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Hank Green agrees to a perilous internship at ‘Welcome to Night Vale’
We have only one question: How will he die?
And if you’re a fan of the show then you know what that means.
“Thanks, Hank, for bravely stepping into the world of community radio,” Baldwin wrote.
“I’m interning with Welcome to Night Vale tonight,” Green echoed. “Will I live? Will I die? Who am I kidding of course I will die.”
This is a matter of personal pride for the Daily Dot, which may have actually introduced Green to Welcome to Night Vale when we sent him questions for this 2013 interview. Perhaps we are secretly working for an unnamed government agency, luring folks to their doom by introducing them to deceptively charming small towns.
Over the course of Night Vale, the intern position at the local community radio station has played a double role. It’s a running in-joke, an internal reference to the infamous expendable “red shirts” of Star Trek fame—nameless extras or only briefly known characters who served as lower ranks on the ship and who died tragically in every episode. Here’s a quote from the Night Vale wiki entry “Intern Death Toll“:
[A]s of the episode Old Oak Doors Part A, fifteen interns (and one intern’s doppelganger) have been lost. Of those sixteen individuals, six are confirmed dead, three are missing, presumed dead, two are no longer human, three were lost in space and / or time (although two them later returned alive and unharmed), and two more are presumed KIA, or, at the very least, MIA, as they were mentioned in a list of dead and missing interns.
Cecil seems unfazed by this mortality rate. When former intern Maureen brings it up, he says, “I’m not terribly sure what you mean.”
The other role of the intern on the show, as we see from Cecil’s strange complacence, is that it’s a part of the ongoing mystery of the town itself. By this point in the evolution of the hit podcast, it’s moved firmly out of the Twilight Zone into WTF Zone. One of its many recurring mysteries is why its community radio station interns keep dying—and how and why Cecil, who started out as an intern, managed to survive.
The intern position has occasionally served as a great way to have guests on the show without disrupting the overall plot. Previous interns have included Venture Bros.’ James Urbaniak, who guest-starred with the show at the L.A. podcast festival as two different interns. The first intern was vaporized just outside of the Night Vale radio station after acknowledging and speaking about the Shape That No One Acknowledges or Speaks About. The second died, either from blood loss or from a possible hit to the head, after being overcome by spiders emerging from his chest.
We don’t know how Green’s intern will die, but we’re guessing it will be the most memorable casualty yet. After all, one does not simply kill off a Vlogbrother.
The convergence of grassroots fandom communities, Green’s Nerdfighters and the cult following of Night Vale, clearly demands something special, even for a show that spends most of its time exchanging gazes with the abyss.
We can’t wait to witness Green’s impending grisly demise. Lovingly, of course.
Photo via Intergalactic Robot
Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.