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Nov 13, 2007

Whatever Happened To Mary Sue?

Pj_3 Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane Part 1

There's a story from the eighth century called Urashima Taro. I won't bore you with paragraphs of Wapaneseness, but long story short a fisherman ends up under the sea in the Dragon Palace and parties for three months with the mistress of the ocean. On parting she presents him with an origami puzzle box called a tamatebako and told not to open it. When he returns home he finds that he has been away for three hundred years. In terror and desperation he opens the box and finds that he has indeed whiled away three centuries doing nothing, and promptly turns up his toes from old age.

The point I'm getting at is not that the story of someone being taken out of their time and situation by means of dubious time travel is an old story. After all, Blink did it. Ursula LeGuinn did it. Rip Van Winkle. The Arabian Nights and the Fianna did it. Urusei Yatsura, Kamen Rider, Breath of Fire and Onimusha did it. My point is simply that the Japanese get everything cheaper, more compact and one thousand three hundred hundred years before we do; the same is true of the Playstation 3 and I don't want one of those either, thanks.

One of the most genuinely creepy and dreamlike pieces of children's entertainment since Alan Garner crashed a dump truck full of Boxes of Delights into a box car of The Company of Wolves DVDs driven by Nichalas Fisk and a Bogwoppit.

On the other hand, let's see how SJ and the Mouseketeers measure up to delivering the same yarn, though. Things start well, with Maria's dad shredding more than Shreddies and The Shredder put together, before grabbing some of the sickest air since New Earth. So far so awesome, but what of the actual plotting and format? Well, casting Maria in a solo role this early in the spinoff sounds like a recipe for disaster. Even given what a great ensemble of child actresses have been assembled for this series it sounds like a recipe for disaster. Even if the lead actress weren't going for GOLD in this episode.

It would be too, were it not for the fact that this episode is one of the most genuinely creepy and dreamlike pieces of children's entertainment since Alan Garner crashed a dump truck full of Boxes of Delights into a box car of The Company of Wolves DVDs driven by Nichalas Fisk and a Bogwoppit. Everything in the episode resonates on some level, from the spiteful scorn of Maria's former peers to the polite irritation of the adults.

I could go into exhaustive analytical detail. I could deliver well reasoned critiques. I could even just stoop to pointing out the sheer levels of GRAAAAAGH generated by things like the fact that Sarah Jane can only be brought back by killing Andrea (who let's face it, hasn't actually done anything wrong). You know what though? Here is Ardal O'Hanlan's car from Gridlock: it is a flying shit, and I do not give one. Positively nothing needs to be said about this episode but that it was so unnerving and well performed that not even Bananaman's antics towards the end could sour your suspension of disbelief.

Jack's copy of the Ladybird Book Of Ladyboys says this about Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane Part 1: Murray Gold was sat in his bedsit watching the chase at the end and thinking "NEEDS MOAR YAKKETY SAX."

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