Masters of Science Fiction

Season 1 Episode 3

Jerry Was a Man

Aired Saturday 10:00 PM Aug 18, 2007 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Jerry Was a Man
This futuristic episode follows the seventh richest couple in the world. Their lives take a turn when they acquire an anthropoid named Jerry.

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  • Lacks virtue

    I could probably repeat what I said about the "A Clean Escape" episode here. However, this particular episode is alot worse.

    This is an episode primarily devoted to the vitures [or lack thereof] of man. Set in a future full of robotics and agonizingly rich people who live the life of luxury w/o any appreciation of "true" human viture. It does convey its premise very well and provides a fairly logicial and slightly satisfying ending, but overall the episode was a disappointment.

    Predominately the screenplay has been designed to showcase human vanity to the extreme. It touches upon egocentricity, arrogance, self-absorption and briefly dips its toe into the murky pool of what is the definition of sentience.

    Alas, despite the cast the screenplay lacks any action or for that matter drama. The cornerstone of the entire plot - the 'Jerry' character apart from initially being funny just descend into a repetitive droning that will morph your desire into impatience for the story to be told. Acting is fine and the sets are amiable. They do combine well for the setting, but unfortunately without a pulsating plot to drive this story, I was left feeling that Id just wasted the hour.

    Only the ending provides a scene worthy of spending any time on this, which in no way validates any effort I spent watching this episode.

    If you never watch, you havent missed anything.moreless
  • What defines humanity?

    This episode was a totally cynical look at what it means to be human.

    In the future, artificially created humanoids are used to various job; similar to replicants in "Blade Runner". Jerry's job, along with others of his type, was clearing minefields by stepping on them blowing themselves to smithereens. So we are to believe that in the future, we will create living beings to be used in this way? Nonsense. Using machines to do this is much more effective even today using low tech machines with spinning chains. Though in poor countries people are used to clear mines - even then they identify mines then defuse them - no blow themselves up. For some unknown reason Jerry is taken off mine clearing duty to be sold to a pet food factory. Now here comes the really stupid part. A billionaire woman offers to buy him, but is told he has already been bought. How much would anyone pay for a humanoid for pet food? $100? Heck, she could just send the pet food company $100,000 easy - would they refuse? Not unless they were insane. It cost over $3 million to create a stupid miniture elephant that writes I Love You a million times- so it must have cost big money to create Jerry, yet he is sold as a pet food ingredient? Yeah.... right... sigh...

    Jerry's status is put on trial - is he more than what he was created for? Should he be declared human. After reviewing recordings of Jerry's last mine clearing mission it was clear he switched places with another humanoid after spotting a mine so he wouldnt die and the other would be blown up. So, they say, only a human being would do something like screw over someone else to save himself. Jerry is saved from the pet food factory. Basically the moral of this sordid tale is what defines us as human is not love or self sacrifice but our dark sides. Thats nice. Next...

    Not even Stephen Hawking can save this show. Of course the decision to cancel it by cutting off the 2 remaining episodes and consigning it to the 10PM Saturday graveyard makes the whole issue of this shows fate academic.moreless
  • In 2077, an anthropoid, a Mine Sweeper Joe, scheduled for termination, is saved temporarily by the seventh richest woman in the world, to be a pet for her and her husband.moreless

    'Jerry Was a Man' tells the story of the enlightenment of dull beings. And the 'Joe' named Jerry learned a little, as well. In the future, science, law, and the folly of the sickeningly rich will know no bounds. For those who grew up with Robert Heinlein's future history stories, this is classic Heinlein. For newer fans the story fits well into today's self indulgent style of spoiled heirs that populate TV and movies. But in the end, it has nothing to do with the grand intellect that created Jerry, nor the grandiose ego that saved him. It comes down to the definition of 'human'. The legal proof offered may be a surprise to some, but not those familiar with Heinlein, one of the true Masters of SciFi.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Host: (opening narration) If necessity is the mother of invention, what will drive our ingenuity when all our needs have been fulfilled?

    • Host: (closing narration) What makes us human may one day be defined not by the gifts we posses, but by the virtues we lack.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Cargrew: I don't know how to graft wings on a horse? That's like saying the creator of Bugs Bunny wouldn't know how to animate a bouncing ball!

      Bugs Bunny is an animated rabbit, most famously voiced by Mel Blanc, that has starred in many cartoons produced by Warner Bros. Cartoons.

    • Bailiff: […] God, Goddess, Buddha, Allah, Great Spirit, Higher Power, Gaia, and the great turtle that supports the universe?

      The "the great turtle that supports the universe" refers to the Giant Star Turtle (Great A'Tuin) from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels.