Thomas: ♪ There are few who’d deny, at dropping lines I am the best, for my talents are denounced far and… ♪ …line?
Joan: Wide. T: Wide! That’s it. We’ll get it, one more time. (Introductory theme) T: ♪ What is up, everybody! Doodoodoodoodooo~ ♪ (to the tune of Jingle Bells) T: Well! It is that time of year again, the trees got no leaves! And like a refrigerated apple, the air is crisp, and cool… T: Except for here, in Florida. But- yeah, I’m sure that it’s… nice in other places… I’m not jealous… T: I’m chill! Except I’m not… T: FLORIDA! T: Frightful weather or not, those sleigh bells are still jingling, our hearts are still ring-ting-tingling, T: AND it is time to set our sights on that perennial favorite: Christmas! Virgil: NO! T: No? You’re a mean one… V: We did a Christmas episode last year, Thomas! T: I mean, yeah, Virgil. Christmas is kind of a yearly thing. V: *Sigh* It sure is, but you know what we still haven’t done? T: *gasps* Oh my gosh! T: Easter? V: What? No! T: St. Patty’s Day?
V: No! T: Aunt Patty’s Day?
V: No. T: New Year’s Day? V: By the time we’re on the same page, maybe. T: Halloween?
V: Yes… yes, yes! T: Halloween? Halloween. Halloween! V: Halloween. T: I mean, I don’t care. I just- I like holidays, so I- What are you…
(Virgil quietly laughs like a vampire) T: What are you doing? What are you doing
over there? V: Shh, Thomas! I’m waiting for the others to show up so I can scare them right out of their pants… T: Umm… V: Affectionately! V: And then I’m going to, affectionately, scare them so freaking bad, they’ll wet those same pants after they put them back ON! HAHAHAHAHA, HAHA! T: Wow, Virgil, that’s… that’s pretty evil. V: Tis the season!
T: *Chuckles* But it’s not. V: Look, just don’t mind me, okay. Just like… keep doing your thing. T: Well, alright! This is great because it means I get to sport my best costume yet, your spoopy neighbourhood Spider-Man! T: Pretty great, right? My mommy got it for me. Roman: Did someone say mummy? Logan: No, so you can go back down. T: Hey guys! Wow, clearly I have a strong attachment to this holiday. You guys look awesome! R: Thank you, Thomas! I put a lot of thought into my costume. T: How’d you settle on being a mummy? R: What a better costume for me than zombie royalty? T: Fair enough. And Logan! Frankenstein’s monster? Not Dr. Frankenstein? L: I was going to be Dr. Frankenstein, but Roman said, and I quote, L: *sighs* L: “That dude sounds like a Grade D dork. You should be the scary monster instead. You know, the real Frankenstein.” R: You wrote all that down? L: Oh, I try to jot down anything that is said to me that is unprecedentedly stupid. L: It is important to… keep receipts. T: Lots of people don’t know that the monster’s name isn’t Frankenstein, Logan. Stop putting people down. T: Stop it. T: Stop. T: Anyway, where’s Patton? Patton: I’m here, Thomas. I dressed as a ghost. T: Oh wow, amazing! P: Just kidding! I hadn’t popped up yet. T: Ah! Okay… Well, I feel like a fool. P: Sorry I’m late, everyone. Thomas here still hasn’t picked out a candy bowl for next year’s trick-or-treaters, the little procrastinator! P: And I can’t decide if he should get an orange bowl with black bats, or a black bowl with orange bats! L: Patton, what are you- P: Or orange pumpkins! That makes more sense. That’s the one, Thomas. L: Patton, what is this? Have you forgotten the discussion we had concerning our coordinated costume choices? T: Wait, coordinated costumes? R: You were supposed to be the Wolf-man, Patton! Not some measly mutt. P: I am the Woof Man! I have the floppy ears! I’ve got this cute little tag with my name on it. L: That does not say your name on it. R: That’s Scooby Doo’s tag. P: Oh, must have gotten my name tag mixed up with someone else’s. R: *sighs* Well, someone’s Scooby costume is ruined. L: Sorry, Patton, did you say ‘woof man’? P: Uh, yeah. Woof Man. L: It was Wolf-man. P: Yeah! Woof Man! L: Wolfman. P: Woof Man! R: Wolf-man. P: Woof Man. T: Wolf-man. P: Are you guys- are you guys messing with me? R: Patton, we all agreed that we were going to wear scary costumes. Do not spoil this belated “Hallowed-ween” for me! T: Wait, scary costumes? I… don’t think I got the memo on that one. R: I literally don’t know how. We discussed it in your head. P: Well, Spider-Man is sort of scary. He wears a mask, so no one knows who he is- L: Peter Parker. P: He’s always fighting crime at night. Fighting is scary. Nighttime is scary. The spider on the middle of your chest is scary. P: Spider-Man’s scary! You’re scary! Go away, Spider-Man! T: It’s okay, it’s okay, Patton! It’s just me. It’s just me. P: Thomas… P: …you’re Spider-Man? R: Calm yourself, JJ. Spider-Man’s not scary. He’s a hero! Scary is more like, uhhh… V: Like THIS!?!? *growls* R: No, not like that. Um… V: Are you kidding me? I spent all day working on this. V: Be afraid. Be very afraid! T: Oh, sorry bud. I just don’t think that we find you as scary anymore. V: What?! T: Oh, but that’s good! You’re part of the group now! You work with us instead of… T: …against us? T: Let me rephrase that, okay? Um… L: Wh- You’re not frightening them anymore? Why not? R: Frightening us. You’re not including yourself, why? L: I am fearless… and therefore powerful. T: I’ve seen you scared. L: Uh- Virgil, why aren’t you doing your job? (changing the topic) V: Uh, I’m obviously trying. L: And actively failing. Have you forgotten about the graph that I illustrated of the- V/T/P/R: Yerkes-Dodson curve.
R: Yeah, mhm. L: Oh, good. You remembered something that I taught you for once. L: Then surely you remember the optimum point of tension, signifying that it’s not good to experience none of anxiety’s effects. P: I don’t know about none of its effects. Virgil is still very scary. You just gotta give him a chance. P: Virgil, do that, you know, do that thing with your face. V: Oh, okay. *Virgil roars* P: Aaaahh! Uh oh, uh oh. You scared the pants right off of me. Uh… *chuckles* V: Oh my gosh! You guys don’t think I’m scary.
V: Put your pants back on! Don’t patronize me. P: You mean “pant-ronize”? V: Whatever! P: That… just slipped out. T: I mean, we- we spent an entire two-part episode discussing how you weren’t a malicious entity. T: We bonded and stuff! W- We understand now. V: Understand what? T: Your being scary was really mainly a thing when you were isolating yourself, before you knew a better way to help me. T: Now that we’ve broken down that
wall, you don’t have to, you know, keep up the act. V: Act? T: Well, you know, not an act, but a phase. V: A phase? P: Well, sure. Everyone goes through phases. They’re embarrassing, but we get over them. P: We’re all just happy you’re embracing who you truly are now, so we can be pals. V: Listen. We may be friends, but that doesn’t mean I can’t scare you anymore. V: I’m your anxiety. That is what I do. L: Well, not anymore, apparently. How hard is it to distress someone? I mean, just watch. L: Thomas, given human beings’ limited years, there’s a cap on how many things you’ll be able to make in your lifetime, L: meaning… you probably don’t have the time to create everything that you want. T: Oh my gosh! R: Why would you say that? V: Oh, jeez, dude. L: See? All it took was a little logic. T: But is it so wrong that Virgil’s doing something a little different now? T: W- Why can’t that phase be over? Y- Patton’s with me. P: The dog days are over. T: Take it from me, Virgil. As someone who’s gone through a few phases myself, phases are like… Halloween costumes. T: A time comes when you wear one around but, eventually, it’s time to take the costume off. T: The phases I’ve gone through are in the past. T: And I feel like I can finally be my real self now. V: Huh! Interesting perspective, Thomas. (*Logan screams in a robotic voice then Roman screams loudly in a high-pitched scream.*) R: Sorry, everyone. I hate the dark. P: Somebody, light a match. Not because I farted. V: You know, I’m glad you brought up those phases you went through. V: Let’s talk about those. T: Oh! *The others scream – Patton continues screaming long after the others stop.* *Patton chuckles* *Patton screams*
R: Oh… my… L: What have you done? V: Anyone remember Thomas’ … V: …COSPLAY PHASE?? T: Oof! Yeah, no. I was- I was not good at costume construction. L: So you changed my costume as an example? L: Th- that’s rude. T: I was so into that scene! Made so many different costumes, went to all the local cons… T: But my costumes always… T: …fell short.. compared to everyone else. R: Oh, that absolutely defeated me! R: I couldn’t cope with the fact that we weren’t on the same level as all the other incredible cosplayers at the cons you attended. P: Aww! That was big of you to admit, Roman. V: Too bad your ‘big admission’ is dwarfed by your… gargantuan failures. P: Yikes! Tha- Those were ugly words there, kiddo. V: Not as ugly as Thomas’ cosplays. R: Better-looking than your face! V: We have the same-! *sighs* V: Never mind! Just let it go, Virgil. L: You know, extending beyond this… L: …Penny Dreadful theatricality- P: Penny *Dreadful* theatricality! I see what you did there. L: Pun not intended! There is something interesting to be said about all this talk of phases. T: Yeah? L: Yes, I can’t help but be reminded of Erik Erikson’s- P: What a name! L: -theory of psycho-social development! P: What a name! L: Particularly the fourth psycho-social crisis, entitled “Industry versus Inferiority”. R: Catchy. L: During this phase, one aims to gain a sense of competence when developing skills. L: If unsuccessful, one could develop feelings of inferiority. L: However, a mixture of failures and successes could lead to a more agreeable balance of competency and modesty. R: Oh my gosh, he’s so right! I’m so modest. T: So, cosplay is something that made me feel inferior. L: Potentially, but remember, you were also trying your hand at other trades during that phase. L: Singing, film-making, etc., with which you felt more successful, L: and your proficiency at said skills provided a necessary counter to your more… embarrassing efforts. T: Well, maybe I was wrong to be embarrassed by my cosplay. T: Well, not wrong! But yeah, I had fun. T: I did it because I was passionate about the characters. T: Going to conventions gave me a chance to meet people that liked the same geeky stuff as me. T: So what if I didn’t have the means to create a film quality costume? R: I shouldn’t have given up so easily! P: Oh, but you can always get back into it! V: Would you really want to revisit that? V: You should just let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. P: Easy there, Kylo-Friend. R: Oh my gosh, a nice nickname? I hadn’t thought of that. P: You shouldn’t give up on things just because they’re hard, or if you’re not good at them right away. T: You know, you’re right! And- I feel like I’ve also probably improved since then, with all the costuming for videos. T: That time in my life might have been an essential stepping stone in order to get to where I am today. V: Stepping stone? More like throwing stone! (hisses) (Impact sound) T: Ow! V: Oh, sorry! T: What, why?
V: I did not mean to actually hit you – that was just supposed to scare you. T: Gosh! V: But I bet now you’re going through another phase… of pain! V: Sorry again, though. L: You know, Virgil, this isn’t… so scary. You just… diminished my costume quality, that’s all. V: Careful! Or it’ll be Thomas’ girl phase next. L: Ugh, you mean when he feigned an attraction towards women? T: You mean the first 23 years of my life? R: *laughs*
L: That’s right.
R: You were so repressed! T: It was very hard for me. P: Oh, I bet Virgil has a ton more to scare us with! How about me next, you bat-winged cherub? P: Ah, I mean, you… bad… boy? V: *sighs* All right. *snaps fingers* R: Hot DOG! P: Oh, no… Not the- V: Yes, Patton… the EMO PHASE!! P: But this was maybe the scariest phase in all of Thomas’ life! T: Well…scary is a little harsh… P: No, Thomas, you were such an angsty teenager. P: And you know how teenagers scare the living poop out of me. R: Oh, Patton, you don’t have to make emo song references… R: …”But It’s Better If You Do”. L: I agree with Patton, this is a HORRIFYING period to revisit! L: Through all of the relentless waves of hormones and emotions… L: …no one could understand me. T: Yeah, I was really going through some stuff when I was younger. T: There was a LOT to get a handle on. L: Well, that’s what you get when you let your heart win. R: ♪ Whoa… ♪ P: Oh yeah, Paramore! R: *over-the-top riffing* V: Okay, you can stop. R: –Making the song a hundred times better? Maybe. I can try. T: Oh, the ill-fitting hairdos I wore… and all the bracelets, too. T: How did I wear so many bracelets? Who let me do that? V: Being old enough to comprehend depressing realities, but still too young to wrap your head around why things are the way they are, V: resulted in you becoming… a little try-hard. V: You only made things worse for yourself by dressing in a way that was so wannabe edgy… V: You were just… making it way too easy to insult you. R: Hypocrite say what?
V: What? R: Ohhh my gosh, I can’t believe it worked. V: Shut up! Also, what were you thinking going to events like Warped Tour? You hate crowds! L: Hmm, now I don’t want to overload anyone with information… R: Since when? L: –BUT this also sounds like one of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development: “Identity versus Role Confusion”. P: Hmm. L: This stage describes one’s search for personal identity and a sense of self – trying to figure out who you are. L: It’s a time for exploring and seeking a figurative place where one “belongs” in society. L: If one doesn’t have an easy time during this stage, they could experience an identity crisis and… experiment with different lifestyles. V: An identity crisis that clearly hasn’t ended. V: I mean, what am I, other than a highly condensed ball of angst whose style is a relic from that time in your life? P: *gasps* Oh my gosh, yeah! And now we’re basically style twins!! P: Ohh, look out, everyone, just a couple of cool guys coming through! V: Okay, Patton. P: Um… sorry. T: Well, I mean… maybe that angst is still with me to some extent, but… you work with us now. T: You’re not… in the driver’s seat anymore, you… have a seat at the discussion table. T: I was absolutely frightened out of my
mind back then, but… only because I was… T: …trying to understand difficult feelings
for the first time. P: Hooo, glad that’s over with! R: Patton, what do you think we’re doing every time we meet up? P: Catching up? T: And then I found a… a healthy way to express myself. L: Screaming lyrics. T: Yeah, lyrics that resonated with me, and made me feel… less alone. T: And Virgil, going to concerts made me feel like there was a place for me in society, and I really needed that at the time. T: Honestly, that was a time where I developed a lot of the values… I still believe in today. P: Plus, the music is still pretty darn cool. V: Well, that goes without saying. T: Hmm… I don’t think I really have any other embarrassing ph- mm, “embarrassing” phases. R: Huzzah! And that means my beautiful costume can remain untouched. V: *evil laughter* V: Princey, Princey, Princey… so naive. *finger snap* L: Ah, his… burlap sack phase? R: Oh, I get it! It’s Vine. R/T/P/L: *overlapping realization* V: Yes, the VINE PHASE!! R: Wow. Virgil, I hate to say it… R: …but this is a miserable failure on your part. The Vine phase wasn’t scary. R: On the contrary, I’m rather proud of all the work we did. V: Oh, ALL the work…? *Throwback Vine Time!* Past Thomas: ♪ Myyyyy milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re like, WHOO, it’s better than yours! ♪ T/L/P: *screaming* R: Put it away, put it away, put it away NOW! T: It’s okay! It’s okay. We’re on YouTube now, where we’re safe from all the bad decisions. T: I’ve- I’ve always- I’ve always made things… that I can be proud of on YouTube. R: Thomas, don’t invite something else! V: Oh, Thomas… Vine may be dead, but it still haunts you like a malevolent apparition. V: Those were some of the earliest
years in developing your voice as a creator… V: But no matter what you do, no matter what you try… you will never grow past it. R: No! V: Your tombstone will read: “Here lies Thomas Sanders. Remember him? He was the Storytime Guy… on VINE!” T: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! P: Why “no”?
T: Because…! T: I don’t know! P: If people were to remember your Vines years down the line… P: I think that’d be pretty neat. T: Oh my… god, you’re awesome! P: Uh, Logan! Did Derekson have anything to say about this? L: You mean Erikson? P: Oh! That’s right! The only sons I can keep straight are my own. L: *sighs* As a matter of fact, Patton, yes. L: The “Generativity versus Stagnation” stage does share a few notable qualities with Thomas’ Vine phase. T: Well, why don’t you “generate” an explanation for us, Logan? L: Holy sh*t. L: Well, it has to do with one’s desire to create and be involved in the community. L: The function of this stage is… ideally, to figuratively “make your mark” on the world, through creating or nurturing something that will outlast you. R: Oh my gosh, I was literally talking to you about this same thing a while ago! R: Me and this Erikson guy… T: Wow, so wait- I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing! T: I was taking part in an online community and I… accidentally stumbled into making something that was bigger than me, T: just by doing something that I enjoyed? That’s so… freaking cool! T: And sure, I made mistakes all the time, but, you know, I’m better now, right? V: I don’t know. Are you? T: I don’t know. Am I!? L: Alright, I believe I understand the intended outcome of Virgil’s methodology. L: If you had never made that horrendously bad Vine- P: Okay, now you guys are just being mean. The Vines aren’t that bad. Past Thomas: ♪ My humps, my humps, my humps, my humps, my lovely laaaaaaady lumps. OOH! ♪ P: Gah!
R: STOP IT!
T: We did not need another example. P: Most of them weren’t that bad. L: Yeah. L: Ya boi has delivered some ill-conceived content, but that was part of his development. L: Similarly, if we hadn’t endured those various cringe-inspiring periods of your life, then you wouldn’t know the things that you know now. T: Or… be the person that I am today. V: Yeah, duh. V: It’s not that I haven’t changed, but when you reduce a piece of my history to just a “phase”, you ignore everything that I went through. V: Who I was when I scared you all the time… is no less real than who I am now. Past phases are the foundation of who you’ve become. *Everyone gets switched back to their normal Halloween costumes* P: Oh, here’s my name tag! It says “Pawton”! V: So if you remove that foundation… T: What’s left standing? P: Huh. T: Sorry if we tore you down a little bit, Virgil. P: A pun-infused touching moment? P: That is so my aesthetic! V: Look, dealing with me… will never be a
walk in the park, and you can’t pretend that it will be. V: When you try to deny me, I get frustrated and I lash out. V: Y-You talk about how I work with you now. That’s great, but… I need you to work with me, too. T: You’re right. T: You’re right. I-I… I don’t suppose there’s anything I can do to… remedy the situation? V: Eeh, don’t worry about it. V: …I’ll get even with you. T: What? What does that mean? What are you gonna do? When are you gonna do it!? V: It’s already done. R: Dear ZEUS! L: Dear Newton! P: DEEEEAAAR JOOOOHN!! V: Thomas, do you remember your… V: …FEDORA PHASE!?!? T: *screams* *Virgil laughs evilly as Patton faints* V: Alright, now we’re even. T: You DON’T bring up a guy’s fedora phase, Virgil! There’s gotta be a LINE! V: Not even if that guy belittled someone’s past hardships? T: Fine! I wore a fedora, or seven! It was one week! You could barely call it a phase! My head is not built for hats!! R: Does the fedora thing tie into the lesson in any way? V: No! I just had a point to prove… V: I still got it. T: Yeah, you certainly do. V: Don’t question me again, Sanders!
T: AAH! R: If he’s going back to being scary, can I go back to calling him names? T: No, no, you have to be nice. L: I’m just glad he didn’t go into the girl phase. You with a girl defies all… me. T: Yeah, no, it wasn’t fun for anyone. P: Thomas… P: I feel kind of confused now. P: I always try to show Virgil love and support, but… lately… P: I feel like I always… inevitably… do something wrong. T: Aww, Patton, I… I understand. T: There’s a lot that Virgil could do that I don’t want him to do. He knows exactly how to push my buttons. But… T: He is who he is. All we can do, is… try to listen to him, as best as we can… and adapt to his needs. T: It’s not an easy thing to navigate, so we’re going to run into problems… T: But if it’s any consolation, Patton, I can see how hard you try… and I think… you’re doing a really great job. T: Whoo! Well, my nerves are shot. T: Um… I guess the takeaway from this is that… T: Phases, although… sometimes embarrassing, aren’t inherently… artificial. T: They’re… the building blocks of the person you are now. T: We’re constantly growing, and our experiences… shape us. T: Embrace where you are in your life right now. Whoever you are right this minute… T: You’re real. T: Don’t let anyone tell you differently. T: Until next time, take it easy, ghosts, ghouls and non-binary… ghouls? T: I don’t know, I was trying something. Take it easy, guys, gals and non-binary pals! PEACE OUT! V: ♪ Have yourself… a scary little Christmas… ♪ Deceit: Very well done, Virgil. You’re so… evolved. V: Deceit… real classy of you to sneak up on a Side in the middle of housekeeping. D: Well… classy is my middle name. D: Seriously, it’s on my birth certificate. You can look it up for proof. V: Yeah, maybe- maybe in Opposite Town. D: *over-the-top laughter* D: Good one!
V: Alright, alright, you’re overselling it now. D: Oh, you are hilarious, Virgil! You always have been! V: What are you doing here? D: Hmm… a bunch of talk about Halloween, a season for dressing up and pretending to be something or someone else… D: You’re right – a master of deception such as myself has no place in that kind of discussion. V: Okay, me being able to elicit fear doesn’t take away from the fact that I’ve grown. So don’t even try me with that, Harvey Dense. D: Clever retort, and condensing statement, and cool costume. D: Are you supposed to be Scarecrow in Joel Schumacher’s canceled third Batman film? V: You know this is what I normally wear. D: I’ve never seen that outfit in my life. D: Stylish clothing aside, just be sure to… keep up that personal growth, Virgil. D: Who knows? Maybe soon… you could be rid of us all… D: Oh! What th- I was… D: …totally not looking for this. V: Yeah, you better run. D: What was that? V: Nothing! Get out!!