Fridge / The Twilight Zone (1959)
aka: The Twilight Zone

Fridge Brilliance
  • I have always had an interpretation of "He's Alive" that few people (as far as I know) have contemplated. As the spoilerized know, the ghost of Adolf Hitler directs the protagonist to become his ideological heir and start a new Nazi movement. But I never thought it was Hitler talking to the protagonist, especially after his famous line of "I invented darkness." Who could literally claim the mantle of inventor of darkness, who could appear in a form that the protagonist would be drawn to and offer limitless power? Satan.
  • This troper saw "It's Still A Good Life" from The Twilight Zone (2002), and was initially confused by the behavior of Anthony's daughter, Audry. After a bit of thought though, her behavior suddenly made perfect sense. Throughout the episode, we see that Audry is the only one not afraid of Anthony and is able to subtly manipulate him (as shown when she keeps him from hurting someone in the bowling alley). In the episode's climax, she was put in a difficult position - she can defend her friends and grandmother and let loose her anger towards her father and punish him, but she also does still love her father and doesn't really want to hurt him. She knows that she can both send things to and bring them back from the cornfield. So she pitches a fit and pretends to side with him and sends everyone away, to show him the error of his ways. Anthony is clearly lonely and a bit afraid after she leaves them alone in the town, and as soon as he tells her as much, she brings everything back and convinces him to travel to New York. It was a clever plan that let him know the error of his ways without having to attack anyone permanently.
  • Why is the military covering up the crash in "The Parallel"? Because if they released the truth, that the ship crash landed completely intact after losing all contact, nobody would believe them and assume an even bigger coverup.
  • In "Five Characters in Search of an Exit", there's one scene where the Army major tries to get out of the cylindrical room by stabbing the wall with his saber, and the saber breaks like a twig. Now, the first time you see that episode, it gives you the impression that the wall is made out of some super-durable metal (lending credence to the Ballerina's theory that the characters are trapped in an alien spaceship). Then you find out the Twist Ending... Of course the sword snapped with one blow—the major was a doll, so his sword was made of cheap plastic.
  • At first it seemed weird to me that despite having no memory and only the most archetypical of personalities the characters in "Five Characters In Search of an Exit" still retain some skills; the bagpipe player can still play bagpipes and the Ballerina can still dance. Put when it is revealed that the characters are all children's dolls it makes perfect sense. They have the skills because those skills are the defining characteristics of their roles, their backstories and personalities have to come from the children who play with them.
  • The Russian woman's behavior and aggression towards the American man in "Two," despite that he's long given up on fighting, makes an unfortunate degree of sense. First of all, a lifetime's worth of training isn't easily broken, and he is dressed in enemy colors. Second, the Language Barrier. Third? He's bigger, stronger, and played by Charles Bronson. Rape is an unfortunately common war crime, and she may have already been on the receiving end of it.
  • Dave from "The New Exhibit" seemed to play a very minor role, as all he did was give Emma the idea to turn off the air conditioner that led to her death. Why was he in the episode then? If you go with the theory that Martin killed Emma, Dave, and Ferguson and just imagined that the wax figures killed them, that means he would've killed 3 people total classifying him as a serial killer which would rightly give him a place at the ending as a figure in the museum with other serial killers. If he had only killed 2 people, he wouldn't have been classified as a serial killer and the ending might not have worked so well

Fridge Horror
  • "The Odyssey of Flight 33" is this and more, because the people will forever remain in another time period, forever searching for a way out and their loved ones never know what happened to them. The fact that the captain tells his passengers this is also horrifying, too.
  • "A Nice Place to Visit" adds a substantial Oh, Crap! to the ending of "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine".
  • The episode "And When the Sky Was Opened" involves three men slowly disapearing from existence. It's never explained exactly why, but it's implied that someone or something that controls the universe accidently let the men survive a space ship crash when they were supposed to die. To compensate for this mistake, this unknown force corrects destiny by erasing the three men and everyone's memory of them completly from reality. The thought of being erased from existence was already a terrifying idea to This troper. I just realized though that if something like this story happened in real life, there would be no way for any of us to know about it. You or I could have had a best friend for our entire lives who was wiped from existence the same way as the men in the episode, and nobody would realize it or be able to prove it.
  • In the episode "A Nice Place To Visit", Rocky Valentine, after spending the first few days in his personal paradise in the afterlife which is really an Ironic Hell, asks his spirit guide, Pip, how a thug like him managed to get into such a nice place, figuring that 'this place' would be more for schoolteachers or something. To which Pip says, "Oh, we have a few schoolteachers here." Let that sink in for a minute; at the time the episode aired (1960), schoolteachers were considered altruistic and number 3 on the list of adults that children could automatically trust, behind police and their own parents. The idea that there could be corrupt, evil schoolteachers would be Nightmare Fuel to some viewers.
  • The implications of being trapped in a frozen moment of time for all eternity is where the real horror of "A Kind of Stopwatch" lies. Not even McNulty deserved that!
  • In "It's Still a Good Life", Anthony is able to manipulate the entire town to do as he wishes. They're all afraid of him and try to hide their hatred of him. But he was married and had a child before he sent his wife away.
    • Then you realize, to find a wife Anthony had to date. Date someone who could erase you from existence if you do anything wrong.
      • Anthony went through puberty. He was horrifying enough as a Creepy Child and as a Psychopathic Man Child. Imagine what he was like as a teenager. And as mentioned above, a teenager starting to notice girls.
  • The ending of "Caesar and Me," where Caesar convinces Susan to run off with him. In addition to the fact that the little girl implicitly agreed to kill her grandma, there's just something off about how Caesar, a dummy with the personality of a grown man, is offering to take a little girl to see the city, as well as the likelihood that the two would resort to crime as a way to make money. Susan may have been a brat, but that whole set-up can be easily seen as the beginning of a Break the Cutie scenario...
  • In the episode "Living Doll", Talky Tina says "you better be nice to me!" after she murders Erich, which implies her motives are selfish and she didn't do it to protect Christie. It's impossible to get rid of or destroy Tina, so Christie's stuck with a vindictive, homicidal magic doll, possibly forever. So...what happens to Christie if she gets a new favorite toy, or when she starts outgrowing dolls?
    • Speaking of "Living Doll", pay close attention to Erich and Annabelle's behavior throughout the whole episode in addition to his behavior to Christie. Erich is passive-aggressive while Annabelle is pleading and begging him to stop. Looks quite a bit like emotional abuse, doesn't it?
    • Another theory on the doll. One of the theories about poltergeists and similar paranormal activity is that of a child or adolescent suppressing their emotions and their subconscious lashing out in rage with telekinesis. Take a child with an emotionally abusive stepfather (who is a jerk to both her and her mom), and a focus for channeling all that suppressed anger (bonus is that the doll and the girl have the same name), and Christie may have been the one who controlled the doll all along...but not even known it.
  • The angel in "The Hunt" says that the gatekeeper of Hell is always trying to get innocent people to go into hell. How many have?
    • This is made even worse by how Hyder only avoided Hell because Rip died at the exact same time as him and was able to travel to the afterlife with him. To this troper, that seems like a very unlikely coincidence, especially when considering the average lifespans of humans and dogs.
    • Hyder was established as not much of a church-goer or excessively kindly man, meaning that The Powers That Be were still deciding on where he ought to go. The dog was his best buddy and cherished companion. Leaving his dog behind to go to Paradise or trying to sneak the dog through the back door would have established him as not worthy of eternal reward. Putting his foot down and saying "not without my dog" established him as willing to sacrifice his own comfort to keep his dog company. The whole thing was likely a Secret Test of Character
  • The episode "I am the Night- Color me Black" is full of this. The sun doesn't rise over a town on the day of an innocent man's execution. It remains pitch black well into the afternoon. Still, the whole town turns out to watch. He says he'll gladly give them a show, but not the satisfaction of his apology. After his hanging, the town's reverend realizes what the darkness is: hate. The hate they felt toward him, the hate he felt toward them, all of it coming up and choking them all. The same thing happens in many other places filled with hate around the world, including Birmingham, Alabama and all of North Vietnam. These areas will more than likely freeze over without any sunlight. Worse, since the cause is human emotion, it doesn't matter where refugees might go; as along as someone hates someone else, the darkness will follow. In a time like the 1960s, it could grow to cover the whole world.
    • Which, given Serling's beliefs, was entirely the point.
  • Not so much horrific as depressing in "The Fever": Franklin was at the dollar slot machine for over five hours. Given a pull every five seconds and a mean 133% payout (not counting losses) over an hour, it's safe to say he lost around $3,600. That's around $28,000 in 2016 money. Also, figuring an average household income of $7,000 per year, that's over six months of pay. As the Gibbs were implied to be retirees, that would have probably ruined them.
    • A bit of Fridge Brilliance as well, showing how for every lucky guy who hits the machine's $10,000 jackpot, there's probably six or more guys who provided the money (giving the casino 10k in profit as well).
    • This episode shows exactly how casinos make their money. A man who plays, and loses, will move on. However, if a man wins, he begins to believe it will happen again. Just as long as he keeps at it. This deceptive trick has made the casinos billions over the years... and has ruined countless lives.
  • "Perchance to Dream" becomes a lot scarier and sadder when you realize there are people out there with heart conditions that can easily kill them due to sudden shocks.
  • "To Serve Man": the Kanamits say that they have brought their "gift" to many civilizations — now think about all those episodes where people think they are the last people on Earth, or some other planet...
  • What's going to happen to the couple in "Stopover in a Quiet Town"? The same thing that happened to the squirrel?
  • There's one in "A Piano in the House": While Fitzgerald is having fun embarrassing his guests, he decides to play a song "to bring out the devil" but Esther quickly changes it to Brahmas "Lullaby". What would've happened if Esther hadn't thought quickly or even worse, if Fitzgerald stopped her from doing so?

Fridge Logic
  • How did Henry Bemis know he was the last person on the planet if he never even left the city? For all he knew, it might have just been his town that was vaporized. And on top of that, Henry Bemis couldn't have been the only person on earth who was inside a bank vault or some kind of shleter at the time...there may have been other survivors too!
  • "Five Characters in Search of an Exit": A clown, a soldier, a bagpipe-player, a ballerina and a hobo. Who donates a hobo doll to a little girls' charity, particularly in the 1960s?
    • It could just be a male doll of a destructive child or pet to ruin the clothes of?
      • Such characters were modestly popular in entertainment at the time, including children's entertainment.
  • "It's a Good Life": Ok, so Anthony is a godlike child with the ability to turn people's lives upside down..but why don't they just shoot him? It's not like they weren't capable, they could've just shot him when his back was turned or something. He isn't omnipotent, per se.
    • He's not omnipotent but he is telepathic and can sense when someone is thinking bad thoughts especially about him. "Let's shoot the kid" would definitely qualify as a bad thought. You'd have to be really quick.
    • It's not revealed whether he can still read minds while asleep, so offing him then also might have been an option. That is, assuming he does sleep.
    • I was always under the impression that Anthony, a being who was able to eradicate the existence of an entire planet beyond his own town, as well as the ability to telepathically read anyone's mind any time he wants regardless of where they are, would be considered an omnipotent force. Rod does mention that the people in Peakesville must always think happy thoughts, which would imply that it doesn't matter you are or where Anthony is, he can tell what you're thinking at any given time. If you even begun the making's of a plot to off Anthony, you'd be sent to the cornfield before you could even grab a weapon. Certainly, somebody must've tried before it got to the point we see in the show. Even at the end, it's hard to say whether or not turning on Anthony then would've worked given what he could've done to any of them, tragically enough.
  • In "Escape Clause," Walter Bedeker sells his soul to the devil and gains immortality. He confesses to murdering his wife in the hopes of trying out the electric chair, for the thrill of it, but his lawyer manages to just get him life in prison. Walter opts to use his escape clause and simply ask the devil to kill him, rather than spend thousands of years in prison. It never occurs to him that, after a few decades, someone's bound to notice that he isn't aging. While that in itself might have a bad outcome (human guinea pig, perhaps?), it wouldn't do him any harm to wait around to see what happened.
    • For that matter, he could have fired his lawyer.
    • Or, as it's clear he has no qualms about killing, simply overpowered his jail guards and strode out the exit, shrugging off gunfire and taking a hostage if he needs something open. That would loop right back into Fridge Horror however; a man willing to murder to get a thrill, totally immortal, wandering the countryside as just another hobo- and even something like a sustained artillery barrage or even a *nuclear missile* might not kill him.

Alternative Title(s): The Twilight Zone

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fridge/TheTwilightZone1959?from=Fridge.TheTwilightZone