Story by Joe Haldeman
Teleplay by Alan Brennert
Directed by Kenneth Gilbert
Original Airdate - December 13, 1985
Sherman Hemsley - Sam
Ron Glass - The Devil



Sam, a professor of mathematics, is having trouble working out a theoretical equation on his classroom blackboard. He gets so fed up that he offers his soul to the Devil in return for a solution to the problem. The minute he says this, the Devil shows up, horns and all. Sam says it was only a figure of speech, but the Devil informs him that the only way sam can get out of this is by asking the Devil a question he can't answer or a task he can't perform. The Devil talks about what they do with the souls they take, and then says that Sam can ask just three questions about what the Devil's capabilities are. Then Sam has to ask the important question. Sam asks his questions, and the Devil answers them. It seems like Sam is stuck, since the Devil can be anywhere in a millisecond, and be anything he wants to be. There's nothing he can't do.

Finally, the Devil demands Sam to tell him a task he can't perform or a question he can't answer. Sam tells him, and the Devil cries out. (I'm not going to spoil this surprise so you'll just have to see the episode)

Another on our continuing tips on what to do if the devil shows up on your doorstep.



This is a fun and inventive episode, and one of the best. Basically a two man show throughout the entire ten minute piece, the actors play off each other well. Sherman Hemsley is good as the professor, and Ron Glass is great as the Devil. He's got a swagger that fits the image.

Math is used throughout the episode. One of the places the Devil suggests putting Sam's soul is on a planet inhabited by living binary digits. He says that Sam can work his way up through the ranks to become a fraction.

Another funny running gag is the slogan on the Devil's red t-shirt, thanks to the wit of Alan Brennert. It keeps changing from scene to scene, like an animated billboard. "Hell is a place much like New Jersey," and other sayings in that line, all of them making some reference to his place of residence. Alan grew up in New Jersey, so he's allowed this kind of joke.