Viewing posts tagged happiness patrol

21

Earl plays a C on his harmonica.  It starts a sympathetic resonance in the pipes that stretch under and through the regime on Terra Alpha, like the arteries in a body.  What flows in these arteries is sugarly gloop, the outpourings of the Kandy Kitchen.  It fills the regime with the glucose it needs to survive.  And the regime uses it to kill dissidents or refuseniks or men wearing pink triangles, drowning them in sweetness.  Earl's note causes the encrusted, crystallised, fossilised sugar coating the insides of the pipes to crack and fall.  Tonnes of the stuff falls on top of Fifi, Helen A's savage attack dog and beloved pet.  She sent it into the pipes to kill the Doctor and the Pipe People, the surviving aboriginals on her colony.

"Happiness will prevail," says the artificially fruity voice on the colony tannoy system, "Factory guards are joining forces with the drones to destroy the Nevani sugar beet plant here in sector six. We will keep broadcasting."

This is a revolution.  The killjoys are marching and demonstrating, and having their own melancholy parties in subversion of the rules.  The factories ...

The Real McCoy and the Forgotten (Sacrificial) Lambs

I continue to round up my Timelash II stuff with these bits 'n' bobs about the McCoy years.  There will eventually be separate posts on some of the 'big hitters' left out below.


Paradise Towers

Very Whoish ideas. Lots of clever use of language, from the street names to the slang which incorporates degenerated formal rules, to the Caretaker lingo full of subsections and codes, etc. 

It suffers from 'Mysterious Planet' disease in that the production looks good but nothing looks right.

Mel's apparently monomaniacal fixation upon the swimming pool is decidedly odd.  But, if you approach this as children's television (which is clearly what it thinks it is) then you can enjoy it as a surprisingly sophisticated story about social entropy.

Brings to mind Le Corbusier and his notion of houses as "machines for living in"... which always had a tinge of the authoritarian about it, amidst all the utopianism of early 20th century modernism (which also always had a hidden inner core of mysticism beneath all the pseudo-rational stright lines, etc). The insistence upon a buried notion of virtue (you had to be a certain kind of healthy, high-minded, thin, modern-minded, puritanical ...

Empires Toppling

There is a long and venerable tradition in Doctor Who of portraying revolutions sympathetically.  It does this many times.  It isn't an unbroken run of support... but for every 'Reign of Terror', in which the French Revolution is given the full Baroness Orczy treatment, there is a 'Sun Makers', in which a full-scale workers' revolt topples a corporate tyranny.  For every 'Monster of Peladon', where reform is touted as a solution to chaos created by extremists on both sides (right-wingers in government and looney-left wingers amongst the miners), there is a 'Happiness Patrol' in which the Doctor and Ace encourage a united rebellion by factory workers, aboriginal aliens and dissidents.  Fantastical, they may be... but these depictions are also surprisingly candid about the amount of mess, pain and trauma involved in popular uprisings, while retaining a forthright sympathy.

As far as I know, this track record is unique amongst television programmes.

In light of interesting and inspiring things going on in the world at the moment, I thought it might be fun to post some of my favourite televised revolutions....


The Ood kick some sorry corporate ass.


Street protests, in which dissidents defy the security ...

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