22
Oct 06

RobEmoWatch 3: bodycountdown diddlydee dum

Do You See + FT • 598 views

herneafter two intro eps that were vanilla to the core — no one died and the SoN’s threats of tongue-cutting were camp gesture — RH shifts upsettingly up a gear or two: this is fun mid-evening hokum in which CHILDREN AND INNOCENTS CAN DIE; and the motivating question — “ok WAR AGAINST EVIL — can it be ok for good ppl to kill innocents and/or children?” — is ramped up lots (at peril of comfy watching) (interesting study to be made abt conventions of acceptable bodycount in TV aimed mainly at kids)

the answers to the question are still ending up a bit pat (“no obv”), bcz robin and the merrymen aren’t themselves properly implicated yet — they’re still quarantined from the ethical complexity (we the viewer KNEW they were wrongly accused). the script clumsiness — i actually think worse this week than before — currently stands against us much losing our distance from the reality of the dilemma

however i am STILL defending this problematic issue on the grounds that it’s caused more by inept solution to the rollout of necessary backstory than some less interesting failing — after all, we ARE still getting backstory rolled out (and full marks to anyone who guessed the NIGHT WATCHMAN’S identity when s/he first appeared — i only twigged when the NW’s honour was defended too stoutly too quickly) plus i wd honestly far rather have inept storybuilding than lose the thing the show is ambitiously creeping towards, WHICH I DEEM IS THIS:

i. revitalise and recomplicate the word “outlaw” by arguing it has an equivalent social content to “terrorist”
ii. bring danger and energy back into a hugely overtold and become-comfy storyline by importing our tangled feelings about current affairs
iii. allow us to develop new perspective on current affairs by tracing the strains and tensions our tangled feelings undergo as the importing in ii. develops (this requires more holyland backstory, so far only hinted at)

(in other words, i’m specifically refusing the explanation that this RH is merely a lame “allegory” of the GWoT; yes I *want* it to be the more intriguing bcz demanding project I’m outlining, which respects the older story enough to want to revivify some of its gone-dead tropes — being recruited into allegory isn’t so respectful of the reason the older story has largely survived, adaptations to each new era’s mytho-political requirements notwithstanding — even tho, bcz more ambitious, this project has a lot further to fall)

notes:
–keith allen is still by far the weakest link: his DICTION IS AWFUL — get 1xbasic actor technique you lazy bum; the larger outline of the take this version will have on the king richard/prince john/sherriff/robin structure will be key (promising: this sherriff is “actually” evil now tho, not just a pantomime cypher) (potentially promising but also potentially catastrophic: the robin-sherriff intimacy — as noted passim this series wants to be xena-esque but isn’t actually that good so far at cheerful comic innuendo)
–the plotting has not so far allowed much of an internal merryman dynamic to emerge (makes you realise how much of older robin hoods is them sitting round eating and bantering) — this was one of the great strengths of robin of sherwood (ray winstone as will scarlett!)
–undersold and likeable element: the merrymen haven’t had it easy establishing themselves — the villains have actual purchase on the territory currently, and by cunning or force will have to be driven off

anyway for now I HEART MAID PIEFACE and h8az can still bug-off

Comments

  1. 1
    Sarah on 22 Oct 2006 #

    I never spot the ‘obvious’ things in telly but I spotted Maid Pieface from the off! FULL MARKS FOR ME!

    Anyway, there was NO NEED/ALL THE NEED IN THE WORLD FOR:

    peon: i shot the sherriff!
    sheriff: you only shot the deputy

    We found a mouse in our kitchen the other day, I would like R. Hood to have a bish at it with an arrow – the first kill is free, etc etc.

    ALSO: what was the bit where he shot Maid Pieface ON THE BUM??? What did he shoot her with?? I am actually quite uncomfy with Rob and Pieface, he has a terrible dynamic with ‘in the market’ ladies ie non-stop sleaze oh let me in your bed oh let me hit you up the bum with an arrow oh every single conversation ends up with him hitting on her after three seconds and she (impressively) remains still pie, I mean, po-faced at him haha. ARGH HE IS SPOIRAL!

  2. 2

    that was the best bit!

    except she should have sed OW!! really loudly and then been all “oops sorry” to the sherriff and everyone comedy gold ect ect

    i like his hapless sleaziness! — it fits his general “i have a beard yet i’m only 12″ demeanour

  3. 3
    alext on 22 Oct 2006 #

    Does ‘outlaw’ need to recomplicated? I like the term because it does specify a relationship to law, plus it is vaguely spatial or territorial (I did like the shot at the end in which the armoured vehicles / knights pull up impotently at the edge of the woods while the guerillas scamper off into the undergrowth — suddenly the armour looks pathetic and defensive rather than in your face aggressive, working the same ambiguity that a man with a visor on his helmet cannot be seen, but also cannot see very much). This seems crucial to RH since the whole question is who makes the law, or, which set of laws applies here and now, in the absence of the transcendental signified (sorry) father (sorry) king. i.e an outlaw bends the laws, puts the laws out of joint, by revealing that there is no space which is without law. Terrorist seems to me more of a social imaginary question — i.e. the freedom-fighter / terrorist janus-face thing is a question of legitimacy rather than law, and derives from social (pseudo-natural) rather than legal framework.

  4. 4
    alext on 22 Oct 2006 #

    Although the only version of the RH tales I really know is Ivanhoe, and Scott is obsessed with this sort of question. (Why I like his books so much!)

  5. 5
    DavidM on 22 Oct 2006 #

    Robin and Marion are both incredibly unattractive and, weirdly, both have huge, lumpy chin under-bites. Poor, scrawny Robin’s face is actually concave.

    Other than that, this programme is really boring.

  6. 6
    tracerhand on 23 Oct 2006 #

    yay!!

  7. 7
    Andrew Farrell on 23 Oct 2006 #

    Er, there was clear (-ly implied) actual tongue-choppings in the second episode, though!

  8. 8

    yes i know but they WERE only implied — i think this is an important distinction (at least in the fairly arcane argument i am making): you could still sort of think of the SoN as a panto-cuddlily “evil” man who TALKED big bad stuff but didn’t ever quite do it

  9. 9
    Tom on 23 Oct 2006 #

    The tongue-severing was the deal-breaker for my squeamish spouse!

  10. 10
    Andrew Farrell on 23 Oct 2006 #

    Yeahno I was thinking that, but for some reason the quick cutaway from the first severing gave me some wiggle room but the bored ‘scissors’ gesture for the n-th one took it away.

    I am warming to your theme, though, and really liked the helpful explanatory speech about how sometimes people can go wrong out there on Krool in the Holy Land, which might be on-message as regard what happens when Good King John returns. Or possibly the start of the message, Nottingham is presumably always the microcosm for what will happen when Father returns.

  11. 11
    Andrew Farrell on 23 Oct 2006 #

    Bah Krool was to be struck out – I didn’t read the note directly above this text box closely enough.

  12. 12
    Alan on 23 Oct 2006 #

    This was the first one i liked. Written by the guy who did the DrWho “Father’s Day” ep. I think each story gets to deploy a little of the WoT parallels, and this time it seemed to be 9/11 “the govt were behind it!” conspiracies. arf. i didn’t get it was pieface at all – i thought it was Joe, so well done there.

  13. 13
    tracerhand on 23 Oct 2006 #

    i’m midway thru the 2nd ep and sukrat i must take a TINY niggle with your contention about keith allen’s diction – his diction is alright; the problem is in the helpfully amorphous category of his “line readings.” specifically, they’re awfulandmorespecifically, he rushes…. over the ends of his lines, only to pause for no effect just moments later. in TV you don’t get to rehearse much, so we are most likely seeing him push and test how much scenery he can fit in his mouth at once. i also sense a bit of “i’ll be damned if i sound old-fashioned.” it is getting the better of him. (but as you note, robin does seem to love it.)

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