Monday, 22 February 2010

Poetic justice

Back in the sixties, Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone made TV history by surprising viewers every week with its ingenious concepts and morbid sense of humour. The trademark of the anthology series was its twist endings, which usually came in the form of a bitterly ironic pay-off designed to show each episode's protagonist the error of their ways.

Although this old black and white show looks like a grainy historical relic now, many of the allegories and parables it depicts have stood the test of time. From The Sixth Sense, right up to this month's Shutter Island, the box office has shown that we never really grew out of our love for a good twist in the tale.

So it's to be hoped that someone, somewhere is taking notes, because the Ballad of Cheryl and Ashley would be a dead-cert ratings winner if the Twilight Zone ever makes another comeback.

Just imagine - the domestic bliss of a young, successful couple is exposed as a sham. Despite outward appearances, the husband is a serial philanderer, who uses an unregistered mobile phone to keep in touch with a string of would-be mistresses.

Wary of being caught out, he decides that the safest bet is to send texts and MMS picture messages to his 'happy slappers'- that way he can conduct his affairs right under his wife's nose. The affairs continue until his cover is blown, when the seemingly trustworthy mistresses go public with the gory details and pixelated pictures.

But then his phone rings one last time. It's another text, but this one doesn't come with a video-taped audition for Television X. It's from his wife, and it simply reads "Move out. It's over."

Forget about disappearing limps, retrograde amnesia or Raquel Welch posters, that's how you end a story.

However, I still think Cheryl missed a trick. After all, she made it so easy for us to conjure up headlines featuring 'Fight For This Love', it's just a shame that she couldn't also find a way to dump Ashley in 3 words.

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