Welcome Brothers and Sisters to this week’s meeting of the Royal Order of the Holy Mackerel!
In this meeting, I investigate the problems fans had with Little Gift Shop of Horrors and explain the difference between a “Monster of the Week” episode and a “Mythology Episode”
The Royal Order of the Holy Mackerel returns this week with an in depth look at why fans disliked Little Gift Shop of Horrors so much.
After some deliberation, I came to the realization that the vitriol I saw online over Little Gift Shop of Horrors stemmed from a misunderstanding of storytelling techniques when it comes to serialized content. Gravity Falls spoils it’s viewers by touching on it’s overarching story so often, that when we encounter episodes that seemingly ignore that grander storyline in favor of having fun with the characters – it can seem like weak storytelling.
What new viewers need to understand is that Little Gift Shop of Horrors is a “Monster of the Week” episode and not a “Mythology Episode”. Both have their merits – especially when crafting the pace of a season’s worth of stories – but since Little Gift Shop of Horrors so disconnected from the main story of the second season, does that make it worth less than the other episodes so far?
The term “Monster of the Week” was first coined by the writers of The Outer Limits – an anthology horror/sci fi show that promised it’s viewers “a new monster every week”. Nowadays “Monster of the Week” is used to describe episodes where an antagonist or threat is dealt with in a single episode’s story – making the true focus of the episode world building and character development.
Though some put more stock into “Mythology Episodes” than “Monster of the Week” episodes, you can’t have one without the other and expect to tell a good serialized story. There’s nothing wrong with Alex and his team taking their time and exploring the characters they’ve created. Little Gift Shop of Horrors is a nod to anthology horror shows of the 80s and 90s. We’re introduced to two new characters, Grunkle Stan gets to show why he’s not necessarily trustworthy, and Waddles gets a taste of universal awareness.
But what do you think? Which do you like more: “Monster of the Week” or “Mythology Episodes”? Leave your theories and suggestions in the comments below!