A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.
So…I may have acquired a new obsession.
Yes, I’m a bit late to the game, but I have finally discovered Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s Welcome to Night Vale. Nigh indescribable, Welcome to Night Vale is a fictional news podcast, detailing life in the desert village of Night Vale. This, I know, doesn’t sound particularly exciting.
However, life at Night Vale is very far from normal. The reality as presented in this “news broadcast” is like that of a dystopian nightmare. Imagine a world (or a single town) where all conspiracy theories are true, and take it from there. The city is governed like any normal town: there’s a mayor, the government, the sheriff, civil servants, city council, the sheriff’s secret police, etc. There are, however, also Hooded Figures, angels, a forbidden dog park, and Mountain Believers.
The City Council announces the opening of a new Dog Park at the corner of Earl and Somerset, near the Ralph’s. They would like to remind everyone that dogs are not allowed in the Dog Park. People are not allowed in the Dog Park. It is possible you will see Hooded Figures in the Dog Park. Do not approach them. Do not approach the Dog Park. The fence is electrified and highly dangerous. Try not to look at the Dog Park, and especially do not look for any period of time at the Hooded Figures. The Dog Park will not harm you.
The one thing that roots Welcome to Night Vale in our reality is the main overarching plotline: the relationship between our radio host Cecil, and newcomer Carlos. Beautiful, perfect Carlos, who, based on his behaviour and reactions to local events, I’m pretty sure comes from our reality.
In the first year of the show, host Cecil has an adorable, starstruck crush on scientist Carlos. Always using the adjectives “beautiful” and “perfect” when describing him, freaking out when beautiful, perfect Carlos gets his beautiful, perfect hair cut – Cecil is smitten. As he is our protagonist, and for a long time the only voice from Night Vale, we are smitten too. And why wouldn’t we be? Although their world and lives are different from ours, both Cecil and Carlos are sympathetic characters, whose feelings we rarely see but when we do, are genuinely touching.
With the show running the risk of alienating the audience by moving away from the world we know further and further, the romance between Cecil and Carlos is the one thing that grounds us in their world. It is the most normal thing to happen in the show! It is impossible not to squeal (at least on the inside) when their relationship progresses, and I cannot imagine anyone unable to get invested. It being a relationship between two men is completely incidental and insignificant, which is wonderfully refreshing.
So, do you enjoy listening to the radio?
Do you enjoy listening to the news?
Are you into dystopian sci-fi, or conspiracy theories?
Do you need help to believe in love?
Then let me help you out: https://soundcloud.com/nightvaleradio/1-pilot-1.
May you too find love in this dark desert. May it be as permanent as the blinking lights, and as comforting as the dull roar of space. Good night, Night Vale. Good night.