite as well to one’s I can’t stop gushing over.

  1. Art Imitates Life (TAH #125)

I’ll be straight with you. The 7 bottom ranking episodes of the list are the ones missing either Frank or Sadie. It’s really them working off each other where the brilliance shines through.

The problem with this episode is quite simply that Frank and Sadie Doyle aren’t in it. Frank has been wished out of existence, and Sadie Parker is an art thief with her fiancé, Basil. It’s fun for what it is, and the jazzy cat burglar vibe, under other circumstances, would be great fun. But the fact that something is clearly off, and Sadie seems vaguely aware of that, makes it all a bit frustrating. And it just doesn’t feel like a Beyond Belief episode.

Also, Basil is incredibly understanding about the whole thing and really cares about Sadie, which is frustrating too, because I’d prefer to just hate him.

  1. Romanian Holiday (TAH #59)

Perfectly pleasant story in which Sadie and Carter Caldwell get cursed by gypsies.

Not much to it.

No Frank.

  1. The Skeleton Grief (TAH #201)

I got to see this one live. And it was great fun. And JON HAMM. But it was basically a remake of a previous episode without Sadie. It simply can’t compare.

  1. Rosemary’s Baby Shower (TAH #25)

Donna Henderson’s (the always excellent Janet Varney) first appearance on the podcast! Points for that for sure. She’s a super fun character.

Though I think this one created some canonical problems for the Bens with ages and birthdays and making sure they hadn’t inadvertently done away with a child off camera…or…er…headphone, but the episode itself is quite nice, if quite Frank-less.

  1. She Blinded Me with Séance (TAH #20) is a tricky one for me. Again, Frank doesn’t appear, and it was fairly early on (fifth Beyond Belief since the podcast started). I think the Bens (and Paget) were still figuring out the characters a bit, and how to handle one Doyle without the other.

Sadie acts quite a bit like Frank in this episode and has a lot of zingers and one-liners that could would probably have been delegated to Frank, were he there.

It made her character sharper and more cynical. If I’m being honest, I actually liked that! But it isn’t the same Sadie Doyle we know and love.

  1. Nuns the Word (TAH #68)

The reason this one gets to be ranked a little higher than some of the other missing-a-Doyle episodes (no Sadie here) is we get a lot of Frank’s backstory, which is really interesting. Well, it’s basically Constantine, but in the Beyond Belief universe.

This is the first time we truly find out about his life before Sadie, and there’s lots going on.

It’s also the only Beyond episode in which James Urbaniak appears as a character other than Nightmares (but we’ll get to him).

  1. Molar Express (TAH #133)

I was so sad when I woke up to a new Beyond episode Monday, and there was no Sadie. But the reason I think this episode works better than some of the others is the supporting characters carry it, and Frank’s just sort of there to fire off funny commentary.

It’s a pretty good one considering my favorite character is missing.

  1. Love Love Me Doom (TAH #32)

Okay, from here on out we have both Doyle’s in all the episodes.

My problem with this one is Frank and Sadie only have eyes for each other. Except here where a succubus and an incubus show up and meddle with their affections. And there’s this whole divorce fake-out, which ultimately goes nowhere.

It’s all written and performed well, but I prefer my Doyles madly in love with each other.

  1. Time Waits for Norman (from Christmas on Jupiter) (TAH #191)

Well, this is sad. It has funny moments and puns about time, but there’s a darkness to this episode that’s not usually present. And I feel super super bad for Norman at the end. Especially because he’s played by Jim Beaver.

But you gotta give it points for the feels.

  1. Forged in Flame (TAH #101)

This was one of the specials done at Meltdown Comics, and the sound is so different that it throws me a little. I think for that same reason the timing seems slightly off at times. And there are some seriously strange things (talking cookies). Sometimes that weird stuff works well and trial and error is useful. Might not quite work here, but “Scream a Little Scream” sure as shit works, so it’s worth it sometimes.

But the episode features a Sadie list, which is always exciting, and there are, as always, some enjoyable chuckles throughout.

  1. A Beyond Belief Valentine’s Day (TAH #106) are multiple stories in this one. More succubus action. Both the Doyles and Dave Henderson all fall for her, but the fighting between the three is unexpected and funny and workd a little better for me than the earlier episode on the list.

In the other story, Frank and Sadie are distressed to find that all their liquor has tragically been turned to wine. Apparently they don’t count this as alcohol. The melodrama it creates is genius executed.

They have to meet with Bacchus and Freya to get it back. The episode focuses a lot on them and I could have used a touch more of the Doyles.

  1. The Heart is a Lonely Haunter (TAH #159)

More melodramatic Roman gods. It’s fine. Some good jokes. It’s not written by Acker and Blacker. I miss them. But admittedly the Doyle’s dialogue is true to their voices.

Frank continually belittling cupid by calling him “flying baby” is fantastic. As is Cupid’s inability to remember if he’s Roman or Greek.

  1. Claus and Effect (TAH #147)

This one takes place as a story being told within a Sparks Nevada episode. Again, the Bens didn’t write it.

Jon Hamm makes an appearance. And tells bad puns! Hurray! And Santa Claus is there. He needed to make an appearance in Beyond Belief at some point. And there’s a watch out what you wish for moral at the end.

  1. Gory Gory Hallelujah (TAH #197)

Come for Misha Collins and Keegan-Michael Key playing angels, stay for the nicknames of the Doyle’s auction friends.

This isn’t so far down the list because it isn’t funny, there’s just a lot of good stuff to come that I had to make room for.

  1. Bah, Murderbug (from The Full Christmas Episode from December 2011) (TAH #98)

If you’ve never wondered what it would be like for the embodiment of the past present and future to argue with each other, then you’re missing out. If you have, it probably went something like this.

The segment’s part of a larger Christmas special. It’s a reworking of A Christmas Carol (as the title suggests), but with Frank and Sadie being put in the Scrooge role by some confused ghosts.

  1. The Deceased Charm of the Bourgeoisie (TAH #129)

We actually see the Doyle’s at an auction with the most ridiculous people with the most ridiculous names.

Annie Savage is pure gold in this episode (both when her character is possessed and isn’t) and Joshua Malina as the bartender was a cute in-joke for the fans (get it? Because he plays the barkeep in Sparks Nevada).

  1. Making Spirits Fight (TAH #114)

Remember the ghosts from Bah Murderbug? They’re back! In this follow-up story, the Scrooge character has been correctly identified by the ghosts and goes to the Doyle’s for help, resulting in one of Frank’s better lines, considering the context: “The Dickens you say!”

The ghost of Christmas future, who didn’t appear in the previous episode, appears here, and he’s the worst in the truly best way, and the ghost of Christmas present’s infatuation with him is hysterical.

  1. How to Spell Revenge (TAH #109)

Give it up for the witch coven, complete with Linda Cardellini, and Molly Quinn, and MARC EVAN JACKSON.

The idea of Frank and Sadie joining a book club is hilarious (and totally out of character, but the incongruity is explained by the end). It aslo included one of my favorite Sadie lines: “remind me how we know you, darling. Did we drop a house on your sister?”

  1. The Skeleton Brief (TAH #192)

This is the episode “The Skeleton Grief” remade. Sadie just makes things that much better. The Doyles have some really sweet moments together in this episode that, of course, play best when they’re both it.

There are a few “oh. no!” moments throughout, but by the end, karma settles everything into a fair and balanced conclusion.

  1. Bon Viv-Haunt (TAH #164) rare for Beyond Belief to consist of a good old-fashioned haunted house story, so this is an enjoyable outlier. Of course, the trope is flipped on its ear since the Doyles have been approached by a ghost to see if they can do anything about his house’s…human problem.

The best thing about this episode is that the Doyles have to pretend to be ghost, which Frank is over the moon about.

Of course, they don’t make very good ghosts, but they still get their job done by reconciling the real ghosts with the humans in the house.

  1. A Dave at the Races (TAH #54)

Donna Henderson’s husband, Dave (a werewolf), rarely appears in person (or in voice) on the podcast, despite the fact that he’s talked about quite a bit, but this episode is all about him.

The usual clinks have been replaced in this episode the Law & Order dun-dun sound (I laugh after every one). And the episode features A HORSE-WOLF; DO I NEED MORE OF A REASON? NO, I DO NOT.

  1. Winter of the House of Usher (from Christmas on Mars) (TAH #52)

If Edgar Allen Poe had written How the Grinch Stole Christmas, it would have gone something like this. I didn’t immediately love this one, but after hearing it a few times, I realized I hadn’t been giving it the credit it deserved.

As if the premise weren’t enough, the narrative gets the Doyle’s out of the house by letting them run out of booze and forcing them to go wassailing, despite not knowing any Christmas songs.

  1. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang You’re Dead (TAH #37)

Frank and Sadie have a car! And Frank is driving! But the car is evil. Like Christine. But even more comical.

A lot of the humor in this one comes from the dialogue suggesting and over explaining what’s visually happening that the audience can’t see. That and the danger of sobriety sneaking up on Frank and Sadie.

  1. All About Evil (TAH #214) episode gets meta with itself. All About Eve and Sunset Boulevard are both called to mind when hearing these outrageous characters speak.

We’re treated to more crazy nicknames and old style movie speak. This is one of those episodes where the Doyle’s are very much observers and just need to nudge the action in the right direction now and again. It finds strength in its ensemble.

  1. Three Strikes You’re Dead (TAH #204)

Baseball playing ghosts, while not entirely original, are always fun. Baseball playing ghosts that suck at playing baseball are a delight.

The switched roles of a dad (who happens to be a ghost) trying to make his son proud by being a good ballplayer, is very endearing. And Frank and Sadie in the country? Fantastic.

  1. Scream a Little Scream (TAH #189)

Really really weird. Even by Beyond Belief standards. But I kind of dig it. A lot. Like a lot a lot. The episode has an atypical feel and structure. Most of it takes place in a cast of characters’ dreams. I mean, yeah, it’s based on Charlie and Chocolate Factory, but that’s why it’s so wacky.

It’s Frank at his most sardonic, while we discover Sadie’s love for children’s books. They are met in the dream world by Frank’s imaginary friend, Busby, a “grump,” and Sadie’s imaginary friend, Huckleberry Beanstalk, who’s “appallingly upbeat.” And one of the most fun things about the episode is the casting of Cecil Baldwin (Welcome to Night Vale) as the dream monster (not to be confused with Nightmares the clown monster, but we’re still getting to him), with a voice like rich poisonous molasses.

  1. When Cthulu Cthalls (TAH #153)

Great stuff. Tight script, focused without too much meandering and just flat out funny. I listen to it often.

Two Mormon-esque doomsday nutjobs (played by Psych’s Timothy Omundson and Maggie Lawson, both of whom are hysterical) try to use the baby Henderson as a vessel for a god, but Donna and the Doyles are having none of it. To really appreciate it, you should give it a listen.

  1. Caped Fear (TAH #96)

It’s not the first time we meet Mark Gagliardi’s vampire character, Carlylse Ravencastle, Dark Husband to the Midnight, but that doesn’t make it any less funny. He really puts the vamp in vampire. Who else could get away with referring to Frank as a juice box?

The Doyle’s can’t both be thralled at the same time (the vampires aren’t powerful enough), and the alternation of the thrall between Frank and Sadie is excellent.

  1. Cursed at First Bite (TAH #122)

Of all the things that could bite you, it was rather surprising that the “monster” in this story is a doll. But, like any vampire or werewolf, let it bite you and you become one too. A fate that befalls Frank, leaving it to Sadie to save the day.

I don’t like dolls. They scare me. In spite of that fact, I find this episode to be very enjoyable. It also has a recurring song, sung by a chorus of dolls, which is entertaining.

  1. Vampire Weekend (TAH #48)

Sadie turns into a vampire! Sadie with superpowers isn’t normally something I’d be against, but we can’t let her turn into a monster, so Donna is called to help.

Donna nearly ruins everything by wanting so badly to get to vampire around town with Sadie (again, part of me likes this idea, but what about Frank?), but eventually Donna does the right thing and helps save Sadie. Because Donna’s awesome, and she’d never let Sadie be a vampire (unless Sadie asked to be).

  1. The Yesterday Shop on Today Street (TAH #88)

A Twilight Zone episode. 100% We’re all familiar with this plot, but in true TAH fashion, some humor is infused.

The episode is appropriately creepy and mysterious, which Frank and Sadie have zero time for. The archetypes of the other characters are all spot on, and they still found time to make references to Lost and “Hotel California.”

  1. The Bloodsucker Proxy (TAH #172) think this was the first episode I saw one of these shows at Largo, the proper Thrilling Adventure Hour venue.

First of all, major points for the title. A pun on my favorite Coen brothers movie (don’t judge me).

This one has some of the more outlandish characters in it (you’re killin’ us, Gags!) with all different styles of vampires thrown together in one location. It’s like What We Do in the Shadows, but with Frank and Sadie (so even better).

  1. It’s a Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad World (TAH #219)

The grand finale. Yes, of COURSE I cried, and if you’re a fan and say you didn’t, then you’re a liar.

This is also the first episode on this list in which Nightmares appears (he’s so good that every episode he appears in ranks within the top 20). He’s the big bad of the whole series, an evil clown and Frank’s childhood bogeyman. Other than Frank and Sadie, he’s gotta be the best character in the series. His voice is compliments of James Urbaniak. The combination of his performance with the Bens writing is damn near perfection, and it kills me that I never got to see a Nightmares episode live.

But this episode is a petri dish of all the baddies from the show as they descend on the Doyles all at once. Frank and Sadie vs. every monster they’ve ever had to face.

There was a heart sinking moment in the beginning when I thought they might actually end the series by killing Frank and Sadie (but keeping them together in the afterlife). Luckily, they didn’t go that dark. Nightmares makes them face their two greatest fears: sobriety and the Doyles being separated from each other. But Frank overcomes both with a truly epic speech, with the courage he gets from Sadie.

  1. Hell is the Loneliest Number (TAH #1)

For being the first episode and “finding its feet,” this is a very solid showing. Already introducing reoccurring characters and setting the tone. It’s so funny and so well done that it deserves this spot on the list.

You can see where the idea may have evolved and changed. Frank and Sadie seem to be more benevolent later on, while still sardonic and cutting, but their early assholery is still a ton of fun to listen to.

  1. Son of Beyond Belief & Ladies and Skeleton (TAH #143)

That song though! This episode opens with Creepy Hal singing an original song that gives me chills and is amazing in every way.

This is two episodes, but they were released together, so I’m ranking them as one. “Son of Beyond Belief” began so strange. Frank and Sadie with a child? What could be more terrifying than that? It turns out to be my own personal nightmare, because their son is actually Pinocchio. There’s nothing scarier than marionette puppets. But Frank and Sadie are particularly cutting in this episode. So funny.

“Ladies and Skeleton” introduces us to, Catherine, Frank’s dead lover (she was pre-Sadie). Sadie, being amazing, shows next to no jealousy and wants to save Catherine from the calaca she’s trapped by. Frank manages to kill the calaca with one of my favorite lines in the show: “a gun, won at auction, belonged to noted playwright and werewolf hunter, Anton Chekov. Perhaps I should have mentioned it earlier.” Then Creepy Hal sings a reprise of that awesome song.

  1. The Devil and Mr. Jones (TAH #10)

Pterodactyl Jones! I always love when PJ’s in an episode (which is a lot less often than I thought). He isn’t even consistently played by any one actor (Patton Oswalt plays him in this episode), But the old-timey detective dialogue the Bens write for him is unmatched.

This episode treats us to a gross leprechaun (thanks, Gags), a femme fatale, and plenty of use of the word “dame.”

  1. Second Star to the Wrong (TAH #15)

Properly creepy. Like, for reals. A pan shows up, and he’s just creepy. But the Doyles are there, and they’re just funny. The resulting balance is absolute perfection. Gorgeous.

It takes the Doyles about an hour to answer the door, being continually distracted by each other and drinks, we get another reference to the bee incident, and Sadie’s delight at the Pan’s goat legs is exactly the type of thing I listen to the show for.

  1. Basil’s Day (TAH #149)

Unlike when Sadie meets Frank’s ex-lover, Frank is insanely jealous to meet Sadie’s ex-lover, and it’s very entertaining.

The demons are hilarious, and the first time the demon in the girl is revealed is so surprising, it gets a huge laugh.

A big reason for this being so high on the list is the crowd’s reaction to what’s probably the dirtiest joke ever to appear in the Thrilling Adventure Hour. While performing an exorcism, the Doyles take the possessed girl into their room and the girl’s father asks, “ropes on the bed? Do you do a lot of exorcisms?” There was clearly something more that happened onstage that the podcast audience can’t see. There’s the longest pause I think TAH ever had, while they wait for the audience to stop laughing.

  1. Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Corpse (TAH #156) love a good Bloody Mary story. She’s one of the urban legends that even I was aware of in my sheltered youth.

A quarter of the episode is just Frank and Sadie talking about various types of liquor before, while concocting a Bloody Mary (like, the drink), they summon Bloody Mary (like, the spirit). It turns out that Bloody Mary is an incredibly precious character. The Doyle’s are shocked to find they like her too, and they all become friends.

  1. Touch of Keeble (TAH #140)

Breakfast in bed, Doyle-style (“j’adore meals taken pajama clad”), compliments of sinister…elves? Like in the fairytale of the elves and the shoemaker, the elves pretend that they’re just trying to be helpful. They sing a whole song about it.

Of course, they want to steal Frank and Sadie’s happiness. That’s when they start to get creepy. Seem slightly off genre? The Doyles think so too. Until they meet the Grentel. This one provides lots of giggles.

  1. The Haunting of Howard Schroeder (TAH #93)

Excuse me a sec, I have to talk more about the brilliance that is Nightmares the clown! He’s gonna start showing up a lot. He and his monstrous carnival theme music. Why do I love Nightmares so much? Well, he’s something Frank fears for one thing. And something Sadie loves for another.

This episode features another reference to the bee incident, a capital exposition scene, the ghost of the kid Frank and Howie got killed, and some truly over the top sound effects that evoke quite the reaction from the audience and the actors.

  1. Stabbin’ in the Woods (TAH #208)

Steve Agee, you magnificent bastard. This is one of the several episodes I was lucky enough to see live, and the physical characterization of the baddie made me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed in my entire laugh. Obviously, that’s missing from the podcast, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious. Every word that comes out of his mouth is also expertly and comically executed. You can hear all the other actors snickering throughout.

A flubbed line leads Arden Myrin and Paul F. Tompkins on a several minute long riff that will leave you in stitches.

The Doyles are successfully kidnapped (which NEVER happens) and terrorized by a madman. The phrase “ride the pony” still gives me the shivers. And the giggles.

  1. Prelude to a Fish (TAH #167) is another one that really benefits from having an ensemble. Several actors star as woodland animals who are invested in the love story between a lagoon monster and a mermaid. Lagoon monsters and mermaids? Yes, please.

A recurring and increasingly ominous rendition of a “Kiss the Girl” style song, “Oolee oolee oolee,” is quite possibly the best part of the episode and made it an instant favorite of many fans.

  1. Teenagers of the Corn (TAH #63)


This episode also features a Joe Cocker sound-alike version of “A Little Help from My Friends,” and the Doyles are non-plussed by the creepy and disturbing events happening in the town (“boo hoo, I can fly. That’s you!”). Then Nightmares shows up and they figure they better get involved.

  1. Werewolf of Wall Street (TAH #183)

This is normally the kind of premise I would hate: memory erasure, Frank and Sadie not being a couple, the Doyle’s lives taken over by different people, complete mistaken identities. And…IT ALL WORKS SO WELL.

It’s nice to see how Frank acts without his penthouse, money, booze, and wife. Turns out he’s a much more decent person than a lot of us probably give him credit for. And still in love with Sadie, who to no one’s surprise in a supervisor position, and just like in real life, is the boss of Frank. The other characters are all fun as well. Particularly funny.

  1. Goatbusters (TAH #72)

I love a good chupacabra story. Partially because chupacabra is the most fun to say. Bonus points: both Gillian Jacobs and Natalie Morales guest star.

Sadie’s explanation of how she will count a single sheep and what she’d call it, her excitement at the idea of meeting a farmer, as well as her carrying on about a dream she had about herself and Frank as newspaper reporters, makes this a brilliant Sadie episode.

  1. The Devil You Know (TAH #116) and Pterodactyl Jones?! In the same episode?! Has someone been peeking at my Christmas list?

This is an episode’s worth of the best lines the show has ever had. I can’t call any out, because the entire episode is the best writing to ever happen on TAH. This episode includes Frank and Sadie getting into a film noir-off, a trip to hell, and a precious three-headed dog. I defy anyone to find anything about this episode that isn’t topnotch.

  1. White Hunter, Drunk Heart (TAH #42)

The granddaddy of the Sadie says a list episodes (not the longest, but likely the best), hearing the Doyle’s idea of roughing it in the savannah is marvelous.

In lesser hands this episode might seem to be in bad taste (our heroes are shooting animal for sport after all), but the snarky idiot gods they end up feuding with, Sadie’s glee at every damn thing that happens, and Frank’s excitement at getting to use the word “bag” make everything exceedingly dear.

  1. Sarcophagus Now (TAH #80)

This episode is tailor made for me. An Indiana Jones style mummy adventure story with cat-goddess, Bast? Every Bast line is my favorite, and the way they all act around her is also my favorite. Who doesn’t like cat jokes?

And if Bast and the mummy, Kathuset, aren’t already the best guest characters, at the end, Chachacat, the fire demon, shows up. Is there anyone else you’d rather hang out with? I think not.

  1. Djinn and Tonic (TAH #76)

“I’m the geeeeeeeenie from the bottle!” Sparks Nevada may have gotten the musical episode, but Djinn and Tonic is like a mini-musical. And we get to hear J.K. Simmons sing an increasingly dramatic rendition of his refrain every few minutes.

Add on the fact that Frank and Sadie basically spend the rest of the episode doing an Abbott and Costello routine, and you’re in for a treat. Delightful.

  1. Wishing Hell (TAH #5) best. The. Best. No, no. I don’t care if it’s not your favorite. Your favorite is wrong. Unless it’s “Wishing Hell,” because it’s the best.

It’s Stand By Me meets It, we’re introduced to Nightmares, and Frank and Sadie defeat the monster together in equal measure. It’s the first time, so Sadie’s delight upon meeting a clown is unexpected and a truly joyous thing.

Love love love love love.

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A Wish List for the Wayward Sisters Series

It was recently announced that Supernatural is trying out another spin-off via backdoor pilot. It revolves around the character Jody Mills, who’s been taking in orphans and runaways and training them to be hunters. After the disaster that was Supernatural: Bloodlines, some might be wondering why bother at all? And why choose this storyline?

Supernatural is in production on their 13th season. They seem to be thinking of wrapping it up in a season or two. If they’re gonna spin anything off, they’ve gotta do it quick. And considering that they jettisoned most of their cast at the end of season 12, it makes sense to take a supporting cast member out now, while the show makes a clean break.

Why this show? Unlike Bloodlines, fans asked for this one. Supernatural, and I say this as a fan, has a serious problem with their female characters. Where the issue stems from and what could be done would take its own post. I’ll just say this. Women love the men in the show, but they’re gutted when a character like Charlie or Rowena are killed. Or Jo and Ellen. Or Meg. Or, hell, I’m about ready to start a campaign to bring Bela back.

Shootin’ zombies in her first episode back in season 5.

Point is, I saw a lot of people say why didn’t they spin-off [Insert male central show here]? Well, there’s an actual answer to that. The Wayward Daughters. Who? A group of Supernatural fans, who’ve been writing in to the network and posting online, asking for a spin-off revolving around women.

And the woman they identify with and/or look to as a role model? Jody Mills, as played by Kim Rhodes. She’s a sheriff whose family was killed in a supernatural incident, who has since devoted her life to taking in young girls in similar predicaments who need a place to go. She also hunts monsters and is a total badass.

The day it was announced the spin-off was happening I saw so many twitter posts from happy fans, feeling as though the CW network was listening to them and how unusual that felt and how happy it made them. But we don’t want a repeat of Bloodlines, so here are the things the show can do, as well as some things I’d like to see, if the series is picked up.

I also kind of wish they were calling it Wayward Daughters, not Wayward Sisters as they announced, because it’s a closer approximation to Wayward Son (as in, Carry On My), but I’ll let it stand.

Make Donna Hanscum a Series Regular

My first thought when I heard that Jody could be getting her own show was “Hurray! Is Donna coming too?” Despite the fact that they’ve only had one episode together, the real life friendship between the two actresses has linked the characters in many fans’ minds.

They’ll need a full cast, and Jody can’t be the only adult series regular week after week. Donna, also a sheriff who’s fallen into hunting, seems like the obvious character to join her. And their personalities are so different that I could really see a fun odd couple dynamic between them. Or, if she’s not a regular, she should, at the very least, make frequent appearances.

Hire Women Behind the Camera is a big one. Supernatural‘s own record for women working behind the camera ranges from pretty damn good to abysmal, depending on the season and the position. For instance, seasons 2, 3, and 4 had an almost even split of male to female penned episodes, and the showrunner during seasons 6 and 7 was Sera Gamble. But the show has only had 3 female directors total (including Rachel Talalay of Doctor Who and Sherlock) who’ve only directed 4 episodes. And in season 8, only one episode written by a woman. Yikes.

But here’s another opportunity to hire women to work behind the camera. You know who are really good at telling stories about women? Women. Sadly, it would be groundbreaking for a major network to have, not even a majority, but just 50% women working behind the camera of a single show in writing and directing roles. Like, this probably won’t happen. But it’s what I wish would happen.

Don’t Erase Jody’s Backstory

File:Spn515-0895.jpgJody has been with the show for 8 seasons. She didn’t appear much in the beginning, but they realized what a goldmine the character was and began giving her more to do. Mostly, this has been great stuff. I like what they’ve done with the character. So have the other fans. That’s why they’ve been asking she have a show. Please keep that in mind, writers. Don’t immediately ignore everything that made the characters what she is.

Some of her story is dark (her zombie son ate her husband). But all of that built her into the character she is now. The fact that she was a mother has been incredibly important to the story. Don’t lose that. The fact that she doesn’t give up the fight until the war is over, no matter the losses. Don’t lose that. She’s a good sheriff. Don’t lose that. Above all she has a bright unbreakable spirit. Show it often.

Stay True to the Supernatural Universe was one of the reasons Bloodlines was so bad. The world felt unfamiliar and often didn’t follow the same rules that Supernatural had established for itself. This shouldn’t work against show in a confining way, but should be used to give it structure.

After 12 plus seasons of Supernatural, this is a very lived in universe. Like comfy jeans. We know how it works, we’re familiar with its monsters, we have lore to work with and build on, we have characters and relationships to expand. There’s enough to work with. You don’t need to change the mythology and probably shouldn’t. It also gives the show an excuse to revisit some Supernatural characters that couldn’t/shouldn’t/haven’t returned to the show.

Make It Different from Supernatural

That being said, we don’t want a straight across rehash either. Let that be it’s own thing. Shape this into something new. Considering the number of fanfiction writers out there, I’m sure there’s room in the universe for both shows to co-exist harmoniously.

I’m sure will be monster hunting in the spin-off, but these are learning, lesser trained hunters, all of whom, whatever the line-up for the cast is, need to have different skill sets and personalities from the Winchesters. Some of these characters have already been introduced, we know we like them, don’t go turning them into copies of Supernatural characters.

An Ensemble Cast

I don’t know what the Supernatural showrunners have against ensemble casts. Like, did a supporting character kill your family? What’s the deal? I personally love ensemble casts, and I thing Wayward Sisters is a great opportunity  to build a strong ensemble. I don’t mind if the cast revolves a bit with girls coming into the fold and leaving it as they grow older, find their families, etc. But I think that a core group, for instance Jody, Donna, Alex, maybe Claire (I’ll get to my reservations about her in a second) and 2 or 3 new characters, could be beautifully applied in a show like this. The plural in the title makes me hopeful.

Create a Family

Going off that, give the group (or some of the group) a familial quality. The success of Supernatural hinges on the relationship of the brothers, but the line “family don’t end with blood” has been echoed throughout the show. Whether a character is a biological relative is immaterial.

It’s about the people you choose to make your family. This would make a lot of sense for a show made up of a motley crew of misfit girls. Already we’ve seen Jody become like a mother to Alex, and Alex and Claire sometimes act like squabbling sisters. Whether or not the creators want to include new characters that are actually related isn’t necessary (though they could, I guess). Make these characters a family.

Watch Your Younger Characters

Okay. Here’s my Claire thing. I’m not a terrible big fan of her character. I could get there, but I often find her teenage behavior abrasive. I get what they’re doing, but somewhere between the writing, directing, and acting, I’m getting tripped up. They’ve just brushed some dimension with her recently, and if they could just dig into that, she could work.

On the other hand, sometimes a show will introduce a cool likeable child/teen character, get a positive response, and bring the character back, only for them to become one dimensional or get their personality erased altogether. I think they already have a strong handle on Alex, and I hope they don’t lose that. Any incoming girls would have to walk that same line.

Make It Scary

Or at least dangerous. Put the character in the same peril the Winchesters are in. Put them up against formidable enemies. Supernatural can be a little dark and a little gory. Those elements should transfer straight across to Wayward Sisters.

I also think this could be a great way to return to Supernatural‘s early monster of the week format. Fewer demons to reason with, more monsters to kill. Expansion is great, but to start, keep it simple. Make them basic hunters in the beginning. Give them ghosts, werewolves, ghouls, and wendigos to fight. I’m not saying we can’t get into dragons later on, but maybe don’t start there. Give it somewhere to go later.

Keep It Funny don’t loose sight of the humor! This is a fun concept, and I hope that the writers have fun with it. One of the reasons we wanted Jody (and, again, please God, Donna) is that she can quip as well as Dean. Her relationship with the other potential series regulars is charming and amusing. And that’s the great thing. It’s not a point to reach for. It’s already there. These characters have been created as fun quirky people. They just need to stay that way. Supernatural can be incredibly funny. It’s been repeatedly proved that’s actually a strong suit for that show. This is another element that I think should transfer straight between the two.

Overall, this is exciting, and I’m optimistic. If they can create a halfway decent pilot for the show, I will champion it for all I’m worth. I count any scenario in which the CW network wants to give Kim Rhodes a show as a win. And I’m anxious to meet the rest of my wayward sisters.


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10 More Favorite Episodes of Supernatural (Seasons 8-12)

When I wrote my first 10 favorite episodes of Supernatural list, the show was in its 7th season. A lot more has happened since then, and I felt it only fair to make another list. While there’s a lot of great stuff I had to leave off that list, I’m limiting this to the last 5 seasons.

Oh, and I’m still kind of mad at the show after what they pulled in the latest episode. Much love to Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, Ruth Connell, Mark Pellegrino, Samantha Smith, and Courtney Ford.

10. Book of the Damned (10×18)

This one is a little subtler than the others on my list. I realize that the episodes that make up my favorites are, for the most part, the episodes that keep a lot of viewers from being bigger fans of the show and pay fan service to the superfans. But I think this episode slips past a lot of people’s radar. It’s not particularly funny or quirky, it’s just really solid. Oh, and MASSIVE POINTS for FINALLY putting a song by the Who in the show (“Behind Blue Eyes”).

Charlie makes her second to last appearance (no, her last episode which leaves her, a gay girl, literally dead in a bathtub, does NOT feature on this list). This is also the only episode in which she interacts with Castiel, and it’s quite possibly the most charming scene ever on the show.

This episode is enjoyable just by being stuffed with magical items and mildly creepy characters, like Styne (Or as I call him, Styne of the Invisible Eyebrows) who was still being introduced. We also get Rowena, who I needed to mention, because she’s so awesome. She doesn’t feature much in this episode, but she was a beacon of light throughout the last couple seasons and fucking delightful.

As is often the case, Sam and Dean have a lot of emotional conflict bubbling beneath the surface, but it’s especially poignant here and given time to  air out. They get upset with each other, but that’s not the main thing. For each of them, the brother comes first.

The B-story is a kind of fun, set up like a follow-the-clues game with Cas(s) and Metatron, who are trying to find Castiel’s grace. In the end they do, and after weeks of waiting, his power is restored with a crazy light show and the shadow of his damaged, but intimidating wings.

9. LARP and the Real Girl (8×11)

Yeah, Charlie’s gonna show up a few times on here.

One of the reasons this episode is important is, as much as I love the show, it’s screwed up a few times in relation to how to portrays “nerds,” “fangirls,” and “geek culture.” In the last few seasons they’ve done some serious damage control for some of the broader moments, which sometimes come off as mean-spirited. We, the geeks, have noticed your efforts. And we appreciate it.

The boys are still dragged into the culture while being a little snide, as are the police force, but they get worn down by the good-natured LARPers. Especially when they find out that their queen is Charlie. By the end, they’ve donned full costumes, weaponry, and face paint as they go charging into battle. I’m saying we’ve come a long way since Becky.

This is after Sam and Dean attempt their usual FBI aliases, only to be called out by the LARPers (who think they’re attempting to do a genre mash-up) for not having real badges, and either being banished to the tent set aside for people who need to use the internet or sent to dress the part. And Sam and Dean are willing to follow the guidelines.

I’m not personally much of a LARPer, but this large universe they’ve created with its own politics and rules makes it seem like a lot of fun. And for the most part they’re all in character all the time, which make the little moments when they have to pause, because fake teeth have fallen out or a stray Frisbee comes their way, all the better.

We get a, rare for the show, gay onscreen kiss between Charlie and the damsel-in-distress fairy, who’s forced to kill people while being controlled by the baddie, the deaths are properly gory, and while we don’t get to see the villain’s comeuppance, we can imagine that it was very fitting.

8. Hibbing 911 (10×08)

Why don’t Jody and Donna have a freaking spin-off yet?! We call it Wayward Daughters Academy and they take care of orphans and/or runaways and teach them how to be hunters. This needs to happen. Like, yesterday. In the meantime, they both need to be on Supernatural all the time.

Donna is still fairly new to the SPN universe, appearing in 3 episodes during seasons 9, 10, and 11 (we did not get her last season, and I categorize that as a sin). Meanwhile, Jody has actually appeared in 11 episodes (that’s more than Ellen, Jo, Gabriel, or Death), first popping up back in season 5. The one where her zombie son eats her husband. Her first episode isn’t great, and while she’s a cool character, not especially memorable. Luckily, they decided to bring her character back and evolve her into someone really cool (and kickass), who I’ve grown insanely attached to. And I shipped her and Bobby, so it was extra lame when he died, AND THERE WILL BE RIOTING IN THE STREETS IF THEY HURT MY JODY.

Jody and Donna have little in common, aside from the fact that they’re both sheriffs. So the only natural thing to do was put the two characters in an episode together, and let them play Odd Couple.

Sam and Dean, while fairly featured, take a bit of a backseat. “Hibbing 911” is clearly a showcase for the women. I’m kind of “meh” about the monsters. They aren’t that new or noteworthy, but the way they’re dealt with and how the sheriffs work together is new and noteworthy. And they’re onscreen friendship is made even better by Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster’s off-screen friendship.

7. Slumber Party (9×04)

Dorothy. Despite all my lady parts, I managed to capture the wicked witch.

I get it if you don’t like this episode. To be honest, I’m on the fence as to whether or not I’m totally cool with them taking this whole story line as far as they did, diving into a totally unrelated fandom (aside from a briefly featured witch). But if it all comes down to being entertained and enjoying the episode, this episode belongs here. It originaly aired on October 29th and felt very much like a Halloween treat.

So, yeah. Charlie shows up again. And so does Dorothy. Like, the one from Oz. Though she’s not what you’re expecting. No Judy Garland here. We find out that the Men of Letters bunker, where the Winchesters have been staying, is actually a portal to the fantastical world, and a bunch of L. Frank Baum’s stuff is lying around, and the Winchesters get taken over by the Wicked Witch of the West, and Dorothy and Charlie have to fight them. Does that not sound fun? It does sound fun. And it IS fun. It’s just a very different flavor of fun than the show usually is.

And if the show is usually testosterone fueled, this episode is estrogen fueled. It’s wonderful to see Charlie have a strong woman comrade simply as a friend, and one of the biggest bummers about Charlie’s death is that it probably sealed the possibility of seeing Dorothy in the future (but you could twist my arm into finding a reason to pull Dorothy out of Oz). In the end, I think the writers may have also feared that too much Oz would derail the show.

Ah, well. We’ll always have this episode. And what better way to blend the worlds than for Charlie and Dorothy to step onto the Yellow Brick Road while AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” blaring.

“Ding dong, bitches.”

6. Hunteri Heroici (8×08)

Again, I get it if this one goes too far for people. Personally, I LOVE it.

The world goes Loony Tunes with real world affects. Throughout the episode we get hearts beating out of chests, walking on thin air before falling, talking cats, exploding candles, falling anvils, portable holes, and more. They really pulled out all the stops.

Castiel is at his most precious in this episode, wanting to hunt with the boys, but not being very good at it. Some of the more memorable points were him sniffing the corpse, his line “I’ll interrogate the cat,” and his exchange with Dean after frightening a victim’s wife (“I was being bad cop.” “You were being bad everything”).

The scene in which Cas(s) is introduced to cartoons is cute, and the scene where he comes clean to Dean is heartbreaking.

There were some really fun effects at the end when we see inside the head of the man creating the madness. First, the world he’s created in his mind is all a cartoon, then it turns to static, then to the colored bars indicating no signal.

I have to retract points for all the stupid flashback to Amelia scenes that went on all season long. They weren’t done particularly well, slowed the action and did nothing to make us care about this character that Sam ditched his brother for. In this episode, we’re also introduced to her awful father, doing no one any favors.

Still, all in all, it’s one of the more entertaining episodes of the last several seasons. It’s funny, clever, and sticks to its guns. They could have done it halfway, and the episode would have fallen apart, but they committed to the concept, and it paid off.

5. Do You Believe in Miracles? (9×23)

I made myself choose between this episode and the finale to season 11, so as not to clutter this up with finales. In some ways I enjoy “Alpha and Omega” more, but this one eventually won out for having the far superior ending.

There’s a lot of really great stuff in this episode. The pacing is excellent, it covers a lot of ground and doesn’t lag. Dean telling Sam “I’m proud of us” as he dies, Crowley’s “let’s go howl at that moon” monologue, and one of my favorite lines from Castiel, given the context, “Wookiee.” Gadreel’s reaction mimics Castiel’s own past confusion. It’s a fun in-joke for fans, but enjoyable for more casual viewers too.

But, man, if you thought you hated Metatron before, this episode resulted in a fury fest. He starts off by masquerading as some hero around the humans, kills Dean (he dies all the time, but this was still a jarring moment), and is about to do the same to Cas(s). Luckily, he gets carted off to heaven, by the angels who arrest him. I loved hating him, but was ready for them to get rid of him after he took things as far as he did in this episode.

On the other hand, Gadreel and Hannah have joined the good guys at this point. Angels trying to subtlety live among humans is always endearing on the show. They aren’t much better than Cas(s).

Of course, none of those bits are what this episode is most remembered for. It’s the ending, the final moment of the season finale, when the dead Dean opens his eyes. And they’ve turned black. He’s not dead anymore. He’s alive, and he’s become a demon. That’s how you tease an upcoming season.

And if you were lucky enough to watch this episode with a group of friends when it first aired…oh my God…so much screaming.

4. Stuck in the Middle (With You) (12×12)

Some people are going. Why? What’s so special about this episode? Those people do not watch Quentin Tarantino movies. This entire episode is riddled with references to Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill.

Expertly directed by Richard Speight Jr., this episode featured coffee shop conversations, slow-mo walks through parking lots, menacing whistling from a villain, a time-hopping narrative, cue cards, and I was in heaven. Even the title calls to mind the notorious Reservoir Dogs scene in which a man gets his ear cut off. Just about every scene in this episode made me squeal and point at my screen, despite the fact that I was watching it alone.

Cas(s) is very much in the Mr. Orange role for much of the episode, slowly bleeding out and unable to provide much help, while his sympathetic friends do a lot of fighting around him. Meanwhile, Mary is scheming and secret keeping, which is frustrating. Aren’t you one of the good guys?! I’m not so sure the writers always think so.

We’re introduced to likeable side-character, Wally, who doesn’t, unfortunately,survive the episode, but I guess someone had to die.

The Colt finally reappears here. I don’t know why, but that always felt like a Tarantino style weapon. Maybe because it’s Western -y? We also saw some long absent yellow-eyed demons, but there wasn’t much follow through on that front. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a return.

It also ends on a great cliffhanger, revealing that Pellegrino-Lucifer is back.

3. Just My Imagination (11×08)

I miss you, Jenny Kline! She’s gonna go work on Jessica Jones, so it’s all good, but she was great on this show.

There aren’t many specific Supernatural episodes that you can say are actually award nominees, but this is an exception. And with good reason.

The premise is simple enough: kids imaginary friends are actually real. And they’re getting killed off. But the execution, if you’ll pardon the expression, is brilliant. And I’m including the execution of the writing as well as the production.

Supernatural has never done imaginary friends before. Which, in retrospect, seems like an obvious thing to cover. But the flavor is very similar to “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie.” And I think I made it pretty clear how obsessed I am with that episode in my last SPN list. I love it a lot.

In “Just My Imagination” we meet Sam’s imaginary friend (of course it was Sam. How wouldn’t it be Sam?), Sully. Sam thinks he’s an intruder before being convinced by Sully revealing information no one else could know. Sully explains that imaginary friends are creatures called Zanna, and they protect kids. Always. Which is really a lovely thought. You just can’t see them unless they let you.

Of course, it all goes south and in an incredibly morbid and hysterically funny scene. Sully takes Sam and Dean to the scene of the first Zanna murder, where a mother is unaware of the paranormal crime scene in her daughter’s room. She inadvertently gets glittery blood all over her face (remember, she can’t see the dead Zanna, but Sam and Dean can), and the reactions by Sam, Dean, and Sully are priceless.

Throughout the episode they meet many Zanna, and they walk a tricky line of making them over-the-top and ridiculous looking, while still keeping them sympathetic. They could have easily become obnoxious, but they never do.

And there’s a flashback with Kid Sam and Kid Dean and we’re, thankfully, still under the reign of Best Kid Dean.

And Richard Speight Jr. directed this episode as well!

2. Don’t Call Me Shurley (11×20)

This episode is essentially an hour of exposition in one setting, and it’s still considered one of the best episodes of the show. The last line, “we should probably talk,” was clearly an echo of the writer’s thoughts when writing this episode.

While Sam and Dean appear in the episode, I found myself, in a rare turn, wanting to cut back to the bar every time, even amidst the rather horrific events and multitude of deaths Sam and Dean were encountering.

Fan favorite Chuck, who many suspected to be God, was MIA since the end of season 5. The amulet storyline was dropped, Metatron was powerless, Cas(s) was possessed by Lucifer, and Amara was about ready to tear the whole world down. And in the 4th to last episode of the season, Supernatural did a record scratch and tossed Chuck back into the mix. And it was revealed that he was, in fact, God. This was a moment fans had been wanting for a long time. And starting to assume they’d never get.

He’s joined by Metatron, who while I spent a good deal of time hating him over the course of the series, I have to admit, was the perfect character to play opposite Chuck in the episode. And Chuck proceeds to answer several long held fan questions, through the guise of Metatron’s questions.  Chuck fills in plot holes, confirms theories, and generally explains what’s been going on. What the whole episode builds up to is an argument between Chuck and Metatron. Metatron admits to his mistakes, but also accuses Chuck of cowardly turning away when he was needed. Chuck’s angry with Metatron, but Metatron also gets through to him. The episode ends with the town being revived, courtesy of Chuck and him finding Sam and Dean to help them take on Amara. It’s a brilliant set-up for what was a great season finale, which almost got a spot on the list itself.

As the fandom knows, the actor who plays Chuck, Rob Benedict, is the real life frontman for the band Louden Swain. So the whole episode is tied up with Chuck playing and singing a really gorgeous cover of “Dink’s Song.”

1. Baby (11×04)

I don’t really have much to say about this one. It’s better just to watch it really, and I don’t want to analyze it to death anyway. The Impala has always been the soul of the show, and whatever monster they’re facing, whatever motel they have to stay in, and wherever they have to travel to, Baby means they’re home. Even when they have the bunker to stay in.

Nearly the entire episode takes place from the interior of the car and feels very much like a thank you to the fans. I have nothing against the 200th episode. I liked it, but this felt more in the spirit of the show and packed a proper emotional punch. It’s beautiful and poignant, and for fear of gushing, I’ll leave it at that.

I don’t know how much longer the show’s gonna run for. I’ve been hearing talk of them wrapping up with the 300th episode. Which if my calculations are correct would still give us a full 23 episode season and a short 13 episode season. That’s a lot of episodes. But it’s still sad to think of it ending. That being said, there’s a lot of really good stuff to rewatch in this batch.

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10 Times Twin Peaks Made You Laugh

Twin Peaks is an odd show. I get that saying that is an understatement. But I’m not just talking about BOB possessing people or supernatural owls or even clairvoyant logs. That’s all just on the surface. Twin Peaks deals with some really dark subjects on a regular basis, and each episode ends with a twisted cliffhanger to pull you into the next episode.

No one would call Twin Peaks a comedy or even dramedy. And it’s not slice of life. Not on any plane of existence I’ve ever encountered. But what is it? Drama? Thriller? Mystery? It doesn’t seem to fit into any of those categories. And there some seriously disturbing material coming out of that show. Is it okay to laugh when that many people are encountering that much pain?


Twin Peaks works as a parody of soap operas and likes to point at itself with big neon signs that flash “ISN’T THIS RIDICULOUS?” Those are the moments when all the intensity pops its top, and we, as the audience, get to have a good laugh. Here are some times it happened to me. And likely happened to you too:

*NOTE: At the point I’m writing this, there are only 4 episodes of the new series available to watch, so most of this list (but not quite all of it) is from the original series.

10. Every Note to Diane

 twin peaks dale cooper harry s. truman GIFI almost just said Agent Cooper’s introduction, but that’s just the first Diane tape. They’re all gold. Cooper rambles on about important and not so important things, until he’s gotten so far off topic that neither the audience, nor seemingly Cooper can remember what the note was originally supposed to be about.

I can’t imagine having to wade through that many hours of basically just Cooper’s inner monologue. Okay, maybe I can. That actually sounds kind of fun.

They’re often used to punctuate an already funny moment, or used to let the audience know it’s okay to make light of an otherwise serious situation. The Diane tapes mean humor.

Diane has yet to physically appear in the series, and for that reason is one of the most theorized about characters in the series. One of the more exciting theories that she’s gonna show up one of these weeks in the form of Laura Dern. Someone’s been peaking at my Christmas list.

9. Nadine Tries Out for the Wrestling Team

After Nadine wakes up from a coma, she’s lost all recent memory, but gained super strength. She often doesn’t realize her strength and seems confused as to why she keeps ripping doors of their hinges. Thinking she’s still a high school student, she gets a crush on one of the high school jocks, Mike.

After doing a little too well at the cheerleading trials, Nadine visits the gym, where Mike is working out. There she impresses the wrestling coach with her strength, and he urges her to join the team, where she shows up Mike. Actually, it’s more like she flings him around like a rag doll. The coach is thrilled, and Nadine is pretty pleased with herself, but it takes Mike awhile to warm up to her (though he comes around in the end).

Seeing someone so much smaller do so much damage so effortlessly with such joy is awesome to watch.

8. Leo’s Homecoming Party

Twin Peaks on Showtime season 2 twin peaks showtime episode 6 GIF

After being shot, Leo is left in a vegetative state. His wife, Shelly, who he abused, and her new boyfriend, Bobby, bring him home from the hospital.

Leo, who seems only vaguely aware of his surroundings, sits perfectly still while Shelly and Bobby throw a celebration around him, claiming it’s in his honor.

They cover him in streamers, affix a party hat to his head, and place a kazoo in his mouth, which makes a noise every time he breathes out. Bobby and Shelly play their kazoos along, anticipating when the next sound will come. They even get a little amorous in front of him.

Twisted? Totally. Funny? Absolutely.

The wife beater deserves it.

7. Ben Horne’s Civil War Reenactments

I have conflicting feelings about Ben Horne. Like, he’s basically a terrible slimy scumbag pretty much of the time. But it seemed near the end, he honestly felt bad about not being a better father to Audrey, and in his own awful way was trying to make up for some of the horrible things he did. And Audrey’s my favorite. Don’t mess with her.

Regardless, he has some outrageous and hilarious scenes throughout the series that, at the very least, make him interesting and, at the most, make him super fun to watch.

At one point, Ben goes…er…slightly mad, believing himself to be Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. While his family and friends are worried for him, they eventually give in, and the reenactments go from playing with toy soldiers to their dressing in period costumes and bringing in full on sets and props. Leave it to the Horne’s to embrace the crazy.

6. Gordon Meets Shelly, Gordon.

One of the most notable things about his character is that he’s played by the series co-creator, David Lynch. That’s not to suggest that the character isn’t wonderful in his own right. He’s delightful.

He wears a hearing aid and speaks no softer than VERY LOUD at any point during the series. And that’s how everyone who speaks to him has to respond. Save this one exception.

As Cooper’s superior, Gordon drops into Twin Peaks every so often to check up and help out. At one point, he meets with Cooper at the Double R Diner, where he firsts sees Shelly, at her waitressing job, and immediately falls for her.

He approaches her and asks for coffee and pie and is shocked to discover that when she speaks, in her normal quiet register, he can hear her. This only makes him become further enamored with her, and Shelly comes to find him as delightful as we do.

They have several hilarious and endearing interactions together. Ultimately, it goes no further than a kiss (though that serves to make Bobby plenty jealous), but the relationship is exactly as it should be.

5. “Don’t drink that coffee!”

To really drive home the fact that Twin Peaks is a small town, there are several scenes around Agent Cooper’s arrival that are a little odd. Things that he clearly isn’t expecting. Of course, Agent Cooper being Agent Cooper, this only serves to make him love the town even more.

While he’s clearly in his own fish out of water story, in this moment there’s another fish that stands between him and his beloved coffee.

When he’s visiting the home of Pete Martell, Pete gets him and Harry a cup of coffee and leaves the room. He comes running in a moment later, yelling, “Fellas, don’t drink that coffee!” just as they both take a big mouthful. By way of explanation, Pete continues, “You’d never guess. There was a fish…in the percolator! Sorry…”

4. Room Service Brings Agent Cooper a Glass of Milk

Agent Cooper gets shot in his hotel room, leaving us with one hell of a cliffhanger, but luckily the next episode brings us room service! An elderly man, who works at the hotel, arrives with the glass of warm milk that Agent Cooper requested.

He walks in, sees a bleeding Cooper lying on the floor, and…does nothing to help.

He seems concerned, but doesn’t really know what to do once he’s brought in the milk. And Cooper doesn’t ask him to do anything, so they just peer at each other, Cooper alarmed at having been shot, and the employee alarmed that a man is bleeding to death on the floor of his hotel room. Finally, he leans over Cooper. So Cooper can sign for the milk.

The scene is agonizingly long and slow, but that’s what makes it funny. The longer it goes, the more you think “surely, at some point, one of them will say something about the elephant in the room,” and neither ever does.

3. The Llama Moment

An unscripted bit of interaction between Agent Cooper and a Llama.

While investigating a case, Cooper and Harry pay a visit to a vet’s office.

The two are talking in the lobby when a woman passes between them. She’s holding the lead of a llama. Cooper and Harry are standing fairly close together, which seems to cause the llama to pause. It looks straight at Cooper, who returns the stare, and the llama walks on past. And the conversation continues as though nothing happened.

But it’s so unexpected and odd looking that it always gets a chuckle. And it’s Cooper and a llama. I don’t need more of a reason.

2. Save the Pine Weasel

This whole charity event is bizarre. We knew it would be when it started with a fashion show featuring both Lucy and Andy.

But it reaches peak wtf when the Pine Weasel handler comes out on stage with said animal and is talking to Dick, who’s being his usual obnoxious self.

Apparently, the Pine Weasel thinks so too, because it goes from being very mild-mannered and agreeable to attacking Dick viciously. Dick screams in pain thrashing around with it clamped to his nose (it’s made even better by the fact that the real animal has been switched out, and he’s obviously tussling with a stuffed animal). He manages to pry it off his face and flings it into the crowd, who all fly into a panic, creating utter pandemonium.

Audrey, who was onstage falls into the arms of the John Justice Wheeler, who was luckily standing near by, and they kiss for the first time as the charity goers scream all around them.

1. Wally Brando

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love this scene and those who are wrong.

The cast list for the third season of Twin Peaks is extensive. In addition to much of the main cast making a return, there were quite a few new celebrities on the list, including Michael Cera. Whether or not this role is a cameo, we can’t tell for sure. In the mind of David Lynch, it may have felt vitally important for this character to make an appearance (he is Lucy and Andy’s son after all) and then completely disappear.

And that would be okay. This scene is completely joyous. Cera’s Marlon Brando impression is just good enough without being what you’d call a good impression. I don’t mean that as a sleight. It’s the reason this scene is the gold that it is. On top of that, all the actors look like they’re about to fall apart laughing at any second. The dialogue is ludicrous, while also dripping with Brando references, and the proud parents, just complete the insane picture.

But there are many more moments that made me laugh in both the old and the new series, and I’m so glad I get to pay another visit to Twin Peaks.


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10 Times Michael Bluth Was the Funniest Person on Arrested Development

I was already in the middle of an Arrested Development rewatch when the news came that a fifth season was happening. I’m choosing to believe I’m responsible. Let me know your revival requests, I’ll see if I can manifest them.

Anyway, one thing that frustrates me about the culture surrounding the show is that everyone likes the crazy family, while fans tend to look down on the actual protagonist. Like, I was once on a site that had a “who’s your favorite character?” thread. The length of the thread was pretty extensive. And every character got a mention multiple times. Except Michael. He didn’t get a single mention on the whole thread.

This bothers me, because he’s my favorite. And he’s what’s keeping everything together. Ron Howard tells us so at the beginning of every episode. Without Michael, Arrested Development simply doesn’t work. Also, he’s not a humorless and boring straight man every time he’s onscreen. He’s just surrounded by over-the-top lunatics. Michael’s subtler, and I for one appreciate that more than any of the surrounding madness. So, in honor of the return of the Bluths, here are 10 times Michael was the one who made us laugh.

10. The Cornballer

Throughout the episode, there are references to characters accidentally touching the cornballer and getting horribly burned.

But we see it happen to Michael himself multiple times. And he goes from being his calm reasonable self, trying to have a serious talk with his family, to screaming a litany of bleeped out swear words.

This was called back in the 4th season, when he tries to open a car door after first arriving in Phoenix, Arizona.

9. Burning down the banana stand

This is an ongoing one. First, Michael finds out his son wants to burn down the Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Stand, then decides, what the hell, let’s just start over, and helps him. “Taking Care of Business” starts playing, and Michael’s brother, GOB joins them, at which point it’s revealed that GOB didn’t mail an important check, and Michael gives chase, while GOB tries to make a getaway on his Segway. Actually anytime Michael chases GOB and subsequently gets in a physical fight with him, belongs on here (“Beef Consommé”).

Cut to the next day at the prison, where Michael takes great satisfaction eating an ice cream sandwich, his prisoner father’s favorite snack, in front of him, while telling him that the banana stand is gone, before his father, George, reveals that the stand was lined with cash, which is now all gone in the fire. George screams “how much clearer can I make it? There’s always money in the banana stand!” Michael’s reaction is one of “I’ve made a huge mistake” as George begins to throttle him.

8. Michael vs. the tumbleweed


Season 4 showed Michael falling into a deep pit of misery from a combination of bad luck and bad choices. After finishing building Sudden Valley, the housing market takes a nosedive, and there’s no one living in the town other than Michael.

The perfect visual representation of this is when Michael opens the front door and a tumbleweed comes bouncing in the house. After several jump cuts of him trying to kick it out, it moves further into the house, and Michael continues trying to kick it away in vain.

7. This exchange:








Tobias (to Lindsay):









And this one:

GOB: You know, I sort of thought my contribution could be a magic show.
Michael: Oh, that’s perfect, Gob.
Gob: Thank you.
Michael: Or, wait a minute. I just remembered something – Dad’s retiring, not turning six.

Michael never quite losses his sense of humor. Even when it seems like he’s reached his breaking point.

6. Afternoon Delight

Michael decides that since he’s no longer the president of the Bluth company, he’s going to be “fun.” It starts out okay. At the office Christmas party, Michael and his niece, Maeby, keep licking candy and sticking it to the back of GOB’s suits (tired of him bragging about how expensive they are), and Michael seems to be having a pretty good time.

Then he tells Maeby, to fire up the karaoke machine, and they’ll do a duet of the first song that comes on. Maeby does, and they get about halfway through “Afternoon Delight” before Michael realizes just how inappropriate a song it is to be singing with his 15 year old niece.

Later in the episode Lindsay and George Michael make the same mistake.

5. “A building full of whistle blowers”

In an attempt to get the attention of the Bluth company employees, Michael gets plastic whistles made up for them and scatters them across the table during a business meeting, telling them that if they see anything going on in the company that seems shady, they should blow the whistle.

This backfires spectacularly as the employees all blow the whistles constantly, until Michael has to collect them all back, like a teacher punishing an unruly class.

4. Michael gets a hug

Michael doesn’t have a good relationship with his mother. And none of the relationships in the show are what you’d call “healthy.” But every once in a while, Michael just has to tell someone about all the crap he’s dealing with.

On one such occasion, Lucille scoops him into a hug, which she had only ever done once before. Confused, Michael asks why she’s squeezing him, and she explains it’s a hug.

He asks why and she replies, “because you need a mother right now.” His response: “But I don’t get along with my… Sorry, that was – that was a knee jerk.”

3. Peter Pan

One of my favorite running gags is the Peter Pan play Michael starred in as a child. We get a glimpse of it, and the execution of bad choreography and kids just trying so darn hard to do their parts rights, while the hook prop falls off the captain and a plinky piano plays accompaniment never fails to make me giggle.

When Michael first meets Maggie Lizer, he’s encouraged to pretend he’s a lawyer, believing he played a very convincing one in the school play. Playing off the Captain Hook song he sang, he says he’s a maritime lawyer.

Seasons later he again takes the role of a lawyer in a mock trial for the same reason. And in season 4 it gets brought up again when the family needs an actual maritime lawyer.

2. Stealing office supplies

After successfully bringing home a nice office chair by tying it to his bike (as a reward to himself for not stealing GOB’s girlfriend), Michael attempts to do the same with a TV balanced precariously on a skateboard. It doesn’t go as well.

1. “I don’t know what I expected.”

For sheer simplicity, I think my all-time favorite moment in the show was in the second episode when he finds a brown bag in the fridge with the note: DEAD DOVE. DO NOT EAT. And then looks inside the bag. The look of disgust on his face is both from seeing a dead bird and his own stupidity.

To me, it’s the ultimate example of the understated quipping he steadily doles out, while a world of madness is falling down around his ears.

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