Thursday, October 28, 2010

What I Learned From Reading Goosebumps Part II

Part II of what I learned from reading Goosebumps books. (Part I here.) Happy (early) Halloween!

Be Careful What You Wish For...

Synopsis: An unpopular girl gets a chance to have three wishes granted, but each wish brings her more than she bargained for.

Lessons learned: There's nothing like ending your title with an ellipsis to really draw in readers. It's second only to making sure every other chapter has the requisite cliffhanger ending.

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp

Synopsis: Grady and his family have moved to the swamp. Grady hears strange howling noises from the swamp and starts finding dead animals. Is there a werewolf? And if so, who is it? Could it be Grady's new dog? The crazy swamp hermit? Turns out it's Grady's new best friend, Will.

Lessons learned: It's never the crazy hermit. Or lupus. Also, note to illustrator: if you do want to sustain the illusion that it is the crazy swamp hermit, don't illustrate the werewolf surrounded by typical tween clothing. In the length of time I took me to feel up the embossed lettering on the front cover on the way to the check out counter, I managed to figure out the ending.

The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight

Synopsis: Jodie and Mark visit their grandparents' farm for the summer. Stanley, who helps around the farm, has figured out a way to magically bring the scarecrows to life.

Lessons learned: Between this and the Are You Afraid of the Dark scarecrow episode, all of the positive work Wizard of Oz actor Ray Bolger did revamping the image of the scarecrow has been in vain.

My Hairiest Adventure

Synopsis: Larry Boyd and his friends find an old tube of suntan lotion. After they put it on, Larry realizes it's expired. Soon after, he grows hair in the oddest places. Convinced it's the suntan lotion, Larry does his best to cope with his weird problem. But it turns out, Larry's problem has nothing to do with the lotion: he and his friends were originally dogs that a scientist changed into human babies for couples who couldn't have their own kids.

Lesson learned: Correlation. It doesn't always equal causation. Also, if your editor gives you deadlines for your rough drafts--stick to them.

The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, the Horror at Camp Jellyjam, Ghost Camp

Synopsis: Scary things happen at a summer camp, ad nauseum.

Lessons learned: Everyone associated with patenting the name Camp Crystal Lake is MIA. Also, note to self: when you're writing your very own children's series, don't put Friday the 13th on in the background.

How to Kill a Monster

Synopsis: Gretchen and her stepbrother Clark find a monster in the closet when staying at their grandparents' house. They accidentally release it and try to kill it: by tricking it into falling off an unfinished floor in the house and by feeding it poison. None of it works until the monster tries to eat Clark and dies due to an unforeseen allergic reaction.

Lessons learned: How to kill a monster.

Attack of the Jack o Lanterns

Synopsis: Drew and her friend Walker, with their friends Shane and Shauna, try to play a trick on Tabby and Lee, two kids who have pranked them in the past. Two giant pumpkinheads with magic powers show up--could they be Shane and Shauna? Yup--after Tabby and Lee run off in a panic, it turns out Shane and Shauna were aliens all long, using their powers for a Halloween joke. Shane and Shauna take off after warning Drew and Walker not to eat too much candy because aliens like to eat fat people.

Lessons learned: See what a difference sticking to deadlines and writing drafts can make? Instead of having to churn out an ending where your characters are revealed to be dogs, you can write one where they turn out to be aliens.

How I Learned to Fly

Synopsis: Two boys try to compete with each other for a girl they both like, doing everything they can, including using a book to learn how to fly.

Lesson Learned: It was R.L. Stine and illustrator Tim Jacobus who really pioneered the Converse high-top sneaker craze. (See also, the cover for Monster Blood II, Attack of the Jack O'Lanterns, and any other cover where a kid is wearing sneakers.) Forget Vice and American Apparel--if you want to dress like a hipster this Halloween, raid your attic for your old copies of Goosebumps.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What I Learned From Reading Goosebumps

I learned a lot when reading the Goosebumps series. (No, the lesson wasn't How to Mass Market Twilight Zone episodes to tweens.) I learned some legitimately important stuff. Let's take a look.

Monster Blood Series

Synopsis: Evan finds a can labeled Monster Blood, filled with a strange goo that, over the course of several books, causes whoever eats it to grow.

Lessons learned: The secret to publishing groundbreaking children's book isn't finding a new and awesome way of framing menstruation (sorry, Judy!) or writing a story where something really sad happens to a beloved pet. It's making sure you have a Nickelodeon's Gak tie-in.

Say Cheese and Die!

Synopsis: Greg and his friends find a strange new camera. It predicts the future and causes strange, terrible things to happen to whomever it photographs.

Lesson learned: Strunk and White be damned. Exclamation marks let your reader know you mean business. (See also, Let's Get Invisible!, You Can't Scare Me!, It Came From Beneath the Sink!)

Night of the Living Dummy

Synopsis: An evil dummy wreaks havoc on a family. I know what you're thinking, and no, it's not Slappy. It's Mr. Wood. Slappy only reveals himself as sentient at the very end of the book.

Lessons learned: Inevitably, I'll get a phone call late one night Scream-style, asking me my favorite Goosebumps novel. I'll giggle even more girlishly than Drew Barrymore did as I answer, Night of the Living Dummy. When I'm subsequently quizzed on who the evil dummy was...I'll know not to answer Slappy. (Don't I so have FINAL GIRL MATERIAL written all over me?)

The Girl Who Cried Monster

Synopsis: Lucy Dark is enrolled in the library's summer reading program. She finds out that her librarian, Mr. Mortman, has a horrible secret: after closing time, he turns into a monster and eats flies and turtles. Lucy's parents won't believe her because she's always telling stories about seeing monsters. Lucy stays behind in the library to try to prove Mr. Mortman is a monster...until he catches her. Lucy's only way of escaping? Knocking over the card catalog in the hopes that Mortman's need to catalog is greater than his monstrous urges.

Lessons learned: What does Mortman get to do as a monster? Terrorize Japanese cities or use his frightening appearance to supply Monstropolis with electricity? Nope, he eats flies and organizes the card catalog. Even in monster form, fictional librarians can't escape their dorky image.

It Came From Beneath the Sink!

Synopsis: A girl named Kat finds a strange sponge under the sink of her new home. The sponge, which turns out to be an evil mythical creature called a Grool, causes bad luck wherever it goes. Kat and her brother manage to destroy the Grool but at the end find an even worse creature: a vampiric potato known as a Lanx.

Lessons learned: Some Goosebumps books, like Night of the Living Dummy and One Day at Horrorland spawn mini franchises, complete with t-shirts, spin offs, sequels, toys, and more. Others don't. To this day, I'm still anxiously awaiting my cuddly Grool nighttime companion and my potato to Lanx transformer action figure.

Welcome to Camp Nightmare

Synopsis: Billy goes to a summer camp where odd things happen: the counselors are abusive to the kids, campers start disappearing, and there's something creepy in the woods. But as it turns out, Camp Nightmoon was just a training for Billy to see if he was psychologically fit to accompany his parents as they explore a frightening new land: Earth!

Lessons learned: Based on the tagline ("It's the little camp of horrors!"), I deduced that the same lowly editorial assistant who worked on the tired puns of the Babysitters Club's Abby Stevenson was also on R.L. Stine's payroll. It's nice to know where an English degree could get you in the 90s.

The Ghost Next Door

Synopsis: A girl named Hannah meets a new neighbor, Danny. She suspects that he is a ghost, but it turns out he's not the ghost--she is!

Lessons learned: Drawing faces isn't illustrator Tim Jacobus's strong point.

The Haunted Mask series

Synopsis: An easily scared girl, Carly Beth, wants to frighten the boys at school who tease her. In the first book of the Haunted Mask series, she finds a horrifying mask for Halloween. The only problem? The mask won't come off! Eventually, Carly Beth is able to remove it with a symbol of love. She's warned by the shopkeeper that anyone who puts the mask on will never be able to take it off, and in a twist, her brother puts it on in the very last scene. In the Horrorland series, Carly Beth puts the mask on again, but finds yet another symbol of love to remove it.

Lessons learned: If you really want to make an impact on kids, you've gotta follow through on your threats. Yes, this means writing a children's book where a twelve year old girl has a latex mask permanently seared to her skin.

Hope you guys enjoyed this! Look for Part II of what I learned from Goosebumps this Thursday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Movies in a Minute: She's All That

DJ Usher: "Yo, yo, yo, what up? Sepia toned David Silver here to work in a little exposition. We're here at Harrison High, back from spring break, and it's 8 weeks till graduation day!"

Laney: "Lalala, art, art, art! Dark artsy brooding persona, lalala!"

Sadako: "Oh, high school, when being weird and vaguely artsy among generic types was enough to constitute a personality."

Zack: "Anyone seen my girlfriend, Taylor?"

Taylor: "Zack! Over spring break in Daytona, I met Brock Hudson from the second season of Real World. You're just a student body president. He's a reality TV star! Sorry, we're over."

Real Housewives of OC's Slade Smiley: "Add five pounds of make up, a little peroxide, and ten or fifteen Botox sessions, and you could be the next Mrs. Slade Smiley."

Dean: "Sorry, man."

Zack: "Look, it's all an illusion. Any girl could be Taylor Vaughan, with a little make up and a wonderbra. See that girl? Short, decent rack, a little bit Chelsea Clinton--with the right look and boyfriend, BAM! Any girl can be the next big thing."

Sadako: "Subtract the Tucker Max esque vibe and you just articulated's mission statement."

Dean: "Okay, I'll take you up on your bet. How about...her!"

Zack: "What?! No, not Laney Boggs. Anything else. Weird boobs, bad personality, maybe some kind of fungus!"

Dean: "I think Tori Spelling's seeing someone now."

Zack: "Come on. Anyone but Laney. It's 1999 and the hot librarian trope hasn't yet made it into popular culture!"

Dean: "Bet's a bet, man."

Zack: "So,, art?"

Jesse: "Go for it!"

Laney: "Are you serious?"

Jesse: "I'm the fat friend. Cheering you on and Twinkie binges are all I have."

Laney: "Sorry, Zack. If you wanna be my lover, you gotta out-pretentious Damien Hirst."

Zack: "Hack. E. Sack. Hack...E...Sack. Hack..."

Sadako: "Interesting. A self portrait?"

Laney: "Um, nice. I gotta go."

Zack: "Let's go to the beach now! Come on, it's either go to the beach or sit here playing outdated video games with your brother and listening to your dad drone on about the dead animals he drains out of my rich friends' swimming pool drains, while class conflict rears its ugly head."

Laney: "Well...okay."

Dean: "Hey, your girl has a pretty hot bod. Shame about the glasses. Too bad guys like us live our lives according to the teachings of Dorothy Parker."

Preston: "Wanna play volleyball, Laney?"

Chandler: "No, she doesn't. No offense, but I've seen you in gym class and you run like a girl!"

Laney: "Uh...I am a girl."

Sadako: "Nice try, but next time try You could be a farmer in that bathing suit."

All: "Volleyball, whoohoo!"

Laney: "I think you're standing on my neck."

Mackenzie: "I'm Zack's little sister, and I'm here to make you over for the party tonight. So, do you always wear your eyebrows in an homage to Frida Kahlo? And why don't you use make up?"

Laney: "My mom died before she could teach me the art of female insecurity."

Joey Potter: "You're a brunette who doesn't know she's hot, you love art, you're poor, and you work in the food services industry, and now your mom died before you hit puberty, too? So are you trying to usurp every part of my personality?"

Mackenzie: "Presenting the new, not improved, but different Laney Boggs! Laney! Get your cute butt down here--Sixpence None the Richer isn't sticking around past five."

All: "Whoa. Contacts. Short hair. Visible dirty pillows."

Taylor: "You're a waste of yearbook space. You're spam."

Sadako: "Oh yeah? Well, you're MySpace after Mark Zuckerberg arrived on the scene."

Laney: *sob* "I should never have come here!"

Zack: "Laney. We were having fun today. You were having fun. People saw you with me at the beach. People saw you walk in with me at the party. And my sister got to use you as her advanced practicum for her hair and make up class at the mall."

Usher: "Yo, yo. Back to infuse a little soul into this movie and catch you slower members of the audience up on the ins and outs of the plot. So, Taylor and Laney are both up for prom queen now! What's up with that?"

Zack: "Hey Laney. Nice painting. Is that your mom? Wow. She's beautiful."

Laney: "Too bad it wasn't hereditary."

Zack: "Yeah, that's true. So anyway--why do you shut everyone out?"

Laney: "What?!"

Zack: "Oh, hold that thought, gotta check the stats on the odds of you becoming prom queen."

Usher: Yo, if I could get with Laney, it'd be real cool, with the queen by my side, we'd run the whole school...

Sadako: "In case you were still wondering if you should choose Taylor or Laney, the hip black vote is going with Laney."

Usher: Yeah, yeah, she's all that!

Audience: "Ohhh. We get it now."

Dean: "I'm going to the prom with her now! You know, since you used Laney as a bet."

Laney: "Is that true? Am I a bet? AM I A FUCKING BET?"

Sadako: "Answer her, man. I've seen what she can do with just an egg and a frying pan when the withdrawal symptoms kick in."

Zack: How to convey shock, disappointment, and shame all at once?! Quick, man, think back to what you learned at the Joey Tribbiani school of acting. Divide 232 by 13. "...yes."

Dean: "Let's go to the prom, Laney."

Laney: "Okay."

Fatboy Slim: Funk's your brother, check it out now!

Usher: "Come on, white kids! Let's see that dance I taught you!"

Laney: "Is it time to hand jive yet?"

Sadako: "Urge to hurl slushies...rising..."

Jesse: "Hey. I'm Jesse Jackson."

Mackenzie: "I'm Mack."

Jesse: "So, hanging out with the male protagonist's little sister for the rest of the film. Okay."

Duckie: "Hey, man, be grateful. In the 80s, it was a lot worse for the dorky male best friend. We've come a long way, baby!"

Zack: "Laney! Jesse and Mack told me all about Dean and how he wanted to--

Laney: "Yeah, I told him it was sexual harassment and I didn't have to take it."

Zack: "I'm sorry about the bet. It was before I knew you and realized that underneath, you were a person with feelings and nice legs and a great chest."

Laney: "I feel just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, except with shorter hair and a non geriatric love interest."

Zack: "Whoohoo! Naked graduation!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

BSC #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day

I know I haven't done any BSC related posts in a very long time, but I felt the urge. Enjoy my retelling of Mary Anne Saves the Day.

Mary Anne: It's been hard for me growing up with only my dad. My mom died when I was a baby and my dad is so protective of me because he has to be both parents to me. I still live in a really babyish room with pictures of Humpty Dumpty. And I'm not even allowed to wear my hair the way I want--I have to wear braids because Dad subscribes to Warren Jeffs' theory that carefully monitored hair is the linchpin of female oppression.

Kristy: "Mary Anne, time for our meeting!"

Mary Anne: But being part of the BSC has been great. We get to go on sitting jobs and the other three members of the club are my best friends.

Kristy: "What's that, Mrs. Newton? Would I like to babysit for Jamie and baby Lucy? More than a Judy Blume characters longs for menarche? I'll be there!"

Claudia: "Job hog! Kristy, I would have liked to sit for Lucy, too!"

Mary Anne: "Me too..."

Stacey: "I'm actually reduced to arguing about babysitting jobs? Couldn't we be fighting over bra sizes or clothes or guys?"

Paula Danziger: "If I were overseeing your lives, yes."

Mary Anne: *sob*

Kristy: "Baby."

Mary Anne: "That's it! You're all horrible people, and I hope I never see you again!"

Mr. Spier: "So, Mary Anne, how was your day?"

Mary Anne: "Well, Dad, we--"

Mr. Spier: "Mary Anne, that's the red tartan kilt you're wearing, not the green tartan one that I picked out for you, isn't it?! Oh, God. I'll never be as good a parent as you were, Alma!"

Mary Anne: "Uh oh. Lunch time with all my friends mad at me."

Kristy: "Don't even think about sitting with the Shillaber twins. I laid claims to them a long time ago."

Dawn: "Hi! I'm a conveniently new character! I'm blonde, but don't worry about confusing me with Stacey because I'm a California blonde, not a Bergdof blonde."

Mary Anne: "Want to come over to my house later?"

Kristy: "Mary Anne, are you tripping? You never invite people over except me. And you barely make contact with the outside world unless it's to use a flashlight to talk to me. Shouldn't you be at home crying about us?"

Dawn: "I wonder if our parents knew each other, Mary Anne. They're about the same age, and it's always easier on the reader when secondary characters know each other."

Mary Anne: "To the yearbooks! Oh! Check out these quotes and signatures about true love! They did know each other!"

Dawn: "Wow."

Mary Anne: "So, guys, what are we going to do about the club?"

Claudia: "We'll all take turns sitting in an empty room taking calls. It's the only sane solution."

Mary Anne: "Hello? Mrs. Newton?"

Mrs. Newton: "Mary Anne, I was wondering if all of the members of the BSC could help out at Jamie's fourth birthday party. I invited 16 little kids as guests."

Sadako: "Spoken like someone who hasn't read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing even once."

Mary Anne: "Dad? Do you think I could stay out later when I'm babysitting? All my friends do."

Mr. Spier: "You aren't your friends. I'm sorry, Mary Anne, I don't think you're ready."

Mary Anne: "Look at me, Dad! I'm 12 and I'm wearing braids and living in a nursery! I mean, Humpty Dumpty? If I'm limited to stuff from children's literature, at least let me have something with a bit of hipster cachet like Maurice Sendak wallpaper."

Peter Lerangis: "If you can hold out a few more books, I promise, things will get so much easier. Plus, there will be leggings."

Mr. Spier: "Mary Anne, the subject is closed."

Mary Anne: "Mimi? Am I a normal 12 year old?"

Mimi: "You show an interest in needlepoint more suited to middle aged women with collections of thimbles shaped like cats, but you seem very mature and serious, too."

Mary Anne: "I wish my father could see that."

Mimi: "If you do not like how things are you, you must change them. I know you will find a way, my Mary Anne."

Claudia: "MY Mary Anne?! I thought I was your Claudia! You never even say my Janine! That personal pronoun was the one thing keeping my ego intact!"

Mrs. Prezzioso: "Thanks for babysitting for little Jenny, Mary Anne. Mr. P and I will be at a basketball game. Here's the number we'll be at."

Jenny: "..."

Mary Anne: "Hello? Dawn? I've got an emergency with the kid I'm sitting for. I can't reach her parents or my dad. What should I do?"

Dawn: "You could try 911."

Mary Anne: "It's a long shot, but okay."

William Shatner: "Would both of you like to be the poster children for a new show I've got in the works?"

Mr. Prezzioso: "You girls did the right thing. Here you go."

Dawn: "Wow, fifty bucks."

Mary Anne: "Yeah."

Dawn: "Uh, Mary Anne, why is that girl in the house over there sticking her tongue out at me? And why are you sticking your tongue out at her? Wait, you were using me this whole time, weren't you!"

Mary Anne: "No...wait...Sigh."

Mr. Spier: "Mary Anne? That was Mr. Prezzioso on the phone. Did something happen today?"

Mary Anne: "Oh, I'm sorry I forgot to tell you. There was an emergency and I had to get Jenny to the hospital."

Dad: "Mary Anne, you're growing up before my eyes."

Mary Anne: "Do you think I might be allowed to stay out later? And replace Humpty Dumpty with an old Richard Gere pinup, which I plan to dub Benjamin Moore?"

Dad: "Okay."

Mary Anne: "Oh, Dad!"

Dawn: "Hey, Mary Anne!"

Mary Anne: "I'm sorry we fought. Maybe I was using you when I first met you. But when I got to know you, I really liked you and thought you were cool. I hope we can still be friends."

Laney Boggs: "I'm convinced."

Mary Anne: "Gotta run. Time for Jamie Newton's party!"

Stacey: "You smushed cake in my face!"

Claudia: "Oops."

Mrs. Newton: "Girls? Do I need to break out the Costco sized bottle of Midol?"

Mary Anne: "I'm calling an emergency meeting of the Babysitters Club. Now let's all apologize without actually addressing any of our deep seated insecurities."

All: "I'M SORRY!"

Mary Anne: "I have a new member to introduce. Her name is Dawn. Everyone come to my house next weekend for a sleepover party!"


Mr. Spier: "I'll get it. Sharon...?"

Mrs. Schafer: "Richie?"

Dawn: "Aw. Old people can be so sweet!"

Mary Anne: "Welcome to the BSC, Dawn."

Dawn: "Thanks!"

Mary Anne: "Pizza toast!"

Stacey: "To Dawn!"

Kristy: "To the club!"

Dawn: "To us!"

Sadako: "To the shattered hopes and dreams I had as a BSC-reading elementary school student about the honor and sanctity of middle school friendships!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Movies in a Minute: Disney's Oliver and Company

Huey Lewis: "Finally! The chance to show that I'm about more than providing songs to be ripped off in Ghostbusters or filler songs in Back to the Future! 'Cause it's always once upon a time in New York City..."

Oliver: "Mew! Help! I'm as lost as Joey Lawrence in a TV show where he's playing a character not named Joey!"

Dodger: "Come on. Let's you and me steal some sausages."

Oliver: "Cool! When are we gonna eat?"

Dodger: "We? Sorry. I only look out for myself. Our dynamic duo has just become a dynamic uno!"

Oliver: "Hey! Wait! I can haz access to goods that are legally mine?!"

Dodger: "You want the sausages? And to maybe worm your way into my heart and teach me about empathy? Come and get 'em! Why should I worry? Tell me, why should I care?"

Pierre: "I could come up with a reason..."

All: "Dodger!"

Dodger: "Hey guys. Who wants sausage? These ones come pre dipped in cement, hydrant water, and angry feline slobber."

Oliver: *Mew*

Rita: "Cool it, guys, it's just a cat."

Tito: "Dios mio, un gato!"

Benji: "Mr. Eisner? Admit it. The real reason you turned down my request to become animated was because you found a Hispanic dog who would work for slave wages, right?"

Sykes: "Where's the money, Fagin?"

Fagin: "Maybe the animated version of Mr. Bumble has it?"

Sykes: "Do you know what happens when people don't pay me back? People get hurt."

Fagin: "Please, I'll pay back the debt I owe you!"

Sadako: "Fellow liberal arts student facing student loans, eh?"

Fagin: "We've got two days to make enough money to pay back Mr. Sykes. Dodger, keep an eye on the new kid. Show him the ropes."

Oliver: "What kind of work do we do, anyway?"

Dodger: "There's no real way to Disneyfy You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two, so let's not really address that."

Tito: "You be lookout."

Oliver: "Okay! What's a lookout?"

Tito: "Aye! Mi madre! Just look out the weendow, okay?"

Jennifer Lopez Hand: "Hey cholo, want to form an ethnic stereotype support group?"

Jenny: "Hi there! Aww. A kitty!"

Rita: "What happened to the kid?"

Dodger: "We've got to rescue him!"

Jenny: "Here, Oliver. You get your own bowl and your own toys."

Winston: "Georgette isn't going to like this."

Georgette: Girl, we've got a lot of work to do...perfect isn't easy.

Sadako: "Apparently it requires owning stock in Latisse and the ability to apply an amount of eyeshadow that would make Patsy Ramsey blush at the tastelessness."

Jenny: "Oh, Oliver. You're so great. You and me together / Will be...forever..."

Sadako: "I'ma let you you finish, Jenny, but Fern and Wilbur's song There Must Be Something More was one of the best owner/animal friendship songs of ALL TIME."

Georgette: "Grrr..."

Dodger: "Let's find the kid. Hey. This place doesn't look so bad..."

Tito: "Hey man, if thees is torture, chain me to the wall!"

Gidget: "How is it that loving Taco Bell got me thrown off the campaign by irate Hispanic pride groups and nothing happened to Tito? Please, someone tell me!"

Georgette: "WINSTON! Bark bark bark! Don't come any closer! I knew this would happen one day!"

Dodger: "Hey, you're barking up the wrong tree. It's not you we're after."

Georgette: "It's not?! Well, why not? What's the problem? I mean, do you even know who I am? Fifty six blue ribbons, six time national champion!"

Sadako: "And the canine doing the most to perpetuate rape and sexual assault myths."

Dodger: "We'll leave as soon as we get our cat."

Georgette: "Here you go! Bye now!"

Francis: "Welcome home, Oliver!"

Oliver: "What? Huh? I'm sorry, guys. But I had a home. And it's a Park Avenue townhouse in pre-gentrified New York!"

Dodger: "We're your family! We risked a lot to get you back here."

Oliver: "Dodger, I'm sorry--

Dodger: "Fine, kid, if you wanna go, go. No one's forcing you. Walk out on me if you like. If you hurry, you can catch up with Christie Brinkley."

Fagin: *sigh* "So that's where you've been, Oliver. You're doing well for yourself. Hey, wait a minute! We're saved! Huzzah for felonies!"

Jenny: "Oliver's been kidnapped! Come on, Georgette. Let's rescue him!"

Fagin: "You're Oliver's owner? The big blue eyes. The piggy bank. Sigh. I can't resist the pathos. Okay, here's your cat."

Sykes: "Yoink. Consider our account closed."

Jenny: "Help! Save me!"

Fagin: "Come on, guys!"

Oliver: "..."

Jenny: "Oliver? Oliver?!"

Oliver: "Mew!"

Jenny: "Oliver, you're alive!"

Lucky: "Eh. It's been done."

All: "Happy birthday, Jenny!"

Sadako: "A birthday attended by a bum who doesn't pay his debts, feral dogs, and the hired help. I think this is creepier than the time my parents hired David Friedman to be the clown at my party when I turned six."

Dodger: "Later, kid. We'll save a spot for you. Uptown chapter!"

All: "Why should we worry? Why should we caaaaare?"