Janna found the entire run of the Twilight Zone for me on Hulu last right. From what I can tell, it’s all available on Hulu regular too, so I don’t have to pay for it. Anyway, I watched Living Doll again, which I happily analyzed yesterday, and I found the key lines of dialogue:
Erich lights a match, trying to burn Talky Tina.
Talky Tina: Oooh!
Erich: You have feelings?
Talky Tina: Doesn’t everything?
As I noted in yesterday’s mini essay, the whole episode centers around the conflicts between Annabelle, Annabelle’s biological daughter Christie and Annabelle’s husband/Christie’s stepdad Erich. Annabelle and Christie both love Erich, but he doesn’t love them. He resents Annabelle for being infertile, as he is, and he resents Christie for not being his biological child. He also finds threatening the closeness, love and tenderness between mother and daughter, an example of what he wants, but can’t have. But, despite his snappish demeanor, he maintains a facade of affection, at least in the beginning.
The introduction of Talky Tina destroys Erich’s ruse, however. He loses his temper at Annabelle and Christie, suspecting them of using Talky Tina to mess with his head. He mocks Annabelle’s emotional insights about his anger and his need to see a psychiatrist, and he flat-out yells at Christie that he’s not her daddy. In other words, he rejects Annabelle and Christie’s emotions and focuses solely on his feelings of anger, hurt and loneliness. Talky Tina’s assertion that "everything" has feelings thus counters Erich’s selfish assumption that only his emotions matter. Ironically, she proves more insightful, expressive and moving [pun intended] than Erich, whose own doubts and misery render him cold, inflexible, rigid and unfeeling — all traits that one usually associates with dolls.
The more I think about it, the more I become convinced that Talky Tina kills Erich in much the same way that a woman in a relationship with an abusive man may eventually kill the man out of self-defense. I firmly believe that Erich would have escalated his violence against Christie, not just yelling at her, shoving her and mocking her, if Christie had not used Talky Tina to intervene. Talky Tina kills Erich so that he won’t kill Christie first.
As awesome as I think Talky Tina is [especially as an actual talking doll!], all my sympathies lie with Christie. She loves her mommy, and her mommy loves her. She just wishes that Daddy would love her the way that Mommy does. But her Daddy keeps hurting her, her mommy and her doll. She starts to realize that Daddy doesn’t love anybody. She thinks maybe Daddy could even hate her. Maybe Daddy is going to kill her! What can Christie do? She’s only a little girl, and she’s so scared. Maybe her friend Talky Tina can help. After all, Christie loves Talky Tina, and Talky Tina loves her; Christie knows because Talky Tina says so….