Mysterious Messages Concerning the Dismal Dinner, commonly called The Dismal Dinner, is a short miniseries by Lemony Snicket. The four-part miniseries was released in 2004 with Lunchables meals shortly before the release of the film adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Dismal Dinner ties in with the main series and is set before The Bad Beginning.


The miniseries described a scene at the fourth-to-last dinner party which the Baudelaire parents held in their mansion before it burnt down. As Mr. Baudelaire is about to cut into these desserts, Sunny sees a man looking through the window and shrieks. Klaus, having just read Taking the Teeth Out of Teething, believes that Sunny is teething, prompting Violet to create a device to soothe Sunny's teeth. The figure in the window disappears, and Sunny calms down.

The four parts of the miniseries approach the scene from different perspectives. The first part describes Violet inventing a device to soothe her sister's teething pains. Klaus diagnosed his sister's teething problems in part two. Part three reveals that Sunny became agitated after seeing a person spying on the dinner party. The final part is a summary of the scene.

Each of the installments include three letters of a coded message, which, when put together in order, spell out "OLAF WAS THERE". The individual spying through the window is suggested to be Count Olaf. When Sunny sees the person, she says "Funcoot". This is a reference to the name "Al Funcoot", an anagram of Count Olaf. (Olaf used this name to write the play The Marvelous Marriage.) However, the description of the spy could also apply to Olaf's associate, The Bald Man with the Long Nose.

In addition to the person spying through the window, there is at least three disguised guests. Two individuals are disguised as dessert and are described as "unusually delicious-looking". There is also a guest disguised as the ice sculpture, whose ear may have been used in Violet's invention. Their identities remain unknown.

The miniseries also mentions guests passing around "the sugar bowl". However, it is unknown if this was the same sugar bowl significant in the later novels of the book series.

Complete Text

Part One


The Dismal Dinner : Part One (Text on opposite side

Dear Eater,

If you are interested in something entertaining to accompany your meal, you would be better off paying a trusted friend to jump up and down on your dessert. This letter contains evidence relating to Violet Baudelaire, whose life since her parents perished in a terrible fire has contained very few entertaining things, and almost no proper sweets whatsoever.

My discovery of a puddle of water suggests that Violet, the oldest Baudelaire child, invented something at the dinner party held at the Baudelaire mansion quite some time before it burnt to the ground. Crackers with meat and cheese were served, and at least two guests were disguised as desserts.

The festivities were interrupted when Sunny, an infant and the youngest Baudelaire sibling, began "teething" - a word which here means "screaming nonstop for a long period of time." Sunny would have been among the worst victims of teething in history, due to four teeth of unusual sharpness and size growing into her mouth.

Violet - tying her hair up to keep it out of her face, as she always did when she was concentrating - devised a very cold, very hard device made from a silver pie server and the ear of the snowman ice sculpture. Violet's invention appeared to lessen Sunny's pain as soon as she stopped looking out the window and sucked on it.

Sunny may have stopped crying, but I am weeping uncontrollably. Please do not collect any of the other research on this topic hidden in these packages, unless you want to complete the secret message that begins 1OLA.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket

Part Two


Part 2, Text on Opposite side.

Dear Eater,

If you are reading this while eating your meal, you have made a terrible mistake. Reading and eating at the same time can be very dangerous, especially if you start weeping uncontrollably. This letter pertains to Klaus Baudelaire, whose parents perished in a terrible fire and who has not eaten a cracker with both meat and cheese since.

My discovery of a singed page of "Taking the Teeth Out of Teething" confirms that Klaus, the middle Baudelaire child, was in attendance at his parents' fourth-to-last dinner party. Like the guest disguised as the ice sculpture, Klaus wore a bowtie, which involves a very simple knot that is very complicated to create.

Mr. Baudelaire was about to cut into one of two unusually delicious-looking desserts when Sunny, the youngest Baudelaire child, began to scream. Klaus had recently been reading books about his baby sister's development - as you know, Klaus has read more books at twelve years old than most of your teachers - and was the first to suggest that Sunny must be "teething" - a word which here means "shrieking in misery, although nothing truly terrible would happen for quite some time."

The four teeth cutting through baby Sunny's gums were exceptionally large and sharp, much like the nose of the man peering through the window. Sunny may have felt better, but I feel much worse. I've hidden additional research on this topic in other packages, but collecting them all will only produce a dreadful and dreadfully secret message that includes 2FWA.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket

Part Three


Part 3, Text on Opposite.

Dear Eater,

I'm sorry to tell you that what you are holding may make you feel unwell. This letter contains research about Sunny Baudelaire, who has not had a mouth-watering meal since her parents perished in a terrible fire, except for one soggy, half-eaten cracker found in the trunk of an automobile.

My discovery of a torn pant leg shows that Sunny, an infant and the youngest Baudelaire child, played a key role in the dinner party held at the Baudelaire mansion quite some time before it was reduced to a smoking pile of rubble. Third-hand reports suggest that just after the sugar bowl was placed on the table, Sunny shrieked, "Funcoot!", which either meant "My gums hurt!" or "I believe I may have seen someone lurking outside."

She then started to cry furiously, not unlike a baby who is extremely uncomfortable. Her parents, brother, sister, and even the guest from out of town all believed Sunny was "teething" - a word which here means "in extreme pain, due to the emergence of four unusually large, sharp teeth." Teething is like a bad haircut, because it happens to nearly everyone, and when it does, causes much pain, suffering, and inconvenience, although it is very hard to remember, once it has grown out, what all the fuss was about.

Violet, Sunny's fourteen-year-old sister and an accomplished inventor, built a teething device using the ear of the snowman ice sculpture and gave it to Sunny to sooth her gums. "Phew!" said Sunny, which probably meant, "He appears to be gone."

The Baudelaires may have relaxed then and enjoyed dessert, but you shouldn't. Avoid further research concealed in other packages - or else you will be shocked by the vital secret message that includes 3STH.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket

Part Four


Part 4.

Dear Eater,

If you are reading this at a dinner party, you may be in danger. I hope you haven't eaten the dessert. This letter contains findings about Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, whose parents perished in a terrible fire and who have not attended a dinner party since, except as poorly treated unpaid staff.

Recent discoveries support my suspicions about the fateful event hosted by the Baudelaire parents before their death. Near the end of the meal, baby Sunny Baudelaire looked out the window and began to cry with a clarity and force that would soon characterize her ability to bite things. Her cries alarmed a number of guests who were in the process of passing around the sugar bowl.

The Baudelaires discovered the tips of four sharp and large teeth breaking through Sunny's gums. Based on Klaus's research, they agreed she was "teething" - a word which here means "freaking out like she was looking into the eyes of something terrible." Violet invented something cold and hard that Sunny could bite to comfort herself. That which had been upsetting Sunny disappeared, and the Baudelaire parents were very proud of the way Violet and Klaus had taken care of their sister.

My hands are shaking too hard to stack meat and cheese on a cracker. I have hidden other research regarding this incident in other packages, in the hopes that you will not be able to find them and decode the secret message that concludes 4ERE.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket


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