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The (un) Happiness Patrol


Chase - Posted on 10 August 2009

1

Good God. What the hell was that? Okay I can understand the production team wanting to tell morality plays and social commentaries but can't they do so with some modicum of talent, set, good dialog, serious make up, location work, and good acting? Almost everyone, except for the Doc and Ace, are way over the top and/or not really explained or introduced or whatever. It's almost as if things are just thrown at us with explanations later...many of them over the top and on top of that the story is just...WRONG.

Something feels wrong. Okay the Doc and Ace step in, render judgement and are going to bring down the house, the madness of a ruling woman who kills unhappy people. It's another rebel story but...it's poor.

There's nothing really that wrong with the script but maybe how it's played. Ace gets captured no less than three times! There's unrest to be sure. The jail is interesting. The streets don't feel like they are outside but maybe they're not? Maybe this is all encased in a dome? On top of that, happiness doesn't sound that bad compared to being down in the dumps.

On first viewing, I had no idea that this was about gay rights. I wish someone would have said something. I might have got that. Trouble is: DW can go anywhere in time and space and can tell any type of stories...and we get this. I mean if they were brave enough they could have gone back to the gay riot in the late 60s in NY or the assassination of Harvey Milk but I guess they could not afford it.

Then we get the Kandy Man: what a mis-step in judgement. I guess if you squint, he could be threatening and dangerous. ANd that cliffhanger is just awful. Not at all giving any sense of danger or thrills. I guess I was amazed at the poorness of the Kandy Man design and the poor sets and the poor assassination sequence of a man drowned in a tube and then the tube opens and we see him fall out, along with red liquid.

I don't know really what this is but I...you mean I have to watch three more like this?        

Guess I am just stunod (Italian for not really getting it). Gordon Bennett! A new Ace saying. Although I think she's said this before this story. Anyway, this was not that bad this time out. I don't really gell with it, get it? I don't like it. It is just too disturbing and the Doctor seems to be at the center of all the hatred but I guess he and Ace have to do what they have to do. There's something upsetting about having the bad villianess have a sympathetic bond with her killer dog (that looks terribly like a puppet). The aliens that live underground make their appearance in ep1 but also appear here and ...in a strange fashion. They just appear. No fanfare, no intro, they just peek up from under ground. In an Irwin Allen show they would have had their own musical moment with accompanying scary tunes.

The jazz thing. Blah. Boring. Silly but I guess it makes a statement. The best scene here is how the Doctor disarms the sniper guy. The worst must be the way he just strolls into Helen A's headquarters with Sigma...a thought here as with the snipers: Is the Doctor hypnotising people? He's getting away with an awful lot here. Then there's the KandyMan...does he make any sense scientifically and if so, does he make any sense when the Doc, who's obviously smarter, releases him, he decides to re-attack him again! What?    

The whole planet seems underdeveloped in a way that only DW planets can be. Are we to believe that this stagey looking set is the planet? Is the whole planet this way? I didn't get the cliffhanger much: who's Daphne S? Another rebel Killjoy?

For some reason, and I'm not sure why, I found myself sympathezing with the villains in this story, maybe because they wanted people to be happy. I know they're evil but...I don't know, something's just wrong here...I hope the  heroes don't kill any animals.  

I don't know. That made me sad really. Anyone that's ever lost a pet knows how that feels, if they love their pets that is or if they care about anything other than themself. Anyway, the Doc and Ace come off like terrorists as they launch an attack on the KandyMan. For all the death brought on it, Fifi really didn't stand much of a chance catching up to the Doc and company and that scene is particularly bad as it seems ages before Fifi even gets anywhere near the Doctor and Earl...they could have gotten away without killing it.

This whole thing seems...silly and quite frankly, DW seems retarded again. What could have been a really good story seems to fall apart in rushed scenes, dialog that makes little to no sense ("It's not a pleasure to meet you."  "Thank you." What?), a Fifi that looks very unreal, aliens with not much dialog and what there is is difficult to hear, and a Doctor who revels in rebellion and truly hurting his enemies, here spiritually if not physically (as in the last story). He had in his mind that he was going to hurt Helen A by killing Fifi all along when he first looked into her book of pictures of her and her pet. The @#$tard.

IN all, this was a loathesome story, filled with hate and revenge and betrayal and death. It just makes me want to go take a shower. And wash it off of me. It is certainly not the DW I like and unfortunately it will power a great deal of the New Adventures to come in the book ranges (alot of death, alot of characters who seem nice but are not, dysfunctional side characters who usually die, betray each other and the Doctor and Ace while the Doc betrays Ace again himself, a future that  looks grim, dark, evil, unsurvivable and filled with evil companies and business men, tech that takes away people's souls and minds, drugs, drnk...well, a bit like now).

That said, DW has ceased being about a traveler who stumbles into things and tries to help from there. It's about a master manipulator who fries his enemies physically, mentally, and spiritually, thinking that he knows best for all...okay. It's got this comic book feel wrapped around it all to make it lighter or actually as comics were getting darker and rearranging their universes and their characters by resetting everything to make them all grim and dark and serious...DW just followed suit...and the result is a mixed bag of unease and really isn't DW at all...is it any wonder that the McCoy years divided fandom far more than any other period in the show's history.           

Still, there's a fundamental feeling that even though the story is of a serious nature with a serious thing to say or things to say, that no one was really minding the store. The general over the top performances of almost all the villains, their motives being stated as they are, the look of the sets and Fifi, the Killjoy Procession turned into Happy by the Doctor in the last ep, the Kandy Man, the mumbling, and the general lack of any niceness all added up to that: no one really seemed to see this for as bad as it really is. As for the gay thing: well, if happy is gay, then the Doctor was stopping the happy.  I guess I see it as an oppressed minority but still...

Oh and doesn't the poster picture of Daphne S look a bit like a shaven JNT?

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