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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

1.07 --- Children's Zoo

Directed by : Robert Downey Sr.
Written by : Chris Hubbell & Gerrit Graham
Starring : Jaclyn Bernstein, Lorna Luft, Steven Keats
First aired : 11th of October, 1985.

Debbie (Jaclyn Bernstein) is a four-year old girl with ever-quarreling parents - a witch-like mother (Lorna Luft, Grease 2) who yells at her, and a "Joe Sixpack" father (Steven Keats, Death Wish, The Gambler) with a penchant for womanising. After some playtime with her dolls, Debbie coaxes her parents to take her to "The Children's Zoo", a place for which she has a special invitation.

At the zoo, the family is greeted by the zookeeper Melody (Sydney Walsh), who points Debbie to the children's entrance, and then escorts her parents to another, side entrance, which leads to the parental waiting space. Once inside, we learn what kind of a "zoo" this is - it's a place where children bring bad parents, and then later can pick out a new pair which proves itself reformed after imprisonment. After browsing the couples on offer, Debbie picks her new parents and leaves home, leaving her own biological dysfunctional family behind.


Although Children's Zoo looks and acts like a candy-coloured piece of fluff, with accompanying kiddie music score, this episode deals with a rather serious subject and tackles it admirably. Obviously, locking up bad parents is not a viable solution, but it would be neat if all prospective mothers and fathers could check this one out.

Jaclyn Bernstein is just adorable, her eyes and body language making up for the lack of text she is given, and Luft and Keats are convincing as a pair of lowlifes who get their due comeuppance. The seemingly ever-present Wes Craven cameos as one of the locked-up parents, and Robert Downey Sr., who you might remember as the neighbour from Wordplay, is credited as the director of this 8-minute short, which accompanied Healer and Kentucky Rye in the original airing, thus completing the trifecta about three sins which plague the modern world - more about the third one soon.

Comments on "1.07 --- Children's Zoo"


Anonymous Maggie said ... (1:42 PM) : 

This is my fav episode of New Twilight Zone, the best part comes at the end when Debbie left her parents in that room...
They shout to her, but she just ignores them and goes away with her brand new parents...
Oh well... i loved it...

And... Do u know where i can find the intro for this fabulous series?
I kinda need it.

Thank U


Anonymous RJ49 said ... (9:16 AM) : 

I think this a truly haunting episode, in my opinion, of the Twilight Zone, the childish music adds to the creepiness. But it is still good and has some moral storyline about caring for children.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:07 PM) : 

In my opinion, what made this work was the different sets of nasty but desperate parents, which included a couple of phoneys trying to bribe their way out, before Debbie finally found worthwhile parents.

If such things existed in real life, my childhood would have been something I would enjoy remembering today instead of something I feel grateful to have survived.


Blogger MrSinatra said ... (7:37 AM) : 

This is another one that stuck with me over many years, bc it has such a powerful msg, but although I like it a lot, it's still just the best of a silver one.


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