“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” Another Twilight Zone Moral

The Twilight Zone always seems to not only be a series with the varying mix of creepy and comedic story lines, but also a TV series in which various social and political norms are questioned and commented upon. Though many may find that The Twilight Zone’s lack of color and inclusion of “old timey” ideas, fashion etc. make the show irrelevant in contemporary society, the show is just as applicable now as it was then, even reflecting some of today's generations pop culture values. A prime example of this can be found in Season 1 Episode 22, The Monsters are Due on Maple Street. This particular episode, which tells the story of what happens in a community when one discovers that aliens have come to invade their homes, asks viewers the question of who the real monsters are. As neighbors turn against neighbors while the aliens simply watch over them commenting on how the “world is full of Maple streets,” Rod Sterling, the shows creator, ends the story in saying this: “The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices — to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own…”

During the years in which The Twilight Zone was around, the United States had the repercussions of the Vietnam war, the Civil Rights movement which was in full swing, anti-Communism sentiments which were still very much around, and so many other social and political developments which shaped the every day life of Americans. These events were then reflected over to television episodes such as this one, and though the wars and social movements have somewhat changed, the ideas and moral of this episode still reign true today. This is especially supported in today's pop culture with the phenomenon of being “woke,” which is described as being “self-aware, questioning the dominant paradigm and striving for something better.” Precisely the thing that Episode 22 of The Twilight Zone is requesting of its audience. An interesting twist in all of this was brought to my attention by someone who loved the episode immensely, but found an ironic twist. Despite its call to action of self-awareness, the TV episode itself featured very little when it came to the equal representation between the men and women in the series, which seems to show how “woke” the creators of this episode really are. Maybe they need to do a little soul-searching themselves?

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