Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Love and Monsters

As much fun as it is to go through action-driven Doctor Who stories, every now and again, it's nice to sit back and see something offbeat and experimental like Love and Monsters, which uses the Doctor as a background character in a romantic tragi-comedy.  And thanks to wonderful characterizations by Marc Warren as Elton Pope and Shirley Henderson as his love Ursula, it works beautifully... for a while.  Watching these two lonely people meet due to their mutual fascination with this mysterious traveler and then fall in love is absolutely charming.  Jackie's presence adds immensely to it; the scene where Elton tries to get information from her is a comic gem.

And then... and then, the monster shows up, and it all falls to pieces.  Partly because he looks like Fat Bastard painted green, and partly because Peter Kay does a Fat Bastard impersonation.  The monster is way too goofy, even for a comic Who story.  It tramples the tragic elements completely, and is too weird for the comic elements to work.

The reason for the Doctor and Rose showing up at the climax is a brilliant laugh, but otherwise, the second half of the story limps to a whimper.  And then it closes on an awful fellatio joke, and adds distasteful to a weak conclusion.

But the experiment of throwing an offbeat character romantic comedy-tragedy into the story?  Total success.  It's when the actual plot comes up that the whole thing derails.  But it's great seeing Doctor Who try something this bizarre and risky.  If only the plot had taken the same risks...


* * ½

1 comment:

  1. Perceptions of the fandom of Who has involved the notion of misfit geeks that get together to geek-out over this mysterious man, would secretly love to stalk his female companions and get all worked up over these monsters that often define what cheesy and campy are.

    So... Some misfit geeks get together, go detective on the Doctor's a$$, track his female companion to her home and get all worked over by this flagrantly cheesy and campy monster. Along the way for this fandom send-up, the lead geek, who like many geeks self-consciously has to deflect inferences of his being gay (unlike that other Elton...), actually meets a girlfriend via the fandom and falls in love (in reality he ends up not getting any er... well), actually meets the personification of the fandom who literally plays a god-like hand in his life, personally tracks his female companion to her home and tries getting in with her mother (who actually wants him until, well), and the cheesy monster becomes a villain in his life, defeated at tragic costs. Etc...

    Ssssome aspects are um... well, less palatable than others and it does not get better as it goes, but it's full of marvelous ideas. RTD was a Who fan. It's quite an interesting take on the whole thing, from inside out as it were.

    Personally I'd rate it higher. :)

    *cue the sounds of ELO...