Director: Timna Ranon
Writer: Dan Kleinman
Cast: Justine Bateman, Tippi Hedren, George Sims, Ron Asher, Neil Kinsella, and Paul Sparer
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 11/4/1984
After a computer expert named Mookie (Ron Asher) passes away, his twin sister Pookie (Justine Bateman) decides to complete a program designed by her late brother. When Pookie picks up where Mookie left off, the determined young woman soon discovers a unique way of communicating with the spirit of her deceased sibling.
In spite of its cringe-inducing title, “Mookie and Pookie” benefits from strong performances and a poignant storyline. Unfortunately, a horribly dated premise and a cheesy music score hamper the quality of this otherwise decent offering.
Unlike many Tales from the Darkside episodes, “Mookie and Pookie” centers on a loving, tight-knit family. The functional relationships that exist among these characters allow them to come across as both likable and sympathetic on one hand, while the emotional turmoil caused by Mookie’s death prevents this family from seeming overly sappy or idealistic in their interactions with one another.
In a similar fashion to the previous episode, this installment relies quite heavily on the home computer craze of the 1980s for a science fiction theme, with goofy results. While a sentient PC might have been considered an ominous concept at the time, such a premise ultimately falls flat as a relevant horror device due to the astonishing number of technological advances that have occurred since the late 20th century. Additionally, young viewers are unlikely to appreciate this narrative’s numerous references to “the network” as a precursor to the modern-day internet. Sadly, this often fascinating show effectively isolates an entire generation of potential fans with its strong emphasis on antiquated material.
Although the means through which Mookie’s spirit manifests itself would be considered obsolete by present standards, the notion of attaining immortality via computer code offers an intriguing take on transhumanist philosophy. Perhaps an updated version of “Mookie and Pookie” would leave room for a serious exploration of a similar plot, minus the hokey synthesized voice through which the main character communicates.
“Mookie and Pookie” is a mixed bag of an episode. Even though a strong family atmosphere gives audiences a way of relating to the central characters, the corny execution of a time-sensitive story will likely appeal only to the most ardent of Tales from the Darkside enthusiasts.
Overall Quality: 5/10
If you enjoyed this post, please click the follow button or enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.