The Twilight Zone: Teaching Real Life Lessons Since 1959
We never knew what we were missing by not watching this show—until Nicole-Lyn showed us the light. The Twi-light. Get it? No?—Sparkitors
You clicked this post out of mild curiosity. Scroll downward, and you’ll find another dimension. A dimension of truth. A dimension of laughter. A dimension of Rod Sterling impressions. You’re reading through a text of both whimsy and gravity. Of geekiness and inspiration. You just clicked over—to the Twilight Zone.
Ah, yes, The Twilight Zone: the anthology show to end all anthology shows. It was chock-full intrigue, entertainment, and that pure, honest-to-goodness 1960's cheesiness that we all know and love. Add that to the fact that everything’s cooler and deeper when it’s in black and white, and you’ve got one really amazing show. And if you’re wondering if I count the newer Twilight Zone series as awesome as well, I don’t. That show can fall into the sewer and get eaten by Killer Croc.
One of the things that made the original series so great was its moral fiber. It taught you things that everyone should know: don’t be a paranoid lunatic, sharing is good, and always play nice. But the Twilight Zone, like everything else in the world, had some rather strange, underlying messages as well, ones that I find far more interesting: you better hit the gym because we’ll wear nothing but formfitting leotards in the future, To Serve Man is most definitely a cookbook, and little kids are all out to kill you. And I’m going to look at some more of those cool life lessons right now! (Beware: there are spoilers.)
Nightmare at 20000 Feet
The Intended Message: Do what you know is best—helping others is more important than what people may think of you.
The Actual One: Crazy people are right! Believe them always or a gremlin will kill you.
You all know the story: There’s a guy, he’s on a plane, he sees a giant mutant teddy bear on the wing, and he proceeds to freak out until he shoots it and everyone realizes that he wasn’t a nut job after all. Cue ending monologue. It’s an inspiring story about a man who tries to help people even though no one believes him about the danger they’re in. There’s only one tiny little problem, though: no one believes him for a darn good reason! He’d just gotten out of a mental institution for some other air travel-related mental breakdown; why would anyone take his insane ranting seriously? If you look at it from the perspective of pretty much everyone else, he was just some crazy guy whose antics are the reason airport security is so annoying.
The Old Man In the Cave
The Intended Message: Listen to the people who’ve actually earned your trust, not some random guy who waltzes into town and talks tough.
The Actual One: Computers are awesome and better than human beings in every conceivable way.
This episode takes place where a lot of awesome things take place—after the nuclear apocalypse. There’s a group of people who started up a nice rustic town, and they all listen to the main character, the only person that the elusive “old man in the cave” talks to. The Old Man tells them whether or not their land and food are contaminated, but one day some stereotypically sociopathic soldiers show up and say, “The Old Man’s stupid, and we want us some Beenie Weenies!” It turns out that the Old Man is just a computer. They and the rest of the town eat the food. They all die. The main character is alone and probably feeling way smarter than everyone else. The lesson here? Computers know everything and never give you false, ego-boosting information; if you would’ve listened to them until their batteries ran out, you wouldn’t have died.
The Lateness of the Hour
The Intended Message: Is it right to give an android human thoughts and emotions, only to treat them as a lesser being afterward?
The Actual One: Your parents are big fat liars, and you’re probably a robot. Or adopted. Or something.
There’s a nice young lady who lives with her massage-hogging mother and robot-building father. She wants to move out of their house because all the robots there creep her out and she actually wants to know what sunlight feels like. She finds out that she’s a robot her father built because her parents couldn’t have kids, and he reprograms her to be a mindless servant because that’s obviously the only course of action he could’ve taken when it comes to taking care of his little girl. The end. The main character’s parents lied to her for her entire life, kept her socially isolated, and, in the end, they decided that they would rather have another maid rather than, I don’t know, erase the last two hours from her memory chip or literally anything else. You better check your back for batteries and drop some hints to your parents to see if they love clean houses more than you.
These were the messages brought to you by one of the best television series eer. Outlandish and strange they may be, but what, truly, makes a good life lesson? Is it a transcending truth? Or an overly specific misunderstanding of basic storylines? Whether or not they are facts or the driveling of a madwoman, you read them here—in the Twilight Zone.
Cue spooky music and giant attacking teddy bears! Any other fans of this show out there?
Related post: 8 TV Shows You Need to See Before You Die
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