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Thursday, December 22, 2005

1.10 --- Wish Bank

Directed by : Rick Friedberg
Written by : Michael Cassutt
Starring : Dee Wallace-Stone, Julie Carmen
First Aired : 18th of October, 1985.

Janice (Dee Wallace-Stone, ET the Extraterrestial, The Howling), a divorced woman in her thirties (well, I assume), is easing her depression by frequenting various yard sales with her friend Mary (Julie Carmen, Gloria, The Milagro Beanfield War). When Janice stumbles across a lamp which uncannily resembles the one from tales of Aladdin, Mary urges her to rub it. Janice is reluctant, but eventually, she does rub it and disappears in a cloud of smoke.

Seconds after, Janice materializes at the offices of the "wish fulfilling department" (they have a different name in the episode, but you are catching my drift), sitting at the desk of mr. Brent, who is in charge of opening new accounts. When informed she has three wishes, Janice wishes for $10,000,000 in cash, ten-year younger looks, and 18 months of what viagra commercials would call "erectile disfunction" for her ex-husband. She then signs the statement which says that she's aware of dangers of wish-fulfilling (apparently, wish no. 1 works out great, wish no. 2 usually bombs, so wish no. 3 is commonly used to fix wish no. 2), fills out her forms with her bank account no. and social security no. (even wishes are taxed), and is promptly sent to the queue in front of another department - which is at least 60ft in length.

Janice's turn arrives finally after two and a half hours of waiting, but the only information she gets from the extremely unpleasant clerk is that she forgot her 604 application form. She rushes back to mr. Brent in order to fetch one, but is too late - Brent has been vapourized by his boss mr. Willoughby for professional misconduct regarding a certain Jameson case. Willoughby himself is willing to help, however, just as he's about to do so a bell rings and Janice is told to try again tomorrow during working hours. With the rest of staff putting on funny hats and vanishing, Janice regrets out loud for rubbing the lamp in the first place. She then disappears herself, reappearing moments before stumbling into the fateful lamp, with no recollection of prior events, and leaves the yard sale together with her friend.

***

Wish Bank, despite its short running time (only 9 minutes), suceeds in being engaging and witty. Experienced TV writer Michael Cassutt toys with the idea of ancient fairy tale being put throughout the late 20th century grind, and director Rick Friedberg creates a perfect environment for it. Dee Wallace-Stone is also likable, despite her visible character shortcomings.

TZ Trivia : mr. Brent's boss, mr. Willoughby, is an obvious homage to the classic TZ episode A Stop at Willoughby (6th of May, 1960.), while the "Jameson case" they mention is presumably another classic TZ reference, this time concerning the Long Live Walter Jameson (18th of March, 1960.) episode.

Comments on "1.10 --- Wish Bank"

 

Anonymous me said ... (8:19 PM) : 

This is one of my favorite episodes of The New Twilight Zone. It is short but oh-so-sweet. Dee Wallace Stone is one of my favorite actresses and I love garage sales/yard sales and the old three wishes story. I also loved the fast pace and the humor in this story. It is easily one of the best episodes of this season, I think, and as I said, it is one of my favorites

 

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