The first time I watched S6 E1 I found it funny but I was more caught up in the wedding and the romance. But then I viewed it again when thinking about how Jack Lothian had written both E1 and E8 and found many points of comparison. I also realized how funny many of the scenes were and thought it would be very amusing to do a post that puts these funny moments in some order. It’s almost impossible to avoid writing down every scene in the episode, there are so many I find funny, so bear with me.
The way the episode’s humor proceeds is best divided into three categories: A. Funny aspects of the setting and atmosphere; B. Funny events and comments related to Ruth and her night with JH; C. Funny interactions between Martin and Louisa. Each of these divisions includes some hilarious moments, in my opinion, and I thought I would try to rate them according to a system of mildly funny, very funny, and funniest of all.
A. The beginning of the day contains all sorts of set-ups that are mildly funny:
1. Martin once again starts his wedding day by seeing patients. He still can’t take the day off. Not only that, but he’s doing a gyno exam! What a lovely way to prepare for a wedding.
2. When Morwenna sees him, she doesn’t think he’s changed his clothes. Kind of a riff on how he always dresses the same.
3. Penhale has been calling Martin and continues to act as though he’s the best man even brushing off Martin’s shoulder, something that Martin finds annoying. Penhale can’t help himself and still checks to see if Louisa has arrived and says he doesn’t have the ring and he can be trusted not to run off with the bride.
4. The Vicar is rather sardonic when they’re waiting for Louisa to show up. He may still have some resentments toward Martin from the first wedding preparations. Whether that’s true or not, it’s funny to hear him tell Martin that one groom waited 3 hours before realizing that the bride had run off with the best man and then start whistling and checking his watch.
The next background event that is mildly amusing is the moment when the Vicar asks if anyone has an objection to speak now and baby James cries. Then Ruth says “out of the mouth of babes.” It’s a snicker moment.
After the wedding the mildly funny moments are: Martin hating the confetti, Bert and Al eating the food and discussing its quality, Penhale breaking the wine glass before his speech. (Personally I found Bert’s interruptions of Penhale’s speech irritating more than funny, although I would not have liked to hear all of Penhale’s jokes either.) Other mildly funny aspects are: Louisa never taking off her veil, Bert telling Martin and Louisa about spending his honeymoon naked, and Martin checking the bed in the Lodge.
The very funny moments that have to do with the circumstances surrounding the wedding are:
1. Bert driving off without giving them their suitcases and Louisa telling Martin they can rough it for one night. Boy was that an understatement!!
2. The caravan owner asking them about their fancy clothes. It’s hard to imagine that Louisa could be wearing anything but a wedding dress, but they explain that it’s their wedding day and this is their honeymoon. The man congratulates them while pointing a rifle at them.
3. The man keeps yelling “Edna” who he explains is his dog and a good judge of character. (That’s funny in the sense that Martin is being judged by a dog, and because Edna is a dog and not the man’s wife.)
4. Next they have to mend the chicken coop and the man repeats the phrase “You broke it, you fix it,” which is a paraphrase of “You break it, you own it” used by Gen. Colin Powell and others about Iraq.
5. Martin has now fallen twice and will fall one more time before the night is over. That’s particularly pertinent because the caravan owner calls Martin a “clumsy git.” He’s also called Martin a moron. I doubt Martin’s been called either epithet very often. It’s hard not to laugh now that the tables have been turned on Martin.
6. The final scene when Martin and Louisa return home covered with dirt and blood and are invaded by all the principles who are shocked by their appearance. Their only explanation is that it’s not their blood and they’re all right. Of course someone shows up and needs medical attention, plus the commotion would not be complete without the barking dog.
For me the funniest moment of the overall scenes surrounding the wedding is when Martin and Louisa are driving off in the old limo and Martin stops the car so he can tear off the cans tied to the rear bumper. I don’t know how planned the actual scene was, but I found it extremely funny when Martin’s feet get tangled in the rope and then he grabs the rope and throws it in Penhale’s direction making Penhale duck to avoid being hit. Everyone laughs and Penhale holds up the cans. To me, that could have been an outtake but they kept it in.
B. Ruth and the humor surrounding her:
Much of what Ruth tells JH is quite funny.
1. We first see her feeding JH, but he’s not interested and has food all over his face. She tells him he’s bordering on the anti-social and that the food is delicious. After she takes one bite, however, she can’t help grimacing and telling him she stands corrected — the food is disgusting. (Baby food would not be too enticing to most of us.)
2. Soon she’s trying to get JH to go to sleep and tells him sleep aids neural development. Not only that, but all the other babies are doing it at that time and if he doesn’t, he will fall behind the other children. It’s great to see her talking to a small baby as if he’s capable of understanding logical arguments, and her position is he should be worried about how he looks to the others. Just what most mothers try to avoid.
3. As she’s walking around the kitchen with JH and he’s finally beginning to fall asleep, the lights go out and she just says “Bugger!” We’ve all been there at one point or another with babies.
4. Ruth calls Al for help. By the time he shows up she’s lit numerous candles so she has some light. Al walks in and asks what the problem is and Ruth can’t help showing some exasperation. “The lights have blown!” she says, with a look of disbelief. Then Al asks a few questions as if he might know something, but eventually tells her that even with the right tools he wouldn’t be able to fix it.
5. Soon Penhale looks in and wonders if he’s missed the seance. Naturally he tries to fix the problem but injures himself instead. Now Bert appears and Ruth sarcastically tells him to join the group since everyone else is there. No one in the house is helping in any way, and Penhale’s wounded forehead becomes the focus. Ruth tells him her medical advice is to “stick a plaster on it and shut up!”
6. Luckily Al knows to call Mike Pruddy and he fixes the electrical short. He also tells Ruth that JH is teething and finds some vanilla essence to soothe him. Her immediate reaction is “This isn’t the 16th century. He’ll need an analgesic (medication is her first solution).” But the vanilla works and Ruth now says she could cry “if she hadn’t been raised to show no emotion.”
But the funniest moment with Ruth is after Mike puts JH to bed and she tells him that he’s a very competent man – a rarity around there. Mike has his doubts but Ruth reassures him by saying he could be “an agoraphobic schizophrenic.” Mike smiles and says, “We can always look on the sunny side!”
C. Finally we have to look at the many funny moments between Martin and Louisa:
First the mildly funny moments –
1. The first big moment between Martin and Louisa comes when M sees L at the entrance to the church. He’s thunderstruck and they just stare at each other until L starts motioning him to walk back down the aisle to the Vicar. M finally gets it and does the walk.
2. Once L arrives at the altar, L tells M she was late because of her hair and the Vicar has to tell them to stop talking. (Her hair problem is something that women often struggle with and it’s funny that she uses that as her reason for being late.)
3. M does not stick with the proper protocol and skips some vows, puts the rings on quickly and without letting L put his on him.
4. At the wedding M agrees to dance the first dance but L steps on his foot. When asked if she’s ever had lessons, L admits she has not and M isn’t surprised.
5. They make it out of the wedding and agree to spend a night in a lovely, isolated lodge. They have a few romantic interactions and this time there’s no one to interrupt them. However, M can’t help responding to L literally when she says “whatever you say.” He tells her he didn’t say anything. He follows that by telling her he’ll light a fire.
6. L asks him why men always want to light a fire. She wonders if it’s a caveman thing but changes her mind when M explains the intricacies of getting a good fire going.
7. They have a few minutes during which M actually makes a small joke. But it’s a start and L is amused. The moment is short-lived because pretty soon the room is filled with smoke. M puts the fire out with the champagne and the fireplace explodes spewing soot into his face. They have to leave the building coughing.
At this point the humor picks up and we go from mildly funny to outright hilarious:
1. M hands L her shoes and sets out to find a phone. L would rather stay at the lodge, but can’t convince M. She tries to make the best of it by thinking a walk could be romantic, but not the way M decides to proceed. He’s walking so fast she can’t catch up, especially since she’s wearing her wedding dress and heels. Then he tells her if they stick to the path they can’t go wrong and she responds, “Of course, because nothing about a long distance hike in a wedding dress is at all wrong.”
2. Soon L tells M they’re definitely going the wrong way, but he’s still not certain that’s true. (Here he’s acting like a typical man who can’t believe he doesn’t know what direction to go in.) She explains they’re now in the middle of a forest and he corrects her that it’s actually a wood.
3. Eventually they reach a stream and M has to acknowledge they might have taken a wrong turn. L refuses to wade across the stream so M tells her he’ll carry her. He has trouble picking her up but ends up carrying her piggy back. (At least they’re holding each other!)
4. The trip across the stream is very funny because L picks this moment to ask how M imagined they’d be spending their wedding night. He says, “Not like this! This was a mistake. We should be at home.” Their conversation continues as he wades across the stream with L on his back. M had not wanted a honeymoon and L had agreed, but the reason she agreed turns out to be because she didn’t want to drag him off and have him complaining. Now M wants to know if L actually did want a honeymoon and she baffles him when she says she wanted him to want one. Like most men, he’s totally lost and cannot understand that logic. This exchange is how many married couples bicker and can’t help but make us laugh.
5. L has reached a point of frustration and agrees that this was a big mistake and she’s ready to find a phone and be done with the night.
6. As she’s stomping off, M tells her she’s being unreasonable because she agreed to one thing when actually she wanted another. This prompts L to pose a hypothetical scenario of an elaborate wedding and honeymoon, but she doesn’t complete it because M falls down a hill and she loses track of him. After she runs down to help him, they hear someone yelling. M is alarmed, but L is 99% sure it’s a farmer yelling at foxes. At least that means there’s someone nearby to ask for a phone.
We then go through the scenes where they meet the caravan owner and M falls again, this time into the chicken coop. The man tells M he’ll have to fix it and M starts to gently knock the pole into the ground. When the man insults M, L has the gumption to say that “good manners cost nothing.” Of course that leads to the man calling L a little “doolally.”
7. The man decides he would be better off fixing the post himself but ends up swinging and missing and dislocating his shoulder. (When the man puts his rifle down to pick up the sledgehammer, L takes the rifle and tells the man he owes M an apology. She’s motioning so much with the rifle that M is nervous around her.) M tells the man he’ll soon be in severe pain, at which point L tries to soften the comment only to have M confirm he meant what he said.
8. The pain relents briefly and M explains that endorphins have reduced it, but it isn’t long before the man says he’s running out of endorphins (which sounds funny coming out of an earthy man). He asks L to get him some whiskey and as she goes inside to look for the bottle, the man tells M he knows what he’s thinking – he’s jealous because he wants a caravan of his own. M responds sarcastically, “Yes, that’s just what I’m thinking.”
9. M fixes the dislocation and feels pretty smug about it, pulling down his cuffs and saying “It’s a simple procedure.” L says, “Well done Martin.” But immediately after that M’s clumsiness returns. He backs up, falls over the dog, and brings the awning down on all of them. (It’s like what we’ve always been told, don’t get too arrogant because the moment you think things are going well, something bad happens.)
You may have noticed that I did not fully describe one major scene between M and L: the one where M corrects L about whether they’re in a forest or a wood. I left it out because I consider that scene by far the funniest of the episode and possibly of the entire series. I absolutely love the realistic badinage between M and L. First L says, “Seriously, is that your argument, we’re going the wrong way and the best you can do is split hairs over whether it’s a forest or a wood?” At this point they hear a noise and M says (in an increasingly angrier voice, “Hallo, who’s there? Show yourself. I want this to stop. This is my final warning.”) Suddenly a pony appears out of the dark and M jumps. L can’t help herself and says, “You’re really not the outdoor type.” (We can even look at this as an inside joke again because MC likes animals, and horses especially, and seems to be an outdoor type in real life.) The pony trots off and they walk a few more steps before L shouts to be careful. M jumps again but this time L is joking. She tells him she thought she saw a rabbit and didn’t want him to get a fright or get into a confrontation. She mocks him, repeating, “This is my final warning. Show yourself.” She laughs and again says, “Final warning.” He tells her he was only trying to protect her, but for me this is a perfect scene because it’s light, it’s a wonderful example of how M can be so stiff and L can just have a laugh, and L is doing her best to have some fun during this crazy wedding night.
The above includes so much that I’m almost giving a rundown of the entire episode. As with the last episode of S5, this episode is so well written and conceived it deserves to be thoroughly appreciated. It’s rare to find such good dialogue that includes so many good lines. I suppose it would have been hard to reproduce this sort of interaction for every episode, but I’d like to see more of it. I think Jack Lothian should write the entire series 7!
Originally posted 2013-11-16 18:26:03.