Thursday, January 31, 2008

Context is Everything

...and you'll never look at Mary Poppins the same way again.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Amusing product warning roundup

On a container of Tesco's table salt: "May contain nuts" (I'm still looking for a box of nuts that reads "may contain salt")
On a bag of Sainsbury's mixed nuts: "Prepared in a factory where nut-based products are handled. May contain nuts."
On a bottle of cod liver oil capsules: "Allergy warning: contains fish" (the day I find cod liver oil capsules that don't contain fish, I'll give up on the ecosystem completely)
On a bottle of Body Shop eye makeup remover: "Avoid contact with eyes."

Torchwood: the Revenge

All sorts of TV reviews are telling me that Torchwood S2 has changed, has improved, has taken notes on what people disliked from S1 and worked on it... I'm wondering if we were watching the same programme. The episode I saw last night differed only from a S1 episode in that there were more whip-pans, more lines laden with puerile innuendo (I like puerile innuendo, but this was actually getting to the point where I was going "yeah, yeah, another willy joke, let's get on with it), more musical numbers that were out of date before Kurt Cobain offed himself, more adolescent angsting on the part of characters who are supposed to be in their late 20s/early 30s, more pointlessly thick behaviour on the part of characters we're supposed to care about ("Hey guys, this total stranger has just turned up with a cock-and-bull story we none of us believe, so we'll investigate what the truth of it is by going along with his plan-- no, I don't see the flaw in that, do you?"). Plus yet another jokey "everyone in the world knows who this secret organisation are" moment, which just really looks like they're trying to imitate the running gag in later series of Buffy (surely not!) about everybody in Sunnydale regarding vampire attacks as a part of everyday life (and ignoring the fact that even in Buffy this gag caused massive internal contradictions within the setup).

The only new element I could discern is that they're now doing what I can only describe as Captain Jack fanservice-- it's like someone noticed that a whole bunch of fangirls punched the air at the same-sex kiss in "Captain Jack Harkness" and are now determined to get him to snog/flirt with/otherwise get physical with anything male (plus a token pass at Gwen just to remind everyone he's bisexual). Which I don't mind on the one hand because it gives me more material for the LGB Guide to Doctor Who, and because I think that television needs more portrayals of bisexuality as a good thing, but on the other hand I can't shake the feeling that this isn't some attempt to encourage tolerance of same-sex sexuality amongst the audience, so much as an attempt to exploit a demographic, which is just creepy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Russell T. Davies Recyclingwatch: Damaged Goods

So over the holidays I read "Damaged Goods," RTD's Virgin novel, and just for fun I thought I'd list all the things I'd spotted in it that he wound up using somewhere else later on:

-Working-class family named Tyler (Doctor Who series 1 and 2, Queer as Folk)
-Woman cooking a man's favourite meal then lacing it with rat poison (The Second Coming)
-New York as the template for all future megacities (Doctor Who-- New Earth, Gridlock)
-Exploration of gay issues, particularly as pertains to different generations of gay men's experiences of sexuality (Queer as Folk)
-Housing estate (Doctor Who series 1)
-Future human whom 20th-century humans assume to be gay, but his sexuality's a bit more complicated than that (Doctor Who, Torchwood)
-War between Time Lords and someone else having consequences for ordinary humans (Doctor Who, particularly series 1)
-UNIT namecheck (Doctor Who: Aliens of London)
-A mother who makes, effectively, a deal with the devil to help her children (Doctor Who series 3)
-Bad guy driven by incessant sound in his/her mind (Doctor Who: Utopia, The Sound of Drums, etc.)
-Zombies animated by amorphous alien (Doctor Who: The Long Game)
-Reciting numbers to thwart a transdimensional alien weapon (Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Code, which wasn't his, but it's interesting that it turns up there)

Will edit this post as I notice others.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Doctor Who lecture

For those of you who live in this country and have an interest in this sort of thing, I'm giving a talk on "British Multiculturalism in Doctor Who" at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology in Oxford on Friday 25th January (11 AM). E-mail or otherwise ping me if you want to go but need more details.

The people have spoken

The results of the poll last month are now in, and the blog is now "Nyder's Takeaways." Happy?