Nov 06

torchwatch #6 i think: “can you get a bus?”

Do You See + FT6 comments • 705 views

buccaneerok i have missed some so my position may well crumble fact-wise but i STILL DEFEND the “adult” jag of this series as being a. very unusual, and b. very much worth trying

sex is no longer remotely rare on TV *but* treatment of sexual mores is still fundamentally calumoid and lads maggy — which is to say a bad mix of brashly open about the practicalities of desire, and deeply fear-ridden and conventional as regards “what everyone wants emotionally”

ok think of CSI old-skool: first as a metaphorical exploration of sexual morality (possibly confusing as it is often a quasi-journalistic cartoon exploration of ACTUAL REAL sexual behaviour); and second as an indicator of where to “draw the line” — the CSI team are the outer guards of accepability, who have made forays and often viewed the “world beyond”; their job is limits its encroachment not just on “us” (=potential future victims=sheep may safely graze) and on them (=the lonely patrollers who know what the world is “really like”, and must make deals with the smaller devils to keep at bay the larger) — ok so far so ordinary; CSI old-skool is currently more daring and playful than most present-day procedural (partly bcz of grissom’s liminal status), but it is essentially orthodox

what’s interesting about torchwood is that as an org it exists outside the boundary — not only do you have to ENTER dark narnia to join it, but it works in uneasy collaboration with the actual real ordinary police inside the boundary — so that in the CSI model, it’s the police set-up that gwen LEFT which functions as the orthodox boundary patrol; she is caught between these modes

ok back to the metaphor: what torchwood acknowledges which eg calumoid ladsmaggism doesn’t is that “orthodox cosy sexuality” — the kind they sneer at — has actually expanded to encompass a lot of er “technical practice” which would have been anathema even 20 years i think; “cosy sexuality” is knowledgeable and even daring about “stuff it’s ok to do and to talk about” — we safely gazing sheep live in a hypersexualised environment that show every sign of getting more so — but all this means is that the boundaryline has been drawn; it’s ok (legal and everything) to be eg gay but it’s still not ok to be i. a PIRATE or ii. a PREDATOR

the line is drawn to shut out ii. and that’s a GOOD THING obv: but the former is always also excluded, and that’s more tricky — the allure of the pirate has become a cliche joke but it’s VERY deep in the stories we tell about ourselves and our safety and our dreams, and this where the peril and the romance and the energy arises — perhaps you can only know that you can tell one from the other if you live outside the line; which means YOU are one or the other — this is “to love outside the law you must be honest” again of course; but there’s also the question of “wanting to settle; to come back inside” (the emotional orthodoxy being that — in the end — this really is what EVERYONE wants who isn’t a MONSTER… but is it true?)

torchwood really is moving in this territory — this is why i liked that first ep everyone else mocked; also why i like that it’s in gleamingly modernist cardiff — i can’t think of anything else (since Queer as Folk?) that gets it


  1. 1
    Pete Baran on 23 Nov 2006 #

    Well, this is a lot better that my point re: last nights, that if you don’t see the alien, and everyone keeps saying “they are not human” then plotwise the WILL ALWAYS BE HUMAN. Oldest “trick” in the book.

    Whilst it seem comfortable with having a sexuality, it drops the ball in so many other places (not least that having constant sexual tension bewteen its ENTIRE cast is no way to run an office) that it is tiptoing between (immense) audience goodwill and the fact that it is exploring undiscovered territory on how Brit TV can tell stories.

    And more lesbianism next week one assumes from the trailer.

  2. 2

    i think TW does drop the ball a fair amount but not honestly in ways that bother me much

    “constant sexual tension between its ENTIRE cast” = haha surely this is what bein on a pirate ship* was LIKE?? i think this element is funny

    *(queer-theory model anyway)

    remind-me run-down of eps so far:
    i. intro
    ii. sex plague
    iii. ??
    iv. robots vs dinosaurs
    v. photos of fairies
    vi. brecon chainsaw massacre

    have i forgot one? i missed iii. and iv. in this list

  3. 3

    ps e went on summercamp from school in the BBs and iirc our basecamp was in EXACTLY THE SAME CWM as where TW camped!!

  4. 4
    Pete Baran on 23 Nov 2006 #

    PS RTD: Countrycide is only a clever title if YOU KILL THE COUNTRY.

    Episode 3: Ghost Whispererer.

  5. 5

    what i really need is someone who HAS THE TECHNOLOGY to make me p!r4t3 versions of iii. and iv.!!

    then i can prove my thesis BY ACTUAL REAL SCIENCE :0

  6. 6

    […] actually i wz on the phone for the first to half (w.my favourite irl pirate) but even so I REST MY CASE […]

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