Anyway, my telly catch-up continues with this week's Merlin.
Here are a few thoughts on Beauty and the Beast 2: I Don't Fancy Yours Much.
- Previously on Merlin, we had a lot of fart jokes, Sarah Parish giving a masterclass in gurning, Uther with a cheesy smile that hasn't been seen since his days on the Gold Blend adverts, and virtually no Morgana or Gwen, possibly because they were on a shopping expedition to the newly opened King Bayard's Mercian Multi-Mall or something. Oh, and we also had this image, which no doubt had an important semantic and hermeneutic significance within the plot, but I seem to have forgotten what it was.
- As extensive as Sarah Parish's repertoire of facial expressions clearly is, they began to pall somewhat this week. Apparently the number of dung-eating jokes you can do DOES have a limit after all. However, I did giggle like a five-year-old at the wedding scene, especially Catrina being rude to the local events manager, pagan celebrant and etiquette expert Geoffrey of Bushybrows (formerly known as Geoffrey of Bulletbaxter), Camelot's finest exponent of multitasking. Even the Slash Dragon found it amusing, and he's a tough audience.
- "I can't even believe you let me put that in my mouth." - Oh Merlin, I bet you say that every week. By the way, I made a note of the fake potion recipe: rats' guts, toad paste, horse dung, crushed sheep's eyeball, pond scum, three wolf spiders and a dash of sheep's brain. I'm thinking of sending it to Heston Blumenthal.
- I got a slight sense of déja vu when Arthur was being all nice to the peasants and saving them from tax-based oppression. Arthur, have you considered protesting against ridiculous medieval funding regulations by taking to the woods with a band of loyal outlaws and robbing the rich to give to the poor? It's something of a tradition and I've heard there's a vacancy at the moment... Still, it led to a nice little Arthur/Gwen moment with Arthur flaunting his liberal credentials in a public place. He'll probably do something totally fascistic next week, though. It's that kind of show.
- Lots of work for that tall fair-haired knight who hangs around and pushes the plot along with the occasional piece of exposition. According to the credits, he is properly addressed as Sir Leon, but to me he's better known as Sir Regular Speaking-Part of Reasonable Hotness (Reg for short).
- I've just noticed that Gaius has got a lute in his room. I like to picture him sitting around strumming a few bawdy ballads of an evening. Either that, or Merlin/Arthur slash filk, I don't know.
- Of course, the biggest source of wailing and gnashing of teeth this week is Arthur's sudden decision to start wearing a shirt in bed. Has the weather suddenly turned a bit nippy in Albion? Has the castle's central heating gone on the fritz? Has he no thought for the needs of the viewing people? Still, some amusement was raised by Unexpected Under-the-bed Merlin. And just why might Arthur be worried that Merlin had been under his bed for days, exactly?
- For a while there, I thought they were going to skip over the dodgy marital issues by having Catrina turn Uther down every time so the marriage was never consummated. But no, they went there, and how. It's all a bit distressing, isn't it.
- So this week, we have a climax that involves Merlin squeezing magical drips between Arthur's parted lips.
Okay. Make up your own caption for that one.
- And of that wasn't enough, we have the hilarious final scene, in which it is proved that the writers enjoy playing us fangirls like an Eez-E-Twang harp. We know what we like, and they enjoy giving it to us.
So what WAS Arthur going for, if not a hug? A pat on the back? A hand-jiving dance routine for this year's All-Albion Song Contest? I really do think we should be told. Anyway, their exchange of facial expressions afterwards was utterly priceless. Goodness only knows what sort of faces they'd pull if they ever got to do more than handshake. I'd like to see 'em, though...
- Next week: Charles Dance, witch-burning and anachronistic cowboy hats! Something for everyone, I'm sure you'll agree.