After rolling the 2d12, Joe Hardy accidentally summons a "Lumbering Wildcat"
A quick primer for those of you unfamiliar with the Hardy Boys series of rubber-stamped mysteries.
Frank and Joe Hardy – Fearless, intrepid, fastidious, square. Always just a step or two behind the perpetrators, needing just one more seemingly random coincidence to break the case wide open. In a word: insufferable.
In real life, the only break from peer-group ass-beatings these two would get would come during brief respites as their peers rested and massaged their ass-beating limbs.
Chet– Their “chum,” as he is referred to. Incessantly. Exists solely to provide very occasional comic relief and to ask a stream of questions leading to expositionary dialogue. Some samples:
“Fill me in on the details.”
“Run that by me one more time.”
“How did you know X was involved with Y?”
“How do you figure?”
“Has anyone been referring to you as ‘meddling kids?'”
“Recap the story so far and update us, I mean me, on any recent developments.”
Dad – Shows up in disguise during the last quarter of the book, offering some key insight or piece of damning evidence. Of course, we won’t know this until he shows up in the final chapter to rescue the boys from certain death/dismemberment, usually with some serious law enforcement in tow.
As always, he’ll deliver several paragraphs of exposition detailing his side of the case, which is always something he’s been keeping an eye on for awhile. However, despite his “investigation” he can’t be bothered to make an arrest until his offspring are staring death in the eye.
Mom: Who knows? Busy making cookies and enjoying a constantly empty house?
Which brings us to the here and now. While this series would seem to have joined the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew in the been-there, done-that annals of old-timey serials, there is, of course, money to be made by tapping the nostalgia of their original readers to purchase books for their kids and grandkids.
Here’s what the publishers have lined up for the next wave of Hardy Boys mysteries:
The Case of the Missing Homework
With the day winding down, the insufferable brothers race the clock to remind their teacher that their promised homework hasn’t been assigned yet, much to the dismay of Chet and their other classmates.
The boys soon find themselves in a hairy situation as several of their fellow students gather outside the school to beat their fresh-scrubbed asses. Their dad arrives in the nick of time to defuse the situation, congratulating them on their honorable behavior and taking them out for a malt.
The Riddle of the Mysterious Sext
Someone at the boys’ high school is sending racy pictures and garbled text to their cellphones. Can the boys find the vowels they need to unravel who exactly wants to “do2hawtbros@1nce”? Their dad shows up just in time to confiscate their phones and, consequently, get arrested for possession of child pornography.
The Haunted Amusement Park
The boys are invited to spend a week at Wonderland Ranch. Mystery is soon afoot as the boys discover an eerie lack of “ranch style” animals and an overabundance of “Jesus Juice,” served by monkey butlers.
After several attempts to speak to the owner (who never shows his entire face and refuses to exit his oxygen chamber) about their concerns, the boys lapse into a drunken sleep, occasionally interrupted by disturbing dreams. Their dad shows up at the last minute to rescue the boys and collect a $20 million settlement.
Unfortunately for the boys, no one had used the word "chums" in over 40 years
The Curse of the Mexican Mule
The boys run afoul of local smugglers during their spring break trip to Cancun. They sober up quickly as they become entangled with a local drug cartel. Badly wounded after their attempt to “talk things out” with the local drug lord (“It’s not just the language barrier, Joe. It’s their awful Mexican ideals!”), the boys are left for dead in the heat of the Sonoran desert.
Their dad cuts short his business trip to Las Vegas to answer the boys’ distress signal and introduce them to their new mom.
Note: This is the first time the series has featured the phrases “full cavity search” and “America’s tough, but fair, drug policies.”
The Purloined Art
The boys assist the RIAA in hunting down the last known Kazaa user in the U.S., a Mrs. Robert Saperstein, whose granddaughter has left 11 songs in a shared folder. Although the computer isn’t functional due to its last Windows Update occurring in June of 2000, the boys, with help from their dad, ensure she gets what’s coming to her: an $880,000 fine and another black eye for the music industry.
The Hometown Incident
A wave of brutal vigilante violence sweeps through the boys’ hometown, spurred on by their success as teenage servers of justice, legal system be damned. Sack-of-doorknob beatings, kangaroo courts and weekly lynch mobs are the norm.
The boys attempt to calm the crowd by explaining that their amateur sleuthing is worlds away from brutalizing random teenage shoplifters, but the boys’ “can-do” spirit and sickeningly cloying speech patterns only fan the flamers. Cooler heads prevail once the boys’ father shows up to paint the town red, rename it “Hell” and declare martial law.
The Secreted Body
A mysterious letter sends the boys to beautiful New Jersey to hunt for the long-missing Jimmy Hoffa. They are soon warned away by colorful locals who “wouldn’t want anything to happen to that mother of yours. When this fails to get a response, they change the veiled threat to cover that “get-out-of-certain-death-free card of yours. You know, your dad.”
The boys find themselves bound for a watery and anonymous death when their father shows up and smooth-talks the boys to freedom, using mainly several million in unmarked bills.
The Runic Photo
The boys uncover an old picture depicting an ancient runic language. They circle the globe looking for the key to unlock the code, visiting ancient Sumeria, Mesopotamia and the local library.
They remain stumped until an anthropologist at Johns Hopkins points out that they are in possession of a badly faded segment from the dust jacket for Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. Their dad arrives just in time to laugh his ass off, before getting stoned with the good doctor in his basement.
The secret is: gets you drunk for cheap
The Errant Portal
During a quest to retrieve an overdue book for the school library, the boys stumble across an inscription containing the “God number,” which allows them to travel freely to and from the past. After an extended visit to yesteryear, the boys return to find the world nearly destroyed.
The boys and their father speculate on what could have triggered this cataclysm:
“When Chet called Mother Theresa a whore…”
“When Joe shoved Einstein down that flight of stairs…”
“When Dad knocked up Joan of Arc…”
Their dad makes a few quick jumps and everything is soon back to normal. Or is it?
Note: It is.
The Case of the Missing Uncle
The boys discover that their Uncle Art never returned from his trip to Sweden. A discussion with Aunt Margaret only further confuses the matter as she is now living with Aunt Amy, whom they had never met before.
Before the boys can delve any deeper into this matter, their dad shows up to give them “the talk.” Dad explains, “Remember when I got a divorce from mom, because of you two?”
“You said that wasn’t our fault!”
“Your mom said that. Anyway, it turns out that she left because she didn’t like herself and wanted to be a different person. So… Art divorced your Aunt Marge so he could be someone else who definitely isn’t your Aunt Amy, so let’s have no further questions about either of these two perverts whom you will never be seeing again.”
The Darkest Hour
With their business winding down due to a lack of interest or remaining, unincarcerated criminals, the boys begin hawking their mystery-solving skills door-to-door. They begin to help/annoy the locals by finding answers to their problems. Here are a few:
The Mysterious Machine
Not really considered canon due to A.) its crossover with the Scooby Doo characters and B.) it being a piece of very sexually explicit fan fiction, dealing with the van being in a near-constant state of “a-rockin,” often with Scooby himself involved.