Why What We do in the Shadows works

Spoiler alert. 

I don’t feel like enough people are talking about this show. That’s a shame because it’s a tightly written story. We marathoned both seasons within three days because of course, we did. But if you’re looking for something else to watch while you’re stuck inside, you should consider this. Here’s why it works.

Let’s start with that theme song. I’m a sucker for a good theme song, and this is a great Shadows, old photoone. I never skip it, I always let it play. The song is good, but so is the imagery. Pictures and paintings of the main characters through the ages are funny. More importantly, though, it gives a feel of who the characters are. That’s something we’ve come away from in recent years. But as this show is character-driven, it makes sense that the theme song gives such a good feel of the characters.

The show is about vampires, of course. And while they do show the vampires as hunters and killers, they lean heavily into the sexual aspect of the vampire myth. But not in a sexy way. Oh no, this is hilarious. Like Lazlo’s vagina topiary. This wouldn’t have been half so funny if he wasn’t so damn proud of it! Or the way Nadjia talks about her lover. She thinks it’s very dark and romantic. It comes off as silly, but in the best possible way. 

Which brings me neatly to the next reason why What We Do in the Shadows works. It’s funny! At no point does this show take itself seriously. The characters think a lot about themselves, but they’re ridiculous. They’re silly and selfish and they always think they’re entirely right.

Take, for instance, Colin Robinson. He’s an energy vampire. He’s a Daywalker, and he can feed off other vampires. All the other vampires in the house are scared of him. This sounds like a really tough, badass character.


Shadows, colin
Two horrifying vampire

Until you realize that he talks his victims to death. And that he has an office job because that’s his feeding ground. And he wears bland clothes and glasses. He’s a really funny character.


What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary. But unlike many of the other popular ones, it feels like it could be. The camera crew is attacked a few times. They never show up anywhere you wouldn’t expect a crew to be. At least one time a camera guy is locked in a well with the vampires, about to witness their fiery, sunny deaths. And I swear you can see the camera shaking. I’m highly amused that the least realistic mockumentary show has the most realistic camera crew.

From a visual perspective, the show does a great job of portraying the feel of an old, gothic mansion. Everything is dark wood paneling, red drapes. It’s all very heavy. The shadows stretch in just the right angles. Every scene is very dark, but also colorful.

Unless we’re at Colin Robin’s office. Then the tan and gray are even more striking by contrast.

Finally, let’s talk about my favorite part of the show.

Guillermo De la Cruz. 

Guillermo is Nandor’s familiar. He wants to be a vampire. But as the series progresses,

Shadows Guillermo
Badass king

we start to realize one thing about him; he’s going to crack hard. We can start to see this in the very first episode when Nandor forgets their anniversary. We also find out later that Guillermo is related to Van Helsing. There is vampire hunting in his bones. This becomes apparent when he starts accidentally killing vampires. All of this becomes a good thing for Nandor and the other vampires after they accidentally invoke the wrath of the vampire council. Slowly, as the series progresses, Guillermo becomes filled with rage and kind of becomes a badass. The last episode, which I loved, includes him wiping out an entire theater of vampires to save our main characters. And then, standing atop two theater chairs, he says, “My name is Guillermo De la Cruz.”


Because the vampires he’s defended for two seasons don’t even know his last name. 

If you haven’t seen What We Do in the Shadows, I can’t recommend enough that you watch it. And if you have watched it, leave a comment below. I want to know what you thought of it.

Booktube is a thing. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Today’s cover art is from Karolina Grabowska.

I spend a lot of time on Youtube. Honestly, it’s the majority of the video content I consume every day. News, cat videos, crafting and recipes, cat videos, music, science experiments, cat videos and fennec fox videos. You know, the usual. Oh, and competitive marble racing. Because that’s a thing. I learn all sorts of things from youtube, find meditations and yoga videos, and some really good ambient sounds to write to.

So why the hell did it take me so long to figure out Booktube is a thing? 

I’m falling into a rabbit hole of people talking about books! New books, mostly. Fantasy books, science fiction, nonfiction, romance novels. Not that I read that last one but to each their own. These people have such a love for reading, I’ve found my people. Talk about bookshelf envy! The color-coded shelves covered in fairy lights and nerdy figurines make me drool. Most of my books are second-hand paperbacks that look like they’ve been carried around in backpacks and dog eared for decades. Because most of them have.

But enough about the reasons I’ve fallen in love with Booktube. Here are -?- reasons why you should be watching Booktube too. Especially if you’re a writer.

It’s an easy way to keep up with trends

We all know it’s a stupid idea to write to trends. It’s a waste of time, honestly. There’s no way you can write, edit, promote and publish a book in time to catch up with a current trend. 

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to understand the trends. If you’re in the field, you need to know what’s going on in the field. 

But there’s so much to do as a writer. Advertising, editing, social media and doing the occasional bit of writing will quickly take up your day. I mean, if you even have a whole day to do writing things. Not like you have cleaning, cooking, day jobs, caring for family members and pets to do on top of all that. So now I’m expecting you to add keeping up with the hundreds of books that are released every week? 

Soon I’ll be making a list of easy ways to keep up with the publishing industry. I say soon because I need to figure it out myself first.

Booktube is on that list, though. It’s something I can do while my hands are busy. It’s also something I can do when I’m too tired to read another word. And honestly, those are the easiest things to keep up with. Why do you think I’ve been reviewing podcasts on Haunted MTL? But seriously, folks. Any way I can get information into me while doing other things is good.

It’s a great way to support other writers

While many books on Booktube are traditionally published, many aren’t. Indie books and books from indie publishers are shown on Booktube. In fact, given the relative popularity of Booktube over other places we learn about new books, it’s a great way to get the word out. Honestly, my to-read list has ballooned since watching these. Like I needed more books to read. But anything that encourages people to read more books is something I’m behind.

Learn about books you might never hear about otherwise

Yes, I know I was complaining about having too many books to read just like a sentence ago. But that’s the best problem to have. I honestly had never heard of some of these books. But I’m excited that I know about them. I’m going to enjoy reading them. And I have excited girls in big glasses on Booktube to thank for that.

Feel inspired by people who love books

And let’s talk about these girls. Sorry if that feels very specific, but I have yet to see a male Booktuber. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Here’s the thing, though. There are times when being an author is fucking depressing. I am so sick and tired of being surrounded by people who say that they don’t have time to read. They aren’t really big book readers. They’re just too busy. 

Were you too busy to watch hours of Netflix? I don’t freaking think so!

Because of this, Booktube is therapeutic. I loved seeing all of these people, my age and younger, obsessed with books. I love seeing people fangirl and fanboy over authors and novels. Talking about crushes on fictional characters, gushing over sequels from their favorite authors, showing off stacks of new books. I love these people.

So now I need to ask you a favor. I watch two Booktubers regularly. They’re both British women with glasses. I’d like to broaden my viewing. If you’re a fan of a Booktuber, please leave their information in the comments. If you are a Booktuber, by all means, leave a link. I will watch you.

Why Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes works

I’m sure you all know I just finished Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel to The Hunger Games. I posted about it enough. 

I was of two minds about it. On the one hand, I was excited about reading this book. I loved Hunger Games. It was responsible for me crying in public more than once.

On the other hand, I’ve been burned before. I was so afraid that it was going to be some cheap story thrown together to make a profit. And if that was going to be the case, I was going to rage. I was going to light the internet aflame with my nerd fury. Hell hath no heat like the anger of a woman in her thirties who loves a young adult dystopian fantasy.

My first hint that this wasn’t going to be the case was the sheer weight of the book. She thick. 

And the story, my friends, the story worked. Here’s why.

The capitol is messed up. And that’s satisfying.

Let me explain. In the trilogy, the capitol is a fantastic city of opulence and waste. There is no want there. No one’s starving, no one’s homeless. The people of the capitol are bored. They dress up in the weirdest outfits. They genetically modify themselves to look more like animals. They go to parties, overeat, then intentionally puke so they can go on eating.

I grew up in a little town in Western PA. It’s snuggled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. We are basically District 12. I’m not saying I grew up in a freezing shack without sufficient food or enough clothing. But we’re not big on waste in my family. So I had no love in my heart for the people of the capitol. I didn’t care that they lost their shiny lives. I thought Effie was a really sweet character. I still kind of liked it when she was brought down a few pegs.

It was something to see the capital scarred from the war. It was good, to see that these people suffered. That the people of the capital were the children and grandchildren of war. Their parents made sure that their lives were easy because theirs had been so hard. Because they feared that lack. I mean, people were eating other people they found dead in the street to survive. There’s insinuation in Ballad that Coriolanus’s cousin, Tigress, prostituted herself to feed her family.

The war was awful for them, too. They suffered, and they were left scarred. It makes sense that they would never want to suffer through that again. I’m not saying they are right. The people of the capitol are monstrous. But it’s a more understandable monstrosity. 

We delve into the history of the Games.

This was something I was excited about. The premise of the Games themselves was so dark, so evil, that I had to know everything about them. In Ballad, we see that the first few games were far different than the ones in the trilogy. In a way, they were better, more honest. There wasn’t all this pomp and circumstances. They didn’t make these children believe that anyone gave a damn about them.

On the other hand, it does sort of feel like some of the people did give a damn about them. There was a team of people dedicated to the success of each tribute. They get them good food, clothing and training with weapons. Every kid going in at least has a fighting chance.

I mean, we’re still talking about sending twenty-four kids into an arena to kill each other. But in the games in this book, there is no preparation. There is no food, no help. They just pick these kids up in a filthy train and put them in a cage in the zoo. It’s horrific, but it’s honest.

As we find out in Ballad, Snow is largely responsible for the games being what they are. The monster. 

Which leads me to my last point.

Snow is a fascinating character. There is kindness in him. There’s decency. He loves his cousin, Tigress. He loves his grandma. 

And that is fucking it. 

Everyone else, everyone in the whole world, is just a means to an end. Every friendship is just to build allies to use later. Every moment of kindness is only to ask a favor later. He does nothing for anyone else unless he can see where there is something for him in it.

And then there’s his love for Lucy Gray. He adores her when she can do something for him. When she loves him. When being around her makes him feel like a big man. But in the end, Snow only cares about himself. 

So for all of his good deeds, this book proves beyond all else that Snow is one of the most frightening monsters I’ve ever seen in a work of fiction.

Of course, some in the real world make Snow look like a damned superhero.

In the end, I’m still very happy to say that we could all hear the sound of Snow falling. 

Did you know that my prequel novel came out the same month? Check out Falling From Grace, available now on Amazon.

Falling From Grace eBookMeet Grace.

A woman of the rebellion, Grace’s life has been one of hardship. Her people live in poverty, under the uncaring eyes of their mad king. So when her brother in law, Calvin, leads an army to overthrow the king, she inspires the women to become healers, witches and warriors.

But once she gets Calvin on the throne, her world only becomes darker.

Given all of the power of the crown, Calvin gives into his darker instincts. While Grace learns to be a witch and queen, Calvin slowly loses his mind. He becomes a crueler king than any the country of Calistar has ever seen. Grace finds that her greatest challenge is overthrowing the king she put on the throne

My bra broke and I’m writing my politicians

Today’s beautiful cover image is from Eric Perlin.

For those of you who don’t wear a bra, stick with me. This is going to be relevant to you, too.

For those of you who do wear a bra, you’ve probably all been where I was Sunday night. 

It was a long day, and I was so ready to just chill and watch some Buffy with a White Claw. (I’m not doing processed sugar right now.)

But when I plopped down on my chair, I felt something snap under my shirt. 

I know that feeling. Boy, do I know it. It’s the sickening crack of the underwire of my bra snapping in two.

If you wear bras then you know, they’re damned expensive. So I wait as long as possible before buying new ones. Consequently, this was one of only two bras I owned as of Sunday night.

A large purchase I’d been putting off had now become an emergency. An expensive one at that.

This required me to take some money out of my emergency fund. 

Okay, we’re done talking about my underwear now. 

Everyone should have an emergency fund of at least $1,000. It’s Dave Ramsey’s first baby step for a reason. And it is damned hard. 

It’s not hard because I have expensive tastes. 

It’s not hard because I don’t have self-control.

It’s not hard because I don’t have a full-time job.

It’s not hard because I have some sort of expensive addiction like cigarettes or Warhammer.

It’s because surviving has become too damn difficult. 

Let me be really clear. I am a Millennial and I don’t want to hear about millennials being too soft. Everyone is suffering right now, and it’s not because of damned avocado toast. I wrote this whole blog post about how hard it is for literally everyone to survive these days.

I was able to handle this emergency that was less than two hundred dollars. I am so grateful for that, there were years and years that this wasn’t the case. 

There is just no reason why everyone shouldn’t be able to pay their bills, put food on their table, clothes on their backs and have an emergency fund in the bank. If you’re working forty hours a week, you should be able to live on that. If you don’t believe that, what the hell is the matter with you?

I’m not saying that we should all be able to afford the newest Fossel Smart Watch. (I really want that watch.) I’m saying that maybe if something very simple like a bra break happens, it shouldn’t be a financial nightmare.

I do mean everyone. People who work in what we consider lesser jobs like fast food and retail still deserve to earn a living wage. Those people have been working during the pandemic to make sure you can get your groceries, eat a hot meal you didn’t have to cook and get things you need in the mail safely. Like, it’s great that we’ve had the flags at half-mast for them. Now how about we make sure they can feed their kids?

Honestly, though, I’m probably preaching to the choir here. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re more on the side of the struggling than the comfortable. If that’s the case, you might feel powerless. Please listen to me when I say you are not. We are being reminded now as Americans that our politicians work for us. We pay their wages, and they’ve got no problem giving themselves raises. They should work for us. They should advocate for us to companies that pay insufficient wages. And we need to tell them that.

Write to your local representatives about raising the minimum wage to a living wage. Here’s a link to the resist app, it makes it easy to chat with the people who represent you.


Why the IT Crowd Works

I’m still marathoning old shows, at least for now. As usual, I hate myself and have decided to do Camp Nanowrimo this month. I decided that three days before the end of June.

(Okay, I’m being too hard on myself. What happened is that I realized I was way behind where I wanted to be in my novels for the year. So I needed to clear my plate and put novel working first for a whole month.)

But all that aside. I finally got around to watching all of The IT Crowd.

I’m amazed it took me this long. I work in technical support, I love British comedy and I have a weird tolerance for laugh tracks. I don’t like them, but I can tune them out. 

I’m not going to say the show is genius. I’m not even going to say it’s great. But it’s good, it’s lasted, and it works. Let’s discuss why.

In describing The IT Crowd, I kept coming back to one phrase. It’s relatable, but then it

it crowd, roy
We don’t all date women who’s parents died in a fire at a water park.

goes past that and becomes ridiculous. Let me give you an example. We’ve all messed up at work. Most of us haven’t set a fire extinguisher on fire and just let it burn for hours. We’ve all been on bad dates. We usually don’t have chocolate pudding on our faces the whole time, only for our date to think it’s literal shit.


While the characters get into ridiculous circumstances that are somehow relatable, it doesn’t end there. The characters themselves are caricatures of people we might very well have in our own lives. 

it crowd, mossNo one is as socially awkward as Moss. But I bet there’s someone in your life or at your job who you think of every time you see Moss. I have a friend who seems just like Roy. To my knowledge, he’s never run through his place of work without a shirt on. But he doesn’t tell me everything, so who knows? And I have, for sure, forced my feet into shoes that were too small because they were just so cool! (They were baby pink Sperry’s. Don’t judge me.) But I didn’t let it get to the point of crippling me. 

I have a soft spot for any show that manages to surprise me. They’re rare. And they’re even rarer when we’re talking about relationship predictions. And I was sure, from episode one, that Roy and Jen were going to end up together. And they don’t! And that makes perfect sense for them. It would have been awful if they’d gotten together. It would have ruined the show. I think we see that way too much. We don’t see enough friendships between men and women. I was never so thrilled to be wrong.

Finally, let’s talk about catchphrases. Is there any more iconic one than, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” It’s good advice, it’s funny, and it’s so true for anyone who works in technical support and IT! If literally anything isn’t working, turn it off and back on. It was even referenced in Dr. Who. Hell, it’s been suggested several times that we should turn 2020 off and back on. And if I could find a way to do it, I would.

Now I want to hear how you think. Have you watched The IT Crowd? What worked for you?

Want to help out the BLM movement? Are you an artist or writer? Leave a comment below or email me at nicolecluttrell86@gmail.com to get involved.

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑