Phoo_Action

Brain damaging cross breed of Dramarama and Batman (the Caesar Romero years).

This page written by Bodnotbod 

Phoo Action  

Episode 1 : BBC3 : 9pm : 12th February 2008.

First impressions

Who is it for!? Who!? Who is this made for!?

This should be a children's television programme for nine and ten year olds. But they've fucked that by putting it on at 9pm and having a lead character who pulls easter eggs out of her vagina. But if we go any older than ten, are kids going to want to admit they like a programme where half the characters look like they're from a nursery schoolchild's colouring book?

Characters

Whitey Action: A rebellious female teen. Reminiscent somewhat of Hewlett's Tank Girl. I've just looked her up on IMDB. She's 22. Thank Christ for that. I don't have to wear a hair shirt for gazing whistfully at her navel. I'd usually gaze at my own but hers seems much better somehow. We learn, in this episode that she's The Chosen One. The Buddha tells her so shortly after she discovers some magic Games-At-School shorts from which she can pull out any object she desires. That sort of thing is always difficult to script because it leads to an inevitable "why didn't she just pull x out of her pants?" whenever she finds herself in a spot of bother.

Terry Phoo: He can do a bit of kung fu. Wears a Bruce Lee / Uma Thurman in Kill Bill style yellow tracksuit and a Bruce Lee in The Green Hornet style mask. He's also a bit clumsy when his body isn't fully engaged in booting someone's larynx across the room.

There was a bit of the old "mismatched crime fighting partners" schtick going on because one wants pop music on in the car and the other doesn't. Dramatic conflict it ain't, though the seeds were planted for sexual tension.

Assorted Monsters (The Freebies): I quite like the design of the one with a basketball for a head but he's given a crap voice by Phil Cormwell (great in Stella Street but he's gone back to his days behind a Get Fresh puppet with this one). There's a big Lurch-style one who doesn't appear to do anything throughout other than eat a cucumber sandwich quickly. And another one which I've already forgotten everything about... oh no, that's right, he's kind of a humanoid insect type. They all seem to be controlled by some creepy fellas who looked more interesting called The Starmumblemumbles.

Princes William & Harry: There's quite a gawp inducing moment when two blokes discuss how they're going to break the news to them that "their grandparents have died". My advice: copy whatever the blokes did the last time they had to tell them they'd lost a family member. Judging by their braying good humour in this it doesn't seem to have done them any harm. I'm anti-Royal but I'm not entirely sure whether I can approve of the treatment the princes get in this: they're portrayed as hideous, unfeeling and arrogant. Hmm. Actually, can't be far off the truth, can it? In that sense I would like people coming up to their teenage years to watch this. I'm not sure it's adequately cutting as a satire for anyone who's taken a couple of years of secondary school English though.

Narrative Structure

This is weak stuff. In Act One The Queen and Prince Philip are killed by mutants and Princes William and Harry are captured. The heroes lowest point arrives in Act Two when Freebie is made King and exiles William, banishes Phoo and gets a restraining order on Action. How do the heroes get out of this against-all-odds situation? In Act 3 they have nothing much stopping them rescuing the princes other than snipping a wire (and it doesn't even matter that they do that wrong) and the status quo appears to be restored after A & P engage the mutants in a bit of aggro in Westminster Abbey. OK, the twist is quite nice but all the colours had hurt my head by the time we get there.

Script

Probably written in crayon. One of the writers, according to IMDB, has Gorillaz videos to his credit rather than previous experience doing dramas. Fair enough. This isn't a brilliant attempt to move onto meatier stuff, though. And... oh! It's Jessica Hynes. Who? And then IMDB tells me: it's the writer formerly known as Jessica Stevenson. Crikey. Well, I never much cared for Spaced (I was basically ALONE in that view) and this isn't going to sway my favours towards a Spaced Creator. But that bombshell has made me scratch my ear and try to recall any jokes in this episode. I have a horrible feeling most of the best ones zipped past in the faux BBC ticker of the news reports.

Stands On The Shoulders Of...

Batman (the live action TV series), Dramarama (the acting style), Bruce Lee (tracksuit n kung fu), Tank Girl and Gorillaz (attitude and Hewlitt aesthetic).

Verdict

Two and a half roundhouse kicks out of ten.