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Over the Garden Wall: the perfect fall escape

Eyes, Ears, Ella

Wirt and Greg go on an adventure in “Over the Garden Wall.” Courtesy of Cartoon Network.

School is stressful–I’ve really been feeling my own female hysteria lately. If you’re experiencing school stress, there are the classic anxiety-reducing strategies: exercising, sleeping, reading, etc. But my most useful recommendation to soothe any school-related anxiety you might be feeling is to watch “Over the Garden Wall.”

Before I begin, I need to acknowledge that there are some people (I can hardly write this) who don’t watch cartoons. I am not sure why this is the case, but it shakes me to my core because cartoons are great! If you, dearest and loveliest reader, are one of those people, let this be a sign from God or Dr. Sands to start watching animated shows ASAP! 

I really do not think I can fully express my love for “Over the Garden Wall.” It’s an animated limited series about two boys lost in the woods. It begins with a frog singing at a piano about the Unknown, a place where moments are frozen in time. Each episode follows 13 year-old Wirt, his younger brother Greg and the different characters they encounter. One person they meet is a schoolteacher who teaches farm animals dressed in cute little outfits how to read. She wears an early 1900’s getup, complete with a pompadour hairstyle and is just one of the many characters with historically distinct outfits. 

The clothing in “Over the Garden Wallis one particularly endearing aspect of the show. Wirt wears a tall, pointed hat and a button-up coat, and Greg wears a teapot on his head. The people they encounter as they try to make their way back home wear attire from many different time periods. The brothers stumble across what appears to be a 1700s-style tavern, with characters dressed in clothing from the Revolutionary War, and they board a ferry with frogs wearing elegant 1920’s dresses and suits. Not only are the clothing designs fun to look at, but they also add to the show’s constant subversion of reality: why are Wirt and Greg wearing such odd hats? Why are the characters in the woods from different time periods? The show seems realistic, but also includes talking birds and singing frogs in fancy clothing. It makes the series fantastical and adds to its whimsical feel.

“Over the Garden Wall” feels nostalgic, mostly due to its picturesque autumn-ness. The color scheme, pumpkins, turkeys and falling leaves that litter the story all make the show feel like those two miraculously cloudy days we experienced a month ago. The show feels childlike in its animation, but deals with heavy themes of self-identity and depression: we see Wirt struggle to define who he is and grow frustrated as he and Greg grow more lost. So whether you’re looking for a fall activity or just trying to avoid thinking about these ever graceful halls of learning and all they demand of you, watch “Over the Garden Wall.” Its animated splendor and pleasant absurdity will make you feel right at home.

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