The Tick Running Commentary

Spoilers. Duh.

Picking up from episode 2. I already wrote a whole post about episode 1 from when it came out last year.

-I get the feeling the Tick doesn’t have an alter ego. He’s so into being a superhero. He’d be miserable as a normal guy.

-“At least organized crime is organized.”

-Give into the “us,” Arthur!

– I believe in the Tick. Also, #IBelieveInTheTick

-Do his antennae store his emotions?

-Arthur really could use some regular clothes. Like, of course people can find him dressed like that.

-“We’ve got a superhero.” Yeeeees!

-If I called out all the dialogue I liked, this would just be a transcript.

-Seriously, I’m all about all this dialogue. I’ve been giggling pretty consistently throughout.

-Arthur sneaking around his own apartment was me tonight when I thought I saw roach in the bathroom sink. It was only a cricket.

-Oh my God, Miss Lint getting all girly asking about Overkill. This is too good.

-Does…does Overkill want to kill Arthur? I feel like he could have done that a few times by now. If not…maybe don’t point a gun at him?

-I want a spinoff about Dot’s roller derby team.

-Ghosh opening the register as soon as the thugs walk in…perfect.

-That sarcophagus fridge is ridiculous. I also kind of want one.

-Miss Lint is way too cool for these losers.

-I’m not 100% sure what Arthur job is, but it looks like the worst. And I think there’s math involved. Ew.

-Peter Serafinowicz trying to say superhero in an American accent is still my favorite part of this show.

-Good grief, I just said the same line as the Tick as he said. A little more worrying than when that happened with Jessica Jones.

-I’m legit concerned about the Tick remembering who he really is. And me finding out.

-The Tick drinks coffee straight out of the coffee pot, and now I’m wondering why I don’t do that.

-It’s true. Walter’s obsession with feet is weird.

-I’m concerned by HOW much I like Miss Lint. I know she’s the baddie, but she’s awesome.

-Now I want cheese. But I already brushed my teeth.

-Can Dot become a superhero too? She needs to escape normal even more than Arthur.

-Jesus! Throwing Stars stuck in the flesh.

-Miss Lint and Arthur trying to make the suit work is WAY too relatable.

-I’m laughing so hard!

-So wait, Miss Lint’s superpower is attracting lint?

-He’s flying! Arthur’s flying!

-By the way, I love the opening credits.

-Oh, the book was ACTUALLY written by  a dog.

-Damn straight Dot’s coming with you.

-Look, I think Miss Lint’s my favorite, and we’re all just gonna have to be okay with that.

-Chum, sport, Arthur doesn’t have any good nicknames.

-Oh, good. Dot’s on board.

-I wish I was into everything as much as the Tick is.

-Oh, shit. It’s the Terror.

-Man, I wish I could adjust the flavor and temperature of my coffee with laser eyes. That’s the only thing I’d use it for, but that’s enough for me to really want them.

-There are A LOT of face scars in this show.

-Holy shit, did they just kill the-oh, no they just poisoned the ex-husband. It was just really sudden.

-Killin’ the Bees is gonna be my new band name.

-Tick, Tick, he’s getting away!

-No! Tick!

-Damn. What did they fire at him? And why wasn’t it effective. Is it his suit?

-He’s figured it out. Arthur figured out the suit.

-Aliens?! Yay!

-Oh, no.

-Cliffhanger indeed!

-Okay, I’m gonna need more. That wasn’t the full season, right? When do we get the rest of it?

-Answer me internet!

-Not til 2018?!

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The Defenders (Season 1) Running Commentary

So many spoilers.

-Ugh, we’re starting with That One No One Cares About? Or, no. What’s his name? White Privilege? No, no, that’s his superpower. Ah, I’ve just been informed his name is actually Iron Fist (I’ve just been calling him, “shut up, Danny”).

-Sig. Our. Ney. Weav. Er. ❤ ❤ ❤

-It’s interesting. Each show and corresponding character has a distinct style/color palette. Seeing characters weave between the styling of their own show and the others is…interesting.

-Careful, Malcolm. Your Australian is showing.

-I, in real life, said the exact line Jessica Jones said in the show as she was saying it. I’m very proud of myself.

-Luke tossing Danny around the alley is giving me life.

-A quarter of this show is Colleen doing the job Danny should be doing, while he occasionally punches something for her. Let’s be clear, she’s doing the job of Iron Fist.

-One of the cool things about this show is getting to see all the supporting characters again: Foggy, Trish, Malcom, Misty…

-I made a truly gross noise when Matt walked into the the room Jessica was being held in, but I couldn’t help it, I’m so EXCITED!

-Wait, there are only 8 episodes? We need to move this along then.

This is the show I want.

-I wish I liked Elektra. I want to like Elektra…

-Elektra asking “who” she is. I feel ya, girl.

-I’m not sure about Luke/Claire. I still ship Luke/Jessica and Claire’s the only person I liked with Matt, so this is all screwed up.

-Yeah, Jessica, your lawyer’s into some weird shit.

-Yes, Danny, you do have a shit-ton of privilege.

-I could listen to Mike Coulter talk all day. And by subjecting myself to this binge, I kinda am.

-Let me try to find something I like about Danny. Hmmm. His shoes are kind of neat.

-But, see, now he’s barefoot. Get it together, Danny.

Put it away, Danny.

-What’s the significance of the wad of cash wrapped in rubber bands? I feel like this is a thing I’ve forgotten. Luke seems concerned about it.

-Oh, I was vaguely concerned about Danny’s safety for a moment!

-What are those weird darts they’re shooting? Am I supposed to remember that or connect it to a past storyline?

-YES, LUKE.

-Cue obligatory hallway fight that we now have to have in every Marvel/Netflix show thanks to Daredevil season 1.

-Okay, punching through a sword is pretty cool.

I always stand staggered with other passengers in elevators.

-“Whoa. She is very strong.”

-Check these four out bickering and being charming.

-GAH! THE JESSICA/LUKE IS KILLING ME.

-Okay. I need my favorite Defender to actually, like, join the Defenders now. Oh. There she is. As I was saying that, Jessica made her dramatic re-entrance.

-No! Colleen!

-“Nice ears.”

-A dying villain is far more dangerous than a fit one.

-Ew. Decapitated heads rolling across the floor aren’t really my jam.

-I do really like Elektra’s costume.

-Is Stick trying to be a Defender? He’s always there.

-Oh, cool. An excuse for them all to beat up Danny.

-We’re really milking the decapitated head.

-I…I don’t quite understand why Elektra is a match for Matt, Jessica, and Luke with each of their different sets of powers. I mean, the only way Jessica could take Luke down was to literally shoot him in the face.

-Why is “Daredevil” so hard for people to remember?

-No! Sigourneeeeeeeeeeeeey! That’s it?! Goddamn it.

-Misty has all the same questions I do.

-Yay! More Foggy! Why the hell didn’t they send him to Misty with Claire, Trish, Malcolm, and Karen? I mean, yes, he’s ended up there anyway, but don’t pretend like Foggy isn’t still  your top priority, Matt.

-Foggy:”I brought you a change of clothes.” *Matt opens the bag, revealing the Daredevil costume* Foggy is THE best.

-I feel bad for Misty. They’re putting her in a really tough spot. She trusts them, but she’s gonna get in trouble when they run off. And then she’s responsible for locking them up when they break the law, whether their reasons are justified or not.

-Boss battle!

-All I could think when Karen was typing as the power shut down was “quick! Back up your shit! Command S!”

-WHAT THE FUCK? Are those dinosaur bones? Unless they’re bringing Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur into this they have some serious explaining to do. It’s not supposed to be a dragon, is it? I’m not sure how I feel about dragons in the Marvel Televisual Universe. And I LIKE dragons.

-Madame Gau trying to Kilgrave Iron Fist.

-No! Colleen!

-And now I’m experiencing technical difficulties. Just play the last half of the episode please, Netflix.

-No! Misty!

-This is how we’re ending? Daredevil and Elektra lovingly beating the living hell out of each other?

-Ouch. After Jessica reuniting with Trish and Malcolm, Luke standing with Claire, and Danny walking in with Colleen, Foggy and Karen realize their guy is the only one not coming back.

-Why is Colleen the only person there when Misty wakes up?! She got her damn arm chopped off trying to help you! But I guess there setting up a Daughters of the Dragon thing (by the way, Netflix, I’d watch that).

-Alias Investigations! When is Jessica Jones season 2?!

-And, gasp! Matt’s alive! I’m super shocked (not).

-Yes, yes, we haven’t forgotten about Punisher, don’t worry.

-But, dude, are we just gonna ignore that whole thing about the dragons now?

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Feminism within Quentin Tarantino Films

feminism                                                                                                                                              noun fem·i·nism \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\                                 

  • 1 :  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

  • 2 :  organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests    

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Quentin Tarantino has been accused of most every -ism you can think of, sexism being a particular hot topic button. I, as a woman, am baffled by this. Feminism, by definition, is the equal treatment of men and women. This means if there’s a movie where the men get beat up, the women get beat up too. Feminism DOESN’T mean that the girls get out of every situation scot-free. No one in a Tarantino movie does.

I’m not arguing. Sometimes he misses the mark a bit. Not every movie he make is great in the lady department. But I’m gonna take his movies on a case by case basis and point out the feminism, or lack thereof, in each of the 8 feature films he’s both written and directed in their entirety (which means I’m not including True Romance (aside from a mention), Natural Born Killers, Sin City, Four Rooms, From Dusk Till Dawn, or TV/short films).

Reservoir Dogs

https://cdn.miramax.com/media/assets/6a00d41438c4456a470123f1aed0cf860f.jpgThere are no female character in this film. Aside from some featured extras. They talk about women a fair amount, including a nod to Pam Grier who would later star as the title character in Jackie Brown, but there really aren’t any women in the film. But there was in the script, Jodie. As a matter of fact, they shot all her scenes, only for them later to be cut from the movie. She works with Freddy and Holdaway. A fellow undercover cop, she’s part of the police investigation.

There are also two notable women mentioned as they tie into the Tarantino-verse: Alabama (as in Alabama Worley, the female lead from True Romance, who we find out was Larry’s ex-crime partner) and in another deleted scene Bonnie (as in Jimmy’s wife from “The Bonnie Situation”).

It’s not that there aren’t any women in this world, it’s that there aren’t any women on this job. They make the occasional sexual comment, but nothing jumps out at me as being overtly sexist. In the end, it’s sort of a wash.

(Weird side note: it’s my favorite film of his for its simplicity.)

Pulp Fiction

I think people forget how many featured women are actually in this film: Mia Wallace, Fabienne, Honey Bunny, Jody, Trudy, Esmerelda, and Raquel. Granted, they’re mostly minor characters with some major exceptions, Mia Wallace being one of the most central as well as one of the most memorable.

https://i1.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/05d2f9610270bed7dd50c6fd0d165cfe/tumblr_mud7be6wog1qkx9ego1_250.gifThe movie opens and closes with a woman robber just a dangerous as her male counterpart, a cab driver non-plussed that her fare just killed a guy, said murderer’s girlfriend (though does Fabienne know Butch killed the other boxer?), a couple of heavily-pierced suburban drug dealers, a woman who disposes of dead bodies in hot cars, and the wife of a crime boss. Not women to be trifled with.

The women aren’t in the roles of the hitmen (yet), but are just as dangerous. And all these characters have agency. Many films use women to drive a plot forward or make a male character spring into action, fewer allow the woman to act for herself.

So, let’s talk about Mia. The interesting thing about her is, she seems very innocent. But given who her husband is, this is unlikely. She knows what she wants, says so, and then gets it. It’s just the sorts of things she wants are dance trophies from kitschy dinners.

When she O.D.’s, it yanks the rug out from under the audience’s feet. She’s gone from being the fun character to driving one of the most intense sequences in the film. By the time she’s revived, she’s covered in blood, snot, sweat, and saliva with a massive needle sticking out of her chest. It’s tough to watch. But does she look any worse than Butch by the end of his sequence? It’s not pretty, it’s what equality really looks like. We didn’t need the lead actress to be glamorized. What happens to her isn’t glamorous. It makes it real and it deepens our concern that something really bad might actually happen. And all the while we never lose sight of who her character is (“…something”).

Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown is the first Tarantino film where the lead character was well and truly a woman. While the style is a little atypical of his other films, it’s just as grungy, disturbed, and cool. So cool. Point me in the direction of a cooler female protagonist, because I’m not sure there is one.

And this movie’s all about Jackie.

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The fact that she’s a woman? It matters and comes into play. The fact that she’s black? It matters and it comes into play. The fact that she’s a black woman? Oh, yeah (which is funny, since Tarantino didn’t realize the character in the book was white until he reread it. He just pictured Pam Grier).

The other prominent female, Melanie is frustrating and sometimes obnoxious, but is in total control of her own actions. Even when doing what Ordell tells her to, she  does it on her own terms. Jackie even briefly tries to have a sort of “us girls” comradery with her, though it doesn’t really pay off.

Jackie Brown isn’t as popular as Tarantino’s other films and probably wouldn’t normally draw quite the same crowd. There’s something a little more grown-up about.  Sure, she can hold and point a gun, but she’s not the same violent tearaway protagonist of Tarantino’s earlier films. But that’s what makes the character of Jackie Brown so powerful.

Kill Bill

And so we come to the Bechdel-smashing samurai-western cinematic epic that is Kill Bill. AND IT’S ONE FILM. I WILL NOT ARGUE THIS POINT WITH YOU. THE STUDIO MADE HIM CUT IT IN HALF FOR LENGTH IN IT’S THEATRICAL RELEASE.

This has to be the goriest movie Tarantino’s made to date. the amount of blood spilled is over the top and often played for laughs, but the ear poor Marvin Nash lost in Reservoir Dogs simply can’t compare to the limbs of the Crazy 88.

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The protagonist is a woman, 3 of the 5 people on her kill list, numerous members of the Crazy 88, the band playing (the 5,6,7,8’s), O’Ren’s translator, Gogo, the assassin sent to murder the Bride, all women.  The Bride’s motivation? Vengence for her daughter.

Examine the 5 fights with the people on her list. The sequence with O’Ren, especially if you include everything that led up to it, is the most extravagant. The fight with Vernita kicks off the movie. Her fight with Ellie is the penultimate battle before she takes on Bill. Budd’s death is practically an afterthought. While Budd’s killed by a Black Mamba (the Bride’s code name), Elle sets him up. He’s an alcoholic bouncer, barely holding onto his job. Okay, sure, he buries the Bride alive, but she just busts out. He’s hardly worth her time. The fight with Bill takes place while they’re both seated and lasts about 60 seconds. I’m not saying it’s not a big moment, it’s a huge moment, but very little time is spent on it.

Kill Bill features women out-bloodying and outfighting men. And has maybe the happiest ending of any movie on this list, with the Bride riding off into the sunset with her daughter, who turns out to be alive and well.

Death Proof

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Death Proof is another film with a predominantly female cast. It pulls a Psycho on us and kills the 4 lead women halfway through the movie. The second half follows 4 new characters as they also get entangled with the villain, Stuntman Mike. While the 4 original women are cool, the 4 new women are badass.

Whereas the scope of Kill Bill is epic with a cast of hundreds, Death Proof is of a much smaller scope. Not that everyone’s limbs manage to stay attached (that shot of the leg *shudder*). That would be asking for too much. But it’s all music and muscle cars and there’s nothing wrong with that. As the second half of Grindhouse, it actually is of itself an antidote to the zombie apocalyptic Planet Terror (not that there aren’t some good female characters in that too). It feels more exploitative than a lot of Tarantino’s films, but by the time the end winds around…I think that was actually the point. While you were busy ogling these women, they were preparing to fuck you up.

The standout of the film is real life stuntwoman Zoe Bell, playing herself. Since being Uma Thurman’s stunt double in Kill Bill she’s starred as her own character in both this and The Hateful Eight.

Inglourious Basterds

And so we move on to the historicals.

I get that, given the title of the film, people have a tendency to say that Aldo is the main character in this movie. And then I argue with them about how Shosanna is. The story is 100% about her. The bastards (or should I say “basterds”) are just along for the ride. They didn’t need to blow up the theater; she had already burned it down.

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The two most intense sequences, the strudel scene and, though she barely appears in it, the opening, center around her. It’s her theater the Nazis have the premiere in. It’s her relationship with Zoller that makes that happen. Everything with the bastards is just happenstance. Their inclusion makes for some fun scenes and serves to break up the tension, but if you remove all their scenes, the outcome would have been about the same. She never even interacts with them.

Of course, there is a woman working with the bastards. German actress and spy for the Americans, Bridget Von Hammersmark. Another great character, who was doing really well until her lost shoe gave her away. In some ways she’s Shosanna’s opposite: German, privileged, sophisticated, stylish, presumably with a fair bit more money (though Shosanna does own a theater). Yet they both want the same thing and both die for it.

Shosanna’s death is bloody and Bridget’s is savage, but they both go out fighting for what they think is right.

Django Unchained

From the feminist perspective there’s not as much to say here. There is a female lead, Broomhilda Von Shaft. Finding her is Django’s motivation. The one thing you can say is, they seem to have a genuine and respectful loving relationship.

https://38.media.tumblr.com/182d21a5a286501115f67fd107c8c748/tumblr_naolrfxvXx1qgime3o2_500.gif

We see some truly grueling things happen to her. Both men and women in this movie are treated horrifically (there are a couple of near unwatchable scenes, but the ones springing to mind are delegated to men).

Unfortunately, Broomhilda is basically trapped until Django is able to rescue her. She wasn’t exactly mishandled, she just wasn’t given a lot to do. She becomes a bit of a damsel in distress. But the character is compared to a princess in a German fairy tale, so that was likely the intent.

That’s not to minimize the intensity that Kerry Washington brings to the character, nor the difficult work that she had to put into playing her. She’s successful in making us like her and showing the hell that is Candyland, and we certainly want her to be saved, but the character’s purpose is more for the hero than herself.

The Hateful Eight

No heroes among these. Like Reservoir Dogs, The Hateful Eight is a movie about bad guys. I’d say this intriguing bunch are even less likeable than the dogs.

https://media.giphy.com/media/hnHvCaZVf1qY8/giphy.gifI get why this one is tough for some people. Daisy is the literal punching bag for much of the movie. The only comfort to be taken is the fact that Daisy is a psychopath and, had everything gone to plan, the few people who weren’t in on her escape should have all been killed (how didn’t than plan work? Tough luck, Daisy).

But you can’t say that she’s not a strong character. To be honest, she might have fared better had she kept quiet, just drawn less attention to herself, not have spit in people’s faces and laughed maniacally every time she was hit in the face. She’s the only character kept in handcuffs for much of the movie, and she’s the most terrifying. And she knows things some of the other character don’t. It gives her power over them. It’s no coincidence that Jennifer Jason Leigh scored one of the two Oscar nominations the movie got.

Like I mentioned when I talked about Pulp Fiction, it doesn’t over glamorizing the female character just because she’s the female character. In a way it’s liberating. It’s horrible to look at, but it’s a weirdly genuine. She’s an evil scheming psycho who just got punched in the face, she shouldn’t look like a prom queen dammit!

*****

The thing that Tarantino probably does best, is create interesting characters. I can name you a dozen male filmmakers off the top of my head that create great male characters, and feel they can stop there, toss a hot girl in, and call it a day. Look at this list. That’s just not the case here. Half these films have woman as the central character and each one is different from the last. All his characters are fucked up people in fucked up situations in a fucked up world. And they all get fucked up. Whenever I hear someone going into a rant about how Tarantino’s films are harmful to women and the sexist fantasies of a misogynist, all I can think is:

 

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Max Headroom Reboot Pitch

My latest project. I think the video is pretty self-explanatory. Do you know anyone who can help me out? Either way, pass it on.

#MaxHeadroomReturns

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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.

https://usatthebiglead.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/shove.gif?w=481&h=269But 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

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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

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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

https://i1.wp.com/33.media.tumblr.com/15de9601d6091fc236bf0a7108ae5f5a/tumblr_n8h0w7vT8M1r00543o1_r2_250.gifIce. 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

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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.

https://i1.wp.com/i.imgur.com/0Zc7f4d.gifShe’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.”

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/8863605/Screen_Shot_2017_07_16_at_9.09.43_PM.pngAfter 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

https://i1.wp.com/www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/medialibrary/images/1024/s4_11_wal_24.jpgAs 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.

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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.

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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

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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)

https://31.media.tumblr.com/8b29f6bddc51d7ab4e2055588c510b52/tumblr_inline_n19br7L8gR1qzlwdu.jpgThis 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.https://i2.wp.com/media.tumblr.com/93371539572dbd87b44c007bae39f04b/tumblr_inline_mlkit18ZY81qz4rgp.gif

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)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/76/fc/d5/76fcd52f542aba557d4d71b88be35ada--paget-brewster-celebrity-photography.jpgThere 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)

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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)

https://i1.wp.com/www.kinodir.com/uploads/images/2013/396/dwpt203.jpgIt 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)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/3e/38/9e/3e389e39a11f539168d0ec86f069fead.jpgThis 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.

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  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)

https://i1.wp.com/68.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4dplppU9z1qzu0fr.jpgI 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)https://i0.wp.com/68.media.tumblr.com/3fa598f3121f809aedddc6b50be5e55e/tumblr_ogn4k4x7Z51qa2wlvo1_1280.jpg

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)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1b/de/3f/1bde3fb56f35a655b10c62701ffdfe07--break-a-leg-paget-brewster.jpgI 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)

https://i1.wp.com/68.media.tumblr.com/fa6e8cc6f8fc288898d5af6161772ed3/tumblr_nkdhbiY9QV1rkcm2do1_500.jpgThis 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)

I’M NEVER TRUSTING JAMES URBANIAK IN A BEYOND BELIEF EPISODE EVER AGAIN. HE MAY SPEND THE VAST MAJORITY UNDER THE GUISE OF ANOTHER CHARACTER, THEN BAM! HE’S “A BOOGIDY MAN WITH FLOPPITY SHOES.”NIGHTAMES THE CLOWN. AND IT WILL BE GLORIOUS. Hurray!

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)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/0a/fa/14/0afa1457628485e4e9881e08015007ca--the-av-club.jpgNightmares 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)

https://i1.wp.com/68.media.tumblr.com/9ebbfc4c443aacdd7175609b60ad9053/tumblr_inline_ngzqttLc8i1qzlwdu.jpgThe 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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