[Jason Reich is a TV writer whose credits include The Daily Show and Robot Chicken. He is also a TV watcher with a tenuous grip on reality, believing himself to be one of the many acolytes of Dr. Joseph Carroll, the devilishly charming convicted killer with a cult-like following on FOX’s aptly named The Following. Mr. Reich has been writing letters to “Dr. Carroll,” dropping them in what he believes is a mailbox but is actually a cardboard box with a crude eagle drawn on it in Magic Marker, placed in his home by Videogum for the purposes of intercepting this correspondence.]
Dear Prof. Carroll,
How are you? Aside from being in prison, I mean. I think you are the best, and I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy watching your grand blood-soaked plans play out on the new FOX series The Following. As you may know, I have been an admirer of yours for quite some time, ever since you banged my college girlfriend while she was taking your class on Edgar Allen Poe. No hard feelings!
I hope this isn’t awkward, but I have noticed that many of your fans seem to be super involved in your ongoing murder project, pitching in with small tasks like killing people, or hiding in ceiling ducts and sneaking out later to kill people. I think this kind of local grassroots organizing is a great way to achieve one’s larger goals, like getting Barack Obama elected president or amassing a large collection of human eyeballs. I was just wondering, though, if maybe my instructions got lost in the mail or you tried to text me from some place with spotty cell service, because so far I haven’t been told what my fake identity is or who I’m supposed to stab or what. (Do you know any other Jasons? Maybe you accidentally texted the wrong one. Don’t feel bad. It happens!)
I don’t want it to sound like I have some weird schoolgirl crush on you and your impish grin, smart professor brain, and elaborate plan to eviscerate innocent people. (I do, but I don’t want it to sound like that LOL.) It’s just that everyone on your killing squad seems to be having so much fun. Last night’s episode made me crazy jealous, when that girl pretended to be a nanny, and those not-gay guys pretended to be gay, just so they could kidnap your son and have an awesome sleepover together in a big country house! (Though too bad those guys are not really gay, because that house could be converted into one hell of a B&B, right?)
Not to worry you, Prof. Carroll, but I really think you could use my help. Kevin Bacon and his FBI buzzkills are starting to get wise to your tricks. They appear to have some kind of amazing FBI computer than runs on plot-advancing technology, and all they have to do is say something like, “Computer, please tell me this fake nanny’s real name and address, and also could you throw in a few uninteresting flashbacks while you’re at it?” And bam, both those things happen. Plus, this week the FBI brought in a top agent from their “alternative religion” unit, which is a very important division of any law enforcement organization. Highly trained tactical assault teams and forensics experts are nice, but when you are in the field and under pressure, you really need someone who can analyze the influence of Slavic polytheism on how the sorority girl got her eyes torn out.
Still, you are doing an excellent job, Prof. Carroll, partly because you are a brilliant criminal mastermind and partly because the cops on this show are extremely terrible at their jobs. I will admit, when protecting a high value target like a psychopath’s ex-wife, it’s natural to overlook an insignificant hiding place like the entire basement. But did you also know that you can stroll into any crime scene undetected simply by being fat and wearing a police officer’s uniform? Of course you did, because you asked that fat guy to do it last night, and it worked perfectly! Professor, if you wanted I would gladly go down to the Halloween store and buy a police officer costume, especially since they are so cheap during the off season.
Dr. Carroll, I am a little hurt that I have not yet been asked to join in the fun, but I will try to stay positive and keep my eyes on the prize…that prize apparently being other people’s eyes. I look forward to murdering for you in the near future. (I am going to be out of town visiting my sister and her kids next weekend, but otherwise I am totally available.) Until then, I remain your devoted servant.