Welcome back to my “Tales from the Darkside” Marathon! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes? We’ve all fantasized at some point of living large like a celebrity or having a better life in general when we’re feeling down. Well, today’s tale features a literal version of that wish. This is “The Social Climber.”
Anthony the shoemaker’s assistant, Rob, dreams of something more for his life. One day, he discovers he can literally live in someone else’s shoes just by putting them on. Rob immediately uses this power to experience life among the rich and famous. Will it fulfill his desires, or did he have everything he needed all along?
This episode felt forgettable. The dialogue alternates between Rob being unsatisfied with his mundane life and Anthony enforcing to him that he has all he could ever need. It’s not badly written but it comes across as kinda boring and typical. Even the morals of “be happy with what you’ve got” and “be careful what you wish for” have been done time and time again in better scenarios. This episode had an interesting premise, but it didn’t do a whole lot with it.
The characters aren’t very memorable either. The female supporting characters, an actress and Rob’s fiancee Gail, don’t add much to the story. It’s mostly centered on Rob and a bit on Anthony. I hate to say this, but while he’s not the most unlikable character I’ve come across, Rob was hard to sympathize with. He questions Anthony on whether he should even get married or play the field, laments the job he has, and more often than not obsesses over living large like the rich do. There were times I wished I could smack him. Anthony fares better personalty-wise as he’s the older, wiser, fatherly mentor figure to Rob, but there’s really nothing else to his character. It’s implied he’s able to imbue the shoes with magic, but this is never explained nor expanded on.
I’ll admit that I didn’t expect the twist and it does tie in with the morals this story puts forth. But despite that, it still felt like the episode ended on a tepid note. I feel this story could have benefited from more creativity and at least another rewrite.
To sum up, “The Social Climber” is a story with good idea but overly cliched execution. The dialogue was often boring and repetitive, the characters were ones that you’ve seen many times before, and as a cautionary tale it fell flat overall. With a bit of polish, this could have been a really good story. As it stands, though, I won’t be remembering this one anytime soon.