My kids have been getting into Welcome to Nightvale. “Getting into” means “listening to an episode in the car if they remember they like it,” but also “making a sincere parody podcast called Nighty-Nightvale that in many respects is better than the original.”

The original is a news broadcast from a suburban Anywhere city that is also a staging area for existential dread and apocalyptic visions. Beneath or behind or within every banal symbol of bourgeois complacency (the bake sale, the Boy Scouts, the dog park) is evidence of a sinister shadowland (a glowing cloud, a line of silent hooded figures, a bloody ritual). A recent (recent to me, meaning like from 2012) “word from our sponsor” spent two minutes describing a hallucinatory spiral into an underwater nightmare, leading to the tag: “Welcome . . . to Red Lobster.”

The announcer sounds like a D-list actor playing a mildly zombified C-list actor playing a 1940’s radio newsreader. His tone is stilted and portentous. My kids can do an excellent imitation of him. They deepen their voice and do a little suburban/sinister mashup: “Bananas . . . do not love you.” “The morning sun . . . is a beautiful lie.”

For example (and this is the best example), J. once said, in that deep, stilted, portentous voice, “Everything inside you . . . eventually comes out.”