Doctor Who Reactions: "The Happiness Patrol" (SPOILERS)

This is one that I had on VHS, so I have seen it lately. Still it was nice to be able to watch it on disk finally.  I've always liked the idea of this story - I've always especially loathed any attempt to enforce happiness. True happiness only comes when it comes and can't be forced, and happy means nothing without the occasional sad. That said, I do think the story is let down a little bit by limitations of budget and format - in other word, they didn't have the time or the money to down the storyline justice.

 

Part One:

1)"I've been hearing some distressing rumors about Terra Alpha, so I decided to look in sometime."  OK, here's one for the Time Lords - a case of deliberate interference on the Doctor's part.

 

2)"Actually, my nickname at college was 'Theta Sigma'."  This goes baack to "The Armageddon Factor". I have heard that "Theta Sigma" was a commonly-used abbreviation for "God" in Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, so make of that what you will.

 

3)Helen A. was a (very) thinly-disguised dig at Maggie T.  I don't know enough about British politics to comment. I will say that whoever wrote the Dark Shadows jokebook could easily be writing material for Helen A.

 

4)The Kandy Man always amused me. I gather the BBC got some jib about the fact that he somewhat resembled "Bertie Bassett", the mascot of Bassett's candy company. Which he sort of does if you Google their images.

 

5)Those go-carts just don't work in these studio-bound stories. I'm reminded of a line from The Simpsons: "He's very slowly getting away."

 

6)Fifi is reasonably well-realized, though somewhat obviously a puppet.

 

7)Cliffhanger: The Kandyman corners the Doctor and Earl!

 

Part Two:

1)The Pipe People are kind of goofy.

 

2)"Look me in the eye. Pull the trigger. End my life."  Heck of a chance to be taking with a sniper.

 

3)Cliffhanger: "Oh, dear, doesn't look like Daphne S. went down too well, does it?"

 

Part Three:

1)"I can hear the sounds of empires toppling."

 

2)And Helen A. ends up crying over the one creature that she ever loved. I thought that was a good ending.

 

3)"Happiness will previl."

 

Overall:

One I've always enjoyed, despite its limitations. 

 

[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

Views: 497

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

"I've been hearing some distressing rumors about Terra Alpha, so I decided to look in sometime."  OK, here's one for the Time Lords - a case of deliberate interference on the Doctor's part."

I don't think they had time to worry about The Doctor much after the Trial-- and the overthrow of the High Council (the ones who O.K.'d the destruction of earth). I had a growing feeling that, if you read between the lines, the 7th Doctor was trying to "make up for" the 6th Doctor by A)being a nicer guy, but at the same time B)becoming more deliberately ruthless with regards to evil in the universe. Instead of running across evil by accident, or being manouevered there by the CIA, he's going pro-active and seeking out evil to stamp out.

"Helen A. was a (very) thinly-disguised dig at Maggie T.  I don't know enough about British politics to comment."

I recently read that when JNT interviewed Andrew Cartmel for the job of story editor, he asked him what he hoped to accomplish if he got the job.  Cartmel replied, "I want to bring down the Thatcher Administration." Ohhh boy.

"Fifi is reasonably well-realized, though somewhat obviously a puppet."

Not if you grew up watching TV programs by Gerry Anderson or Jim Henson!

"The Kandyman corners the Doctor and Earl!"

Just a random observation, but did anyone notice there was a prominent BLACK character in each of the 4 stories that year? And 3 of them were musically-inclined (thankfully, only one of them did rap). The 4th went on to become a TV butler.

This was the story where I REALLY got to like Ace. I was starting to in "REMEMBRANCE", but the Doctor-Ace team really kicked into high gear here. And she never looked cuter than in this story. You really need to watch all 4 stories in the right sequence, though, because "GREATEST SHOW" was designed to come between "REMEMBRANCE" and "HAPPINESS", but because of some stupid sports match, it weas delayed until after "SILVER NEMESIS". If you watch them in the "proper" order (not the "official" one), you can really see how the Doctor-Ace relationship develops, and also, how the momentum of the season builds over stories 2-4.

...Wasn't the Kandyman also seen as resembling the , better-known in America , Michelin man as well ?????????

  As for Maggie , I recall seeing some official comments about it by the writer/whoever at the time of the show's making/when it was in the recent past , to the effect of " Oh , no , it wasn't meant to be Mrs. Thatcher "...It was only when , IIRC , the VHS release came along , maybe at about the time that the elction that would lead to Thatcher's Tory successor Major being out and Labour Blair being in , that they admitted , " Yeah , it WAS sort meant to be Snatcher That-... " !

...I sometimes throw " Happiness will prevail ! " around as a comment me-self :-) !!!

  No-one ever recognizes it...:-(

1)"I've been hearing some distressing rumors about Terra Alpha, so I decided to look in sometime."  OK, here's one for the Time Lords - a case of deliberate interference on the Doctor's part.

Yeah, the Doctor pretty much sets himself a little challenge of toppling a regime overnight.  It's not even so much about whether he can do it, as how quickly he can get it done.  Haven't seen this one in ages.

What gets me (among other things) was it took several times before I realized that the Census man was John Normington, who 5 years earlier had played "Morgus" in "THE CAVES OF ANDROZANI".

...Just like how in American situation comedies (of a certain era , anyhow) , Henry , if the characters started a rock band , the drummer was always black !!!!!!!!!

  Rap wasn't , espcially?? in England , all that big/mainstream a deal then , this is , what , '86 we're speaking of ?????????

  Which reminds me of a certain celebrity obitI had meant to post here , in fact , all you brass monkeys and intergalactic old schoolers:-)...

Just a casual observation, if you noticed... the horn player in "SILVER NEMESIS", the student / harmonica player in "HAPPINESS", the Rappin' Ringmaster in "GREATEST SHOW", and the bartender in "REMEMBRANCE"-- who later became the butler on THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR!

...Were any/all of them musically-oriented (in whatever sense) UK personalities of the time ???

  The name Leee John , from the group Imagination , is coming to the forefront of my brain...

Never heard the Kandy Man compared to the Michelin Man.  I can sort of see the "Bertie Bassett" comparison, apparently the BBC had to promise never to use the Kandy Man again to get Bassett's lawyers off their backs:

 

The Kandy Man:

Bertie Bassett:

Not so sure I see the Michelin Man comparison, myself:

Maybe superficially. 

 

 

As far as the inclusion of black actors goes, I seem to recall hearing somewhere that there was a concerted effort to diversify the casts during the McCoy years - Ace's Chinese friend in "Battlefield" being an example that comes to mind.

 

I've always liked the idea of this story - I've always especially loathed any attempt to enforce happiness. True happiness only comes when it comes and can't be forced, and happy means nothing without the occasional sad.

I don’t know if y’all watch Parenthood, but one of the characters is the father of a child with Asperger Syndrome, and when he meets an adult who has it, the father asks him, “Are you happy?” The guy replied, “Sometimes.” What a great answer! I think neither happiness nor unhappiness is (or should be) the norm. Status quo should be somewhere in the middle, I think. That said, I do think the story is let down a little bit by limitations of budget and format - in other word, they didn't have the time or the money to down the storyline justice.

Agreed. I don’t really see it as a specific critique of the thatcher government, either. In the broadest sense, perhaps. I have heard that "Theta Sigma" was a commonly-used abbreviation for "God" in Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, so make of that what you will.

I didn’t know that, but I’m not surprised to find such use here. One of the other storylines dropped some pretty broad hints in that direction (a frankly stupid idea, if you ask me). The Kandy Man always amused me.

It practically threw Tracy into a diabetic coma. Those go-carts just don't work in these studio-bound stories.

I remember the title character in the comic strip Drabble, a mall cop, was once chasing a shoplifter on an escalator. Both of them just stood there, cursing that the escalator couldn’t move any faster.

"The Unhappy Side of Happiness": http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/sunday-commentary/20120601-june-g...

(Good article written by June Gruber for the Dallas Morning News.)

"I don't believe I've had the pleasure."

(smiling) "It's NO pleasure, believe me."

(confused) "Uh, yes..." "???"


Incredbly, when JNT interviewed Andrew Cartmel for the job of story editor, he asked what Cartmel hoped to accomplish if he got the job. And Cartmel replied, "I want to bring down the Thatcher government."


It still cracks me up that they cast John Normington as the Census guy.


"That sounds like a particularly nasty rodent."
"FIFI!!!!"
"Fifi? Would that be the Fifi you were supposed to have BLOWN up?"

"Nobody's perfect, Professor..."

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2018   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service