Monday, 15 February 2010

Looking back

Across the Atlantic I see politics going to places where politics has no business at all. I mean, come on. Dennis the Menace gets a PC makeover? It this crazy shit true or is someone 'avin a larf? Well there goes my Beano subscription.

Mind you, it isn't the first time that politics has polluted entertainment. Sylvester McCoy, the actor credited with killing off the role of Doctor Who before the series was revamped and resurrected did 'anti-Thatcher' storylines back in the eighties.

McCoy was wrong for the role anyway, as was Bonnie Langford as his assistant. At the time I found myself praying for Tom Baker, or even Peter Davison to make a comeback. No wonder the show was so shit back then. Once a fan, I found all the political nonsense one massive turn off. So it got turned off. The modern version is a little bit crap as well, despite the performances of Christopher Eccleston who did a fine job of resurrecting the character from oblivion despite some pretty yawnworthy stories. David Tennant? Yerss, well, no; sorry. Just can't be arsed with it any more, even when they brought back the Cybermen and Daleks. Don't even get me started on that utter travesty of a spin-off 'Torchwood'. The girl who played the policewoman was wetter than a lobsters underpants. Totally unconvincing and almost painful to watch.

The 'toning down' of story, plot and character seems to happen a lot in TV, and for me is a reason not to watch a TV programme or movie. Especially when soggy PC propaganda tries to hide what it really is, or is insinuated into a show to make it more 'edgy'. 'Edgy' being the bullshit buzzword used to excuse these unholy abortions. All I know is that much of said content comes across as patronising and trite. The lack of veracity and integrity in a story can makes an otherwise entertaining show pretty much unwatchable.

Not unnaturally I wondered if my opinion was simply the blinkered prejudice of someone who's going (long gone) a bit crusty and cynical. So I reviewed a few of the classic episodes and found them still highly enjoyable, in spite of the wobbly scenery and amusingly designed monsters in rubber suits. Kinky, but note Katy Manning's nude pose with Dalek in the above montage from 1976 (Salivate), oh and Louise Jameson as Leela (Drool). I'm a sad old heterosexual, so bite me. Those shows still have their sharp edges and weren't toned down because it might 'offend' someone. The bad guys were bad and the good guys 'saved the day'. Huzzah! There was no attempt to inject a political subtext. That sort of thing might interest a particular minority, but leaves me (and I suspect a lot of others) cold.

By contrast, the once unbearably saccharine Disney currently puts out some good stuff, especially since they absorbed Pixar. Their stories have something for everyone and only fall flat when puritanism (Commercial or political) of whatever kidney puts in an appearance. My take? A good gag is a good gag and shouldn't be gagged (Sorry, couldn't resist that one).

Hmm. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

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