Comedy Review #413

Considering the present downward decline of this great newsgroup, here's my latest contribution. To the decline of the newsgroup. It's not very funny, and no doubt everyone else will use it as an excuse to take the piss out of every semi-serious posting. So be it!! But seriously, folks, Whatever happened to that Secret ISN Broadcast after they declined Martial Law? I've *got* to know...

Don't expect this 'comedy' review to be as good as the last one. Remember, there are only so many jokes to spoof. Let's just hope JMS remembers this in Series 5, eh? ;-)

Well, I've just finished watching this week's episode (15th Oct 1997) and, quite frankly, I'm disappointed. Trying to make jokes out of this wet kipper is like trying to inflate a balloon with a hole in it. There isn't really anything there to start with. And I guess I just wasn't in the mood to begin with, which is a shame. :-(
It's hard writing one of these suckers and watching an episode at the same time (using a palmtop computer). Best thing (for me) is to watch an entire scene and then wait for the ideas to emerge.

Comedy Review 2:
Production 413
"Romans, Barges and Liners". or is it "Rheumatism, Bargains and Flies"?
Whatever the case, who cares? It's never got any relevance to the episode anyway, especially this time round.

Charred HeyWood as Religious 2
Guy Smiley as Religious 1.

Start here:
Captain Sheridan spends a lot of his time in the canteen, chuckling in the corner while the other command staff all sit at a different table. No change there then!!

Delenn's holiday ain't going too well... There's some kind of civil war!!
Still, I suppose it happens all the time. You go on holiday, wondering if booking a vacation with "Shadow Tours of the Galaxy", run by "Za-Da-Daddy Enterprises" was really such a good idea? After all, the cryo-coffin cruiser accommodation was pushing it a bit for comfort, even for budget class. And the holiday destination was nothing like in the brochure!! Even worse, the travel agent was babbling some crap about "You will not return from Za-Da-Daddy alive...", but that's rubbish considering you bought a return ticket. And no-one feels their best after an exhausting rest abroad.

When you got there, the hotel was nothing more than a crumbling, half-built aeons-old wreckage, room-service were far from friendly, and the swimming pool turned out to be a bottomless pit!!

Eventually, you managed to somehow thumb a lift back to B5, writing a letter of complaint and requesting a refund. You get back, and there's some garbage on ISN about a Great War!!

Two weeks later, you heard that the entire planet'd of Za-Da-Daddy's been blown up along with all your lost luggage, and to cap it all, they've departed the solar system in a big hurry!! Damn Die-By-Night cowboys. So you sigh and vow never to go on holiday again. That is, until you see how cheap a shuttle to Mars is these days...

* Credits roll. Mollari looks a bit grouchy.

Delenn sits in the BT tower's rotating restaurant and chats with Lenor about some rubbish or other. So that's why the restaurant's not open to the general public!! They've sold it to the Minbari...

Delenn beats herself up about starting some war and moans about some city.
Lennier rubs it in by saying 'Yup, sure was a beautiful city'. Most compassionate, Lenny. Just make her feel worse about it. All through this scene, Delenn is wincing like a lemon. Those lines sure are sour!!

Sheridan tells Londo of his love for a popular comedy team. Ambassperor Mollari responds bizarrely by agreeing not to tell anyone about the arms deals. Score one for Zooti!! And the Tories.

Delenn gets into a real chin-wag with the Minbari warrior leader, prompting an arch blarn-fest of the lowest order. With corny lines like "Do you trust me?" and "After a fashion", who needs Zooti? I'll be chuckling over this one for weeks! After a fashion...

This scene ends with a shot of a city supposedly at war. Great plumes of smoke, a couple of dams spilling water, people running around and ample crazy paving. Must be Sheffield. After a fashion...

Red sky at night - Sheridan's up all night (waiting for Delenn...). After a fashion...

* Adverts. Just over 3 mins in length. After a fashion.

Sheridan rips a page right out of Groucho Marx's book on wordplay-confuse-o when he runs rings around an alien ambassador's questions. Score one for the Marx Brothers!!

However, this has serious implications for B5. What will happen to Sheridan's opinion in the eyes of the alien races when he starts stalking around the station chewing on a fat cigar with a charcoal moustache and 'trying it on' with Margaret Dumont?

So, no change *there* then...

As for the rest of the crew, let's see how they fit in with the 'Marx Brothers' tableau:
*Franklin:Plays the piano, popular with the women: Chico Marx.
*Marcus:'Real funny' guy, gets all the 'great lines': Zeppo Marx.
*Kosh:Never says a damn thing. Plays the harp in his spare time: Harpo.
Dead too, which helps.
*Delenn:Let's face it: She's Margaret Dumont.
Imanova (another B5 supermodel?), alarmed at the lack of B5 in Denver, can't receive TNT. Cue the line: "Captain, we've got Marcus standing by on Channel 4."
Sheridan, eager for his B5 'fix', says "Put it through", thus confirming the theory that C4 is the last, best hope for Babylon 5. That or Ted "N"

Marcus confirms what we British C4 viewers knew all along: "Just got here a while ago. Scanned the area. Nothing here but a bunch of asteroids". That must refer to the sports programme on afterwards (no offense Ch4...).

Sheridan tells him to 'Shoot a bunch of rocks and leave', but quite frankly I fail to see what teaming up with John Belushi and going to a party has to do with it! Marcus, just say No!! But he says Yes.

* Next, stuff happens.

Then, Franklin bluffs some token 'stupid' aliens in another 'Durr... we're confused' scene which undermines the principles of alien characterisation.

Some more Minbari stuff happens. Fast-Forward time, I think, with the Minbari stuff. It's just JMS on about casts being torn apart. but where's the broken leg? ;-]

One of the castes decides on mass suicide. As long as it hurries the plot along, it's fine by me. After a fashion.

Sheridan's plan comes to fruition. but aren't the aliens slightly stupid not to realise what his game is?

Followed by yet another tedious Minbari scene. Bring on the time-enhancing illegal substances. That or the remote control. Anything to get through this!!
This scene is straight out of a school play, judging by the dialogue, actors and lighting. Give me a break. To be fair, though, the actors *are* restrained by the rubbishy lines. Let them hang from a noose anyway!!
After.. only kidding.

Dellen narrowly avoids being gassed by 3 purple balls in the air
conditioner. How dreary. Lenor:"It's a bit sad when we cannot even trust ourselves". Indeed. *Yawn*. How profound. Bring on the adverts!!

Croc looks cool!! I gotta get Croc. Where's alt.rec.Croc? I'm there already... After a fashion.
Delenn's silly line: "Lennier is a light for my footsteps.". Does this remind anyone of Michael Jackson's Billy Jean video? You know, where the floor lights up? JMS has been stealing, methinks... ;-<

Sher-o-ho-ho gets the aliens to do what he wants in the end with a bit of reverse psychology. Yuk. It's like all that crap about a parent telling their child to do the opposite that they want them to, as the child always disobeys the parent. It doesn't work, either. JMS, take note!!

We get a treat with another picture of that hilarious testcard as B5 series 5 goes on the air all over Earth with this 'series within a series', but this is short-lived. Quite frankly, I suspect Iwinona would be better off presenting programmes on Central TV. Or is it Grampian?

In the next scene, Lennier is laid out on a stretcher from too much gas. I guess he just wanted to relieve the tedium of the episode too, with a touch of laughing gas. Lennier's eyelid blusher is a bit silly and stands out like a sore thumb. Still, what do you expect from a school play?
More Minbari stuff goes horribly wrong. More make-up skull-effects have come loose. We end on a really, really, really cool shot of a jumpgate opening, and the sound effects for this are just great. Like water down a giant whirlpool. I don't know where all this boring Minbari bull came from, though. Perhaps the series will go the way of the proverbial water: Down the proverbial plughole. And that's all, folks. After a fashion...

Brief synopsis (Marx Brothers tableau):

Sheridan talks a load of Horse Feathers to try and confuse some aliens, so, again, no change there. The League of NAW go Animal Crackers and ask for some white chocolate Starbars. It's Day of the Races as the League all team together with Sheridan unwittingly.

Lenor spots The Big Store of some purple ball thingies and Ducks through the pipes to remove the deadly Soup, but almost cops it due to his laughing gas. Cue Delenn getting all Love Happy over him.

And the Minbari warrior caste get up to some Monkey Business.

Ambassperor Londo Mollari looks like an extra from A Night at the Opera, and I can't quite remember how that one about a Circus fits in here.

Points for Discussion/Discontent:

* 1.If Captain Jack has a fat Drakh on his back, how much Schnapps does it take for the Drakh on his back to go slack?

* 2.Q.How many Minbari does it take to change a lightbulb?

A.Well, it's been done before. And it's been done before. And it's been done before. And it's been done to death. Like the Minbari.

* 3.How stupid are the League of NAW aliens anyway? I think Sheridan is employing that telepath serum to make everyone around him more stupid.

* 4.In terms of a grade, how would you define today's plot?

  1. i.A sharp upwards curve, followed by a drop with a gradient of 1:1.
  2. ii.A sharp upwards curve, followed by a drop with a gradient of 1:2.
  3. iii.A sharp upwards curve, followed by a drop with a gradient of 1:3.

Problems with this episode:

1.Too much Minbari. Minbari is Minboring.
2.The subplot about Sheridan convincing the League of NAW about the white Starbar patrols is slightly corny and unlikely. Everyone else going 'Huh?' and 'What?', such as Marcus and Ivanova, is plain ridiculous. Why is it that I guessed from the start what his plan was, whereas none of the senior staff did? Sack the lot of 'em, I'll take Ivanova's job!!

Ratings system:

I guess in this one you simply take the number of useless lines of dialogue (er, loads), add the amount of subplots (2), add the number of actual plots (0) and divide by 5. This gives 35%.

How can I justify this low mark? Well, someone book me a place at the Ritz hotel and I'll explain it over dinner... After a fashion...

1997 Jeremy Smith.