Wednesday, April 1, 2015

First Thoughts on Welcome to Night Vale

Many months ago, my friend Sara pointed me in the direction of Welcome to Night Vale.

I listened to the first episode alone in my apartment at night and was too creeped out to continue. It was a similar experience watching X-Files in my room at 1am: not exactly a gentle prelude to sleep. For me, X-Files requires either daylight or company, and so does Night Vale (ironically, I guess).

Fast forward to Monday, I decided to give WTNV another chance, this time at work. It is much more palatable there. I listened to the pilot again, and now I'm seven episodes in and ready to talk about it.

  1. Most unusual objects that appear (and frequently disappear, leaving no trace, or so we are instructed to believe) in Night Vale are accompanied by a sound (described, not demonstrated). I like that there's a lot of low, sotto voce humming going on.
  2. There is also a lot of glowing. One episode I've listened to is devoted to the presence of a glowing object. Occasionally, we listeners are counseled (by the Council) that the glowing of everyday objects is normal.
  3. On more than one occasion, "a word from our sponsor" is literally one word ("carp," for example). Once, it was a sound.
  4. I am worried about Carlos. Night Vale is a rather dangerous place to live, all the more for those who would dare to examine it.
  5. As if the show weren't already immersed in beautiful, haunting non-sequiturs, each one begins with a demented aphorism before Cecil announces, "Welcome to Night Vale." There is also a closing proverb, read by one of the producers after the credits. One such proverb: "Men are from Mars; women are from Venus; Earth is a hallucination; podcasts are dreams."
  6. Although the podcast features a lot of background music (and some foreground music), it and Cecil's voice are the only things you ever hear (with only one exception, so far). As I mentioned in point #1, sounds are described, but you never hear them.
  7. I felt the need to address the corrupt, totalitarian regime, but I suddenly and mysteriously no longer do.
That's enough for now, lest I spoil anything. Most of the universe can listen on iTunes. As an Android user, I've been listening via Podbay (which you can do from your mobile thing or computer).

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