Through a Camera Lens, Darkly
How can the cleverest girl in the world save the planet if she can’t get out of her talk show bookings? Pancakes’s new publicist has filled her calendar with back-to-back TV appearances. If she can’t get more than a couple of minutes alone in the green room, then a crisis of vague but probably very weighty import might have serious but not entirely defined consequences for all humanity, or at least a good portion of it. And for pity’s sake, isn’t it possible for a girl to get some cucumber finger sandwiches and bottled mineral water while she’s in makeup? Is that too much to ask? Pancakes may now face her greatest challenge ever: Fame has gone to her head!
Mass Marketed Plastic Halloween Candy Dish of Doom
“May I offer you a circus peanut?” the old woman asked, holding toward Pancakes a skull-studded plastic bowl full of dusty orange candy. What slender connection could these puffy confections have to the spooky going-on around town? Why are elderly spinsters, creepy merchants, and glassy-eyed housewives offering up handfuls of unwrapped candy? Who are the bicycle-riding prankster vigilantes who keep appearing around town? And what’s the meaning of the unlicensed carnival that’s just encamped on the other side of the county line? Is it all just meaningless imagery concocted to sell a product? Horrors!
Valley Near a Mountain, With a Lake Nearby and Trees … Plus Some Clouds
Max Feldenblum’s cloying landscape paintings, for years consigned to walls along cafeteria lines, gain overnight fame when a wealthy eccentric begins buying his work. The movement his work inspires, Slapdash Expressionism, quickly becomes the toast of the art world and a popular new fad. As dense, oversized art magazines dissect the implications of Feldenblum and his followers, middle-class American families flood understaffed art stores for brushes, canvases, paints, and palettes in order to create their own haute hackwork But Pancakes Dunst sees something in the pictures that looks askew. Are those really “happy little woodland deer” Feldenblum’s painting, or might they be alien satellite receivers?
The Triumphant Return of Happily After All
The reasons may be unknown, but the results are all-too-real for when someone manages to steal the last ten minutes of every big-studio movie in history. Film, magnetic tape, and digital formats worldwide lose any trace of the classic climactic scenes. Large-scale battles, daring car chases, fights to the death, and sweeping acts of romantic love all disappear. A tough-talking group of Midwestern independent filmmakers claims responsibility, but if they can’t even get their own continuity straight, how could they possibly orchestrate a scheme as complicated as this? Pancakes notices that the indie directors are wearing promotional T-shirts for a new, corporate-backed kid’s feature. Why would these auteurs want anything to do with a piece of fluff like Maggie Callow and the Sweaterpants? Even their deep sense of outsider irony can’t account for it.