Published with permission from Alternet.
If Americans feel like they’re living in a “Twilight Zone” episode thanks to Donald Trump, well, that’s kind of how he intended it. The presumptive GOP nominee is a big fan of the series, and for some time cited an early episode as a major inspiration for his lifestyle choices.
Notice how Trump often says, “If I’m president we’ll win so much, you’ll get bored with winning?” Sounds bizarre, right? Well it should: It’s adopted from the hallmark series of bizarro television.
Watch a clip of the Twilight Zone episode, “A Nice Place to Visit”:
In 1992, Wayne Barrett, a reporter for the Village Voice, wrote an epic biography of Donald Trump tited The Deals and the Downfall (HarperCollins). Like many Americans, the book grapples to understand Trump’s rationale.
Below is an excerpt:
“What are your goals?” he [Trump] was once asked in a television interview when he was at the peak of his success. “Goals?” he repeated, apparently taken aback by this foreign concept, unable to imagine a sense of purpose grander than a scorecard. “You keep winning and you win and you win,” he said in the midst of the crisis, reflecting on his better days. “You keep hitting and hitting. And then somehow it doesn’t mean as much as it used to.”
Donald liked to recall his favorite “Twilight Zone” episode, which featured a venal man who died in an accident, was offered any wish he wanted, and declared: “I want to win, win, win. Everything I want. I went to get. I want to get the most beautiful women. I want to get the beautiful this and that. I want to never lose again.” Then, as Donald recounted the story, the man was shown playing pool, winning every time. “Everything he did, he won,” said Donald, until the godlike figure who’d granted his wish came back to the man. “And the man said, ‘If this is Heaven, let me go to Hell.’ And the person said, ‘You are in Hell.’ (pp. 31-32)
The episode Trump is referring to is called “A Nice Place to Visit,” which aired on April 15, 1960. The episode revolves around Rocky Valentine, a thief who is shot to death during an attempted robbery. In the afterlife, he encounters Mr. Pip, who gives Rocky everything he wishes for.
But it’s not just similarities in dialogue that the episode and Trump have in common. In fact, every scene closely echos a quintessential part of Trump’s brand.
Rocky is first given a million dollars by Mr. Pip, a white-haired sort of father figure, similar to how Trump was given a “small loan of a million dollars” by his own father. And the first place Rocky goes upon recieving the money is—you guessed it—a casino. Even the bit about Rocky’s name being written on the wall of the building screams “Trump.”
“I’ve had a lot of victories,” Trump told People Magazine, explaining his minor obsession with the episode’s plotline. “I fight hard for victory, and I think I enjoy it as much as I ever did. But I realize that maybe new victories won’t be the same as the first couple.” Maybe Trump is getting so sick of winning, he won’t want the presidency, even if he’s elected.
Watch the full episode of The Twilight Zone’s “A Nice Place to Visit”: