Dark Shadows: The Need For Empathy


I urge caution, ladies and gentlemen. This is a serious topic.

So one night when I was about to relax with my paramour… I found these disturbing posts on tumblr:

dork shadows-

Don’t you hate it when?

When you kill your uncle because your fiancee runs away with him, marry your fiancee’s maid who turns out to be a vengeful witch that banged you in Martinique, fail to kill said witch, get your mother and sister killed, get yourself cursed for eternity, become the town strangler, cause your lover’s death, and spend the next hundred years stuck inside box until a conman from Brooklyn tries to rob you?

All right. Let’s say this is mostly true, but did we need to express it with such a vulgar word as “banged”? Nah, I don’t think so…

Next we have:

dork shadows-

My Favorite part about Josette/Barnabas:

Is that 60% of it was fanfiction in his head. He was all, “we had this great love, but fate kept us apart. She died because my love for her was too great and her for me. We are meant to be.”

But naw, man. In reality, she found out he was a vampire and jumped off a friggin’ cliff to get away from him. And then her ghost spent half its screentime hating on him. Such great love. 

—Someone said here on tumblr a while back that when Ghost Josette warns Julia and Willie of Barnabas being in peril, she isn’t really sobbing. She’s laughing her ass off that Barnabas gets in all these predicaments without even trying. lol

Now let’s see… I went to fanfiction.net because I was fed up with Sam Evans death and could find nothing solving everything. Well, there I was taking Collinsport into my own jurisdiction to prevent his death by fanfiction and since I was doing that, I knew I had to solve the rest of the crap I was as fed up with. It was nearly as much as my own chiselling of the ghost of Caleb Collins is also pissed off about.

This is the reason I waited so damn long before questioning why no one was voicing commentary about what I was doing. I figured it would take some people a bloody long time to come back and look for a relief story, and it was why I was so effing irritated that there had been a large audience all along that refused to voice their enjoyment.

But what caused that silence? Internet laziness, yes… disbelief at the humour, perhaps? Moreover, these excessively negative and vocal opinions I’ve found about who Barnabas Collins does love and whom he should love. By this time our race might be wise enough to understand that “should love” is an oxymoron. As I’ve written before in analyzing his character, Barnabas prefers youthful ladies of a soft, gregarious nature. And people of this nature are not rewarded anywhere near enough for it, which would help everyone extraordinarily.

Read the invalidation to Barnabas and Josette above and tell me this isn’t clear-cut proof of what the shy people I was looking for were keeping away from all along. Like I’ve posted in a previous entry, it’s been a 40-Year-Wait to get a relief series. And blog posts with this arrogance perpetuate vile digs at Dark Shadows that induce these splits, when everyone could agree to disagree. But no, we have had the “you-are-wrong” mentality more often than not. This does not promote cooperation or inspire creativity in empathetic types.

Empathy is an important emotional skill. We have talents within the analytical, but do not observe the skills of helpful emotions such as empathy which is more complex and vital to moral support and problem solving. People who are the best at using empathy do not give detached advice of “This is what I would do,” because being detached from the situation, rather than in it, does not ground them to the situation nearly enough. People who are best at using empathy ask more questions, become very close to how the troubled person is feeling and above all are acute listeners. (Harpo Marx was one of these types.)


Harpo Speaks

I stress these troubles because even though this is “merely entertainment” and a fandom, the most unique of its kind, no doubt, it has both given marvellous joy but also caused great suffering to real people. There are bossy types in this fandom who have harmed the empathetic types when the latter are the ones we should be praising. And in the long-run, (not prior to the 1795 story line of Dark Shadows), Barnabas Collins is also one of these empathetic types.

This fandom has troubles, troubles we all may have been vaguely aware of but many shrugged off. (Remember what occurs when we shrug-off the charismatic power-hungry leaders. I don’t believe I need to name them.)

These harsh observations are fine examples of much that I’ve seen troubling this fandom. But why analyze these dork shadows posts? Just fulfilling First Amendment Rights, yes? That would be all well and good minus adoring Sesame Street. There appears to be some misalignment of Sesame Street and its purpose. (Let’s quote wikipedia.org, shall we?)

Sesame Street was conceived in 1966 during discussions between television producer Joan Ganz Cooney and Carnegie Foundation vice president Lloyd Morrisett. Their goal was to create a children’s television show that would “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them”.

Is this the kind of ideal such as the harsh posts above endorse?

As author Malcolm Gladwell has stated, “Sesame Street was built around a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them”. The creators of Sesame Street and their researchers formulated both cognitive and affective goals for the show. Initially, they focused on cognitive goals, while addressing affective goals indirectly, in the belief that doing so would increase children’s self-esteem and feelings of competency.

Self- esteem, feelings of competency. Is this what the “Don’t You Hate It When?” or the post demeaning Barnabas/Josette appreciates?

Not that I can see.

I notice that dork shadows prefers to use characters of Sesame Street, particularly The Count, to poke fun at Barnabas Collins and other characters who love him. I do not wish to harm the feelings of this creative and witty person, but considering the two of us love both fandoms, I would ask for a change of heart. I have little hope that may happen, but I ask for it all the same. I know I behaved badly from intense anger one night, but that was after finding out about all of the bullying and rough regard in this fandom, as well as coming into deep contact with all of the characters hurts as well as the hurt of those I was looking for. Seeing more remarks of this type on tumblr without searching for them wasn’t good in the short-term. (Perhaps it might be in the long-term.)

Sesame Street is about education.

Education is what I am doing.

How do I accomplish this? Look for ways gate-crashing extras can lead the family of Collinwood out of the madness. As Wadsworth explains to Willie Loomis in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, Episode 14:

“You know you haven’t been treated very well. And you likely got the idea that it was both normal and natural.”

“Oh,” Willie asks, “Isn’t it, though?”

“I suppose in some regards,” Wadsworth admits, “But my point is… do we really want that?”


Many might read this in the general terms of, “Of course, to be abused is wrong and many Dark Shadows characters, Willie Loomis especially, have suffered so much of that.”

My readers and listeners? That’s not what I’m aiming for. I’m aiming for you to hear or read that conversation and understand that you likely have been treated very bad and got the idea it was normal and natural in your own life. If you have, I’d like that to change and I want to promote your ability and confidence to change it. Humour is also a wonderful method that promotes the memory. What better to remember than how to change for self-improvement?

Dark Shadows is a long-standing fandom. I saw the characters needing to be healed. Then I got even more involved and looked at all of the evidence and data of what had occurred as I lived through much of my own misery to understand what was going on. The characters aren’t the only ones who need healing. Many of the fans need it too.

So a multi-fandom? Makes even more sense for the fans. Compare this behaviour to other fandoms. I did this about people harping on Barnabas’ one-night-stand with Angelique and compared it to the even more widely adored Captain James. T. Kirk who’s slept around far, far more! If one grew up in the 1950s and later on watched Dark Shadows I can understand. However, it is currently 60 years afterward from those 1950’s morays one grew up with; the world has changed significantly. Why not the Dark Shadows fandom, too?

I still await The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows to get heckled beyond my husband, but because the darn thing is so humourous to come in and make fun of a humourous show is pretty much overkill. ^_^

But “Margaret Josette Dupres”? A deep, romantic novel about Barnabas & Josette finally reaching each other to wed and live together after so much hardship? Serious stuff and the trolls have come out. My knowledge of fanfiction is it is stories based from canon-value to anything-goes. Apparently not in this fandom until recently from what I combed through for half a decade and beyond. I must wonder why others are so threatened. Don’t you have your stories of Julia/Barnabas or Angelique/Barnabas by the truckloads? In any case, this is an easier story to troll because trolling it attempts to afflict hurt and foul intentions on the romantic types and those who are deeply empathetic.

Haven’t you all had people in your life that helped you because they empathized with you and loved you, perhaps non-romantically? These are the types to admire and praise constructively. It promotes improvement. Applauding the negative, however supposedly comedic, does not promote improvement or the hopes to better ourselves. Why have all of the feistier types in the fandom ruled-out so many stories of non-Julia, or non-Angelique pairings with Barnabas for decades? Haven’t all of those stories given you any relief? (I’d expect some do.)

I once received word, as if in a tired sigh, “I suppose Barnabas is allowed his one happy ending.”

Allowed? Hmm… Well, for Margaret Josette Dupres and The Pit of Ultimate Shadows purpose, it’s not the first time it’s happened.

For me? I’m not just trying to give Barnabas Collins a happy ending. I’m trying to give everyone a happy ending. Good grief! That’s some hard work!

But… wait… Barnabas with Julia or perhaps with Angelique… isn’t his happy ending after all?

Ah, I thought not. *wink*

I believe it’s time to enrich our lives with the help of these empathetic types, but first we must allow them to speak, uninterrupted and unafraid.


Amy and Barnabas


11 thoughts on “Dark Shadows: The Need For Empathy

  1. Ok. Let me get on this Sesame Street thing that you quoted from Wikipedia: “Their goal was to create a children’s television show that would “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them”.” Well, I myself was addicted to watching Sesame Street every single day, including the Canadian version, as a child. Heck, I learned how to count in French for a second 🙂 (Well, at least up to 5, don’t quite remember 6-10 *sigh*) Anyway, I don’t quite connect with what you’re trying to explain about Sesame Street’s connections to Dark Shadows, so break it down to me, love. Also, sadly Sesame Street didn’t exactly inspire good self-esteem with me, just the educational factors and the sing a-long songs. (Please forgive me for being flippant, but I look at dork shadows comments as just opinions from one viewer to others.) Take care!

    • morlock13 says:

      I like that: learning how to count in French… for a second! Yeah. I had it easier with the Spanish as I was familiar with that language. Always cracked me up in the song about Spanish, “no… is… no”. Good information, I’m not sure they explained how interesting it was that there was no change from English to Spanish.

      Wow! Email me about that Canadian version. I remember watching about all kinds of versions all over the globe and I couldn’t keep track of them all.

      Okay, let’s see if I can explain this… I got a few folks flying off the handle on tumblr. I miss chatting with folks of more comprehensive qualities, which is why I love you so much, Helena.

      There is a lot of delicate care taken with how to teach children on Sesame Street and it’s not only education but feelings. If I were Big Bird getting invalidated for that many years about Snuffie being real I would have ranted, raved and kicked over trash cans, too! (Wish I could find that episode. Big Bird was a bad ass there!)

      Sesame Street does tap into feelings and how to express them, usually in simple ways, but they discuss them. Also there was the one episode where Bob had to break it to another resident that Mr. Hooper’s shop was closed for a while because he had died. They really had to come to terms with what death meant and how they all felt about it. And you could tell it was hardly acting because the man who played Mr. Hooper had passed away.

      In Sesame Street there is a lot of educational points, especially in clips and cartoons. But as the live action comes in, there is more about feelings and what they mean. So with dork shadows using that representation to poke fun at Dark Shadows characters… on one hand it’s good fun. But as I delved into why fans of the DS pairing I’d only uncovered as making sense for a relief series weren’t speaking up and how long they’d been bullied against sharing their own cares and stories, those dork shadows posts being “liked” and reblogged ad nauseum set me off in terms of, “Here is another example of the crap the fans I’ve been looking for have had to suffer for as long as I’ve been alive. It’s also taught them to keep quiet.”

      And I’ve also had crap like that said about me by friends and family members who should have been helping me attain my goals, not hindering me from achieving them.

      So yep, that can set a hard working actor/writer/comedienne into a bad state. Which is why I repeatedly apologize, and explain myself. Too bad what most people do right now is speed read like scarfing down a meal.

      As Peter Venkman says in The Ghostbusters, “Slow down. Chew your food.”

      Hope that explains things better.

      • I think I see where you’re coming from, especially with an overpowering personality drowning out others’ opinions on the whole pairings and over the 1795 events and what-not. You know, from my raw memories of the Canadian version of Sesame Street, there was a gray bear and a beaver who were the main characters instead of Big Bird and Snuffie (my memory is a little foggy, but if I’m wrong, let me know, because I’m sure tht it was a beaver). And there were French and English singing children’s songs on there as well. Sorry. I couldn’t really email you about it without it being only 4 sentences long 😦

        No more apologies, ok? If people don’t get after repetitive explanations, then…oh well.

      • morlock13 says:

        Yeah. I was hoping you’d recall Big Bird getting pissed at the neighbourhood… he really did! Poor bird. It was the most amazing thing! And at the time Big Bird yelled, “You all just think he’s just a FIGMENT of my imagination!” and at the time I didn’t know what the word figment was I was so small so what I *thought* he said was,

        “You all just think he’s just a FIG NEWTON of my imagination!” But either way I was thinking ,”YES! Go, Big Bird! Smash it up! No one believes what I tell them either!”

        LOL! Which in a way is similar to how Barnabas feels about Josette, huh? The overpowering attitude of invalidating the guy in his love for Josette, I think my channeling Barnabas in his love for Josette made me orbit that ticked off, and kicking over trash cans feeling in the Old Man.

        Thanks for the info on Sesame Street Canada. It does sound familiar, a big grey bear. There often seems to be one or two BIG ones in various versions of Sesame Street. 🙂

        I take a grateful nod at your “Oh well”. I think I’ve plowed through this Barnabas/Josette thing, likely have people quietly embarrassed and hopefully after episode 13 of The Pit, we may move on… and TO the other pairings lined up. Ugh! Nurse Jackson and Willie. I DO want that toilet papering scene in the series. (Without the *ahem*, of course.)

  2. lbeth1950 says:

    Thanks for following my blog. Did you see episode where Barnabas was bound to stake and fly was buzzing around him?

    • morlock13 says:

      Oh, my gosh. This blog post of mine seemed to be appreciated in thumbs up but I got some drama about it on tumblr so I was concerned this was more roughness.

      I’m not sure I remember the episode you’re referring to. LOL! I’ve had soooo much homework to do. Thanks!

  3. MadMarks says:

    In your post, you talk about the “you-are-wrong” mentality, and the negative, ostracizing impact it has had on this fandom. I do not wish to sound hostile or aggressive in what I say next, but; isn’t saying that Barnabas could only be happy with Josette an example of a ‘you-are-wrong’ mentality? Yes, I will admit that I do not pair Barnabas with Josette, and that I have very strong opinions about who I personally think he should be with, but they are just that. Opinions. It makes me very defensive when people say that there is one ‘right’ or ‘true’ pairing that for various reasons is better than the rest, even when it is my preferred ship being justified.

    I have seen very heated arguments over the issue of Barnabas’ ‘true love’ and I always find them to be rather shallow. I just don’t see the point of them, since no one is going to change the others opinions/convictions/beliefs on the subject.

    • morlock13 says:

      Dear Mad Marks,

      I’m very sorry so much of this has spread around as heavily as it has. I was hoping, to the best of my ability, to find a small fan-base for my work and not to have spread it around so heavily. Unfortunately while I was searching for commentary, which would be the fuel I’d need to finish everything and get on with my life, scary things happened. A film director found me and shared my work with a humongous group of people. I finally decided, “Well, if this is how to get the commentary, then I guess let’s just SHARE it with everyone.” Initially I never intended to do that. I deeply apologize that things have riled everyone up so much.

      I appreciate your concern for not sounding hostile or aggressive. I will admit I have behaved very badly from lonely and drunken rants. ( Comedians do become outraged at silence. I’ve had to learn this the hard way.)

      *sigh* Again we have that tired argument of “should”. I just have to shake my head. Where on earth have we engendered this notion of “should love” upon anyone? I simply do not understand the “should” mentality of anyone for anyone. Can’t see it, never could. “Ought” maybe. Not “should”.

      I heartily agree with you. There are preferences involved. Again I stress, all I have done in my original work and in this one is *listen*. People have called me a whiner and a complainer. I don’t know how I could ever be any worse of a whiner and complainer than Barnabas Collins, which so many people continue to watch ad nauseaum and dismiss his complaints. And I listen to all of the characters I work with to find them further contentment, not just him. (Just my luck him and Josette HAD to be my second pairing so I got stuck in this darn issue so much longer.)

      And you are correct. None of us should be having these arguments. But there is something that has been going on for decades now, as a number of people have confessed to me. For some reason the Julia/Barnabas phenomenon has ruled the roost. I wish I knew why as I feel there ought to be an even split, and I’ve tried to tell Roxanne fans as well. (Their plight must be worse than the rest of this.)

      Thank you for getting in touch with me. Feel free to email me.

  4. morlock13 says:

    Interesting hit for this very old entry tonight. It intrigues me as to why…

  5. morlock13 says:

    I’d like to add this tonight for people who hate Barnabas Collins, a fictional character, for who he loves on a television show:

    When you are able to convince homosexual human beings that they are “wrong” and should only love other human beings in a heterosexual manner because that form of love is “right”?

    Let me know about your successes and express who fictional characters “should” love as well. I will be very interested to contemplate your discoveries in such endeavours.

  6. morlock13 says:

    Ah look another few hits. Obviously a couple people gossiping again. Do you fellows trust each other? I mean you’re talking back and forth to each other rather than getting in touch with the person who wrote this. What do you say about each other when the other isn’t around? Have you ever wondered?

    I’m in big agreement with a new friend who also finds tumblr abhorrent. The internet was a whole lot better when it wasn’t as trendy and more of an escape for those who were interested in information technologies.

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