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4.09 - A Surfeit of H2O

 
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Rate A Surfeit of H2O
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Total Votes : 20

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peabody
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:02 pm    Post subject: 4.09 - A Surfeit of H2O Reply with quote

Discuss, review and rate A Surfeit of H2O, produced Friday 30th April 1965 to c. Tuesday 11th May 1965.

Teleplay by Colin Finbow
Directed by Sidney Hayers
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Rodders
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quirky, unique, off-beat with some wonderful scenes and dialogue.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I decided to watch this the other day as I hadn't seen it for ages.

Jonah: what about the strange weather we've been having?
Steed: you can't convince me of that, not in this country.

I love how Macnee delivers that line.Very Happy

Jonah is a lovely character, perfectly played by Noel Purcell, who was in loads of stuff around this time. Although his expectation of a second flood has to be glossed over in order for the story to work.

Sue Lloyd makes the most of her single Avengers appearance by having some funny responses to Steed's (representing Steed, Steed, Steed, Steed and Jack - all of whom are made up:)) expounding over the delights of wine.

Speaking of Steed, it's always funny when he adopts the role of an eccentric with an interest and baffles the villains into thinking he's a fool. You can tell that Macnee loves getting all florid in his performance.

The final fight is clearly one done on the hoof as it were, with the actors clearly on the verge of hysterics but trying to remember their moves.

Sidney Hayers direction isn't bad but it's not especially stand out and Johnson's score isn't very inspired. I expected more ... Rain music from him. Some great lighting from Alan Hume.

Dr. Strum isn't that impressive a mastermind, rather forgettable really. I think the performance isn't interesting enough. The bad guys are the straight men to the eccentrics like Jonah and Eli.

Talfryn Thomas really should have been in more episodes. Mrs. Peels visit to his leaky home is one of my favourite scenes as he goes around arranging the pots

Eli: and then he fell...
Mrs. Peel: into the pit of iniquity.
Eli: .. No, into Granny Gregson's sparkling spring water.

And him causing her panic for sitting in one chair as it would ruin her clothes. There's a lovely panning shot following Eli passing Peel sitting sipping her tea with an umbrella up in door. Rigg has a perfect oblivious look which makes it all the more funnier.

The tag scene is quite rare in that it actually picks up on the end of the story rather than as it's own entity.

8/10
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren wrote:
Speaking of Steed, it's always funny when he adopts the role of an eccentric with an interest and baffles the villains into thinking he's a fool. You can tell that Macnee loves getting all florid in his performance.


Those are some of my favourite Steed scenes. He plays the clueless eccentric so well, and he does it so charmingly that even the baddies feel churlish being rude to him. I had to get that into one of my chapters for the book, because Patrick's absolutely brilliant in those scenes. That big grin of his just never wavers for an instant. Very Happy
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Darren
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timeless A-Peel wrote:
Darren wrote:
Speaking of Steed, it's always funny when he adopts the role of an eccentric with an interest and baffles the villains into thinking he's a fool. You can tell that Macnee loves getting all florid in his performance.


Those are some of my favourite Steed scenes. He plays the clueless eccentric so well, and he does it so charmingly that even the baddies feel churlish being rude to him. I had to get that into one of my chapters for the book, because Patrick's absolutely brilliant in those scenes. That big grin of his just never wavers for an instant. Very Happy


Yeah I particular like when Sturm is trying to direct Joyce to get rid of "the fool". Steed appears at the door and with a big false smile, he drags Joyce off into the storeroom.

It's very true that by being so full on, they don't want to be rude to him. The Avengers, the only show with polite villains. Smile
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren wrote:
Timeless A-Peel wrote:
Darren wrote:
Speaking of Steed, it's always funny when he adopts the role of an eccentric with an interest and baffles the villains into thinking he's a fool. You can tell that Macnee loves getting all florid in his performance.


Those are some of my favourite Steed scenes. He plays the clueless eccentric so well, and he does it so charmingly that even the baddies feel churlish being rude to him. I had to get that into one of my chapters for the book, because Patrick's absolutely brilliant in those scenes. That big grin of his just never wavers for an instant. Very Happy


Yeah I particular like when Sturm is trying to direct Joyce to get rid of "the fool". Steed appears at the door and with a big false smile, he drags Joyce off into the storeroom.

It's very true that by being so full on, they don't want to be rude to him. The Avengers, the only show with polite villains. Smile


Even when they do get short with him, all he has to do is widen his eyes and apologise so sincerely that they often relent. That friendly, open face doesn't hurt, either. Wink

His scenes with Sue Lloyd are absolutely priceless, I agree. He plays it over-the-top with all those slurping noises, and she gives great reaction shots.
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mentioned this on another thread, but:

A Surfeit of H20 is one of those ‘science gone wrong’ episodes that actually makes a point vis a vis its main characters. Steed's character is earthy, natural: his name connects him to nature and masculine vitality; his clothing is a traditional throwback. When speaking with Joyce, he mentions the physical and traditional aspects of wine-making: “bare-foot peasant girls” and “sun glinting off of amber liquid.” He's being ridiculous, but the words reinforce the nature/tradition vs. technology/modern that the entire episode draws out. Rather than dismissing Jonah's religious belief about the cloud above the field, he instead resorts to a natural explanation about British weather. Steed operates largely on intuition and emotion - natural reactions.

Mrs. Peel is all about logic. Rather than searching for a natural/religious explanation, she depends on scientific testing to offer explanations, telling Jonah that she neither believes nor disbelieves him before she experiments. She does not look down on Nature or on Religion, but views them as superseded by scientific explanation. Mrs. Peel is associated with logic (she’s a physicist and mathematician), as well as modernity (her Lotus vs. Steed’s Bentley).

Jonah meanwhile completes the trifecta of nature/science/religion. He is not opposed to science per se, only in the violence with which it subverts the natural order. He’s angry at the creation of the weather machine because it goes against Nature and, by extension, God.

Dr. Sturm is science gone wrong - science without either Nature (the physical/emotional earthiness of Steed), humanity (the necessary addition to Mrs. Peel’s logic), or God.

Together, Steed and Mrs. Peel represent a union of natural/masculine, logical/feminine, resulting in the defeat of the ‘evil’ science. The addition of Jonah - a religious nut who is nonetheless not damaging in his beliefs - helps to re-balance the moral universe against ‘unnatural’ science.

Oddly enough, it’s often women who are associated with emotion and men with rationality/logic. In this episode, and the show in general, the roles are subverted without being turned completely around (e.g. Steed is not effeminate and Emma is not masculine), allowing for a melding of the male and female characters. They’re essentially two halves of a whole, complete worldview.

And that's why they're the best. Very Happy
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could take Mrs Peel being "associated with logic" a lot more seriously if she didn't do out-and-out illogical things every so often. Prime example being her method of escaping from helicopter pursuit - by running out of a forest into an open field. Logical? I think not...

Patrick Macnee himself once said that the woman has the man's role and vice versa, in The Avengers.
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
I could take Mrs Peel being "associated with logic" a lot more seriously if she didn't do out-and-out illogical things every so often. Prime example being her method of escaping from helicopter pursuit - by running out of a forest into an open field. Logical? I think not...

Patrick Macnee himself once said that the woman has the man's role and vice versa, in The Avengers.


Ok, but...that is not particularly supported by what happens in the episode. And there's another quote from Macnee saying that the male and female characters are put on an equal footing, so which one would you like to take as gospel?

Anyways, it's merely an interpretation, but it is borne out by the events of the episode. Mrs. Peel is regularly associated with logic/science, Steed with intuition/nature throughout the series. But it avoids fully masculinizing the women/feminizing the man (I don't know how it would even be possible to argue that Steed is effeminate). This is not to say that it's a uniform characteristic that never alters - they are characters, after all, and even the most logical, rational person in the world can lose control (as both Cathy and Emma do). None of it is a hard and fast rule that can never ever be broken without negating everything, but it is a character trait.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a cliché that females are more intelligent than males, anyway - one that the Avengers fully endorses (notably in The Master Minds where Emma has to bolster Steed's IQ with her crib notes). So the Avengers wasn't always subversive.
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say that Steed is more intuitive in his intelligence (although the guy does read Proust, so he's not exactly represented as anti-intellectual), while Emma and Cathy are more directly intellectual, but in some ways less intuitive. Ultimately, it's less about "intelligence" and more about different types of intelligence, in terms of the whole of the series. The Master Minds makes a point of Steed being less intellectual than Mrs. Peel, but this also means that he's the only one who thinks to just unplug his speaker system because it annoys him. That whole episode is about how easily manipulable people are who think they're intellectually superior, and again it takes the analytical genius of Mrs. Peel (she's the one who gets them access to Ransack in the first place) and the down-to-earth intuition and emotional intelligence of Steed to defeat them. So whether or not you like the fact that Emma makes fun of him for "cribbing", the whole episode strikes a very nice balance.

But that doesn't much change or challenge my analysis - it's a long-standing tradition in western culture that women are represented as being more emotional/irrational (that's one of the reasons why we couldn't have the vote, remember?), while men are more logical/rational. I find it interesting that the Avengers, to some degree, turned this stereotype around without actually feminizing or masculinizing its leads. But it's just a perspective based on what happens in the episode, the character types, and the implications of certain associations with each, as I've said above. You can take it or leave it.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Proust, and Tintin (in French of course!) - sadly no Asterix Smile
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Rodders
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tintin is far more cool and suits Steed.
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Rodders
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

one of the most underrated Season 4 offerings. For me, it is a classic and worthy of a place in the top 5.
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Rhonda
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gave 8
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Mona
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
I could take Mrs Peel being "associated with logic" a lot more seriously if she didn't do out-and-out illogical things every so often. Prime example being her method of escaping from helicopter pursuit - by running out of a forest into an open field. Logical? I think not...

Patrick Macnee himself once said that the woman has the man's role and vice versa, in The Avengers.


LOL! So true. And send her a letter from someone she's never met or a relative she never heard of and she'll pack up her luggage right away and dash off to their secluded home....over and over....

And, yeah, if a guy is coming at me, and is in odd make-up and is crackling like electricity, I think throwing myself into his body to defend myself is the LAST thing I would do...course it knocked her out, too!



Very Happy
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