Saturday, August 3, 2013

"Are You Afraid of the Dark?" Season 5, Episode 3. My Take

Immediate confession: I chose this out of all the great AYAOTD episodes for one reason and that reason's name is RYAN GOSLING. But he's coming up.

The show begins with this Cliff-and-Kendall-looking character auditioning for the Midnight Society. He's apparently tried before and his stories were 11pm caliber at best- but this is Midnight we're talkin' here! So he's lined up some amazing talent for his tale of teen terror!

Yep, baby Ryan Gosling plays the older brother to the protagonist of today's story. Ryan's younger brother has seen "Harold and Maude" too many times and is obsessed with his own death. Ryan's younger brother is constantly playing "funeral" etc. Wore black a lot. You know the type! 

Ryan, however, was everyone's idea of a perfect son. Blond, loved baseball, and works on cars just for fun! No wonder the younger bro turned out weird- who could live up to being Ryan's younger brother?!?! But that's not all . . .

Anyway, Brother Ryan's good fortune must have gone to his head, because in order to torture Little Bro, he borrows an old hearse from this mechanic he knows. (In Canada, where the show was produced, most 8th graders know several mechanics). You can guess what happens next. Ryan locks Little Bro inside the hearse . . . 

 . . .  and before you know it, Little Bro tunes the hearse's radio station to a frequency only the dead can hear. 

In a coincidence, or maybe he was drawn to the hearse's dead people radio station, this ghost happens upon Ryan as he's playing his prank on Little Bro. 

I don't remember what was happening here, but it looks like Ryan was all, "Whatever Little Brother! Go lay in a coffin! I'm going to start dating!"

While Ryan was downstairs smirking, Little Bro goes on the ancient internet (it was Dial-up!!!) and easily finds out where the dead people radio station is coming from. 

Nope, the radio station wasn't beaming straight from Satan's asshole, it was just downtown somewhere. It was easy to find because lots of nicely dressed ghosts were lumbering around in front. 

When Little Bro walks in, the station actually looks a whole lot like the waiting room from "Beetlejuice"- and you know what?! It is! There aren't any shrunken heads or ladies cut in half, but there were souls waiting for their number to be called . . . 

. . . by other guest star, screamingly funny comedian Gilbert Gottfried! I actually think I saw this episode as a kid or tween (whatever age Ryan Gosling was, only much MUCH fatter) because I remember recognizing Gilbert's voice from his beloved turn as Iago, Jafar's parrot in "Aladdin." 

Okay, so Gilbert slaps this slap bracelet on Little Bro and lets us know that slap bracelets are what take the dead into the next "dimension" (through a very bright doorway). Throw your Bibles away- THIS is the true gospel!

So the slap bracelet of course effectively turned Little Bro into a ghost. He comes home but Ryan can't hear or see him! 

I know what you're thinking- god, I'd love to be an invisible ghost floating around Ryan Gosling NOW! But, back then his Little Bro did everything but sing "Henry the 8th I Am" to get Ryan's attention, thought it were all for nought! 

Little Bro wafts back over to Gilbert who not only calls dead people's numbers, he also spins the hits on the all-dead radio station! (Only when he's on the air, he sounds like Peter Lorre). Gilbert's getting tired of this kid interrupting his work and so he thinks, "Why not do away with Ryan Gosling's Little Brother!?! He's already wearing a slap bracelet!" 

Somehow, Little Bro gets on the air at the dead radio station and manages to get a message to older sibling RYAN GOSLING, who's- oddly enough- sitting in the hearse listening to his favorite living radio show. Ryan hears his Little Bro screaming for help from the radio and is like, "What?!?"

As Ryan is freaking about his Little Bro's situation, the old ghost comes back and goes Clarissa on Ryan's ass by explaining it all: He is actually the ghost who needs to go to the other side, but Gilbert Gottfried ("Aladdin") is sending Little Bro instead! 

Ryan springs into action!

Dementors are just about to send Little Bro to hell, when . . . 

"NOT MY BROTHER, YOU BITCH!" (I'm paraphrasing). 

Gilbert sent him to the afterlife anyway, but the afterlife spit him back out. Then the old guy speaks prophecy when he tells us that the afterlife is only bad if we've led a bad life. If you've led a good life then, "It's the best thing going." (Attention Kendall: Please base my eulogy on the philosophy of the Ryan Gosling episode of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

In the end we see that Little Bro is no longer obsessed with death, he's into brightly colored clothing and baseball now. The brothers' relationship has also healed. Clearly Little Bro has decided a life in Ryan Gosling's shadow is better than one in a radio station on the outskirts of hell. 

In case you forgot, this epic tale was told by a young man hoping for entrance into the Midnight Society. After a long huddle, the MS did indeed allow him into the group. Probably based on the star power in the story and less on his plaid-based wardrobe. 

Final Fun Fact: By my calculations, baby Ryan Gosling was 14 in this episode from 1995. Only seven years later he was starring alongside and dating Sandra Bullock in "Murder By Numbers." If you want to watch the whole scarifying episode, click HERE, for some kind soul has put it on youtube. 

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