Jun. 7th, 2017

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[personal profile] froodle
What have you been working on this week, Eerie fans? Now's the time to spread the word about any fannish treats you've got cooking: a line of dialogue from an upcoming fic, linework for your latest art piece, the yarn colours for a new toy. Let us know in the comments!
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[personal profile] froodle
It's the 7th of the month, and that means... CREATURE FEATURE!

Give us fic, give us fanart, give us whatever springs to your mind when you think of our monster of the month:

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When I read a brief synopsis for the seventh episode of “Eerie, Indiana”, I was intrigued. It’s not every day that you find a show geared toward young adults (and, perhaps arguably, even younger than that) willing to tackle the subject of death at all; it’s even less common to see a show do it in such a frank, straightforward way. I was finally starting to appreciate the town of Eerie and its characters, but this wallop of an episode helps to prove just how daring this show really was, at least in terms of its intended age group. Its characters aren’t mindless caricatures quickly thrown together for the sake of ratings, but rather fully realized people. Even the adults in this show, such as Marshall’s family members, who are usually made stupid in shows so that the younger characters—the ones audience members would be most likely to relate to—can be intellectually superior, are immediately likable, and always encouraging to their son's interests, no matter how weird or “out there” they may be.

In this one, there’s a new girl in town, and both Marshall, and his friend Devon Wilde, are immediately smitten with her. She is Melanie, but she is no ordinary girl: she has a weak heart, and is on a list to receive a transplant that can elongate her life. Unfazed by this development, the two kids engage in friendly competitions, each one trying to impress her more so that they win her fragile heart; it’s Devon’s wild-child persona, vs. Marshall’s good-guy routine, and just like in real-life, it’s obvious which one she favors, and it ain’t Marshall.

Then Devon is struck and killed while carelessly riding his skateboard in the middle of the street.

One thing that sets this apart from similar shows of its ilk is the relationship between Devon and Marshall. While they both are fighting for the same goal, they still put their own friendship above all else: Devon even asks Marshall if he minds if he asks Melanie to the school dance, and Marshall puts aside his own feelings to let it happen; Marshall is upset when a careless Devon nearly gets run over by the same milk truck that finishes him off a little while later. It never devolves into a mean-spirited rivalry, which is the standard story arc that these stories lead to, and it's refreshing that “Eerie, Indiana” doesn't sinks into that same level of tired mediocrity.

After Marshall learns that Devon was struck by a truck, he rushes to the hospital, where he meets Melanie, who informs him they found a heart for her. At that precise moment, Marshall puts two and two together, and figures out that Devon has passed on, and it is his heart that will be implanted inside her. It's pretty heavy stuff so far (oh, it gets even stronger), but nice to see a television show that doesn't assume its audience is comprised of idiots that need everything spoonfed to them, so I can definitely appreciate the strong subject matter.

Anyway, after she receives the heart, Marshall notices that her personality changes. She's no longer a shy, innocent girl, but a daredevil who takes chances and whose favorite line is: “Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse”...which happened to be Devon's favorite quote! Marshall doesn't like this change, and urges her to let him go and move on. He assures her that everyone is sad he's gone, especially him since he was one of his best friends, but that life doesn't wait and it's the only thing she can do. She reluctantly agrees to try to do so by kissing him...only to have her heart malfunction. It's just a minor glitch—the moment they pull away everything returns to normal—but it's enough to cause alarm. Is Devon controlling her from beyond? In the end, Melanie agrees to let Devon go, but tells Marshall she isn't ready to be in a relationship so soon, and they part ways, with Marshall joining Simon and Melanie going her own separate way.

But as sad as this episode already is, it’s about to become emotionally shattering: As Simon and Marshall happily make their way for the cemetery exit, we see a figure walking slowly in the background, heading toward an off-screen Melanie. After a little bit of squinting, I realized it’s the FUCKING GRIM REAPER. Then, a light shines on the angel on Devon’s gravestone, complete with the heart pendant that Devon got for her, at which point a lone tear drips down, indicating that he is claiming her so that no one else can have her. Holy shit.

This is about as perfect as a thirty-minute episode of young adult/children's TV can be, with heavy subject matter handled with maturity and an uncommon straightforwardness that flies in the face of the bland watered-down sameness of many such shows, even today. The way the Tellers handle Marshall's new “girlfriend” the few times she is over, is so adorable, you just can't help but fall in love with them. I know early on in the season I mentioned that Marshall and Simon are completely boring and don't have the kinds of personalities that make good leads in a show, but it is these exact traits that have actually made me completely change my mind: They are you and me. They are everyday children with wild imaginations and big dreams, kids with big hearts and a loving family (well, not in Simon's case, but the Tellers frequently take him in as their own).

This show has slowly been growing on me, and I was beginning to realize its potential; not even I could have realized the near-perfection that it was capable of when everything came together in harmony. This is a devastating, must-see episode, and the pinnacle of what "Eerie Indiana" had to offer.

SIDE NOTE: After harping on how weak Joe Dante-directed episodes were compared to others, I have to immediately take that back, as he was the director of this one. It's not just the pinnacle of the series, but might be the pinnacle of his career.



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Eerie Indiana

September 2017

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