Number 12 Looks Just Like You
|"Number 12 Looks Just Like You"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Marilyn after transformation
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Directed by||Abner Biberman|
|Written by||John Tomerlin (adapted from Charles Beaumont's 1952 story "The Beautiful People")|
|Featured music||Stock (from Bernard Herrmann's score for the 1956 CBS Radio Workshop production of "Brave New World", with additional cues by Fred Steiner and Jerry Goldsmith)|
|Original air date||January 24, 1964|
"Number 12 Looks Just Like You" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It is set in a dystopian future in which everyone, upon reaching adulthood, has their body surgically altered into one of a set of physically attractive models.
|“||Given the chance, what young girl wouldn't happily exchange a plain face for a lovely one? What girl could refuse the opportunity to be beautiful? For want of a better estimate, let's call it the year 2000. At any rate, imagine a time in the future where science has developed the means of giving everyone the face and body he dreams of. It may not happen tomorrow, but it happens now, in The Twilight Zone.||”|
In a future society, all young adults go through a process known as "the Transformation", in which each person's body is changed to a physically attractive design chosen from a selection of numbered models. The process also slows deterioration due to age and confers immunity to disease, extending human lifespans, as well as making unspecified psychological corrections. Due to the overwhelming popularity of female model 12 and male model 17, all adults wear name badges to avoid confusion.
Eighteen-year-old Marilyn Cuberle decides not to undergo the Transformation. Nobody else can understand Marilyn's decision, and those around her are confused by her displeasure with the conformity and shallowness of contemporary life. Her "radical" beliefs were fostered by her now-deceased father, who gave Marilyn banned books and came to regret his own Transformation years earlier, committing suicide upon the loss of his identity.
When Dr. Rex is told about her decision, he has Marilyn confined to a hospital room against her will, ostensibly to psychologically examine her and cure her of her reason for refusing the procedure. Marilyn suspects that despite not being legally required, the Transformation is not optional, and is being maintained by the leaders of society to ensure conformity. Her best friend Valerie, who has already undergone the Transformation, shows no emotional reaction to Marilyn's protests, even when she is driven to tears. Marilyn realizes that no one who has undergone the Transformation can possibly sympathize with her. She attempts to escape from the hospital, but due to a post-hypnotic suggestion planted during her stay, she instead goes to the operating room to undergo the Transformation.
Dr. Rex, who operated on Marilyn, comments that some people have problems with the idea of the Transformation but that "improvements" to the procedure now guarantee a positive result. Marilyn reappears, looking and thinking exactly like Valerie. "And the nicest part of all, Val", she gushes, "I look just like you!"
|“||Portrait of a young lady in love - with herself. Improbable? Perhaps. But in an age of plastic surgery, body building and an infinity of cosmetics, let us hesitate to say impossible. These, and other strange blessings, may be waiting in the future, which, after all, is The Twilight Zone.||”|
To show this future society in this episode, Suzy Parker and Pam Austin play almost all of the female roles (actress Collin Wilcox plays protagonist Marilyn prior to her transformation), while Richard Long plays all of the male roles; dialogue in the episode indicates that Parker and Long portray the most popular models selected for the Transformation. According to show producer William Froug, Parker was specifically cast because she "was at the time the most famous model in the [United States] ... it was my notion that if you were going to do a show about everybody looking as beautiful as possible to use her."
This episode highlights Hollywood's age-obsession and youthful looks for women. Although Collin Wilcox (b. 1935) and Suzy Parker (b. 1932) had only a three-year age difference, Wilcox played the daughter of Parker's character. Wilcox was aged 29 playing an 18 year old.
The 2005 novel Uglies shares several themes with this episode. It also takes place in a future where teens receive an operation to look 'perfect' and live healthier and longer and centers on a girl who initially refuses the operation.
The band The Number Twelve Looks Like You took their name from the title of this episode.
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0