The Fear of Not Fitting In: One of Twilight Zone’s Most Chilling Lines

You know, there’s actually something of a drawback to The Twilight Zone being such a well-written series. Sometimes there are so many good lines, you can overlook a few gems.

Take a scene in my all-time favorite episode, “Eye of the Beholder“. It occurs just before the famous unveiling, so I’m not surprised it tends to be overshadowed.

The doctor has just finished explaining to Janet Tyler that if this final operation to make her beautiful isn’t successful, not to worry — she can still live “a long and fruitful life” among other people who are similarly, well, afflicted. 

But Miss Tyler is unconvinced. She replies: “If I’m still terribly ugly, well, is there any other alternative? Could I please be put away?

And the doctor tells her that in some cases, “the state does provide for the extermination of undesirables”.

Wow. For me, Miss Tyler’s question is one of the most chilling lines in the whole series. Think about it: For this woman, death is preferable to being deemed ugly.

And a society that deifies “glorious conformity“, as the so-called “Leader” calls it, does nothing to set her straight. No, it’s ready to kill this poor, haunted woman — excuse me, “exterminate” this “undesirable”.

In a world of extreme political polarization, of intense political correctness, of bullying cases so severe they lead to suicides … can we truly say these attitudes exist only in the Twilight Zone?

***

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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 06/30/2017, in Twilight Zone and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Beauty- or ugliness- really IS in the eye of the beholder in question!

  2. Sadly no. People nowadays face so much pressure about their looks, weight etc. Some of us can handle the bullies and the pressure, and just carry on as normal. Sadly some can’t take it and feel a need to be like others, or take their own lives. Sad all round. Just be yourself. If someone tells you what to do, how to look or what to eat, tell them to get lost and mind their own business.

    This is such an unforgettable episode. I don’t know about anyone else though, but I’ve never got the big deal about physical beauty. Beauty naturally fades as we age. Wouldn’t you much rather be a nice person? Looks really are not everything. It’s the person inside that matters. Stay strong and ignore people who try to make you change.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, it takes a certain amount of maturity to think that way, and not a lot of people are like that. Or by the time they are, it’s a bit too late. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  3. The scariest thing about the Twilight Zone is how much of it was true, remains true or has come true. I remember seeing this episode when I was a little kid who didn’t fit in. In a strange sort of way, I always saw the ending as hopeful, in a “the joke’s on you” sort of way. I have experienced the apparent not-fitting-in many times in my life. I think, in every case, on reflections, I didn’t want to fit in in those situations.

    • Very true, Dan. We look at the story and think, “Who would want to hang around with the pig people?” But I think the point is that we’re always so desperate to fit in, even when what were fitting into really isn’t all that attractive. But you make a good point here, no question.

  4. The next line about “exterminating undesirables” is pretty chilling too.

  5. With the amount of Plastic Surgery today, this world is turning into “Number 12 looks just like you!” Instead of pig faces we have duck lips.

  6. This episode evidently inspired Night Gallery’s “The Different Ones” back in 1972!

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