Director: Randa Haines
Writer: Scott Nimerfro
Cast: Frances Bay, Carol Kane, Brian Kerwin, John Kassir, David Dunard, Todd Field, and Shari Maier
Composer: Michael Convertino
Air Date: 6/12/1990
An eccentric housewife named Judy (Carol Kane) is visited by a witch (Frances Bay) who uses a powerful amulet to trade bodies with her host. Meanwhile, Judy’s bumbling, gun-toting husband Donald (Brian Kerwin) has a difficult time figuring out which body contains the spirit of his wife.
A mediocre effort, “Judy, You’re Not Yourself Today” can best be described as an anti-gun propaganda piece, with all the subtlety one might expect from a Michael Moore documentary. Obnoxious social commentary aside, this installment fails to generate a suspenseful atmosphere to complement its ridiculous subject matter.
The quirky talents of Carol Kane and Frances Bay culminate in many humorous exchanges between the two. Likewise, a clever, albeit convoluted, twist in the final scene partially redeems this episode’s conclusion from the lackluster narrative that precedes it (the ending sequence is, however, tainted by a heavy emphasis on awkwardly choreographed action).
Michael Convertino’s carnival-inspired score is quite distracting at certain points and downright bizarre at others. The inappropriate choice of music may irritate viewers during the most somber of moments, which should have been accentuated with a gentle and perhaps even haunting composition.
Also, Brian Kerwin lacked the nuance to pull off the exaggerated mannerisms and goofy James Bond impersonations that define his character, thus resulting in a performance reminiscent of a poor man’s Jim Carrey. In fairness to the actor, much of Donald’s dialogue is too outrageous to allow for a truly restrained approach, which may account for the majority of Kerwin’s hammy antics.
From a non-technical standpoint, the greatest flaw of “Judy, You’re Not Yourself Today” is that it attempts to satirize United States gun culture, but resorts to a Hollywood stereotype of an NRA member in order to do so. Regardless of how one feels about this controversial issue, a case can be made for gun control without characterizing firearm owners as reckless fools who frequently draw their weapons on random strangers.
“Judy, You’re Not Yourself Today” fails to produce enough tension, humor, or a combination of these two elements to sufficiently entertain its target audience. In addition, the lazy political critique outlined earlier may offend Tales from the Crypt fans of a more conservative inclination.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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