That Twilight Zone episode

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That Twilight Zone episode

Postby Ringading on Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:18 am

The problem with that Twilight Zone episode is that so much effort is put into avoiding everybody's face, which makes the ending transparent within five minutes. That twist should have been revealed after those five minutes to make room for an additional element to the story.
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Re: That Twilight Zone episode

Postby Ringading on Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:16 pm

Good point, but it seems to me that even without today's expectations the contemporaneous viewer of a Twilight Zone episode would still know to expect a twist. This was in the second season after all, and people would surely have come to know its usual structure. Additionally, twists have long been entrenched in science fiction short stories in general. So the strange evasion of facial features should have been enough to clue in the suspecting viewer. It's hard to say for sure without asking someone who was able to experience the series in its first run, though.

I'm reminded of something Borges once wrote. I forget where he wrote it, but it was basically that the rise of the detective/mystery story created a shift in the reader's approach to a story. He humorously used the example of Don Quixote's opening passage, proposing suspicious questions that could come to the mind of a post-detective reader but that Cervantes would not have expected to have occurred with such vigour. ("A 'certain village' of La Mancha? Why is this detail concealed? What sort of 'gentleman' is meant?" etc.) This example wouldn't strictly be the actual case, but it's interesting to consider the way our approach to a text can alter as changing norms produce new expectations. Comedy is a good example- a pie to the face would once have been surprisingly absurd, but is now a classic staple. Humour is still produced, but the style of humour is different. The conditions that the original style of humour is predicated upon are, for all intents and purposes, impossible to reproduce. We can only imagine what the original viewing would have been like or, in some cases, receive second-hand impressions from those who did partake of the original viewing.
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Re: That Twilight Zone episode

Postby Ringading on Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:30 pm

That's largely true, but somewhat irrelevant as I don't think anybody would ever argue that The Twilight Zone is quite the caliber of Shakespeare anyway. It is simply a classic example of well-written, adequately produced, early television.

I disagree that the episodes are entirely predicated on the twist, however. The best of them have greater depth than that and remain thoroughly enjoyable on a second or third watching. Perhaps, as you mentioned, not in quite the same way as watching Hamlet even with foreknowledge of the titular character's procrastination's consequences, but pleasant nonetheless. The dispute between the playwright and his wife in A World Of His Own, for instance, holds up on the sheer strength of the characters.
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Re: That Twilight Zone episode

Postby Ringading on Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:57 am

In case anybody is wondering, mods deleted the other responses as part of a conspiracy to make me look crazy. I will not submit to this plot.
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Re: That Twilight Zone episode

Postby RevSam on Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:03 am

ringading you crazy
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