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April 17, 2010

The Elephant in the Room

At this stage in our relationship it's timely to make a shocking admission. I can't tell the difference between Paradise Towers and The Happiness Patrol. You can only imagine the confusion generated when the gentlemen of the press recently unearthed some guff about Doctor Who being used in the late 80's as a tool to bring down Thatcher's government. The weapon of choice? A thinly veiled caricature of the then PM in The Happiness Patrol of course. I then spent hours trying to workout who they were talking about. Then it all clicked. Of course! They're equating Thatcher's ceaseless crusade against crushing the working man to that yellow pre-pubescent Dyson sucking up all the wee and poo from the swimming pool.

Brilliant! Take that Fluck and Law.

Doctor Who: The Beast Below
Review by Damon Querry

Whilst watching The Beast Below I was reminded of my Happiness Towers/Paradise Patrol conflagration. The usual structure of these new seasons have done little to help - the present day companion hookup, followed by a jump forward and/or a celebrity historical jump backwards then throw in a monster two-parter and your half way there (to being maddeningly interrupted for a week by world class soccer ball or parochial euro warbling fisticuffs).

A massive structure resembling a deep fat fryer.

Starshipuk This could have been Gridlock, or The End of the World, or New Earth. There they are. Humanity. Out amongst the stars. Building some of the most tortuous structural metaphors to help their continued existence. Instead of a little recycling here, a little solar engineering there, off they go in a 31st century Harland and Wolff space faring version of the entire United Kingdom. Apart from Scotland who, with the frothing 1400 year old head of Salmond leading the way, broke away from Starship UK on a massive structure resembling a deep fat fryer to join up with Starship Iceland and Starship Ireland in an axis of white goods.

A stream of sharp one-liners that will inevitably end up on a range of fan produced t-shirts.

BalloonAnd to some extend that was all it was. A story of man with two hearts, takes girl he's just hooked up with on first holiday. Man turns said girl into a balloon and lets her bob around in space a bit. Man looks up nightie. Balloon girl becomes embroiled in societies problems. Makes a few massive leaps of deduction having just really gotten to know man with two hearts. And both get home in time for tea, spam fritters, powdered egg and fighting Nazis.

A man made of sweets killing people.

SmilerAnd yet, because it's Moffat there's the constant stream of sharp one-liners that will inevitably, as inevitable as celebrity historical follows far future humanity, end up on a range of fan produced t-shirts. You've still got this rather odd new Doctor that you're not really sure about (described brilliantly by @ThatBenBaker on Twitter as a Britpop Troughton) doing his thing and trying to fathom just what his thing is at the same time. And you end up with something that wouldn't look that out of place if it were a Sylvester McCoy story. Moffat's said he likes to think of his version of Who as dark fairytale. It could be argued that there's nothing darker or likely to scare a child (or help fight childhood obesity) than a man made of sweets killing people.

A phallic spaceship powered by the sweat from a billion astro beavers.

Perhaps the much maligned later years of Who will be re-evaluated in the years to come as we inevitably end up travelling through the stars on a phallic spaceship powered by the sweat from a billion astro beavers as we realised that the people who tried to bring down a government with some sci-fi hokum might have known what they were doing after all with Paradise Towers... or was it The Happiness Patrol?

Perhaps we shall never know...


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