The Strange Thing about The Johnsons is a short film drama about domestic violence, with satiric elements.
The film focuses on the eponymous Johnson family. Sidney, a successful poet. Joan, his wife. And Isaiah, his charismatic son who has just gotten married. However, this is where the film jumps into its true nature. Isaiah has been raping his dad since he was twelve and worse, his dad refused to confess to it in fear of how people around him will take it. At the start of the film, however, Sidney has finished his memoir confessing his story of the abuse, which he plans to publish.
The Strange Thing About The Johnsons provides examples of:
- Ax-Crazy: Isaiah
- Big "NO!": Sidney when Isaiah bust open the bathroom door while he is taking a bath.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Guess.
- Caught with Your Pants Down: The opening scene.
- Downer Ending: Sidney dies after getting hit by a car, after the funeral Isaiah burns his Manuscript, the only proof of what he did. Joan kills him after confronting him but with the manuscript gone she is truly the only one left who knows of what her son did to his father and she can never breathe a word of it to anyone.
- First-Episode Spoiler: The opening begins with a twelve-year-old Isaiah masturbating to a photo, when Sidney accidentally barges in, and follows this up with a lecture on masturbation. Fairly awkward, but nothing out of the ordinary. But then the camera pans to reveal that the photo was that of Sidney.
- Hannibal Lecture: Isaiah gives one to Sidney in a last ditch effort to stop him from publishing the manuscript.
- Happily Married: To Isaiah's chargin, Joan and Sidney are happily married to each other throughout the movie.
- Jerkass: Isaiah.
- Karmic Death: Isaiah is killed by his mother, Joan, at the end.
- Look Both Ways: Justified, Sidney is so torn up by the aforementioned Hannibal Lecture he runs off in a daze and is hit by a van before he can get out of the way. One could also interpret this as a suicide, perfectly understandable given the circumstances.
- Poor Communication Kills: Sidney does not tell anyone what his son is doing to him in fear of his reputation. He finally decides to confess it in a memoir he plans to publish, but before he can, he gets hit by a car and is killed on impact.
- Parental Incest: A one-sided, forced, incestuous relationship between Isaiah and his dad. A rare example where the child is the abuser and the parent is the victim.
- Pushover Parents: Neither Sidney nor Joan seem to attempt to punish Isaiah or have him arrested for his actions.
- Rape as Backstory: Isaiah has been raping his father since he was 12.
- Self-Made Orphan/Matricide: Not only did Isaiah accidentally get his dad killed, but he tried to shove his mother's face into a fireplace after she attacked him.
- Teens Are Monsters: Isaiah in spades.
- Villainous Breakdown: Isaiah has a massive one after Sidney is killed.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Isaiah is a very successful person and is married to boot. Fair to say the memoir is the only thing that would unravel his horrible secret.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Isaiah's wife is only seen a few times and is unseen the rest of the film.
- Yandere: Isaiah is one to his own father.
- You Monster!: Joan calls her son out for inadvertently killing his dad.