Review: Over the Garden Wall and On Turning 24

Think 1920s, superb animation, musical interludes, and some of the wittiest and most creative writing you’ve heard in a long while and you will start to get the gist of Over the Garden Wall, my new favorite thing. Over the Garden Wall is a ten episode animated mini series created by Patrick McHale and released on Cartoon Network. The total run time if you binge watch it in its entirety (which I have done multiple times) is about an hour and forty minutes. Each episode is a ten minute bundle of joy and strangeness.

Look at that animation and wonder!

The show follows two brothers, Wirt and Greg, who are lost in the Unknown, a strange place inhabited by strange creatures, magic, darkness, and intrigue. It has a faerie tale/fable-like quality to the narrative and a humor that is on point. Greg and Wirt are hands down some of the funniest and most endearing characters I have had the pleasure of watching in a long time. The basic premise is that the boys are lost in the Unknown and are trying to find their way home. There is a scary and mysterious Beast that must be avoided, a vaguely intimidating and cryptic woodsman, a talking bluebird, and a whole host of amusing and engaging characters and locales from episode to episode.

Weeks after watching it, I still find myself thinking about its story, laughing at its jokes, and quoting its dialogue (“You have beautiful eyes”). Wirt is something of a stick in the mud, which acts as a perfect foil for Greg’s genuine and carefree nature. Greg is positively a whimsical ball of bizarre sunshine and I love it. The show begins as a light but vaguely twisted tale and gets increasingly dark and serious in the most wonderful and compelling way.  At its core, it is a magnificent story about love, brotherhood, and responsibility, but it is surrounded by a palatable wrapper of jokes, fab dialogue, and excellent pacing. It is a true work of art and I cannot recommend it enough.

In other news, today (19 January) is my twenty-fourth birthday. I feel a little bit weird about turning twenty-four. It feels strange in a way no other birthday has to date. I am in my “mid-twenties.” I am hurtling toward adulthood like a bottle rocket. This birthday comes with the unsettling expectation that I should really start to get a grasp on what I want to do with my life. I feel a need to assess what I’ve been doing and what I’m planning.

I’ve been out of school for a little over two years and I’ve really struggled with that. I think it has taken me all of that time to really come to terms with what my postgrad life is and what I can do with it. I write now, daily. I do yoga and think about fitness. I read like it’s my job (sometimes it is my job). I take free online classes when I can and play the ukulele (badly). Just because I’m no longer in school does not mean my life has to be absent of structure, wonderful structure which I love and cherish like few other things on this planet. I have been spending all this time building my own life framework. Neil has been a huge help in that regard as one of the most hardworking and dedicated people I know. He is quite the inspiration and motivator.

I do not have anything figured out. I have been working on a novel that is really just god awful terrible. It kind of gets me down sometimes, but I am really enjoying the process of writing and getting that baby out of my system, even if it is a crying, horrifying infant. I just have to keep up my momentum in writing and in life. There’s really no need to slow down.

I’ve had a wonderful birthday weekend: Friday night dancing, Saturday night house party with my closest friends, Sunday night dinner with my family, and today. My birthday. Relaxing, writing, reading, tea drinking, light shopping. Brunch/lunch. I am immensely grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. I feel so, so, so much love. Thank you all. ❤

Until next time!
xx

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