Starburst #340 - Series 2 Who Reviews
On Fear Her:
"...the moment when the Doctor takes the Olympic torch was just arch, unconvincing and unnecessary."
I loved that!
On Army of Ghosts:
"The Ghostbusters gag induced a cringe; the Eastenders and Trisha skits were crass..."
I loved that an' all!
The point I'm trying to make? That there's a specific type of humour in those instances that I love - indeed, those were the moments that stuck with me after watching the episodes.
I love the Olympic Torch stuff precisely because it's "arch, unconvincing and unnecessary". Arch being the key word, there; it means "mischievous, roguish". That's the Doctor. And I love the Ghostbusters, Eastenders and Trisha stuff partly because it's "crass". Sometimes there's a delight to be taken in the obvious joke. If The Doctor's going ghost hunting, why not do an amusing obvious reference? It's not like people won't make the joke anyway - you might as well acknowledge it and get a funny joke into the bargain.
Subtlety is sometimes vastly overrated. Take delight in the obvious.
PERCY: Well, Lord Whiteadder, er, a vow of silence, that's quite an interesting thing... Tell me about it.
A joke doesn't stop being funny just because it's obvious. A joke stops being funny if it's not done in style. And I think each of those moments in Who were carried off with a great deal of style.
It's the same reason that Are You Being Served? is still amusing. Actually, that's not quite fair - there's subtlety there if you want it, same as in all Perry & Croft sitcoms. But no matter how obvious the pussy jokes become - they're still funny. Because they're still well-written and well-delivered to this day.