Netflix has a way of reviving series and helping people remember little bits of entertainment past that they've long forgot. You got another season greenlit because of its renewed interest on the streaming platform. And fans, while rewatching the awesomely awful Goosebumps TV show, noticed a familiar face in the "Say Cheese and Die" episode: Ryan Gosling. Yes, that Ryan Gosling.
The Goosebumps Ryan Gosling episode is real — and you need to watch it.
It might come as a surprise to you because Ryan's got that kind-of-Brooklyn accent going on, but the dude is Canadian. And it doesn't get much more bizarro-Canadian-TV than the Goosebumps show.
I don't know what it is about shows shot in Canada, but it always feels like something's slightly off. Like it's an episode of Sliders where you travel to a version of earth that looks and feels like you're 100 years in the past. Like Thomas Edison stole the idea for the light bulb a day later and caused a Butterfly effect.
As for Goosebumps, the books were a worldwide phenomenon, heck, the only reason I wanted to learn to read was because of Goosebumps, I seriously could care less about books and knowledge and whatnot had it not been for Monster Blood, Welcome to Dead House, and The Haunted Mask.
It took me a while to finally learn to read, and when I did, all of the first edition Goosebumps books were no longer popular and I could go to the library and take out as many as I wanted.
Say Cheese and Die was actually the first Goosebumps book I ever read, so I was stoked to finally see the episode when it came out on TV, but it was a kind of overwhelming experience. Mostly because Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark? stole most of the program's thunder already — it was on years before the Canadian program and had the added benefit of not being shot in a Bizarro world.
Compared to the rest of the episodes in Season 1, however, Ryan thankfully ended up in the last one — No. 13. Yes, it's got the "spooky number" factor going for it, but by that time, it looks like the production team got a better handle on making the show more decent and feel less clunky. Even if they couldn't get past some of the cheesier effects, like the horribly photoshopped skeleton family.
What's Say Cheese and Die! about?
If you couldn't tell from the title, never read the book, or aren't all that interested in destroying your rose-tinted nostalgia of the '90s, I'll provide you with the official blurb from the book that the episode's based on:
"Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he and his friends found. The photographs keep turning out wrong. Very wrong. Like the snapshot Greg took of his father's new car that shows it totaled. And then Greg's father is in a nasty wreck. But Greg's friends don't believe him. Shari even makes Greg bring the camera to her birthday party and take her picture. Only Shari's not in the photograph when it develops. Is Shari about to be taken out of the picture permanently? Who is going to take the next fall for... the evil camera?"
The episode pretty much follows the same formula. Greg finds an evil camera and at first he loves it but then notices it starts taking "evil" pictures. Basically everyone he snaps photos of with it ends up either injured or dead. But here's the thing: the photos predict exactly how that person ends up getting wrecked — Greg's dad's car accident, his friend falling down the stairs, a gnarly baseball field injury, the camera causes it all!
As you can imagine, it probably doesn't end well for the bullies after their impromptu Polaroid photo session, but in the '90s it was OK to kill mean people with reckless abandon. Seems kinda harsh for a Canadian show though, don't you think?