Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fear Her - "Nobody else in this entire galaxy's ever even bothered to make edible ball bearings. Genius."

Fear Her (TV story) - Tardis Data Core, the Doctor Who Wiki

Series 2, Story 11 (Overall Series Story #176)

No ... don't. Don't do that.
Fan consensus is that this one is crap. It is spectacularly stupid. I wouldn't have sat through it again if I hadn't undertaken this project and wasn't thrilled with the idea of trying to find other ways to point out what's bad about it besides what Sandifer says in the post I linked in the previous sentence. So I won't, the criticism is amply covered. I'm not going to try to make a defense of this one though either, except to say it's not as hard to sit through again as I feared it would be.

In the beginning, it's actually not that bad. I mean, it manages to veer from creepy to whimsical before unleashes the scribble monster and proceeds to faceplant. So, without getting bogged down in how freaking ridiculous the Olympics stuff is, and how poorly the situation of the abused child hosting a lonely alien is handled, let's review the few things that worked and if any of the throwaway lines are worth digging into for trivial purposes.

The TARDIS landing between two blue bins facing the wrong way hit home for me, as my wife, bless her heart, loves nothing so much as to park so close to my car that I can't open my door to get in when I'm heading out to work in the morning. The next time I have to go in through my passenger door, I'll remember how the TARDIS parked them here and just smile.

Not that way, you don't.
Reminiscing about the 1948 London Olympics, the Doctor says, "Last one they had in London was dynamite. Wembley, 1948. I loved it so much, I went back and watched it all over again. Fella carrying the torch. Lovely chap, what was his ... ?" OK, well, here's a start. Who was the final torch bearer for the 1948 Olympics? It was a quarter miler named John Mark. Ahh, you say, John Mark. And that means ... ? Nothing to me. Maybe there's some kind of story around how Mark was chosen, some controversy or bit of intrigue? If so I can't find it.

The Doctor and Rose pass a Shayne Ward poster and Rose quips it must be near future. That went straight over my head, so I looked up Mr. Ward to see if he was real or something like the fake band mentioned in "An Unearthly Child," and learned he won a season of X Factor, which I gather is another of those glammed up karaoke shows. I guess we can smirk a bit at Rose, played by a teen pop idol from a few years past, slagging another manufactured pop star, but I'm not sure there's anything there to warrant anything more than a smirk.

Then there's the bit about the little silver spherical sprinkles I haven't seen in ages but remember having on cupcakes when I was a kid, the edible ball bearings referenced in the title of this post. Haven't seen those in ages. Are those still used on anything? If so are they still rock hard tooth enamel chippers?

When the Doctor is confronted by an angry dad, he pretends to be a cop with his partner: "See, look! I've got a colleague! Lewis." That's got to be an Inspector Morse reference, right?

Finally, as a dog man (that is to say, a guy who prefers dogs to cats in the great animal companion debate), the Doctor's disdain for the cat that goes into a box and draws the short straw in the Schrödinger experiment is another smirk-worthy moment. "No, I'm not really a cat person. Once you've been threatened by one in a nun's wimple, it kind of takes the joy out of it," he tells Rose, referring to their recent adventure on New Earth.

Yeah, it's a clunker, or worse, but at least it had a few things that didn't make me groan. And, luckily, the next two stories are great fun so this one didn't leave a bad taste for long.

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