The Misfortune Cookie

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"The Misfortune Cookie"
The Twilight Zone episode
The Misfortune Cookie.jpg
Scene from The Misfortune Cookie
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 14c
Directed by Allan Arkush
Written by Charles E. Fritch: Screenplay by Steven Rae aka Rockne S. O'Bannon
Original air date January 3, 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Elliott Gould: Harry Folger
Bennett Ohta: Mr. Lee
Caroline Lagerfelt: April Hamilton
Frederick Coffin: Max
Claire Carter: Glamorous Gourmette
John G. Scanlon: O'Malley
Elven Harvard: Guard
Al Leong: Proprietor

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Little People of Killany Woods"
Next →
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

"The Misfortune Cookie" is the third segment of the fourteenth episode from the first season (1985–86) of the television series The Twilight Zone.


Harry Folger is a snobby and arrogant food critic for a major newspaper. Restaurants live or die by his reviews, which are often nasty. Folger's hobby is to collect matchbooks of restaurants he's destroyed, displaying them as tombstones in a graveyard scene. One day he hears about a mysterious new Chinese restaurant, "Mr. Lee's Chinese Cuisine", and—without ever visiting the place—immediately begins typing a review: "If you love your Pekingese, don't ask for a doggie bag..." However, being the gourmand he is and urged by his boss, Harry decides he simply must visit the establishment in person. When he enters the restaurant, he orders a massive amount of food, then immediately asks for the check before trying any of his meal. Though disappointed, the owner, Mr. Lee, presents Harry with a fortune cookie. Harry reads the fortune: "A grand reward awaits you just around the corner," and exits.

As Harry is walking through the alley, a bank robber knocks him down and drops $100,000 in diamonds before running away. The jeweler says that Harry deserves $1,000—that was supposed to be a bonus for the security guards who failed to catch the crook—as a reward. Realizing the fortune cookies are indeed magical, Harry returns for more. He promises to change his review, but then at lunch he receives a fortune that says: "April arrives today bringing romance." Harry knows it is September, so he storms out and goes back on his promise. But before he can get to his office, he meets a woman asking for directions. He shows her the way, and asks her out for dinner. When he asks her name, she replies, "April."

At their dinner, April's fortune tells her that she will soon recognize a grievous error in judgment. Harry's message says "You're going to die". Outraged, Harry swears at Mr. Lee, causing a scene. April, seeing him for who he truly is, leaves him behind. Mr. Lee tells him the fortune cookie delivers due fortune. As he exits the restaurant, Harry is overcome with massive hunger pangs. He looks up and finds that he is surrounded by Chinese restaurants that were not there before. Not thinking anything of it, he goes into one restaurant, and finds himself being served by figures with pale faces, but no matter how much he eats, he can't seem to satisfy his hunger. As he continues to eat, he receives a fortune that informs him why he is perpetually hungry: "You're dead." The last scene shows Folger's matchbook graveyard-the latest "tombstone" has Folger's name on it.

Closing narration[edit]

External links[edit]