TFTD Marathon: “The Word Processor of the Gods”

22-the-word-processor-of-the-gods

Welcome back to my “Tales from the Darkside” Marathon! Over the years, computers have taken the world by storm as the dominant way to send and receive information. This has become more evident as writers have opted to use computers over old-fashioned typewriters. Today’s tale dives into the world of computers in the 80s. This is “The Word Processor of the Gods.”

Richard Hagstrom is a down on his luck writer who just can’t seem to get any respect. His teenage son, Seth, brushes him off and his wife, Lina, is a shrewd woman. He receives a brand new computer from his nephew, Jonathan, and hopes to use it to jump-start his career. Richard eventually finds out that his word processor can literally make his dreams come true just by typing them out. Will Richard finally everything he ever wanted, or should he watch what he wishes for?

This is another Stephen King story, and it shows. Some of the usual King tropes are here, such as the main character being an author, some almost cartoon-ishly awful characters, the occasional flashback, and a lot of detailed and semi-expositional dialogue. This story takes its sweet time getting to the word processor itself, but once it does, the rest of the episode becomes literal wish fulfillment as Richard tries to improve his sorry life. The execution is done fairly well, though I kinda wished the story was a tad more creative given its concept.

Given that the others characters are either not focused on or just awful for the sake of it, I’ll concentrate my thoughts on Richard. He’s basically a layman who’s treated like a doormat. Honestly, from the moment he was introduced, he just felt like a Stephen King character. That said, he’s likable enough and you can sympathize with his situation. The actions he takes to try to fix it would normally be seen as cruel if this was another kind of story, but King makes it blatantly acceptable here.

The twist is…that there really wasn’t a twist to speak of. No, I’m serious. While the ending has a brief moment that makes you wonder how it will turn out, the result is pretty much expected. I would even say that the ending as a whole is rare for this show, but that would be spoiling things.

“The Word Processor for the Gods,” while having a kinda dumb title, was a pretty good episode. It has a great concept, even if the main protagonist is the only worthwhile character, and tries to go for a slightly lighter tale without getting too silly. Despite being drenched in a lot of the tropes King is known for, it still is a simple tale of a man who deserved better. If you’re a Stephen King fan, give this one a watch. And even if you’re not, this is still a story that sets itself apart from the usual “Darkside” stuff.

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