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Fandom PopWrapped | Fandom

13 Nights Of Popaween: Welcome To Night Vale Is Macabre, Gruesome, Hilarious Fun

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


10/18/2013 11:50 pm
PopWrapped | Fandom
13 Nights Of Popaween: Welcome To Night Vale Is Macabre, Gruesome, Hilarious Fun
Media Courtesy of Commonplace Books

Bec Heim

Managing Editor

"A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale." -Welcome To Night Vale, Pilot

Night Vale is a pleasant little small town in the desert. They have good schools, a diverse population, and a lot of pride in their community. Just don't think about the Dog Park, eat wheat or wheat-byproducts, or acknowledge the existence of angels. Those offenses are frowned upon by City Council, and will get you re-educated by the Sheriff's Secret Police. Confused? Intrigued? Laughing a bit at the surreality? Or have you been seeing dark shapes out of the corner of your eye that whisper sweet words about this town? Welcome To Night Vale, a bi-monthly podcast from Commonplace Books, is one of the strangest, darkest, funniest shows that I have ever listened to. Period. The podcast, created by masterminds Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, draws a lot of inspiration from creeptastic radio dramas of old. Night Vale has been taking the internet by storm, drawing in legions upon legions of fans. The people of Commonplace Books have made it the number one podcast on iTunes. This is purely by fan donations and tons of love. So the boring parts are out of the way. Let's take about the phantasmagorical fun of Night Vale.  Night Vale is a town that draws strange and unusual phenomenon, which are treated like normal occurrences by its citizens. There are the hooded figures in the dog park (DO NOT THINK ABOUT THE DOG PARK). Giant angels who live with sweet little old ladies near the used car lot. A pizza place where NOT eating in is a misdemeanor. Blood thirsty librarians, faceless old women who secretly live in your home, and a five headed dragon fugitive...these are all the citizens that you can encounter in this sleepy little burg. Then there is the City Council, who we like a lot and agree with everything they do. Even their ban on wheat and wheat-byproducts was done for the betterment of the community. So, okay. Night Vale sounds really strange, weird, and honestly super messed up. Why do I want to spend about 20 minutes listening to it every month? Good question. The answer is Cecil. Cecil (voiced by Cecil Baldwin), our window into Night Vale and radio host, is the heart of the show. He loves his town (except for you

Steve Carlsberg

). He loves his job as the Voice of Night Vale at Night Vale Community Radio...contract negotiations non-withstanding. His deep soothing voice lulls the listeners into a false sense of security. Listening to Night Vale for the first time, you can hardly believe what you're hearing; but with Cecil's unwavering voice, you can also accept it as reality. Cecil may seem like a cool customer. For the most part, he maintains a professional integrity about him. His job is to merely report the goings on in Night Vale and also soothe any confusion we have over the show. He's the character that we interact with all the time, episode after episode. Yes, there are some guest voices on the show (Mara Wilson of Matilda fame among them), but it is Cecil who we grow to love and feel like we know. Because when he slips into this mode that renders him like a teenage squealing fangirl, it humanizes him to us even more. Cecil is pretty much an adorkable guy who we never see, only hear. So if we only hear just the one character then what about other characters? Good question. Night Vale has a large cast of characters. We just never hear them (for the most part). They are reported to us via news announcements and community bulletins. I've mentioned several characters throughout this post. They are as intergral to the story as Cecil himself. You just need your imagination to fill in most of the blanks. Then there is perfect lovely Carlos. That's right. The main (and pretty much only) love story is between two men. At least one of them (Carlos) being a person of color. IT'S SO AWESOME! There is a really great slow build up between the two. I don't dare spoil it, but people are die-hard about Cecil and Carlos. Carlos is an outsider to Night Vale. He is pretty much having the "WTF" reactions that you are having while listening to it. Then he tries to explain it with science. So why should you listen to Night Vale? There are many many reasons to listen to it. The stories are memorable and so are the characters. The story between Cecil and Carlos is super sweet and hilarious (Cecil talking about Carlos on air). The "weather" report is actually a spotlight for different musical acts to be featured on the show. So you get a lot of awesome tunes to add. It requires multiple listens so you can understand all the nuances in both the episodic story, and the overall structure of Night Vale. There are moments of great philosophical musings about life, the universe, and everything that really strikes a chord. It's one of the most creative and bizarre things out there right now. Plus, it does not restrict us at all. Fans of Night Vale are allowed to be insanely creative. Since radio (or podcasting) is not a visual medium, it's up to the fans to make up their own versions of the characters. Best part is? All of them are correct. Within the world of Night Vale, you are encouraged to be as weird and creative as you want to be. Welcome To Night Vale is dark, weird, strange, funny, and surprisingly sweet. It balances both the genres of horror and humor with the ease of an artist on the trapeze. It's one of the most perfect things out there on the internet right now. Plus it's the perfect show to be listening to so close to Halloween. Go to iTunes right now and subscribe. It's practically a crime not too! (It will be a crime not to soon if the legislation passes. So might as well get a head start on it.) So before I depart, I will leave you with some words of wisdom from Cecil. "May we all remember what it was like to be so young. May we remember it factually, and not remember anything that is false or incorrect. May we all be human: beautiful, stupid, temporal, endless." -Welcome To Night Vale, "Cassette" Remember that reality is a lie and fantasy is a dream. Good night, dear readers, good night. Happy Halloween.


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