This meeting of the Midnight Society starts with Gary announcing a “special situation” this week. Apparently, Eric’s grandfather died and now he wants to tell story in Pop-pop’s honor.
Bummer, Eric. Major bummer.
However, my sympathy is short-lived because Eric starts to quote Pop-pop, doing a horrendously bad Irish accent that raises my snark hackles all over again.
Eric tells us that his grandpa used to love telling scary stories about pixies, especially leprechauns. Kristen asks what a pixie is, then Kiki wonders aloud what a leprechaun is.
Seriously? Kiki, I’m really disappointed in you. I could see Kristen asking stupid questions like that, but you? Come on, now. Is that little bandanna cutting off the blood flow to your brain or something? Yeesh.
Eric explains that leprechauns are basically little old men who make shoes and dress in green and wear strange little hats like the one Eric brought tonight, which he just inherited from his dead granddad. Eric says Pop-pop got the hat from a trade with a leprechaun. As it turns out, pixies in general are pretty easy to do business with–all you have to do is say, “Yours be mine, and mine be yours” and they’re like, required to give you whatever you ask for even if the thing you’re trading with is really shitty.
If I could just find a car dealership that would negotiate under those terms, I could probably buy that Mini Cooper I’ve always wanted.
Anyway, Eric says that this was Pop-pop’s favorite story to tell, and he’s going to do his best to say it right…
We start out with a little American boy wandering around in what seems to be an enchanted forest. A scary goblin pops up and is all, “Boo!” and shit.
The little boy stands there and screams for a while, and then a leprechaun (who more closely resembles a grizzled old Irishman) appears in a tree and tells the goblin to GTFO. The goblin and the leprechaun start to sword-fight. The kid starts to run away, but trips.
The goblin and the leprechaun stop fighting and laugh at the little boy. I can’t really blame them. It is pretty funny when people fall, especially children.
Actually, though, we’re not in enchanted forest. We’re at a dress rehearsal of a play called Will o’ the Wisp. It’s only the first few minutes, and what a twist! Way to keep us on our toes, writers. It’s embarrassing, but this really impressed the hell out of me when I was a kid. I was like, “Wow! Nothing is what it seems!” or whatever.
In voiceover, Eric explains that it’s Jake’s first acting job and he’s super-nervous about fucking everything up. This is Jake’s first play and (unfortunately) it’s going to be his last… BUM BUM BUM!
The cast and crew finish up for the evening. Erin, the old fellow who plays the leprechaun, yells for his “special tea,” which he says he needs in order to feel creative. Umm… yeah, ok. Is there some ground-up Ecstacy in there, or what?
Aww, you lovable old alchie, you. Since this is AYAOTD, then we know it’s some kind of magical crap, but normally I would just assume that Erin’s trying to be all Ernest Hemingway and stuff.
Jake asks one of the production assistants about Erin’s miracle herbal tea, and she says that it must be important, since Erin is clearly a brilliant actor. Way to encourage chemical dependencies, lady. She gives Jake the list of ingredients while warning him that it will probably be impossible to find them all, to which I would like to ask, “Woman, why are you just carrying the special tea ingredients in your pocket?” It just seems weird to me.
Well, whatever. Jake sets out to find the ingredients so he can make his own tea and become as good an actor as Erin is. From here, I expected Jake to get his hands on some of the tea and go on a bender or something. When the crew would eventually confront him about his substance abuse, it would go something like this:
Except with costumes and magical wind chimes and stuff… But no.
Instead, Jake goes to a unique plant nursery run by a guy named Sean O’Sheaney. Sean believes that saying nice things to the plants helps to breathe life into them. I would make fun of that, except I can’t keep anything alive for more than a week, so what the eff do I know?
Anyway, Sean is a little person with an Irish accent who has a sarcastic personality and an affinity with nature… Hmm, I wonder if these qualities will come together in some relevant way later in the episode?
Sean cheerfully remarks that Jake has “the glamour.” Is that the same as the “it factor”?
When Jake asks Sean for foxglove, bluebells, and ragweed, it totally pisses Sean off for some reason. Sean is all, “GTFO!” and puts a pox upon Jake for even asking!
Meanwhile, someone in a dimly-lit chamber is lighting a bunch of candles and uttering a spell. Since he’s go an Irish accent, it’s pretty obvious that it’s that old drunkie, Erin, but maybe we’re supposed to be surprised or something… I don’t know. Oh, and there’s a little frog in a glass bowl, just hanging out.
The next day, Jake and Erin are practicing the scene where Jake begs Erin to turn him into a leprechaun to protect him from the scary goblin guy. Erin starts to sing a special incantation, then asks Jake to repeat after him. He tosses Jake his flask of “herbal tea” as per the scene directions, and Jake takes a swig. Jake goes along with the scene, but then starts freaking out when his voice gets all deep and funny-sounding.
After that, Jake goes back to Sean O’Sheaney’s and asks about the ingredients again. He tells Sean that something weird is going on with him. “It’s like I’m changing,” Jake tells him.
It’s called puberty, Jake, and it’s nothing to be afraid of.
Jake tells Sean about the play and stuff, saying that maybe he’s just nervous and that’s why his voice changed. Huh?
Anyway, Sean is suddenly very curious about the play, so Jake invites him to attend the last dress rehearsal, which is tomorrow at noon. Uhm, Jake, why don’t you just invite him to opening night? I think a dress rehearsal is a pretty skanky alternative, but Sean slyly says that he wouldn’t miss it for all the sons in Dublin (whatever that means).
Sean arrives at the dress rehearsal and sees Erin rehearsing the “turn me into a leprechaun” spell with Jake. As per the script, Erin tosses Jake an old-fashioned flask, and Jake takes a swig.
Sean is all, “WTF is this?!” and runs backstage. He loosens some ropes and almost dumps a fake tree on to evil Erin. Sweet! He almost hits Jake, too, but whatever. He’s young. He totally would have recovered.
Jake and Sean meet up backstage, where Sean has been hiding underneath a desk for some reason. I’m just saying this isn’t a very secure set, so I’m thinking that hiding is pretty unnecessary at this point. If they’ll let random strangers wander around backstage, they’re probably not that suspicious.
Anyway, Sean tells Jake that he’s in a real k-hole right now because Erin is clearly trying to turn Jake into a changeling so he can switch places with him and steal his life. Sean leads Jake over to the mirror and shows him the proof…
Jake stands there and screams until after the commercial break. I will say that this would be a pretty freaky discovery, but I think it wouldn’t be the worst spontaneous growth you could find.
That’s what she said.
If I suddenly had cute pointy ears, I would always know what to be for Halloween.
Oh, and now we cut back to the campfire for a little while, where all the kids express how freaky the pointy ears thing is. Nothing much happens, but it sort of looks like Eric is trying to get into the next Abercrombie and Fitch catalog or something.
Back to the story now. After setting off a fire alarm as a diversion, Jake and Sean break into Erin’s dressing room. There’s a bunch of candles and weird artifacts and shit, as well as the frog from before and a head-shot of Jake on the wall.
Just wondering… does the cleaning crew ever go into Erin’s dressing room? I’m thinking that somebody might have something to say about this weird-looking shrine to a young boy in this old man’s dressing room. Also, I bet they don’t allow toads into the building. And those candles are probably a fire hazard.
Jake and Sean hide just as Erin returns to his dressing room. Thinking he’s alone, Erin starts to slip into something more comfortable. The two of them are understandably freaked out (who wants to see some old man start to get nekkid?) but luckily Erin keeps his pants on. We still get some weird glimpses of Erin’s bodily deformities, including clawed, hairy, hobbit feet, pointy ears, and really bad back hair.
How did they not find out about all of this during the costume fittings?
Jake and Sean sneak out of the dressing room while Erin is sitting in front of his Jake Shrine and making funny noises. Umm… no comment. I’m not even going to touch that one.
Anyway, apparently Erin is actually an evil banshee and every time that Jake says the special oath, he’s one step closer to becoming a real changeling. After the performance tonight, he’ll be a full changeling and it’ll be too late to help him. Jake suggests calling the cops, but Sean says that he can’t survive for long as half a changeling, so what they really need to do is see beat Erin at his own game.
That night, during intermission, Sean comes by (wearing a very fetching yellow cape) and gives Jake some magical crap to add to the flask so that Erin can get “a taste of his own medicine.” He also makes Jake swallow two live spiders, supposedly so Jake will be fearless, though I really think Sean just finds it funny. Sean also sprinkles some glitter on Jake and puts some kind of magic spell on him. Then he gives Jake some guidelines for defeating the banshee, specifically never losing eye contact with Erin so that he can “spell bind” him by turning his own spell against him.
Later, Jake and Erin are performing the infamous oath when Erin takes a swig of the flask and realizes something is wrong. He tosses it into the audience and so loses Jake’s gaze.
Jake figures he’s totally SOL when Erin banshees-out onstage and starts cackling evilly. He even breaks the fourth wall and calls to the audience for help, but everybody thinks it’s part of the show. The backstage crew is really confused, but nobody comes out to help him.
Luckily, we have a leprechaun friend on our side! Jake’s like, “OMFG, Sean, you’re a leprechaun? For realz?”
Don’t act like you didn’t see that one coming.
But Sean is too late this time. Erin zaps Sean away, then turns Jake into a little frog. Downer! Erin cackles and announces proudly that frog-Jake is “mine, all mine!”
However, Sean isn’t down for the count just yet. He was just faking us out. He reappears and forces Erin to trade frog-Jake for Erin’s old tail (ew, dude) with the whole “yours be mine, and mine be yours,” thing. Somehow, throwing the tail at Erin makes him disappear in a poof of smoke… Yeah, I don’t get it, either.
Now that Sean owns frog-Jake, he sprinkles more glitter, says another spell, and turns him back into the mediocre child actor that he once was.
The audience totally goes apeshizz and even gives a standing ovation.
Eric tells us that Erin was never seen again and that Will o’ the Wisp was never performed after that night. Of course I’m all about defeating banshees, but I do feel bad for the play’s investors and stuff, not to mention the cast and crew that were counting on a paying gig for the next few months.
So then we flash back to the campfire, where everybody congratulates Eric on doing such a good job telling Pop-pop’s favorite story.
Ok, I’ve got a few questions.
- First, did the banshee write this play or something? Or was Erin just waiting around for a play with the oath already in it so he could make his acting debut?
- Also, why wasn’t the play performed again? Surely Erin would have an understudy or something, and probably one who wasn’t a banshee or anything.
- And why is this Jake’s last play ever? Did he suddenly get into dirt bikes or something?
- And, finally, was Pop-pop a writer or something? I’m only asking because this doesn’t sound much like a traditional Irish folk tale to me.
Anyway, the moral of today’s story: all Irish people are pixies. If they are short and sarcastic, they are probably leprechauns. If they are old and semi-alchoholic, they are probably banshees with icky body hair. Either way, it helps to swallow spiders before talking with them.