Saturday, 28 November 2015

Het Huis Anubis: Episode 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

It's 10 o'clock. Victor wants everyone in their rooms in five minutes and then he wants to be able to hear a pin drop.

All the kids are scurrying around but Appie saunters by unconcerned. After all, they still have three minutes. He even whistles just to annoy Victor. The pin drops and Appie shrieks  from his room like a banshee just to piss off Victor even more.

In his office, Victor is complaining to Corvus that the house is now a boarding school. I don't understand why his own house could be turned into a boarding school against his will? Maybe this is an order from the Society? You know, the one I'm not going to pretend I don't know about yet. Either way, Victor hates the "spoiled brats" disturbing his peace and quiet.

It's Victor's most interesting trait that he loathes the life he's determined to cling onto.

There's lurking going on!

It's Appie, who lures Victor out of his office so he can steal the attic key for Nienke's hazing. He hides behind a suit of armour that I don't remember seeing either before or since. But convenient!

He goes back to his room where he, Jeroen and Patricia are conspiring. Patricia here is being mean at this stage as a kind of catharsis and because she just wants Nienke to go away. Appie mostly thinks pranks are just good, clean fun. And Jeroen is whispering in everybody's ears, encouraging their worst aspects for his own enjoyment. In this version, he doesn't come off as an insecure ass but a genuine sociopath.

In Nienke and Amber's room, Amber is raving about Mick and the bracelet and how amazing it all is while Nienke is trying to sleep. We need this reminder about the bracelet because then it's...

...the next morning. There's bathroom hijinks (this boarding house has only one bathroom and one toilet? Really?) before breakfast and Amber is trying to win Mick's love by feeding him again before seeing that he also gave Mara a bracelet to thank her for helping him study.

Mara says she and Amber are now "like sisters' in what is the most tone-deaf thing I've heard a character say so far. Mick enters the room and of course Amber loses it and throws a glass of water in his face. Patricia says, "Oh look, Amber made breakfast for you." This is a) her first piece of dialogue that didn't involve the words Joyce and/or Nienke and b) considering Amber's ongoing Hausfrau routine, is hands down the best line ever.

Meanwhile, Nienke has gone to visit her grandmother where she runs into Sarah who gives her the locket. Which is huge, by the way. Like, massively huge. So huge that no human could or would wear it. Why? So she'd be forced to carry it in her pocket rather than around her neck? I have no idea. This is not a locket; it's a training weight.

Sarah does her crazy old lady routine with the 'dark house, dark shadow' warning, and then the person who did the subtitles for this really loses the plot. So, Sarah says she can see that Nienke has the power to break the curse. She says there's a treasure in the house that Nienke has to find and hide. (It's already hidden so she's telling Nienke to find it and then re-hide it but Nienke doesn't think this request is strange so I won't either).

So far, so Sibuna.

But then the subtitles tell me someone will never be unravelled as long as the treasure is in the black night with the twinkling stars. And I get she's supposed to be losing the thread of the conversation herself but... ?unravelled? A person? No clue.

Nienke, rattled and a bit disturbed, comes back home and is, of course, jumped by the Anubis Initiation Team who tell her she has to go up to the attic at midnight and bring something back. Because the attic is forbidden, Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) is concerned about the consequences if she gets found. Patricia tells him he needs to choose between her and Nienke.

At midnight, they gather around the attic door while Victor does something weird involving dead animals in his office. Nienke goes up into the attic. Of course, someone makes a noise so they all scatter to their rooms while Appie (really? Appie?) locks Nienke in and returns the key to Victor's office.

Later, Amber comes barging in to Patricia's room demanding she let Nienke out before she gets eaten by ghosts. These kids are super superstitious, hey? Patricia's all like, "Hey, if that means she's gone from my life then..."

For some reason, Mara's pretty much okay with this kind of bullying which I find perplexing. This Mara doesn't actually seem that nice.

Down in the boy's room, Amber's arguing with Jeroen and Appie about Nienke. Mick washes his hands of the situation because he's having "How to Not Do Your Relationship Any Favours" kind of day. Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) comes in and of course he's furious that Nienke's locked in the attic. He and Jeroen have a fight about it in which Fabian says many true things that will no doubt secretly hurt Jeroen's feelings or something. Because stoking people's worst instincts and then watching them go is his thing and Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) seems to have his measure more than most.

Amber and Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) try to work out what to do and decide they need to go to Victor and tell him they're responsible for Nienke being in the attic and that it's a joke.

Meanwhile, on the attic stairs but not actually yet in the attic, there's mice and lots of blank looks from Nienke who's ?scared?, ?annoyed?, ?intrigued?, ?determined?, ?resigned?, ?hungry?. Who would ever know? Crack an expression. Please. She remembers what Sarah said about the treasure and goes looking for it. Only joking. She just keeps sitting there. This is the world's most exciting protagonist right here.

Then she rather epically gets herself out of the attic by using a hair pin and I have to eat my words. But only just a little.

Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) and Amber see her before they throw themselves on the fire, make some kind of silly excuse and everyone gets off to bed where Amber can be impressed by Nienke's awesomeness.

The next morning the worm has turned in Nienke's direction, much to Patricia's annoyance. Everyone thinks she's brave for going into the attic and getting herself out and for once her natural quietness and silence just makes her look cool.

She goes to ride to school but realises she left her keys in the attic so can't unlock her bike. She sees Joyce's bike and notices it has the same symbol as on her locket. She goes to look but Patricia yells at her because it's Joyce's bike and reminds her she's still watching her.

I have to say, Patricia is not even vaguely sympathetic in this. At least in the American version, I felt sorry for her. This Patricia is just a vicious bully. Even at school she's giving Amber and everyone "my friend or my enemy" ultimatums and alienating them all. Mick has good grades in science for once and his gratitude to Mara doesn't go down well with Amber. Patricia then deliberately creates a situation where she tricks Mara into admitting she has a crush on Mick in earshot of Amber.

In the girls' toilet, someone has bored a hole into the wall between the bathroom and the Principal's office so they can eavesdrop. That's awesome. Patricia hears van Swieten and van Engelen discussing Joyce's disappearance and finally, finally, she has actual evidence that something weird is going on here and that there is, in fact, a conspiracy.

Realising she has to rescue her keys from the attic before Victor sees them, Nienke borrows Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) bike and returns to the house; this time going right into the attic and looking around. She finds a secret room in the attic with a painting in it of Sarah - similar to the one in the locket. She finds a parchment in the back and takes it.

No magic going on here though, unfortunately. The room wasn't opened by the locket, just by touching something on the wall. Anyone could easily get into this room. So easily it makes me wonder why Victor, who owns this house, hasn't.

Speaking of Victor, he's come home and caught her in the house. She tells some lie about looking for a book and heads back to school where Patricia is trying to tell everybody about the teachers' conversation but of course they don't believe her. A whirlwind of crazy will do that.

Victor discovers something on the floor in the house. No idea. Something from the attic? Either way enough to make him suspicious.

Back at school, Nienke is looking at the parchment. It's covered in pictograms of some kind. They're not hieroglyphics so must be some kind of earlier Egyptian pictographic writing. I mean, in the show. I don't expect they're real early Egyptian pictographs. van Engelen confiscates it.

Patricia uses the lesson to grill van Engelen on Joyce's disappearance. And I hate to flog a dead horse here but she's saying that it's weird Joyce's parents haven't contacted the school when their daughter has disappeared. Except, again, she didn't disappear from school. She just didn't come back from holidays. And that's all van Engelen has to say. But of course for some reason she doesn't.

As they're leaving the classroom Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) steals the parchment back from van Engelen's desk. Flove. Nothing says Daniel Jackson in training like some minor larceny.


It's 10pm and Victor wants to hear a pin drop and Amber is in bed telling Nienke about the conversation she overhead between Patricia and Mara. Nienke gives her the great advice to tell Mick how she feels. And considering how obtuse the guy can be, that's a really good idea. He has no idea that Amber's jealous of Mara so of course he hasn't changed his behaviour to ward her. Amber, whose romantic ideas really were formed in the 19th century and are therefore about as useful, says she's not going to because "he's the boy and he has to fight for her".

Bad romance novels really do have a lot to answer for. And I still can't blame Twilight.

Mara and Patricia are also talking, firstly about Patricia's festering obsession and then about Mara's crush on Mick. At this stage, I care about neither of these things.

The next day...

Nienke sees Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) in what I assume is some kind of school common room? I still don't know. Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) gives her the parchment back, which makes me wonder why he waited an entire day to do it. But I guess we can't have the real plot moving too fast in a season with 114 episodes.

Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) says he never looked at it because he thought it was personal. And then he doesn't even hint that she should tell him what's in it. The fact she hasn't already written Nienke en Fabian voor altijd across all her notebooks is beyond me.

Meanwhile, the Amber school of romantic bad decisions is in session as she pursues a "make Mick jealous" campaign with Appie. And Patricia notices her second actual genuine clue there's something wrong: Joyce has been removed from one of the pictures in the common room.

In drama Amber chooses Appie to be her Romeo and kisses him in front of everybody. So now her insecure boyfriend is even more convinced she's not interested in him and Appie is convinced it's him she wants. Good plan!

Patricia finds more photos with Joyce removed and confronts van Swieten and van Engelen with predictable results.

Nienke decides to show Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) the parchment with the pictographs. They do some research and decide it's referring to a ladder or stairs. Nienke decides to go back to the retirement home to visit her grandmother (but really to see Sarah again). As she leaves, Patricia interrogates Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) about where she's going and why and demands he spy on her. Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) has had enough of her stupid conspiracy theories.

Back at the house, there's a boorish confrontation between Mick and Appie and Jeroen the Puppetmaster sees his opportunity to pull everyone's strings again. He devises a plan to ostensibly do something romantic to show Amber he likes her but is of course just him getting Appie to do something stupid so he can stand on the sidelines and laugh.

In this case, it's leaving a message on Amber's bed in lollies to meet him in the laundry night at 11pm the next night (why would it be the next night? why not that night? this show drags some things out for no reason). He signs it with an edible A so of course Jeroen eats it.

Nienke finds Sarah but she's confused and doesn't recognise her. So, that trip was kind of pointless huh?

Back home again, Nienke and Amber find the message and Amber thinks it's from Mick. Because she really doesn't understand him at all. Jeroen manages to both lurk and gloat all at once, which only he could pull off. He then tells Appie she read it and is super excited about meeting him.

To quote someone else from the other version of this show, he's a real nasty piece of work.

Downstairs, Nienke and Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) are working on translating the parchment while Patricia is in the room. Which I find hard to believe but it means we can see things from her perspective - Nienke and Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) apparently whispering and conspiring.

Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) decides it's a rebus, which is quite a complicated medieval reference for a children's show. Unless they use it in Europe in daily conversation. So the letter refers to something under the stairs, which Nienke goes to get later that night. I wish she'd do more of this stuff with Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) but I'll take what I can get.

Victor catches her out of bed and is suspicious. At least until the stair she pulled up gives way and he falls down them. Heh. Funny in both versions.

The next day, Nienke and Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) give a class presentation on Egypt while Patricia complains about their continuing existence. She wants to break into van Swieten's office and steals Joyce's file. Amber refuses to help so she recruits Mara.

Mara's attempt to distract van Swieten is nowhere near as funny as the 'hedgehog' story from the American version and Patricia doesn't get the file this time.

We finish off episode 10 with Amber and Appie getting ready for their dates and heading to the laundry room.

And that's all for now

Het Huis Anubis: Episodes 1 ,2, 3 and 4

As a huge fan of House of Anubis, I decided to go back to where it all began. Het Huis Anubis: the original show. And since nobody reads this blog that hasn't been updated for several years, I can start something that may never get finished.

I've decided to knock over several of each of the 10 minute episodes at a time. I have most of Season 1 with (poor quality) English subtitles from YouTube but after that you'll be relying on my knowledge of Dutch.

NOTE: I do not speak Dutch.

The first episode starts, as the American version does, with Nienke (Nina) arriving at her new school for the first time. This time, she's with her grandmother who is sending her to boarding school so she can move into a retirement home.

As Nienke arrives, a car barrels out of the driveway. Those of us who've seen the other version suspect this may be the car with Joyce (Joy) in it? Although the later exposition given in this episode suggests this isn't the case.

Nienke arrives with an eerie, Gothic creaking door to the impressive Het Huis Anubis. She is, once again, greeted by Victor who declares her 'late' and gives her a potted history of the house, owned by the Winstbrugge-Hennegouwe's until inherited by his grandfather. So we know upfront that Victor owns this house.

This time when Nienke sees the photo of the Anubis residents, Joyce is still in it suggesting they hadn't yet gotten around to removing her from the photos.

We cut to the school where van Swieten is giving students either a make-up test or a study group before the start of term (not entirely sure, actually). We meet Mick (sporty) and Mara (brainy) before cutting back to the house to hear Victor's hilariously dated house rules. We meet Trudy and of course Corvus (which literally means 'raven' so Victor named his Raven, Raven).

That is so awesomely literal and so Victor that I don't know why the writers changed it to Corbierre for the American version. The raven has long been associated with death so when Victor strokes Corvus, he's stroking death. Corvus is taxidermied, showing a desire to control death. But stuffing it only gives it the appearance of life, which tells you all you need to know about Victor and his perpetual failures.

Everything that happens in this show and at the end we still have Victor, alone and mortal, stroking his Corvus in a house full of youth that will never begin to understand him because they're not at the end of a life devoted to a hopeless cause.

Continuing Nienke and Victor's house tour, we find out that Patricia is sharing a room with Mara before meeting Patricia back at the school. She comes off as intense and extroverted and a bit of a rebel but far more comfortable in her own skin than the American version is.

"Where's Joyce?" she asks, for what new viewers will be unaware is the first of about a billion times.

And the beginning of why the American version got this, at least, right and the original went wrong. Joyce did not come back to school from holidays. So what? If my best friend didn't show up at school after the holidays and then didn't answer her phone or emails and I heard her family had taken her out of school, I would have been angry and upset and confused - not convinced she'd been kidnapped. Having her arrive at school and move back into her room and make plans and attend classes and then disappear was much more effective at explaining Patricia's obsession than this.

Back to the house, where the music is telling us that Victor's being creepy while he explains that the cellar and the attic are out of bounds. And then he takes her to her room. Which is with Amber. So, in this version Joyce was sharing with Amber? Ok.

Downstairs, Amber (the Barbie) has received a bright pink gift, which she opens while an actually creepy figure lurks in the background. It's Appie (the clown), we find out when the present explodes and Amber is covered in soot. But I have to admit that lurking figure in the background was the first time I got a genuinely creepy vibe off this show.

Amber's crying and yelling how she almost died. It's a nice introduction to our little drama queen, and paves the way for her over-the-top reaction to Nienke being in her room. Although it still makes more sense when this is Patricia. Amber throws Nienke and her belongings into the hallway.

And that's the end of episode 1, with Nienke totally and completely alone in the hallway of a strange house with her life scattered around her. Very nice.

As episode 2 starts, Nienke is back in her room unpacking and making her bed and I feel like I've missed something. I guess she went back in and Amber left and there was some sort of explanation for everything in Offscreenville (so much happens there, I should set a story there myself).

Patricia storms in and grabs Joyce's stuffed toy and, again, if Joyce's parents decided not to send her back to school this term then of course some of her things would still be there. Another small thing that makes more sense in the American version.

"Where's Joyce?" asks Patricia. Again. It's dinnertime at Table Anubis. Her obsession is starting to show already as she's completely ignoring Mara here. Nienke comes in and I guess she's so shy and overwhelmed and upset about her grandmother going into a home that she just sits down and doesn't introduce herself. Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) smiles at her but she says nothing.

Mara, loudly, asks Patricia who she is and Patricia sneers, "Joyce's replacement!" and Nienke still says nothing. Is this Nienke mute or something? I get that she's supposed to be really shy but she could at least tell these people she's going to be living with her name.

Amber comes in and does the "you're in my place, where's Mick?" thing and Nienke silently moves next to Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) and still doesn't say anything. How do these two painfully shy dorks ever hook up?

I remember reading a comment about this show that said Fabian "fell in love with her at first sight". If that's the case, then "love at first sight" looks like mild curiosity and general pleasantness.

Mick comes in and we're made aware that Mara has a thing for him and Amber's insecure about their relationship, mostly I suspect because she has romantic fantasies based around bad young adult romance novels.

Back at the tables, Jeroen (the bad one) and Appie are mucking around and Amber is serving Mick like she's his fucking hausfrau or something. So I guess her real problem is her romantic notions were formed in about 1876 (since this is pre-Twilight and I can't blame that). Either way, this relationship is doomed the minute she gets a life.

Patricia hooks into Nienke about who she is and what she knows about Joyce and Appie throws spaghetti at her and it come across as the whole table bullying her so when she goes up to speak to her grandmother she's even more alone and miserable than she was before.

Back downstairs, Patricia demands Victor tell her where Joyce is and he just says that Joyce is gone. Patricia pulls out the bear and says, "She'd never leave this behind" and again, show.... she didn't. She just didn't come back from the holidays. Patricia later says to Fabian that Joyce "left important things behind and didn't say goodbye" but neither of those things are true because she wasn't there at all.

Appie's sorry about the spaghetti but Patricia's congratulating him on making Nienke leave the table (even though she really left for the phone) and Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) castigates her. Patricia's all like, "It's totally weird how my friend didn't come back from holidays and now this boarding house that's a business put a new paying customer in her bed just like that! It's a CONSPIRACY and Nienke has everything to do with it."

And, as I promise I will stop saying, this comes across as totally batshit in this version.  At least in the American one, Joyce leaves during the day and so Patricia wakes up with one roommate and goes to bed with another and her seething brain adds 2 and 2 and comes up with 57. This just makes her sound barking mad.

As Fabian says, "Why would they leave her room empty for three months?"

Patricia basically says Fabian's a selfish idiot whose good grades are meaningless so he leaves the table. Neither Mara nor Amber back her up so she storms off.

Later, Victor is monologuing to Corvus about having promised not to tell anyone where Joyce is when Patricia comes in for another round of "Where's Joyce? I want to speak to Joyce. Give me Joyce's number" and Victor throws her out. She vows to find out what he has to do with Joyce's disappearance.

As the second episode ends, Victor stands in the middle of house yelling that it's "10 o'clock and he wants to be able to hear a pin drop". He also drops an actual pin, which is just as awesome in both versions.

Appie defiantly runs around the house because he "has 3 minutes left."

In the office, Victor burns Joyce's teddy bear and I'm forced to conclude the only reason for him to do this in either version is that he's a massive dick. Mara admits to Amber she's worried about Joyce and Patricia and Nienke cries herself to sleep.

The next morning, Mara wants to throw a party but can't get anyone excited about the idea. Maybe that's because my English subtitles tell me she wants to "cut the arts" ???!? which doesn't sound like much fun to me. Patricia says it sounds like she wants to pretend nothing's wrong because JOYCE (I'm working around the hilarious subtitles at this stage) and so I guess this party idea is DOA.

Mick asks Mara to tutor him and Amber attacks some cakes instead of her but is obviously seething with jealousy. This Mick comes off as more of a player than the American version (who mostly just seemed self-absorbed and oblivious) so I think her jealousy here is probably not without cause.

That night, Patricia finds the message in the fog on the mirror that will propel her into her new stage of crazy while downstairs Mick and Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) talk about girls in a way that's actually kind of adorable.

When Mick raises the issue of Nienke, Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) shows his first hint of personality by defending her. He points out that blaming her for existing is kind of stupid and Mick, of course, interpets this as romantic interest. He actually refers to Nienke as an "ugly ducking" so either he's blind or teenage boys really are that stupid. Still, I remember having a crush on a gorgeous guy at school that some of the sillier girls told me was ordinary looking because he didn't fulfill some sort of stupid TV/magazine ideal. Boy did they eat their words when he hit 20. Damn.

Upstairs, Nienke is clearing the steam off the mirror and is discovered by Patricia who went to get Mara to see the message. Which was, of course, "Help me Joyce". And in either version, I have no idea what Patricia thinks that was. Also, whoever did it didn't punctuate it properly so it looks as though someone is asking Joyce for help.

Either way Patricia is now convinced that Nienke was "erasing evidence" or something and, since it's not the craziest thing she's believed, we'll just move the next day. Nienke gets up early to go and visit her grandmother, which means we endure more of Patricia's increasingly deranged conspiracy theories at the breakfast table. This time even Appie tells her to stop (although does that mean he wasn't the one who wrote on the mirror to tease her? Who did?).

Amber's too distracted by Mara rather intimately tutoring Mick in the background to pay much attention, although she does break in to point out that Nienke's just gone to visit her grandmother. Patricia declares this ailing-grandmother Sunday morning visit convenient because she is a crazy person.

Jeroen says something that doesn't translate, which I assume was basically massively sexist. Either way, everybody ignores him and Patricia asks Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) to spy on Nina. You can imagine how he reacts to that suggestion.

In the retirement/nursing home, (Benelux aged care is outside my experience, I'm afraid) Nienke sees a painting of Anubis and meets Sarah for the first time who rather vaguely and creepily tells her the house is dark and evil and watched over by a black bird so she should be careful. Nienke looks appropriately freaked out.

Probably not surprising she has a nightmare about it that night, which Patricia and Appie make worse by breaking into her room and screeching at her while she's dreaming. Amber's mother duck instincts kick in and she turfs them out. Nienke then tells Amber about Sarah and the dream.

The next day, Patricia - and I usually refuse to use this word for obvious reasons - is still being a vicious little bitch about the dream, running around telling everybody and screeching "black bird!" to Nienke whenever she sees her. Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) asks her to stop her bullying behaviour and start acting like the Patricia he used to know.

Meanwhile, the Amber, Mara, Mick triangle is continuing nicely - albeit without Mick's knowledge. Amber's annoyed about him and Mara but, since there is no him and Mara, he sees her withdrawal as a rejection.

On to drama, where we meet new teacher Jason Winker who's supposed to be so totally hot that all the girls swoon or something. I don't see it, personally, but I do remember being 15 and thinking any teacher under the age of 25 was gorgeous merely by being under 25 so I guess it makes sense.

We get even more footage of Patricia being an asshole to Nienke before suggesting, with the backing of Jeroen and Appie, that Nienke be initiated into the group (the translator has used the word 'hazed' here, not sure which is better as the latter is more of an Americanism). This initiation will apparently involve the attic and will happen "when she least expects it".

Fabian (oh Fabian, my Fabian) is against it but Nienke agrees because....? I have no idea. This Nienke is so reserved and so shy I have no clue what she's thinking. Nina agreed because she was tired of the bullying and wanted to show strength. Let's just assume Nienke's motivated by wanting to fit in.

Meanwhile, Mick and Amber reconcile and he gives her a friendship bracelet he had made (although we know from a previous scene with Fabian he has more than one so...that'll end well). Mara sees them and makes jealous face as Mick and Amber totally make out. Wow. What happened to closed-lip kisses and hand holding? Naughty! I like it! Or maybe this show hadn't yet worked out just how young their audience was going to end up being.

Either way, that's it for the first four episodes. The soapy nature of this show made it a little less interesting to recap than I thought but I'll keep going for now.