How’s that for a clickbait title, eh? Anyway…
When I was a kid, I used to love going to my Grandma’s place, not only because she was a wonderful lady who sometimes looked the other way when I cheated at solitaire, but also because she had satellite TV. This was the early ’90s, so it meant she had one of those massive dishes that actually moved when you changed channels.
It blew my little mind.
There was one channel to which I was particularly hooked. I can’t remember the name of it (maybe an earlier version of Space or Syfy?), but it always had the coolest old shows — if it was weird, wacky or worrying, it was on that channel.
Every day at lunch, I’d tune in to Alfred Hitchcock Presents, followed by The Twilight Zone. (This was only a few hours after Pro Stars and Pinky and the Brain — one of which stars insane non-humans attempting to take over the world and the other is Pinky and the Brain. Swish!) I remember being absolutely mesmerized by the creepy, unsettling yarns the shows spun. I completely missed any subtext, as kids do (for example, re-watch Pinky and the Brain one day and see which jokes you laugh at now that sailed well over your stupid mushroom cut as a child).
One episode of The Twilight Zone stuck with me for years. In it, some kid’s mom is dating for the first time since his dad was killed on the job. He wears his dad’s glasses, and while doing so, can see his mom’s suitor for who he really is — a purple monster. Of course, no one believes him, etc.
I finally searched for it a while ago with no luck. No such Alfred Hitchcock Presents or Twilight Zone episode with a plot that resembled that one even a little bit. I was about to give up when I googled a few keywords from the plot, and boom, my answer: it was an episode of Monsters, a show I don’t even remember existing, one whose episodes first aired years before I ever saw them.
This particular episode is “The Family Man,” the second season finale no less, and you can actually watch it in it’s entirety on YouTube. I strongly recommend doing so.
How about that, huh? I’m sure glad I remembered that for nearly two decades.
Things I noticed about “The Family Man,” Monsters, episode 24, season 2
- Sweet set, dudes. There’s nothing more your typical wholesome American family wants than a astroturf-coated cement yard that backs onto a brick warehouse. And Neil’s room makes it appear he more than idolized his dad — he straight-up fetishizes his profession.
- About Neil’s dad’s profession — What’s an airport cop? How do you die being one, especially in the ’80s? Did he get sucked into a jet engine? Did he get drunk and crash a Cessna, as I’m assuming everyone did at least once after the Berlin Wall collapsed? Or some combination of the two?
- There are some pretty heavy-handed analogies throughout the episode, especially regarding men’s tendency to drain women and their families physically and emotionally (in this case, literally using their emotions as a source of life or something). Also, the natural distrust children feel regarding new figures in their lives.
- Neil’s sister is kind of useless to the overall story. She’s great for her mom, both as someone to have honest talks about relationships with and apparently as on-demand muscle. She asks to beat the shit (or rather, “the stuffings”) out of Neil twice. To her mom’s credit, she says no, but the second time she does so reluctantly (which may’ve just been terrible editing).
- I’m actually convinced the sister’s motivation is to transform their home into a dual-income household, eventually increasing her allowance, giving her the opportunity to buy more Waldo-stripe crop tops and scrunchies.
- Actually, what she’s wearing in that screenshot (the only one I could find of that episode) would be totally on point at the next artisanal toilet paper fair or whatever it is hipsters attend.
- This episode is probably what pro-gun nuts reference when they say guns keep families safe. They’re for protection from purple body snatchers!
- But seriously, was the gun just hanging out on the kitchen table or something? Wait, scratch that. We only know for certain this family’s house has one room — Neil’s. Which means he likely had a .357 magnum in his desk drawer, right next to his crayons and Etch-a-Sketch.
- This is Warren, whom both Neil’s mom and his sister think is super hot:
- I wonder what the Warren-creature’s damage threshold was before he revealed himself. Something less substantial than a gunshot, perhaps? I’d like to see the prequel episode where he was outed by stepping on a LEGO piece.
- That was one hell of an ending. A backyard shootout that’ll make the kid a legend among his friends and will likely give his mom some serious trust issues? Everyone wins! Except Warren, but fuck that guy.