The Seventh New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

‘Oops, sorry Vicar!’

Funniest three consecutive words in the English language, closely followed by the four-parter ‘Oh, that’s my wife.’

Humour, they say, is the spice of life… Or is that danger? Whatever the case, those people who we consider to without a sense of humour are often thought of as rum chaps (or dolls), fit only for placing in the corner of a room when the potplant Aunt Edith bought you died.

Which is why it amazes me just how many humourless people exist, or just how boring conversations can be. What happened to the comedy?

We at the Neo-Catholic Church, if we believe in anything, believe in the power of narrative, the force that creates stories. Now you can argue all day long, if you so desire, as to whether narrative is an objective force, one that forces us into roles and creates situatons for us to react to, or whether narrative is subjective and thus is the result of humans placing a pattern upon the world… You know, I believe I once wrote a treatise on that kind of material. Selectivity… I’m sure it was really good stuff, but bugger if I can remember what the point of it was.

Believing, as we do in a thing called ‘Narrative’ we also believe that it is our divine, sometimes devilish, always corrupting, place to make the narrative as funny as possible.

Funny narratives don’t make the world entirely supercilious; you can have humour in tragedy and the fun can be introduced into romance (and no, not just by the eight-and-an-half amusing positions of the human sexing).

It (this task of humourising narrative) does, however, mean that taking the events of the world seriously is a fairly unusual task.

Take, for example, the middle-class. No, please, take the middle-class and launch it into the sun or something. But if we must keep those creatures then let us realise that far too often they look upon the world with a narrative of absolute seriousness, which they think to be, weirdly enough, the objective standard of narrative.

Seriousness is a terrible disease and I hope to fund a cure, using some of the monies Brother Morthos ‘obtained’ from the Reserve Bank last Wednesday (for those asking awkward questions I was on the Nile, supping with a Queen called Harold, at the time). It is broadly rigid and has not the flexiblility even a good pun has. It requires you to think it fairly straight lines and never experience the excitement of a sudden twist or a non-sequiter.

It, above all things, requires you to adopt a fairly straight forward account of terms and frames of reference, and once you adopt these they tend to force you to keep with them ad nauseam, forcing you further and further down the hole that is the serious pit of despair, anger and, finally, the joining of a right-wing political party and the anger that the young are wasting your tax dollar on ‘their shallow entertainments.’ Yes, ‘Procul Harum’ were a great act, but that does not mean that the young shouldn’t enjoy their ‘Boomkat.’

Of course, the best recurrent line of use is the rejoinder ‘And don’t they have it in the Navy,’ freely modified to suit the conversation.

Oh well, that’s me done, officier. Anything else you want to ask?

You’re watching Fox, where coming in third is a triumph!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Jaye Tyler, ably played (to perfection) by Caroline Dhavernas, the major character in the series ‘Wonderfalls’ and that, despite the fact it ran thirteen episodes, is my favourite TV series in a very long time.

I am not here today to write a review of ‘Wonderfalls;’ it is good and I think you should pick up a copy of the complete series. No, today I am here to say a little on discontinued series.

In the UK an in-production sitcom will have between six and eight episodes per year, whilst in the States it is a solid twenty-two. A one hour drama in the States will also have twenty episodes whilst in the UK it can vary. Somtimes six episodes, sometimes thirteen or any, really, any old number. Thus, any show that only runs for thirteen episodes in the States can be deemed a failure on some level whilst in the UK that might make it a success.

Two different countries, two different economies of production.

Still, it makes me wonder.

‘Wonderfalls’ ran for thirteen episodes and its production was shut down due to low ratings (in the States they tend to make shows as they are being broadcast whilst in the UK they tend to wait until everything has been shot before they screen it) after only four episodes had been shown; shows now, apparently, need to rate well on the opening night or its doom and gloom time (no longer can American TV producers argue that you need to wait for the audience to grow and appreciate a show as advertising dollars are everything). Bryan Fuller and Todd Holland, the creators and producers of ‘Wonderfalls’ were aware that the show might not resonate with the viewing public and so they did their best to wrap most of the major questions of the storyline up in the thirteen episodes they produced. Thus ‘Wonderfalls’ does tell a complete story, and it turns out to be a fairly interesting one in that the overall arc of the story is not about the ‘gimmick’ but rather about the characters. This telling of a complete story is fairly novel in some ways; most shows that get canned mid-season over in the States tend to leave the viewer wanting (but never being able to get) more, and so I commend Messrs. Fuller and Holland in doing the right thing by their viewers (rabid fans that we are). I suspect that wise producers will be doing this more; many shows get enough funding for half a season and then are at the mercy of the fickle public… A little judicious planning and suddenly you could make a virtue of not going to a full or second season… Still, that’s neither here nor there.

I suppose what I am clumsily getting at is that, perhaps, we should look upon these half-seasons as mini-series. I would dearly love to see what a second season of ‘Wonderfalls’ might have been like. I imagine it could have been very good or that the gimmick might run out of steam and it would all break down. I am sad that the producers were not able to delight or disgust me with the continuing exploits of Jaye and her friends and family. But if I were a producer I would be thinking that thirteen episodes is a good run. That if this were a series in the UK I might not have been given even that number. That having a show run for seven years at twenty-two episodes per year might be an unrealistic expectation.

What I seem to be trying to say is that a story is a story is a story and that a writer (or writers) know that the medium can impose limits upon that story. If you are aware of those limits then it is quite possible to make virtues of them. And, sometimes, those imposed limits can do your story a lot of good. ‘Wonderfalls’ tells a story that I am going to return to again and again.

Pity that I won’t get to spend as much time doing it again and again as I would have liked to, though…

The Sixth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

Today I wish to talk to you about writers and other artistic idealists.

I hope they rot in the fiery depthes of the hells they call home.

Tell me, have you ever heard someone of artistic intent moan incessantly about the fact that they have to write, that they need to write? Usually they are indolently smoking a fag and engaged in cleaning their rooms when they mention this; sometimes, to be truly perverse, they write about it and then show said writing to the world.

All so that we can appreciate their tortured existence.

Well, no more. The Neo-Catholic Church is currently cleansing itself of writers and other artistic idealists. We have no need of their angst, their whinging, their overt-gothness.

Bugger off, all of you.

Authors we like. Authors are writer-esque people who actually get the job done. Often they were writers who, one felictious (of fallacious (or fellatio-esque)) day, realised that it’s all about putting a manuscript in an envelope, and by jove, if they couldn’t do that then they’d stop whining and go off and get a job as a tax accountant.

(Which, I might add, most failed authors do.)

The Neo-Catholic Church likes people who do things. We mostly like them to keep the fuck away from us, but we still think they are admirable (if kept at a certain distance).

But we can no longer tolerant artistic types who waffle incessantly on needing to write (but hardly ever doing so).

It’s not a need, people, it’s a want. Needs are things you have to; wants are things you would like to do, and this is why you hardly ever do them. Because you don’t have to.

Bah, ’tis a subject that makes His Wholiness quite irrate.

I’m off to give pleasure to a duck.

This is the Story of the Review of the Trailer of the Film of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.’

Over at ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ official movie site you can now view the first proper (i.e. non-teaser) trailer to the film of the book of the radio series.

I’m not convinced that it is good. The trailer, that is; I have heard good things about the movie itself, including a description of a second, more English, trailer that instead of mkaing the film appear to be an action comedy portrays the story as being about epic, weird things, usually about people with names that, if not faintly ridiculous, are wildly apocraphyl.

Marketting the ‘…Guide…’ film was never going to be easy because it is not your average story. It starts with the Earth being destroyed and ends with a riff on the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, with the pun being that we know the punchline but not the rest of the joke.

Thus we have what I will call the ‘American’ trailer… Still, I have hope. Apparently one of the deleted scenes on the already planned super-DVD release of the film is of Martin Freeman (the silver screen Arthur) playing his role as that of an action hero.

I suspect DNA would have liked that.