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Saturday, January 07, 2006

1.29 --- I of Newton

Directed by : Kenneth Gilbert
Written by : Alan Brennert (story by Joe Haldeman)
Starring : Sherman Hemsley, Ron Glass
First aired : 13th of December, 1985.

While attempting to solve a seemingly unsolvable equation, math teacher Sam (Sherman Hemsley, The Jeffersons) accidentaly mentions he'd sell his soul for the solution, thus invoking the devil (Ron Glass, Serenity). The devil informs him the deal is all but made, and that Sam can void it only if he thinks of a task he can't accomplish, or a question he can't answer.

Sam is, however, given the option of asking any three questions about the devil's ability. After being informed that there is no place anywhere in the universe from which the devil could not return, and that he would have to be there no matter what is asked for him, Sam curtly asks the devil to get lost - and so defeats him in his game of wits.


A brilliant, very funny 8-minute short, I of Newton is the perfect palate cleanser after the heavy thinking induced by Her Pilgrim Soul. That the both lead characters are black gives this episode an added dimension of humour - Hemsley the old school african american, Glass the hip, new, 80s rapper/hip hop type. The jokes all hit the spot, the writing is sharp - all in all, a great TZ vignette.

TZ Trivia : at one point, the devil says "if you mention Dante nowadays, they ask you how did you like Gremlins". This is a clear reference to director Joe Dante, who directed one of the previous colour TZ episodes, The Shadow Man, and had great theatrical success with The Howling and Gremlins, amongst others.

Garden State Trivia : apparently, TZ people have a beef with New Jersey. In Dealer's Choice we're informed the devil lives there, here, one of the t-shirts devil wears says "hell is a city much like Newark".


And a very merry Christmas to all orthodox believers, who celebrate the birth of Christ on 7th of January. I am one of them, mind you.


Boxing day, 2008. -- because some ignoramii (that's plural for ignoramus, mind) have found me racist, fascist, nazi and whatnot for a particular usage of a particular word in a particular paragraph up above, I have amended it to something mellower and safe as milk, just in case some jackhole doesn't call Oprah and complain. Fight the power.

Comments on "1.29 --- I of Newton"


Anonymous honouredmatre said ... (12:36 PM) : 

THIS is my favourite ever episode! Makes me laugh every time I see it.

The first time I watched the Devil get whupped with the words "Get lost", my astonishment left me literally open-mouthed, so unexpected was the ending.

Either that, or I'm easily fooled! I don't care, though - to date, it's the best 8 minutes I've ever spent with my clothes on!


Blogger Mairosu said ... (12:24 PM) : 

As certain folks felt this was the place to create a racial cesspool, I've deleted all comments and edited the original review.

Carry on. And don't let your ignorance catch up with you !


Anonymous Anorak said ... (2:50 PM) : 

I can't help but wonder where and when was the word, but maybe I shouldn't ask.

Terrific site Mairosu, I'm reading through each review as I watch the episodes.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:42 AM) : 

You mention you edited the original review but it still appears racist where you mention "That the both lead characters are black gives this episode an added dimension of humour". You're implying black people are known to be buffoons and clowns, similar to the 19th century Sambo and Minstrel show stereotypes. Why can't you just leave race/ethnicity out of the review altogether? Sept. 8, 2011


Anonymous Anorak said ... (2:07 PM) : 

I can't speak for Mairosu, but I really DON'T think he meant that at all.

In many ways it'd be like reviewing the classic series episode "The Big Tall Wish" and not mentioning that groundbreaking facet of it.

I've seen the original review since, there are ways on the net to read old stuff, but we won't go there. I didn't think it was that bad, certainly not in intent anyway.


Anonymous Anorak said ... (12:36 PM) : 

... though I guess, in hindsight, I might have chosen the word "playa" instead.


Blogger Mairosu said ... (3:42 PM) : 

Dear anonymous,

If you chose to read it that way, you seem to have more racial problems than I do.

I'm implying it's funnier because it juxtaposes two stereotypes of American blacks, the one from the 80s and one from the older decade.

I'm a white European who grew up in a ethnically non-diverse society. The only blacks I saw before I moved abroad were the African students or embassy staff walking around. I suppose it's only natural I wind up a flaming cracker with all those blacks around.

I've no clue who's Sambo and what was happening on Minstrel shows, I call things the way I see them.

Thank you for the audience.


Blogger Mairosu said ... (3:50 PM) : 

@ Anorak, I rarely pander to the PC brigade, but I felt it could be of use here. I even used the term "african american", which I despise and never use in real life. As for the word I used, when they give me a proper explanation on why is it OK for blacks to call blacks so and not OK otherwise, I might even issue an apology.


Anonymous Adrock said ... (9:53 AM) : 

This is one of those episodes where you can guess the ending just from seeing the name of the guest cast. When you saw "Starring JAMES COCO" during "Act Break", you knew you were looking at a comedy. Same here, when you see two sitcom legends as the only actors in a two-hander story. So, not much suspense going in. They're not ending the story with Sherman Hemsley screaming in horrific pain.

That said, this is just a hilarious story. Love how the Devil's T-shirt changes slogans every time he turns around... a nifty little Easter egg.


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