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View Poll Results: Nuclear Family
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Old 02-18-2003, 02:21 PM   #1
alsplacebartender
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Default 321 Nuclear Family

Nuclear Family
October 26, 1962


Southern Florida (200 miles north of Cuba)


In the body of a bomb shelter salesman during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Sam has to stop the killing of a neighbor during a false air raid alarm which results in the conviction of his brother.


Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.


Rate and comment on this episode!
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Old 10-06-2005, 12:07 AM   #2
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This was a great episode. Sam leaps in thinking it's the end of the world, which is what most people thought during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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Old 04-15-2006, 05:44 PM   #3
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i liked the idea of this episode but one thing that bothered me was that the family overracted about Sam's behavior even though they had good reason. i mean Sam was trying to make the kids less afriad and assure them that everything was ok and they kept getting mad as if they wanted him to say "yes your dad is right, the russians are gonna kill both you kids and all of us". Sam was just being a good uncle. this was one episode where Sam was valid in talking from the future.
i don't know about anyone else but that's how i felt.

and other than that i liked this episode. i liked how they put in that elderly woman with the number on her arm from the holocaust.

and i liked the beginning

KImberly: Sam, come out Sam, no one's gonna hurt you.
Sam: uh well i...
(dog comes trotting out)

lol.
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Old 04-15-2006, 08:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
but one thing that bothered me was that the family overracted about Sam's behavior even though they had good reason. i mean Sam was trying to make the kids less afriad and assure them that everything was ok and they kept getting mad as if they wanted him to say "yes your dad is right, the russians are gonna kill both you kids and all of us". Sam was just being a good uncle. this was one episode where Sam was valid in talking from the future.
You've got to keep in mind the time period this is coming from. I wasn't born during the Cuban Missile Crisis but I very much lived through the nuclear threat that existed between the US and USSR. What Sam was telling the children, for that time period, was quite simply utter nonsense. There was genuine fear that any minute a nuclear bomb would be detonated and the Soviets (Russians) were very much the enemy - all of them. Even Al, at one point, tells Sam something to the effect of "you don't remember what it was like". Sam has the advantage of being able to talk from the future. He knows about Glasnost and Perestroika but the people around him know none of this and can't wrap their minds around a time when Americans and Soviets will live in peace. A good example would be how would you react if someone from 40 years in the future (but you don't know the come from the future) came up to you and said, "don't worry, there's going to be an end to terrorism and there won't be anymore catastrophic attacks." Would you immediately believe them or think they were ready for the funny farm?
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Old 04-15-2006, 09:12 PM   #5
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i got that the parents didn't believe Sam, and that's fine, i just mean for the kids' sakes, i thought Sam was fine. he just wanted the kids to believe there was no dangoer to them so they wouldn't be afriad. maybe that was wrong too, i ammkinda confused now i am not sure. but i thought Sam was right to say what he did in some places. like when Kimberly started crying about Sam calling her dad a liar, the mom asked what he told her, and SAm replied
"i just told her the russians arn't going to hurt her"
and the mom snaps back asking if Sam has recently seeing the news. i mean what does she want him to say "yes kimberly the russian are going to kill you and your brother".

thats just me. so yes they had a right to be crazy towards sams behavior but to a curtian extent.

i don't know now i must sound stupid huh?

you make a lot of good points though.
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Old 04-15-2006, 10:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Sam calling her dad a liar, the mom asked what he told her, and SAm replied
"i just told her the russians arn't going to hurt her"
and the mom snaps back asking if Sam has recently seeing the news. i mean what does she want him to say "yes kimberly the russian are going to kill you and your brother".
I think the problem there lies in that Sam was giving her what the mother thought was a false sense of security. I don't think the mother wanted him to say that the Russians were going to come and kill them but rather to just not say anything at all. We have never come closer to nuclear war than we did for that period of time during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It wasn't really a matter of "if" there was an attack but rather "when" that attack would come.
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Old 04-16-2006, 09:58 AM   #7
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The paranoia and fear also stemmed from things like the (for them) recent Rosenberg case and McCarthy hearings, where there was a real sense that you didn't actually know your neighbors, and they might be spies. So the whole, "the Russians aren't actually looking to hurt us (which means the government propaganda is wrong), and someday we'll be peaceful allies" vibe Sam was giving off would have been very close to the treason line.
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Old 04-17-2006, 03:36 PM   #8
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Nah, you don't sound stupid, Cyd. I wasn't alive during that time either, so when I first saw this episode, I couldn't really comprehend the extent of how afraid people were. Unless someone was actually "there," he or she probably wouldn't be able to fully comprehend the feeling. The only instances I can really recall in my own lifetime when I felt somewhat afraid that the world would "blow up" or enter WWIII were during the Reagan/Cold War era when the U.S. and the now defunct-Soviet Union were both competing to become second-to-none in the nuclear arms race, and more recently, 9/11 (for obvious reasons).

I think the episode was just supposed to show just how deathly afraid people were that the world was going to end and how, unfortunately, even innocent children couldn't be shielded from the realistic prospect of a possible nuclear holocaust. A really good movie to watch, if you can find it on DVD, is Thirteen Days, starring Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood and Steven Culp. They play the roles of Presidential aide Kenneth O'Donnell, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, respectively. It delves into the entirety of the Cuban Missile Crisis and how much pressure Kennedy was under to quell the crisis before all-out war broke loose. People aren't kidding when they say we came "this close" to World War III and almost total annihilation. Pretty intense movie, especially considering it's based on true events. I highly recommend it if you can find it.
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Old 07-29-2007, 09:18 AM   #9
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I watched this ep for the first time last night, and I was totally stunned because although I'd heard the words "cuban missile crisis" before I had absolutely no idea about it at all, probably due to my age and my location, I can't beleive that people were that afraid, not becuase I think the fear was unjustified, but because I get the idea it was justified. How amazingly awful for the poeple this episodes represents and I guess, really it represents all those who currently live in fear of an attack as well. It really makes you realise what living with such intense fear can do to you.

I really loved the way Al defended the advertising about popping under a picnic blanket in the event of a nuclear war, "it makes them feel like they have some control over the uncontrolable" I think thats what he said anyway. I love Al, he's just such a wise little bloke.

I agree with Dman176, that I also was afraid during Reagan/Cold war era, despite the fact that I lived in a very unimportant city on the unimportant side of Australia, I was convinced a Nuclear bomb was going to come and fly through my window. I think this is because they kept showing us movies at school about what a nuclear war would do to us. When we were in year 8 (13yo) our English teacher showed us this BBC doco that had been made in the early 60's and BANNED because it was so realistic and terrifying, but he'd managed to get a copy and was going to share it with 'lucky us' I remember when it was over, we all got up and left, none of us said a word, even the smartarses, and we all stood outside and just looked at each other, most of us crying.... it was surreal. It had a huge impact on me for years to come I hadn't thought about that for a long time but I did after watching nuclear family.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:39 PM   #10
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Well as an epiosde in QL i found this episode an Average one. The story itself wasn't something you'll remember for years to come after you see it,unless(probably) You lived in this era and felt it on "your flesh". So as a side witness,this story didn't really "grabbed" me.
And to be added to this i'm agreeing with SBF about the exaggerated and overacted reaction of both Mac and Kate for sam's trying to calm down the kids by telling them it will all be O.K and nothing would happend to them. ohh...and i really didn't like the charecter of Mac Elroy - a sleezey salesman who exploite people fears to sell his Bomb Shelters,though the actor did a good job playing this role.
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Old 08-03-2007, 06:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
And to be added to this i'm agreeing with SBF about the exaggerated and overacted reaction of both Mac and Kate for sam's trying to calm down the kids by telling them it will all be O.K and nothing would happend to them.
That would be because you don't have a frame of reference for what was going on historically in this episode. I was born a bit after the Cuban Missile Crisis so I didn't actually experience the fear that came along with it but I was raised during the era of the Cold War. It was a time when you honestly didn't know if nuclear war was going to erupt between the US and the USSR. I can assure you, the USSR was not looked up on kindly by the US. The reaction of Mac and his wife is not exaggerated for what they're going through. It's right on track with what it should be at that point in time.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:38 PM   #12
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So you're saying ,that Mac reaction to it - throwing his brother out of his house was a justified and legitimate reaction?!
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:06 PM   #13
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There's a difference between understanding why something happened and justifying the act. I didn't say what Mac did was justified but that it was undersandable based on the time and the circumstances. From what I can gather, you really have no idea what that would be like and is probably why you can't understand why what Mac did was very much in keeping with how an American would have reacted at that point.
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:17 AM   #14
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Believe me i can understand. After all i'm living in Israel surrounding by Muslimes Countries, that just can wait to erase Israel from the face of the planet. But still...
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isz
Believe me i can understand. After all i'm living in Israel surrounding by Muslimes Countries, that just can wait to erase Israel from the face of the planet. But still...
Yes Isz, I'm glad you mentioned that cause when I wrote.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bexter
How amazingly awful for the poeple this episodes represents and I guess, really it represents all those who currently live in fear of an attack as well. It really makes you realise what living with such intense fear can do to you.
I was actually thinking specifically of you and those you live in and around your location.

It is also worth a mention that in some countries (like mine) we don't have that constant threat and haven't for years, (we are very blessed) so if a threat like the cuban missile crisis did arise, then we probably freak out in comparison to those who deal with it everyday. We probably wouldn't really know how to control that type of fear, or even live with it for a short while. So I guess that what it was like in the US during the cuban missile crisis a little, which is represented in this episode.

What a shame that this type of threat and fear still exists today in any country.
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Old 08-13-2007, 02:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoniz
I think the problem there lies in that Sam was giving her what the mother thought was a false sense of security. I don't think the mother wanted him to say that the Russians were going to come and kill them but rather to just not say anything at all.
Well sometimes a false sense of security is necessary when it comes to little kids to keep them calm. If I were that mother I would rather my kids have a false sense of security than live their lives in fear especially the way those kids did, that poor little girl was crying at night and older boy carried around toy weapons all the time for protection and freaked at every little sound. I mean come on as a mother would you rather watch your kids contiune to live in that state or tell a white fib just for the sake of making them feel better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by isz
and i really didn't like the charecter of Mac Elroy - a sleezey salesman who exploite people fears to sell his Bomb Shelters,though the actor did a good job playing this role.
This is a very good point. Mac indeed was the worst. In addition to the situation in general causing his behaviors, Mac it seems wanted to purposely feed people's fears for the sake of his sales. The way he in particular treated Sam was downright cruel. He was just pissed because Sam was killing his stupid sales. And yes keeping a business afloat is important of course but in their paricular situation it should have been the least of Mac's concerns. Sam's making people feel less afriad was much more significant, and Mac should have followed his example and put helping his family feel less afriad over his business. Or at least apprached his sales differently by saying stuff like "this bomb shelter will help you feel safe you'll be ok in here" rather than "You need to buy a bomb shelter or the russians will kill you."

And just to make something clear here that I am not sure I did before, I am not saying that the behavior of both parents cannot be condoned. Their behavior totally comes from an extremely valid place, I am just saying that they could have handled their kids a little better. Although they weren't wrong Sam was not eaither he was doing a good thing. I however do admit that he took it too far by continuously insisting there would be no war. That was unnecessary and probably most of what ticked the family off. He needed to just keep it to assuring the little kids that they would be safe.

*****

Now I am pretty sure that those of you who know the Cuban Missle Crisis better than myself will see this as BS. I realize I have to be careful discussing this episode as I am not old enough to know this crisis personally and have little second hand knowledge; I am not trying to pass myself off as having the knowledge of a witness. These are the things that occured to me based upon how the situation was protrayed in this episode.
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
Well sometimes a false sense of security is necessary when it comes to little kids to keep them calm.
You are right, that would be the best option, but obviously not what the writers wanted to portray. Unfortunately no matter how hard you try you can't help but transfer your fear and stress onto your children, even when you don't realise you are doing it. When I watched this episode I thought the mother was so wrapped up in her own fear (as you would be) that she really didn't know how to deal with the childrens fear, how would you know if you have never been taught or never been in that situation before. But SBF, I really really hope that if necessary I'd be able to deal with it the way you suggest, keeping them calm, even if I had to tell a little white lie to do so.
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:51 AM   #18
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Yes Excellent point Bexter in their particular situation it would be hard to fight your own fear let alone your children's but it seems like they did not even want to try, like they were satisfied being afraid. Because remember how the mom responded to Sam by asking him if he's been watching the news? If she were really trying than what the news says would not have been so important as oppsed to creating their own news so to speak, as in listening to their own thoughts on the subject and not let the news entirely feed them.

for example I am pathaphobic which means fear of desease and if I see something on the news hypthetically that says that young girls are most prone to heart desease I am going to tell myself
"Ok well I eat right and I excersize, I take care of myself well so there is no reason to worry so much".

So perhaps she should have said how they have a nice bomb shelter and have weapons and are prepared so they should all feel pretty safe because they are doing everything right.
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:57 AM   #19
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Actually fear is such as isolating thing, that perhaps the idea of the ep was that it had consumed her to the point that she was only concious of her own fear that she didn't even register that she needs to try and shield her children.

I wonder if the writers consider these things when they write the episodes, wouldn't you just love to 'leap' back to when they are writing some of these and be a fly on the wall? I'l love to know if they analyse it before they make the ep as much as we do after.
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Old 08-15-2007, 03:41 PM   #20
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Yeah I guess this issue depends on what Paul Brown had in mind when he wrote the charactors of parents because you could be right. We are both right in a sense but Paul Brown may have had your thoughts when writing the charactors of the parents and thus purposly did not protray my ideas because he had in mind for this episode to send out a certian message.

****

and while I am here I would like to say that my favorite scene in this episode is when Sam is showing the elderly lady around the shelter and when he tells her "they won't attack us" she gets upset and Sam notices the concentration camp number on her arm. I also love how she was really nice to him and said that it was not his fault it was just the words.
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
and while I am here I would like to say that my favorite scene in this episode is when Sam is showing the elderly lady around the shelter and when he tells her "they won't attack us" she gets upset and Sam notices the concentration camp number on her arm. I also love how she was really nice to him and said that it was not his fault it was just the words.
Oh Yes!! I loved this scene too. My 6 year old daughter was watching and wanted to know what the numbers on her arm meant, I had to stop the DVD and explain as best I could... not easy.
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Old 08-15-2007, 10:06 PM   #22
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This comment was said before but it also holds for me. I wasn't around back then, but my parents were. My dad has never said what he thought about the Cuban Missile Crisis. My mom however, she said during school they used to practice duck & cover. She knew it was pointless back then as a kid. She said it was "Put you head between your legs and kiss your goodbye". Were kids really shown duck & cover cartoons like in the show for real?
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Old 08-15-2007, 10:21 PM   #23
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Yes, the Duck and Cover clips and Burt the Turtle are historically accurate. You can see the IMDB entry for "Duck and Cover" here - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0213381/. Wikipedia has an entry on it included a copy of the Duck and Cover posters here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_and_cover. You can see the complete "Duck and Cover" movie here: http://www.brightcove.com/title.jsp?...hannel=1550596
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Old 08-15-2007, 10:47 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoniz
Yes, the Duck and Cover clips and Burt the Turtle are historically accurate. You can see the IMDB entry for "Duck and Cover" here - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0213381/. Wikipedia has an entry on it included a copy of the Duck and Cover posters here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_and_cover. You can see the complete "Duck and Cover" movie here: http://www.brightcove.com/title.jsp?...hannel=1550596
I really loved how they did that little cartoon so that little kids find it amusuing yet can understand what it means like Stevie and Kimberly did and I love how they gave the name to the neighbor that Sam was there to save that was cute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bexter
Oh Yes!! I loved this scene too. My 6 year old daughter was watching and wanted to know what the numbers on her arm meant, I had to stop the DVD and explain as best I could... not easy.
Wow yikes, that definietly sounds difficult and that was a very scary time for Jews. The Holocaust I have much more second hand information on as we did whole units on World War II in more than one of my history classes. And we read Night in one of my english classes, tenth grade I think it was. Its a novel but its about a boy named Eli and his family during the Holocaust. And its a true story. Terrible things were done to those people.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:24 PM   #25
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I was a mother with 5 small kids during the Cuban Missile Crisis, AND we lived downwind of Chicago, so I figured that if TSHTF we were toast in a few days if not right away. I remember the terrible feeling of not knowing what was going to happen, and wondering that if we all stayed in the basement for however long, would that just be prolonging the inevitable end.
BUT I didn't let my kids know how frightened I was, and that's where this episode lost me. It was WAY over the top, but then, there wouldn't have been much drama if the characters acted the way we real people did at that time.
OK, I did know one family that had a bomb shelter built in their back yard, but the rest of us kind of thought they were ridiculous.
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