Summary:

When his step-daughter gets a talking doll, conflict arises between Eric and all of those in his household, including the doll, which eventually murders him.

 

Bechdel Test:

  • Passes!
  • Annabelle talks with Kristie
  • Tina talks to Annabelle

 

Gender Roles of Important Characters:

  • Annabelle
    • Masculine (4)
      • Defends own beliefs, independent, willing to take risks, willing to take a stand
    • Feminine (5)
      • Affectionate, sympathetic, compassionate, soft-spoken, loves children
  • Eric
    • Masculine (7)
      • Defends own beliefs, independent, assertive, strong personality, forceful, willing to take risks, aggressive
    • Feminine (3)
      • Sensitive to others’ needs, understanding, eager to soothe hurt feelings
  • Tine
    • Masculine (12)
      • Self-reliant, defends own beliefs, independent, assertive, strong personality, forceful, analytical, makes decisions easily, self-sufficient, willing to take a stand, aggressive, individualistic
    • Feminine (1)
      • Childlike

 

Analysis:

This episode can be viewed as pretty complex, with many issues being hinted at. Focusing first on Annabelle, we know that she had Kristie before her current marriage. When Eric doesn’t respect her or her daughter, she nearly leaves him. This shows a strength and a willingness to go against societal norms that usually aren’t acceptable in this time period, especially in media. Thus, she is more of a feminist character, which is interesting.

With Eric, there is also a lot going on. I think one could argue that, in a way, Eric dies because he, as a male, plays with the doll, a traditionally feminine activity. He is then punished severely for this (as the doll murders him). However, I think that there may be more going on. Annabelle and Eric hint at the fact that they are unable to have children of their own. This clearly upsets Eric a lot, but, unlike his wife, he refuses to go to therapy or to talk about it at all. In a very masculine fashion, he keeps his feelings bottled up, every once in a while letting some out in a bout of aggression. Much of this aggression is aimed towards Tina, the doll. Thus, by fighting with the doll, Eric is able to maintain his unhealthy masculine coping mechanisms, mechanisms that are damaging his relationship with Annabelle and Kristie. These coping mechanisms eventually kill him, as Tina murders him, which I feel relates a lot to the stats on male suicides. Thus, Eric’s progression is either an example of socialization (making it traditional) or an example of the harm in being overly masculine (making it progressive).

Shared by: Grace White
Image Credit: The Twilight Zone, CBS via Netflix