Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tales from the Darkside: Grandma's Last Wish


There's so much noise and talking and yelling and ringing phones and loud crashes and howls of pain in "Grandma's Last Wish" that I just wanted to scream "Shut up!" The fatal flaw of this episode is that it mistakes noise for hilarity, and by the end, I was just irritated.

The episode is also terribly predictable. A feeble, old woman (Jane Connell), a week away from being sent off to a nursing home by her self-absorbed family, wishes they learn what it's like to feel old and unloved, so the family (mother, father, teenaged daughter) gradually becomes feeble, clumsy, and senile. Mom gets liver spots, Dad keeps forgetting things, and the daughter loses her gymnastic skills. Only Grandma, smiling coyly as all this happens, knows the reason why.

Directed by Warner Shook, another actor who played a zombie in Dawn of the Dead, this all plays out at the level of shrill farce, and it wears thin very quickly. Once it becomes apparent what's happening to the younger family members, the momentum of the narrative grinds to a halt, and we're just waiting for it reach its overdue conclusion.

Like in a lot of episodes, the premise isn't bad, but not much is done with it apart from sketching it in. Grandma feels satisfied once her family becomes old and senile, but there's a lack of drama and tension. The other characters never clue in to what's happening to them, and there's no conflict about it. They don't learn or react to anything, so they remain obnoxious, one-dimensional jerks through and through.

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