Sunday, March 29, 2009

Robin Hood 3.0 - Preacher Man!!

(aka Total Eclipse)

The last time we saw Robin Hood, he and his much diminished band of outlaws were on their way home with Robin taking a Zen-like approach and quoting his favorite bit of the Koran. Now, I'm no expert, I have no idea how long it would take for twelfth century refugees to travel from Portsmouth to Acre then back again, even with the help of Spike Thompson (assuming they stopped via Germany, which might be possible - I suck at geography), but it seems it's been months. And over said months Robin's shakras have slipped entirely out of synch. Having got his pre-series vicious haircut and post-series beard, not to mention a heavy leather sleeveless jerkin, he looks oddly like Blake in the final episode, and he's acting like Avon in the last scene.

"Robin Hood is dead!" he rages, "He died in the Holy Land - with Marian!"

Alan, John and Much are united in their attempts to stop Robin from taking a suicide mission to (as I so accurately predicted) slaughter Guy of Guisborne (wouldn't it be funny if he found Guy'd hanged himself in shame?). Unfortunately, Alan, John and Much are united in being completely ineffective as Robin wipes the floor with them and lets loose a torrent of such hurtful abuse it makes his slagging off of Much two series ago feel like a friendly punch on the shoulder. Yet the fact all three aren't fussed by this cruelty suggests they've been putting up with this shit for most of the voyage.

(By the way, has anyone noticed that - give or take Treasure of the Nation - Little John is not the superhuman giant we expect? Not only is he regularly shown to be weaker than Will Scarlet, here he takes a punch like the Cat from Red Dwarf!)

After the new title sequence featuring such terrifying montages of Vasey torturing Much and Guy's truly-awful new haircut - he looks like Alan Rickman in a certain children's film franchise about wizards - events kick off in earnest...


The trigger-happy (or whatever the bow/arrow equivalent is) Robin storms in Locksley in a sequence that is touching (Robin nearly kills a little girl in his anger), depressing (Robin kept the engagement ring!), silly (arrowcam!) and out-loud-hilarious (Guy's expression of "WTF?! ZOMG! YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING THIS IS JUST NOT FAIR!" in a cutaway would challenge most Looney Tunes characters). Robin's back in town and Guy is leaving in a hearse. Mind you, Locksley's rather quiet and peaceful so presumably that mercenary uprising either didn't happen or simply didn't happen in Locksley.

Realizing that he is in more danger than he's ever been in his entire life, Guy comes up with an admirably underhand and assholeish way to fend off the ex-Lord of the Manor long enough for him to calm down. This is a superb plan which, however, doesn't factor in the fact that Guy's not exactly in command on his OWN emotions, so a potential ceasefire just turns out nastier than ever. His insistance that Marion's death was entirely down to Robin stands as the least convincing statement since RTD defended Cyberwoman.

Running on empty, Guy nevertheless manages to defeat Robin and Much (both of whom are in rabid bloodlust fever, it should be noted so Guy earns Man of Fist a mere seven minutes into the series) and with the Merry Men reduced to two, Alan steps up as the new leader when John succumbs to despair. As an aside: fuck, why can't other TV series be this kickass?! Aparently Ashes 2 Ashes has undergone a massive "toning down" but I'm still struggling to think of a show in the last few years to get my adrenaline going this quickly. It's sad that the closest thing was the season finale of Doctor Who, The Fanwank Implosion...

Meanwhile our old favorite Vasey is meeting up with Kenny Phillips/Lord Jasper ("He so melodramatic," Vasey sneers in a redefinition of chutzpah). However, their relationship has clearly matured from the one in Walkabout as we find ourselves, perhaps for the first time, seeing Sheriff of Nottingham at the bottom of the food chain. Prince John has not been impressed by the Sheriff's tough-on-absolutely-fucking-everything policy which has, after all, lost them nearly all the money they have, the chance of indestructible warriors, several alliances and ended with King Richard finding out about them chapter and verse. Luckily, Prince John can be very forgiving. For the right price. Which Vasey couldn't pay if he trademarked the name "Dalek" eight hundred years before Terry Nation.

Guy of course arrives looking like Alice Cooper after a night on the town, and effectively saves Vasey's derriere with the tag of Robin Hood - not only is their ultimate enemy dee-ee-dee-dead, but his stash is their's for the taking once they find the secret camp. But Jasper finds Vasey's "let's party" attitude as convincing as his claim to come from 1194, and doubts that the matter is over till Robin's corpse is setting a trend for Stalin and on open display. Plus the fact that Guy now seems to be completely and utterly insane (it's the shouting at the empty air, really) doesn't make him a reliable testimonial.

Indeed, Robin has been rescued by a funk soul brother and taken to the cave where Marian "died" (ooh, that's gotta hurt). Thus we meet "Brother Tuck" (which just sounds ripe for spoonerising and being offensive), a bloke who is more likely to be a Carnell-style manipulator than the friendly religious alcoholic who'd get a cameo in Father Ted (which is pretty much every other portrayal of him I've ever seen). Nevertheless, he's also the most violent version I've encountered as Robin finds out. His personal crisis doesn't matter to the Brutha, and it's gonna stay that way, beeyotch! "Tough Love" might be a better title for the ep...

Meantime, Much needs saving and Alan and John (rapidly metamorphosing into a Robert Holmes double act) come up with a slapstick rescue to save him from the Sheriff. Much, for his part, shows that backbone he's been hiding, from his disgusted "You just don't get it, do you?" to Vasey to running rings around his men. A far cry from the understandable terror he had having dinner with the bloke, eh? Course it's not all comedy as Tuck shows Robin that, in order to save Vasey, it's been decided to screw all pretence at normality and send in the troops to pillage everything not nailed down and offer it to Prince John. Trouble is, this is just the payment for the first month. Robin might be ready to chuck it all in but - as you've probably guessed - it's the worst possible time for him to do that. Just at the halfway mark too...

With Robin at his lowest ebb, Tuck sets up the most intricated plot outside of Kaldor City or Steven Moffat (well... when either are actually any GOOD at any rate...), an intervention with Robin, Guy and his merry men. Sarcastic Alan, of course, continues to prove himself as a new leader, quickly working out that Tuck's not on the level with his oh-so-delightful "here's everything you want for nothing" shtick. You can't bullshit a bullshitter, Tuck, even if you are the master of unarmed whupass. And, as ever, Much can forgive everything except betrayal as the gang find themselves bushwacked by the now-so-insane-he's-threatening-to-out-camp-Kieth Allan Guy of Guisborne.

And he's busy going off with lines like, "This is a great day for Nottingham, its people and homeland security!" which shows you how far Mr. Armitage is hurtling over the top. Mind you, Kenny is doing his absolute best to keep up with the both of them and... well, if you've ever listened to Death Comes To Time, you'll know the horrors on offer here.

By making the 'escape from Nottingham' the cornerstone of the whole plot (considering it was considered as trivial as a sneeze in Lardner's Ring or A Thing Or Two About Loyalty) helps keep Season 2's continued escalation. This time, no Marian, no nice Guy, no Will, no Djaq and barely Robin. In fact, I think it's fair to say that this episode's plot could only be resolved by an act of God. Perhaps even connected to the title. Nevertheless, considering all the anachronisms on offer, it's good that the series remembers how bleeding pig ignorant everyone was back then and how the one thing that really scares Vasey is the supernatural...

The culmination of the episode smacks more than ever-so-slightly of Babylon 5, and unlike Sisterhood, ends with the baddies in the weakest they have ever been rather than all but victorious. It's little spoiler to say that Robin doesn't kill Guy, but as in Blake's 7, it's not because he's feeling merciful. It's the end of the line that started with Childhood and Robin looking for an excuse to spare his life. Now he's got the best one of all.

But without doubt the best thing is that my half-assed prediction of a Season 3 episode (waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when I was fugitoid and telling Spara how NOT to do a BC/RH crossover, rewriting his first chapter) is absolutely correct. Guy is not taking any crap from his employer ever again. "You know," he murmurs, "I've finally come to conclusion I don't like you."

This is not a memo Vasey would be advised to ignore.

All in all, a brilliant episode, kicking the whole format up the arse YET AGAIN, introducing a new/rebooted character (thinking twice, I'm not exactly weeping that the Fool didn't make a return). It's a pity that Will and Djaq don't get a mention, and apart from anything else, they don't have a new supply of tags any more, but laying Marion to rest in more ways than the youtube montage from last year probably had priority. The only goofs are some rather dodgy stuff with the moon and I'm sure that Marian's ring was green, not purple...

"Here's to the next king of Ireland!"
Tom Paulin's insistance that the Troubles get a mention goes completely out of control, and Kate Tollinger finally appears on British television. Typically, Much fancies her.

New series. 1/13. Deliberately scheduled to overlap with ITV's Primeval. But which is best, dark-age outlaws or prehistoric monsters? There's only one way to find out… read books, use your imagination, and stay away from jizz-awful filmlook serials on Saturday nights.

Yet here, in this bleak and joyless televisual space which can best be thought of as "Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Doctor Who", we can see the simplest expression of what CGI has done to TV. Thirty years ago, a bowling alley was the best possible place to hide a terrorist nuclear device (The Professionals), but it's now the most likely location in which to be attacked by velociraptors (Primeval, again). Wouldn't it be great if it turned out to be the same bowling alley? I imagine an old and wheezing janitor who was there when Bodie and Doyle had to defuse an atom bomb in the 1970s, and who can't believe that he has to go through the same kind of life-threatening experience all over again, but this time with dinosaurs.

That said, there is something profoundly prehistoric about a bowling alley: for years, bowling was the male-bonding experience of choice for working-class America, an environment in which men could get away from the womenfolk while still not facing up to the fact that they didn't have anything to say to each other. 'Ug throw shiny rock at sticks! All sticks fall over. Ug the best.' It's apt, then, that many Britishers of my age only learned of the existence of bowling from The Flintstones. The Primeval team faced the velociraptor menace with newfangled armaments that CI5 might have given their perms for, but if the authorities had been thinking clearly, then they could've trained these carnivorous reptiles to perform useful bowling-related or domestic tasks that would normally be done by machines in the modern world.

(For fuck's sake...)

RH3 is coming... I better sure as hell finally do my predictions for where the series is going to go.

Considering how bowled over I was that the second series noticed the whopping great plot hole at the end of A Clue: No - and Robin Hood was already high in my affections and respect - I think I can safely say I'll be shit at predicting where this show is going. The twists and turns of its second year meant it felt like a whole series composed of season finales from the sheer lack of reset buttons, increased stakes and other such amazement - Marion, for example, has her entire situation and personality backflipped a dozen times as she goes from Batgirl like sidekick to rebellious tart to psycho grief-fueled avenger to lone vigilante to dead saint. You don't get that kind of development in many shows, and INSIDE a YEAR?

The news that the BBC want to tinker with Robin Hood and effectively reboot it come as a disappointment, remembering how She-Spies went from the kind of genius that Shaun McCallef would applaud (an Inspektor Herring style spoof of Charlie's Angels, with such brilliant moments as a "budget" cut episode where all the sets were replaced with lego and the Bill Murray character regularly phoning his analyst to complain he has a paranoid fantasy he's actually just an expositional device with no personality) to a straightforward action show where the wit consisted of an occasional one liner. We were supposed to take it seriously, even though if it HAD been serious, no one would have watched it, even for the three hot chicks within.

But it appears this is less of a "make it nice and safe and dull" move that I feared (yet an amazing amount of DWF desire - mind you, they seem to think Doctor Who being in the same universe as Day One or Ronnie Corbett Act Like A Retard For Five Minutes On The Set Of TSJAs is a good thing...) and more a Steven Moffat takeover. For this series is the beginning and the end, and the last one with Mr. Armstrong as Robin Hood himself. Now, this isn't so big a deal in my opinion. For an up and coming actor like him, nailing his colours to one of the most famous cultural icons is a ballsy enough move, especially when it involves moving to Hungary for half a year. The writers clearly saw that coming which is why they introduced that, at times, bewildering chant of "We Are Robin Hood". Robin, in Sisterhood, goes as far as to convince the others to keep fighting should he be killed. The idea that one of them might start calling themselves Robin Hood for propaganda reasons is an obvious development... and makes a lot more sense than the 'regeneration' in Robin of Sherwood, which I still don't quite understand.

This of course means that the high octane take-no-prisoners-no-more-nice-guy vibe from season two can not only be continued but positively built upon. Will the season finale feature the first episode with the gang trapped, a guest appearance by a monarch and the Sherrif doing some rather rare personal slaughter as Guy stabs a woman he loves? Hell, these guys killed off Marion! I wouldn't put it past them for Vasey to blow up Nottingham with an atom bomb!

Season 2 left England run by thousands of deranged warriors lead by Des Taviner (who I hope will make a return - this show sorely needs a gormless and stupid villain, if only to make things more interesting) and Robin vanishing without a word. So assuming the people even know Robin is still alive, they won't exactly be pleased he ran off and left them. Will the Black Knights be able to control the mercenaries, especially when its found out that their wage packets aren't technically in existence? And since Vasey's deal to level Nottingham was waived while on holiday, will Robin take this gift-wrapped assassination opportunity?

But as for the characters - well, trying to judge them on where the last episode left off is rather hard, as they were all shown to be badly dehydrated and sunstruck (check out Much trying to get Richard to make him an Earl - while Robin is fighting for his life - and tell me the guy's working on all cylinders... check out Marion's suicidal insanity while you're at it).

It's his last year, but does he have a death wish. He went absolutely frigging insane the first time Marion died but, after all, this time he got some closure and, let's be fair, it wasn't his fault she got herself impaled. Will his amazing gift of denial help him out this time? Or is he going to crash and burn? Much has always worried about his death wish. One thing's for sure - Guisborne is a dead man.

Having got over his (valid) issues with Robin, Much is probably the best-adjusted we've seen him. But we also get to see him as a merciless warrior, decapitating people without flinching, a side of Much we just don't think of, but has had plenty of foreshadowing, including his pathological hatred of being betrayed - be it by Alan, Nettlestone or the Black Knights. But we've seen lots of evidence that Much is not only a competent guerilla fighter, but a socialite animal. About the only thing he needs improving is his relationship with Robin - unless Much toughens up, I think his fear that "if he dies, I die" might come true.

Not sure where he's going. He effectively grows up in the season finale, admitting he was an idiot instead of downplaying his treachery (a big step for him). The season also showed he's terrified of loneliness and needs to be surrounded by people - he's simply too resourceful to turn to Guisborne because he's out of a job, since he could easily steal/win/talk his way into luxury. Ultimately, Alan overcomes his desire for the status quo and chooses his friends. In character terms, he might as well have died as I can't think of anywhere for him to go - unless, if Much becomes the Next Robin (for which he is obviously qualified), Alan will most likely become the Next Much. This is, after all, a guy who steals a fortune and his only plan for it is to hang around Will's family until something else turns up.

His suicidal issues confronted, John has the choice of pursuing a new life or dying in his old one. He's much happier as a healer than a hurter, and is without doubt the best replacement for Djaq as the new medic of the gang. He can either resolve things with Alice and his son (unlikely) or he can try and start again. Of course, there's always Queen Elenour of Aquitane who'd be willing to let him stay for the night.

No freaking idea. Which is, of course, the genius. Redefined from "generic bad guy who fancies Marion" to a kind of leather-clad Kamelion, Guy has repeatedly found himself turning from pure evil to disillusioned cynic depending on how close he is to Marion, his self-confessed passport to a fresh start. But now he's succumbed to the dark side long enough to kill her. Is he gone for good? Will he reboot as nice guy? Suicidal? Determined to live? Blinded? No doubt that Richard Armitage could carry this show by himself, and Guy becoming the Next Robin is the kind of bare-faced bravery I've come to expect.

He wants England, huh? That's a nifty bit of blackmail Robin's in a position to use. In the first series Vasey was just a more-cunning-than-average tool of the establishment. In the second series he's part of a conspiracy but, he hastens to point out, merely a part. But it seems he's joined up with the Black Knights to first make sure they win, and then do a second Shah Mat on John himself. Who knows where the hell this could lead?!

Coming soon, my review of Robin Hood 3.o1: TOTAL ECLIPSE...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

If *I* Had Written TLALOASD

Aaah. Much cooler. OK, long story short. The Lives and Loves of a She Devil is a Fey Wheldon miniseries from the early eighties my parents taped for the simple reason Tom Baker was in it (he's little more than a cameo, but it goes to show even Channel 7 knew how to make it appeal to Aussies, huh?) and he's not bad either. It's easy to point at any performance he does and say it's Dr Who sans scarf - check out his Puddleglum for example, wherein even when he sticks absolutely to the script you expect his last scene to involve a police box - but here he manages to at several points totally divorce himself from my childhood hero. In his final scene, he asks a character quietly "What are you going to do now?" and it blew me away. I know that sounds pathetic, but it's a lot more impressive in person.

Anyway, She Devil is about an ugly, scorned woman who takes revenge and self-motivation to new heights by screwing up her ex-husband's life to the point she sure earns her demonic moniker. My issue with it - bar the fact you simply couldn't tell that story nowadays, since her new identities wouldn't fool a google cache - is we see her evil plan about to reach fruition... and then a montage showing it worked. Perhaps they wanted the final confrontation between her and Dennis Waterman to be left in the imagination.

Well, that's going to be a big mistake...

(Outside a prison. A haggard Dennis Waterman (Bobo) is thrown out of said jail.)

GUARD: Ooooh, I could be so good for you...

BOBO: Oh, nice one. Didn't hear that one at all during the last seven years of total misery!

GUARD: Well, you're out now. Sling your bleeding hook.

BOBO: But I've got nowhere to go! My family have abandoned me, my lover is dead, my business is ruined, my reputation in tatters! I'm a totally unemployable wretch with nothing and nobody!

GUARD: Yeah. That is THIS (holds finger and thumb apart) interesting. Get going.

BOBO: Oh, life is harsh and cruel is it not?!

(The guard throws his shoe at Bobo's head.)

BOBO: Well. I think I just proved my point. Good for me.

(Bobo is run over by a limousine. An incredibly smug swarthy bloke in a white chauffer suit gets out.)

BOBO: Argh! If I could swear in this I'd be turning the air blue!

GARCIA: Ah. As ineffective as always, eh, senor?

BOBO: Garcia! You total creep! What are you doing here?

GARCIA: I have been sent to collect you, senor, but unfortunately you tried to ram your shin bones into my bumber bar. I am not offended. It is a very nice bumper bar.

BOBO: You're deliberately trying to provoke me, aren't you?

GARCIA: I don't try anything, senor. (pelvic thrust) Oh yeaaaaaah!

BOBO: Dear god, I'm in hell, aren't I?

GARCIA: Oh no, senor. Hell is where you get upgraded to from here.

BOBO: Very philosophical.

GARCIA: Am I a-using too long a words for you, senor?

BOBO: Why do you hate me so, Garcia?

GARCIA: That is a long list, senor. Perhaps it would be best if you heard it in the car.

BOBO: Why? Who sent you anyway?

GARCIA: My employer, senor.

BOBO: Oh? Found another ditzy blonde slut with more money than sense and an insane desire to climb inside your slimy boxer shorts?

GARCIA: Funny you should say that...

(The limosuine drives through the countryside.)

GARCIA: ...and then, of course, it was the way-a you always called me "him" in that ugly accent of yours. "Wart abart him, izzee rilly nezasary?" That really rubbed my genitals up the wrong way with lots of friction.

BOBO: Garcia, I wasn't serious when I asked you why you hated me.

GARCIA: Ah. That will be your English sense of humor, is it, senor?

BOBO: Yes.

GARCIA: Of course, now I have started, I should-a finish. And then there was the way you always used to slurp the soup from the front of the spoon. It was disgusting. I might have forgiven you sexing my mistress with increasing selfishness to the point you were finishing hours before she started, but the soup slurping, well, senor, I have killed men for less. And there are no lesser men than you...

BOBO: Can I go back to prison yet?

GARCIA: I had to clean the sheets too, you know. That was really cruel. You should see a doctor about your bottom, it leaks everywhere...

(The limousine pulls up on a mansion-like lighthouse on the edge of a cliff.)

BOBO: What? But this is Mary Fisher's house!

GARCIA: You not worthy to speak her name, senor.

BOBO: At least I can pronounce it, you filthy wop.

GARCIA: Hahaha. Oh, senor, how I have missed your mindless prejudice.

BOBO: No you haven't.

GARCIA: A clue: yes. But Miss Fisher, she died two years ago.

BOBO: Yes, I am aware of that, Garcia. They let me out for the funeral.

GARCIA: And then they took you back.

BOBO: Well, it was day-release.

GARCIA: Uh-huh.

BOBO: It had absolutely nothing to do with me seeing the ghost of Mary Fisher in a limousine at the graveyard.

GARCIA: Uh-huh.

BOBO: And even if it DID, I'm entirely off the anti-insanity drugs. I'm completely sane. Mary Fisher is dead.

GARCIA: I'm glad you are so certain. You did dump her before the end.

BOBO: Well, she was going through the menopause.

GARCIA: Your loyalty overwhelms me, senor.

BOBO: She starting going on about god and religion and crap like that. Those visits were getting worse than being in jail! And those hats she wore - what the hell was going on in there? Only she would have evening wear to attend prison. What happened to her after that?

GARCIA: Oh, you are interested NOW, senor?

BOBO: No, I just like asking questions in the hope I get a sarcastic rejoinder.

GARCIA: My employer wishes to see you.

BOBO: So not only have you landed on your feet and got a high-paying job, they also buy the location of your old job and send you after one of your old pay masters. Doesn't that sound rather suspicious?

GARCIA: You have no idea.

(The fabulously-luxurious interior of the lighthouse building. An attractive blonde woman stands looking out the window, holding a glass of wine. She is dubbed with less care and attention than a bit-part character in Godzilla vs. Megalon. Garcia and Bobo enter.)

GARCIA: Senorita, I bring you the walking vomit stain the world knows as Bobo.

RUTH: Thank you, Garcia.


RUTH: Hello, Bobo.

BOBO: But you're dead! You stupidly dived out a window and fell ninety metres onto the shore when the tide was out, was washed out to sea and your body eventually found partially-digested in a shark! Oh, don't tell me. You faked your death as some kind of publicity stunt, is that it? It is, isn't it. Go on, you can tell me. Go on. Tell me. Tell me. You can. You can tell me. That was it, wasn't it? Wasn't it? Huh? It was. Wasn't it?


BOBO: Oh. OK, I'm totally out of ideas.

RUTH: You don't recognize the voice, then?

BOBO: ...manifestly not.

RUTH: What? Not at ALL?

BOBO: (shakes head) Is it down to all those cigarettes you smoked?

RUTH: It's me! Ruth! Remember?

BOBO: can't be. There aren't enough warts. And what happened to your unsightly facial hair problem?

RUTH: It's amazing how much plastic surgery can do nowadays, given enough time and money.

BOBO: You... turned yourself... into an exact copy of the woman I ditched you for?

RUTH: Yes. I even had large lumps cut out of my leg bones so I'm the right size.

BOBO: That must have hurt.

RUTH: Mmmm. I'm in constant danger of blood clotting, but there are compensations.

BOBO: Like?

RUTH: Well, no idea, to be honest but it stands to reason that there will be some. It's all about being an absolute recreation of Mary Fisher.

BOBO: Well. Um. Good for you. Hang about, you've spent the last nine years turning yourself into a clone of Mary?

RUTH: No. I've spent the last five years turning myself into a clone of Mary.

BOBO: Oh, well, that's all right then. Anything more than five years would have been stupid, wouldn't it?

RUTH: You haven't asked me how I afforded it?

BOBO: Dear God, don't tell me you slept with the surgeon?


BOBO: Well?

RUTH: If you really want to know, then I shall tell you.

BOBO: Go on then.

RUTH: You remember Elsie Flowers, the temp that you seduced, discarded and who then disappeared with the entire liquid cash of your once-so-reputable agency? Well, she gave it to me.

BOBO: ...that was billions! Billions of billions! Why the hell did she give it you?

RUTH: I asked her. She wasn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

BOBO: She wasn't even the cleanest knife in the drawer! Were you behind that?

RUTH: Oh yes.

BOBO: I got arrested for that! Then that bastard of a judge gave me seven years!

RUTH: Ooh, I wonder where he got that idea from?

BOBO: YOU got me seven years?

RUTH: Believe me, Bobo, I could have got you executed.

BOBO: What else have you done, you evil harlot?

RUTH: Quite a lot. I was the one that got Mary's sweet, incontinent, alcoholic bitch of a mother round her on a permanent basis. I knew that would kill the passion even more than dumping you with the kids. Then I did some creative accounting with your office - you forgot to collect your spare key - and used the cash to set up the Vista Rose agency. That gave me Elsie Flowers and a way to frame you for the loss of money. Once I nobbled the judge, and you were on ice, I had an... ecumenical discussion with Mary Fisher's priest.

BOBO: I'm surprised you didn't throw her off the cliff!

RUTH: I have a cast-iron alibi, Bobo. I was busy being made beautiful.

BOBO: Oh, fantastic! You're wearing a dead woman's face, living in a dead woman's home, with a dead woman's chauffer and private sex toy, and now you've got her common law husband! Why don't you dig her up so you can get the clothes she was buried in?

RUTH: Well, I doubt they'll be in good condition.

BOBO: You've spent a decade ruining my life!

RUTH: You spent a decade ruining mine.

BOBO: I didn't go out of my way to do so!

RUTH: You didn't need to.

BOBO: Oh no. No, no, no, no, no, no! You don't get to do this to me, Ruth!

RUTH: Don't I? I think I did.

BOBO: Oh, you've wrecked everything I had, no doubt about it. But you don't get to blame me for everything!

RUTH: Bobo, darling... the fact you're here at all proves you're guilty. If you really loved Mary Fisher, I couldn't have drawn you apart. If you hadn't used Elsie for sex, I couldn't have got her to incriminate you. If you hadn't decided to throw me on the scrapheap, I would never have started all this.

BOBO: Oh, that's right. It's all my fault.

RUTH: You really think you behaved reasonably? You abandoned your wife and children. You cheated on your new mistress. You humiliated the girl you were cheating with. There was a reason everyone believed you'd screwed over your clients, Bobo. You screw over everyone else.

BOBO: If I'm so utterly horrible, Ruth, why are you wasting your time with me.

RUTH: You owe me a life.

BOBO: Oh, do I? Do I? And what have you done with your life while I've been trapped in a cell breathing evil fumes and running out people on the outside? What have you been doing that's so great and good that I've been keeping you from? Eh?

RUTH: You know, it's really quite funny... I've actually been helping people. I cured a lonely man's psychosomatic illness, I rescued all those patients from that assassination service disguised as an old people's home, I set up a company that allows women to reach their potential, I gave a spark of truth to a judge with no friends, and, give or take, I made a priest reaffirm his faith. Oh, and lots and lots of sex.

BOBO: Eww.

RUTH: I'll be honest, not all of them were better than you.

BOBO: How gratifying. How can you live with yourself?!

RUTH: I am the She Devil.

BOBO: You what now?

RUTH: Don't you remember that name? You gave it to me.


RUTH: Remember? You shouted at me how awful I was, that I wasn't even a woman, that I was a She Devil. And in that moment self-knowledge and reason coursed through my cold veins. I was reborn anew every day, unable to rest until vengeance was mine and my destiny was cast in the stone of my design.

BOBO: ...let me get this straight. You have spent the last ten years carrying out unmittigated acts of cruelty on the world at large and me in particular because of THREE WORDS I said in an ARGUMENT over a DOG HAIR in the SOUP?! Don't you think that's a little bit spectacular? A bit too much?

RUTH: In long run, yes. But in the long run, we're all dead.

BOBO: So what are you going to do now? Kill me?

RUTH: Oh no, Bobo. That would quick and relatively unenjoyable.

BOBO: Don't make a sex joke.

RUTH: Like you in bed.

BOBO: God damn it.

RUTH: Thanks to your useless, ugly, purposeless wife you have absolutely nothing and nobody in this world.

BOBO: I know, I did a self-pitying monologue earlier.

RUTH: Well then. I'll cut to the chase. You can stay here.

BOBO: Here? With you?

RUTH: I am very, very rich. Feeding and keeping you for the rest of your life will barely scratch my wealth.

BOBO: And then what?

RUTH: What did you do when Mary was offering the same?

BOBO: I'm not having sex with you.

RUTH: Who said I wanted you to? I have others to service my needs. Garcia's been on my side since before I changed my appearance. We've been allies in and out of bed.

BOBO: So you expect me to sit around here, a trophy, watching you having lots of sex with the gardening staff as the years go by?!

RUTH: It's just like how I used to be. A spare part. With my face rubbed into my own irrelevance and pointlessness. Kept in luxurious surroundings and permanent contempt.

BOBO: Well. You've improved your vocab if nothing else.

RUTH: Do you have a better option?

BOBO: You think I'd tell you? You'd probably assassinate them or something.

RUTH: Bobo, when you told me you wanted a divorce, you destroyed me. You were all I had in the world, my foothold into reality. Now the position is reversed. But the difference is: when I fell I bounced back as the She Devil. I had a purpose, a mission in life and everything was but an obstacle for me to conquer. I made a life. More than one. More than you can count.

BOBO: What do you want from me? Applause?

RUTH: You gave me a gift and that's why I'm giving you one. You can go if you want. Go out into the world again. Start afresh. Be a new man. Make friends. Become someone else, someone better. If you really want, you could rebuild everything I tore down.

BOBO: For you to tear it down again?

RUTH: Maybe. But you know I'm out there now. You can protect yourself. You know so many things, so many skills, I could never understand. If I could triumph out in the wide, nasty world, then surely you could too. So, that is your choice. Either stay here and suffer my hospitality, or go out there and take a chance.

BOBO: Well, I might just do that!!

(Some time later. A depressed Bobo sits in a couch before a plate of biscuits and Ruth and Garcia making out on the sofa. He gives both the couple and the biscuits the same lack of interest.)

RUTH: (between kisses) You know what, Garcia? I think I just proved a point.

The end.

Updated update

God it's getting difficult to get into Blogger nowadays, isn't it? Taken fifteen minutes and in that time the muse has completely left me goddamnit. I was thinking of a "If *I* Had Written The Lives and Loves of a She Devil" or something subversive like that since the real life inspiration for The Parking Ticket Legacy has dried up (Nigel makes three abusive emails and the matter is instantly resolved by some disturbingly nice local parliamentary reps). So, for want of something to say (I must do my Robin Hood 3 essay sometime though - damn muse, you see) I'll just piss about talking about spoofs.

For various reasons, I have to do complicated webhosting things so there'll be a cut off point - the main BFs from 2009-onwards, the 11th Doctor stories (should I be alive and writing then - oh, by the way RTD, when I said I wanted your lies about the gap year, I meant "have four stories over the year" rather than "might as well only have one story" - god, I'm racing through BFs, I tell ya. I'll never last till Christmas), 8th Doc stories starting with Orbis will be on a new website but easily findable from the old, if you get my drift.

Confused? I should say so!

Meantime, I've done

- Seven Keys to Doomsday
- Dalek Empire
- Dalek War
- Dalek Empire 3
- I, Davros
- Return of the Krotons

Since Charles Daniels is apparently on the war path I suppose I should really get on with Tenth Doctor stories, and I've sort of half done some of them. A bit. I was gunning myself up to finish the episodes before the ABC screened them again, but that plan was foiled when the repeats were curtailed.

Mighty Zarquon this is a boring post, isn't it? Did anyone see No Heroics? A kind of This Life meets Watchmen, though arguably with more cynacism and cruelty. No turquoise genitalia, though. Life's normally so much fairer, isn't it? And I'm beginning to wonder just how much music inspires RTD, having skim read his biography and - more importantly - looked for Rogue Traders lyrics for the Master to quote.

"It’s me. Changed my face, but kept my name, kept it though I play the game! Don’t you know they’re all the same? Don’t you know they’re all the same? And that’s the way to go!"
"How did you do it?"
"Wasn’t too difficult. Just had to drive fast, not crash; make my money, make it last; hang tight, kick back; prepare myself for the attack; buy low, sell high; take the pills, tell the lies; fake my tan, wear a tie; new life cycle, I’ll never die!"
"...right. You
sure you’re over the regeneration trauma?"

And I was going to really do my Robin Hood musings there. But it's too damn hot.

Life sucks sometimes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

YOA - The Parking Ticket Legacy (pt 2)

[They enter the front yard walk up the steps to the front door.]

DAVE: Nope. Sorry. I’m out of my comfort zone.

[Dave walks to the pavement.]


NIGEL: Oh, grow an endoskeleton, Dave. This is serious!

ANDREW: Which makes a change.

NIGEL: Mouth closed, Andrew. If you can’t be bothered to show a bit of moral support for your fellow man, Restal, then what’s the bloody point then, I ask you, what’s the bloody point then? Can’t you survive being useful to someone else for more than one DVD rental at a time?

DAVE: I can so! Just tell me what to do.

NIGEL: What? Er, well, how should I know? [hands over docket] Look, go back inside and scan a copy of this. It’s evidence for the court case. Front and back. [blinks] Hang on. What’s this? Parking offence code 2359? What does that mean?

ANDREW: Do you really expect an answer or are you thinking out aloud for dramatic purposes?

NIGEL: That doesn’t even deserve an answer. Now, 2359. Dave, look that up, find out what it means.


NIGEL: I dunno. Go to the council website and look up.

DAVE: The ones you said were doctored and also rubbish in every way, shape and form?

NIGEL: Well... just you go and... look up the parish church records or something.

ANDREW: “Parish church records?”

NIGEL: There has to be a list of parking offences. We find out what the hell 2359 refers to and then we can move to phase two of my operation!

DAVE: Which is?

NIGEL: No idea, we don’t know what 2359 means.

DAVE: Maybe it’s at the local library?

NIGEL: Well, then go there!

DAVE: It’s ages away! Can’t you give me a lift?

NIGEL: Oh, God, all right then. Andrew, YOU stay here and deal with Mr. Devereaux.

[Dave and Nigel head off, leaving Andrew on his own.]

ANDREW: Me? Here? Alone?

NIGEL & DAVE: [halfway into the car] YES!

ANDREW: Just checking.

[Wynona drives off. Andrew smoothes down his hair, clears his throat and presses the doorbell. Immediately, the door snaps open (without any bell ringing) and a swarthy, moustached man in a tuxedo two sizes too small dives straight through and rugby tackles Andrew, slamming him onto the path.]

ANDREW: Bloody hell!

DEVEREAUX: You’re after my cat, aren’t you? Admit it! You wish to abduct Devereaux the Third!

ANDREW: Actually, it’s about a parking ticket...

[Devereaux bitch-slaps Andrew.]


ANDREW: This is about the whole Velvet Underground being played too loud in a built up area during the hours of darkness, isn’t it?

DEVEREAUX: I don’t CARE about ANY of that, you BOIL on the RECTUM OF CIVILIZATION!

ANDREW: Oh good.

[Devereaux pulls Andrew until he’s sitting upright and then slams him to the ground again.]

DEVEREAUX: NO ONE tricks or treats Martin Timothy Devereaux and gets away with it!

[Devereaux whistles. A small yappy dog emerges from the house.]

DEVEREAUX: Devereaux the Fourth! [points at Andrew] KILL!

ANDREW: Devereaux the Fourth! Heel boy!

[The dog looks at them both, then turns and walks back inside.]

DEVEREAUX: Cunning move, you feces in the salad of life. NOW GET OFF MY ISLAND!

ANDREW: I just wanted to know if you’d got any parking tickets lately!


ANDREW: Because my friend, well... actually, not my friend, but still... we think the local government might be making it illegal to park in front of our own house!

DEVEREAUX: It’s not your house.

ANDREW: Oh, please, not petty pedantry this early in the morning!



DEVEREAUX: Don’t call ME a spunk stain on the carpet of destiny, YOU TAMPON ON THE DINNER PLATE OF DEMOCRACY!

ANDREW: Don’t call ME a tampon on the dinner plate of democracy, YOU FLATULENT GUST IN THE CHURCH OF EXISTENCE!

[As they continue to scream at each other, we fade to...]

[Library. In the less-occupied and windowless reference section. Dave is standing by a shelf reading a hardback book about Dad’s Army, with seemingly genuine fascination.]

DAVE: So THAT’S what happened to Private Walker...

NIGEL: Dave!

[Dave rolls his eyes, closes the book and returns it to the shelf and flips through a thick atlas-like book.]

DAVE: Over here, Nige.

[Nigel enters, holding his glasses and rubbing his face.]

NIGEL: Bad news, Dave. We’re going to have to pay for the photocopier.

DAVE: You know, I don’t think your charisma would have worked on that librarian, even if he was FEMALE!

NIGEL: Bloody homophobes. Still, he was an ugly bastard, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway. So Dave, what have you discovered?

DAVE: Um. Well. Quite a lot. Actually. Er. [points] Um, as you can see, that road is technically classed as “boundary land” because it’s just on the edge of railway property but not actually railway property itself. That means that we can’t be fined for just parking there because it doesn’t count as either a nature strip or a built-up area, and nor were we trespassing.

NIGEL: I could have told you that!

DAVE: Yes, but now we have proof.

NIGEL: And do we know what a 2359 refers to?


NIGEL: So all you’ve discovered over the last hour, basically, is that the local zoning map agrees with the patently obvious fact that even I could have told you.

DAVE: I’ve got the contact details of the Debt Collectors, though. If we can convince them to waive the fine, we’ll be good.

NIGEL: Right. Good. Dave, take a letter.

DAVE: What? What with?

NIGEL: God, do I have to do everything?

[Nigel takes out his mobile and fiddles with it.]

NIGEL: Right. Ahem. “I received the enclosed notice while my car was parked beside the pavement opposite my house in which I have resided at this address for 25 years. There are no signs forbidding parking, only non-dumping signs. The area is used for parking by local residents, those that attend the Ashram around the corner and various trades people taking lunchbreaks when the bludgers should be back in the office. Hell, I saw a council truck was parked there just the other day! No other resident has EVER been booked or was aware the space had become a non-stopping zone and so I...”

PHONE: BEEP! Your voicemail message is too long. Please record a more concise message. BEEP!

NIGEL: I fucking HATE technology!

PHONE: BEEP! Your new voicemail message has been recorded.

NIGEL: Christ in a hypersonic wave manipulator. Right, where are the council bylaws?

DAVE: Bad news there, dude. They don’t have them at the library.

NIGEL: Where DO they have them?

DAVE: Not a 100% sure.

NIGEL: Is there a website?

DAVE: Yes.

NIGEL: Good.

DAVE: But it’s crashed. And the local intranet is completely stuffed.

NIGEL: So, basically, this has been a complete waste of time?

DAVE: Not entirely. At least we didn’t have to speak to Mr. Devereaux.

[They start to leave.]

NIGEL: I dunno why you’re so scared of him. He’s not as bad as Parker.

DAVE: SYLAR’S not as bad as Parker...

- to be continued...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

YOA - The Parking Ticket Legacy (pt 1)

based on a true story that occurred on 3/3/2009...

[The gang are leaving their house. Nigel has his arm around Dave, carrying on an extravagant conversation as they head down to Wynona. Andrew pauses to check the letter box and finds what looks like a docket. He reads it with interest as he follows the others.]

NIGEL: ...and there is none finer in the suburb! It’s so amazing it’s not even listed in the White Pages!

DAVE: I dunno, Nige. Sounds a bit like Black Books to me.

NIGEL: Far from it, David. The proprietor is a kindly old man who doesn’t throw empty bottles at people for a start. It’s amazing, I tell you. An oasis of calm in that busy crossroads. The best bit is out of the three shops on that corner, the bookshop covers the first and the last and leaves the middle as a kebab shop. You can walk though from one building to another, with the delightful smell of felaffels and mouldy newsprint...

[They reach the car.]

DAVE: Hey, someone’s put something under the windscreen wiper.

NIGEL: Oh, ignore it, Dave. Just another pamphlet from some cargo cult.

[Nevertheless Dave takes out a docket from under the wiper.]

NIGEL: Don’t tell me, Feng Shuei was created when an angel appeared before some mediocre non-entity and explained that all our souls are actually disembodied alien intelligences trying to achieve nirvana through superior firepower. Heard them all before, Dave...

DAVE: Dude. You got a parking ticket.


[Dave hands him the docket.]

DAVE: Parked in a prohibited area for twelve hours – statutory fine of eighty bucks.

NIGEL: What is this bollocks? It’s parked outside my house! Not on a double yellow line or anything! [crumples it up] I’m not paying this. It’s a some mistake, some jumped up traffic warden...

ANDREW: [reading own docket] “This is not some mistake or the work of a jumped up traffic warden. This fine is automatically sent to Debt Collection and believe you me they don’t piss about. If the fine is not paid within 21 working days your driving license will automatically be revoked.” Amazing what they can do with computers nowadays, huh?

NIGEL: Yeah. Mindblowing. So you’re saying I HAVE to pay this? I can’t even appeal?

ANDREW: Unless the words “there is no right of appeal” mean something else to you.

NIGEL: But this is messed up! There’s got to be something I can do!

ANDREW: Maybe, but the fine still has to be paid.

NIGEL: Great! I was saving that money!

ANDREW: For what?

NIGEL: The bloody bookstore for a start! There must be SOMETHING I can do!

DAVE: Well... you could always go to Rodney the Wrecker.

NIGEL: Who’s he? A gangster?

DAVE: No, a scrap metal merchant. A car like this, you could get eighty bucks for it easy. Maybe even more.

NIGEL: Sacrifice Wynona? Never! Honestly, what sort of plan is that?!

DAVE: One that lets you break even, perhaps with a small profit and a quick return.

ANDREW: Yeah, Nigel. Wynona’s getting way too expensive to run anyway, what with the rising prices in petrol. And now it looks like it’s going to cost you near a hundred bucks a day just to park.

NIGEL: What sort of defeatist attitude is that, Andrew?

ANDREW: [shrugs] A realistic one?

NIGEL: I’m not giving in! We’ve been here for ages and never once got a ticket! It must be a mistake!

DAVE: ...unless they brought in a new law.

NIGEL: Oh, yes, obviously, Dave, that’s what MUST have happened! “Department of Motor Vehicles introduces legislation so all private cars cannot be parked legally” – how could we have missed that? They didn’t send us any kind of warning. [long pause] Did they?

ANDREW: [shrugs] I didn’t see anything in the local paper.

DAVE: [shrugs] I didn’t even SEE the local paper.

NIGEL: Well, there should be SOME kind of notice! And I don’t see one! I’m going to complain to my MP.

ANDREW: They’re called “local members” in Australia.

NIGEL: Whatever! I am not going to be made to look a fool! In fact, I’m going to the police!

[Nigel starts to reenter his car. Dave stops him.]

DAVE: Do you HONESTLY think that’s a good idea? I mean, you are kind of on a blacklist...

NIGEL: One riot at a high school, Dave! Don’t exaggerate.

ANDREW: Don’t you think you should calm down slightly before trying to present your case to the police?

NIGEL: THAT bunch of corrupt drug-dealing slave traders? Never! Don’t you watch “Bad Cop, Bad Cop” – those idiots are twice as bad as anyone they arrest, AND they barely know nine tenths of bugger all!

DAVE: It still would be smart to show a BIT of diplomacy.

NIGEL: What? And end up paying THEM bribes as well as the fine? You’re whacked, Dave.

ANDREW: You know, we really should check we haven’t been informed.

NIGEL: The Council can change their websites whenever they want and backdate it, Andrew. They’ll deny everything.

DAVE: Not if we use Google Cache.

NIGEL: ...shut up.

ANDREW: Or, instead we could ask the neighbor if he got a notice.

[Silence. Slightly ominous music.]

NIGEL: ...the neighbor?

DAVE: OUR neighbor?

ANDREW: Yeah, why not?

[They turn and look at the house directly behind their own. It is slightly run down and seems abandoned.]

ANDREW: If he hasn’t got a notice from the local government, then we’ll have that much more ammunition to win Nigel’s case.

NIGEL: But not win back my eighty bucks.

DAVE: I dunno about this. Living in debt’s better than dying in it if you get my drift.

NIGEL: No. Thankfully.

ANDREW: Come on, Dave. Where’s your sense of adventure?

DAVE: The same place the LAST seventy-three times you asked that question.

NIGEL: No, Dave, the hirsute psycho is right. We need grass roots action to make a difference, like that TV show.

ANDREW: Which TV show?

NIGEL:Grass Roots” of course, come on!

[They march towards the forbidding house.]

DAVE: Let’s hope he’s in a good mood...

- to be continued...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another Month, Another....

Hah! RTD wishes he could come up with ideas as good as that... even if he does draw them better...