TFTD Marathon: “Monsters in My Room”

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Welcome to my “Tales from the Darkside” Marathon! Many kids go through a phase where they think there are monsters in their bedroom. Maybe they’re hiding in the closet, or under the bed, or lurking right outside the window. Today’s tale plays off that fear that many kids have felt. This is “Monsters in My Room.”

Since marrying his new wife, Helen, Biff has been trying to adjust to life as a stepfather and is failing miserably. He constantly tries to get Helen’s son, Timmy, interested in sports but Timmy couldn’t care less about them. Timmy’s also cautious about going to bed every night unless he checks for monsters in his bedroom. One night, he suddenly sees a bunch of monsters in his room, though he’s unsure if they’re real or not. Will Timmy be able to face his fears, or did he have every reason to be cautious?

This was a really good episode. The premise is simple, and while it takes a little while to actually get to the monsters, it was a good little coming of age story with a dash of karma thrown in. You’re left guessing until close to the end on whether the monsters are real or imaginary, and the make-up and effects (I assume done with some puppetry) were some of the best I’ve seen from this show yet. The dialogue could be a little outdated at times, but it was backed up by some decent acting.

For what’s shown, I liked the mother-son relationship between Helen and Timmy. She comes across as a stern but kind mom who even sings her kid to sleep every night. Timmy (played by a very young Seth Green) was a believable kid and actually didn’t annoy. While Green still needed to hone his acting chops and he sometimes got a tad screechy here, his character was done well enough that I didn’t mind. What I DID mind was Biff’s character. This guy was a complete jerk. I get that they wanted to make a stepdad who’s not good with kids, but this guy constantly acts like Timmy’s not manly enough for a boy, tries to push him into liking the stuff he likes, gets him to try a sip of beer, AND even threatens and nearly goes through with paddling him. He was easily the least interesting performance, even though he gets more screen time than Helen.

I thought the twist for this one was satisfying and appropriate, though you can definitely see it coming before it happens. The only thing that seemed slightly off was Timmy’s reaction to it, if only because I thought it would’ve still traumatized him a bit. Still, the intention could have been that he was in shock, so that’s a minor nitpick at best.

I’m happy to say that “Monsters in My Room” is worth a watch. It’s got some decent acting, good pacing, a fun and creepy premise, and the twist is pretty much perfect for a story like this. If you’ve ever gone through the monster phase as a kid or just want a good tale surrounding it, this is the episode for you.

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