Main cast: William Hickey (Carlton Webster), Rick Rossovich (Hans/Younger Carlton Webster), Kelly Preston (Linda), Roy Brocksmith (Doctor), Ian Abercrombie (Fulton), J Patrick McNamara (Dr Thorne), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Switch is the second episode in a row that features a female character with… dubious character, let’s just say, which understandably leads to some quarters accusing the show of having issues about women in general. To be fair, though, so far the show is actually very democratic in demonizing both sexes – neither men nor women look good most of the time, and as many manipulative and shrewish women there are here, there are also just as many conniving or just plain addled men around.
Incidentally, this episode is also Arnold Schwarzenegger’s directorial debut, if IMDB is anything to go by, and his appearance with the Crypt Keeper in the opening sequence is actually the most animated and human-like I’ve seen from him. Hmm.
Anyway, in this one, we have elderly rich bloke Carlton Webster who believes that the only way to have Linda in his life is by being young again. Given that William Hickey plays his character in a manner best described as “creepy manic overdrive”, it’s more possible that Linda doesn’t want him because he’s just obnoxious. You see, Carlton wants Linda to love him for himself, not for his money, so he downplays his appearance and pretends to have “very little money”. She tells him that she can never love him because he is too old for her. Hence, his determination to be young again. His quest leads him to a mad scientist who will be happy to transfer his mind into the body of a younger man, Hans.
As you can imagine, things still don’t turn out as planned. Linda turns out to be a gold digger type of woman, marrying Hans, now in Carlton’s body, when she discovers that Carlton is very wealthy. So that leaves poor Carlton in Hans’s body… and I’m supposed to believe that a second time youth is terrible because he now has little money? Well, he has enough money to buy Linda a wedding ring, so… I don’t know. And that his love interest turns out to be a gold digger – is it so bad to discover that and be rid of her? All in all, the “twist” at the end doesn’t seem as dire as it is made out to be.
But that’s nothing compared to how over the top the acting, the direction, and the pacing is. Everything is too much – characters are cackling, slobbering, snickering, et cetera when they are not prancing clownishly in big Gothic mansions. The whole thing feels more like a shoddy episode of Goosebumps than anything else, and there is just too much second hand cringe for me to fully enjoy this one.