I could go some of these Indian Root Pills right now! Argyle Street, Hobart. December 2011.
Before I get into the Q and A today, I just had to look up the tale of this old ad [above]. It turns out that Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills were one of the great success stories of the good old patent medicine industry. The (possibly shady) ‘Dr.’ Morse asserted that the pills contained a secret blend of herbal ingredients that would help "cleanse the blood." Indeed, ‘dirty blood’ appeared to be the cause of all diseases to ‘Dr.’ Morse.
I will confess to being slightly disappointed to not being able to access the miracle drug these days. They sound just the ticket!
Alas, onwards to another Tuesday Q and A courtesy of Sunday Stealing. It’s a challenge this week – The TV Show Meme – especially difficult because I’ve watched a sum total of about eight television shows in the past six years…
But first, a note from the Q and A designer! Before reading the questions, nominate FIVE TV Shows you like. They can be past or present. Hint: pick shows that you are REALLY into. Hey! no peaking at the questions! The list:
- Yes Minister/ Yes Prime Minister
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Arrested Development
1. Who is your favourite character in 2?
That would have to be Al Swearengen. The ONLY good thing to come out of HBO not making a season four is that we didn’t have to witness Al’s inevitable demise…
2. Who is your least favourite character in 1?
I could pick an annoying minor ensemble character who annoyed me (i.e. Kenny Bania), but that is a bit of a cop out. I will confess to finding Kramer a little hard to take at times, so of the main four, he gets the nod.
3. What’s your favourite episode of 4?
Probably episode 61 (the first of Season 4), particularly the vignette Fear of a Krabby Patty, in which Mr. Krabs opens the Krusty Krab 24/7 which causes SpongeBob to have a mental breakdown. A more insightful commentary on industrial relations you will struggle to find!
4. What is your favourite season of 5?
I would say the first season. They are all quality, but the freshness of the writing and the fact that it was quite innovative at the time made it a great experience.
5. What’s your favourite relationship in 3?
It is hard to go past the master/ servant dynamic of Sir Humphrey Appleby [GCB, KBE, MVO, MA (Oxon)] and The Rt Hon. Jim Hacker. It is a beautifully drawn relationship that explores everything about the Westminster parliamentary system.
6. Who is your anti-relationship in 2?
I am not sure that I understand the question. Is that the actual relationship I didn't like or the possible relationship I would never want to see? Maybe it’s my least favourite character? Who knows!?! I will confess to finding Alma Garret intensely annoying, so her rise to prominence and fractious relationship with Seth Bullock frustrated me.
7. How long have you watched 1?
From beginning to end! I was a fan of it the moment that I saw it, which was pretty much in line with its airing in the US. The frustration here in Tasmania was with the shoddy treatment it got on TV, it was forever being shunted around and shown out of order. Thankfully my brother, ever the completest with time on his hand scrambled together every episode on VHS (this was pre-DVD), so I’ve always have access.
8. How did you become interested in 3?
I’m not sure. I just saw it one day and enjoyed it. The great thing about this show is that it easily bears multiple viewings and always offers something new. I would have been under-10 years old when I first saw it, but the lessons within stood me in good stead studying political science at university (and then working in the public service)!
9. Who is your favourite actor in 4?
David Hasselhoff was excellent in the movie. In the show, I quite like the voicework of Clancy Brown, who voices Mr Krabs. I was delighted to see that he also is responsible for Uka Uka in the Crash Bandicoot series, because I have been riffing on that voice for years now!
10. Which show do you prefer 1, 2, or 5?
Man that is a hard question. They all cater to different moods, but if forced to choose Seinfeld has to get the nod because of longevity.
11. Which show have you seen more episodes of 1 or 3?
I’ve seen every one of both, which gives me 100% ratio. There were many more episodes of Seinfeld made though, so technically that gets the nod again.
12. If you could be anyone from 4, who would you be?
It’s hard to go past SpongeBob himself. He seems happy, even when he isn’t.
13. How would you kill off any character in 5?
It would have to involve Buster, a Segway and George Bluth’s infamous Cornballer...
14. Would a 3/4 crossover work?
Hmmm, a BBC politico-comedy and an animated Nickelodeon marine farce mash-up? They are probably closer than many might think – SpongeBob is actually far sharper satire than many realise – but I think that a crossover would probably be doomed to fail.
15. Pair two characters in 1 that would make an unlikely, but strangely okay couple.
I think that the Newman/ Babs Kramer romance could not possibly be topped by anything that I could come up with.
16. Overall, which show has the better cast, 3 or 5?
Again, tough call. Arrested Development featured a top ensemble cast, but did spread itself thin with the branching plotlines. One of the greatest strengths of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister is the tightness of its recurring cast and dynamic between Sir Humphrey, Jim and Bernard. The fact that their taut, triangular relationship the focal point of each and every show really rammed the points that Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn home. I’d give that one the nod.
You know, I enjoyed doing that far more than I expected to!