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What is that climbing up the stair?
It's not a boar, it's not a bear
And on its head it has a horn
As odd as any unicorn....
Wild Palms is a six hour science fiction TV mini-series from 1993, produced by Oliver Stone and written by Bruce Wagner (who also wrote the comic book the series was based on). It starred James Belushi, Bebe Neuwirth, Angie Dickinson, Kim Cattral, Ernie Hudson and Robert Loggia.
Set in 2007, Harry Wyckoff (Belushi) has got it all: A successful career as a patent attourney, a beautiful wife, a teenage son starting a TV career, and a little daughter who is still too shy to speak. But at night, he is haunted by nightmares of palm trees and rhinoceroses. Accepting a call for help from his former girlfriend to find her kidnapped son, Harry is pulled into a web of intrigue surrounding the charismatic Senator Kreutzer, TV Channel 3, a strange religion called Synthiotics and old rival secret societies called The Friends and The Fathers.
Wild Palms demonstrated an astoundingly sensible projection of future trends, including the rise of retro music as well as believable fashion.
Provides Examples Of:
- Affably Evil: Senator Tony Kreutzer.
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Harry's therapy sessions.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Kreutzer, Wyckoff, Levitt And Schenkel.
- Arc Words: "Everything Must Go."
- As Himself: William Gibson at a party, Oliver Stone in a TV interview about JFK.
Paige: This is William Gibson, Harry.
Harry: Oh, yeah...Neuromancer, right?
Paige: He invented the word "cyberspace."
Gibson: And they'll never let me forget it.
- Brain Uploading: Senator Kreutzer's ultimate goal.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Heavily implied between Tully and his sister.
- Church of Happyology: Synthiotics is a thinly veiled Expy of Scientology. Its founder is said to be a former science fiction writer, and its elite mooks dress as sailors like members of the Sea Org. Notably, Wild Palms was released quite a few years before Scientology became widely known as an Acceptable Target and displays considerably more subtle knowledge of said religion than most modern digs at it.
- Creepy Child: Coty Wyckoff, and how.
- Cryptic Conversation: Most conversations in this series are cryptic.
- Cute Mute: Deirdre "Little Buddha" Wyckoff.
- Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: Averted with palms and lots of sunshine. Includes some elements of Post Cyber Punk.
- Cyberspace: Chickie Levitt spends most of his time there.
- Dark Messiah: Coty is being set up as one by the Fathers.
- Dead Person Conversation: Harry and Grace.
- The Dragon: Josie Ito to Senator Kreutzer.
- Dream Sequence: Harry's nightmares.
- Driven to Suicide: Grace Wyckoff, though she survives the attempt...only to be killed off by her mother. Tully also kills himself after killing Josie.
- Eye Scream: When Josie gouges out Tully's eyes with her thumbs.
- Evil Chancellor: Senator Tony Kreutzer.
- Evil Matriarch: Josie Ito.
- Fan Disservice: During a nightmare, Harry reaches over to touch his wife in bed -- and she turns into Robert Loggia, snorting like a warthog. May well be the most unsettling moment in the entire series.
- Femme Fatale: Paige. Paige. And Paige.
- Genius Cripple: Chickie Levitt.
- GIRL: Terra, Chickie's cyberspace love-interest.
- Hard Light: Mimecom TV + the Mimezine drug.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Ernie Hudson, Brad Dourif, Kim Cattrall, Robert Loggia, Bebe Neuwirth, Ben Savage, David Warner -- quite a few recognizable actors comprise the main and supporting casts.
- Hide Your Gays: Totally averted.
- Hollywood Cyborg: Tully uses virtual reality glasses to compensate for his blindness after Josie gouges out his eyes.
- La Résistance: The Friends.
- Large Ham: Senator Tony Kreutzer just loves to Chew the Scenery. To be expected from a character played by Robert Loggia.
- The Masquerade: The Fathers' scheme; their war with the Friends.
- No New Fashions in the Future: subverted. Edwardian suits and groovy sixties dresses are both back in style. There's also a sixties music revival going on, including several lounge-style covers of famous pop songs.
- Offing the Offspring: Josie kills Grace, her daughter.
- Playing Against Type: James Belushi playing a serious character (albeit one with a sense of humor) in a serious show.
- Shout-Out: The Marx Brothers film Animal Crackers included a song titled "Hello, I Must Be Going". It was the title of the final episode of the miniseries, and the song itself was sung by villain Senator Kreutzer (Robert Loggia) as he died.
- T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" and Walt Whitman's "O Captain, My Captain" serve as the anthems of the Fathers and the Friends.
- "Beat me up, Scotty!"
- Show Within a Show: The Church Windows sitcom Coty is playing in.
- Soaperizing: The series was essentially a cyberpunk soap opera.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: Produced in 1993, set in 2007.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Friends may be the "good guys," but they can be damned manipulative and cold at times.
- Viewers Are Geniuses
- We Are Everywhere: Everyone Harry knows seems to turn out to be either a Friend or a Father.
- Yaoi Guys: Tommy Laszlo and Tully Woiwode.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: With the assistance of Mimezine.