“That’s No Moon, That’s James Corden…” (Last Time I Use That, I Swear)

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Popular World Cup loving fattie James Corden (that’s not as big, if you’ll pardon the pun, an insult as you might think; the BBC seem to be taking much the same attitude) is the undenied star of last Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who. In true Corden style, this episode revolves around him and a co-star in a will they/won’t they relationship. Except it’s Doctor Who, so they obviously will. It’s not like she’s going to go into the sunset saying “it’s not going to work out. You’re too fat!” That would be incredibly depressing to the watching children.

As this is a companion lite episode, Amy and the Tardis are stuck in orbit around the planet Corden — I mean, locked in a dematerialisation cycle so she can’t land. Or something. Meanwhile, The Doctor has to spend some time posing as a human so he can investigate a weird house where people go up but don’t come back down…

As the Doctor has to pose as human in this episode (he’s never done that before…), the writers have given him some charming eccentricities and misunderstandings about human behaviour. In principle they’re correct, but they’re also weird. This leads to some funny moments within the episode, such as how he greets new human friends and his time on the football field. Oh, and the fact he tries to unintentionally bribe Corden to let him stay.

This episode was classic cheesy Doctor Who. There was a girl, the hero (and make no mistake, the hero of this episode is James Corden) gets her and there are some tragic deaths along the way. On the downside, this episode also felt like an extension of everything that James Corden has ever done, such as Gavin And Stacey, something about football and…er…next question please.

Something about the episode felt very much like it was the Doctor’s last chance for fun and games before things get real (as in ‘this shit just got real’) in time for the season finale. I’m wondering if the BBC have managed to do the impossible and keep Matt Smith on for only one season without having it leak like it normally does. I’d say you heard it here first but that’s tremendously unlikely due to the hints they’ve been dropping in show about it.

I’m hoping that the upcoming finale solves the ongoing plot threads of the series, such as the Glowy Time Cracks Of Death and shows us River Song’s first encounter with the Doctor. We might even see Rory again, but it’s doubtful. Who knows?

The story’s a pretty neat idea but in execution it feels like most other episodes of new Who, just with the added human touch, which has been used in Human Nature already. I like what Gareth Roberts (the writer, who I’ve met, nice chap) tried to do in this episode but if you’re tired of Gavin and Stacey style* rom-coms, I’d advise you to give this one a miss.

*(I say Gavin and Stacey style, it practically is Gavin and Stacey, apart from names, locations and events)

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