Season 5, Episode 17 (137 overall)
Originally aired 1/24/1964
Cayuga Production # 2618
50 years ago tonight, The Twilight Zone offered us a chilling glimpse of the future, where beauty really is only skin deep.
Marilyn is a troubled teen. She’s reached the optimal age to receive The Transformation, a government-sponsored program in which citizens are given beautiful faces and bodies. Those around her pressure her to choose a pre-designed model (her mother is Number 12, while her best friend Val is Number 8), but she fears the loss of individuality that will inevitably result. The Transformation is supposed to be optional, but nobody seems willing to let her remain herself.
Lana, Marilyn’s mother, finally sends her to a psychiatric clinic in the hopes that she’ll come to her senses. After an unproductive session, Marilyn attempts to sneak out… only to accidentally wander into the operating room, where the doctors are waiting to Transform her.
Lana and Val anxiously await her emergence. Marilyn bounds in the waiting room, full of smiling, empty joy. She’s now a Number 8. “And the nicest part of all, Val,” she coos, admiring herself in a mirror, "I look just like you!"
“Eye of the Beholder,” which shares common themes with this episode). I understand the overmedication approach, since a happy populace isn’t likely to ask questions or rise up against The Powers That Be. But why is it necessary to cosmetically modify the citizenry? It’s clearly a form of control, but to what end? They aren't all identical, since there are several “models” to choose from, so the goal isn’t absolute physical conformity. I dunno, maybe I’m looking too deep, when I should really just focus on the surface… wait, did someone slip some Instant Smile into my beer?
“The Long Morrow” two weeks ago.
We also get a few snippets from Fred Steiner’s score for season two’s “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim,” which actually coexist quite nicely with the Herrmann stuff.
And while Pam Austin (#8) doesn't seem to have any other genre connections, I'm gonna mention her because, yes, she's a TZ Babe (I'm assuming--- okay, hoping--- she was 18 when this episode was filmed).
“Eye of the Beholder”); however, on a more, ahem, surface level... well, it’s just plain fun to watch. You might say it brings an Instant Smile to my face.
If The Fonz was from outer space… and there were three of him…