Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Twilight Zone (2/4) Mason Riley G2 H01

The Man in the Bottle
     This episode puts a spin on many of the things that people wish for and makes us rethink our true desires.  Genies are known for granting wishes, but, unlike Aladdin's Genie, many are solely tricksters who get a kick out of turning people's wishes against them, much like the genie from The Fairly Oddparents.

The genie in this story is the same way, forcing those who decide to make wishes to watch what they say, lest they suffer the consequences. 

     A man and wife own a shop and have no money, but tons of bills.  The husband wishes for a way to pay them, but has no means to do so.  An old lady brings in a bottle that she claims is a family heirloom, and he reluctantly buys it after she sheds tears when he refuses.  It is revealed that the husband gives money to people who come in searching for a means to keep on living, solely buying another meal.  The two end up knocking over the bottle accidentally, and gas seeps out when it is uncorked.  A genie manifests itself from this haze and offers the couple 4 wishes.  He states the terms: any wish, once uttered, is irrevocable and changeable only by a subsequent wish.  They promptly wish for their broken glass case to be repaired, just to prove if the genie is legitimate.  After the genie reveals his true power, the husband becomes unhinged over the potential prospects, but the wife is reluctant to ask for any wishes.  The husband then impulsively wishes for one million dollars, a wish promptly granted.  This leads to them be very generous with their new found largess, and it attracts people from miles around.  With those people come the IRS, and the couple find out that they have given so much away that they are only left with 5 dollars in the end.  Aristotle's Eudemonia fits nicely here, as the people are looking for a way to quickly satiate their present pains, instead of thinking of the future and how to better their lives in order to bring continual happiness instead of having a temporary salve. I do not know how a wish could have been worded in order to make it safe to ask the genie for, but any amount of money will only last so long, especially if an extravagant lifestyle or a  very generous existence come of it.

     The genie reminds the husband that he did not ask for tax free money, which angers him because the genie was so deceptive and deceitful.  "No matter what you wish for, you must be prepared for the consequences," is a warning given by the genie right before the husband wishes to be a leader of a foreign country, one who cannot be voted out of office, and in their the current century.  He asks about consequences and the genie just laughs it off and says that consequences are always involved.  The husband then becomes Adolf Hitler, crying at his desk at the end of World War II.  A soldier who is with him offers him a liquid to end his life before the whole country is decimated by the Allies and he is captured.  

He then wishes to be back to before it all began, and then he sees how good his old life really was compared to what he could have been given.  He throws the bottle in the trash, where it magically reassembles, waiting for the next victim to unwittingly release the man in the bottle.  Once again, Schopenhaur would have loved this episode, because it perfectly catalogues how fickle humans are, and how we wish for something one minute and want it all taken away the next.  Although, I have to admit, the wishes were not exactly what the people had wished for, I assume they would have fallen prey to similar circumstances regardless.  Bertrand Russell, too, would have loved this episode, as the analytical nature and twisting of the words by the genie forces people to either pay attention to their word choice and syntax, or stop asking altogether.  The linguistic turn has to due with the underling logical form of sentences, and thinking about the wording of sentences before wishing would be a major undertaking in order to get exactly what a person wanted.  This episode just goes to show that not much in life is truly free.

Word Count: 739
Total Word Count 539+739=1278

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