Ray Bradbury Theater – Tomorrow’s Child (08/14/92)

rbttomorrowschild03Wow.  Just wow.  This one is like the 12:55 sketches from 1970’s SNL, or the set-up for an improv team, or a bit of Théâtre de l’Absurde. Actually, this episode would be a better definition for that  phrase than the one that is in the dictionary.

And not just because it stars Carol Kane.

Polly and Peter are in a self-driving hovercraft on the way to the hospital for Polly to have their child.  Peter, clearly having missed The Demon Seed, says they’ll be home in six hours as these new birthing machines do everything but father the child.

A lot of this seems very much like Star Trek.  The method used to birth the baby is basically a transporter to beam the baby out.  While sitting in the waiting room, Peter orders “Tea, Earl Gray, Hot” from a food replicator.  OK, actually he orders coffee, which the machine screws up, but at least doesn’t write Race Together on the cup.  If this institution can’t get Mr. Coffee working right, my confidence in Dr. OBGYN would not be high.  And for the love of God don’t give them the researh grant for Mr. Fusion.

rbttomorrowschild06Soon, the doctor comes to see Peter in the waiting room.  Polly is fine, but he asks Peter to follow him.  The surgical team is gathered around the baby.  Congratulations, Mr. Horn, it’s a . . . pyramid.  In the course of beaming out the babies, on rare occasions, a baby is beamed out of the womb, right the f*** into the 4th dimension.

Of course, Peter is as furious as Michael Sarrazin’s limited acting range is able to convey, but the doctor assures him that this pyramid is his child, alive and well.  We in the three dimensional world are just unable to perceive the extra dimension.  Polly enters the room and sees the pyramid.  She is freaked out at first, but her maternal instinct takes over and she accepts that this is her healthy baby.  I can’t stress enough: All of this is played out 100% seriously.

Kane says she will wait for the technology that enables the doctor to truly birth the baby — who she has named Py — back into our dimension.  Back at home, she very calmly and optimistically tells Peter that she will give this 6 months, then kill herself. I don’t know if that line is supposed to be funny or sad, but it is delivered sincerely and perfectly by Carol Kane.

rbttomorrowschild09The doctors repeatedly try to bring Py back into our dimension, but are unsuccessful. Polly starts drinking; can’t do any harm now (well maybe to her liver). But Polly wants to see her baby. Finally the doctors offer another solution.

The doctor can replicate the machine error that launched the baby into the 4th dimension, and transport Peter and Polly there to be with him. They would see no change in themselves, but they would see Py as a real baby.  To our world they would appear as geometric shapes, obelisks, the doctor suggests.

Sounds like a great idea to Polly, but it takes some time for Peter to agree.  The doctor transports them into the 4th dimension where they can finally be with their baby who hasn’t been bathed, changed or — more importantly — fed in weeks.  The doctor was correct as the family now appears as two obelisks and a small pyramid in the lab.

This is so dedicated to its bizarre premise, this might be my favorite.  I can’t imagine another show tackling this story.  It was worth sitting through 47 episodes to see this . . . well, let’s not get crazy.

rbttomorrowschild10Post-Post:

  • The doctor seems pretty blase about working with the 4th dimension.  Shouldn’t NASA — or more likely China or India — be consulted on this?
  • They aren’t proper obelisks because they don’t have the little pyramid penthouse which would have actually made a tiny bit of sense.  Also a little too much angle to the taper.

One thought on “Ray Bradbury Theater – Tomorrow’s Child (08/14/92)

  1. I enjoyed this episode. I was also wondering what had become of the baby in the 4th dimension, however according to the footnotes I read on the short story, it was taken care of by the Geometric shapes that resided there, just as the parents took care of the “Pyramid” in their dimension.

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