The carnival has come to Night Vale. Is this just as bad as it sounds? More on that in a moment. But first: any Welcome to Night Vale fans in the EU that haven’t need to get around to purchasing tickets for the European tour. The western countries are sold out (except one overflow show in London), but there’s still tickets in Germany. But anyway, onward to Episode 54: A Carnival Comes to Town. As always, brace for spoilers.
To answer my previous question, no. A regular old carnival came to Night Vale offering merriment and good times, and the good people showed the carnival exactly what happens to people like that in Night Vale. Although this episode felt thin in its writing, being starved of any traffic or community health tips or horoscopes or even sponsors, it still thrives in the spirit that makes Welcome to Night Vale strong. Night Vale accepted a perceived challenge and conquered it, in this case through mob violence, fending off their perceptions of the weird and unknown. My early predictions for a Night Vale/Juggalo Dark Carnival showdown went unsatisfied, but the canon is probably better off without juggalos anyway.
Night Vale also is continuing its proud tradition of bending its own rules, as intern Maureen has returned after being carried away by a mighty wind generated by Pamela Winchell’s retirement shenanigans, frustratedly thwarting the curse of death that looms over almost all Night Vale Community Radio interns. Bitter, perhaps from being denied the escape of death, she does not rejoice at the repelling of the carnival. Also Old Woman Josie is single-handedly rebuilding the old operahouse, much to the terror of Night Vale citizens, all of whom do not know what opera is with the exception of Old Woman Josie. Despite his doubts, Cecil defends this intellectual oligarchy, since apparently the last time too much knowledge got out (two copies of Pride And Prejudice), riots broke out all over town.
It’s been suggested that the people of Night Vale (or maybe just Cecil, our unreliable narrator) are like cats, losing all composure after being startled by something huge and inexplicable, like street cleaning day, or a carnival. I get more pleased with the idea the more I ruminate on it, but that may just be a primal sense of satisfaction earned as my brain eliminates a tiny bit of the unknown. Were Night Vale a real place, the idea that the citizenry were all as smart as cats and reacting appropriately is more comforting than the terror of the unknowable and inescapable supernatural.
Also Cecil got another voicemail from Carlos, and the fandom reacted as they tend to. Some fans are feeling bitter over Carlos’ “betrayal”, now that he’s claimed the strange parallel desert dimension he is trapped in is more scientifically interesting than Night Vale. My misanthropic cynicism gratified, I will smugly observe that it’s hardly out of character for Carlos to cheat with his first love, science. Keeping up with their theme of inclusion and realistic representation, the writers (Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, for those that don’t know) show that no relationship is perfect, not even a gay, potentially interracial relationship that has survived masked armies, corporate totalitarianism, and even concentration camps. No, long distance relationships suck for everyone.
I have to say though; even a bad episode of Night Vale is still a good one.