Tonight’s tale is brought to us from the beautiful and intelligent Betty Ann, (I almost put the wickedly talented Betty Ann, but she is not Adele Dezim), tonight lets take a closer look and analyze her story, the Tale of the Thirteenth Floor. Afterwards I’ll be taking some hypothesized submission into the deeper meaning of this episode, that I will run by Raine Pare-Coull, if I get to interview her, lets get philosophical shall we!
Our night starts off like any other night, we are see the clearing where Frank, Kiki and the Gary are busy maintaining the fire, while they wait for the others to arrive (they use what I can only guess is the perspective of one of them as we see the clearing from the outside). Three people (who are later revealed to be Kristen, David and Betty Ann), shine bright lights into the faces of Frank, Kiki and the Gary. They get kind of philosophical on them and pose a question to the group, by saying “You see us every week, but do you really know us? Do you really know anyone? Even yourselves?” *then they put the flashlights up to their faces to reveal that they are Kristen, David and Betty Ann* Betty Ann goes on to say “If you stare long enough you might see a stranger here.” The Gary isn’t up for this nonsense, and says “Are we having a story tonight or are we just playing games (I guess The Gary isn’t a fan of guess who I am tonight). They shine the lights into the faces once again and Kiki says “Does that answer your question?” Then Betty Ann walks in a pose that is kind of like a Nancy Drew cover, like she is solving a mystery, I would like her to solve a mystery of why I need to learn calculus, when I will probably never use it in real life, like if I have to do any kind of math, I would outsource that to a reputable source, but I doubt a fictional Canadian teen (adult) can solve that one. Betty Ann continues “My story is about strangers among us. You see them everyday, but never take the time to look (I wonder if that was directed at The Gary), but if you did, you might find the scariest strangers are the ones inside ourselves.” Wow she just got deep right there, I have a feeling that she wants to share a personal story tonight. Then Betty Ann submits her story for the approval of the Midnight Society, and calls it The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor.
We are introduced to a brother and sister named Billy and Karin. They live on the 12th floor, but use the 13th floor as a make shift, sports complex. They are taken up by the elevator operator, Gus. Gus doesn’t like the kids playing up on the 13th floor, but for whatever reason doesn’t refuse to take them up there. The kids play hockey and Karin complains as she is not good at sports. Billy tells her to just try, and she tries and fails at a slap shot and ends up breaking a window. Oh and Karin is adopted, this is important.
While they are playing, the building is suddenly hit by what appears to be an earthquake followed by flashing purple lights. They panic and hit the elevator button, only to be greeted by Leonid a replacement elevator operator. Leonid is kind of effeminate and talks softly to Billy and Karin, but he still kind of creeps them out, so the decide to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Leonid kind of looks like Lurch from the Addams family, if he talked like a women.
That night, while sleeping Karin is awaken by a man in her TV. At first the guy kind of just watches her sleep before saying “Hello Karin, how are you? We’ve come for a little visit.” Karin says “Are you talking to me?” (Since she is the only one in the room and her name is Karin, I am going to go out on a limb here and say yea he is talking to you). The man says “What do you think?” Karin says “I think I am dreaming.” The guys is smiling at her but in a way that makes me slightly uncomfortable. Then he just disappears from the TV. Karin goes back to sleep.
The next day, Karin and Billy want to play hockey again on the 13th floor, but are stopped by Leonid, who says “Oh I am sorry the new tenants are fumigating, going down?” Karin asks “What new tenants?” Billy says “That’s our place.” Unless Billy is paying rent it is technically the building management properties place. Later that day they come back from riding bikes and Billy checks the mail. Karin has gotten a letter, that is addressed to her without an address or last name. Billy hypothesizes that it must be a secret admirer. Karin says “I wish”, she must be very lonely. Karin opens the letter and it is an invite to come and test toys at the toy factory on the 13th floor. Billy is skeptical about it and says ” What’s a toy factory doing in an apartment building?” Karin keeps reading “They want to test new toys and sports equipment on kids and I am invited!” Karin says she doesn’t want to go and offer the invite to Billy. He says to her something like they don’t want me they want you. She still kind of refuses to go, but Billy says they should go together (Betty Ann is making this very dark all of a sudden. It is like she is talking about a planned kidnapping. I hope this story doesn’t stem from a past experience).
Billy talks Karin into going to the toy factory the next day. That night Karin once again sees the man in her TV set. He tells her “Hello Karin.”, Karin tries to turn off the TV, but it won’t shut off. The man continues “We very much want you to come tomorrow. ” Karin says “Why?” The man says “Because you’re a very special person, it wouldn’t be the same without you. Say you’ll come.” Karin says “Okay yeah yeah.” before falling back asleep. I have to say that is creepy, it almost sounds like she is being groomed by the man in her TV (seriously Betty Ann is really bringing the creep factor tonight).
So the next day Billy and Karin go up to the 13th floor to the toy factory. Once there Olga finds them and tells them they only need Karin, but Billy lets her know that when he leaves, Karin will leave as well. Olga reluctantly agrees to let Billy test the toys as well. Oh and the place is covered in pastels, it looks like Easter threw up in the space. Anyway, they are introduced to Raymond, who will be proctoring the toy testing. The first test, is a game that has to do with tones. Billy does very good and tires to help Karin, but Raymond won’t stand for that. Also Raymond is the man from the TV.
Billy keeps doing good until Raymond turns a wheel on this device that is bringing the room into a different atmosphere. The new atmosphere makes Billy’s chest hurt and he fails the test a couple of times. Raymond leaves him there to practice, and moves Karin on to the next game. She is strapped into a device that looks like a roller coaster seat. He tells her to try and move a ball with her mind, which she is able to do. Raymond than opens the hatch above to the mother ship, where grey faceless aliens are trying to grab Karin (Wow Betty Ann, an intergalactic kidnapping!). Raymond tells Karin they are going on a little trip, as he rotates the wheel making Billy even more ill.
Karin tells him no and uses her new found powers to runaway and try and find help for Billy. She tries to escape Raymond by making the ceiling titles fall to the ground and hit Raymond. She hides in a vent and overhears Olga tell Raymond that they are running out of time and then she walks over to Billy and thinks he is a waste since he is an Earth kid. She also mentions that he will die on their planet.
Hearing this Karin tries to get help from anyone in the building and wants to take the elevator, but I honestly feel that the stairs would have been faster. Also Raymond is apparently a robot. Once she goes back to the 13th floor, Karin uses the voice command feature to get Raymond to hold Olga, so she can get Billy out of there. She is stopped by Leonid, who tells her that she would love their planet and it would unlock her to more emotions and she would be able to fly. He makes it sound mystical, but she tells him no she must save Billy. Leonid, knowing they are running out of time, doesn’t stop Karin. Karin and Billy escape and seeing a spaceship take off from the 13th floor.
While sitting on Karin’s bed, Olga comes on the TV and tells Karin this was her rescue as they accidentally left her behind 10 years ago. As Olga is saying this, her face fades into the grey alien face, she tells Karin it will be 10 more years before they will have collected enough atmosphere to come back and get her. Billy turns to Karin and asks her if this is real, but when he looks at her, she is now a grey faceless alien. Billy runs out of the room screaming.
Betty Ann ends her story by saying “You may think you know someone, but think again, and look a little closer.” Then they all kind of stare at each other and The Gary says “I declare this meeting of the Midnight Society closed…whoever you are.” The he puts out the fire.
This episode has many themes, but the overall theme is existential crisis or identity crisis. It deals with a girl who feels she does not belong, due to her lack of ability at sports and blames the fact she is adopted on many of her faults. She wants to just fit in but she never fully feels comfortable in her own skin and is yearning to learn about her biological parents. I can’t help but wonder if maybe Betty Ann is adopted and this is her telling her friends, that sometimes she feels she does not belong or that she is not sure who she really is. Perhaps Betty Ann was alluding to the fact that teenage years are often a difficult time in our lives, from the changes going on mentally and physically to figuring out what we want to do with our lives. As a mixed race person, I can related to her message of not really knowing who you are and just wanting to fit in. An example of this is when I am in Hawaii, I am Okinawan, but when I am in the continent, I am Japanese. I came to the conclusion that the reason for this is that Okinawan, is an accepted subgroup of Japan in Hawaii and we are a distinctly different group of people, with out own culture that is separate from mainland Japan. Whereas when I am on the continent, nobody seems to know what or where Okinawa is, and it a less common thing to say as an ethnicity. I could also be reading way to much into this episode as well, so I shall leave it at that, and run my ideas with Raine Pare-Coull if I get to interview her. As I would be interested to see her take on it, in fact I would probably pose this question to everyone I interview, but like I said I am probably just over thinking. Damn I should have majored in psychology or cultural anthropology.
- I really like this episode as it has a strong message of knowing who you are because until you know yourself, you can not truly be yourself.
- I like that there really was not a villain, just misunderstood aliens.
- I liked that Betty Ann told a story about an existential crisis and how she is dealing with her own identity and how you never really know anyone until you look a little closer.
- This episode really makes you think about the deeper meaning of life, and I really am interested to know what other people’s take on it is, and I should have written a paper about this episode for my psychology class instead of the Simpsons, but live and learn.
Thank you joining me in this philosophical look at Betty Ann’s tale of an existential and identity crisis in The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor. The next summary will be a David story, The tale of the Hatching.
Until next time….Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story: The Tale of Moira’s Afraid of the Dark? (But not really) Blog number 4 of Season 2
If you want to tweet it at anyone in particular like *cough*Ross Hull or Raine Pare-Coull or Jodie Resther, *cough* to make them aware of me wanting to interview them, that would be cool. I feel that if enough people tweet at them or Facebook them, they will think it is a good idea. As a thank you, I will upload a video of me doing the nea nea and if you all help me get all three, I will upload a video of me singing He Mele No Lilo in full Hawaiian (since I took 2 years of the language). Mahalo for your continued support in this endeavor. Please help my dream come true!