Monday, February 25, 2013

7E4 - Paradise Towers 4

I am an insufferable sap sometimes. There is a commercial for a Canadian hardware/sporting goods store that has, on seven consecutive occasions, succeeded in causing me to weep openly at how touching it was (and, no, I cannot describe said commercial to you here lest I break into tears again, and I'm on my honour to save such waterworks for the eighth time I view this commercial). And while the classic run of Doctor Who has seldom caused me to reach for the facial tissues, the memorial for Pex at the end of Part Four of Paradise Towers always seems to catch me off guard.

Perhaps it's because so much weight is given to Pex's death, which, at around this time in Doctor Who, is fairly common thing. Beyus sacrifices himself in Time and the Rani and his wife, Faroon, is thoroughly unmoved, for instance. But because Pex's death comes after four episodes of grim pantomime, slightly overshadowed by one of the, shall we say, more noticeable Keff McCulloch scores in Doctor Who, it almost seems like we've just seen a group of children playing, and then someone lost an eye. The notion that one man's death is powerful enough to draw everyone together at the end of the story is rather moving, even if the future of Paradise Towers is dicey. What will happen to the Towers at the end of this story? Will they elect a condo board? Organize block parties? Clean?

Pex's death is the last of many jarring shifts in tone that occur in Paradise Towers. Just like it can't decide what it wants to be - comedy, tragedy, satire, horror -  to this day, I can't decide what to think of it. Its heart is in the right place, and in some ways, this story seems like a dress rehearsal for the possibly more successful The Happiness Patrol a year later (the fact that several people I've spoken to over the years often can't tell these two stories apart is not lost on me). I will say this about Paradise Towers, though: I sometimes never don't want to not watch it. It's that entertaining.


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