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Think Only Good Thoughts

Think Only Good Thoughts

Black and white creates a strange dreamscape that color never can.” – Jack Antonoff

The original iteration of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone is perhaps the most iconic television anthology in history. With 156 episodes aired over five seasons (1959-1964), the CBS show broke new ground with its unsettling mix of suspense, drama, horror, and moral provocations. At its core, the show was meant to make the viewer ponder deep philosophical questions by making them uncomfortable. After an unexpected reveal, the viewer was left with the confrontational rawness of each episode’s dilemma to work through – along with a powerful incentive to watch the next one. Contrary to the modern belief that weaponized clickbait is the key to durable engagement, people enjoy being made to think, and Serling tapped into this desire with brilliant flair.

In the 10th episode of the third season – The Midnight Sun – a prolific artist (Norma) and her elderly landlady (Mrs. Bronson) find themselves in an existential crisis: Earth has suddenly changed its orbit and is hurtling ever closer to the sun. The last residents in their New York apartment building, the pair are sweating out their final moments when confronted by a desperate looter looking to quench his ultimately unquenchable thirst. In a twist of perspective, the viewer learns that the entire episode has been a fever dream, and Norma wakes up to discover that Earth is moving away from the sun. Her imminent demise will be the result of global cooling, not warming. The episode was designed to demonstrate Earth’s fragility, couched in the context of a cold war threatening to turn hot and looming large in the collective attention of the day.

Norma and Mrs. Bronson | CBS

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