Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Lies they told me about Troughton

That The Underwater Menace is rubbish. That The Macra Terror isn't all that. They aren't right.

Both of them remind me of McCoy stories (which counts as praise on this journal): 'The Underwater Menace' has the same anarchic glee of The Happiness Patrol. And it has the fun design too (Atlantean fascists! Fish masks! Shell-shaped skullcaps! The world's dodgiest priest!) and bad puns ("Come on, Ben, we've got other fish to fry!").

'The Macra Terror' is a dream-team cross between Delta and the Bannermen and The Happiness Patrol (with perhaps a smidge of Paradise Towers?). None of the episodes exist and I wonder - given all those perky "Work is fun!" jingles - whether it works better as radio, but then I look at the Big Brother pictures and more fascists costumed on a BBC budget and of course the giant crab - and think, "Wow."

So if they do animate another story, I hope it's one of these two. And I'll never believe the so-called authorities again. Nothing in ze world can shtop me now!

Friday, 23 March 2007

Getting the girl

This post will contain spoilers for Roman Holiday, Notting Hill and Legally Blonde, although if you are worried about being spoiled for romcoms, I don't think you're quite getting the genre.

I hadn't realized until my current rewatching of Roman Holiday the extent to which it influences Notting Hill. Replace the princess with the film star, and there you have it. There's even the press conference set piece at the end. The main difference is that in the '50s Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn have to part. But by the '90s, Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts can be together. And that, o my sisters, is progress.

Both films also contain one of my favourite romantic narratives: rich girl and poor boy in love. This has something to do with reconfiguring patriarchy, I'm sure. You can join up the dots yourself.

I also thought as I was watching how much fun it would be to have a Bujoldian version of Roman Holiday. Gregor would be in the Audrey Hepburn role, of course, and someone like Elli Quinn would have to be in the Gregory Peck role. Of course, Bujold largely does this herself in The Vor Game, but it's all a lot more dramatic and serious in that, and without the romance. Something lighter and more comedic - and romantic - is what I had in mind. Still set in Rome, mind you.

While on the subject of romcom, my recent viewing of Legally Blonde brought home the extent to which the romance is actually between Elle (Reese Witherspoon) and Vivian (Selma Blair). They follow the classic romcom track: initial dislike and hostility, tentative and guarded overture, misunderstanding and massive fallout, ultimate reconciliation. Elle's romance with her professor, Emmett, has no real trajectory in comparison. In fact, all you need to do is replace the caption: "Emmett is going to propose - tonight" with "Vivian is going to propose - tonight", and you would have a genuinely perfect film. It's pretty damn close already.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Going, going...

One of my life-fantasies is a Reggie Perrin style disappearance and re-emergence as a totally new human being (marrying my own widow in the guise of my long lost brother not an essential part of this scenario). The temptation to do the first half of this fantasy while I'm in North Carolina is very strong, but what I do want most of all is time and space to work; and I'm very hopeful that the lack of house distractions will let me do this. The thought of an empty period of time, in a new place, right now seems a little like heaven.