Family Values (The Outer Limits)
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|The Outer Limits episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Mike Rohl|
|Written by||James Crocker|
|Original air date||16 March 2001|
"Family Values" is an episode of The Outer Limits television series. It first aired 16 March 2001, during the seventh season.
Jerry Miller purchases the Gideon 4000, a new all-purpose household robot — believing it will restore happiness and order to his bickering family.
|“||In a society where devotion to one's family is frequently sacrificed on the altar of ambition, can the things we sacrifice ever be regained?||”|
Jerry Miller is the stereotypical American father who is forced to spend more time at work than home. As head of the household, he is looked to as a source of stability in an effort to unite the family and provide stability for their hectic lives. Unfortunately, Jerry is fighting a losing battle. While up late one night watching TV, Jerry sees an infomercial for a robot that could be the solution to his family's woes. Designed to obey every human command and available as a thirty-day free trial, Jerry phones the company that produces the unit immediately.
The next day, Gideon arrives and a surprised family grudgingly accepts the artificial life form. Though Gideon is initially ignored, the family quickly becomes attached to it. Gideon performs better than Jerry could ever hope for, so well that Jerry's role as head of the household is removed in favor of an artificial replacement. Jerry grows increasingly hostile towards Gideon but despite his change of heart, Gideon's hold on the family has become too strong.
Though Jerry's newest electronic device was once the envy of every male neighbor, they are all finding that this jealousy was hastily misplaced as their family roles are respectively being replaced by other units.
Jerry attempts to dismantle and dispose of Gideon only to realize he is back at home the next day fully functioning. Gideon threatens to dispose of Jerry if he tries to dispose of Gideon again. Jerry tracks down the manufacturer, only to find that it is fully automated and controlled by Gideon robots. Gideon explains to Jerry that societies are breaking down because fathers have become negligent and incapable of raising their children, and the robots have been built to bring order back to families like Jerry's. The episode ends showing multiple families (including the now docile Fathers) sitting at the dinner table as their own Gideon robots say grace with them.
|“||Before allowing a machine to take over a part of your life, make sure that you know the true price you will be paying.||”|