Twilight Zone revival episode Examination Day, why are the parents on edge?

I remember seeing this episode as a kid for the first time and being confused by the parents reactions, the whole thing is on youtube BTW.

The twist is that the too intelligent fail the test and are exterminated.

But why aside from the fact their son is about to face a life or death trial alone were the parents always shooting anxious knowing glances at each other?

1.They fear their son is GASP intelligent, omg think of what the neighbors will say when it comes out! A damn dirty thinker!

2.They fear their son is so intelligent he will almost certainly fail and be killed.

3.They are themselves so stupid they don’t know their son’s abilities and what the test is even about.

I can’t for the life of me figure out why they didn’t try to give their son hints, like to intentionally fail, if they knew what was coming and knew he wouldn’t pass. There was a drug truth serum but still.

I don’t think you can “but still” that. That’s the answer. The kid can’t intentionally flunk and the parents are afraid he’ll score too well and be exterminated.

That was the point in both the episode and the original story: the parents were afraid their child would be killed. The story was written so the reader assumed that something bad would happen if he wasn’t smart enough; the twist was that it was the opposite.


Haha, right. “but still” is beginning to get used this way a lot lately, I have noticed.

“I can’t believe she died of AIDS! I mean, she did share dirty needles with the heroin addicts that live in the tunnels, but still.”

Yeah, I haven’t even seen the episode but based on your synopsis it seems pretty obvious that they’re afraid their son will die. Why would “What would the neighbors think?” even enter your mind as a possibility?

I agree with everyone else. I think I remember that episode – IIRC, there were scenes when they’d try to encourage him to take a break from reading and watch TV or play videogames.

Yea but parents have a pretty good grasp on their kid’s abilities, so you’d think the mind er constriction program would have started sooner. You can’t honestly answer HIV is a virus if you don’t know it.

If it was a test of knowledge, true, but if it was a test of raw ability, then there isn’t really a lot they could do.

Are we sure they knew the outcome? Maybe they knew that the test was important, life-or-death even, but thought that the dumb ones were the ones who were killed?

No, if that were the case, the entire episode would have been pointless, just with a slightly surprising ending. They knew their kid was smart, even encouraged him to lose a few IQ points by watching TV. But I have to wonder how smart the parents themselves were. Had the test been given back when they were kids? If so, they obviously passed it.

I hate to point out the obvious but this was a TV show. They had to circumvent the subject so there would be a story. If the parents had said, “Son, don’t do well on this test because the government will kill you if you’re too smart” there wouldn’t have been much of a surprise ending thirty minutes later.

If there’s a truth serum involved, there’s probably a question on the test that asks if your parents told you to try to remain stupid. Though why they’d discourage that, I don’t know.

The TV episode is more like ten minutes long (or possibly less), and the original story less tha 2000 words.

It also comes from the assumption that IQ test really did measure ability.

But the point is creating the belief in the reader/viewer that the boy will suffer dire consequences if he fails. Once the intelligence test is introduced, it leads you to assume that means he’ll fail if his intelligence is too low. That’s storytelling skill - knowing how your readers will react so that you can surprise them with a twist that’s a complete surprise, but also obvious once it happens.

What if the kid was so smart he reprogrammed the test so that he would always fail no matter what? A reverse Kobiyashi Maru, if you wheeeeeeeeeeel.

Except the test was given by a human being, not a computer.

Well, in that case, he just needs to get his friends together in a wacky caper to replace the test sheet the night before with one he cannot ever possibly pass.

And the human giving the test, presumably having previously failed the real test, would be too dumb to figure out the test had been swapped.

BTW I am not sure if posting a link to it is okay so I’m not doing it but this episode is right on Youtube if anyone is interested in actually watching it.