Night Visions – Dead Air (07/12/01)

nvdeadairWe’re immediately on thin ice:  strike one, Henry Rollins.  Strike two, a story about a disc jockey.  DJ stories just never work for me because they always feature programs no sane person would ever listen to the in the free market — like NPR [1].

At least the episode is not pretending this guy is a saint.  Within a minute he has cut off a caller and insulted the station janitor’s wife.  Not that the truth would have been much of a defense, but she actually is kind of cute in a nerd-girl way.  Nadine doesn’t need this crap and she does a quick pivot back out into the rain.

Tom Fallor is working the graveyard shift at KLED.  His gig is to listen to callers’ scary stories and offer his evaluation.  Like anyone cares what this dope thinks of other people’s creative endeavors . . . two . . .three . . . four . . .

His next call is from Laura who is telling her story, but stops to take delivery of a pizza. Coincidentally, a pizza man shows up at the station with a pre-paid-pie from Tasty Mon Pizza. If they offer ganj as a topping, this could be an even better weed/munchies time-management combo than pot brownies.

nvdeadair03He slips his hand in the box and pulls out a slice.  Laura calls back and tells him there is a huge dead rat on the pizza she just received.  He mocks her, but is appalled to find his own pizza also contains a huge dead rat; and anchovies.

Laura continues her call and really creeps Fallor out.  He puts on a little 5th Dimension and grabs his coffee. Unfortunately, he takes his coffee like he takes his plague — black.  OK, that doesn’t quite make sense — I mean he finds another dead rat in his conveniently rat-sized travel cup.  But really, he had it coming — who drinks coffee with pizza?

Fallor decides the rats are the work of the janitor whose gal he insulted.  The janitor proves him wrong by being found hanging by his neck.  He also finds the janitor’s girlfriend with a plastic bag over her head.  He finds that the exterior door is blocked by a car.  I might find this a little more menacing if he had tried calling the police.  Or if he wasn’t working in a place that could broadcast a 50,000 watt 9-1-1 call to thousands of people.

I’m no Don Draper, but wouldn’t it be a better sign for the business if it faced out instead of in?

The killer shows up, and I’m not sure it makes much sense.  It is hard to fairly judge this one because the YouTube video is of such low quality.  Much like Curtains, I don’t know how much better this would have been with a decent print.  My gut feeling is that with a clear picture, this would have been pretty good.  The plot doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny, but as an exercise in suspense it works fine.  Even though DJs are notoriously bad characters, Lou Diamond Philips makes the most of what he is given to work with.

It is only a slight act of faith to say this is the best of the series so far.


  • [1] I last listened to NPR in 2012.  Just twice, and both times within minutes, they implied Mitt Romney was racist.  It really is a shame — much like the New York Times, NPR is excellent in many ways but so full of intolerance and bias that they are repulsive.  I’ll say this for the New York Times, though — they don’t take my money at the point of a gun.
  • I assume the station call letters KLED were mean to suggest KILLED.  There actually is a KLED in Gillette Wyoming, but it began 11 years after this episode.
  • Henry Rollins closing statement:  “For all you pains in the asses out there. Remember you can only irritate so many people before you piss off the wrong one.” Ooooh, TV-cursing makes you seem so edgy!

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