Story by Donald Todd
Directed by David Steinberg
Original Airdate - November 29, 1985
Murphy Dunne - Uncle Devil
Joel Polis - Dad
Wendy Phillips - Mom
Gregory Meir - Joey



A small child named Joey is watching TV.  His mother gives him a package that came in the mail.  Joey excitedly opens it, finds a videotape in it and other items like a cape and wand.  Joey puts the tape in the player.  The package is from the Uncle Devil Show, which is Joey's favorite kids program.  He'd eaten BeelzeBits cereal and sent in box tops to get the kit.  The tape has a cartoon show on it called Tim Ferret, which is playing, and seems far too violent for so young a child.   Joey tries a magic trick, using the cape and wand, but it doesn't work.  The cartoon on the tape is over, and Uncle Devil is now telling the kids to never, ever, brush their teeth.

The entire time this is going on, Joey's parents are in the kitchen talking about how horrible other parents are, never watching what their kids do, or make sure they don't get into trouble, while their own son is opening a package they don't know the contents of, and watching a tape that they haven't vetted. 


"The Uncle Devil Show" is a thinly-veiled polemic on how some self-righteous parents seem to criticize others for their parenting techniques, when they themselves do the same thing with their own kids.  It's just done with a lot more sly fun and some fantastic special effects, as well as witty dialogue.  The calm conversation in the kitchen between the parents, while havoc reigns in the living room and the entire house around them is destroyed, is done with style and zest.  It's a short episode, but it packs a lot in its 15 minutes.  Written by Donald Todd, who also wrote "Dealer's Choice," this is one of the best new Twilight Zone episodes.

Joey is suitably cute, and does a good job as the child.  Wendy Phillips and Joel Polis as the parents are obsequiously vigilant to their own ideas, and are perfect as they ignore everything their son is doing.  You can imagine that the kid grows up to be a real troublemaker, when you see how uninvolved they are in his activities.  Murphy Dunne as Uncle Devil is particularly good.  He has an angelic face but his eyes snap with anarchy and deviltry as he tells his pint-sized followers to do horrible things, all the while smiling sweetly. 

As I said, the special effects in this episode are top-notch.  The life-sized vision of Candyland is glorious; straight out of the board game.  My favorite is the family's four-eyed dog who seems to be morphing before our eyes into a strange, hairy beast.  No episode like this would be complete without huge bugs coming out of a prop, and we get that in several places.