Gerry Anderson does something good, then is a bit too self-congratulatory about it forty years later, then messes up pretty badly
Posted by Richie on June 9, 2007
Captain Scarlet is indestructible. You are not. Remember this. Do not try to imitate him.
These clips have been taken from his commentary on the first episode of Captain Scarlet. Captain Scarlet was to Thunderbirds as Torchwood is to Doctor Who; a more ‘adult’ series about a crack team of agents led by an enigmatic immortal who fought vaguely-defined threats to Britain (although it lacked marionette sex scenes, which we had to wait until Team America for).
First, Gerry talks about how progressive Captain Scarlet was, because it included a squadron of all-female fighter pilots. They weren’t quite as cool as Lady Penelope, but at least it was something, and they’re still better than anything Charlie’s Angels has to offer. Probably because going undercover as pole dancers is difficult if you’re controlled with strings.
Then he keeps talking. He probably shouldn’t have.
Next up, Gerry talks about how not racist he is.
Now, anybody who’s seen Captain Scarlet will most likely take issue with his use of the phrase “whenever possible”. To bring everybody who hasn’t watched it up to speed, here’s an image depicting every major character in the series:
I count two. One is Lieutenant Green – the green one, obviously – who was Jamaican, which I heartily approve of, since you never see Jamaicans in SF series, apart from Doctor Who. Actually, let’s talk about Doctor Who for a second: In the original series, the amazing multicultural future would be depicted by assigning names, nationalities and dialects to characters at random, so you’d end up with (say) a Welsh actor playing a character called “Morelli” who talked in Cockney rhyming slang. This worked sometimes, but could also go horribly wrong, requiring actors who’d grown up in Kingston to try and make lines like “I tell you, mate, I’m clapped out” sound natural. Of course, when they did “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”, a story in which the Chinese ancestry of the villain was an important plot point, they… Um.
The other is Harmony Angel, second from the left in the bottom row. Despite being described as Japanese, her name is Chan Kwan, which… isn’t. I suppose you could retcon it by saying she was born to Chinese immigrant parents; Mortal Kombat made the same mistake thirty years later, and their explanation involved a secret society of assassins led by a wizard.
Now, Team America may have beaten Gerry Anderson to marionette sex, but it’s a little known fact that Gerry Anderson beat them to “durka durka durka”, using “amagato amagato” to represent all Asian languages. Here’s an episode of Joe 90 (if you don’t know… Dear God, I’m not even going to try explaining it) which I’ve cut down to a minute, complete with subtitles. Enjoy!