“Oh potatoes and molasses, they’re so much sweeter than Algebra class. If your stomatch is grumblin’ and your mouth starts mumblin’ there is only one thing to keep your brain for crumblin’…” Oh… yeah a post about “Over the garden wall” and mythology, yes, here we go!
The 10 episodes of the first Cartoon Newtork miniseries are as cute and funny as that tiny happy pug. For many people (like me) that’s just enough to sell me a show, but OTGW has many great features such as, for instance, the mythology it develops.
Th animated series takes place in a fantastic land full of crumbling houses, forests with strange trees and dark creatures, demons and lovely songs. It feels like an American, XIX century self-conscious fairy/gothic tale that brings together many references from the national folklore and culture (here is a PhD about it). I am going to focus here in the three that I love most: the wendigo, Quincy’s castle and Pottsfield town.
The wendigo, a mythological creature half human half beast of the ancient Indian people from North America, appears in OTGW but also in Hannibal. Here, this strange creature isn’t that symbol of the grotesque that it was in NBC’s show, here it talks about one of our deepest fears: oil. The “beast” fools a woodcutter and makes him believe that he must extract oil from the forest trees to keep his lantern always be on. The soul of his daughter, the creature says, resides within that light. The evil in this apparently childish fairy tale is our dependence from oil that chases us as a society. But in the end, when we discover the face of the wendigo (the face of our fear) we will realize that… (I really can’t make this spoiler)
A little town that wants to live and idillic life out of time. A place that you shouldn’t leave because it’s pefect. OTGW has an episode about this space that we have seen in films like The Village or Big fish and like all of these towns, it has its own private secret. The ultimate essence of America, these pristine villages are always a dream (or a nightmare) because their houses are built over the ashes of a former civilization.
Mad Love is the fith episode and probably my favourite one. Here we meet and old, sort of crazy, and rich man who lives in a huge mansion and who is afraid (and in love) of a ghost. A female ghost, an insane old and rich man, a mansion, do you need more Poe-gothic elements? When you finish the episode you find out that is not just that, it’s a puzzle in the middle of an eternal circle. And you know I love circles and spirals.
OTGW has many other references and you can make a thousand theories about it (a girl named Beatrice and a deep forest?) so I encourge you to get lost in this beautifully created little world and tell me what you think!
The Homecoming Queen