Friday, November 15, 2019

Review of The Twilight Zone, Episode Six, "The Dumbest Guy in the World"

I'm going to shit all over Rod Serling a lot while watching episodes of The Twilight Zone so I should probably say this as soon as possible (which could have been sooner, I suppose. Like in my review for Episode One?): I love The Twilight Zone and I think Rod Serling wrote a fuck-ton (real Queen's measurement in the UK) of memorable and poignant stories. He covered just about every important feeling a person might go through across all times of their lives. It's like he sat down and just began listing human concerns and then wrote stories about each one (sometimes he wrote 50 stories about one of the items (like feeling lonely)). It's just that sometimes he didn't quite hit the mark. Sometimes his stories suffer from the need for a twist ending or a big surprise comeuppance to the protagonist. This episode, "Escape Clause," is a good example of Rod Serling choosing to write a story about mortality and completely fucking the whole thing up because, at some point during the writing process, he thought, "What if you got sentenced to life in prison while being immortal? Ha ha! So good!"

This story is about a guy who fears death so much he barely gets out of bed and never stops complaining that he might be dying. So the devil is all, "Hey! I bet I can get this guy to sell his soul for immortality!" And the devil is right! But not just immortality: invulnerability and the absence of aging! And all for just his measly soul! The deal is so great that the scared bastard goes for it! The devil even allows him an escape clause so that if he eventually lives so long that he finds himself engulfed by a bloated star, he can call on the devil to let him die and the devil will kill him peacefully.

After the deal is finalized, you expect the story to maybe allow multiple time jumps to see how this poor bastard is dealing with immortality. Maybe see the death of his wife and other loved ones. Or maybe have him experience terrible war on a global scale. Maybe have him suffer as the last man on Earth living in a bleak and radiated landscape. You might expect something like that. But what you probably don't expect is for this guy who was once afraid of living to begin throwing himself in front of buses and subways and trains just to feel a little excitement. See, it turns out that life apparently isn't worth living if you don't have the risk of death! I guess? Who the fuck knows! It's totally out of this guy's character to suddenly feel he needs to risk everything for any kind of enjoyment from life. Up until the deal, he was just wasting his whole life in bed afraid of dying.

Instead of being immortal for thousands of years before becoming weary of life, this fucker grows bored with life in the span of a few weeks. A few weeks of knowing he can't die and suddenly this guy is tired of life? He can't find any sort of excitement without the risk of death? What the fuck is wrong with this guy? Can he even read a book or go to the movies? Do those things bore him unless somebody releases a bunch of venomous cobras in the room with him? Can he go to dinner without also playing Russian Roulette between servings? Am I supposed to believe that this guy got off on thinking he was going to die so choosing immortality was the worst decision of his life? "I can only come if I think I might be dying, baby!"

This guy is so fucking dumb that after his wife accidentally falls from the roof of their fifteen story apartment complex, he confesses to murdering her. His plan is to see if surviving the electric chair will finally give him a thrill. I don't know what this idiotic bastard was thinking. When he survives, everybody will just shrug and let him go his own way? Is that how the death penalty works? If the method of execution fails, you get your freedom back? Because this stupid dolt never even considers that he's going to wind up spending life in prison. He doesn't even get the chance to be electrocuted because the judge simply sentences him to life. Ha ha! Big twist ending! Now this fucker is really going to be bored!

But wait! There's more! This guy who was terrified of dying in just forty years decides to take the escape clause a few weeks after becoming immortal because he's bored. Well you know what Piebald says (and other people, like parents and teachers and shit): "If you're bored, you must be boring too!" And this guy is! He's afraid to die and then all he can do after getting immortality is to try to die and then after realizing he can't die, he chooses to die. Fuck this guy. Man, I can't stress that enough! FUCK. THIS. GUY.

FUCK HIM! I hate this motherfucker! And by extension, I hate Rod Serling too! He really fucked up this episode! Who the hell thinks life is only enjoyable because of the risk of death? This motherfucker could have went on a wild sex and drug spree! He could have gotten his excitement by trying loads of new things! Fuck, he could have just decided to eat every single different thing on the planet! He could have tried murdering children, just for the hell of it! He could have hiked the bottom of the oceans! He could have purchased a sprawling estate in Germany with all of the insurance money he was getting from the accidents he was faking and created the first Human Centipede! This fucker had no imagination and I'm glad the devil took his soul and killed him.

Man. Fuck that guy.

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