The Hitchhiker Season 1 Episode 1 Shattered Vows

The Hitchhiker aired it's first episode November 23, 1983. This was a little less than a month after the debut of Tales From the Darkside. Personally, I didn't get to see The Hitchhiker as much because my family couldn't afford HBO, so I only got to see it when they would offer the free weekends to entice people to subscribe. Watching this debut episode, two things were clear to me. The first is that this was written to take advantage of it's home on cable by showing boobs. Lots of boobs. Secondly,  this was a stronger debut than the pilot for Tales From the Darkside, and not just because of the boobs. 

The story sees Jeff marrying the rich but older Jackie. As a gift his grandmother gives him a figurine of a man and woman that she says will bring him luck. While having lunch with Jackie and her plastic surgeon Peter Jeff meets Jackie's step-daughter Pamela. It is clear there is no love lost between the two, but somehow Jackie has been put in charge of Pamela's trust fund. Of course Pamela immediately seduces Jeff, and he decides he wants her, but wants to be rich also. At the wedding grandma's figurine i put on top of the cake and surrounded by candles. Jackie and Jeff are both suddenly burning up, and when the figurine topples over they fall as well. After the candles are blown out and they both immediately feel better, Jeff realizes that he has his opportunity.

He convinces Pamela about the figurine and concocts a plan. He will take Peter scuba diving. While he has the breathing apparatus in, Pamela will cover the figurine with a glass lid. This causes Jackie to suffocate, while Jeff is safe because of his scuba gear. Since Jackie dies in full view of the help, there is no suspicion of foul play. Jeff is now a rich widower, Pamela gets control of her trust fund, and the two can be with each other. It seems they have committed the perfect murder. Only Jeff doesn't take too many precautions with figurine, considering he knows that any harm that comes to it will happen to him as well. In fact, he leaves it sitting out on a desk. Jackie's pet bird gets out of it's cage and proceeds to claw it, causing Jeff to bloom gushing wounds while having sex with Pamela. His eye get clawed out and when the figurine gets toppled off the desk Jeff falls down a ravine. In the cheesiest moment of the show, he shatters as though made of porcelain.

The story is a bit predictable, but is still fun to watch. The music does get a bit overwrought, to the point where there were times when it sounded like a Twin Peaks style parody. The surprising thing about how good the episode is is that it was written by Lewis Chesler, whose writing credits mostly include Christmas shows. It was directed by Ivan Nagy, who had directed episodes of Starsky and Hutch, CHiPs, and Captain America II: Death Too Soon. His later credits appear to be soft core porn judging by the titles. Peter was played by Tom Heaton who was in The Fly II, the 90's version of The Outer Limits, and one of the best episodes of The X-Files(War of the Coprophages) among many credits. Aleisa Shirley, who played Pamela, doesn't have many credits, but this same year was in Spacehunter: Adventure in the Forbidden Zone which at the very least sounds like it would make a great MST3K episode. Alexandra Stewart (Jackie) has 146 credits lsited going all the way back to 1956, including Emmanuelle 3, the Highlander t.v. series, and Under the Cherry Moon. Bruce Greenwood, who played Jeff, has probably had the most notable career with credits that include I Robot, Doctor Sleep, the new Star Trek movies, and parts in the animated DC universe. Overall, I'd say this one was fun to watch, and if I didn't mention it, there are boobs.

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