Archive for March 1, 2020

The St. David’s Day Intertitle: Bottle Episode

Posted in FILM, Television, Theatre with tags , , , on March 1, 2020 by dcairns

I bought the complete box set of The Goodies for more money than I generally like to spend, so now we have to watch it. Which is no chore: once the show hits its stride (which admittedly took several seasons) the standard is high.

Such a weird show. Fiona and I were both traumatised by an episode called The End in which the comedy trio (writers Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie with co-star Tom Brooke-Taylor) are entombed alive in their flat in a block of concrete. Plot synopsis: they grow old and die, still entombed.

The intertitles go like so:vlcsnap-2020-02-29-22h46m59s782vlcsnap-2020-02-29-22h46m44s958vlcsnap-2020-02-29-22h49m05s252vlcsnap-2020-02-29-22h52m00s245vlcsnap-2020-02-29-22h55m31s616vlcsnap-2020-02-29-22h58m48s513

And it plays out sort of like a mad version of the stages of grief.

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Panic.

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Religion.

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Blackface.

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Cannibalism.

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Senility.

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Skeletons.

The blackface routine is deeply embarrassing, though I suppose it is portraying racial dress-up as a stupid, demented activity. The awkward racial moments in the show (it was the 70s, as you probably guessed) run a truly weird, wide gamut from legit satire to lazy caricature.

As a child, I loved this show but found this one terrifying. Black comedy often freaked me out more than horror, because I couldn’t understand the tone. A recurring nightmare was being chased by a horrific lizard while everyone laughed, thinking it was just a joke.

Here, the Beckettian futility and claustrophobic insanity seemed, as a child, to call out for release — surely, the way to end the story would be with an uplifting rescue and daylight? But as an adult I recognize the creators were right to traumatize the young me thoroughly with an ending that seems to fuse Star Trek to THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL.

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