• Quest Friends!

Ep. 28: Questionable Measures, Part 10

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

Elee has a heart-to-heart with her daughter. Xoc makes some new enemies. It is unclear which is worse.

Listen as our heroes:

PREPARE to Soe!

WATCH a terrifying new villain, so you don't have to!

DROP some truth bombs!

Content Warnings: Panic Attacks, Disturbing Imagery, Abrasive SFX (4:45)

TRANSCRIPT (Downloadable Version)

Kyle

Hey everyone, it’s Kyle here at the beginning again. We got some really positive feedback about our content warning last week, and because of that we’re just going to make that a thing now. So if you ever want to check in about content warnings, either about things that might be potentially triggering for some folks, or for things that might pose issues if you have certain disabilities, please check the description below. All our content warnings will be written below that kind of basic description of the episode.


Previously, on Quest Friends…


[Opening theme, “Friends” by Miracle of Sound, begins.]


Emily (as Elee)

Soe’s not coming on any adventures. Adventures are dangerous. I don’t want any of you dragging her off on crazy capers.


Kyle (as Throat-Knife Lady)

I need someone to watch my baby!


Emily (as Elee)

I could watch it for a minute.


Kyle

Mauve is going to turn over and say:


Kyle (as Mauve)

Well, you’re a real natural at this, aren’t you?


Emily (as Elee)

Tell you what—I’m going to go in front of the float. There’s our plan. I made a plan.


Kyle (as Soe)

Oh no, oh no! I can’t--I can’t find an injury! I can’t find any injury!


Tom (as Xoc)

Behold! The Elee Badge, impervious to damage and insurance scams.


Kyle (as Tommy Funbuck)

And you should know of course, every time you showcase an object, we’ve got to test it out.


Ari (as Misha)

If things go wrong or start to get wrong, yell at me as soon as you can.


Tom (as Xoc)

I will…


Tom

Xoc lies.


[Opening theme intensifies, transitions into hard, edgy music.]


Kyle (as announcer)

In Roulettia, anyone with capital can scratch their way to the top. But why push your way up off those bottom-feeding slackers when you can gain investments from those already at the top? The Great Vespari pulls magic out of rudimentary tricks, selling out shows across the Steadfast that showcase nothing amazing. Lorraine Stiles made her fortune selling off-brand artifacts to the town of Cartesian after a reckless accountant failed to play the odds. And of course, Tommy Funbuck built up the city of Roulettia, innovating cutthroat maneuvers from metaphor to reality. Together, they’ll hear pitches from mogul hopefuls and determine whether they want to invest. Will our contestants’ pitches swim, or will they get tanked with the trash? Live from Piper’s Pit, it’s Trash Tank.


[Crowd applauds.]


Kyle (as Tommy Funbuck)

Hey everyone, welcome to Trash Tank. My name’s Tommy Funbuck, and today I’m joined by the Great Vespari—


Kyle (as The Great Vespari)

It is I, the Great Vespari.


[Mild clapping]


Kyle (as Tommy Funbuck)

And, uh, Lorraine Stiles.


[Crowd cheers and applauds Lorraine. This applause is sustained as Lorraine introduces herself to the audience.]


Kyle (as Lorraine)

Oh, Tommy, it’s always a pleasure for you to invite me. Oh, what am I thinking, the producers forced you again, didn’t they? Hello everyone. But anyways, it’s not about me and my relative high popularity, it’s about the contestants. Can we get the first one out here?


[Dramatic beat.]


Kyle (as Anne)

Uh, hi, my name is Anne, and today I want to pitch to you the...the Gold--Goldfish. So you take your fish, you know, your pets and your fish, you take them but what if...they made gold, too? So I have this, ugh, no, this is terrible, let me start over again. So you take your fish, and—


[Buzzer sounds.]


Kyle (as the Great Vespari)

Trash.


Kyle (as Anne)

Excuse me, I didn’t finish.


Kyle (as the Great Vespari)

It’s trash. Why would I use magic? It’s trash.


Kyle (as Anne)

Oh, okay, um, I understand Mr. Vespari. Uh, uh,uh, Mr. Funbuck, so if you just look at this—


[Buzzer sounds.]


Kyle (as Tommy Funbuck)

No, I agree, it’s absolute trash. Gold is so tacky. I only demand platinum. And why would I want to be giving out gold to everyone else on the street? That is not cool, my dude. People need to make their money by themselves. This idea is absolutely trash.


Kyle (as Anne)

Uh, b-b-but, well, um, Ms. Stiles?


Kyle (as Lorraine)

Listen, Anne, your little Goldfish thing is adorable. It’s cute. But you already did your first attempt at the pitch, and you had to do it again? I know you are passionate about your idea, but ultimately you’re just a little leaping goldfish, jumping from your tiny pond into an ocean of sharks.


[Dramatic beat.]


Kyle (as Lorraine)

I’m sorry, Anne.


[Buzzer sounds.]


Kyle (as Lorraine)

Your idea is trash.


Kyle (as Anne)

Uh, no, no, no. Please! Uh, okay, no, I understand—


[Loud, horrifying noise. Anne starts screaming in agony. The dramatic music continues.]


[5:00]


Kyle

Violent splashes of water slap across your face, Xoc, as you stare dumbfounded at this projector in the center of the room. This projector operates the same as the Tommy Funbuck statue in the center of this casino. Like a fountain, it shoots up jets of water. But these jets form an image. In the casino, it was of Tommy Funbuck. But now it’s of this television show called Trash Tank. And you watched as the announcer introduced the three judges. You listened as they blatantly disregarded the first contestant’s pitch. And now you feel the water sputter out from the fountain projector, which attempts to take the form of a tornado of trash emerging from underneath the contestant’s feet, shaping itself into a massive trash shark and swallowing her whole. [Long pause] So yeah, a lot has happened since Tommy confronted you at the parade. As you tried to sell Elee off as some invincible grandma product or something like that? What was—I don’t remember what it was, but what would you have named that product? What was the name of the like, invincible grandma?


Tom

The Invincible...Grandma.


Emily

[Laughter]


Kyle

Cool, that’s what it is: Invincible Grandma. Uh, doesn’t just work on grandmas, but also regular old ladies, and regular ladies, and really just anyone. But I’ll let you pitch it, not me. Anyway, so after that point, Tommy wrangled you all up. There was no—it was clear that there was no getting out. Even Mauve was like, I’m going to put down, you know, my sword and just deal with it. And from that point on, Tommy has decided that your pitch was bad. It was a very bad pitch, but it was entertaining. And he wanted to capitalize on that entertainment by putting you all on his deadly TV show, Trash Tank.


[Slick, funky music begins.]


Kyle

So you’re currently in the waiting room of Trash Tank, right outside of the main coliseum space of Piper’s Pit, which made the demise of the previous candidate even more alarming. As you hear her garbled screams from the fountain projector, as well as her muffled screams from the actual stage next door. The room is pretty nice, though. It has the same red carpeting and platinum banister aesthetic of the casino in Funbuck’s Funhouse and Hotel. Leather chairs that you sink a little too much into are scattered all across the room, and they’re all facing the fountain of course. The costumed Mannymates that you saw in the parade are stationed at all the doors, and their t-shirt pistols armed to kill, except to the costumed aneen, which is holding an armed t-shirt bazooka. This costumed aneen is positioned next to a set of double doors that stand at the end of an extravagant staircase and lead towards Tommy’s personal chambers. In addition to the guards, miscellaneous workers and contestants are scattered around the room. Of note, and by that I mean these are the ones that like I might actually reference, you see a woman with a firmly pressed suit and matching lips, holding on to a small artifact with an antenna that bends itself back and forth, like the craning neck of a dog sniffing something out. Vespari’s assistant, the Blue Fairy, has been gliding around the room, but she’s currently standing with a Q-BO monitor. So that was the monitor you talk to Q-BO on, just in case you want to shoot the shit with Q-BO before you die. And in the middle of the couch, Soe, poor Soe, has dug herself so deep into her jacket and tightened up her hood so securely that outside of the lump of fabric, you can only see a few small fingers holding on to Everett’s propeller beanie. Mauve and Everett were recently called in to pitch their product, and Mauve had Soe hold on to the hat because Mauve knew that Everett would try to pitch the hat as his product if she didn’t have someone else hold on to it. So that’s the situation. Mauve and Everett are going to be up next to pitch their product, and you’ve kind of got this lay of this way too nice but also way too heavily guarded waiting room for the TV show Trash Tank. Where are you? What have you been up to?


Emily

I’m hovering around Soe. And by hovering, I mean, you know, not actually hovering. No, I’m not Hoppering.


Kyle

Hoppering is when you’re hovering but you’re shaking your hands the whole time. You’re like, oh God, oh no! Oh no, this is bad. Oh no! That’s Hoppering.


Tom

[Laughter] Um, I think that Xoc is just sort of standing, maybe, by the couch, leaning on his staff, like just staring ahead in a blind panic, because this is so alien for Xoc. And he’s just now starting to grasp—obviously he knew that there was extreme danger when they were first captured. He knew. That’s why he sent Misha and Hopper Scotch away. But it’s starting to dawn on him how ill-prepared he is to deal with something like this. He doesn’t really get what these people want, and absolutely none of them are people he trusts not to kill him at the first opportunity.


Kyle

Before we continue, I want you two to do something for me. We have two perception rolls that are going to happen this episode that I do not want you to know when I’m doing them.


[10:08]


Emily

Oh no!


Kyle

So I would like you to make them right now.


Emily

Oh no! Oh no!


Tom

I would like, for the record, for any listeners who happen to be here with us still, that I am legitimately terrified.


Emily

Oh, I’m horrified.


Tom

I had just a knot in my stomach. I am very afraid about everything right now.


Emily

I’m so angry.


[Die rolls.]


Emily

Now I know how Hallie feels about Lorraine.


Tom

[Uneasily] Oh, ho-ho-hooo, ho hoo. Oh, uh, two of them you said, right?


Kyle

Yeah.


Tom

Let’s try number two.


[Die rolls.]


Tom

Oh, ha, ha, ha.


Kyle

What was the first one?


Tom

The first one was a four.


Kyle

Okay.


Tom

And the second one was a 13.


[Die rolls.]


Emily

Got a 10.


Kyle

Okay.


[Die rolls.]


Emily

And a 13.


Tom

Woo, ho-hoo. Hehee.


Emily

We both got unlucky 13. Ugh!


Kyle

Well, you guys are fucked.


Tom

I think we just failed two perception rolls!


Emily (as Elee)

Ex-excuse me.


Emily

And I want to go over to some place where the wall, where nothing is in front of it. And just punch it.


Kyle

Give me a roll to hit that wall.


Emily

[Distantly, looking for dropped dice] Where did it go? Oh.


[Die rolls.]


Emily

[Laughter.]


Kyle

What was that?


Emily

That was a nat 20.


Kyle

That wall is going to be feeling shit in the morning. In fact, you can hear it almost like groan a little bit, like:


Kyle (as Wall)

[whining] Owwww. Oww, I’m just holding up the—I’m holding up the room!


Tom

Xoc will definitely start at that wall punch.


Kyle

Alright, Xoc starts, and Soe actually, uh, you see the little, like, the little basically bean that is Soe wrapped up, just kind of like jump up in the air--


Emily

[Pained noise]


Kyle

--And pop back down at hearing such a loud sound.


Emily

[Wailing] I just keep hurting my baby!


Kyle

I’m going to say she didn’t—because her hair is how she hears, she wouldn’t have heard it, but it would have reverberated enough throughout the room that she would have felt the vibrations. You know, kind of when you like slam something you can hear it echo throughout the room? Yeah.


Emily

I’m so upset with everything. What do I do?


Kyle

I don’t know, what do you do? I’m allowing this time for you two to do some stuff before I have characters do things.


Emily

Okay, so Mauve and Everett are still in the room, right?


Kyle

No, Mauve and Everett have left.


Emily

Oh, they’ve left.


Kyle

Mauve and Everett are up, you can actually faintly—


Tom

They’re pitching right now.


Kyle

You can hear them out there. They’re actually pitching something. You hear, like Everett gets two words out:


Kyle (as Everett)

Yeah, no, this is super edgy—


Kyle

And then Mauve just cuts in like—


Kyle (as Mauve)

And by “edgy” we mean on the cutting edge of innovation. You won’t find a product more innovative than this one.


Kyle

So it’s basically Everett messing things up and then Mauve is deftly correcting him.


Tom

I keep telling myself that you wouldn’t kill Everett. Like I know for a fact that you would kill Mauve to hurt us.


Kyle

[Laughter.]


Tom

But I don’t think you would kill Everett. And I’m telling myself that because I’m incredibly afraid for them.


Emily

I want to talk to Soe. But I’m not really sure how to go about this. And Emily’s heart is hurting.


Tom

I can go first if you want.


Emily

[Weakly] Yeah, please?


Tom

Well, Xoc is going to approach Elee after that punch and say:


Tom (as Xoc)

Mm, Elee Badge, I’m sorry that I got us into this mess, and I’m afraid because I don’t know what to do or what to say. Like, you’ve been around people more. Do you know what they want? Like, what can we say that would make us not die out there? Or should we just be trying to get away?


Emily (as Elee)

First off, it’s--it’s not your fault. You don’t need to apologize for anything. I feel like you’ve had better luck talking to people than I have, Xoc. Maybe you’ve got the little boyish, naïve charm going on or something, but if I go out there and start talking, we’re going to be screwed faster than maybe if someone else is. If nothing else, if they have the trash shark come in, the plan is, I’m going to pick you up, and I’m going to toss you as far as I can away from the trash. Like that is the level of plan that I am at, Xoc.


Tom

I don’t know. Um, you said that there are guards standing in front of Tommy Funbuck’s personal area. Like, is there an area we can explore around here? Like find anything to weasel out?


Kyle

So they’re guarded at each exit. So there are about three exits, I would say, and then on top of a staircase there’s a double door, and there’s one guard there with the giant bazooka. It’s in a giant aneen costume. The only really interesting thing I’d say you could probably get some information from is you can see that the Blue Fairy was interacting with one of those Q-BO panels. She has now left that panel. So you could talk to Q-BO, there’s that other contestant. She’s got really pursed lips so she probably doesn’t want to talk to you, and then there is Soe. Do you want to do that now?


[15:19]


Emily

I mean—


Tom

Are you ready to Soe? I don’t have much more of a plan. I suppose I can go try to hit up Q-BO.


Emily

We don’t have a plan. This is our plan.


Tom

I suppose I could just go hit up Q-BO and see what’s happening there. Can Xoc go over there and ask questions of Q-BO, or-?


Kyle

Yeah, you can go talk to Q-BO. We’re going to resolve that in a little bit because I want a couple of things to happen before then, just so we have some good pacing. But of course, yeah. And then you want to go over and talk to Soe?


Emily

Yeah.


Kyle

Alright.


[Pensive, languid music begins.]


Kyle

So she’s in the middle of the couch. She’s just plopped down, sunk down.


Emily

I genuinely feel a little bit nauseous.


Kyle

So do I. That’s why I want to get this over with.


Emily

Okay, um, I want to go sit next to her and, how is she sitting? Has she got her knees up to her chest kind of defensively?


Kyle

Yeah, you don’t see her, you just see her hands poking out of her jacket. And you—she’s rocking back and forth, and you can hear her faintly humming—


Kyle (as Soe)

[Humming timidly, as if stifling tears.]


Emily (as Elee)

[Hums the same tune as Soe.]


Kyle

She’s going to stop humming, and you’re just going to see the head, the little hole where her head is just turned around, and look at you. And it opens up a little bit so you can just kind of see a little bit of her face, and she’s just like:


Kyle (as Soe)

I’m--I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I tried to help and I got in the way of your plan. I should have trusted that that was your plan. I just got scared, because it looked like you were in pain and I didn’t--I didn’t like that. I don’t like it when people get hurt.


Emily (as Elee)

Soe, that’s wonderful. That’s not something to be ashamed of. That’s something that sometimes I don’t do.


Kyle (as Soe)

But me trying it, now we’re all going to get hurt, and-and-and because I tried to stop you from getting hurt, now everyone is going to get hurt and [sighs in a panic].


Emily (as Elee)

No one is going to get hurt, Soe.


Kyle (as Soe)

B-but they are, and—and


Kyle

And you, because you succeeded your first perception roll, you see the top of her hood, you see it kind of flicker a little bit, as if something had tapped against it. And then she starts kind of crying out. She’s like—


Kyle (as Soe)

[Crying] Oh, ohh, I have such a headache! [Sniffling.]


Emily (as Elee)

How do I help?


Kyle (as Soe)

I don’t know, everything hurts, and I just—I’m sorry.


Kyle

And she’s going to tighten everything up again, and she’s going to keep rocking. The rock is just going to flomp down on top of you.


Emily

Awwww. Elee puts her arms around Soe, but really, really carefully, and not touching her at first. This is not something that she is familiar with, but she finally lets her hand rest on Soe’s shoulder.


Emily (as Elee)

I’m sorry I can’t fix it.


Kyle (as Soe)

Y-y-you were humming the song that my dad taught me, right? The one that he learned from you?


Emily (as Elee)

Yeah, I was.


Kyle (as Soe)

I hum that when I get nervous or scared. Could you hum that a little more?


Emily

[Muttering sheepishly] I don’t know if I’ll get the tune right, out of character. What is it?


Emily (as Elee)

[Hums the tune Soe requested.]


[The hum transitions into a version of that tune on a guitar.]


Kyle (as Soe)

I’m really sorry. I’m sure you’re real sad that you got a daughter that made everything bad for you.


Tom

[Pained sighing.] Don’t want this!


Emily (as Elee)

I didn’t think I would have a daughter. I didn’t think that I was going to be that lucky. But I am.


Kyle

She’s going to open her hood a little bit, and she’s going to look you dead in the eyes and she’s going to say:


Kyle (as Soe)

Do you really mean it?


Emily

Elee’s going to...hesitate.


Emily (as Elee)

You have to understand, Soe. I don’t know how to be a mother. I’ve never been a mother. I don’t think that I can—I don’t think that I am what you think I am.


Kyle (as Soe)

Oh, okay, I understand. And I’m sorry I--I--I’m sorry I talked to you when you just wanted to have fun at the rollercoaster.


Kyle

And she’s going to zip up the hood.


[Upbeat mandolin music begins.]


Kyle

So with that the doors slam open, and you see Tommy Funbuck storm into the room, followed by Lorraine. His face is wrinkled and melting with rage. He’s running up to his room and he’s just saying:


Kyle (as Tommy Funbuck)

I can’t believe you took that offer. I can’t believe you saved Mauve Rodirarche’s life!


[20:00]


Kyle

And Lorraine is just like:


Kyle (as Lorraine)

Tommy, darling. Her pitch was amazing. And plus, that little boy she brought with him was so adorable. How could I say no?


Kyle (as Tommy Funbuck)

You know! You know!


Kyle

And he just walks up and he slams the door on Lorraine’s face. And she just stands there for a second, she’s like:


Kyle (as Lorraine)

Tommy. Tommy. Huh, oh well.


Kyle

And she holds a piece of ice that she has in her hands, and she just pops it into her mouth and starts chewing. And she walks back down the staircase and just plops into an armchair and sighs to herself. And next to you, Xoc, Loell turns around and is like:


Kyle (as Loell)

Wait, that was Tommy Funbuck? [In surprise] He looks good.


Tom (as Xoc)

Oh, hi.


Kyle (as Loell)

Hey! Uh, so did the plan work? I’m kind of getting weird vibes here, because like, we’re in, we’re in a fancy place, but like, there’s death just everywhere.


Tom

Xoc shakes his head. He’s sort of staring off into space now. He wasn’t really entirely certain what he should do once Elee and Soe started their talk, so he’s just off to the side, not like, across the room, just awkwardly out there, like when someone is floating at a party and they don’t know where to go or who to stand with, and they’re just there. He says:


Tom (as Xoc)

No, no, um, things went badly, and now I guess we’re on some kind of contest where you pitch an idea, and if the judges like it, we live. And if they don’t, we die.


Kyle (as Loell)

[Sighs.] Well, that’s a bit of a humdinger. I mean, it couldn’t be worse than his other games: Stabapalooza, Talk or You’re Dead. I mean, he has some pretty rough ones. You got the brand, right? You know, the one that’ll keep you from dying?


Tom (as Xoc)

No. No, we did not get the brand.


Kyle (as Loell)

Oh, well, in that case, uh, you know Xoc, I’m a little fond of you, want to make sure you stay safe, so we should come up with a plan. You’ve got a plan, you’ve got a product, right? You’ve got a product?


Tom (as Xoc)

Uhhh. Uh, what’s a product?


Kyle (as Loell)

It’s a thing that you sell. It’s like a, like uhhh, what is it?


Kyle

And he starts looking around, and he points at the Blue Fairy and he points to her wings.


Kyle (as Loell)

Like those weird things. You know, they’re just, uh, fuzzy and weird and segmented. And they just flap on their own. Like that’s something that, uh, I mean, somebody might want to buy it. I mean, she clearly did.


Kyle

You can see now that the Blue Fairy’s wings, who don’t only flap by themselves, they also look uncomfortably fuzzy, and they seem kind of segmented. And you’re looking at her, she’s, from where you were, she left the Q-BO thing, she kind of passed by the back of the couch, and then she went—she’s over on the other side, hanging out with Vespari, who looks kind of bored honestly. This just isn’t his thing. But like, this is how he was able to get all of his performances. He agreed to be a big name on this terrible show.


Tom

Xoc will do one of those brief, like when a movie screen narrows around someone’s eyes, at Vespari for a moment and just be like:


Tom (as Xoc)

I don’t come from a place where people buy or sell things. So if you have any ideas, now would be the time, before we all die.


Kyle (as Loell)

Well, um—hmm. Tommy Funbuck—have you heard—have you heard the “cat’s tail” story?


Tom (as Xoc)

No.


[Dramatic music begins.]


Kyle (as Loell)

So there was a cat’s tail, segmented into five different strands. Every time you asked for a wish from the tail, one of the strands would curl up and fade off. But it didn’t do what you wanted. It always did some weird inversion of it—it was really strange. Tommy loves that shit. He loves anything that you can sell to someone and it seems great, but it actually screws them over and gives him a profit. You are going to want to make sure it’s actually garbage though, because again, can’t really help you if you’re actually being a bad guy. Sorry, it’s just like a personal policy of mine.


Tom (as Xoc)

Huh.


Tom

Xoc will react to that with some mild surprise. Like:


Tom (as Xoc)

Oh, you’ve never really, like, talked about what you’re like.


Kyle (as Loell)

Oh, well, I mean, I mentioned that before. Don’t like bad guys, don’t like bullies, don’t like, you know, just like, I don’t know man. Everyone is just so like, they want to fight so much, you know? There’s just so much conflict, and [sighs] man, I just want to keep you safe.


Tom (as Xoc)

[Surprised] Well, thanks!


Kyle (as Loell)

Of course.


Tom (as Xoc)

So we need either a terrible wishing machine, or something else that just breaks when you use it and you have to get another one. Should we actually have one to show them?


Kyle (as Loell)

Wait a second.


[Jaunty piano music begins.]


Kyle (as Loell)

Selling something but not actually having it there. You might have an idea there. Do you have any place where you could get, like, a lot of information about something?


Tom

I imagine that if this were a visual medium, the camera would just pan slightly to the Q-BO console right next to us, and Xoc will just like, gesture an arm out towards it.


Kyle (as Loell)

Alright. [Rubs hands together.] Let’s make some magic, shall we, buddy?


[Music continues, adding a whistle and a drum beat to the proceedings.]


[25:33]


Kyle

Hello and welcome to the announcement break for epissuhhhhh [draws out word uncertainly] --sode 28 of Quest Friends, Questionable Measures Part 10, which is two thirds through our Questionable Measures act, assuming the players can wrap up the final two episodes in the next session. I have faith, but, [makes noise that suggests shrugging at the unknowable]. I am Kyle, your GM, and our intro and outro music as always are “Friends” and “Hitoshio” both by Miracle of Sound. We’ve got a couple of flash announcements for you today. If you ordered any merch from us for that anniversary sale, you should have received it by this point. If you haven’t, please send us an e-mail at questfriendsquestions@gmail.com, or you can reach out on Twitter, Tumblr, or wherever you would like. Thing number two is a reminder that if you Tweet or Tumblr out about us using the hashtag #QuestFriends, you will get put in the name pool, which will be used for items, NPCs, locations. Our name pool listener for this week was the character of Anne, who is named for Leaping Goldfish on Tumblr. Anne is a very big fan of Lorraine. So I really—I hope—I’ve been worried about whether or not you would consider Lorraine being the person to like, put that final judgement on you as something, like, cool or an insult. I meant it in the former category, and I’m really sorry if it fell into the latter. So if you would like to be killed by a major or minor Quest Friends character, be sure to hashtag out #QuestFriends on Twitter or Tumblr. Finally, for the month of December, Hallie and Kyle—I don’t know why I said that in the third person because I’m Kyle—Hallie and I are doing a holiday podcast that’s called Hallmarked. It’s a conversation podcast and it’s coming out every Saturday where we watch a Hallmark movie and go really into depth about it. And we’re doing that because Hallie likes Hallmark movies, and I look looking way into things that are just really meant to be taken on the surface level. And if you’re still on the fence about whether or not you’d be interested in it, I hope this brief trailer pushes you over the edge.


[Christmas-y music begins.]


Hallie

Hallmark movies are good, old-fashioned holiday fun.


Kyle

But what if you took these relatively simple movies and dug significantly deeper into them than they ever intended you to?


Hallie

I’m Hallie.


Kyle

And I’m Kyle.


Hallie

And every Saturday in December, we’ll be doing the legwork for you.


Kyle

Every episode will go through a study guide version of the movie, doing a brief summary and then explaining the themes, the artistry, and really anything that you wouldn’t normally notice because you were too busy baking cookies while watching the movie.


Hallie

So whether you are a seasoned Hallmark veteran like me—


Kyle

Or have just kind of a morbid curiosity like me—


Hallie

We’ll give you something to think about on Hallmarked, the seasonal literary analysis of Hallmark movies.


Kyle

And cut.


Hallie

Woo! First try, nailed it! We didn’t mess up at all!


Kyle

We didn’t even mention, uh, it’s Hallmarked, with like an ED. Hallmark plus ED!


Hallie

Oh wait, okay.


Kyle

If you’re looking at this, there’s a link below.


Hallie

Hallmarked!


Kyle

No we’re not—no, we’re not doing that. That’s part of the commercial. I’m done! We’ve recorded an episode, I’m tired, I’m going home.


Hallie

It’s got the ED, because we’re going to mark ‘em. We’re going to mark the Hallmark movies. We’re going to mark ‘em.


Kyle

Thanks so much for listening to today’s announcements. Our next episode will be out on Monday, December 17th. I will see you then.


[Jaunty piano and whistling music begins again.]


Kyle

So the doors open again, and you see Mauve and an elated Everett come in. And it looks like Everett has this big Swiss army knife of cooking ingredients, and it looks like something he just has on hand, and he puts it back in his pocket, and that must have been what they were pitching was this giant cookware, you know, use it anywhere, use it any time. Let me do it in Mauve-voice:


Kyle (as Mauve)

You can use it anywhere, you can use it any time. You can use it in the bath! Which is frankly a terrible place to cook, but I just wanted to make clear how well you could use it everywhere. I’m real proud of you, Cheferett.


[30:09]


Kyle

And I said that because Hallie said, uh, is Everett’s name Cheferett, and she turns over and she’s like:


Kyle (as Mauve)

Oh, Elee Badge. Is that the young one?


Emily (as Elee)

[Drawn out, guiltily] Yeah, I screwed up.


Kyle

She’s going to gently look over and kind of peer and she’s like:


Kyle (as Mauve)

Hey, can I--can I have the propeller beanie back?


Kyle

And then Soe’s just going to gently let go, and she’s going to be like:


Kyle (as Mauve)

You have no idea how big of a difference it was that you held this for that. It probably saved our lives.


Kyle (as Everett)

[Scoffs.] Whatever! I wouldn’t have even wanted to sell it anyway. Can I have it back now though?


Tom

[Laughter]


Kyle

And she sits next to Soe and kind of across from you, and she just leans over and she’s like:


Kyle (as Mauve)

Well, looks like things are going well.


Emily

Elee’s just looking around guiltily.


Kyle (as Mauve)

So what are you going to do about her when you pitch your thing?


Emily (as Elee)

Well, see, I was thinking about maybe just--ugh. I don’t know, how do I get her out of here? Can you take her out now that you’re done?


Kyle (as Mauve)

Tell you what. Tommy might have tried to kill me, but he does owe me a few favors.


Hallie

What?


Kyle (as Mauve)

I could probably ask him to let Soe go. It’s a small thing in his eyes. You know, I am a bit surprised about one thing though. You never quite struck me as the apologetic type, you know? And yet you’ve been just apologizing non-stop since, you know, last time we saw you at the parade.


Emily (as Elee)

Trying to say something, Mauve?


Kyle (as Mauve)

Oh no, I’m just, you know, an old woman—


Emily (as Elee)

Spit it out.


Kyle (as Mauve)

Musing to myself.


Emily (as Elee)

Nope, I am not in the mood for dancing around the subject. Spit out whatever you’re going to say.


Kyle

She’s like:


Kyle (as Mauve)

Alright. You’re sure she can’t hear us?


Emily (as Elee)

I don’t think so.


Kyle (as Mauve)

You talk so much about keeping this young girl physically safe. Talk so much about how, well, you act like you’re obligated to keep her safe. You’ve got this big obligation to keep her physically safe, but you keep doing things that get her...like this. What I’m saying is that this young girl came to you looking for a mother. That’s what she needs, Elee. She needs a mother. She doesn’t need a bodyguard. Those aren’t effective much in the Ninth World anyway, and if she can make it to Roulettia, she’s doing just fine.


[Sentimental piano music starts.]


Kyle (as Mauve)

I’ve had a lot of young folks come in, looking—whether they wanted to know it or not—for me to be a surrogate mother.


Kyle

And in the background, if this was a camera shot, in the background you would just see Everett happily twirling his propeller beanie as he walks across our view.


Tom

Just a slow camera zoom on Everett in the background of the shot.


Kyle (as Mauve)

And there were times when I knew I couldn’t and I had to turn them away, because the worst thing you could do for someone like that is stringing them along. What I’m saying, Elee Badge, is regardless of whether or not she’s biologically your daughter, you’re going to have to make a choice about whether or not you want to be her mother. And looking at how many folks around here seem to have grievances with young Xoc, it sounds like you don’t have an awful lot of time to choose.


Emily (as Elee)

Good for you, Mauve, for being able to slip into that “mom role”. Good for you.


Tom

[Surprised gasp]


Emily (as Elee)

Doesn’t mean other people can do it. This is how I know how to do it. I know how to punch people back, away from whatever youngun’ I’m trying to protect.


Kyle (as Mauve)

Elee Badge, back in Fasten, I told you that you were a natural at this.