Number 12 Looks Suspiciously Familiar

Most of you may already know that a Twilight Zone episode from 1964 is an early example of the dystopia presented in Uglies. It’s called “Number 12 Looks Just Like Me,” and is based on a short story by Charles Beaumont called “The Beautiful People.” Some enterprising soul has posted the entire thing to YouTube.


The poster has set the video to not embed, but click below to watch the three parts:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Until last night, I hadn’t seen this gem since I was a little kid, so I’d forgotten all the details. Especially the phrase “pure perfection of pigmentation” (appearing 15 seconds into part 2), which is particularly creepy given how white everyone in the episode is. (Despite what the US covers for Uglies suggest, in Tally’s world everyone is racially averaged, or at least pushed toward the middle of the bell curve.) Note also the disturbing moment when the protag’s mother says to her braindeadmaid, “I don’t understand why you people have so much trouble with first names.” Hmm.

I’d also forgotten that in “Number 12” people look so much alike that they need name tags (obviously not the case in Tally’s world—my future is bell curvy, not cookie cutter). Here the facial choices are so limited that all fourteen characters are played by four actors. And what is it about the extreme minimalism of sf sets? Get some frickin’ posters for your walls, future people!

And some, um, better clothes.

Of course, compulsory plastic surgery is a venerable theme in sf. Not surprising, given that the first elective nose job occurred about a century ago, about the same time as H.G. Wells was writing War of the Worlds. (Fun fact: the earliest known skin grafts were performed in India 2800 years ago!) Other early fictional examples of compulsory cosmetic/brain surgery include L.P. Hartley’s 1960 story Facial Justice, Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” (1961), and of course Ira Levin’s Stepford Wives (book: 1972; films: 1975, 2004).

But it’s great to see this classic again. Thank you, anonymous copyright-flouting YouTube user!

(And look! The episode’s Wikipedia page mentions Uglies!)

68 thoughts on “Number 12 Looks Suspiciously Familiar

  1. Yay! We’re Wikipedia-famous!

    Who could resist seeing a great episode of The Twilight Zone instead of finishing up winter break homework?

    Not I. 8D

  2. OMG!!!!!!! 7th post! Closest I’ve EVER been to #1!!! Yay!! Sorry. Little excited there. Sorry again.

  3. Wow, you mentioned Harrison Bergeron! I’ve been thinking about the similarities between it and Uglies for a while. Never thought you would actually post about it. Cool!

  4. great! your on wiki! :] haha. ok so i have a REALLLLY important question. i know youve said that you arnt writing any more for the uglies series, but i NEEED to know how life goes up in space… and who joins them and everything! oh golly you could wirte SO much more! if you dont, i will!!! :]

  5. So a few months ago, i saw this posted on another board, and it said that there were a lot of similarites, and at this time in my life i realy LOVED the twilight zone, and don’t get me wrong i still do. So i clicked it and stuff. And i watched it, and yeah it was really good, i could totally pick out some similarites.
    I really suggest that if you LOVED uglies, you might wanna click that link. Because i’ll tell you, i had to have watched that episode 3 times in a row. Its really good.
    Thanks scott for posting that =]

  6. WHOA!
    Okay I’m better now, but seriously how could people ever look that much alike? And how could people live looking that much alike?

  7. dude! i saw that on TV yesterday!!!!!
    and actually mentioned it in the comments yesterday. ha ha, i be inspirational.

    was a great episode. i looooooooooove the Twilight Zone. it rocks eternal.
    don’t knock the low budget, they pysch your brains out.
    “don’t think him out to the cornfield.”
    “Yes, us Venusians thought the same thing.”

    ha ha i’m ahead of the curve.

  8. ha ha i got comment 13. lucky me!
    i love that yearly Twilight Zone marathon.

    seriously, there is a lack of individuality in sci-fi sets. but in this one at least, that probably is trying to show the whole conformity of everyone.
    the jumpsuits were pretty scary though.

    reminds me of that other one with the face unwrapping. and the ugly vs. beatiful.

    my favorite Twilight Zones are the ones like that that’re not even a full half hour, just a little mini thing.

    also, i do a great Rod Serling impression. pity you people can’t hear it.

    “No comment, no comment at all, simply a portrait of a society stuck in…The Twilight Zone.”

  9. THE TWILIGHT ZONE is one of my all-time favorite television programs. I enjoy this episode (the story more than the acting) . When I was little, I thought the man in this episode was Gig Young. Then I grew up and realized it was Richard Long.

  10. Creepy-making. That’s cool, though. I can’t watch it because my computer’s sound is dead, but it sounds cool from the wikipage. Hopefully it’ll still be up once my computer gets fixed. ^_^

  11. Oooohhhh! Sweeeeeeeet!

    In other words, school was blachhhh…..uck….yuck….gross….ewww …..sickening…awful…foul….revolting…….rotten………scandalous..

    Well, I think you guys see what I mean…..

    Oh and Bran-la when you said…

    “Its ok Amelia-wa, at least you get to see your friends,
    do work,and eat in the lunch room! YEAH!”

    Seeing my friends was good, except for the ones who were ditching school….Yuck school work hello! school besides I have sooooooooo much school work! Yuck the lunchroom (how is that possibly awesome??!!) Where the 6th graders have already thrown all the food so you can step and slip on it, where there is certain tables you have to sit at… some friends i can’t sit by….and where the food is HORRIBLE!! Oh, YEAH! totally YEAH!!!

    but anyways, its over!!! Lucky you who don’t have school till Monday!

  12. that was neat i didn’t like the end though “and the best part, val is i look just like you!” sooo sad.mayb not sad but ….. humm* goes off to look in the dictionary for the right word.*

  13. Yes, I had Sci-Fi channel on all day yesterday and when this episode came on, I was only half listening. But as more of the plot snuck into my brain, the more I was like “what the hey??! It’s ‘Uglies’!!”. I even scribbled down the title on a random sheet of people so I could find out if their was an intentional ‘Uglies’ connection. So I’m happy you posted this!

  14. Creepy doesn’t even begin to describe! wow.

    The line where the doctor said, “The problem is simply to discover WHY you don’t want it, and then make the necissary corrections”
    that gave me the chills.

    And the line, “We’re not going to hurt you, we’re only going to help you” reminded my of the thing the Specials always say! What was it? Like… “We don’t want to hurt you, but we will if we have to”?

  15. Yes. The Specials say that.

    I would watch it. But I don’t have time…which explains my super-sort comment.

    Was this an inspiration for Uglies or was it unintentional?

  16. i live for the Sci-Fi Channel’s New Years and Fourth of July Twilight Zone marathons. they make me happy.

    yeah, that came on while i was actually up here, and my mom’s like “dude, it’s just like Uglies!” and made me come watch.

    yeah, We don’t Want To Hurt You But We Will If We Have To. i thought that wierdness when i heard it too.

    and the ending was brilliant! made a statement and was pleasingly dystopic.
    i love dystopia.

  17. dude. i liked the end sort of and thanx for your large vocabulary serafina zane. i was looking for a good word to discribe the end. that episode was a dystopia. the meaning of dystopia for people w/ smaller vocabulary is a place were everything is very bad.or a work of fiction describing an imaginary place where life is extremely bad because of deprivation or oppression or terror. in which case it would be deprivation of originality or the terror of that girl whose name starts w/ an m. i forget.the word is a little extream though. and now for the good news.SCHOOL WAS CANCELLED DUE TO HAZERDOUS ROAD CONDITIONS.but i want to go to school friday. this is because i was sick the day before break an i have this report due monday. but the stuff was in my locker, from where i was sick. sooooooo. i hope it snows again after friday after it melts. and then we won’t have school monday!!!!
    luv ya toots:-9

  18. ugh, i had school today that sucked. i hate school. no snow here at all, it’s just -2 degrees out.

    i love the word dystopia. i love dystopias. i want a shirt that says i heart futuristic urban dystopias. and one that says “dystopias party harder”. just because. i must have one.

    twilight zone, how i love thee. you are made of awesome.

  19. I serouisly love this episode of the twilight zone. Its my 2nd favorite. Ok so my first favorites kinda lame, but ok here goes:
    I have no idea what the name is. But, the lady and her husband are coming home from a party, and they’re in their car, and thats the last they remember. Then they end up in this house, which is totally bare. They go outside, no one is there. But they keep hearing this little kid laughing. Dude its like the best. That gave me chills, but so did #12. Twilight zone is like awesome, i don’t know why, but it intrests me so much. If i said i like the twilght zone at my school, they’d all look at me like i was nuts.

  20. My day was boring. I went shopping, again. and i had to babysit, again. and i get on the computer, again. My day was full of repeats.

    Has anyone read Romeo and Juliet? I think i want to but i dont want tit to be one of those old books were you cant under stand it . For instance, the Christmas Carol.

    How was school? (ew)

  21. I haven’t read it yet, but…
    we’re supposed to read it in class, my teacher told me theres a copy where on one side, its what shakespeare wrote, and the other side its like translated into words that i can actually understand, i don’t know the name of it.
    You might wanna try that.
    I didn’t have school, i’m off until the 7th.

  22. i saw that episode yesterday too.

    all you people with longer vacations stink!

    yeah, we’re supposed to read that later this year.

    god, i have this ominous feeling that there’ll be 500 new comments overnight the next time i check. please no, it’s really annoying.
    though i am also a hypocrite who’s already left like eight comments on this post.

  23. “Harrison Bergeron”!! I love that story. n_n
    Every time I talk to my English teacher about having him teach a class with Uglies in it, he brings up this episode. He is quite the Twilight Zone fan. Once, for no reason at all, he had us watch “To Serve Man” in class. Then again, he does have us watch The Simpsons quite a lot, too… Hmm.

  24. i read Romeo and Juliet for my english class. i thought it was pretty good and i understood it….but i have a teacher who explained it perfectly. i think you would understand it. you’re a freshman right? well if you are than you might read it in your english class. i think it might be required for freshman.

  25. omg that was creepy but great!
    “were not going to hurt you we only want to help you” <—uhh sound like a special much?
    some of the phrases they said just really make u stop and think.
    bahaha i love how they think that was 2000….uhhh 2008 still no “transformation”
    anyway im really glad i watched that !

  26. According to my friend ‘A Brave New World’ is kinda like that. The gene pool being very limited.

  27. Life is pretty. Life is fun. That’s like, the pretty-headed motto. This is probably one of my favorite episodes of this show. We have the DVD box set, and for some reason I haven’t watched any of it recently. Maybe I need to have a marathon.

  28. I thought it was great how Dr. Rex was pulling the whole Doctor Evil thing with the pinky. “ONE MILLION DOLLARS!”

    Creepy episode, I never had cable until a few years ago so I’d never actually watched Twilight Zone until today. Fun.

    While it was a great clip, Uglies is SO much better!


  29. Wow… I just watched all of the episode. Really, really creepy, in a sad, true sort of way. But what was with the ugly spandex outfits that they were wearing???? I almost feel insulted that they thought that we would wear something like that today. Oh well, cool though! Thanks a bunch.

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