In the second chapter of Over the Garden Wall, Wirt leads everyone to an idyllic village with a bizarre secret. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Over the Garden Wall.
I’ve watched a lot of weird things for this site, but this is… what the hell. It’s difficult to get a sense for what this show is gonna be at this point, but if I were to take a guess, this episode’s combination of humor and visceral horror is probably a good place to start. Like “The Old Grist Mill,” the events in “Hard Times at the Huskin’ Bee” seem innocent, and then they’re revealed to be utterly horrifying, only to loop back around to something kind of adorable and innocuous. I’m fascinated by this juxtaposition because I can’t think of an example of a show â€“ especially an animated one â€“ that so rapidly switches between these two tones. It happens often in the span of a second or two! How… how does this show do that?
At the same time, the writing here is deeply, deeply aware of the tropes you often see in fantasy tales. The opening of this episode gives us Bluebird’s proper introduction, but even in that, there’s a subversion. Bluebird offers to help the brothers find their way home, but Wirt rejects her. Why? Well, because she offers to take them to Adelaide, some “Good Woman” who lives in the forest and sounds exactly like the sort of creepy figure who lives in the middle of nowhere and eats children for breakfast. Now, I don’t know if Wirt is supposed to be trope aware, if the show’s subverting this, or if there’s something else going on. The only reason I would even point this out, though, is that Wirt is… bizarrely anachronistic? He makes reference to a phone when he first enters the Pottsfield Barn; he later says he’s just waiting for a ride. Of course, I have no idea what the greater world of Over the Garden is like, so I might be picking up on this just for the sake of it.
The character of Bluebird, however, seems to suggest that this is all just a hilarious send-up of fairy tales. I DEEPLY HOPE THAT BLUEBIRD IS NOW APART OF EVERY EPISODE BECAUSE THEY’RE MY FAVORITE. In many ways, they act as that voice we all hear when people do foolish shirt in fairy tales and horror films. Multiple times in “Hard Times at the Huskin’ Bee,” they advise the brothers to make smart choices and then become increasingly frustrated as these boys NEVER FUCKING LISTEN TO HER. At one point, she practically inhabits the meme of someone going, “NOPE” and leaving completely because of this. For me, that speaks to a sign of respect; the writers know we’re aware of these tropes, and they subvert them for humor.
As for the citizens of Pottsfield… yeah, this is some body horror/uncanny valley TERROR. Ultimately, when we discover that this town “harvests” their dead citizens so they can dress them up in vegetables, their whole festival feels a lot more touching than it seemed beforehand. I mean… it’s still pretty fucking creepy. We don’t even know what Enoch was, do we? Like, assuming that everyone in Pottsfield is a skeleton, was Enoch a REALLY BIG SKELETON?
I’m asking the important questions here, okay? Anyway, I enjoyed this. Greg still amuses me to no end. But now I want to know Bluebird’s story! Why does she need to see Adelaide???
The video for “Hard Times at the Huskin’ Bee” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards. I POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year.Â Â Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
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