So here we are again in front of the roaring campfire. Tucker’s being his usual pesky self, messing around with Gary’s bag o’ magic dust and telling Frank he’s dead from the neck up.
Ha ha. I kind of like that one, actually.
Apparently Frank’s super-tired from helping his brother move all day. All the kids agree that moving totally sucks a big donkey, but Kiki insists that moving is great. Lugging boxes sucks, but you’re in a new, mysterious place that might hold plenty of surprises…
<insert titillating wind-chime-and-breeze sound effects here>
…oh, and something about how you shouldn’t break promises because they might come back to haunt you or whatever. Not sure what that has to do with moving into a new house, but I guess it’s as good a segueway as we’re going to get.
Cut to: Stacy Cooper and her little schnauzer dog (not on a leash) moving into a new place with her mother. Things kinda suck for Stacy right now because her parents are probably getting a divorce, and now she and her mother have been forced to move into this tiny little apartment.
I guess somebody should have gotten a pre-nup.
Still, Stacy’s mom is pretty nice, and she’s trying to make the best out of the situation, even in the face of Stacy’s surly mood. Not that I blame Stacy–she’s in a new place, away from all her friends, and to top it all off, her dad is probably going to use most of her college fund to fight mom’s infidelity allegations.
On moving day, we also meet the surly Russian apartment manager. I think he’s Russian… that would be the prevailing stereotype, wouldn’t it? Maybe the writers mixed it up a little and made him Serbian, I don’t know.
As they’re getting settled into apartment 213, their new home sweet home, Stacey notices that strange things seem to be happening at the apartment next door. She hears weird noises outside her window as well as ghostly knocking and singing. She goes out into the hallway to investigate, and the door to apartment 214 creeks open…
Before Stacy can come in and meet the scary old lady ghost (oops, spoiler!) her mother tells her to go back into the apartment and stop wandering around in the dark. Sound advice, Mom.
The following afternoon, Stacy is still curious about apartment 214, and gets caught listening at the door. Oops. Luckily, it’s not by an adult, it’s Angela from 212, who tells Stacy that she “maybe” might want to hang out some time. Still, Stacy’s pretty hard-up for friends these days, so a “maybe” is certainly encouraging.
One day, after school, Stacy sees an old lady peering out the window of apartment 214 and promptly pounds on the mystery woman’s door. You’re weird, Stacy. Just because you’ve been hearing weird noises doesn’t mean you need to bust in, Chicklis-style.
The old lady lets her in, bearing tea and scones. The two of them have a lovely visit, wherein Stacy finds out that the old woman, Madeline, used to be a painter. She also used to be a beloved member of the family, until her nephew booted her out. He promised to take care of her, but eventually the old woman stank was just too much, so he sent her to live alone in this apartment, which I suppose is cheaper than an old folk’s home.
So now Stacy and Mady are pals. If they were celebrities, they’re couple-name would be Macy.
Macy are spending a lot of time together–they’ve got a lot in common, between the lack of friends and the love of Geritol. Stacy visits a lot and even helps Madeline around the house.
One day, Mads asked Stacy to promise to visit her tomorrow–it’s important, though she won’t say why. She doesn’t want to be alone that day, and so Stacy immediately agrees.
…and then turns around and ditches Madeline to go to the battle of the bands with Angela. It’s kind of a shitty thing to do, but Stacy tries to get back early. Unfortch, this doesn’t work out as planned and it’s after dark before she returns.
When she tries to visit Madeline, things get a wee bit awkward…
A crying Madeline demands to know why Stacy broke her promise. When Stacy tries to turn the lights on, Madeline (and all her furniture and old-lady junk) disappears and all that is left is an empty, unattractively wallpapered apartment. Naturally, Stacy tries to haul ass out of there, only the door isn’t opening.
Damn, Mads, clingy much?
Luckily, the grouchy apartment manager happens to hear her pounding on the door and lets her out.
Stacy and Mom ask the apartment manager about Madeline’s mysterious disappearance, no one has lived in apartment 214 for years. It’s impossible to rent the apartment because people seem to think it’s haunted.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind rooming with an old lady ghost, if only for the free scones and tea. Days pass and Madeline still doesn’t reappear. She’s got all the time in the world–plenty of time to hold a grudge, I guess.
One rainy night, Stacy’s mom goes out on a dinner date with Dad, wearing her best flower-print 90’s dress and pearl necklace.
Does this signal a new beginning in their relationship? Probably not. Stacy’s mom is emphatic on that point, so I guess they’re just going out as friends.
Now that we’ve got the teenage girl all by herself on a rainy night, it’s time for ghostly Madeline to make her reappearance. I guess she was just waiting for a proper entrance, like all divas.
Someone knocks on the door, and when Stacy peeps out, she sees Madeline. Oddly, she’s not frightened at all, but instead opens the door to welcome Mads back…
Except, you know, there’s no one out there. Genius that she is, Stacy decides it’s time to investigate and heads over to Madeline’s apartment once more. I swear this girl could give Daphne Blake a run for her money. We already know she’s got an affinity for un-leashed dogs as well as ghosts.
Bring it, beyotch.
Ahem. Upon entering Madeline’s apartment, she finds first finds it empty, except for a painting lying face-down on the floor. She lifts it up and finds a charming painting of Madeline and Stacy chillin’ out over afternoon tea. Suddenly, the apartment is fully furnished again, complete with the resident old lady ghost. And Mads is not happy–turns out she’s hella pissed at Stacy for breaking her promise, because the day she asked her to visit was the ten year anniversary of…
Stacy decides it’s about time to GTFO of there and runs back to her apartment. Unfortunately, that’s clearly not enough distance, since Madeline slips a little note under the door demanding, “Why did you break your promise?”
She’s old, so she probably doesn’t know how to text message. And I think a hand-written note is so much more personal, don’t you?
Stacy runs out into the hallway, knocking on Angela’s door for help, but either no one’s home, or they think she’s a psychopath. Either way, Stacy is totally SOL when the lights blink off and she’s stuck out there in the dark.
Soon enough, though, the apartment manager comes out and tells her to shut up and get back in her apartment while he goes to fix the fuse. Hehehe. Because we all know that leaving a terrorized child alone and unattended is exactly what a responsible adult would do.
Things only get worse when Stacy’s little schnauzer, Bugsy, goes into Madeline’s apartment. All I can say is, that’s what you get for letting your un-leashed dog wander around in communal spaces. I once had a neighbor that would forget to close their door, and their dogs were always out in the communal hallway. I love dogs, but seriously? So not safe. They could have wandered into the old lady ghost’s apartment, for frack’s sake!
Anyway, Stacy has no choice but to follow li’l Bugsy into Madeline’s apartment, where naturally she encounters Mads. Stacy apologizes and tells Mads that she wasn’t trying to be mean, she was just trying to make a new friend. Madeline backs off and starts acting normal again, telling Stacy that it’s important to make friends, because no one should be alone.
Stacy asks Madeline why she hasn’t “moved on”–she’s a grudge-holder, duh!–and Mads replies that she’s too old and set in her ways to do much moving around these days. She doesn’t want to leave, even if it is only a matter of time before the apartment gets rented.
At the end of it all, Stacy and Mom have moved into apartment 214. Stacy’s mom has got it goin’ on is unaware of Madeline, but likes the roomy apartment. And Macy (Stacy and Madeline) have re-united and are happy again. Yay for happy endings!
Until, of course, Stacy grows up and goes to college… or her parents get back together and she has to move away again… or whatever else comes up.
Back at the campfire, there’s a gag or two with Tucker stealing the dust, and then the gang splits. Gary is left behind with the roaring fire, trying to figure out where the hell Tucker hid the bucket.
I know where the bucket is, Gar-Bear, and I’d be happy to reveal the location if you promise to make out with my fourteen-year-old self.
The Moral of the Story: Don’t worry about shipping Grandma off to live alone in some apartment–when she dies, she won’t haunt you, she’ll just pick the nearest teenage girl.