The Twilight Zone Episode 128: Uncle Simon

General Information

Director: Don Siegel

Writer: Rod Serling

Cast: Cedric Hardwicke, Constance Ford, and Ian Wolfe

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 11/15/1963

Production Code: 2604

 

Overview

While acting as a caregiver, Barbara Polk (Constance Ford) must endure the verbal attacks of her Uncle Simon (Cedric Hardwicke)—an elderly scientist who The Twilight Zone Uncle Simonspends the majority of his time in a basement laboratory. When Simon finally expires, Barbara displays a great deal of enthusiasm over her newfound freedom—only to suffer a new form of torture from the secret invention of her uncle.

An exercise in mean-spiritedness, “Uncle Simon” deserves criticism for its unpleasant subject matter. Especially worth noting are the performances of Cedric Hardwicke and Constance Ford, whose acting talents are wasted on the most awful, unlikable characters ever featured in The Twilight Zone.

 

Pros

The Twilight Zone Uncle SimonBy berating his caretaker niece with a variety of cruel, misogynistic insults, Simon Polk compels the audience to sympathize with Barbara—a woman who, though extremely callous and horrible, seems nearly justified in her decision to “murder” her own uncle. (It should be noted, however, that the death of Uncle Simon—a helpless old man with a broken back—will disturb those of a compassionate nature.)

 

Cons

In addition to its lack of relatable characters, “Uncle Simon” fails to offer profound or insightful commentary on human nature. Discerning viewers may thereforeThe Twilight Zone Uncle Simon wish to avoid this episode, which never justifies its vile content with an ironic statement or message.

Also problematic is the silly makeover of Robby the Robot, whose head piece is marred by humanoid features. (Lost in Space, The Addams Family, and prior episodes of The Twilight Zone, in contrast, maintain the cold, mechanical essence of Robby’s character as depicted in Forbidden Planet.)

 

Analysis

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Concluding Comments

“Uncle Simon” is a dramatic and well-acted episode of The Twilight Zone. Nevertheless, this offering suffers from malicious dialogue, goofy robot antics, and a random twist around the halfway mark.

 

Overall Quality: 4/10

 

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One thought on “The Twilight Zone Episode 128: Uncle Simon

  1. I love Serling but the man couldn’t write women to save his life. Serling essentially wrote two kinds of women: money-grubbing shrews or push-overs. And on the rare occasion he wrote something else — the unattached woman, for instance, as exemplified in “The Hitch-hiker,” “Mirror Image,” or “The After Hours” — he’d have them cross paths with someone who treated them like crap — the ticket taker in “Mirror Image,” the gas station owner in “The Hitch-hiker” — because, after all, woman are suppose to be attached, and those that aren’t probably deserve to have their identities stolen — as in the case of “Mirror Image” — or wind up dead — as in the case of “The Hitch-hiker.”

    And, if you think this episode is misogynistic, wait until you get to “Night Call” (which is, incidentally, not written by Serling, though its needlessly vicious treatment of the main female character suggests Serling had some kind of involvement in its transition from page to screen).