I remember this show from way back in the early 2000s, called Coradeen's Candelabra. It was supposed to be a children's show, but even with my far advanced vocabulary at 6, I could still barely pronounce the title, let alone grasp the show's material.
Being without cable, we used "rabbit ears" to get TV. By rabbit ears, I mean an antenna, not actual rabbit's ears (though they would probably get better reception...). One of the few channels we got was a network called SprigganTV, which showed many sitcoms and cartoons during all hours of the day. It didn't have commercials except at the end of each show, with the credits sped up alongside the first commercial to be shown.
Some of the sitcoms it had were Friends, Seinfeld, and Hogan's Heroes. Actually, until quite recently it didn't strike me as odd that this station had the licenses and permission to use these shows and more, since it had some original stuff to show, as well. One of these original shows being a cartoon called Coradeen's Candelabra.
I really don't know why I didn't think about the show's oddness before now. This show was seriously messed up.
I went online to search for this show after a recent conversation (which left me wondering about both this show and the taste of head cheese, if it was any precursor), but there are literally no results for anything related to it. I then looked up "SprigganTV", but could only find things in German, and upon trying to look over them, I saw that these sites had nothing to do with the network but a common name.
Frustrated, I went to YouTube to waste some time watching the Yogscast and other stuff. Curious, I typed "Coradeen's Candelabra" in the search bar. And got nothing, no hits, no episodes, no clips, nothing. Not even YouTube had anything. I was at a standstill in my search.
Until my mother brought me a couple certain VHS tapes about a week later.
I asked what they were, and she answered "It's that show you keep looking up. I never saw you get to see it, so I asked around work, and my friend David said he'd recorded the episodes a long time ago. Apparently it's a pretty hard to find show, so you should thank him sometime."
I was astonished. I took the tapes and went into my room to watch them, eager to finally sate my curiosity.
There are 14 episodes to this show, each 20–25 minutes long. I'm only going to go over the three that made me the most uncomfortable.
The introduction to the show, accompanied by rich, somber piano music, is a rich couple leaving their estate, a huge mansion with many expensive things on display. Their daughter, Coradeen (a red-haired, pale-faced child, almost like a ginger. She looks like a younger version of her mother), looks sad at their departure. When they've gone, she goes to a candelabra near the entrance and says "Amicitia" (which I'm assuming is the thing's name, as it never explicitly has any other title). The thing shudders, and comes to life, along with many of the other things in the house. The rest of the intro is her dashing through the house, doing various things with the animate objects, before her parents come back. When they enter, all is back to normal. The parents' faces are grim and menacing, looking down at her as if she is scum, while she looks over to the candelabra, now back in its proper place. As the view switches to the candelabra, the title appears across the bottom of the screen, a flowing cursive script.
Going only off the intro, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the show. Sure, the glaring parents and sad title music is pretty weird, but nothing that hasn't been done before in television. As a kid, the show's whimsy while she played was entrancing. Watching it now, it bothers the hell out of me.
Episode 1: Growing Pains Candelabra This is what a candelabra looks like. This episode begins with Coradeen playing hide and seek with Amicitia and an unnamed red curtain (nothing but the candelabra seems to have a name in this show). She finds Amicitia behind a stone bust of her father (who is a tall, dark-haired man with a widow's peak and a business suit), but can't find her other friend. Her mom passes by and asks her to help remove some of the curtains around the house, while carrying the red one away. Sadly, Coradeen goes into a couple rooms to remove the curtains, each a different color from the last (how this works aesthetically, I don't know, but moving on). Once she's finished, Amicitia asks why their friends are gone.
Coradeen answers with "They're going to a different home, where they can be used better", in a way that says she's heard the same thing before about other things.
Amicitia starts to cook up a plan to get the curtains back, and has Coradeen participate. The plan is to go to the room they're being brought to and steal them back to hang in Coradeen's room. While enacting this, however, they are caught by her father, rather she is, because Amicitia is in her room, preparing the walls.
He takes the curtains from her and shouts, "Why do you keep doing this?!? They're not real! They are not your friends!"
He proceeds to rip them apart, each rip punctuated by a yelled word:
"You! Are! Too! Old! To! Play! Make! Believe!"
He tosses the shreds to her feet, and an audible whimper is heard in the curtain's voice, followed by a fading breath.
Coradeen begins crying and yells "You killed them! Why did you do that?!?"
Her father screams "YOU ARE TOO OLD TO PLAY MAKE BELIEVE!" again, grabbing her viciously by the arm and taking her away.
It cuts from her in the curtain room to her entering her room, a red welt now visible on her face. Amicitia is nowhere to be seen at first, but comes out of the closet as Coradeen softly cries. The candelabra sits next to her on her bed, as the camera pans out. The episode ends with her sitting near new, more lavish curtains, saying "Amicitia" over and over. The candelabra is nowhere to be found, however.
Her father enters, saying in a monotone, "It's time for your medication, Coradeen."
Episode 7: Maddie's Garden This episode begins with Coradeen's mother showing a group of important looking people around the house.
She converses about her family with these people, stopping by the stairs to shout "Corey!", the only time a nickname is ever used for her.
Coradeen walks calmly down the stairs, doing a small curtsy while wearing a light-blue blouse and blue dress.
Her mom tells the people "This is Coradeen, she's 7 years old. She's very smart as well."
She then says something to her daughter in a different language, and Coradeen responds in (apparently) the same language. The group claps at the "advanced use of Latin", as stated by one of the men in the group. The same man asks about the garden, as the group is comprised of judges for a contest. They go to the back of the house, leaving Coradeen in the main landing. She walks over to Amicitia, but the scene goes back to her mother and the judges. They're all "ooh"ing and "ahh"ing over the plants and flowers in the garden while her mother walks around and talks about the various plants. This scene goes on for ten whole minutes, waaaay longer than it had to be. The judges deliberate, but finally reveal that she wins... 2nd place. She looks angry for a split second, but calmly takes the silver ribbon from the judges. The show cuts to a different house, at a later point in the day. A blonde woman is tending to her garden, when a silhouette appears behind her. This scene lasts for 30 seconds, with the silhouette slowly getting closer, before cutting to Coradeen watching TV.
It was on a newscast about "the missing 1st place garden owner Maddie Pendleton", saying she'd gone missing the same day she'd won the ribbon. The committee that judged the contest appeared on the coverage, saying that the contest would be held in her memory in the future. This episode ends with Coradeen's mother tending to a freshly-dug garden, each section marked off with a stake of wood decorated with pieces of the curtains from Ep.1. She fertilizes the garden with pinkish-red pellets from a bag, which I guess implies that Maddie is growing one last garden. This episode seems to be the least prepared, with a few lines of dialogue cut off at the end. It also is one of the two that doesn't involve Coradeen in the plot.
Episode 12: We All Scream for Ice Cream I hated this episode. I hated, hated, HATED this episode, so, so much.
Coradeen and Amicitia are playing with a cooking set, making macaroni and cheese (which resembled barf, but she's 7, give her a break). Amicitia tastes it, and tells her that it's the best thing since ice cream. Coradeen doesn't know what ice cream is, being homeschooled and limited on TV time (seen in Ep. 5). Amicitia tells her to go get some from the kitchen, where it's kept in the freezer. She goes to get it, but is stopped when her parents walk in, asking her to go away for a bit. She leaves as her parents argue about their marriage. Her father wants to have sex, which is startling enough in a children's show, but her mother doesn't want to. Frustrated, he exits the kitchen, slamming the door and going outside. The next 8 minutes are comprised of both Coradeen trying to bake new foods to emulate ice cream, and her trying to sneak into the kitchen to get some. Near the end of the episode, she tries again in the dead of night, finally getting the carton of vanilla from the freezer. As she opens it, her father walks in and sees her with the ice cream. He looks extremely angry for a moment, before his face switches to a calmer expression.
He says "Maybe you can help me with my problem. Your mother doesn't seem to want to help." He motions for her to follow, and they exit the room, Coradeen still carrying the ice cream. "If you help me, I'll let you in on a little secret."
The camera stays in the kitchen, but you can hear Coradeen screaming in pain from the other room. It doesn't even sound like a voice actor at this point, it sounds like a real person in agony. After two minutes of her screaming, they come back, Coradeen with tears streaming down her face and her father with a satisfied look on his face. He sits her down at the table with her ice cream, now covered in a red liquid, and tells her "Ice cream's always better with a cherry on top." The rest of the episode is her eating the barbaric dessert.
I vomited after this episode. I almost didn't watch the last two, but I made myself. Coradeen dies in the last 2 episodes, so I don't understand why they'd allow this on a children's show. This show is nothing but a portrayal of an abused daughter, bringing a new meaning to the term "beaten like a red-headed stepchild." I'm glad this show is as obscure as it is, so no one will accidentally stumble upon it. The tapes are currently under investigation by police because of the way the explicit material was portrayed, as well as my mother's friend David, since they can find no evidence that SprigganTV ever existed, and are assuming he made the show until further notice. None of the people featured in the show's credits are real people, and there isn't a known animator who does animation similar to the show's. David had a daughter who had died in 2003 at age 8, and was known to draw his own holiday cards for people, using a style that was similar to the show's. The father in the show is strikingly similar to his own father.