Owen and his classmate sit on a couch in a dark room, watching TV.

What Is ‘The Pink Opaque’? All About That Eerie Kids’ Show in ‘I Saw the TV Glow’

Think I'll sleep with the lights on tonight, no reason why

I Saw the TV Glow hits theaters later this week, and it contains an intriguing story-within-a-story. What exactly is The Pink Opaque? And why does it sound a bit familiar to music lovers? Here are the basics.

Recommended Videos

I Saw the TV Glow tells the story of Owen (Justice Smith), a shy boy who bonds with a girl named Maddy (Brigette Lundy-Paine) over a TV show, The Pink Opaque. As they get older, Maddy becomes convinced that there’s more to The Pink Opaque than it seems, until she becomes convinced that the show represents an entire hidden reality that she and Owen can access if they try.

What is The Pink Opaque about?

In the trailer for I Saw the TV Glow, we get a few hints about The Pink Opaque. It’s a ’90s-era TV series about two girls, who have a psychic link and matching ghost tattoos on the backs of their necks. Together, they use their psychic powers to fight monsters in their suburban county. As Maddy explains in the trailer, the show is geared towards young adults, but it’s way too scary for kids. Sure enough, we see a brief glimpse of a demonic-looking ice cream cone.

According to director Jane Schoenbrun, The Pink Opaque is inspired by vintage Nickelodeon shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Salute Your Shorts. Like The Pink Opaque, these shows were geared towards kids and young adults, but sometimes contained material that was genuinely frightening. The Pink Opaque is also inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

According to the film’s production notes, Schoenbrun and cinematographer Eric K. Yue combined 35mm film, VHS, and Betamax—sometimes combining multiple formats in a single shot—to achieve the show’s eerie, dreamlike look.

Where does the name The Pink Opaque come from?

If you google The Pink Opaque, you’ll probably find a compilation album by The Cocteau Twins. Schoenbrun has confirmed that the show’s title comes from this album.

Is The Pink Opaque a real show?

Alas, no. The Pink Opaque is an homage to ’80s and ’90s TV, but it’s not a real show in itself. If you catch a glimpse of The Pink Opaque, you’ll have to head to movie theaters, because you won’t find it on any streaming platform, YouTube channel, or dusty corner of cable TV.

At least, not in this reality.

(featured image: A24)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article One of the Best Sequels Ever Just Turned 20 Years Old
Ogre couple Shrek and Fiona hold hands in 'Shrek 2'.
Read Article ‘Star Wars’ Most Maligned Movie Still Slaps 25 Years Later
Shown from left: Natalie Portman (as Queen Padmé Amidala), Liam Neeson (as Qui-Gon Jinn), Jake Lloyd (as Anakin Skywalker), Ewan McGregor (as Obi-Wan Kenobi) all stand together.
Read Article One of ‘Mad Max’s Most Iconic Villains Is Returning in ‘Furiosa’
Immortan Joe stares down at the camera, surrounded by his sons and henchmen.
Read Article Chris Pratt, Star of ‘Garfield,’ Doesn’t Like Lasagna and the Internet Is Rightfully Mad
Chris Pratt spotted out in Los Angeles
Read Article Max’s Best Friend: The True Story Behind ‘The Road Warrior’s Most Loyal Companion
Mel Gibson in Mad Max: The Road Warrior
Related Content
Read Article One of the Best Sequels Ever Just Turned 20 Years Old
Ogre couple Shrek and Fiona hold hands in 'Shrek 2'.
Read Article ‘Star Wars’ Most Maligned Movie Still Slaps 25 Years Later
Shown from left: Natalie Portman (as Queen Padmé Amidala), Liam Neeson (as Qui-Gon Jinn), Jake Lloyd (as Anakin Skywalker), Ewan McGregor (as Obi-Wan Kenobi) all stand together.
Read Article One of ‘Mad Max’s Most Iconic Villains Is Returning in ‘Furiosa’
Immortan Joe stares down at the camera, surrounded by his sons and henchmen.
Read Article Chris Pratt, Star of ‘Garfield,’ Doesn’t Like Lasagna and the Internet Is Rightfully Mad
Chris Pratt spotted out in Los Angeles
Read Article Max’s Best Friend: The True Story Behind ‘The Road Warrior’s Most Loyal Companion
Mel Gibson in Mad Max: The Road Warrior
Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>