Monday, October 26, 2020

Cathode Ray Mission 26 - Nightmare Cafe - Fay & Ivy

"...and this tattoo is my favorite dinosaur, the iguanodon."

Nightmare Café
S01E03 Fay & Ivy

Episode 3 brings us some family entanglements for Fay as her mother and sister make an appearance. Fay’s sister, Ivy (Molly Parker) has fallen in with a discount Charlie Starkweather by the name of Jesse (Peter Outerbridge). Jesse murders a liquor store owner within minutes of the episode starting and proceeds to be an unlikeable jerk for the entire episode. Fay does what she can to try and extract Ivy from the whole mess.

Like episode 2, this is story is mostly a crime drama albeit with some wacky hijinks from Robert Englund scattered throughout.  We get regretful reminders that this series was broadcast was 1992 as the story opens with some Red Hot Chili Peppers and some ‘comedy’ transphobia. Robert Englund appears as some unfortunate racial caricatures in this story as well. 

The biggest structural problems in Nightmare Café come from having no clear idea of how the café and its denizens actually operate. They can wish things to happen, but they can also have wishes used against them? The café is sentient enough to keep Frank out in a huff despite the fact that he is coming to help. Blackie (Robert Englund) can appear anywhere as anyone, so what is the point of even having Fay and Frank? 

We are the half-way point in Nightmare Café’s run and it is clear the show has a muddled tone and premise. There is still time to course-correct, but I fear that the nightmare will soon be over with no good resolution. 

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