cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
Edit: since the cut situation is sorted, I've edited this to reinstate the intended pics. Thanks, DW Support!

"What's with that "Mmmmmm," and that irritating crinkled look that says there's more to this than meets the eye?"
Jonathan's irritating crinkled look: an expression we will be seeing a lot of )

Somehow I had forgotten this show's habit of opening with ridiculous sight gags. Clearly that business with the paintings last time was not a one-off! Here, Jack Holiday, "legendary king of slapstick" and obvious Norman Wisdom analog, is advertising Tonga bananas in the style of a Carry On movie. It has to be politely explained to him that "the image of a bike parked between a girl's buttocks" is not quite the thing these days. Proving that a shit day will generally get shittier, he then discovers that Alan Rokesmith, the supposed killer of his first wife, has had his conviction overturned.

Enter: Maddy, who's doing a press conference with the innocent man and his family... and is disappointed to see a cheque for his life story being ripped up. "Do you think any of us is interested in money?" asks the man's wife. "FFS YES!" say Maddie's eyes, but she's meant to be the crusading investigative journalist, so she's not getting a look in. Alas. Also alas: do you really think that this guy is going to get his chance to "breathe in the freedom" in a peaceful seaside cottage as he plans? Fuck, no.

Maddy watches the money leave the building.
Jack Holiday turns up dead in a locked underground bunker - an understandable suicide, but a teensy bit implausible given the arthritis in his hands - his famous banana ads required him to have a stunt banana peeler. Guess who's going to be getting a phonecall from Maddy?

And naturally, when he does get said phonecall, Jonathan acts all faux-matey-casual and "Ooooh, tomorrow... I'll just look at my diary." His diary is so little-used that he has to lift a boombox off it in order to stare at the cover (which says "1997", the year before this episode aired - that might be due to the ep having been made in 97, but I'd like to think it's an intentional lampshading of the desert that is Jonathan's social life).

At Holiday's home, Jonathan gets shown around by Jack's former-secretary and second wife. She enthuses over an outfit Jack wore in a movie and Jonathan becomes a condescending dick ("The actual outfit!"), which is a not-so-subtle impression I'm already forming of him on this watch-through. The woman explains how Jack's trousers were all weighted around the waist so they'd fall smoothly to his ankles (if they stopped halfway it wasn't funny), and Jonathan gushes, sneeringly (you think it can't be done? You haven't seen Jonathan do it!) about how people don't realise "the scientific precision involved!" Whereupon I call bullshit, since it's hardly a million miles from the illusion stagecraft that is Jonathan's own bread and butter.

He never met a lock he couldn't pick. She never met a brain she couldn't pick. They fight crime!

R points out that Les Dawson is in the background of this story: like Holiday, he was part of a generation of comedians that came up through music hall - and like Holiday, we all remember seeing his second wife interviewed after his death, navigating the presumable emotional minefield of celebrating her husband's life while including the context of his first wife. I feel like it's one of those real-life tropes I've seen in more places when entertainers get biographies, too.

Anyway, the thing that makes this show so watchable AND rewatchable is the wonderfully casual, snarky, as-if-they've-known-each-other-for-years ping-pong of Jonathan and Maddy's conversations. Each, in their own way, is averse to suffering fools gladly. Maddy's getting more used to Jonathan and is quick to come up with her own surreal but logical explanation for how Holiday's suicide could've been accomplished - even if Jonathan does swiftly shoot it down by pointing out that the method didn't require Holiday to lock himself into a bunker left over from the Cold War.

A moment most evocative of Jonathan's social life in general.
The case progresses haphazardly - the moreso when Jonathan wakes up to find a melon with a large knife stuck through it on the pillow next to him. Subtle. And yet, it'll make a lovely breakfast.

Maddy: "I could've come in here and found you with your throat slit!"

Jonathan: "Yeah, I think I saw one of those little sewing kits in the bathroom for just such an emergency."

If you hadn't seen the pilot, The Wrestler's Tomb, this would be a really good, representative episode to start with, showcasing as it does the classic style in which Jonathan and Maddy communicate, and possessing a very satisfying locked room mystery. Only Adam Klaus is missing, presumably because they were still recasting after Anthony Stewart Head's departure for the Buffyverse. (His scarily grinning face does appear on a poster in Jonathan's windmill, however.) This also the episode with the dramatic toilet cross-cut that has been so celebrated on Tumblr, thanks to unicornbandages.

You can't really ask for more, can you? As ever, the rewatch continues at [ profile] teylaminh 's place:

Pics credits:,,


cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
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