Phallic allusions

As you know, I am inclined to write about serious topics, or to write about topics in a serious way. But let’s have some fun! This post will be about what has become pretty evident over the years — there are lots of jokes/scenes about male genitalia.

For one thing, you better not become a constable in Portwenn because so far all of them have had troubles with their sexual organs. Mark Mylow had a small penis and no sperm, and Joe Penhale found an abnormality on his scrotum. Of course, in both cases, Martin Ellingham gave them a thorough exam. In Mark’s case he also made fun of Mark’s magic pills advertised to make him more virile, and gave them to Stewart as a placebo.

And that brings me to how often this doctor has examined male patient’s gonads. Besides Mark and Joe, we have the patient who has his testicles examined by ME by mistake — he was the wrong patient. Recently, in S7E1, Steven Baker has been taking steroids and EPO because he wants to keep up with younger men, and his employee actually has some form of testicular cancer. We witness Martin examine both Steven and Barry’s genitalia.

In addition we have some men with erectile dysfunction. One man’s solution is to use S&M techniques, while Edward just takes Viagra. The S&M becomes a little too abusive and Edward overdoses. We also have Pauline’s uncle who is struggling to get his wife pregnant and who turns out to be attracted to men.

Now, S7E6, we have Clive who has taken potassium bromide to reduce any sexual urges while on the rig. (This, BTW, is a old fashioned treatment AND a drug used in veterinary medicine, which is funny to me because of Angela and her abuse of drugs as a vet.) Now he wants to have sex with Sally, and doesn’t want to disappoint her or make her think she isn’t attractive to him anymore, so he applies testosterone gel on his chest and takes Sildenafil (the chemical name for Viagra). Clive overdoses too and has a heart attack. Martin accuses him of being obsessed. (Possibly the pot calling the kettle black?)

Hey, we have to feel sorry for all the men in little Portwenn dealing with these handicaps, and maybe there are many male patients who require attention to that area, and the show is only being medically accurate! In comparison, though, ME has only done one gynecological exam that I can remember. It’s just not as funny as dallying with the danglers I guess!

Finally we have the silly references to penises through the use of vegetables (eggplant and tomatoes) and sausage. I’m good with having some fun — go ahead, have a laugh at men’s expense.

We will return to our usual posts now!




Originally posted 2015-11-03 11:04:45.

18 thoughts on “Phallic allusions

  1. Abby

    And don’t forget the patient names: Dan Gleebles, Drew Peacock. I know there are others, but I can’t remember them right now. Of course, the silly patient names are not all sexual jokes, but they are particularly funny. According to Jessica Ransom, they have a lot of fun coming up with these names.

  2. Post author

    Thanks! I wonder what their preoccupation with this is, but it’s probably just a silly way to pass the time. It’s really hard to come up with good names for so many people.

  3. Laura H

    Pretty funny stuff. I still chuckle when watching the very first episode of the show with Martin having spent a rainy night in his car on the moor after running off the road. Mark Mylow rescues him and Martin follows and does a hike of one leg to adjust his long cramped testes. I wonder whose idea it was to put that in? 🙂

  4. Linda D.

    I laughed SO hard at the eggplant/tomatoes scene, especially when I heard that Martin Clunes set Caroline Catz up! It must be fun working with a cast a crew who don’t take themselves so seriously. I just hope she managed to get him back!

  5. Brendan

    Since S7E6 is now available on Acorn, I would like to give my own assessment of where Martin and Louisa are at and where they may be heading. This episode is about Louisa’s ex-boy friend (Danny) coming to Portwenn in the guise of chaperoning a church group. His real motives however is to re-kindle his romance with Louisa. But first a little history. In season 2, Danny shows up in Portwenn and begins courting Louisa. Actually they had a history together even before DM came to Portwenn. If I recall, they were really in thick of things until Danny asks Louis to move to London because of a dream job that he got. Louisa breaks up with Danny mainly because she felt let down by him, at that moment. She then runs back to Martin. An example of her flip-flopping. As I have written before on this site, I feel Louisa has always struggled with ambivalence with relationships and what it is she really wants.

    Now in S7E6, Danny returns and immediately starts making advances towards Louisa, and Martin is very uneasy about the whole affair. Here are my views that support Louisa’s ambivalence.

    First, Louisa had contact with Danny before his arrival. We weren’t told if it was just once are several times. The point is she kept this from DM.

    Second, when Danny makes repeated passes at her she doesn’t appear to be that bothered or resists. There are several scenes where she allows Danny to touch her and doesn’t appear to be bothered by it.

    Third, Louisa tells Danny that she and Martin are having marital problems and are in a trial separation. This is significant because she is conveying to Danny she might be available. This gives him the green light he’s been looking for. Danny then approaches Martin about their martial issues and that they are separated. I found it interesting that when Martin brings this subject up, Louisa appears to just pass it off. This is in spite of the fact that Martin was bothered by Louisa being in contact with him to begin with. Now Martin must deal with her ex-boy friend knowing they aren’t living together. Why is she being insensitive to Martin feelings? Does Martin feel betrayed by this? Is this another example of her ambivalence with Martin?

    Fourth, Martin and Louisa are having a real date. Something that is very rare in their marriage. But the date is interrupted when Danny phones her asks her help about a missing child. One of the kids he’s responsible for. Again I found it significant that she is willing to leave Martin because Danny asks her for help. Is this because she is concerned about the welfare of a child she doesn’t even know and the fact there are five adults at the camp site. Or is it because she maybe, subconsciously, wants to be with Danny? I found it odd when Martin and Louisa arrive at the camp Danny is sitting and doing nothing.

    Finally, there is the scene in woods between Louisa and Danny where Danny again has his hands on Louisa; however Louisa doesn’t appear to be resisting him that much until Martin shows up. I would have expected her (a married women) to tell him off, or maybe slap him or something. Her response is rather weak. It isn’t until Martin diagnoses the child (acute ketoacidosis) and Danny is asked to drive the kid to the hospital. When Danny asks Louisa to accompany him, she basically says no and not for him to call her Lou (his pet name for Louisa).

    One additional point; When Martin and Louisa arrive at the surgery, Martin offers to finish their date, but she flatly rejects this, saying I’m shattered, and going to be bed. Saying she’s shattered, is there a hidden meaning here?

  6. Doris

    I agree with some of Brendan’s views on e6, but disagree on others. I think Brendan is correct that Louisa shows ambivalence towards Martin and her being committed to resolving their issues. This has been the theme throughout S7. I’m not convinced that the scenes referenced by Brendan shows she wants to be with Danny though. I will say that, Louisa telling her ex boyfriend that they are living apart was over the line. Not sure why she did this. Also, I agree that Louisa shows certain insensitivity to Martin emotions regarding Danny. Martin is clearly bothered by him showing up.

    A couple of other points in e6: In the counseling session, Martin once again reveals how much he wants Louisa, but Louisa doesn’t reciprocate, nor is there any followup by the therapist. Also, Louisa appears rather miffed when Martin shows the therapist a technical article about a therapist and the GP. Louisa actually brings this up several times, indicating annoyance that he would discuss something that was esoteric with Dr Timoney. Or perhaps Louisa was feeling a twinge of jealousy (?).

  7. Post author

    Brendan, this may simply be the difference in perspective between what a man sees and what a woman sees, but I don’t think Danny came to Portwenn because he had any intentions of rekindling a relationship with Louisa nor do I agree that Louisa was encouraging towards him. I do agree that in every episode, and throughout the show, there have often been various people who enter into the lives of the villagers of Portwenn and stir up trouble. As I wrote a long time ago in my post on Dramedy, outsiders are regularly used for that reason. In “Doc Martin,” there have been the Oakwoods, Mrs. Wilson, Gavin, and also Danny and Edith. Their usual length of stay is one episode. They are in and out quickly because their purpose is short-lived. In their cases, Danny and Edith took up many episodes, and both of them had “a history” with the main characters. I always thought Louisa’s interest in Danny was depicted as primarily there to make Martin jealous, and it worked. I also never looked at Edith as a serious alternative to Louisa for Martin, and ultimately she proved useful as a person who clarified Martin’s feelings for Louisa.

    In S7E6 we again have offsetting characters who play a role in destabilizing Martin and Louisa’s already shaky relationship. In therapy there is always some risk of a patient finding the sharing of intimate information becoming complicated with some level of attachment to the therapist. Even so, my view of Louisa’s reaction to Martin showing Dr. T an article from the Lancet a mixture of feeling left out and being resentful that Martin could have shown her the article first and perhaps not considering her intelligent enough. Furthermore, Dr. T could have handled that interaction better. Insofar as Danny is concerned, I always look for what we’ve been told and usually trust that. To the best of our knowledge, Louisa had had no contact with Danny for years and had only heard from him the day before because he was stuck after his plans to join up with another school had to be changed. I think it makes perfect sense that Danny would have thought to come to Portwenn because that is where he had grown up. There might have been some desire to see Louisa, but she sent him on his way pretty abruptly after he proposed to her and most men would still be smarting from that. In addition, he would know that she had married Martin, a man he suspected she was attracted to even while he was spending time with her. I see no reason why Louisa shouldn’t have offered to help or should have been suspicious of Danny’s motives. I also think we have been aware that Martin has very little interest in what Louisa is doing with her students and she would have never thought he would care about this new development. At this point, they aren’t really talking about day to day activities much anyway.

    I suppose we have to admit that Martin is jealous of Danny and wary of Danny, and always has been. He finds Danny extremely irritating and has never liked him. That could be another reason Louisa decides not to mention anything about Danny to Martin. As the day passes, Louisa keeps her distance from Danny for the most part. It was wrong for her to reveal anything personal to Danny, but to me she had no ulterior motive and was careless at that moment. (I can see how Danny might have interpreted it differently, but Louisa turns down his offer of a ride and takes off immediately following.) Everything that happens after that seems perfectly reasonable to me and I find her reaction to Danny’s caress of her cheek and assessment of her situation with Martin totally adequate. She tells him he’s being inappropriate; emphatically rejects everything he says, and leaves as soon as Martin appears. Then, later, she tells him off to his face and the incident is over.

    I imagine her choice of words at the end of the night is significant, although I’m not familiar enough with the usage of that expression in England to say for sure. I consider it striking how often he tries to be invited in by her, and meets a wall every time. She is being extremely tough and intransigent throughout this series. They may have written her that way as a very effective means of showing us and Martin how unpleasant it was when he acted this way towards her in S6. He shut her out then; now she shuts him out.

  8. Santa Traugott

    Random thought here, but perhaps there’s material enough for a blog on “food” in Doc Martin. 🙂 Not only as a racy reference, but how it figures into characterization and little plot bits. I’m thinking of Louisa and her jelly babies and chocolate digestives, and Martin and his monkfish, no butter; the yams, the optimally nutritious dinner, the craziness of Bert’s restaurant, the finicky coffee drinking of DM, and who can forget the dinner consisting of corn on the cob and water.

  9. Brendan

    Thank you for the response. I found it very helpful and gives me a different perspective. As a fan of Doc Martin, I tend to project myself too much into the episodes which obfuscate what the writers are trying to convey. I know if I on Doc Martins shoes I would not like Danny to be around Louisa, much less flirt with her. You brought up an interesting point that Louisa was using Danny as a means to incite jealously, in Martin. Something I never considered.

    Regarding James Henry’s birthday party, I feel this was more about Louisa than James. Martin was correct that James is too young to remember and the health risk posed by the pirate was too important to ignore.

    I’m curious as to how Dr T responds about the date disaster and what advice she gives them.

  10. Mary F.

    Oh I didn’t know that Linda D.! So Caroline had no idea MC was going to do that with the veg? That makes it even funnier and I already laughed myself silly when I first saw it onscreen.

  11. Mary F.

    That’s a terrific idea Santa! Food does figure rather prominently throughout the series, the soft boiled eggs, the fish dinners, beans and toast etc. I notice Louisa likes to have a treat now and then but Martin, never. And everything seems to have a certain ritual attached to it as well that carries over into the way they relate to each other.

  12. J.C. Lockwood

    The phallic references are funny and juvenile. I love it. I am sure the actors crack up behind the scenes. Remember too in S2E9 when Mrs. Tishell asks DM if he needs a remedy for athlete’s foot or the dhobi;s itch. Her delivery of that line was hilarious and memorable.

    I am not sure what to make of this episode. There are the obvious themes already mentioned about Danny, jealousy and shaking up the relationship just when Martin is trying so hard. But why is Louisa so distant/distracted? She hardly reacts to Martin’s gestures. Flowers and dinner out all arranged by Martin…clearly out of Martin’s comfort zone. And for this episode I sensed a dearth of passion/chemistry between the two actors on screen. Is that written in the script or are the actors just not feeling it? The final scene takes the couple right back to their familiar pattern. A teary, frustrated and disappointed Louisa. A ruined party where Martin although medically correct comes in to spoil the event. He never did get why Louisa would have a party for a one y.o. Sigh. I have lost hope. 2 episodes left. What magic tricks do the writers have up their sleeves to fix this relationship?

    Two haphazard thoughts:
    Louisa’s wardrobe this season is fab. The colorful shift dresses, accessories, and that open back top that she wore to dinner for this episode. Love, love, love.

    For the dog lovers out there, Buddy had a scene at Martin’s side this episode and DM’s response was only mild repulsion and maybe some resignation there. Buddy is here to stay I think. – JC

  13. Post author

    I can see how you might be unhappy with Louisa’s reactions to Martin’s effort to demonstrate how hard he is working to be romantic, and she is making slow progress toward showing Martin that she’s receptive to his gestures. I think we get a few moments when we are supposed to notice that Louisa is softening, e.g. when Martin asks her if she’s free to have dinner, or when they are at the restaurant and he brings up Danny. She is apologetic and tries to make small talk; she wants to enjoy the dinner. Martin continues to be his mixture of trying to show Louisa he’s doing things differently, yet can’t help being stiff at dinner, not asking her if she’d like some wine, and being unable to keep himself from putting her on the spot about Danny. If he were to take a page out of Clive Tishell’s book, he would leave that out of their dinner conversation and perhaps even drop it altogether. He knows Louisa is aware that he doesn’t like Danny being around and that could be enough for the moment. But Martin has no governor on saying what he’s thinking, and never has had one.

    His lack of ability to temper his words shows up again at the party. Yes, having a big bash for a 1 yo is a bit excessive, but don’t get me started on what I’ve seen in that regard. My daughter-in-law is a professional photographer in LA, and if you want to see over the top birthday parties for very young kids, just check out her blog (I know, that’s shameless promoting of a family member.) She works with a party planner who is hired for parties for toddlers that can cost $25,000. CRAZY!! The party is for Louisa more than for James Henry, but she wants to be social and put JH in a social setting. She’s the headmistress and might feel that having a party for children is what she should do as a way for the parents/handlers(!) to get to know her.

    Anyway, Martin was right to tell the performer for the party to leave and to warn the parents that hepatitis can be very contagious. He could have done it in a more diplomatic and quieter way, but that’s not how he thinks. Louisa had to agree that the woman had to go, but she would have liked the guests to have stayed, and Ruth would have liked them to have a piece of cake. My view of how Louisa reacted there was that she was upset that the party had broken up in such an abrupt and disturbing way but she specifically says she doesn’t blame Martin. Her plea to him is, to me, coming from a place of exasperation that they keep trying but nothing ever goes smoothly for them, and we viewers can agree with that. It seems to me that every now and then one of the characters in this show makes an observation that rings true to all of us watching it as something we’re feeling too. Since I love Mrs. Tishell’s speech at the end of S5 so much, that always comes to my mind. At the end of it she says she can’t take the ups and downs of Martin and Louisa’s relationship any more and I felt she was speaking for all of us then. We didn’t get the relief from that we might have wished for, but she said it!

    Anyway, don’t lose hope. Keep in mind that this show is a dramedy and it would be highly unlikely for it to have a sad ending. I agree with you on Louisa’s wardrobe. It’s gotten much more colorful again and I think there’s been some effort to pair what Martin is wearing with what Louisa wears. I see little hints like that as subtle indications that Martin and Louisa will stay together.

  14. J.C. Lockwood

    Thanks for those observations. I agree that Mrs T did speak the truth in S5E8in her monologue. It is hard to keep up with the ups and downs of Martin and Louisa’s tortured relationship. The couple and the viewers deserve an episode where things work out for Martin and Louisa… they complete an important conversation, they have a successful date, they resolve any one of their many issues. I will not hold my breath for a happy ending though since I am told that the Brits do not believe in/need them as much as the Americans do. Anyway I suppose we will find out how it ends soon enough.- JC

  15. Amy Cohen

    I read this one a while back, but now reading after the prior posts and the discussion of Louisa’s sausage gift when she returns from Spain, I can’t help wondering whether there was some not too subtle reference to Martin’s sexual prowess in deciding to give him something as obviously phallic as a big sausage. Was she sending him some subliminal message?

  16. Post author

    All the talk about the sausage being an insensitive gift could be explained away by your notion that it was more likely meant to be funny and a sexual innuendo. Since the humor in this series was strained, I would be inclined to think your suggestion is what they were thinking as much as anything. Plus, as this post notes, they seem to really like those phallic references!

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