Director: John Strysik
Writer: Jule Selbo
Cast: Brian Benben, Loren Cedar, Alison Sweeney, Helen Duffy, LaGloria Scott, and Paul Sparer
Composers: Ken Lauber and Hilary Bercovici
Air Date: 10/5/1986
Following the death of her mother Flora (Helen Duffy), Libby (Loren Cedar)—engaged to an asthmatic choir director named Max (Brian Benben)—makes a disturbing observation about her younger sister Karen (Alison Sweeney). Specifically, Karen wishes goodbye to people immediately before they die, leading Max and Libby to accuse the child of murder.
Offering a poignant twist on the main theme of “It’s a Good Life” from The Twilight Zone, “I Can’t Help Saying Goodbye” may appeal to sci-fi/horror fans of a sensitive nature. This episode does, however, deserve criticism for its awkward pacing, inconsistent characters, and lack of justice in the final scene.
Alison Sweeney (later known for hosting The Biggest Loser) should be commended for her performance, which compels the audience to sympathize with young Karen—an otherwise creepy and misunderstood child who, despite pleading her innocence to the best of her ability, is wrongly and tragically accused of altering the fates of those closest to her.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
By threatening to “say goodbye” to Max and Libby, Karen—now claiming responsibility for the deaths of her mother and best friend—may fail to evoke compassion from those who initially feel sorry for her.
“I Can’t Help Saying Goodbye” benefits from an emotionally stirring premise. Series enthusiasts may nevertheless wish to forgo this Tales from the Darkside entry, which, in addition to lacking a strong central protagonist, presents a cruel and unsatisfying resolution to Karen’s predicament.
Overall Quality: 4/10
If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.