The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy part 4
28 June 2014 at 16:20 #28528Craig @craigEmperor
Mice? Arthur struggles to cope with the information that the whole history of mankind has been run for the benefit of mice – who are actually hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional beings.
He also learns that the Earth was an organic computer running a ten million research programme into the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. Basically because the original answer, ’42’, was a bit of a let down.29 June 2014 at 14:21 #28585PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
Hell – Hitch Hikers can even make a “previously on” plot catch-up entertaining. 🙂
It’s actually quite a surprising episode, because for large parts of it our heroes are just used for framing an important story about the Earth, which Award winning fjord designer Slartibartfast imparts to Arthur, and therefore us.
The Deep Thought computer is Douglas really channelling his love for Monty Python with absurd dialogue, classy names (Vroomfondel and MagicThighs) and jokes about philosophers. It owes an awful lot to a real standout voice performance from the magic Valentine Dyall. What a majestic voice he had.
Unfortunately, it looks like we won’t be enjoying him with Peter Davison in Enlightenment this time, as something else has won, but in it he reprises his occasional role as The Black Guardian.
But hearing that voice dismissing the other computers, and having a jolly good time with the dialogue, is a joy.
“A mere abucus – mention it not.”
“Molest me not with this pocket calculator stuff. “
I love his sweet-talking of the philosophers, as they demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.
“As long as you keep slaging each other off in the popular press. We’ll keep you on the Gravy train for life!”
And so to the answer – How many times has 42 been referenced in pop culture now? I have no idea. It’s even there in Voyage of the Damned.
The other extended sketch, regarding careless talk costing lives, is still quite funny. I particularly love the channelling of graphic styles from Asteroids and other arcade games of the time.
The meeting with the mice is short, but quite funny for it. The mice want Arthur’s brain. Prepared. Treated. Diced. Zaphods cheerful dismissal of this as a problem as he summarises Arthur’s usual input to a conversation is great work from Mark Wing Davey.
The “It isn’t easy being a cop”.shoot-out isn’t as successful I think, although bonus points for the “Shoot, I mean, fire away, aarghh!” delivery of an obvious old joke again from Zaphod.
How will our friends escape the fiery destruction?29 June 2014 at 17:29 #28595ScaryB @scaryb
For a TV programme, there’s remarkably little in the way of visuals – a big box, flashing lights and a lot of dry ice.. and it’s great. And I agree – the philosophers are pure Python.
It also reminds me how much of the Hitchhikers’ ethos and phrasing is embedded in modern culture (as others have mentioned too). Maybe we are just a (very big computer programme…
Love the mice. And Slartibartfast.29 June 2014 at 21:46 #28601Miapatrick @miapatrick
Had a lovely evening watching HHGTTG. Like singing along to a song I heard all the time as a child, I noticed new things, and familiar things. @craig, the dalek entry for the guide was great, never saw it before. Especially the obvious solution to the stairs.
I think the thing that dates it the most is the digital watches. When exactly did they stop? I have trouble reading a clock face, so I quite liked them. The guide itself. In its clunky, chunky glory, is rather digital watch-esqu.
What happened to Authors dog? And the poor whale! As a pedantic child I was too bothered by the idea that the whale had words with which to name its new discoveries just as it came into existence. This time I enjoyed that the whale was cheerfully finding words to describe the sensations that related to its immanent death.
It’s the lines I mostly remembered: ‘The hours are good- the minutes are lousy- I’ve been using that since I was a child. ‘When men were real men, and women were real women, and small furry creatures from… etc’
Infinite improbability generator- is that an agnostic version of a deus ex machiner?
I came across ‘robiti’ in a book I was reading for my next OU course, which made me look into the etymological roots of the word robot (work… used for serfs). When Marvin came in I started thinking how his moan about brain the size of a planet underline the absurdity of the idea of developing sentient robots for menial tasks, when it went into the galactic definition of robot it reminded me of the above. I have always sympathised with Marvin anyway: the doors are annoying and just asking for a starring role on November 5<sup>th</sup> and being depressed is (about the only thing) worse than being around someone who is depressed.
Nice Doctor Who moments: I wonder what will happen if I press this button- Author Dent wonders off. Though it is weird I now see these as Doctor Who moments. I should see them, in DW, as HHGTTG moments. In a similar way, when they came through the doors in this episode, I thought for a moment it was a dalek weapon pointed at them. I didn’t have that association as a child.
@phaseshift, The spare head seemed more realistic in the 90’s (when I last watched it) also never noticed the bald caps in the conversation with deep thought before, ah, youth, when people just have funny heads. I remember the Trade union philosophers, not sure I appreciated it as much at the time. And I never noticed about the death song= American national anthem, but this episode might have been the first time I heard that tune…
Finally, I think the worst poetry list is a little out of date… the worst poet in the universe is surely now John: Camel Holocaust. Anyone? Anyone?
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