Director: Andy Wolk
Writers: Connie Johnson and Doug Ronning
Cast: Faye Grant, Alan Rachins, Anita Morris, Tristan Rogers, Annabelle Gurwitch, Anthony LaPaglia, John Kassir, and Parker Kane
Composer: Craig Safan
Air Date: 8/21/1991
After a soap opera addict named Janet (Faye Grant) becomes fed up with her husband Leon (Alan Rachins) and his kooky experiments, the lazy housewife has an affair with Abel, the Cable Guy (Anthony LaPaglia). Upon learning of his wife’s infidelity, Leon decides to test his ground-breaking medical advances on Abel and Janet.
Though many Tales from the Crypt fans will appreciate this episode’s self-aware comedy, “Spoiled” contains little in the way of traditional horror or sophisticated scares. Rather, the satirical soap opera routine grows quite tiresome by the final act and may annoy those who admire this show for its witty dialogue combined with quirky situations.
If nothing else, “Spoiled” presents a mildly amusing, albeit ironic, commentary on the generally low quality of 1990s television programming. Several tongue-in-cheek references shed light on the frivolous entertainment offered by the majority of cable providers, while a couple of cheesy plugs for HBO and Tales from the Crypt demonstrate that the series’ writers were occasionally willing to critique their own content as well.
While this episode’s narrative lacks the sharp humor and thrilling tension of most season three installments, Andy Wolk’s insufferable pacing further hampers the enjoyment value of an already bland concept. Before the twist ending finally occurs, almost nothing exciting or noteworthy happens to captivate audience interest. This problem is compounded by the fact that none of the three main characters exhibit likable or entertaining qualities at any point, giving the protagonists all the (perhaps intended) depth of their soap opera counterparts. Overall, those who enjoy intense horror stories over raunchy and repetitive plots should avoid this entry for the above reasons.
In spite of its exaggerated execution, “Spoiled” actually provides a modicum of insight into the failings of many modern marriages. Had the husband and wife in this episode simply embraced more selfless attitudes instead of allowing excessive work routines and mindless entertainment to consume their respective lives, perhaps viewers could have been spared such a ridiculous outcome.
“Spoiled” is a mostly forgettable effort among a long lineup of outstanding entries. Tales from the Crypt enthusiasts should appreciate Leon’s Dr. Frankenstein inspired attributes, though fans of intelligent horror/comedy will likely derive little value from this episode, aside from the aforementioned jabs at daytime television.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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