Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Torchwood: Countryside

The Singing Stone Horizon Guide to Touchwood
written without any permission (or consent) by anyone who would sue me
by Ewen Campion Clarke

DISCLAIMER: This is an unauthorized program guide to the stupendously awful Doctor Who cash-in Angel-rip-off. Neither the guide nor the series is to be taken seriously. Or orally. And if rash occurs – and it probably will – consult the Doctor immediately.

"TOUCHWOOD... separate from the government, outside the police, beyond the United Nations, independent of the judiciary, messing with things it really should leave to the grown ups. You see, the twenty-first century is when it all changes, and society is turned so upside down we actually start to look like we really know what we’re doing. Frightening concept, huh?"

Episode 6: Touchwood Versus The Sawney Beane Family!

It’s time for the annual Touchwood Camping Holiday which allow the team to harmonize and bond and hopefully stop trying to kill each other. They set up camp in the Brecon Beacons and during one of Gwen’s infantile teenage time-passers – "Who Was The Last Person You Snogged?" – Tosh tries to beat Owen’s skull in with a hammer after Owen reveals he repeatedly kisses Gwen and wanks over X-rays of her. Curiously, this only fires the passion of Gwen and Owen who immediately start rutting each other there and then.

Jack, Ianto and Tosh are too busy voyeuristically ogling the copulating couple to notice two hooded figures stealing the Touchwoodomobile. In fact, they don’t suspect anything is wrong even when they discover a maggot-ridden corpse left on their campfire. Finally they notice all their stuff has been stolen and head to the nearest village to get a bed and breakfast. Jack warns the team to be alert for cheaper hotel deals as they split up to investigate the ominously empty village.

Meanwhile, Owen and Gwen find their personal feelings getting the better of them more than usual and after Gwen refers to the medic as "tadpole cock", Owen shoots her at point blank range with a sawn-off shotgun. He then tends to her wound, just so he can get the vicarious thrill he feels at holding a hot chick’s life in his ugly hands.
Jack meanwhile goes to the pub and meets a terrified young man called Kieran who believes that hideous monsters have killed everyone else in the village. Suddenly the power goes out and Jack puts the moves on the emotionally vulnerable teenage boy when suddenly something in the dark grabs Kieran and drags him away. Furious at losing a fit piece of ass, Jack swears bloody vengeance that will be swift, that will be terrible and that will be above all PG-rated.

Meanwhile, Ianto and Tosh attempt to find the Touchwoodomobile at the local garage and find that the cool drinks fridge is full of human body parts and old clothes, and that the dude running the cash register is a rotting corpse. Beginning to suspect something is seriously dodgy here, Tosh and Ianto meet a friendly jolly woman who invites them home for dinner. If they don’t follow her, she’ll blow their fucking kneecaps off with this rifle she happens to have to hand.

Owen and Gwen are also invited to a candlelight supper under pain of death by a policeman named Hugh and they find that the kitchen is filled with corpses and body parts – the family are in fact the Sawney Bean Clan, the notorious inbred psycho cannibals from Scotland who butcher every living them they comes across. However, it seems they have met their match with the Touchwood team, who freak out the mutant Scot cannibals with their critiques on their butchering: Tosh demands to be tenderized, Owen thinks the family hypocritical as they don’t eat each other, Ianto bemoans the fact he’ll never be cut open and bled by the rednecks from The Hills Have Eyes, and Gwen foams at the mouth and tries to headbutt everyone.

This disturbing display allow Jack plenty of time to drive into the middle of the dining room on a tractor and shoots dead every single member of the Sawney Beane Family, especially Sawney Beane himself who dies regretting all the wasted food. Ianto is depressed at this outcome as he now has forty-seven corpses to add to the Touchwood morgue, but Gwen has an idea: they simply eat the bodies and save them all trouble, as well as continuing their camping holiday in peace.

The credits run over a shot of the Touchwoodomobile, converted into a roadside hot food van, with Ianto and Tosh selling Sawney Beane burgers to passing motorists as Gwen and Owen screw each other on the bonnet and Jack dances around naked, drenched in blood and screaming, "GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!"

Trivia Questions
1. Who plays all 48 members of the Sawney Beane family?
2. What does Sawney Beane call Gwen?

Great Moments -
This is the first Doctor Who related episode not to feature a supernatural or extraterrestrial element, any scenes within the Hub, any CGI elements at all since the similar non-science-fictional Fifth Doctor story Perriot Costume Of Death. It also features cannibalism, as Adric disposes of the corpses in a similar manner. In fact, come to think of it, this episode TOTALLY ripped that story off!

Fashion Crimes -
The Cannibal Clan tartan with groovy psychedelic patterns, in particular Sawney Beane’s "ARE YOU GOING TO FINISH THAT?" T-shirt.

Missing Adventures -
The cannibals are the only people Jack has ever met who did not already know about Touchwood and despise the 'secret organization' for its appalling track record and unmitigated arrogance. "Almost made me regret giving them instant lead transfusions," Jack sighs.

Technobabble -
The Cannibal Picking Machine runs on "Michelin Star Reactor Power".

Great Lines -

Ianto: Er, excuse me, um.... are you eating people?
Sawney Beane: Er... yeah, squire, I am. But not raw! Cooked! Roasted with a few French fries, broccoli, horseradish sauce...
Ianto: Well, I do feel a bit peckish...
Sawney Beane: Great!
Ianto: Can we have some parsnips?
Sawney Beane: Jock... get some parsnips!
Tosh: I really don't think I should.
Sawney Beane: Look, tell you what... we eat people, if you feel a bit guilty about it after, we can dig a grave and you can throw up in it.

Owen: I hate the countryside. It’s dirty; it’s unhygienic; and what is that smell?
Tosh: That would be grass.
Owen: It’s disgusting.

Ianto: You’re used to this aren’t you? That facial expression you all share when things get ridiculously perverse. Like you enjoy it. Like you get a high from the danger. Don’t you ever wonder how long you can survive before you go mad? Or get killed? Or lose a loved one?
Tosh: I have no loved ones. I have no friends. I walk alone.
Ianto: Oh. I suppose a quick shag’s out of the question then?

Gwen: There’s another body in there!
Jack: Same as the other?
Gwen: What do I look like, a forensic pathologist?

Crap Lines -

Tosh: Who is he?
Cannibal: He’s Jock. Afraid, we’re all just Jock. Don’t have much of an imagination when it came to naming kids.

Ianto: Who protects us!
Jack: "Who" protects us? No way. The rest of the franchise doesn’t even acknowledge we exist!

Gwen: I had a good job before this. I thought in a year or two perhaps a baby, I know Rhys would be a good dad and I could try for desk sergeant. Well, it was all sliding into place. And, then I met you lot. All these things, all these things that are changing me. Changing how I see the world. And, I can’t share them with anyone.
Owen: Oh, boo fucking hoo. Get over yourself.
(Another torrid sex session begins.)

Plot Oversights
- Why do Touchwood park their lunch van in the middle of nowhere?
- How do Jack and Gwen fail to notice one of the villagers watching them shagging from beside the tree?
- How does Gwen survive such a close shot? Why does Owen only remove one shotgun slug when she has many entry wounds? Can’t he make his mind up to kill the bitch or not? Why doesn’t Jack offer to give her one of his patented "kisses of life"? Has she fallen for that before?
- Why doesn’t Gwen shoot Huw before he cocks his gun? Has her Welsh brain deleted the fact she’s a police officer and her training should be kicking in by this point – Huw is providing a clear and immediate threat to a civilian, and until he actually cocks the gun it’s not only safe but reasonable to shoot him without the risk of a reflex action causing Owen’s death. Did she just want Owen to die like everyone else?
- How dumb are the Welsh not to notice all the disappearances over the last few centuries?
- Gwen’s hand keeps changing positions between camera angles during the sex scene – alternately near Owen’s... well, never mind.
- Why is Tosh so worried about Hepatitis A when she was not only vaccinated against it when she was little, she also has access to all sorts of alien technology to cure it even if she DID get this all-in-all mind variation
- Sex after a major gunshot wound is very risky. Trust me on that.

Viewers’ Quotes

"This is the worst piece of televised drama since Det Robert Goren of the NYPD decided it was time to start fighting terrorists. It’s dreadful. Everything about it. Touchwood aren’t just crap against aliens, they’re helpless against a small gang of rural inbreds working on a plan compiled from the tackiest bits of The Wicker Man! WHY? Why do they appear to have no survival skills? Why don’t they have some ability to fight humans? What does this B-grade piece of the 6th rate survivalist horror tripe achieve? One pitiful piece of character "development" - Gwen meets some cannibals, is so freaked out she decides to fuck the ugliest and most unlikable bloke in the organization! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN?!?"
- Jared "No Nickname" Hansen (2006)

"My feelings were the same. When I was watching it I got caught up in the moment and enjoyed seeing Jack blast away a ton of hillbillies with a 12 guage... but then my brain caught up with me."
- Ewen Campion-Clarke (2006)

"It really scared the shit out of me. There are lots of different types of horror and Touchwood Versus The Sawney Beane Family dabbles with quite a few genres but the worst is that they thought this was a good enough bitch of television to screen after Robin Hood and AI."
- Joe Ford Prefect (2006)

"I love the scene where Tosh is being ravaged through the dark woods. If only the trees had repeatedly violated her as well, this would be my favorite episode ever."
- I now avoid this guy like the plague (2006)

The Author Speaks
"People often ask me why I write crap like this. They want to understand why I somehow surgically remove any plot or logic or reason from a cliche-filled piece of detritus. Why I’m doing everything in my power to utterly destroy any potential Touchwood as a show ever had to start with. Why I have a home-wrecking rapist, a scrawny metrosexual root rat, a lily-livered fop and a green and irresolute slag as the audience identification figures. I say to them, keep on wondering. But if YOU really want to know why I do it, it’s because... it makes me happy. Cannibalism isn’t funny. It’s hilarious."

Trivia Answers
1. Nabil "Sil the Mentor" Shabin, with his usual flair
2. "The psycho-est psycho who ever did psycho!"

Rumors and Facts
The third of Touchwood head writer Chris Chin-Balls’ four scripts for the season was directed by Andy Goddard after all the previous applicants took one look at the plot and faked their own deaths. The story was largely designed to further the relationship between Gwen and Owen, which Chin-Balls had introduced with similar subtlety in his last abortion of a story.

Some debate arose during post-production over the climactic scene of Jack shooting the villagers with a custard-pie-gun, about whether or not this sequence should be black and white, silent or in slow motion. A compromised was eventually reached by having Jack kill every last one of the motherfucking pricks and eating their corpses.

Ruminations -
There are a lot of things you could accuse Touchwood of being, and transparent is certainly one of them. If you wanted them to visit a town full of murderous psychopaths with no rationale for what they do, they could have done a crossover with The League of Gentlemen? The episode relies on the bubbling tensions between the group at a time when they need to rely on each other more than ever, but at the end of the day is just an excuse to get Easy Little Tramp Gwen and Asshole Owen rutting in public. Twice.

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