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1986

Wishes

Instead of the store, this episode begins in the park, where Sam and Muffy are spending the day together, having a picnic in the park, at a picnic table next to a little stream. Sam is telling Muffy a harrowing sea story in which he is surrounded by pirates with no way of escape except over a waterfall.

"You know what happened then?" he asks dramatically. "I woke up!"

Muffy groans.

Suddenly, Sam spots something near the stream. A big, gold coin is sitting there. Sam and Muffy decide to go and see if anyone has reported it missing.

Evidently no one reported it,
because that night at the store, Jeff has heard about the coin from Muffy and is looking forward to seeing it. Jodie says that Sam's cleaning it up first and invites Jeff to help her build a house of cards for her display in the meantime.

In the computer room, Sam is snacking on a very large box of popcorn as he searches for a cloth to clean his coin. He opens the side closet. There is a big red button inside that says, "Push Me." He pushes it and a lovely chime sounds, so he pushes it again, and again. But when he pushes it one last time a wild siren blares and he jumps, tossing his popcorn every which way.

"Oh, boy, now I really need a cloth!" he says.

Jeff and Jodie have gotten quite far on their house of cards while they're waiting for Sam. Jeff, thinking about Sam and Muffy at the park that day, says a bit wistfully, "Jodie, you and Muffy and Sam are so lucky to be able to go to the park and go on picnics and things. Well, if I had one wish, I'd wish to be a real live person. Not - not just a magic mannequin who only lives in the store. Then I could go outside too!" He begins to sing about all the things he would do if he could go "outside the store," Jodie joins in and they sing and dance about all of the wonderful things Jeff could do if he could go outside. "The sky is so blue and there's so much to do outside the store!"

In the computer room, the desk is piled with popcorn and Sam is still looking for a cloth. TXL suggests he try his jacket pocket, and there it is! "May I inquire as to what necessitates the utilization of the cloth?"

"Sure! Sure!" Sam says doubtfully. "I suppose you wanna know why I wanna use it too, huh?"

"Precisely, Mr. Crenshaw," TXL says. So Sam tells her about the coin. She scans it on both sides and then tells him it's one of the rarest coins in the world, the Klopman coin.

Sam is beside himself. "This is my lucky day! The Klopman coin! Look at that, I can't believe it! I - um, uh, what is the Klopman coin anyway, TXL?"

TXL explains that it used to belong to a magician named Klopman the Clumsy, last seen when a rabbit pulled him into a hat. It is said that the finder of the coin will be granted three wishes. He must rub the coin and say the words on it, and Klopman will appear and grant the wishes.

Sam is skeptical. If the coin is so rare and magical, why was it just lying by a stream?

"Perhaps someone threw it there," TXL says, "It has the reputation of being unlucky."

Sam thinks it's all a big joke. "By the way, help yourself to the popcorn," he says, chuckling, to TXL as he goes to show the coin to the others.

When he arrives, he tells them all about what TXL says, but he thinks she was just joking around.

"Sam, you mean you haven't even tried it yet?" asks Jeff.

"No, Jeff, I haven't."

"But you've got to at least try!" says Jodie.

Sam reads the odd words on the coin. "Googly boogly moo . . . Who ever heard of a spell like that?"

"Come on, Sam." says Jeff.

So Sam rubs the coin against his jacket, says the words and poof! Klopman the Clumsy, (played by Alex Fallis), appears, pulling himself out of his hat. He immediately begins performing. He tries a card trick, but accidentally sprays the cards around the room. Next he pours water into his hat. He walks towards the others, tips it out and out comes . . . confetti! They all applaud. Now Klopman introduces himself, pulling a string of scarves ending in a pair of boxer shorts from under his cloak. He calls himself "Klopman the Magician," and informs Sam that he now has three wishes to make before midnight.

"All for me? Oh, that doesn't really seem fair. I wish all of you could have a wish."

A tinkling sound is heard.

"What was that sound?" Sam asks.

"You hear that sound every time a wish is granted."

"A wish? What wish?" Sam exclaims, "Who wished?"

"You did," Klopman reminds him, "you wished each of your friends could have a wish. So now they do, and you have two left." He also tells him that the only way to change a wish is with another wish. "Good luck, Crenshaw!" the magician says. He's off to find his rabbit. But when he puts his hat back on, splash! The water he poured in earlier streams down his face. A bit embarrassed he says, "I'd better do one trick right. I know. I'll make the coin disappear! Hold it up, Crenshaw. Coin, disappear! Googly Moo!"

"Ta-da! It's gone!" says Sam. But then he corrects himself, "It's still there." Then poof! Klopman disappears.

"Something tells me that was Klopman the Clumsy!" says Sam.

"Sam, I can't believe we've each got a wish!" says Jeff excitedly.

"Oh! A dream come true, thanks to you!" says Muffy patting Sam on the arm.

"Sam that was really generous of you." says Jodie.

Sam reminds them that he still has two wishes left.

"Now, Sam, what are you going to wish for?"

Sam isn't sure. He needs to think before he wishes. Jodie thinks they should all think about it first, then meet back just before midnight and make their wishes. They all agree.

Next TXL asks us if we remember Klopman's flubs. She shows us the botched card trick, the hat trick which seemed to work until Klopman put his hat on and got a face full of water, and the aborted attempt to make the coin disappear. "With magic like that, I think everyone had better be careful with the wishes they make. Don't you?"

Then, she asks the mime, "If you had a wish, what would you wish for?" The mime knows immediately. She mimes scooping ice cream onto a cone. Then she adds another scoop, and another, and another, and another until she has six scoops. TXL asks if she could eat all that and the mime enthusiastically assures us that she can. As we leave her, she's still scooping.

Meanwhile, Sam and Muffy are walking together in the hallway, talking about the danger of accidental wishing. Sam explains that it would be easy to wish for something ludicrous, like a bowl of chili. He says he'd like a bowl of chili with a jelly donut and a licorice milkshake. Muffy makes a disgusted face. In fact, he tells her, he's so hungry he could eat fifty liverwurst and sardine sandwiches.

"I would guess that fifty might almost dent your appetite," Muffy teases him, tapping him on the stomach.

"Bumblin' banana bread, Muffy, fifty's nothin'. Why, I betcha I could eat 75 of 'em, or a hundred, well, maybe even 150 of 'em. Sure I could. With all the trimmings: Maple syrup and marshmallows, the whole works, I'd love it!"

"Uh, now, Sam, although they are your favorite treat, 150's more than you can eat."

"Oh, no it's not!"

" 'Tis too!"

"No, no it's not," Sam singsongs.

"Let's see you!" Muffy sings back.

"How can you see me? I wish I had 150 liverwurst and sardine sandwiches right here, right now, and then you'd see!"

We hear the tinkling chime and sandwiches begin raining on Sam's head.

"Oh Sam! Sam! Are you all right? Oh, boy, you gave me quite a fright!"

"Oh, thunderin' buffaloes! My second wish! Why didn't you warn me, Muffy?" cries Sam. But he soon realizes it wasn't her fault. "Oh, but what am I gonna do with all these sandwiches, look at this!"

"Well, is this the time I should suggest we put your hunger to the test?"

"No, it's not, I've lost my appetite." He suggests that Muffy leave him alone for awhile. "I'm not mad at you," he explains, but with only one wish left, he wants to make sure nothing goes wrong.

So Muffy leaves.

"Oh boy, what a night," sighs Sam, looking around. "Funny. Doesn't really look like 150 sandwiches." All at once, another shower of sandwiches falls on his head and Sam lets out a groan.

The mime lady, in the meantime, is still miming the scooping of ice cream. She's up to 14, and now she's doing tricks with the scoops, tossing them under her leg and into the air and catching them right atop the towering cone. She's up to 16 when the segment ends.

Meanwhile, Jeff and Jodie are talking about their wishes. Jeff asks when an hour is up. Jodie says not quite yet. "Sounds like you already know what you're going to wish for."

"Oh, boy, I sure do. And if this wish comes true, I'll be the happiest person alive."

Jodie smiles knowingly.

"What about you? Have you got your wish?"

Jodie's not sure yet. She begins to list her options but before she can finish she notices an odd smell. She sniffs the air. "Do you smell something?" She sniffs again. "Fishy."

"Yeah. Yeah, it's sort of like fish and liver or something."

Sam comes in, rolling a cart filled with this sandwiches, which Jeff and Jodie can't quite see.

"Sam, what've you got there?" asks Jodie.

"It smells like about 150 of your liverwurst and sardine sandwiches, Sam."

'That's a coincidence," says Sam, "that's exactly what I have here."

Jeff and Jodie burst into laughs, sure he is kidding.

"I wonder what he really did have there?" Jodie asks.

In her apartment, Muffy, too, is thinking about her wish. Should she wish to be the first stop on Santa's list? A Cheese of the Month Club lifetime member? Should she wish for a birthday party every day? With only one wish left, she wants to be sure it's the right one.

"One wish, a special wish," she sings, "one wish for me. I want my special wish to be the best it can be."

Sam is putting away his sandwiches and he sings, "I don't know what wish I'll make, I'll just wait and see. But I know I want my wish to be the best it can be."

Jodie and Jeff, finishing their house of cards, are also singing about their wishes. "It's really very tricky, we must be very picky, we want to choose our wish so carefully. We wouldn't want to blow it, we'd much prefer to know it was the very, very best wish it could be!"

The screen splits in three, and we hear them all singing their lines simultaneously in counterpoint.

It's time for another visit with the mime lady, who is still scooping ice cream, tossing it in the air to reach the top of her monstrous ice cream cone. Finally, she's done after 25 scoops. But as she walks away with it, she trips, and then she has nothing but an empty cone.

"Oh no, mime lady," says TXL, "What are you going to do now?"

The mime smiles, puts one scoop of ice cream on her cone, and walks away, licking contentedly.

In the computer room, Sam has finally finished stacking his sandwiches in his closets. He's regained some of his composure, too. He sniffs the air. "Ah, what a lovely aroma. Don't you just love it, TXL?"

TXL answers in a voice that sounds like she's pinching her nose, "I have shut down my odor detectors, Mr. Crenshaw."

Sam assures her that the sandwiches will only last about three months or so.

Muffy comes running in to tell Sam it's wishing time. She makes a comment about the odor.

"Now, now, no jokes, Muffy," says Sam, "This would never have happened if you hadn't - oh, well, never mind." He admires her fruit covered hat. "Almost looks good enough to eat," he says.

Before they go, Sam taps on the computer keys to bring up the children's department on TXL's screen and see if Jeff and Jodie are waiting for them. As usual, he pushes the wrong buttons, a closet door opens, and the red "Push Me" button appears. Muffy is intrigued, just as Sam was. Sam tries to stop Muffy from pushing it, but he's mostly concentrating on how to push the right buttons on TXL's keyboard. Muffy rings it three times and wants to push it again. Sam warns her not to, but she doesn't listen. This time, along with a blaring siren, the button causes the whole place to go into alarm mode. The closets open, the side slot opens, and sandwiches are falling out everywhere, even dropping from above.

"Oh, Muffy, look what you've done!" Sam cries. Muffy tries apologize, but Sam is not in a forgiving mood. "Honestly, Muffy, whenever you're around always causing me trouble. Boy, sometimes, I just wish you'd disappear and leave me in peace."

We hear the chiming sound again, and poof! Muffy's gone.

Sam is horrified. "Muffy! Where did you go?"

"Because these wishes all come true, I have disappeared from view. Now my hat is all you've got. Thank you, Sam, thanks a lot," Muffy says resentfully. Indeed, all we can see is Muffy's fruit covered hat, hovering in the air.

Now it's Sam's turn to beg for forgiveness, but Muffy is very angry. "Well, since they mean so much to you, I wish you were a sandwich, too!"

Oops.

Now Sam's body is a huge sardine and liverwurst sandwich. "Oh, Muffy, what have you done?" Sam moans, "Look at me!"

"Oh, Sam, I goofed. I slipped up mentally. Oh, I wished in anger - accidentally!"

'Oh, boy, what're we going to do now? We've both used up our wishes."

"Hey, Jeff and Jodie still have theirs. Quick, let's both rush upstairs."

Jodie and Jeff are excitedly waiting their turn to wish. They sing, "One wish, a special wish, one wish for me - I want my special wish to be the best it can be."

"Oh, Jodie, I can't wait." Jeff says, "The one thing I've hoped for and dreamed of for so long! I'm going to be really alive. And it's just a wish away! Oh, and I can finally go outside the store and do things with you and Sam and Muffy and I've never been so excited!"

"Jeff, I think it's just wonderful!" says Jodie, giving him a hug.

"Now, what about you? What are you going to wish for?"

"Oh, gosh, Jeff. I don't know. There's so many different things. Well, I could wish there were no more hungry children or peace throughout the whole world. Sure glad I have a chance, though."

"Me, too!" says Jeff. They're so happy Sam gave them a wish.

"You know, he's really very kind," says Jodie. "Sometimes I just wish that, well, that I could be more like Sam." We hear the tinkling sound again, and poof! Jodie's midsection is a sardine and liverwurst sandwich.

"Oh!" she cries in horror.

"Jodie! W-w-what happened?"

"Oh, Jeff! I - I must have wished by mistake."

"Yes, but . . ." Jeff says in a broad, calamitous voice, "Why are you a sandwich?"

Muffy and Sam hurry into the children's department.

"Hold it! Hold it! Nobody move and nobody wish!" Sam cries.

"Oh-oh, no go!" says the invisible Muffy, apparently catching sight of Jodie.

Jeff wonders where Muffy is.

"Well, she's right here but she's uh, but - oh, it's a long story Jeff, uh, to sum it up, we wished by accident and this is what happened to us."

"Me, too." says Jodie. "I wished that I could be more like you." Jeff, Jodie and Sam are laughing over their preposterous fix they're in. But Muffy has only one thing in mind.

"Ahem! I'd like to keep the mood informal, but how do we get back to normal?"

"Yeah, that's right," says Sam. "We all have to be wished back to normal.

That's the only way you know. Jeff, do you still have your wish left?"

Jeff looks horror struck. "Yes, but . . ." he looks at Jodie helplessly. "Well, I wanted - I wanted my wish to . . ."

Jodie says gently, "Jeff, I know how much your wish means to you. But really, how much fun could you have with two sandwiches and an invisible mouse?"

"You're right." Jeff says. "Who'd wanna be alive for that? Oh, I wish you were all back to normal." Poof! It's done. Jodie runs over to thank him. They're all celebrating their return to normal and don't even notice that Jeff is walking away.

"Boy, that Klopman coin really is unlucky isn't it?" says Sam, "Just like TXL said it would be."

"I'll say. I'd like to take it down to the lake and throw it in." Jodie says.

"Well, if you do, I'll go too!" Muffy says.

Finally, Jodie remembers Jeff. "Aw, gee, Jeff, I real . . ." she begins. He is standing at the doorway watching them. Once they notice he's gone, he walks away.

"Jeff? Where is he?" says Jodie.

"Oh, I don't know, where did he go?" Muffy asks.

"Jeff?" they call. But he's gone.

He is walking dejectedly through the store, with the "One Wish" music playing in the background. Finally, he climbs up to a large window. Hands in his pocket, he gazes outside, looking, presumably, at what might have been.


Quizzes:

  • Klopman says he's going to make the Klopman coin disappear. Can you remember which one is the Klopman coin? "It's this one! If you remembered, way to go, because Klopman's going to make it disappear. One, two, three, presto!" He points the wand and every coin disappears except the Klopman coin. "Uh-oh!" says TXL, "Klopman the Clumsy has done it again!"

Nursery Rhyme:

  • None

Notes:

  • For the most part, I like "Wishes." But the ending is disturbing on many levels. The sad conclusion without any comforting closure could be hard for kids to take.  Seeing Jeff's dream of being a real person come so close only to be dashed by the carelessness of his friends was bothersome and it remained unrelieved by any kind of apology.
  • For me, an adult when I first saw it, what bothered me the most was Sam, Muffy and Jodie's preoccupation with their own restoration to normalcy and lack of real empathy for what Jeff had given up. Jodie's attitude was hardest to take. Only she really knew the depth of Jeff's longing and how much he was looking forward to life outside the store. Jeff made a huge sacrifice here, and after he did, a brief thank you was followed by declarations of how unlucky the coin was, with no recognition of their own culpability in the matter. They should have all rallied around Jeff to comfort him after what he did, falling at his feet in gratitude, but instead they appeared to forget about him and were surprised when he left. It was really rather odd.
  • It would have been nice if Jodie, Sam and Muffy had found Jeff and stood with him in the window with their arms around him. That would have been a subdued ending, and perhaps still too sad for children, but it would have provided some feeling that Jeff's friends would help him through this hard time.
  • Of course, if Jeff had wished for one more wish, he could've fixed the others and had his own wish, too. There was nothing to prevent him, since Sam had already wished for more wishes for his friends and gotten them.
  • The idea of sacrifice for one's friends was strong here, but it was done better in "A Visit to the Opera."
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