Wednesday, April 26, 2006

#44 Say Cheese and Die--Again!


#44 Say Cheese and Die--Again!

Front Tagline: Think negative. Real negative.
Back Tagline: Picture-Perfect Nightmare!

Official Book Description:
Sourball. That's what Greg calls his English teacher, Mr. Saur. He's a real grouch. And now he just gave Greg a big fat "F" on his oral report.
He didn't believe Greg's story. About the camera Greg found last summer. About the pictures it took. About the evil things that happened.
Poor Greg. He just wanted to prove old Sourball wrong. But now that he's dug up the camera, bad things are happening. Really bad things. Just like the first time...

Brief Synopsis:
So here we are, back again with Greg and Shari, the two intrepid (sorry, I mean insipid) heroes of the first Say Cheese and Die! A year has passed since the events of the first book. Greg gives an oral report in his English class about his adventures with the evil camera, but for some reason, his English teacher Mr. Saur doesn't believe him and gives him an F, in front of the entire class no less, which is something teachers often do. He chides Greg on giving an oral report on a lie when the assignment was to tell a true story. Greg reveals that all the students hate Mr. Saur because he is so prickly, and that they call him Saur Sourball behind his back. That seems awfully redundant though when they could just call him Saurball.

Mr. Saur tells Greg that if he can prove his story is true, that the camera is evil, than he will give him an A. Greg decides it would be a good idea to go back to the abandoned house where they left the camera and retrieve it, which his friends are against, mainly because the last time they had their pictures taken, they were all, you know, horribly maimed or erased from existence. But Greg valiantly decides his grade is more important than anyone's safety. That night, he sneaks out to the Coffman House, only to find the house demolished, with even the basement torn out. He despairs until he meets a young boy named Jon whose father recently bought the land. He explained that the wrecking crew had just torn the house down and that everything in the house is in a large dumpster. Greg goes digging around in the dumpster and finds the camera hidden beneath a dead raccoon carcass. Say Cheese and Yuck.

Greg tries to tell Jon he's only borrowing the camera but Jon struggles with Greg for the prized possession and the camera goes off. Of course it does. There's like eight pictures taken in this book and seven of them happen because of a struggle. The picture reveals Jon on the ground in agony, a large roofers nail poking out of his foot. Jon runs to go find his dad to make Greg give up the camera when he, you guessed it, turns out to really be a dog.

Jon's father rushes his son to the emergency room to have the nail removed and Greg slinks away back home. The next morning, Greg tries to sneak out of the house but Shari catches him and tries to stop him from taking the camera to school. Another scuffle and another picture is accidentally taken, this time of Shari. But the camera produces a normal photo, but in a negative image. Shari maliciously grabs Greg's camera and takes a picture of him in retaliation for, well, for her scuffling and causing the first photo to be taken in the first place.

The photo develops and reveals Greg to weigh about 800 pounds, with huge quadruple chins and giant rolls of fat. Greg panics and hides the photos in his back pocket. He scrambles to school and bursts into Mr. Saur's room, but he has fallen ill and there's a substitute instead. Greg locks the camera in his locker and the rest of the day is filled with Greg getting progressively fatter and fatter. I imagine this book did a whole lot of damage for young adult readers with weight issues, as they probably went around blaming being fat on having their picture taken with a magical evil camera, and not, you know, Cheetoes.

The next day, Greg has gained maybe 20 pounds from the day before. He goes to see Mr. Saur but he's having a meeting with the principal and won't speak to Greg until class. Once class starts, Greg interrupts a girl giving a report on her cat to force Mr. Saur to look at his proof, the magical evil camera. Unfortunately, Greg gained 100 pounds since when he came into the class and is stuck in his desk. He manages to squeeze out and brings the camera and the snapshot of Jon's nail in the foot over to Mr. Saur. Mr. Saur makes fun of him in front of the class some more and Greg leaves in tears, waddling out of the class. In the hallway he runs into Shari. At that precise moment, Shari's skirt falls down off her waist and wraps around her ankles and the book gets a whole lot sexier. Shari pulls up her skirt and tells Greg that she's lost a bunch of weight and none of her clothes stay on any more.

RL Stine stops his Flesh Gordon-cribbing and treats the reader to the further humiliation of a fat person by their peers. Greg gains over 300 pounds by the end of the day. His parents think it must be an allergic reaction and schedule an appointment for the next day. At school the next day, he runs into Shari, who has lost so much weight that she is described as looking like a stick with a lemon at the top, which is really sort of unappealing. She then tells him she was late to school because the wind kept blowing her over. In class, Mr. Saur mercilessly mocks Greg, telling him when he walks in that he's clearly too fat to sit in a desk, so he should stand over by the window. But not directly in front of the window or he'll block the sun. I wasn't aware middle school teachers had tenure.

After class, Greg's father shows up in a large van that he rented so he could haul Greg to the doctor. At the doctor's office, the nurse loses her stethoscope in the folds of Greg's fat.

That night, Greg goes over to Shari's with the camera so they can figure out what to do. Why not just tear up the photos like in the last book I had been asking this book, out loud, for the past 30 pages? Because they are afraid they themselves might get torn up into little pieces. No, a better idea would be for them to take new photos of themselves, and maybe that will reverse the process. Okay. Shari takes a picture of Greg and in the snapshot he is covered in scales like a reptile. Greg begins to itch all over his body as his skin flakes off in huge chunks and falls to the floor. Say Cheese and Gross.

Greg gets another idea: He'll go visit his older brother, who works in a photo development lab, and have him print a negative of both their pics. That is, a positive of Shari's negative and a negative of Greg's positive. The older brother does this for them and when they wake up the next morning, all is well. WHAT A CLIMAX.

But the Twist is:
Greg, still bitter about Mr. Saur refusing to raise his grade, takes the camera with him to take a picture of his teacher. Greg's killed people with this camera, so this is clearly RL Stine's Columbine/Elephant moment. Greg confronts Mr. Saur and Mr. Saur, you guessed it, scuffles with his student and grabs the camera, taking a picture of the entire classroom full of students.

the Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship:
It's still Greg and his best friend Shari, whose waistline disappears half-way thru the novel.

Questionable Parenting:
When Greg begs his parents to not force him to go to school in his condition, they tell him to just suck it up and tell his friends that he's sick and they won't make fun of him. This is directly followed by a scene where Greg can no longer fit into the family's Honda Civic.

Questionable Teaching:
Mr. Saur welcomes Greg into class by cheerfully telling him he's gained a lot of weight.

Orson Welles Alert:
Mr. Saur tells Greg he's going to give him an F, "F for Fake."

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending:
Ch. 19/20:
Greg's wearing baggy shorts, but... they're now skin tight. OH MY GODDDDDD,
AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Great Prose Alert:
"Sweat poured off my forehead and rolled down my round cheeks and chins."

Conclusions:
I wonder if I took a picture of Say Cheese and Die--Again! with an evil magic camera, would it gain anything in quality? Because there's nowhere to go but up. This was, as you can imagine from reading the synopsis, stunningly bad, even for a Goosebumps book.

52 comments:

spix said...

lalz @ cheeks and chins and saurball


i commend you

Nzambi Ia Lufua said...

do you have any goosebumps trading cards

Sandor Clegane said...

Some times you make valid points (such as the fact that Chicken, Chicken was an ugly book with little redeeming value) but at other times it just seems petty, like when you go "What." (which you do in nearly every recap and it gets very tiresome after the tenth time) after any plotline that is a little bizarre. They are meant for kids in grade school and middle school. You're obviously at least a late teenager or young adult, so they are probably not going to hold that well as of now.

As for me, I lost interest when I got older but when I was young I loved these books. I could have cared less about plot innaccuracies, unhip parents, or whatnot.

I mean you could probably do the same at Harry Potter. "And here we have Harry's scar being a pyschic link to Voldemort. What."

These books aren't meant to be realistic. R. L. Stine isn't supposed to be the next Shakespeare. But they were still pretty damn fun when I was young.

Anonymous said...

man did you piss off sandor. this is what his comment looked like:

"fuck you franny!"
-sandor

when i read it, i was all 'what.'

-jugdish

Rob said...

It was good an all but now you spoiled the ending of Elephant for me. >:

j/k

- Kev Mac. What.

troy steele said...

Sandor, are you really comfortable offering constructive criticism to a blog devoted to childen's books?

Nzambi Ia Lufua said...

i think everything about this blog flew over sandor's head like samantha byrd

sandor clegane said...

Would my post be easier for you to read if I went "lalz this page is da bomb lol" or is proper english too hard for you people to understand?

Internet King said...

This sounds like some erotic fanfiction. Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

holy crap i hope this guy posts comments on every post from now on because that was a fucking lollercoaster.

good work franny.

-nailbomb

Matt said...

You, sir, are a comedic genius.

sandor clegane said...

I'm glad you liked my posts. Maybe you aren't so hopeless after all. :)

Devika said...

Do you have any of the trading cards featured on the book covers??

Anonymous said...

man thats hilarious, sandor says the thing about how his harsh criticism is hard to read, which gets criticized, which sandor doesnt appreciate, only to say 'maybe you guys aren't all so bad' after someone gives him praise. hilarious.

but nothing as funny as these posts, I'm eagerly awaiting the next one. so many memories flooding back.

harry potter takes itself too seriously and as such wouldnt be good for this format. but with goosebumps, those books were just so disposable, read in a day. so much lighter. much better to be made fun of in this format.

basically what im trying to say is please do monster blood.

Sandor Clegane said...

I was actually being sarcastic, although I can understand something like that going over your head.

Anonymous said...

So while you're enlightening me about your use of crazy advanced literature techniques, could you maybe tell me more about it? Like what it means and what is it that you said that would indicate the use of this sarcasm. See I was under the impression that things like in this blog where he says "What.", that was sarcastic in that it used an expression of amazement in a mocking fashion which acknowledges the ridiculousness of being engaged in the books. Or maybe that's irony. Were you being ironic too? Oh man that would be too much for me.

Anonymous said...

So while you're enlightening me about your use of crazy advanced literature techniques, could you maybe tell me more about it? Like what it means and what is it that you said that would indicate the use of this sarcasm. See I was under the impression that things like in this blog where he says "What.", that was sarcastic in that it used an expression of amazement in a mocking fashion which acknowledges the ridiculousness of being engaged in the books. Or maybe that's irony. Were you being ironic too? Oh man that would be too much for me.

sandor clegane said...

I understand that "what" is being sarcastic...its just that after seeing it ten times in nearly every entry it gets a little tedious. (Putting it mildly.)

I have no idea what you said beyond that, except that my 'compliment' WAS sarcastic. If you couldn't see then that, then I'm not going to waste my time explaining it to you.

Anonymous said...

Ok so you don't know what sarcasm is. awesome.

so did you understand that that last post I made was sarcastic? I laid it on pretty thick. Because if you didnt get that then why should I even waste my time which is worth its weight in a substance called goldplatinum, which is the literal combination of both gold and platinum and their values. Do you know why it would be a waste of time? Because you don't know what sarcasm means, and you are a ridiculous douchebag.

sandor clegane said...

Hmmm...it seems I touched a nerve.

Seth said...

Aw, I haven't seen any new updates in a while. I hope this hasn't been abandoned, I LOVED reading these books back in the day and love this blog. Keep 'em coming! Please!

troy steele said...

don't worry Seth, the next update is coming VERY SOON!

Anonymous said...

A next update ? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ! You fucking rule man. You are my hero.
RH

Anonymous said...

A next update ? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ! You fucking rule man. You are my hero.
RH

Anonymous said...

i like how sandor commented that the ten times he says what in every post is tedious, in a post he doesnt' say what a single time in.

sandor clegane said...

You know I had to read your comment five times to understand what the hell you were saying? Proper english...its your friend.

And when I criticized his site, I wasn't referring to this one in particular but the whole page in general. It just made more sense for me to respond in the most current topic at the time rather than posting in one several weeks earlier.

But you already knew that, right?

troy steele said...

Sandor, I apprectiate your comments, and your regular reading of the blog. However:

Proper english...its your friend.

I think you meant "Proper English...it's your friend."

But you already knew that, right?

sandor clegane said...

You're really comparing one capital letter to that guy's nonsense? What.

troy steele said...

I'd look a little closer if I (---->') was you

sandor clegane said...

For someone who writes pages and pages of discussing old children's novels from the 90s, the best you can do to respond to my points is pointing out grammar errors? What.

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Anonymous said...

Commenting on a part of the blog that must be more than 2 months old here.

Just here to say that I thought that was the point of the blog? We probably all read these books as children or teenagers, looking back at them we see how bad the...everything was about it (like not ripping up the photo, which solved the problem of her disappearance in the last book and not being used here). You're taking this too seriously sandor and completely missing the point.

No one expected a second Shakespeare here, but that's pretty bad, even for a childs book. It's no excuse for continuity errors between books.

Kristin said...

Is the kid in the orange wearing a Grateful Dead T-shirt? That would actually be pretty funny. You can't see the whole design but it kind of looks like the Dead's skull/lightning bolt logo.

Anonymous said...

Why should you read this book over other books in the world?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Saur reminded me of Severus Snape

Anonymous said...

i like goosbumps its cool

Anonymous said...

LMAO at grammatical burn by Troy on Sandor. *Virtual high-five*

Anonymous said...

The skirt-falling scene was when I first realized I had hit puberty.

I just discovered this blog last week and I love it so far, but I got to agree with Sandor that you overuse the "What" joke. I also hate it when you say the twist ending "should be obvious" from some trivial hint in the first chapter when in fact the twist is one nobody but a Kwizats Haderach would guess correctly the first time (like in your "A Shocker on Shock Street" entry, which IMO was the least funny review on this blog).

But in general this is an awesome blog, and I'm gonna keep reading until I've read it all. And I too hope you get around to doing Give Yourself Goosebumps entries.

Also, are you going to expand this to include other R.L. Stine works like the Fear Street series?

Candy said...

I remember my dad gave me this book on my birthday when I was a kid. Now you know why I don't talk to him much.

And I like the ending to the TV version of this book, where, instead of Mr. Saur taking the class's picture and we don't know what happens after that, Mr. Saur gets a picture of himself taken and it shows him going bald. Mr. Saur thinks it's a joke--until he runs his fingers through his hair and everyone laughs at him. If that were in the actual book, it'd probably be the best ending of any Goosebumps book.

Anonymous said...

"Just here to say that I thought that was the point of the blog?"

Perhaps, but it doesn't make it any less stupid.

www said...

"Just here to say that I thought that was the point of the blog?"

perhaps, but it's still pretty stupid

sophie said...

I like the way even Stine's own characters fail his previous plot lines. That was a burn from Mr Saurball.

Anonymous said...

Reading through these old comments I've come to the startling revelation that Goosebumps books really are serious business.

Anonymous said...

Sandor for President.

Anonymous said...

...You know, part of me wonders why Sandor bothered to come back like eight times. It just... defies logic, just like Goosebumps OHHH DID I MAKE A JOKE.

*insert obligatory What. here*

Anonymous said...

"Reading through these old comments I've come to the startling revelation that Goosebumps books really are serious business."

Hah Hah That just made my day!

P.S. I love this Blog!!

Anonymous said...

benny here. wow you were like gone for A while and not approving my comments and other peoples. glad to see that you are back. I thought that this one was good. 6/10 good

Anonymous said...

benny here. I know I haVEN'T COMMENTED LATLY. sO i JUST STARTED SCHOOL. I liked this book. Defintaly weird but that's what I like. good 6/10

Anonymous said...

So this is nearly four years too late but wow, Sandor is a fucking asshole. And he came back like nine times.

Anonymous said...

benny here. wow sandor what i think troy is trying to say here is that it's a childrens book. Goosebumps for crying out loud. If you didn't like this entry you dont have to make such a big deal. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Seriously this Benny guy needs to shut the fuck up

The TRUE Royal SCP said...

The TV episode is my favorite Goosebumps episode of all time! I'm so excited for the Goosebumps Movie!