Erich Streater is upset when his wife comes home with her daughter Christie having bought her yet another doll. Christie loves her new Talking Tina doll but her stepfather takes an immediate dislike to it. Anytime he is alone with the doll, it spouts abusive comments to the effect that it hates him and that it's going to kill him. He's convinced that his wife is behind it all, something she vehemently denies. He tries to get rid of the doll but it always seems to reappear - and also seems intent on following through with its threats. Written by
Tina and Christie are both nicknames for Christina. The doll and the child share a name, so among many other interpretations it could be argued that the doll is a proxy through which Christie expresses hostility toward her stepfather and protects her shy, frightened mother. See more »
When Eric pulls Tina from the trash can after he agrees to return her to Christie, he unwraps the cord from around her neck twice. See more »
Talky Tina, a doll that does everything, a lifelike creation of plastic and springs and painted smile. To Erich Streator, she is the most unwelcome addition to his household - but without her, he'd never enter the Twilight Zone.
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The main thing to note about this episode is that Erich (Telly Savalas) is quite obviously an abuser, even though the extent of his abuse is likely understated because of the sensitivity of the subject at the time. One sees that his wife and stepdaughter live in terror of him, yet also are too fearful of what he may do to try to leave him or tell anyone else. As such, Talking Tina is not just an evil doll like Chucky, but the only hope for escape that this mother and daughter have. Talking Tina sees Erich for the abuser that he is and is not afraid of him, and realizing this, he sets out to destroy her.
The one thing that disappoints me is the ending, which seems a bit rushed and could have been handled more dramatically. (I have an idea for a different ending with the same basic result, but I'll hold it for now). I feel that the writers chickened out a little there. For overall effect, however, this is one of the true classics of the original Twilight Zone.
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