I have been watching old episodes of Dark Shadows
on Youtube while I do mindless tasks like fold laundry. In case you don't know, Dark Shadows was a daytime soap opera in the 60's and 70's. It was a gothic story about a young governess and an old family. It was secrets and drama and... well, basically it was secrets and drama.
It had nothing at all to do with that terrible movie starring Johnny Depp.
Anyway, it's a fun show. For a lot of reasons. For one thing, the story is just fantastic--in the literal sense of that word: full of fantasy. It's got lies, murder, blackmail, revenge, coverups, and ghosts. And that's all before Barnabus the vampire joins the show.
Don't get me wrong, I love the Barnabus episodes. But I'm really loving the ones without him. I am seeing a lot of small town behavior in the people of Collinsport, so I think the writers got that part spot-on. In fact, it's kind of annoying and reminds me of the reasons why I had to get the hell out of the small town I grew up in as soon as I could.
Like Maggie. Everytime Maggie opens her mouth, I want to tell her to mind her own damned business. Seriously, Maggie. Do you think I could just sit and have a cup of coffee in peace without you sitting down next to me and grilling me over the town gossip. Don't you think that the Collinses would have told you if they wanted you to know? Just because you want to know doesn't give you the right to know.
That is so small town.
And the way everyone watches everyone else. The hotel clerk said Burke Devlin was going in to Bangor and would be there all day. And then I saw Carolyn Stoddard on the road to Bangor. She must be going to meet Burke Devlin in Bangor for some elicit rendesvous!
Really? So how did this happen? You were hanging out on the corner and saw Carolyn drive by on the road out of town. And then what? You jumped up and ran over to the hotel to see if Burke was still there? I just don't see how you can make that leap of intuition unless you already thought they were going to go off somewhere together and you were just trying to collect enough proof to make your gossip really
The only thing the writers really didn't get right was the way the town reacts to Victoria Winters. So look. It's a small town where everybody knows, thinks they know, wants to know, or thinks they deserve to know everyone else's business. Now, in comes a new girl. And she's pretty. And young. And single. (Although that
probably wouldn't matter much.) Why isn't every man in town stuck to her like white on rice? I'm not kidding. She would only have to be not hideous
and not old
. All the young single guys would be asking her out. A lot of the guys who were dating long-time girlfriends would be telling her "What? Oh her? We're not really serious."
And a lot of married guys would be hitting on her, too. (But they'd be doing it in such a way that they could claim they were only joking.) She wouldn't be able to go into town without at least one townie guy glommed onto her. She might as well just ring the dinner bell as she walks down the sidewalk... Fresh meat! Fresh meat!
I think my favorite character so far has been Bill Malloy, the Collins' fleet manager. People ask him "What's going on up there in that house?"
or "Say, is it true...?"
or "Why does...?"
and he tells them, "Why do you need to know? That's not your business."
I got a lot of that when my dad was sick. He had dementia, so he did some crazy stuff. It never failed. If I attended some family function like a wedding or a funeral, I would overhear someone whispering (Loud enough for me to hear, of course.) about "I heard he did this..."
or "So-and-so says he did that..."
And I just wanted to tell those people "Here. Take this quarter. Go down to the corner and buy yourself a nice tall glass of Mind Your Own Fucking Business."
I do find myself a bit jealous of Elizabeth Collins-Stoddard, though. So many people are so fiercely loyal to her that they would do whatever it takes to protect her (physically, emotionally, financially), do anything she asked, no matter how hard or distasteful (take the blame with the police for the brakes failing on the car), do anything you felt needed to be done to help or protect her (turn her brother in to the police... push a body out to sea...)
I'm not even sure I have any friends that would watch my purse while I tried on a pair of shoes.