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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 7 E 1 Family Values

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The Control Voice: In a society where devotion to one's family is frequently sacrificed on the alter of ambition... can the things we sacrifice ever be regained?

A negligent father buys a robot to take care of his family, but finds the robot taking over his household.

The Control Voice: Before allowing a machine to take over a part of your life, make sure that you know the true price you will be paying.
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Family Tropes:

  • The Alcoholic: Brooke Miller started drinking as she was depressed over the fact that her husband Jerry was hardly ever home and left everything, including raising their children Candace and Russ, to her. She typically drinks at least one glass of vodka and three glasses of wine per day. She eventually gives up drinking after the robot Gideon was able to get the Miller household in order.
  • Artificial Family Member: The Millers (with the exception of Jerry) come to view their household robot Gideon as a member of the family after less than a month.
  • Creepy Monotone: Gideon typically speaks in one, though he does occasionally vary his tone when expressing anger.
  • Date Rape: Candace Miller warms to the household robot Gideon after he saves her from being raped by her boyfriend Clay.
  • Karmic Twist Ending: This episode has Tom Arnold play a workaholic, neglectful dad. He's annoyed by all the stuff his family wants him to do that keeps piling up while he spends nights and weekends with his boss and clients, so after being (deservedly) relegated to the couch by his wife, he sees an infomercial for a servant robot called the 'Gideon 4000.' He orders one for no money down. Initially, his family is creeped out, but the robot looks out for them and they grow to like it. However, after Tom Arnold sees the thing teaching his son how to play baseball, he sees it as moving in on his family. He can't return it without his wife's signature, which she won't grant. After an unsuccessful attempt to destroy it, the robot points out that he's become nothing but a money faucet because of his neglectfulness and that he's easily disposed of. The episode ends with the dad meekly apologizing to Gideon for forgetting to wear a tie to dinner and a montage shot of several families sitting down to dinner with their Gideon robots.
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  • Parental Neglect: Jerry Miller is a workaholic who neglects his children Candace and Russ as well as his wife Brooke. He buys the household robot Gideon to pick up the slack but Gideon ultimately replaces him as the head of the family.
  • Robocam: Several shots are seen from the perspective of Gideon.
  • Robot Maid: Jerry Miller obtains a robot from Gideon Robotics to do the work around the house that he is too busy to do.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: The household robot Gideon has super strength, being strong enough to lift up Brooke Miller's car to prevent her from driving after she had a glass of vodka.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: This episode takes place in January 2003, by which time household robots are becoming common.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The household robot Gideon tells Jerry Miller that Gideon Robotics has come to the conclusion that the increase in social problems among the general population in North America is directly attributable to fathers becoming negligent and failing in their duties towards their families. The Gideon 4000 series intends to restore order and social cohesion. In the final scene, Gideon is sitting at the head of the table at dinnertime and chastises Jerry for not wearing a tie before leading the Millers in saying grace. This episode ends with shots of other Gideons doing the same thing with their families.
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  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Jerry Miller is too busy working to be there for his children Candace and Russ, which leads to Candace getting into trouble at school.
  • X-Ray Vision: The household robot Gideon uses his X-Ray vision to discover that Brooke Miller is an alcoholic who has a bottle of vodka hidden in the kitchen.
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