Main cast: Tate Donovan (Nelson DeMears), Michelle Renee Thomas (Jane), John Caponera (Jack), Peter Dobson (Eddie), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Roland Mesa
Poor socially awkward Nelson DeMears is a computer programmer whose ideas are poached by his colleague Jack for that man’s own career promotion, and Jack manages to convince Nelson that this is a good arrangement, as Jack will repay the favor when he gets promoted. Our poor guy goes home to an apartment he shares with his only friend, Eddie. Not in a gay way, sadly, as this is one guy who could use some loving.
As a result of growing up a genius and never having any kind of normal childhood, Nelson has created an imaginary friend – Eddie – who is basically everything he never dares to be. Eddie is outspoken, daring, and, at the same time, knows how to comfort and say the right things to calm Nelson down.
This arrangement hits a snag when Jane moves in to the apartment across the hall. Nelson likes her, and Eddie encourages him to go for it… until they learn that Jane is a psychologist. Eddie then freaks out, because Jane will surely drive Eddie out of Nelson’s head if she learns of the man’s imaginary friend. He wants Nelson to get rid of her ASAP. Nelson, for the first time in his life, is in disagreement with his best buddy. What will happen next in this uncomfortable love triangle?
Operation Friendship is pretty entertaining to watch while it is on, thanks mostly to Peter Dobson who isn’t ashamed to get all bromance-y and even homoerotic with Tate Donovan, and the two men certainly seem to have fun doing their thing in this episode. But ultimately, I’m not sure whether this episode has a decent payoff. Wait, I’m not sure whether it even has a payoff.
You see, it is kind of an unspoken fact that the original comics that Tales from the Crypt plumbs its stories from are targeted to kids, especially kids who are, shall we say, of the nerdy kind. You’d think a episode like this will be sympathetic to Nelson, but think again. The take-home message is that the world is harsh, and you need to embrace your inner asshole to thrive in it. I’m still not sure whether this is a middle finger or a kind of tough love message.
At any rate, this is a rather middling episode – somewhat entertaining and easily forgotten thereafter – but given how the season has progressed so far, I should be happy that this episode is the way it is!