Welcome back to my Twilight Zone Marathon! One theme that exists in both movies and TV is the use of a creepy child. It could be that they have powers, are possessed or are just plain evil. Today’s episode sort of follows that theme. Let’s take a look at “It’s a Good Life.”
Anthony Freemont is a six year old with the power to change things with his mind. He basically enforces his will by putting Earth back into the Dark Ages and sending people away who aren’t happy, or at least don’t pretend to be. Can anything stop this little boy, or will everyone continue to be at the mercy of his mind?
Now, I’ll confess that I saw this episode a few years ago. But for the sake of this blog, I’m giving it a second look to really decide how I feel about it. I will start off by saying that this is another well-acted episode. The adults carry tension with them throughout it just by trying to act happy, and when someone comes close to acting unhappy, you can see how much restraint they’re going through. I felt all of the adult characters, especially Anthony’s parents, did a great job conveying how repressed and afraid they are by this little boy.
Before I talk about Anthony, I will mention that this is basically a “slice of life” plot. We pretty much go through a day with Anthony, his family, and the town’s inhabitants as they put up with his actions. The climax is basically a surprise party for one of the townspeople, and the episode ends with no major twist. It’s a pretty basic episode as a result, but like I said, it’s a tense one thanks to the adults’ reactions to Anthony.
And now we get to Anthony himself. While well-acted, this kid is a brat, plain and simple. He seems aware of his abilities and how destructive they can be. I got the feeling that controlling everything around him is like a game to him. It’s hard to tell if he’s just plain evil, but he malicious in his actions and demands that people like him. In a way, he’s worse than if an adult had been in the role, mainly because children have huge imaginations. That aspect made him a teeny bit threatening, but I still wanted to give him some well-deserved punishment.
Overall, “It’s a Good Life” is a good episode for how basic it is. The tension throughout it is effective, especially once it reaches a certain breaking point, and it’s a refreshing change from having an adult ruling people. Even if you’re not a fan of creepy kids, I would still give this one a watch if only for the great acting.