The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy part 6

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    Craig @craig

    The final episode. Marvin claims to know the question to the meaning of life, the universe and everything. However, our heroes are about to plunge into a sun as part of Disaster Area’s stage act so are ever so slightly distracted.

    Arthur and Ford end up on an ark in space (not THE Ark in Space) full of telephone sanitisers, hairdressers, used car salesmen and the like.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Ah … parting is such sweet sorrow. Still, we have a lot of fun getting to the end. Trapped on board the doomed stunt ship, it’s great to see the team learning to cope with inevitable death, while Zaphod continues to demonstrate that tact is a concept entirely alien to him.

    “You were there when your Planet did the big firework.”

    Marvin continues to be an annoying bugger in the most entertaining way possible.

    “You said you wanted excitement adventure and really wild things.”
    “But this is awful.”
    “That’s what I said.”

    I wonder if Jeremy Clarkson has ever considered hiring Disaster Areas public relations manager to meet with, and shoot, environmental activists?

    Ford’s theories on small talk are quite entertaining tangenting into the tale of the Belcerebons. I love the stamps appearing in the animations – Official verdict: Arrogant Bastards!

    Still we can’t hang about to get incinerated, and luckily there is a teleport to help out. Unfortunately, we need someone to lay down their lives. Good old Marvin. Goodbye Marvin (and thanks for all the fish).

    Shortly to be followed by an abrupt (to the point of non-existent) goodbye to Trillian and Zaphod as we enter the end game and final sketch of the series.

    The idea of a race deciding to rid themselves of the useless middle men is entertaining enough, but when they’re fronted by Aubrey Morris as their rather bemused Captain, it’s hilarious. This series does throw up some fantastic guest roles, and this is another one. It’s astonishing that in his long career (with a lot of genre associations) he’s never appeared in Who.

    Which can’t be said of the slightly camp Number 3, he of the “report thingy”. It’s astonishing to me that he is actually Geoffrey Beevers. As well as being once married to former Who assistant Caroline John (Liz Shaw) he played the decayed Master in Keeper of Traken (which I think @thekrynoidman suggested was his favourite interpretation of the role).

    Back to the Golgafrinchens and their fiendish Arc Fleet scam. Inflicting their management consultants on the Galaxy must count as an act of warfare and the revelation that they died out from a disease contracted from dirty telephone seems fitting justice somehow.

    The exploration of the new Planet, and the frankly useless state of its new colonists all drives us to the revelation that this is the Earth, and the useless third of the Golgafrinchan race are our ancestors. In moments of cynicism this makes complete sense to me. Can I just say as an aside, I love the magnificent fake beards. The one sported by Ford is poor, but Arthur’s is entirely ludicrous.

    The reveal of the question (or is it) confirms a widely held belief – there really is something fundamentally wrong with the Universe.

    And so we leave Arthur and Ford wandering off into the new world. It’s funny that I think the series is pretty relentlessly cynical in world/universe view. Perhaps this is why I was so attracted to it as a teenager (an age where you can’t get enough cynicism). I think the ending veers away from this in presenting something quite heartwarming in its own way. Talking bollocks with a pal, in an unspoiled landscape with “What a wonderful world” playing in the background.

    I love the transition of the song into the guide and the final stains of the theme. Works so well.

    I’ve really enjoyed watching this again, and will probably never tire of its charms even as it dates.

    janetteB @janetteb

    I have yet to re watch this. Still watching the previous episode however a few comments. Before I escaped Oz in ’82 I heard part of the last episode of the radio play and remembered “telephone sanitisers” and the twist on evolution. I re-discovered the series when I returned to Oz four years later to find people quoting Marvin and Pan-galatic-gargle-blasters on sale in cocktial bars. It will still a few years before I watched the series and then read the books and I have yet (I blush to admit it) to listen to the radio play though I have it now and intend to inflict it upon the family the next time we take a car holiday. It should be just the thing to keep three teenage males from killing each other enroute.

    Are or were there ever telephone sanitisers? I had never heard of them and the very absurdity of the concept added to the hilarity of the story. I have encountered market researchers sad to say and watching after working some years in the hotel which served Pan-galatic-gargle-blasters I find all too much of social critique spot on. When I am really cynical I think of it as social commetary not humour.

    A note on Aubrey Morris, he was in B.5 as Duncan in “Exogenisis”, Series 3 (not a recommended episode unfortunately.)



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