Tales From the Darkside 215: A New Lease on Life

It's a new day and a new condo for one yuppie, and you know it's going to go disastrously because the very first shot of the episode is of a menacing high-tech communications device that growls when it hears someone approaching. Yuppie doesn't hear it though, so the only sign he has that anything is wrong is the surliness of the two workmen who bring up his typewriter and microwave oven. He questions them about the suspiciously good deal he's getting on the rent - an apartment like this should be $1000 and he's paying just $200! One of the workmen responds to his curiosity by 'accidentally' dropping his microwave oven on the floor.

The yuppie's exceptionally annoyed because the microwave was left to him in his mother's will, and was something of a family heirloom. Which seems quite crazy to me, but apparently there was a time when microwaves were incredibly rare and expensive. Weird. Oh, and we find out what was going on with the growling when one of the workmen turns around and reveals the emblem on the back of his work jumpsuit:

They're also extremely against microwave ovens, announcing that the radiation is damaging to your health and that it can get stuck in the walls. I'm sure they're just worried that the Dragon who lives in the basement won't like it. Then we're introduced to the building manager, who outright confirms that the yuppie is soon to be Dragon food. How can we know this? Two reasons: first the building is called the St. George, who of course was only famous for slaying that one Dragon that time. Secondly the woman's name is Mrs. Angler, establishing her as the person who lures new fish in with the bait of a far too cheap apartment.

Angler also handles the yuppie a roll of tape, letting them know that it would be better if he used that to hang pictures rather than hammering nails into the walls. Nail holes, you see, are like wounds. Dum-dum-dum! Okay, I'm confused now – is there a dragon in the basement, or is the building the Dragon? The yuppie is supposed to put all of his compost down a special chute, suggested that Dragon is just in the basement, but all this talk about microwaves hurting walls and wounding skin suggest that he's living inside a Dragon. A Dragon shaped like an apartment building.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

We did not have to wait long, did we? Angler explains that all the yuppie has to do to turn on the lights in the building is gently rub the control box, which makes the whole room shaken, then light up. So yeah, living in a dragon.

The second Mrs. Angler's out of the room the yuppie decides to go ahead and hammer a nail into the wall. This has predictably awful consequences, as the room groans in pain and then tosses the nail back out of the wall.

I don't care how good the rent is, once the walls start bleeding it's time to go.

The workmen drop by to clean and heal the injury, not even pretending to be doing anything other than treating a wound. Once they're gone a mysterious neighbor shows up at the the yuppie's door. She brings a rose and a warning to get out of the building as quickly as possible. Naturally, because this is the phase of the story when all sensible advice is ignored, the yuppie doesn't heed her warning about the apartment turning on you if you displease it. He sees terrifying evidence of this just days later, when the neighbor has gone from a perfectly normal young woman to this:

I'm talking about the wan skin, of course, not the crazy 80s headband. She once again tells the yuppie to leave, but Angler drops by and interrupts their conversation. After the neighbor has fled to her room Angler chides the yuppie for not putting enough food down the disposal, while herself dumping entire turkey dinner into the hole. She also invites the yuppie over for dinner the next night – what may prove to be his last meal!

Later that evening he hears a struggle from next door as the neighbor is dragged from her apartment and beaten by the workmen who announce that her lease has “expired”. By the time the yuppie gets to the hall he sees only the workmen tossing a cloth bag down the disposal:

They play stupid about its contents, but do it in that menacing way they specialize in. It doesn't come across as very convincing, considering the fact that the entire building growls and shakes as it devours the neighbor. The yuppie tries to talk to angler about it at dinner, but all she has to offer our denials and platitudes. She sends them out of the apartment would have a turkey to feed into the disposal, but the yuppies too concerned about waste to do any such thing. He bring leftovers home himself with the intent of eating them later, but that just drives the apartment mad! Lights flash, the stove bursts into flame, everything shakes in growls until angler in the workmen arrived to settle things down.

They bring the yuppie straight to the disposal and force him to drop the turkey down into it, which proves to be the last straw for the poor man. Determined to show, um, the apartment I guess, who's boss, the yuppie mashes up a few plates and some drain cleaner into a a garbage bag and then throws it directly into the dragon's disgusting stomach opening:

The Dragon isn't killed by the attack, though. So Mrs. Angler has plenty of time to show up and reveal to the yuppie that, unlike his neighbor, the Dragon never had any intention of eating him! In fact, it had marked him as a permanent resident of the building by way of putting a tattoo on his arm that he somehow didn't notice until just now. Angler chides him for not being able to accept the unbelievably fair living conditions of $200 a month and some organic garbage now and then, distracting him long enough for one of the dragon's tendrils to grab him and drag him into the stomach, where he'll no doubt be digested alive!

You know, while I do see their point about him being unwilling to live up to the relatively simple terms of his lease, I just can't get on board with Dragons eating their tenants. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned that way. Although I do appreciate the show's willingness to end on a pun. A terrible, terrible pun.

Even the stomach found it funny.


Unknown said...

Yeah this was pretty bad. So bad that it was...good?

Unknown said...

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