Tales from the Darkside Episode 18: If the Shoes Fit…

Technical Specs

Director: Armand Mastroianni

Writers: N. Ward and Armand Mastroianni

Cast: Dick Shawn, Harry Goz, John Zarchen, Catherine A. Hayes, and Paul Sparer

Composer: Tom Pile

Air Date: 5/12/1985

 

Overview

tales-from-the-darkside-if-the-shoes-fitBelieving that a good politician must flatter and entertain his voter base in order to achieve popularity, gubernatorial candidate Bo Gumbs (Dick Shawn) shares his winning philosophy with an unassuming bellboy named Peter (John Zarchen). After heeding the instruction of his new mentor, Peter supplies Bo with the attire of a circus clown.

“If the Shoes Fit…” fails to expand the one-note joke upon which it operates. For this reason, viewers who enjoy Tales from the Darkside for its clever approach to black comedy are advised to avoid this offering.

 

Pros

Young children may be amused by the ridiculous appearance of Bo’s clown suit.

 

Cons

Similar to Greg Stillson from The Dead Zone, aspiring governor Bo Gumbs appeals to a broad constituency by resorting to many outrageous and self-deprecating antics. As Tales from the Darkside If the Shoes Fit... 2evidenced by the primary antagonist in Stephen King’s aforementioned novel, the above concept can be employed without resorting to asinine stereotypes; however, by rendering Bo a buffoon even before his transformation into a literal clown, this episode fails to explore such a premise with the nuance it deserves. “If the Shoes Fit…” therefore relies almost exclusively upon juvenile and often painfully unfunny gags while developing its main character, even though an initially intimidating and sleazy characterization would have better suited Bo’s purpose as a satirical representation of political figures who utilize superficial charm to win elections.

 

Analysis

Never trust a politician.

 

Concluding Comments

tales-from-the-darkside-if-the-shoes-fitA frivolous effort, “If the Shoes Fit…” makes waste of a brilliant opportunity to satirize the dumbed-down state of American politics. Had Bo’s transition been foisted upon him through supernatural or permanent means, a hilariously disturbing outcome could have ensued. As it stands, however, this episode will likely fail to arouse the interests of Tales from the Darkside fans or even those who might appreciate a compelling, if tongue-in-cheek, social commentary.

 

Overall Quality: 2/10

 

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