Friday, October 7, 2016

Frightening Friday: Children of the Corn Maze

WANTED: One corn maze.

























Beautiful, charming people. It is I, your most favorite terrifying and yet alluring storyteller, back again to tell you more tales of darkness, villainy, vampirism, murder, and that smell that happens when you leave a pumpkin on your porch well into the spring and summer months. With my right hand I doff my cap and wish you a happy October, and with my left I scratch my chin as I try to remember ever buying the cap currently being doffed by my right hand. I'm not, after all, much of a cap person. But it feels...right, somehow. Like we're old friends, separated by time. Even though it smells strange and musty and is cold to the touch and I sometimes think I see it move in the corner of my eye when it's not sitting on my head controlling my very thoughts. It couldn't possibly be inhabited by the spirit of a long-dead serial strangler. Certainly not.

But enough about my problems. How are you? I'm working hard to be a more empathetic person. Which, if you don't know what that means, is the ability to stop and listen to others and nod politely as they talk about the horribly tragic things that have happened to them over the course of their dreary lives that all end in death eventually.

But enough about you already. We're here so that I can tell you a story of utmost horror that I wrote because, really, we're here for me right now and I'd appreciate it if you'd get on board with that. Today's tale is called...


Children of the Corn Maze

On a crisp October morning, two parents who still weren't sure if having kids was the right decision for them loaded their children up into their midsize SUV and drove out into the country for a special family day of cider drinking, apple picking, pumpkin carving, and probable child abandonment.

Now that last bit probably gave you pause because you aren't a complete monster. "Child abandonment?!" you say aloud to yourself and then head down to the comments section to tell me why child abandonment is no joke and I should be ashamed for making light of such child-related tragedy and how the sister of your best friend once abandoned her child at a shopping center but then went back to get him because it turns out she just forgot she brought him along to the store. But the whole story got blown out of proportion and she was later arrested because of some well-meaning, but entirely overbearing, internet commenters who reported her to the authorities. And then little Zakkareeh went to live with a new mommy and daddy who were far more responsible about hiding their drinking. But back to the story at hand, and I'll ask you to please keep your thoughts
 to yourself until the story is over.

The parents I mentioned before, who like I said were entirely unsure if bringing two children into the world, feeding and clothing them for eighteen years, helping them with their student loan applications, celebrating their weddings or gay weddings (which are really just weddings and should probably just be referred to as such), and finally calling them one weekend to tell them that they've decided to sell the children's childhood home and goodbye forever, jerks, was really a good idea. And so they were driving out into the country to visit the apple orchard and corn maze and possibly just leave their children there and take whatever money they had left and buy a house in Honduras. The children, of course, had no idea that being abandoned was a possible scenario for them. Children, as you probably already know, are entirely non-empathetic and didn't notice their parents' distress.

Now you probably read that last sentence and are currently rushing again to the comments section to tell me how your little Ahlexzandhar, wise beyond his years and rich in empathy, designs homes for the poor in his spare time and toddles out every morning wearing his little hardhat and corn-based biodegradable diaper of his own creation to put a roof on one of his new structures. And while I congratulate you on that, I must ask you again to chill and remember that this moment isn't about you. It's about me and my glorious storytelling and two beautiful children who may soon be forced to stand in the middle of a country road, watching their parents drive away from them.

And so back once again to the plight of two children whose parents made up their minds and did, in fact, abandon them at a very quaint little country corn maze while you were going on and on about something. The children stood in the middle of the road watching the taillights of a midsize SUV fade into the distance and wondering whatever it was that they did wrong to deserve such misery. But sometimes these things take years and years and lots of therapy to understand.

"Get those children out of the road!" you internally scream and scroll once more to the comments to explain my folly. "Are you crazy! They could be run over by any number of things! Tractors! Combines! ATVs! And several vehicles that rank much higher in terms of crash safety but are still driven by licensed but highly irresponsible teens and adults!"

After several more minutes of self reflection, the children did indeed leave the roadway and were totally fine physically but still abandoned by their parents. So rest easy, crazy pants.

In a real life scenario, a responsible and caring adult might catch sight of these children and the big, tragic tears rolling down their faces and offer to help. That adult might call the authorities, and the children would be swept away to less dire but still tragic life circumstances. But this isn't real life. It's a story written by someone who is extremely unhinged, loves tragedy, and definitely eats raw cookie dough, not because she enjoys it, but because it bothers her mother so, so, so very much. And so the children wandered into the corn maze, unsure of what else could possibly be done except to try to enjoy the outing on some level.

They wandered and wandered and wandered, for it was quite an elaborate corn maze, and they had no map.

"Make a compass out of a magnet and some spit!" you rush to the comments section to type. "Or, Toby, climb up on Betsy's shoulders and see if you can spy civilization. Lie flat atop the quicksand. Drink your own urine! You must survive for each other! OH MY GOD, YOU'RE SO BRAVE." And I must again remind you that this story is fiction and the two brave children cannot hear you, nor are they in any real danger.

Hours passed and still the pair continued to traverse the very complicated corn maze, having almost no fun at all, despite the sign out front that stated that "A good time is guaranteed for everyone!" Eventually, as twilight came and the sky began to grow dark, the two sweet children sat down and huddled together for warmth. But before you can even get the idea to type in the comments that you're praying for them and absolutely condemn their parents' actions, I will tell you that everything ended up turning out okay.

Because corn mazes are full of small children whose parents drove out to the country for a day of fun and left them. That's why corn mazes were invented, after all. And so even as you rush to the comments to tell me to check my facts on that because you're sure I'm wrong, just know that the children met up with other children and soon formed a civilization all of their own. And even though they didn't have parents, they were happy and committed many, many atrocities upon wayward travelers.

THE END.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Frightening Fridays Are Coming!



You know it's almost October. I know it's almost October. And we both know what that means. The end of baseball season, the fragrance of toffee apple-scented cologne, and BEING TERRIFIED OUT OF YOUR MIND BY A MADMAN WHO ISN'T RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!

That's right. Frightening Fridays are back, and with any luck and a lot of caffeine and enthusiasm, I will be bringing you a host of terrifying new stories. And by "host," I mean "at least one, possibly two, three if you're lucky, and probably not four."

In the meantime, if this is your first experience with Frightening Fridays or your very first October, you should either read back through the archives, which I have very helpfully linked to below OR congratulate yourself on being born or for your safe landing on planet Earth. Either way, see you back here on October 7. Bring your most absorbent pee-pants.

Lots of love,

Bethany

(Those archives I mentioned.)
Terrifying Evil Clowns of Terror!
The Gourmet Zombie Brain Eater!
The Impolitely Accused Witches of Salem
The Babysitters Who Go Check Out That Mysterious Noise Alone Club
A Very Depressing Tale of Lost Hopes and Dreams
The Flying Dutchman in 2010
Hotel Room Showers are Scary
Dracula's Terrible Houseguests
Camp of Questionable Safety Standards
The Shirtless Werewolf and Vampire Epidemic
Dr. Frankenstein: Dead Body Hoarder
Choose Your Own Terrifying Contingency Plan
The Very Inexperienced Murderer
The Bermuda Triangle Is For People Who Like Their Geometry with a Side of Death
Cursed Dismembered Animal Appendages of Death
The Very Boring Werewolf
A Terrifying Work Environment and the People Who Suffered From It
Bloody Mary Goes Bananas
Ghosts Are the Stupidest Ever
A Fancy Dinner Party Where Someone Dies
The Medium Scary Haunting
Rosemary's Ugly Baby

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Frightening Friday: Rosemary's Ugly Baby

Oh, god, he's so ugly.















Oh, hi. Have you been there long? I was just sitting here in a velvet smoking jacket with a raven perched on my shoulder with this book of terrifying tales on my lap, twiddling an imaginary mustache around my finger.

I'm describing it in great detail because it's pitch dark in here, and I know you can't see a thing, so I want to set the scene like a good storyteller should. Just know that if you hear any squawking, it's likely the raven perched on my shoulder. And if you hear any rustling of pages, it's a page of the book of terrifying tales in my lap being turned. If you smell imaginary mustache wax, know that it's my imaginary mustache being twiddled furiously. Finally, if you sense anything fabulous in the vicinity, it's me looking fierce in this velvet smoking jacket. (I look seriously fierce, like a cheetah in a smoking jacket.) 

The reason I invited you to this completely dark haunted mansion deep out in the woods, past the haunted gun factory and the haunted herpetarium and the haunted pizzeria and the haunted Haunted House, Hayride, and Fright Carnival, sponsored by Pepsi, is to tell you a terrifying tale that will chill...you....to....the....core, just in time for Halloween.

Are you ready?

I can't see you if you're nodding, so please answer with, "Yes, I'm ready," "No, I'm not ready," or, "Please repeat the question so that I may fully understand."

...

I can only assume that the silence means you are still nodding.

I'll just begin, I suppose. Let me know if you were in the bathroom when I started and need me to repeat any of the important parts.

Here we go with....


ROSEMARY'S UGLY BABY

Rosemary was not an ugly person. Her plastic surgeon saw to that. So it mystified Rosemary to no end that the tiny infant that had just fallen from her immaculate vagina into the arms of the extremely  handsome obstetrician who had impregnated her 9 months before could look so.....unbecoming.

"Oh, HELL NO," said Rosemary.

"I know," said the handsome obstetrician. "Woof."

The baby was extremely ugly, like his head was made from a stupid potato or something. Even after they hosed him off, he looked like the Gerber Baby's throw up.

"What do we do?" asked Rosemary.

"I don't know," said the obstetrician. "But we can't take him to the club like this. We'll be a laughingstock."

"And forget about that champagne brunch to help fund the Champagne Brunch Throwers Club."

"He's not fit to be seen by those Champagne Brunch Throwers, to be sure," said the handsome obstetrician, wringing his perfectly manicured hands.

It was decided, after several upcoming fundraising events were mentioned, that the best course of action was to try giving the newborn a makeover.

So Rosemary had a quick vaginoplasty, and Dr. Handsome changed out of his scrubs and into a tailored suit, the new parents set off for Bergdorf Goodman.

"Excuse me," said Rosemary to the first sales associate she saw when they arrived at the store. "Can you point me in the direction of the department for the clothes for babies who desperately need a makeover?"

The woman gave her a condescending look.

"Take the down escalator," she said, pointing.

So the couple went down, down, down, to the sub basement of the Bergdorf Goodman, where they outfitted all of the unsavory young customers: ugly babies, ugly toddlers, and rat kings.

There wasn't much of a selection.

"Oh, look, a Stella McCartney fabric swatch," said the handsome doctor, who I'm embarrassed I haven't yet introduced as Reginald.

"And here's a bikini marked down 25 percent, some expired hair dye, and a single loafer," said Rosemary.

"PERFECT," said Reginald. The couple purchased their items for $735 (a steal!) and left the store.

Within hours of arriving back at their townhouse, the couple had made over their baby. He had a brand-new hairstyle, a new outfit that Rosemary claimed was perfect for beach season, and a single loafer. The couple decided that he looked so good, they simply must invite all their friends over for a cocktail hour and baby examining.

It didn't go as well as expected.

"Oh, god, he's hideous!" screeched Rosemary's second cousin twice removed, Elsa Davenport. "But I love that fabric swatch. Is it Stella McCartney?"

"I'm not a fan of that hairstyle. Blond highlights are so last year," tutted their next-door neighbor, an elderly woman who definitely worshipped Satan.

"I'm loving the bikini," said their mustachioed friend who owned a restaurant that served nothing but toast points and empty ramekins. "But he should really try some cardio to tone up his abs."

"I don't think he looks that bad. At least he's quiet," said another aristocratic friend, cradling the baby, but realizing five minutes later that she had swaddled the loafer.

The next morning, the parents did the only thing they could do. They drove out to a local park and left their ugly offspring on a picnic table for a family of bears to find and raise. Then they got a dog.

The baby was fine. Don't worry. The bears were really good parents.

THE END

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Michael Douglas Continues to Be the Worst

















It had been years and years since I last heard from him. I thought he'd lost my number.

But on that fateful afternoon, when my phone rang and I heard that familiar voice saying, "Hello, it's me, Michael Douglas," I knew it must be him.

"Oh," I replied. "Hi, Michael Douglas. It's really good to hear from you." It wasn't, but I couldn't tell Michael Douglas that because you know how sensitive he is. 

"I need to tell you something," said Michael Douglas. 

"Fine," I replied, and waited for him to go on.

"It's really hard for me to tell you this," Michael Douglas said and then paused for a very long time for dramatic effect. 

"Michael Douglas, please stop pausing for dramatic effect." 

"I can't. I'm an actor. Do you think I won an Oscar for playing Gordon Gekko in Wall Street without pausing for dramatic effect? No." I could tell he was pausing for dramatic effect right then to prove a point.

He finally went on.

"I also paused for dramatic effect in Basic Instinct, if you'll remember. And Wonder Boys. And...........................................Ant Man. Did you see Ant Man?"

"Yes, Michael Douglas. I did see Ant Man. It was very good. You were very good in it."

It's important to compliment Michael Douglas whenever possible. 

"And my dramatic pauses in it? Did you like those?" asked Michael Douglas. 

"Yes, yes, your dramatic pauses were really great, too." 

"Paul Rudd was in it. Do you like Paul Rudd? Do you know how many Oscars Paul Rudd has?" 

"Michael Douglas, did you call me to talk about Paul Rudd or was there something else you wanted to say?"

"He has negative three Oscars. I bet you didn't know that. A lot of people don't. It means that if you win an Oscar in the future, you are only digging yourself out of Oscar debt. If Paul Rudd wins four times, he can finally have a trophy. They have to melt down one of Meryl Streep's to make it though."

"That doesn't sound even remotely true, Michael Douglas. Now, please tell me what you wanted to say. I was in the middle of something extremely important."

"Oh, are you working?" 

"Yes, Michael Douglas." 

"Tell your director it's important and you need to take a break in your trailer and for someone to bring you something from craft services. Michael Douglas is on the phone and he something very, very important to tell you." 

"Michael Douglas, we don't have craft services here. I'm a regular person." 

Michael Douglas paused for dramatic effect for at least 30 seconds before saying, "Hello? You're breaking up. This is actor Michael Douglas." 

"Okay, okay," I said. "I'm going to my trailer right now." I mimed doing so for added effect. 

"Are you in your trailer yet?" Michael Douglas asked. 

"Yes, I'm sitting in my trailer right now. Now what did you have to tell me?" It's always best to just play along with Michael Douglas, I've learned.

Michael Douglas cleared his throat for twenty seconds.   

"Will you please tell me why you called, Michael Douglas?" I said at last, trying not to sound impatient.

"You called me," Michael Douglas replied. 

"No, I really didn't," I said, sighing heavily.

"When Gordon Gekko tells you you called him, you called him," Michael Douglas said.

"Fine, fine. I called you. I wonder what I wanted."

"You had something important to tell me?"

"Yes, Michael Douglas," I said, "I had something extremely important to tell you."

"What is it?" asked Michael Douglas. "I don't have all day. I'm very busy, seeing as I once won an Emmy for playing Liberace. I'M MICHAEL DOUGLAS."

"Did you just call me to list all of your awards and tell me that you're Michael Douglas?"

After a long pause for dramatic effect, Michael Douglas said, "Yes." And hung up. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Frightening Friday: The Medium Scary Haunting


I want to tell you a story. A story about what? You'll have to read it to find out. But first I want to reassure you that it's only medium scary. Medium scary means that you will probably not have to prepare for fear the way you would with a super scary story. A super scary story might cause you to pee your pants or lose consciousness or run in fear. But a medium scary story means you'll only do those things halfway. You might lightly tinkle your pants, swoon, or prance away in mild alarm. You might even sleep peacefully tonight, instead of lying awake staring at the dark ceiling of your bedroom, hoping you're all alone. So, rather than turning on all the lights and grabbing your teddy bear right now for comfort, as you would with a super scary story, you will only need to light a few candles and hold the hand of a distant cousin before you read…


The Medium Scary Haunting

If you walk to the end of Darkwood Lane, you'll come upon the house numbered 311. You might feel a strange heaviness in the air as you gaze upon it and wonder who might have lived there. It's abandoned now, and the trees that surround it have grown tall and old. Even on a bright summer day, they remain leafless but still manage to cover the front yard with shadows. The people in the neighborhood stay away. Not even the teenagers dare each other to go there. They've heard the stories. Everybody in town has. They warn their children, "Don't even ride your bikes down there. Don't even look at it." And for good reason. People who stare too long at the house claim to see things. A candle burning in an upstairs window? A face? A shadow where there shouldn't be one?

I guess what I'm saying is don't walk to the end of Darkwood Lane and don't gaze upon the house numbered 311. Just forget I told you about it. Get in your car and drive back to where you came from.

Still here? Okay. But I warned you.

Our story begins on an autumn day, not unlike this one. A block away from 311 Darkwood Lane, the air was brisk and smelled of burning leaves. But the air close to the house, if you dared to get close enough, felt heavy and was surrounded by a musty odor you might find in an attic or an old box of papers from a long ignored closet.

The family that arrived that fall afternoon had not heard the stories. They didn't know the house's history. They didn't feel the uneasiness in the air or see a flicker of shadow in an upstairs window. They could only see "an adorable wraparound porch," a "very becoming Mansard roof," and the low, low price on the long-forgotten and overgrown "For Sale" sign in the front yard.

It didn't even occur to them to ask questions like, "Is this a murder house? Were atrocities committed here? Was this once a funeral home? Is there an opening to another dimension in one of the upstairs closets?" Nothing. They bought it without a second thought.

As you likely expect, things got medium scary pretty fast.

In a super scary haunting, a family member might open a door to a closet and see a man hanging there, his eyes bugged out and staring. After a moment, the specter might disappear, and the person might suspect he or she had imagined things. Super scary hauntings might include doors slamming all by themselves, lights flickering, sudden chills, or a strange, overpowering smell of rot. The family might hear a piano playing in the middle of the night, only to come downstairs find the lid of the piano firmly closed and no budding pianists in sight.

But in a medium scary haunting, these things only happen halfway.

It was the family's first night in the house at 311 Darkwood Lane. The two cherubic children were tucked into bed. The parents lay in their own bed in the darkness, side by side, talking about how things were going to be different, now that they were homeowners. The kids were going to be happier. They themselves were going to be happier. Everything seemed as it should be. And then somewhere in the darkness of the house, they heard the sounds of a piano beginning to play an eerie melody.

"Do you hear that?" the dad asked.

"Yes," said the mom.

"Is it one of the kids?"

"No," the mom replied.

"Are you sure?" said the dad.

"Yes," said the mom. "We don't own a piano, Steve."

So, the parents got out of bed and crept down the stairs to investigate. They moved as quietly possible, hoping to discover whatever was making the noise in the act. But as they reached the living room doorway, the song ended abruptly.

The moonlight shone through the window, casting a silvery glow on the furniture they had moved in just that day.

"Is it one of our cell phones maybe?" the mom asked, switching on a lamp. But the dad didn't answer. He was staring at the woman standing in the middle of the room with her back turned to them.

She wore a pink gingham dress, like she was all dressed up for a summer picnic. But something about the way she was standing seemed odd, slumped somehow, like she could barely hold herself up. As the parents in our story looked on in horror, the woman slowly turned to face them.

If this were a super scary story, she wouldn't have a face, just two maggot-infested eye sockets. But because this story is only medium scary, she only had one maggot infested eye socket and her face was only half gone. It was still pretty disgusting, as I'm sure you can imagine.

The two parents screamed and screamed and raced back up the stairs to the comfort of their bedroom and each other's loving arms.

The next morning, they sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee and wondering what to do.

"We can't sell the house. We just moved in," the dad said.

"Who would buy it?" said the mom. "No wonder it sat here empty all those years."

They talked about it and decided they had no choice but to stay right where they were. Perhaps the odd experience they both had was just a one-time incident.

But they were wrong.

That weekend, one of the children woke them in the middle of the night to tell them that a woman was standing by her bed and wouldn't let her sleep.

"She keeps saying 'Help me. He's coming,'" the girl said, rubbing her eyes.

If this were a super scary story, the parents would carry the girl back to her bedroom. And as they went to tuck her back into bed, the music box on the dresser would begin to play. And then a spectral face would appear in the mirror with an obscene amount of blood spurting from its mouth.

But as this is only a medium scary story, the music box stayed quiet and the horrifying face in the mirror only had a small trickle of blood running from the corner of each eyeball.

"I'm beginning to think we should just move," said the mom, back in her own bedroom.

"It'll be all right in the morning. You'll see," replied the dad. And they both finally fell asleep, holding hands in the darkness.

If this were a super scary story, there would be one last unforgettable incident that would finally drive the family from the house. They would venture into the basement and find the dusty lab of a madman, the hastily buried corpses of his victims moldering in shallow graves nearby. Or the attic might yield a faceless monstrosity screaming, "GET OUT. GET OUT FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR CHILDREN." But this is only a medium scary story, so the final incident, while quite unforgettable, was really only half as scary as it could have been. But I'm warning you, it is still pretty medium scary.

It was evening, not quite dark outside. The mom was home alone, enjoying a few quiet moments before her children arrived home from their after school activities. She was sitting at the living room window with a book in her hand, and she heard a male voice outside and looked up, expecting to see her husband waving at her from the driveway. Instead she saw what appeared to be an elderly man standing in the street in front of the house. She couldn't see his face, but he was definitely watching her. In his hand he held, not an ax as it would have been in a super scary story, but a shovel that shone coppery in the evening light.

As she watched, he began to stride toward the house. The mom quickly ran to the front door to make sure it was locked. As she held the doorknob in her hand, it began to rattle, like someone was trying to open it from the other side. She backed away from the door and began looking around for a place to hide. She finally crouched down behind a side table. The rattling at the doorknob finally stopped, but the sound that took its place was almost more disturbing. It was the sound of a shovel being dragged across the porch...and slowly making its way around the wraparound porch the family had so recently admired to the back door.

Had she locked it? The mom couldn't remember. And she couldn't move. Her body seemed paralyzed by fear, frozen to the floor beside the couch.

"GET UP! MOVE!" she screamed in her mind. "Run out the front door. Run to safety."

It was the sound of the back door creaking open that finally released her body from its paralysis and allowed her to take action. The mom raced to the front door, not even daring to look back toward the kitchen and the horrors that likely lay there.

In a super scary story, she would struggle with the lock as the sound of footsteps approached her from behind. But this is only a medium scary story. She did struggle with the lock and she did hear footsteps.   But rather than the rough hand she expected to grab her, it was only a light touch that came with an overwhelming fragrance of perfume.

The mom looked behind her in alarm to see the face of the woman she and her husband had happened upon in their living room that first night in the house.

"He's here," the woman said in a raspy voice. The knob turned in the mom's hand, and she ran from the house.

In a super scary story, I might tell you that the family fled that night and never returned. But as this is only a medium scary story, it took them until at least 10:30 the next morning.

I told you it was only medium scary.

THE END

Friday, July 25, 2014

Everybody Loves Raymond Committed Murder…of My Eyeballs

He's a big, dumb galoot, but we love him.


















I'm not an angry person. I don't shout at babies or kick puppies or threaten to speak to the manager.

But when I see the stupid fucking face of Ray from Everybody Loves Raymond, I just get…so…angry. Yesterday, I was scrolling through Hulu, looking for something to watch in my post-Community loneliness. And there it was. Everybody Loves Raymond. I'm not going to go into discussions of sexism or ageism or generally poopy writing. Sometimes you just hate a thing. You don't know why. Or maybe you do. Maybe you saw one episode, and Ray did something dumb, and instead of having some wine and taking a bath, Debra made him sleep on the couch and think about what he did like the most overdone wife caricature on the planet. And then the show won a bunch of Emmys or whatever, and it was like, "Whyyyyy?" even though awards shows are stupid.

To be clear, I almost don't have a problem with Ray Romano. I definitely hate watched that entire season of Parenthood where he hooked up with Lauren Graham, and I didn't have to mute it even once. And to show you just the kinds of grudges I usually hold against TV people, I'm still seriously mad at Peter Krause for almost every season of Six Feet Under and often remind his Parenthood character about all those times Nate Fisher did a super shitty thing to Brenda because WAAAAH! He's so misunderstood. Shut up, Nate Fisher. I'M GLAD YOU'RE DEAD.

Also, Ray Romano's name is a cheese, and as far as I'm concerned, that automatically gets you like 300 person points. (Alison Brie clearly gets 400 because brie is the best cheese.)

But back to the hate at hand.

It's not Ray Romano that bugs me. It's that show. Let's look at the evidence, shall we?

ITEM #1: This picture.

What is this???


















This is THE defining photo of Everybody Loves Raymond. What are they doing in that picture? Are they performing in a first grade tap recital? It's the photo equivalent of your 7th grade geography teacher showing up wearing a novelty necktie. Like, "Look at us! Can you believe how silly we are? We're the crazy cast of a wacky show where a big galoot does a big dumb thing every week!"

And everyone is ignoring the fact that Peter Boyle is clearly calling for help. SOMEONE HELP PETER BOYLE. GOD.

And when someone holds his or her hands out like that, there had better be cheesecake in them. Cheesecake for me. And Doris Roberts. She can have some too because clearly she is over this photo shoot.

ITEM #2: Episode descriptions.

I went into the Everybody Loves Raymond IMDB page for these. Do you know what that means? It means it will come up at the bottom of the screen every time I use IMDB to remind me of that time I looked up Everybody Loves Raymond. I hope you're happy, Patricia Heaton.

Ray accidentally tapes football over his wedding.

DAMN YOU, BRILLIANT GALOOT! IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WON'T DO THAT INVOLVES OUT-OF-DATE TECHNOLOGY? 

Ray and Debra try to be nice to each other.

SPOILER ALERT: THEY FAIL. RAY SLEEPS ON THE COUCH FOR THE 1,300TH TIME THIS SEASON.

A man accidentally sneezes on Ray and he think's he's caught the man's germs.

OH, FOR FUCK'S SAKE. SOMEONE SOLD ADVERTISING TO BE SHOWN DURING THIS EPISODE. 

Debra accidentally throws out Ray's letter from Muhammad Ali and Marie takes the blame for it. But in return for helping Debra, Marie has Debra take the blame for the disappearance of Franks clothes. Debra can't lie very well so she tells Frank the truth and tells him not to tell Marie. In return Franks wants her to take the blame for digging up Marie's roses. It becomes one big mess!

YOU CAN REALLY TELL THIS IS FROM THE FINAL SEASON. JESUS CHRIST.

And my personal favorite, maybe of all time:

Ray and Debra have a fight over a can opener.

QUICK. SOMEONE GET THIS FOR ME ON DVD. I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

ITEM #3: Can I PLEASE watch the Russian version of this show, Everybody Loves Kostya? He's not wearing pants in this photo. Not wearing pants! 


In Russia, Kostya is, how you say, big galoot?



















ITEM #4: This show killed Peter Boyle. This show is an actual murderer. Case closed. 

YOU CAN SLEEP ON THE COUCH TONIGHT, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND.