Friday, June 7, 2019

Dahl Study: Fat Chance

My author study of Roald Dahl started with a reading of his Collected Stories while watching the accompanying episode of Tales of the Unexpected. Each Friday I'll recap a story and show (with spoilers, just so you know), but I encourage you to read and watch them on your own if you're interested!

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"Fat Chance" from Tales of the Unexpected (viewed 6/4/19)

This episode was unique because there was no matching story in Collected Stories. The story is actually written by Robert Bloch, but since it was part of the series I still wanted to view it and see how it fit in. Dahl does introduce the story on film, as he does with his own.

The episode has a good, but fairly common concept, but of course with a nice twist. A pharmacist is having an affair with his wife's best friend. He and this woman act in local plays together, so no one seems suspicious of them. While this is going on, the wife is going to a weight loss clinic because he husband calls her a compulsive eater. She's often shown eaten candy hidden in her purse while he's at work all day. She hides the report cards from the weight loss clinic, but the pharmacist knows where she hides them and always checks - she's not losing weight. He's frustrated with her, and the mistress is frustrated with their relationship. She tells the pharmacist he needs to leave his wife, but he's reluctant to change anything.

The best friend/mistress goes to visit the wife and plants seeds that the husband is cheating on her. The wife gets mad and says she'll take him for all he's worth. When the husband hears this, he and the mistress both agree he can't divorce her, because then they'd be poor. The mistress implies that he needs to kill her, and that he can since he's a pharmacist and has the knowledge of what might work, and has access to lots of pills.

The wife always asks the husband to bring home low calorie treats from the pharmacy, but one day he surprises her with a box of chocolates. He injected the chocolates with a drug and carefully covered his tracks so she'd eat them. She's happy but puts them aside for the night. The next morning, the mistress comes to the husband at work and says she's going away for awhile, and will only come back if the wife is out of the picture. When the pharmacist comes home his wife is stretched out on the couch; she looks dead, but wakes up when he leans over her. He asks if she ate the chocolates, and she excitedly tells him that she's realized she's not losing weight due to her own lack of willpower, and now she's determined to lose weight. He asks where the chocolates are, and she says she gave them to the best friend/mistress when she came over to say goodbye.

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