Special Service

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"Special Service"
The New Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 64
Directed by Randy Bradshaw
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Original air date April 8, 1989
Guest appearance(s)

David Naughton: John Selig
Keith Knight: Archie the Repairman
Elias Zarou: The Network Manager
Susan Roman: Leslie

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Crazy as a Soup Sandwich"
Next →
"Father and Son Game"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

"Special Service" is the sixty-fourth episode and the twenty-ninth episode of the third season (1988–89) of the television series The Twilight Zone. Special Service was written by J Michael Straczynski, who later created Babylon 5. The critically acclaimed feature film The Truman Show, written by Andrew Niccol, was inspired by this episode, and won the 1999 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, beating the Babylon 5 finale "Sleeping In Light", also written by Straczynski.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

A man, John Selig, is starting his day, shaving and dressing for work. His wife calls up to find out how many eggs he wants. Suddenly, his bathroom mirror falls on one side to reveal a camera with a red light on it. A repairman named Archie rushes in and acts nonchalant about putting the mirror back up. When John questions him, Archie acts as if the camera was not there. He attempts to leave, but he mistakenly mentions John's boss by name, which causes John to become enraged at the thought of cameras spying on him. Archie comments that John is not nearly as nice as he appears on TV. When John threatens to call the police, Archie tells him the truth: that John's life is broadcast on television to the entire planet, 24 hours a day. John is upset that he didn't know, and Archie, the repairman, tells him that's the point: that it is more interesting if he does not know he is being watched.

John confronts his wife, Leslie, about the whole thing and she just brushes it off. But as she kisses him goodbye, she tells him not to blow it because the ratings are so good. John is puzzled but then tries to act normal while searching for cameras. As he finds and disables more and more cameras, the phone rings and he is warned not to damage the equipment. He continues, and the doorbell rings. Two men put John in a car with Archie and drive to a television network building, where a large group of female fans want to see John. They enter the building where John meets with the network manager, who is outraged at John, talking about how the last five years of John's life have been a ratings bonanza and highly profitable. John is outraged as well at his privacy being trodden upon. All the major points of his life have been scripted; even his wife was hired by the show. The manager offers to let him go back to his televised life, but John refuses, wanting his privacy.

When John is left alone in the manager's office, a fan comes in and cannot stop the adoration. John attempts to get her out of the office only to have the other fans burst in. The receptionist gets them out, then Archie arrives to tell John he will take him home. He tells John that he got fired because of all this. At the house, Archie comes in to take the cameras out. John discovers all the fan mail and gifts that accumulated over the past five years. Archie also brings him a million-dollar check for the pay he received for being on the show. John thinks that perhaps he preferred his life on television. Archie suggests that if John were unaware that the manager went ahead and kept him on television, but told John that he was not, he would go back to normal and still be on television. John wonders but "acts" normal...

Closing narration[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]