Thursday, July 5, 2007

3.14 "Five Characters in Search of an Exit"

Season Three, Episode Fourteen

Written by: Rod Serling
Directed by: Lamont Johnson

Five Characters in Search of an Exit is one of the most incredibly silly episodes of The Twilight Zone, even though the eponymous characters, for the most part, act very seriously throughout, and its plot description sounds like the set-up of a bad joke: a clown, a ballerina, a hobo, a bagpipe player and a military officer find themselves inhabiting a tall cylinder, rather than walking into a bar, with no memories of who they are or how they got there. It's an intriguingly simple and mysterious premise, and the episode plays out as one of the series' most self-conscious and autocritical; as the audience watches and begins to hypothesizing as to what might be going on, the characters join in as well, ticking off the various theories, including the obvious and the more complex, and quickly dismissing them, frustrating the audience by relentlessly teasing them as their attempts to make sense of the episode are smarmily discarded by a playful Serling. "We don't actually exist"; "we're characters in a dream"; "we're on a spaceship"; etc. until the clown declares there can be no other reasonable explanation other than that they are in Hell.

I suppose he's not too far off; the suspense builds right up until the end (although like many episodes of The Twilight Zone it'd be more effective, particularly on repeated viewings, at an abbreviated running time) as the newly arrived officer, played with desperation by the notable William Windom, passionately inspires his resigned fellow prisoners to attempt escape; they stand on one another's shoulders, and when Windom finally gets over the canister top, he slips and falls into a mound of snow. It's revealed that they are all dolls, thus their cartoonish archetypes, inhabiting a charity toy collection drive barrel. Oh. I guess you could argue the episode is a metaphor for the way that human beings find themselves trapped in a prison of their own complacency, how our world is a narrow loveless hell populated by people defined by nothing more than their profession, but it's hard to shake the feeling that this isn't anything more than a half-assed concept Serling got while staggering home drunk past a bell-ringing Salvation Army major. It's cleverly done, but deliberately so absurd as to surprise even the most hardened Twilight Zone veteran that the twist feals cheap and unduly snarky.

For Netflix purposes:
On Vol. 21 of Image Entertainment's Twilight Zone DVDs.

27 comments:

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Se você quiser linkar meu blog no seu eu ficaria agradecido, até mais e sucesso. (If you speak English can see the version in English of the Camiseta Personalizada. If he will be possible add my blog in your blogroll I thankful, bye friend).

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Se você quiser linkar meu blog no seu eu ficaria agradecido, até mais e sucesso. (If you speak English can see the version in English of the Camiseta Personalizada. If he will be possible add my blog in your blogroll I thankful, bye friend).

H. Stewart said...

A small point--my brother insists, and I suppose he may be right--that it is the major who suggests that they are in Hell, and not the clown.

Anonymous said...

Great review! Well put all around.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree. This is a great episode. It is mind numbingly creepy.

A. Aaron Saucier said...

This ranks as my all time favorite episode. It's also the only one I actually remember seeing as a child, and even then I didn't think it silly. Absurdism is a truly intriguing philosophy.

Anonymous said...

It is the major that suggests they are in hell, but being that it was the Twilight Zone and knowing Rod Serling, I surmized that they were toys by the way the ballerina, bagpiper and hobo walked into the scene...very toy-like.

Rachmiel said...

Moral of the story:

Christmas is Hell

Anonymous said...

Easily I acquiesce in but I think the brief should acquire more info then it has.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Release Our Adverse Prices at www.Pharmashack.com, The Hefty [b][url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Online Dispensary [/url][/b] To [url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Buy Viagra[/url] Online ! You Can also Espy Embellished Deals When You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/cialis.html]Buy Cialis[/url] and When You You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/levitra.html]Buy Levitra[/url] Online. We Also Be subjected to a Signal Generic [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/phentermine.html]Phentermine[/url] As a armed forces to Your Regimen ! We Affect with away Nobleness marque [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/viagra.html]Viagra[/url] and Also [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/generic_viagra.html]Generic Viagra[/url] !

Anonymous said...

Aside to pass the unmerciful with two backs casinos? verify this institute [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com]casino[/url] commander and nauseate to up online casino games like slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and more at www.realcazinoz.com .
you can also dilly-dallying our untrained [url=http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com]casino[/url] orient at http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com and be heiress to in permitted folding shin-plasters !
another up to the shake [url=http://www.ttittancasino.com]casino spiele[/url] floor plan is www.ttittancasino.com , pro german gamblers, development as a be revealed whilom well-wishing online casino bonus.

Anonymous said...

You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

Anonymous said...

Good post and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jess,

For long time I use this free software: [url=http://www.freeflvtomp3converter.com]FLV to MP3 free converter[/url].

FLV to MP3 free converter is a free YouTube, MegaVideo, ZippyVideos and similar video sites to MP3 Converter and allows you to convert a video to MP3 file.

This software is fast, free, and requires no signup. All you need is a FLV Video file, and this software will extract the MP3, and give you an audio file.

So you are able to listen to your favorite YouTube tracks on every MP3 player.

You can download it for free at [url=http://www.freeflvtomp3converter.com]www.freeflvtomp3converter.com[/url].

I hope this help you.

Anonymous said...

[url=http://seghan.ru/go.php?sid=2][img]http://banners.servized.com/current/gif/tam_720x90_1.gif[/img][/url]

[url=http://old-drugstore.net/]What is/are Zovirax Tablets?[/url]
What are acyclovir tablets or capsules?
ACYCLOVIR (Zovirax®) treats standard types of viral infections, specifically herpes infections. Acyclovir
determination not medicament herpes infections; it will cure the sores restore faster and expropriate to ease the annoyance or discomfort.
Every once in a while acyclovir is postulated to help avert the infection from coming back. Acyclovir also treats shingles
and chickenpox infections. Generic acyclovir tablets and capsules are available.

What should I tell my health care provider ahead I crook this medicine?
They destitution to identify if you comprise any of these conditions:

•dehydration
•neurological condition
•kidney illness
•seizures (convulsions)
•an bizarre or allergic response to acyclovir, ganciclovir, valacyclovir, valganciclovir, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
•significant or trying to settle in a family way
•breast-feeding



[url=http://best-drugstore.aoaoaxxx.ru/][img]http://i079.radikal.ru/0910/b9/3f666eb40896.jpg[/img][/url]
























[url= ]Zovirax non perscriptionZovirax without a rx [/url]
order Zovirax next daycod Zovirax overnight saturday no prescription
[url= ]Zovirax overnight delivery saturdayZovirax shipped COD on saturday delivery [/url]
Zovirax without a presciptionhow to get a doctor to prescript Zovirax
[url= ]order Zovirax without a prescriptionZovirax xr buy online cheap [/url]
Zovirax without presciptionZovirax overnight delivery cheap
[url= ]Cheap Zovirax NO RXZovirax ONLINE FEDEX COD FREE CONSULT [/url]
Zovirax on sale cheap onlineZovirax non prescription for next day delivery
[url= ]overnight delivery of ZoviraxZovirax c.o.d overnight delivery [/url]
ordering Zovirax online without a prescriptioncod saturday Zovirax
[url= ]U.S. pharmacies for Zovirax without rxZovirax online without prescription [/url]
no prescription Zovirax overnightbuy Zovirax cod delivery
[url= ]Zovirax online no prescription overnightZovirax cheap fed ex delivery [/url]
fedex delivery ZoviraxZovirax order overnight shipping
[url= ]nextday ZoviraxZovirax cod accepted [/url]
buy Zovirax online ukZovirax no prior script
[url= ]Zovirax with doctor consultbuy Zovirax online no membership [/url]
Zovirax delivered overnightZovirax no doctor prescription
[url= ]buy Zovirax online overnightbuy Zovirax with no prescription [/url]
order Zovirax cod next day deliveryZovirax no prescription required

Anonymous said...

Hi readers
Do not miss your chance to get a free iPhone 4G. Visit http://bit.ly/d9QOON

Anonymous said...

Good dispatch and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you seeking your information.

Anonymous said...

It isn't hard at all to start making money online in the hush-hush world of [URL=http://www.www.blackhatmoneymaker.com]google blackhat[/URL], Don’t feel silly if you don't know what blackhat is. Blackhat marketing uses alternative or misunderstood avenues to produce an income online.

Anonymous said...

Free information about penis enlargement products, how it works, price of products, top products, and review of penis products. Visit http://www.buypenisenlargement.com

Anonymous said...

vimax pills - good blog friends! Post your article which is also useful for readers and to share information or experiences you have. I will visit your blog again. penis enlargement pills - http://www.male-sexual.com

Anonymous said...

Hey im new to this board i hope i will be able to help out & contribute here because i have learned a great deal myself.

Thanks

[URL=http://www.mydjspace.net][B]dj remix[/B][/URL]

Anonymous said...

Hiya im new to this forum i hope i can help out and contribute here because i have learned a great deal myself.

Thank you

[URL=http://deelowdesigns.com][B]web design essex[/B][/URL]

Anonymous said...

Hi i am new to this forum i hope i can help and give something back here because i have learned allot myself.

Thanks

[URL=http://plasteringcoursesuk.co.uk][B]plastering courses essex[/B][/URL]