has had on television and on American popular culture in general.
Countless later series and films have taken inspiration from the series, which ran on the CBS network from 1959 until 1964 and to this day maintains a devoted following.
It is the Platonic image of American suburbia, and everyone is happy to be playing his or her part.
Serling emphasizes the notion that the episode’s tragedy will lie in the death of its domestic tranquility with the last line of his opening narration: “Maple Street — in the last calm and reflective moment — before the monsters came,” ().
Tommy claims to have read a science fiction story very similar to their current predicament, and he believes that aliens are responsible for the power outage, which they inflicted in order to ensure the residents stay on Maple Street.
Furthermore, the aliens of the story had sent scouts to infiltrate the community prior to invasion. “A mother and a father and two kids who looked just like humans, but they weren’t!
There, they fostered a sense of security based on traditional gender roles, consumerism, controlled sexuality, and childrearing.
May writes, “For in the early years of the cold war, amid a world of uncertainties brought about by World War II and its aftermath, the home seemed to offer a secure, private nest removed from the dangers of the outside world.” Further, political leaders and media outlets at the time espoused the idea that the American Dream had been realized, and was now available to all through capitalist consumption: In the propaganda battles that permeated the cold war era, American leaders promoted the American way of life as the triumph of capitalism, allegedly available to all who believed in its values.
The aliens comment upon how predictable the whole ordeal has been. A tree-lined little world of front porch gliders, barbecues, the laughter of children and the bell of an ice cream vendor,” ().
One muses, “They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it’s themselves. Through a number of key images and lines of dialogue, the episode presents its story as one not just of alien invasion, but also as one of domesticity corrupted by an outside force. By not giving a city or state, Serling is implying that this neighborhood could easily be in any suburban community across the country.