Are You Afraid of the Dark? S1E6 “The Tale of the Super Specs”

This has to be one of the most 90’s things I’ve ever watched. For one: joke shops are a legit thing. And two: there are kids just doing some insane shit in the background – backflips, pliés on the school steps, horrendous matching floral shirts.

And, well, this episode has to be one of the most zany, and enjoyable episodes yet.

Gary of the Midnight Society is hanging out with Kristen (despite the fact I didn’t think they were supposed to be friends out side of their stories) at his family’s joke shop. She tells him that no one thinks his stories are scary anymore. The following meeting, he overhears everyone saying the same thing, so he presents to them “The Tale of the Super Specs.”

Weeds and Marybeth are a young couple. They’ve been dating for ages, apparently. Two whole weeks! Weeds is a practical joker who loves to mess with his friends, including his girlfriend. But Marybeth finds that aspect of his personality a bit irritating.

The two are at Sardo’s magic/joke shop so Weeds can stock up on his jokes for April Fools. While there, Weeds grabs a bag of magic dust and chants “some voodoo” spell. As he throws the dust, it lands on some wacky-looking glasses. Weeds eventually agrees to buy a pair from Sardo, but when Marybeth puts them on, she sees a figure dressed all in black.

And when the glasses are off, she sees nothing. But Weeds nor Sardo can see what Marybeth sees.

The following day, April Fools’ Day, Weeds gets to work on his practical jokes. He uses the dust, and each time he misses seeing that the magic works. He makes a girl’s voice like a chipmunk after putting the dust in her yogurt. He also makes a basketball shot when his back is turned.

But Marybeth is dealing with the brunt of the magic. Each time she looks through the glasses, she sees more images that disturb her. A woman in a black veil appears to her next and points at Marybeth.

The girl tries throwing the glasses away, but discovers them again later inside her school bag. She puts them through the mail slot at Sardo’s store, but the super specs keep reappearing.

Marybeth finally wears the glasses for a while. She sees a kettle on the hob that isn’t there when she moves her hand through it. There’s a fire in the fireplace that isn’t lit. Then she sees three of the black-clothed figures inside her house and decides to go to her boyfriend for help.

Though Weeds is convinced that his girlfriend is only playing an April Fools’ joke on him. When he doesn’t help her, Marybeth goes to Sardo’s one last time. He agrees to help her when she tells him about the spell that Weeds had performed the previous day.

Sardo tells Marybeth that the spell cast was called the Second Sight. But instead of seeing ghosts, Marybeth is seeing a second dimension. It’s a parallel universe that has opened up inside of Marybeth’s house (some sort of metaphor about an open window”).

The bad news for Marybeth is that to reverse the spell, someone needs to perform the counterspell. And the only person around to do it is Sardo himself.  Oh and the people in the other dimension could take over theirs.

So on the scale: it’s pretty bad.

The two find Weeds and his magic dust and they try to stop the spell together. Sardo begins his work at Marybeth’s house. He’s clearly a kook and tries using a crystal ball with the spell. When Marybeth puts on the glasses, she sees that they’re surrounded by black-donned ones, only now both Weeds and Sardo can see them.

Then (excitingly) a pair of giant eyes appears to them, scolding them for tampering with the cosmic plane. She (the eyes) reverses their spell because both universes can’t exist at the same time.

Suddenly, everything looks normal in Marybeth’s house. Two children who look identical to Marybeth and Weeds walk out. They speak to the veiled lady who tell them that the ‘ghosts’ are gone. As Marybeth and Weeds were trying to get rid of the Other Dimension, the Other Dimension was trying to get rid of them.

And Marybeth, Sardo and Weeds scream from the crystal ball – trapped in the crystal ball, shouting for help.

After his story finished, Gary hands out some super specs to the Midnight Society. He tells them to all wait and put them on at the same time. When they do, they all spot a figure dressed in all black. They all, minus Kristen and Gary, scream and run. It is after only an April Fools’ joke Gary played on the kids with David in costume.

I loved this episode. It was the right blend of zany and delightfully spooky. There’s something satisfying about watching the kids lose. Does that make me a monster? Well. It’s very Twilight Zone like and that makes me appreciate it more.

Highlight quotes of the episode:

“That’s Sar-DOH! No Mister.  Accent on the do!” – Sardo, wasting everyone’s time

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