John Walker's Electronic House

The Burning Question

by on Jul.03, 2006, under The Rest

I need some help here.

The Doctor Who ep two weeks back, Love & Monsters. Was it, as I contend, sub-pantomime pathetic gibberish, with a fouled-up attempt at pathos toward the end, made all the more cancerously loathsome by the presence of Britain’s Most Useless Human, Peter Kay.

Or was it, as Stuart Campbell claims, brilliant, and, “The end is perhaps the most subversive thing the BBC have ever broadcast at 8pm on a Saturday night.”

31 Comments for this entry

  • Steve W

    You’re both right, to a degree.

    The first half hour was fine, genuinely interesting, some good lines. Then it all went to pot when Peter Kaye turned green; I just couldn’t get past that.

    Stuart Campbell appears to believe that some harmless Carry On-level innuendo is a demonstration of subversiveness; that’s his prerogative, I suppose.

  • Nick Murdoch

    I agree with your assessment of it. It was a vaguely fun episode, with an interesting undertone of “ooh, touchwood is catching up with them!”, but it was horribly, horribly cliché with that ending.

  • Richard

    It was fine between the goddamn Scooby Doo bit at the start, and Peter Kay’s arrival – I liked the idea of an episode about the outsiders, on the edge. Then Kay turns up and it’s all downhill to the oral sex joke.

    Also, I resolve to continue my quest to slap Russell Davies for every future line of script that pretends that Raxacoricofallapatorian is in any way difficult to pronounce, spell, or say.

  • Rev. S Campbell

    I wasn’t talking about the blow-job joke, you fat-headed morons.

  • Steve W

    You utter twat, how dare you ca…

    No, wait, Thegamesthething told me to say that.

    I stand corrected then, but in the interests of clarity, if you didn’t mean the actual ending (which was indeed a harmless blowjob gag), what did you mean? Surely not the clunky-even-for-RTD denouement?

  • DaveT

    Anything that contains Peter Kay cannot be good. Even without him it wouldn’t have been good.

  • peter arbuthnott

    I’m with you all the way with a slightly more extreme “all Dr Who is rubbish” line. My good mate is only recently with me/you…

    Either way, stuart is wrong!

  • Marr

    Clunky, yes, but still in essence the opening statement of Trainspotting, translated into BBC civil-o-speak, and thus it probably -is- the most subversive thing the BBC have ever broadcast at 8pm on a Saturday night.

    And the scooby-doo gag hasn’t really been done as often as you’d think, so that gets by under the ‘funny once’ rule. Childish bullshit with funny bits episode. Missable, but nothing you shouldn’t have been half expecting.

  • Maddy

    It was so unbelievably pointless. Dr Who was hardly in it! I was actually bored but never mind, isn’t Rose going to die/leave sometime soon? She’s so aggrivating!

  • admin

    @ Spoilt: Um, two things: 1) it was on two weeks ago, and 2) what spoiler? Spoilt that it was rubbish? Spoilt that Rev Campbell is a tasteless buffoon?

    Explain yourself, weirdo.

    @ Marr: The Marx Bros door-running joke has been done to death five million times over. But even if it weren’t one of the most common (and tiresome) of gags, it is still utterly out of place in Doctor Who. It wasn’t a camp joke, and it wasn’t joyful silliness. It was cartoon, and obliterated any sense of drama the series had built up, requiring it to start over again with only three eps to finish. Utterly stupid.

    Thank goodness the Ghostbusters moment in the next episode was so hugely joyous.

    @ Maddy: Ooh, see, you mean girls are all so silly. I assumed that Billie Piper would be the death of Doctor Who, but she’s been really, really good. Her reactions and her glee make so many scenes fantastic. See the Ghostbusters moment for reference. Funny cos Dr Who is being daft, but engaging and joyful because of Rose’s bursting happiness as she joins in, and then doubles over laughing. Or when they get out the TARDIS on that black hole planet thing, and they fall about laughing at the idea that they’d do the sensible thing and leave. Or when she’s possessed by Zoe Wanamaker. Give her the credit, as galling as it might be.

  • Steve W

    “….isn’t Rose going to die soon?”

    Though “this is the story of how I died” gives it away some I guess.

  • admin

    STEVE! SPOILER! You said what happened in an episode of a TV programme in the comments of a post that is about a previously aired TV programme!

    What kind of madman are you?!

  • Marr

    Ah, well then. You see, I have been watching Dr. Who -as- a cartoon, not as any kind of series, and certainly not as a drama one. If you want to take it the tiniest fraction of seriously, you really need some trusted third party to pre-screen the episodes for you. That seemed pretty clear by halfway through series one.

    The doorways gag is a Marx Brothers creation? Aside from the thing with the dog, I’ve only actually seen it in this Who episode, and the Beatle’s Yellow Submarine cartoon, that I recall. Which is the original film, then?

  • admin

    I dunno – I’m blagging. It’s probably Laurel & Hardy or something. But it’s certainly a joke I’ve seen at least 20 times in my lifetime, and probably more if you count Warner Bros. cartoons.

  • Maddy

    Are you saying that I am mean, or Rose?

  • aerisdead

    I think the episode was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen on television, ever.

    And I’ve really liked this series.

  • James T

    Hi. In case you hadn’t noticed, this is my first comment on this site!

    I thought the episode was an embarrassing mess. Neither the green monster nor the paving slab were remotely funny, menacing or anything else for that matter. Aside from the bungled execution, the premise of omitting the two main characters from most of the show was fundamentally flawed. They are the best thing about Doctor Who. The Rose Tyler character has been particularly good, I think.

    This show still has a lot to prove. After a great opening episode, the first series rarely managed to live up to the early promise. The general standard has been higher in this second series, but, having established the premise in series one, the job of a second series is to develop the characters further and move the show onward. That hasn’t happened, but really how could it when there are only two main characters to work with?

  • bob arctor

    It was good when it was trying to be funny, with Peter Kay (I like him.) doing his stuff. When moralising and rambling it was rubbish and boring.

    It should give up the game and go completely comedy.

  • admin

    bob, bob, bob – you’re the wrongest human being of all time!

  • milko

    Blech! I tried to watch Dr Who but I kept falling asleep during it. That was last series, I haven’t tried with this one. Apart from the xmas one.

    Wasn’t Reeves & Mortimer’s Families At War thing the most subversive BBC1 Saturday evening thing ever? Or was that just surreal.

  • The_B

    It was so painfully shit. It made me emarrassed to call myself a Doctor Who fan. It was waayy too “for the kids” and as such failed as true “family” entertainment. Just reeked painfully as an excuse to get the compeition winner’s creation in, and had no real redeeming qualities…

    Next episode slightly made up for it, and Army of Ghosts seemed top notch. Just hope they don’t feck it up for the finale. And the next person to mention “Rose regenerates” will be forced to sit in a room with Peter Kay/Tony Christie’s Amarillo Video on repeat…

  • DaveT

    “It was good when it was trying to be funny, with Peter Kay (I like him.)”


  • DAT500

    Milko’s right as always.

  • Tom

    I haven’t been watching the Tennant ones since I caught the Christmas special, since that was more or less the worse thing I’ve ever seen, and I once watched a man hang himself. I loathe Tennant as the Doctor. Even Eccleston took the chirpy aspect of the character too far, but at least he could pull of the angry bits too. Tennant reduces the character to a primary school class buffoon. He’s also way too young and good looking. It’s a weird world when the current Doctor Who could pass for the current James Bond’s prettier son.

    Rose is good, but her benefit is negated by the baggage of worthless and irritating characters she brings with her, whom the writers seem to feel obligated to give bigger and bigger roles.

    Love And Monsters is on tonight, as are the two after it – I take it the Ghostbusters one is the second after L&M, rather than the Olympic one?

  • Tom

    Well, I honestly never thought I’d say this, but I’m on Stuart’s side. That was ace. It helps that a) I hate Dr Tennant, b) I love the actor who played Elton – he makes Hustle worth watching, and c) I love ELO. The door running gag was disastrous, the oral sex gag was a little grotesque, and I don’t know what was subversive about the ending (marriage and kids not all there is to life? THERE WILL BE RIOTS), but the rest of it I found genuinely fun, funny and engaging. I liked almost all the characters. I was watching a screen with Peter Kay on it and yet I wasn’t crying with boredom. The Steps 1-4 gag was great. I quite liked Jackie for once. Also, I didn’t see the previous episodes, but it felt like this tied together a lot of plotlines, and made the point that these stories have long-term consequences, and yes people /do/ notice aliens invading London a lot. And seeing the Doctor’s efforts from a bystander’s point of view actually made me /care/ that he banished the evil alien – usually we’re so desensitised to the hero/villain archetypes that the actual victory feels inevitable and meaningless. Seeing it from an unusual angle refreshed its potency a little. It may actually have been my favourite episode since the World War 2 Gas Mask Virus one.

  • The_B

    To be fair, comparitively it had little to nothing to do with the overall story arc of the season. The Torchwood and Bad Wolf references were throwaway at best. I know you haven’t seen much, but if you see the rest of the series, the long term consequences are pretty much covered in every episode of Season 2, save Tooth & Claw (which incidentally, is only because it itself is the catalyst for future consequences) ook the helm. Heck, the entireity of the current double bill is pretty much based on that fact.

    Although I will admit the expansion on Jackie’s charcter was good – about the only good thing of the episode.

  • MHW

    The idea had potentenitial; the execution varied from lacking to cringemaking. A wasted opportunity.

  • admin

    Well, I think we can conclude from the results that everyone is right, except for Stu and Tom, who are wrong, and also rubbish.

  • Rev. S Campbell

    John! I’d expect that sort of spelling from Kieron, but not you. Imagine mistyping “a blancmange-brained cretin with no soul” as “right”. Tsk!