Twilight Zone – The Leprechaun-Artist (02/21/86)

JP and Richie ride their bikes to Buddy’s house.  Buddy is using his time wisely, checking out the latest issue of Boudoir Magazine, although making the rookie mistake of holding it up with two hands.

There are some nice shots of the three suicidal lunatics pedaling down the street with no pads and no helmets. My God, how much did the stunt people charge to pull off this death-defying scene?  The boys hop the curb, ride off-road for a bit, and ditch the bikes.  During the opening narration, they climb a rope up a dirt cliff about 12 feet tall. Can this even happen anymore without CGI?  It really is refreshing to see kids portraying kids acting like kids.

They climb into a tree-house and soon spot a wee fellow singing down below — Faith and Begorrah, it’s a Leprechaun!  I’ll say this for the Leprechaun-Americans [1], they’re snappy dressers.  Even strolling through the forest with a bindle, they can be counted on to sport a blazer, frilly shirt and a top-hat.  When he sees the boys have spotted him, he runs away.  His little legs are no match for the boys, so they quickly catch him and haul him up to the tree-house.

The Leprechaun, Shawn McGool, tells them that because they caught him, they get 3 wishes, but cheaply he divides it up to one wish each.  He does mention that the wishes may be used for charity, but concedes that rarely happens.

Buddy, the porn-fan, goes first.  He thinks long and hard — that gives him the idea to wish for x-ray vision.  The next morning, the x-ray vision starts to kick in on the way to school.  In a dangerous scene for TV, Buddy ogles the teen girls getting on the school bus — naked to his eyes, and obscured by bright light to ours.  It is a good effect, because they were pretty limited on how to sensitively (i.e. legally) handle that scene.  As the ability grows stronger, he is repulsed to see the internal organs of another girl and the skulls of his friends.  He soon realizes that it is not cool to look through unsuspecting girls’ clothes — better to be invisible and sneak into the showers.  Luckily, the Leprechaun is able to take back the x-ray vision before he goes home to have dinner with his parents.

JP is next and magnanimously includes his pals in his wish.  He wishes for the ability to control their parents.  JP goes home and asks his mother for $50 for some records (black vinyl discs used to play music); she complies zombie-like.  Buddy sees his parents just sitting in their car.  He orders his father to bark and his mother to sing. Richie’s father is playing chauffeur as Richie lays in the back seat in rock-star shades. They go back to JP’s house for pizza and ice cream as Buddy’s parents continue to bark and sing in the background.  The dim bulbs finally realize that their parents won’t do anything without instruction from the boys.  JP also asks for his wish to be reversed but not before Buddy instructs his parents to add Cinemax to their cable line-up.

The pressure is really on Richie now.  He wishes for a “new, hot, really state of the art automobile, endless gasoline, and a driver with a mind of his own”.  The Leprechaun agrees; his obligation fulfilled, he disappears to a hollow tree, or the end of a rainbow, or most likely a pub.  They go out to the road and find a white limo and a white limo driver waiting for them.  The driver drives like a maniac and they are pulled over by the cops. Of course, the Leprechaun took “hot car” literally — it is stolen.  The driver disappears and they are taken to the police station.  They see the Leprechaun as they are being booked.  Once again, he lets them off the hook.  They run out the station doors leaping into a freeze frame.

There were a lot of red flags going into the segment, but it exceeded expectations on every level.  The kids weren’t Stranger Things caliber, but they were entirely adequate. Their parents were surprisingly memorable given their brief scenes.  Cork Hubbert as the Leprechaun staggered away with the show, though.  IMDb says he was born in Oregon, so maybe was faking the Scottish Irish [UPDATED] accent.  It sounded great to me and he was consistently fun and interesting.  While certainly not an original plot, it is a classic trope and the script here was funny and clever enough to shake the dust off.

One of their best.

Post Debris:

  • [1] I guess he got in just under the wire for the new immigration restrictions.  I mean literally under the wire.  Because he’s so short.  Walked right under.  The wire.
  • This is the second Leprechaun tale in six weeks.  It is nice that they slyly reference the earlier episode by McGool saying people confuse Leprechauns with extraterrestrials.
  • Classic TZ Legacy:  I Dream of Genie and The Man in the Bottle both had wishes going awry.
  • Title Analysis:  No idea what they were going for. [UPDATED: I am schooled in the comments]

4 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – The Leprechaun-Artist (02/21/86)

  1. Title is most likely a silly pun. Going by phonetics, it’d read something like “The LepreCon-Artist”.

    Interesting that a premise I’d think more fitting for a sitcom than a Twilight Zone delivers one of your favorite episodes in the revival yet; should give it a look.

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