Doc Martin and the Mystery of the Folktale

When thinking about whether DM could fall into the category of Fairytale or Folktale, I started with remembering that one of the films that preceded DM was called “The Legend of the Cloutie.” The film’s premise was that a legend of the town could be associated with a house Dr. Martin Bamford wants to purchase. The legend is a local folk magic story involving a piece of cloth tied to a tree (branded a Cloutie) that has the power to remove a kind of illness as the cloth rots and falls from the tree. The film was rather silly, but there is that history of a story based on a legend.

We have to distinguish between Folktales, Fairytales, Legends, Myths, etc. As a general rule legends and traditions are narratives of an explanatory nature concerning creation and tribal beginnings, supernatural beings, and quasi-historical figures (e.g., King Arthur, Lady Godiva). These stories are related as fact and concern a specific time and place. They have a verisimilitude and should appear realistic. Fairytales are entirely fictional and often begin with such formulas as “Once upon a time …” and “In a certain country there lived … .” There are many interpretations of all of the story types listed above, most of which involve historical and psychological analyses. Psychologists have used them as a form of expression of cultural traditions and customs, and to study the unconscious. Many folktales conclude with some sort of moral message. I think that gets too deep for our purposes. We could probably tease out some moral messages in this show, but is that really why the show was created? I think this show has a serious underpinning but it stops short of teaching viewers the difference between right and wrong behavior.

What prompts us to wonder about DM and its connection to a Fairytale or Folktale is all of the ways in which it seems unreal. We can begin with the fact that the weather is never bad in Portwenn. Despite its location in England where rain is plentiful, there never seems to be a rainy day. Plus, the fact that they film in Spring and Summer means we see no cold, wintry weather.

No news from the world ever enters Portwenn. For all we know, WWIII could have started and the villagers would have no idea. Newspapers are seen on occasion, but the village is in a world of its own. No one leaves for long, and only Al returns from his trip abroad with anything approaching a bad experience. All the outsiders arrive in Portwenn without any information about what’s happening in England, much less other countries. Very few people ever want to leave.

Very few people are afflicted with serious illnesses. Anyone who gets sick, even Roger Fenn and his throat cancer or Peter Cronk and his ruptured spleen, is treated and released in short order and without complication. It’s a show about a doctor, but not really about serious medical conditions. The thrust of the show is the characters in it, especially Martin and Louisa, and not what medical case will the doctor identify and treat.

The hotel’s name is “Camelot,” which refers to a castle and court associated with King Arthur. It is the fantastic capital of Arthur’s realm. The word “Camelot” is easy to see on the front of the hotel and seems to be highlighted when Martin and Louisa’s wedding is held there. The hotel has the appearance of a castle and is not the only castle-like building used. When Mrs. Tishell abducts JH, Penhale’s first thought is she took him to a hotel that is called “The Castle.” When she isn’t there, they are told to go to another faux castle, and that’s where they find her and the baby. We are not usually surrounded by castles in today’s world.

Of course we can’t leave out the opening scene of S3E1 when we hear Louisa reading to her students outside in the harbor area. From my point of view, the way this opening scene is handled indicates a humorous mocking of the fairytale qualities we might be seeing in DM. Let’s analyze this opening scene…

We have the typical sweep of the environs of the village while the credits roll, but then we find ourselves with an aerial view of the harbor with a motor boat heading towards the village. Next we hear Louisa’s voice saying “Once Upon a Time in a kingdom far, far away.” Here is the classic beginning to a Fairytale along with an airplane and a motorboat. So far we haven’t seen her and don’t know what she’s doing.

She reads on as we watch Martin walk down the street carrying his medical bag: “the Prince arrived to search for the Princess he was destined to marry.” She reads, “the Prince was handsome and charming,” (while Martin scowls at the young girls he passes) “and fierce” (as Martin quickly sidesteps an oncoming vehicle. He looks angry and annoyed, but not brave).

She continues: “With his faithful hound at his side,” (as we see the bushy dog always bothering Martin come out of a side street and trot across to briefly walk beside Martin and then perhaps move on) “the Prince journeyed for days on end” (Martin is making his way down the sloped street probably on his way back to his clinic. His journey has been short.) “He fought dragons” (Martin passes a woman with long hair), “wizards” (Martin passes an old man with a walking stick), “and goblins” (Martin sees a young man with knit cap and sunglasses), “and just when he thought all hope was lost, he finally arrived at the Castle where the Princess was imprisoned.” (Martin walks out from the narrow street into a sunny, wide space overlooking the waterfront where Louisa sits and reads to her students. Far from a place of imprisonment.) “The Prince climbed the hill to free the Princess before she…” (Martin has just walked down the hill. It is at this moment that Louisa feels faint and collapses on the ground. The children scream, Martin notices what’s happened and jumps over a bench to reach Louisa. Somewhat gallant, but not the stuff of Fairytales.)

Louisa comes to with Martin checking her. She appears to be awakening out of a dream, but all too quickly reality hits, Martin once again derides her school, and she pulls herself together.

What they have deliberately done is undercut every line of the fairytale’s components. In addition, I couldn’t help thinking about the “Harry Potter” series of books that had just been completed around the time of this series. Four of the movies had also been completed by this time. That series fits the qualities of a fairytale to the letter and was highly successful. It certainly included dragons, goblins, and wizards as well as heroes. This part of the episode could easily have been written to satirize the Harry Potter story while also humorously contrasting the story of DM with anything approaching a Fairytale.

The other thing that happens here is S3 opening with a reference to Martin and Louisa being destined to marry. As we know, this series is about their near breakup followed by plans to marry which eventually lead to a decision to part ways. Once again, the prediction of marriage in the Fairytale is undercut by the outcome of the series. (I guess we could also argue that ultimately destiny does triumph because they marry later after all.)

I have come to the conclusion that although the creators of this show toy with some features of Fairytales or Folktales, there are too many ways in which it differs from those genres and in which they purposely satirize them to consider this show some form of Fairytale. It is set in a location that exists in reality, although they’ve tampered with the realism of it, and the events that take place are all too real. Moreover, there are no supernatural creatures, no magic, and no heroes that bear any resemblance to ones in Fairytales.

Originally posted 2014-06-16 21:40:51.

36 thoughts on “Doc Martin and the Mystery of the Folktale

  1. dmfanforever

    I’ve been playing spot-the-folklore motif for some time now, and find it very rewarding. So far, I have discovered a lamia, a vampire, a phooka (unless that has to be bucca, since this is Cornwall, not Ireland), a couple of Druid wannabes, and an assortment of witches and demons. Edith is Mephistopheles’ own sister. The choughs have their legend, too. It’s supposed to be very bad luck to kill them, and the Doc drops some explosives on them at the end of On the Edge! No wonder he’s having such a terrible time! And beware of anyone who reappears in Portwenn after an interval of 7 years! That’s when the Devil comes back to claim your firstborn child or whatever else you may rashly have promised when in need of supernatural aid. The dog(s) also have some folkloric root, but I haven’t discovered yet what it is. It has clearly been assigned to the Doc by some invisible power. Maybe you will figure it out. Enjoy!

  2. Post author

    Great laughs! I’ll never figure it out. Too deep for me!

  3. Santa Traugott

    There’s another allusion to fairy tales at the end of the Castle scene — where Mrs. Tishell says “this isn’t how the story is supposed to end — you’re the handsome prince and I’m…. I’m….” It is like the examples you cited where the intent is clearly to tell us “this is not a fairy tale.” And we know that Martin Clunes has been insistent that this not a nice cozy tale, and even in the title of S5E8, “Ever After” says very plainly that this is not a fairy tale ending. They are deliberately parodying fairy tales, and the question to me is, why?
    Whether intended or not, there is kind of an irony in this insistence that they are not telling us a fairy tale, because in many ways, indeed they are. While medical issues are portrayed more or less correctly, the relation of the rest of it to reality doesn’t stand close scrutiny, in my view. Starting even with the premise — they pretty well knew, in 2004, how to treat phobias. That a highly successful surgeon, living in London, would not be able to find good professional help for this problem is very unlikely in itself. That Martin Ellingham would be quite so graceless and maladroit in almost all of his interactions with Louisa is implausible. That they would have let 3 months go by in S4 without any real communication about Louisa’s pregnancy and Martin’s reaction to it, and what Edith was doing there, is highly implausible. That Imperial would offer him a contract again,sight unseen, on the basis of his word that he is recovered from his phobia — no way. We could go on and on. The point is, if this is not a fairy story, it is infused with very large elements of fantasy –witty, sophisticated and charming fantasy, but still fantasy.

    So against this background of “let’s pretend” the claim that we are not telling you a fairy story, is ironic. I think actually what they may be doing is acknowledging that they are playing out a fantasy, and inviting us in on the joke.

    There is also a genre known as “fractured fairy tales.” Here’s a definition I found:
    “Fractured fairy tales are traditional fairy tales, rearranged to create new plots with fundamentally different meanings or messages. Fractured fairy tales are closely related to fairy-tale parodies, but the two serve different purposes: parodies mock individual tales and the genre as a whole; fractured fairy tales, with a reforming intent, seek to impart updated social and moral messages.” A fractured fairy tale would be like retelling Cinderella, for example, from the point of view of the ugly stepsister.

    I find it hard, though, to imagine what fairy story they might be “fracturing” in this way. Maybe it’s in the “knight errant” realm, (we’re not far from Tintagel, after all) with Martin Ellingham the embattled knight, slaying dragons large and small, seeking the hand of the fair maid. I do admit it’s a reach.

    As to the folkloric elements — sometimes I feel that the writers and creators of dramas are working from a stockpile of archetypes, symbols, tropes, that all together form a kind of coded language, beneath the actual text. It’s not clear to me that this is even conscious (in the way that allusions to, or “homages” to other works of art are consciously introduced into today’s movies and even in DM, e.g.) but that it’s a ragbag of symbols that are encoded with meaning, that doesn’t have to be verbalized, to which a good writer has ready access.

  4. Post author

    Santa, you’re very right to point out what Mrs. Tishell says. At the time she is delusional, and maybe that’s the point. He’s not the handsome Prince and she’s not, well, anything to him, except perhaps a qualified pharmacist and now a kidnapper.

    In my post I was trying to dispel the notion that there is any cogent connection to fairy tales. Your reference to “fractured” fairy tales is very funny because they are associated with “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” and were always meant to be comical. Like you, I find no evidence that DM is based in any way on a fairy tale that we can identify. What I’ve tried to argue is that to the extent that they include anything akin to fairy tales in this show, they are only doing it to add to the comedic aspects. Martin is far from a knight and Louisa is not a damsel in distress. They are fictional characters who have qualities that are so real we can relate to them pretty easily. Then they are placed in various circumstances and we see them cope. But they cope while maintaining their personality traits, some of which seem ripe for treatment.

    I continue to have objections to looking at them as people different from the ones they’ve given us. By that I mean, even if you think Martin could have sought professional help in London, he’s portrayed as someone who would never have done that. I don’t even find that surprising. Many people who would benefit tremendously from therapy never get it. In his case, they’ve done a good job of showing how resistant he is to seeing a therapist when he finally does relent. I also have no trouble being convinced that he could be so graceless with Louisa because he is shown to be very literal and prone to having difficulty with expressing emotions. The fact that he could have been offered a contract in London without demonstrating his recovery might be a stretch, but we know that he met with the surgeon in charge and they are friendly, if not friends. He’s had an excellent reputation and there’s probably some inside play going on. The surgeon seems to have some reservations, but is willing to give him a chance. For what it’s worth, his surgical skills still seem good whenever he has to use them. We never find out what would have happened since he never actually makes it to London.

    And that’s the point, in my opinion. The show is built on potentially realistic situations, but they generally keep those from reaching fruition. Martin and Louisa’s relationship keeps getting upended and interrupted, Martin’s phobia fluctuates in severity, Bert goes through one fiasco after another always landing on his feet, Al falls in love with all the receptionists and they with him even if they never get past a certain point, Mrs. Tishell constantly tries to get Martin’s attention with no success. It’s funny!! We’re not supposed to make too much of it. We are “in on the joke.” That’s why S6 was so off to me.

    The playing around with fairy tales is of a piece with all of the above, to my thinking. Let’s not get too analytical about it all!!

  5. Santa Traugott

    I think it may be that they start out with realistic situations and then exaggerate them for comic effect. And the comic effect is of course one of the major reasons we watch it.

    And I do think that the reference to fairy tales is just part of them saying, look, we’re just playing with you and letting you in on the joke. How silly it is of Mrs. Tishell to believe she’s in a fairy tale, or even for Louisa to be reading a fairy tale that has no relation to how her life is really going to turn out, or who her “prince” really is. It underlines, as you say, that they’re not going to take a completely unrealistic, fairy tale approach, to the dilemmas the characters find themselves in.

    However, I do have to quibble about one point. People go through quite a lot of contortions to avoid dealing with specific issues. They may be aware that there are treatments for say, fear of flying, but they don’t want to do that because they have the (correct) sense that treatment will be fairly anxiety provoking at times, and they can get along OK, if not optimally by not flying. But being forced to leave a career that represents “the only thing (you) were ever really good at” and that you love, is part of your identity and is highly remunerative besides — well, I just can’t buy that someone would just say, well, that’s it then, I just have to make this radical life change because I’m so completely defended that any psychological help is even more anxiety provoking.

    Of course, you could argue that at some level he did recognize that something inside was “broken” and he needed a complete change of environment to deal with it and possibly fix it. However, I think willingness to do that kind of character change is even less likely than willingness to undergo limited therapy for your phobia, in order to maintain your previous mechanisms of keeping deeper issues under control

  6. Post author

    His decision to leave surgery does defy logic, but I’ve heard of men leaving successful professions for other reasons. Martin doesn’t leave the medical profession, and he seems convinced that he will return to doing surgery at some point. Beyond feeling overwhelmed by the thought of performing an operation on a person whose family he has met, perhaps the family has also made him yearn to see his aunt again. We keep trying to figure out what drives him and what has been the cause of all his behavior problems, and we always come back to his terrible home life as a child. When he sees Portwenn as an option as a location that could use a GP, maybe he is especially glad to take advantage of a chance to be near Joan again. I still see this as something we should take at face value. He came to Portwenn from London with a blood phobia, something unusual and humorous for a surgeon or any doctor. It’s not necessarily supposed to make sense insofar as what the majority of people in his position would do. He’s different from the norm in many ways.

    I’ve never been bothered by these circumstances. If they had hit me as being too far fetched, however, I probably could not have continued to watch the show. I have to believe you, too, are not put off by some of the inconsistencies or you wouldn’t like the show as much as you do either. For me the show hits the right balance of credibility mixed with humor. On top of that I’ve enjoyed the philosophical and psychological topics it raises as well as the women’s issues they bring attention to.

    BTW, I really like your idea of discussing the way the show weighs rational responses with emotional ones and will probably take that up soon. I thought I would run out of topics to write about, but somehow I keep finding more.

    Bottom line, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief when it comes to some of these situations because I either accept them as the way the show was conceived or I think of them as being another source of humor.

  7. Santa Traugott

    Oh certainly, I am too. We have only to look at the multiple different babies that change from scene to scene and sometimes within scenes (I’m told) — I’m more than willing to overlook those details! Lots and lots of things can just be put down to the “Portwenn Effect.” We have to grant dramatic license and a certain willingness to suspend disbelief. Perhaps that means, as you suggest, that there is a limit to analyzing (or else the magic will be spoiled?) As caught up as I can get in this show (or any good dramatic presentation, including novels) I do always like to keep a toe-hold on reality based thinking (maybe rationality?) and in one part of my mind assess whether I think something is plausible or not, and if not, whether they’ve presented it well enough that I’m willing to let it pass. Like you, the fact that the basic premise rests on a quite unlikely combination of circumstances — developing the phobia in the first place and then choosing the most disruptive possible way to deal with it — does not really put me off, because the show as a whole is so well done, starting from that premise.

  8. waxwings

    Hello everyone.

    I have enjoyed this most recent blog focus on “DM and the Mystery of the FolkTale / FairyTale.” I hadn’t been pushed in this direction by my own simple, unfiltered watching of the show, and I was skeptical when seeing the topic. But I realize that it’s a good hook for looking, in another way, at the DM series. It’s valuable for purposes of examining the important issues the show raises from a very different perspective.

    I can agree with all of you—dmfanforever, Santa, Karen—arguments can be mustered to support most positions about how fairytale-folktale genres can enter the body politic of DM analysis. (Bravo Karen for trying to escape the Great Books structure of using what the writers give us, and imagine a more “folktale-like” theme shot through the show. I agree, it’s a bit hard to do.) But I see Santa’s view too.

    Bravo Santo for calling out the DM writers for parodying fairy tales and concluding they are doing it for irony sake, because they ARE telling us a fairy tale and they ARE provoking us into thinking something (by using unreality) with the entirety of the show. I agree, DM is a fantasy for all the reasons Karen and Santa describe! We get that. But why do we follow a fantasy? Santa’s insight is that we understand that the writers are inviting us in on a joke (drawing on their wheelhouse of fantasy and fairy tales, archetypes, legends), esp. in parodied scenes like Louisa reading the “Once Upon a Time” story while we watch the Doc walking up the street to the lines of that reading….Getting the joke makes the storyline even more hilarious and poignant—simultaneously.

    But what I really took away from this blog interchange is that by examining the show with this fairytale magnifying glass, we are able (once again) to examine and discuss the same issues and questions that have kept our attention all these years: what are the sources of Martin’s inability to connect intimately and consciously with Louisa? Why do people, esp. the Doc, avoid dealing with serious and profoundly limiting personal conditions? Why is there less willingness to engage in “character changes” rather than undergo limited therapy for a physical phobia? How could the Doc be so clueless about his limitations in such an explicit, conscious way? And yes, the ultimate question: can people change? (My favorite).

    Your fairy tale blog certainly raises all of these issues once more.

    Both Santa and Karen eventually got down to these questions after several back and forth posts. Can we not agree that it always seems to come back to some few essential questions about healthy relationships, living a good and kind life, sensitive, caring connections to all who are in our universe, and figuring out what makes us happy and fulfilled?

    The thing that is so fascinating with the Doc character is that he has been so thoroughly injured by his early childhood experiences that his staunchly defended self hardly has the barest capacity to even know it. This is why he is so flummoxed by Louisa, who gets closest to penetrating his self-erected barrier to unknowing. The poignancy in this is only exacerbated and dramatized by the essential moral character the Doc embodies. His unknowing (and the rude, inappropriate behavior used to keep him ignorant) is antithetical to who he really is. We get that too. We can see this every day in how he treats patients and cares about everyone in his village. Can there be a more dramatic set up for the irony and poignancy here? It engenders in us sympathy, a kind of wistfulness, and a never-ending longing that he will find help. Surely he will find help. Let it not be too long in coming.

  9. Santa Traugott

    Wonderful post, Waxwings. I didn’t realize we had gotten to the heart of the matter, but in a roundabout way (my preferred route, usually!) I agree that we have.

    I really like what you said about the show combining irony and poignancy and hilarity. I think the poignancy and hilarity have been carefully balanced throughout S1-S5, with good dashes or irony thrown in to add spice.

    I think Karen has said that she teaches or has taught a literature course. I wonder, Karen, what your feelings are about how legitimate it is to interleave our understandings of who the author is and the real world context in which they write, with the actual text. If you take the stance that the text has to be evaluated for what it is, then you will find my next point way off-base. Because I tend to think that understanding a little about the author helps us to understand what their intentions actually were, and help us to make sense of the “themes” of the work.

    So, I do think the show is about change, and the possibility of change, and it seems to be deeply divided about this. First of all, we have Martin Clunes (who with Philippa is the overall “auteur” of the series) saying over and over that the Doc cannot change, because that would be to violate the show’s premise, which perhaps he feels generates exactly this mixture of hilarity, poignancy and irony that makes it so successful. His characters say this too, in earlier series — Aunt Joan, Aunt Ruth. Martin Ellingham says this too, by his stubborn refusal to make any accommodation to life in this small village — the wrong car, the suits, the aloofness, etc. And the inhabitants of Portwenn are a living, breathing example of NEVER taking any advice, changing any of their habits which might make them healthier. The frustration this produces in Martin is mirrored by the frustration his inability to change produces in Louisa. Louisa, of course, is the main proponent that people CAN change: she tells Danny that his view that people are “programmed ” is “rubbish.” She tells AR that people can change if they want to, and in S3E6, she tells Martin that you can’t pretend to change and be successful, you have to “want to.” In a way, the rest of the series is a riff on this.

    So Martin Clunes doesn’t want the character to change, at least in any very obvious way, and Martin Ellingham himself resists change. Louisa errs by believing that SHE or their relationship per se can change Martin, vastly underestimating how difficult real change will be for him. But the overwhelming logic of the series is now on Louisa’s side: Martin must change, and reflecting this, Aunt Ruth now tells Martin that people CAN change — a message Martin ironically gives to Mike about his OCD. Perhaps the deepest irony of all, as Waxwings points out, is that for Martin, the change is to the person he was really meant to be, and who he actually IS, beneath all the armor. (Which is what Louisa has always seen and loved about him, I think.) I think part of the tension of the series has been MC’s own reluctance to change his character, and the angst of S6 perhaps reflects his sense that only a total breakdown could justify real change in him. When MArtin Ellingham has changed sufficiently to sustain a relationship with Louisa, the show will be over, I’m pretty sure.

    Waxwings says: “Can we not agree that it always seems to come back to some few essential questions about healthy relationships, living a good and kind life, sensitive, caring connections to all who are in our universe, and figuring out what makes us happy and fulfilled?” The reason this jumps out at me is that it seems that this is exactly what Martin Clunes has figured out in his life, with Philippa, and it is something he says over and over in his interviews. He has figured it out, he is connected deeply to his family, his community, his charities and his animals, and although it took him a while to get there, he is a happy man.

    Whew. Sorry for the length of this — just find the topic very thought-provoking.

  10. Post author

    After reading your comments, it occurred to me that throughout the series we’ve been aware that ME needed therapy to overcome his blood phobia. He began to address that issue with some success, but in S6 they’ve brought it back with additional complications related to family. The first family problem is the new living conditions of having a wife and baby in a small space. Mike, the child minder, adds another person to the mix in the house too. Then Margaret arrives and the house gets more crowded while she also brings up so many bad memories for ME. But by the end of the series, Mike has returned to the army, Margaret has been banished and she’s departed, and L is not definitely coming back to live in the surgery. So they have effectively emptied the house again. However, I presume what we’ll see in S7 is a less chaotic reassembling of the family and a better approach to managing married life. ME’s phobia could be treated as a symptom of his overall damage from his childhood that encompasses many of his social issues as well. Anyway, I think the return of his physical clumsiness, their miscommunications, and their ability to overcome these in order to have some nice family moments will once again take place because they’ve cleaned the slate and can start over.

  11. waxwings

    Yes, I agree with you Santa 100%. Though Karen and I have respectfully disagreed on this point, Series 6 had to take Martin to the bottom. And the authors did it exactly in the way Karen describes in her last reply — progressively compressing Martin’s physical space and exponentially expanding the psychological pressure on his personal/emotional life. Something had to break.

    Given the entirety of the prior five Series, there was no other place for the authors to go—and still remain true to the DM character. Millions of viewers were disappointed and chagrined by this serious turn, but there could be no good conclusion for the show (yes, final Series 7) or an honest repair of the marriage and relationship without going there. Not if you have bought into the Doc’s character up to this point.

    Anyone who has followed this blog knows that I have argued the rightness of this dire turn for Series 6, over and over. Many have disagreed wanting the comedy put back in the dramedy, but if our Doc hadn’t gone to rock bottom, this show would depart from its essential value and success, at least for me. I was originally drawn to it precisely because of its underlying serious themes cleverly encased in a comedic crust. But if we ever want the Doc and Louisa to get healthy in a BELIEVABLE way, the Doc needed to go where he went in Series 6. Here is something I read the other day and pinned up on my office wall:

    “Sometimes, it’s when all hope is seemingly lost that the greatest breakthroughs occur in life. Whatever forces us to recognize the limit to what we can do by ourselves, opens the mind to consider the possibility that there might be another way. When everything is all messed up, we’ve played all our cards, and we don’t have a clue what to do now – that often becomes a magic moment. Commonly called “bottoming out,” it’s the point when we realize that our way isn’t working – and then miraculously, things start working.”

    The Doc is soooo without internal resources or self knowledge. He had to break. For me, Series 6 was long overdue (I was actually frustrated by how long it took to get there) because it was required as the necessary prelude to the real end of the show. I think the BP team has wanted to move on to other things for a while now, and rightly so. (Series 6 was their signal to us). They are so very talented, they must have many other demands on their time, and we—as true fan friends who love them—must let them go. I agree with Karen that Series 7 will definitely bring back the humor as dominant in the dramedy and Doc and Louizer will grow into who they are—at their BEST—together.

    I also want to second and applaud Santa’s insight that MC has found his healthy, creative, empowered and productive place in the world. (We know less about his wonderful wife PB). What we do know is that in addition to great films, both Clunes have given generously of themselves personally to help others (the two and four legged and the no legged among us) and have done so with humor, humility and an ever expanding well of kindness that increases the amount of good in the world every single day. I like to think of those two as having a benevolent infection that is apparently highly contagious and spreading rapidly. Long may it travel, and never a cure be found. We thank them for sharing.

  12. waxwings

    Ooops, sorry Santa. I think I was responding to an earlier post that came up a few days ago about Series 6, and hit the wrong “reply” button.

    But I did mean to agree with EVERYTHING you say in this latest writing of yours–and the one before. Great insights, always well said. Marta

  13. waxwings

    Santa,Karen, I’m sorry to be posting again, but I want to address something Santa says in this most recent essay. I went back over this question about the Doc being unable to change in previous blog writings, and I realized that I wanted to use and underscore the point Santa makes about MC’s public statements that the Doc can’t change his character, (because the show would lose its basic tension). To change it, is to end the show, or at least the show as we have come to understand it (and in my opinion, what makes it so brilliant and worth watching). Santa says however, that the show’s writers are conflicted about it, but I disagree. I think they are deliberately using this seesaw opposing viewpoint (people can’t change –Martin, Aunt Joan, vs. people can change–Louisa) effectively teasing us to remain glued to watching what happens next. It’s the essential tension that sets up the remarkable drama (and early on, the comedy) in the episodes. But how long could they sustain this? I think they saved the Doc’s character changing until the time came when the show really would end (as in Series 7). And I really believe that Series 6 had to go as dark as it did to set up the real change. (And I do firmly agree with Santa that the Clunes’ are the “auteurs” of this show.) If they do really alter the Doc’s way of “being in the world” in Series 7, and reveal his better angels (buried deep inside his personal hell) and allow a healthy relationship to transpire with Louisa, then we will know that Series 7 is most probably the last.

  14. Santa Traugott

    Hmmm. I wonder what I did mean, by referring to Martin Clunes’ oft-stated reluctance to “change” his character. I think it is true that he was reluctant to change the basis on which the show is successful by changing Martin Ellingham’s character very much. On the other hand, he is also very aware that there are only so many ways that they can string out the “will they – won’t they” scenario, without being repetitious, something to which he is also very averse, and also that the relationship between the two main characters is not really sustainable without major character change on ME’s part (leaving aside Louisa for the moment). So, if they’ve run out of variations on the theme, then it’s time to bring it to a close and in order to do that, they have to set up circumstances for positive growth, probably for both of them. I think what you’re saying is that the basic tension in the series is not between the two protagonists, but lies in whether he will or won’t make necessary changes — let some of the barriers down. If so, I agree with that.
    I think what I meant by the Martin Clunes comment is that it in some way mirrors his process in deciding whether to allow the character to somehow change, which in fact means, we suspect, letting him go and the series end.

    I do want to say to Karen how much I appreciate this blog and her intelligent, thoughtful and courteous posts and responses, which results in such enjoyable back and forths.

  15. waxwings

    I second Santa’s kudos for Karen’s stewardship of this blog. It is really outstanding.

    And I want to agree now with Santa’s clarified statement about the will-he-won’t-he change statements of MC. Santa wrote: “I think what I meant by the Martin Clunes comment is that it in some way mirrors his process in deciding whether to allow the character to somehow change, which in fact means, we suspect, letting him go and the series end.” Yes, precisely. Let the series end. And I suspect they portrayed such a seesaw (in addition to its being central to the dramedy) because they could not know in the early years whether the show would be successful and be renewed. They found out and so did we. And thus, we prepare ourselves to let go of an addiction that we will never regret.

  16. Post author

    Hello ladies! Well, I have been busy today and just read all of your comments. I’m kind of glad I didn’t jump in sooner because I think you have reached a point where I can agree with much of what you have both written. Please feel free to carry on!

    I’ll begin with Marta’s most recent post. I totally agree that “the Doc can’t change his character, (because the show would lose its basic tension). To change it, is to end the show, or at least the show as we have come to understand it (and in my opinion, what makes it so brilliant and worth watching).” However, my recollection is that ME has said numerous times that he believes he can change and that he wants to change. I think he has already shown some signs of changing – adjusting to having a son in his life, admitting that he has made some mistakes, and telling Louisa he loves her and needs her help. He made these changes under duress, but he made them nonetheless. Additional changes are likely to occur, although I truly hope there aren’t any exceptional changes. My difficulty with S6 is that the tone of the show changed, not just the character of ME. He got darker, more depressed, and the exchanges he had with other characters weren’t nearly as humorous. (He had a few funny moments, e.g. with Penhale, with the patient he gave a rabies shot to.) Generally, the absurdity of life in Portwenn was not in evidence nearly as much, and I missed that.

    I agree that most people have to reach rock bottom before they are willing to seek help and become committed to working on themselves. It’s kind of hard to tell when he’s hit rock bottom, don’t you think? Is it when he has to leave the practice of surgery and move to Portwenn? Is it when Louisa rejects him after the concert and he can’t sleep? Is it when they decide not to marry? Is it when she resists letting him be a part of the prenatal care of the baby? He’s been bouncing around on the bottom for a while now. Previously the show has used humor to help bring some restitution to his life — Portwenn doesn’t welcome him easily and he gets run off the road several times; he can’t think while examining a patient and runs off to talk to Louisa; the first wedding day is filled with mishaps, etc. The end of S6 shows him recognizing once again that his life has reached a nadir, but without the humor. However, this time Aunt Ruth has set him straight about the possible origins of his struggles and now he may be able to see a way through to making a change that is a collaboration between him and Louisa. I will say again, though, that I don’t want him to ever be “fixed.” Not only would that not be true to the show; it would not be true to life. No matter what our faults, we are always working on them. As I said a long time ago when talking about whether people can change, we are all always changing in my opinion. As we age and we have different experiences and our children age, etc., etc., we adapt and grow and learn. Some people become soured on life while others reach acceptance or pleasure. Exploring the theme of change is fascinating to me and I’m impressed that this show has delved into that. The key here to me is not to lose the humor in the process of examining it.

    Santa, I am a retired literature professor and definitely think knowing something about authors is important to understanding their work. It’s a lot easier to identify an author of a book and associate his/her life with what has been written, than it is to identify the author of a TV show and see how it relates. (I’ve never mentioned this on the blog before but my son is in the WGA and writes for TV and film, and I sure hope what he writes isn’t taken as reflecting his own life!) I think most TV shows are developed with input from all sorts of sources. It’s like Nigel Cole said in his interview: the ideas are work-shopped until there is agreement. Authors get feedback from their editors too, but it’s much more of an individual experience. Although I have no doubt that MC and PB contribute significantly to the story arc and perhaps the themes, I think it would be hard to imagine that the other producer, Mark Crowdy, and the directors and writers don’t add their ideas to the mix. How much their own lives relate to the show is hard to say. Regardless, they wouldn’t keep doing the show if they didn’t think it was enjoyable and satisfying. (It is also a money-maker.)

    I’m surprised that there haven’t been comments from other readers of the blog. I enjoy the conversations that develop and want this to be a place for everyone to express themselves. Thank you all for your input. It’s intelligent and stimulating!

  17. Linda

    You, like Karen have such terrific insight that I truly appreciate your commentaries. So often, you tell us things we had not begun to think of! I so agree that there is a lot of implausible stuff, beginning, as you say with him gettng a post with Imperial College having given them no proof that his phobia has been conquered. I also find it hard to believe that he and Louisa had no contact after calling off their first wedding, all the while declaring that they still loved one another. Would there not have been a lot more discussion about why each felt the need to call it off? Their engagement, however short, was one of the happiest times in their relationship so why would they conclude that they did not make each other happy when they had no discussion about it? I get that she ran off to London because she thought it was over and Martin was not known to be an initiator or discussion so he probably just thought she wouldn’t want to hear from him. But, she, would always make her way back to him and certainly, it is impalusible that she was 6 months pregnant before she spoke to him again – especially about such an important thing as their baby! The arrival of Edith was weird although we came to realize that Martin WAS still in love with Louisa when he didn’t fall for her scheme to get him back. She did give us someone to HATE. I just found her so annoying and I wanted Martin to tell her off so badly. I also thought it was odd that he was dealing with the blood thing in such a hokey way and not doing everything in his power to cure himself of it, considering how important his work as a surgeon had been. Did he ever go back to the psychiatrist? I can’t recall. In earlier episoodes, I thought he was a bit gentler and more tender with Louisa. I liked that he would be a different person in her presence. He was pretty awful to her in the end. Small wonder that she needed to get away. She all but pleaded with him to realize how his behaviour was making her unhappy but as usual, he missed it and ended up with his back against a wall before he did anything. Could such a brilliant man be that stupid and risk losing his wife and child when they were SO important to him? Hard to buy, for sure.

  18. Linda

    I hope so too! I have been twisting things in my mind, trying to think of ways they might bring the show to an end. I think series 7 will be it but hope not, of course! Of course, we all hope for a happy ending for Martin, Louisa and James. I just can’t see how yet. What could they do so he and Louisa can live where each wants AND still DO the jobs they love? How are they going to resolve their problems as a couple? As for the other characters, I also hope for happy endings for them. I love the comedic aspects of the show and want to a return to the lightness of earlier series BUT I don’t want silliness! As writers, IF they are indeed winding things down, it will be a real challenge to give every character a successful ending. The fans of the show are VERY fussy about such things and the writers won’t want to disappoint. What a huge challenge. I am so pumped to see what happens next!

    I LOVE the great discussions on this blog! I am so impressed with the entries. Keep it up everyone and thanks Karen, for providing this platform for us DM fans!

  19. Mary F.

    Fascinating and wonderful commentary. I think that Series 7 may be the end too, sad to say, I have enjoyed it so much, and I do agree that the darkness of Series 6 needed to be addressed before they could wrap things up in Series 7. Still, I dream and hope, with the continued development of little James Henry, that many more shows may be added in the future…parenting for MC and Louisa could be very worthwhile exploring.

  20. Elle

    Thank you, Linda. I have enjoyed reading these many postings/blog and have found that your comments and questions mirror mine. I have watched DM, only sporadically because it is not shown in any frequency here where I live. I have relied on YT (or Hulu) – S5 and 6 are not available yet (without subscribing) but have I watched the tube recordings on YT that BP has not found/deleted.
    My concerns about S5 and S6 as a viewer that was intrigued by the L and M relationship, was the “gutting” of this couple. The writers (it appears) threw obstacle after obstacle at the newly
    “reunited” couple and hurled them at record-breaking speed. This relationship was fragile, at best, to begin with. The baby, the return of the blood phobia, the anticipated move to London, Edith, the death of Aunt Joan, the return of DM’s mother. Living in a cramped space (as you say), the erratic schedule of baby care, Louisa’s desire to return to work and her unlucky choices at nanny care and more (that escapes me now) all of which leads to this de-constructed “lovestory.”

    Its a TV show, okay, I accept plot-driven story. As some have said, where was the humor. I was most bothered by the lack of ANY tender moments between this couple (through much of S5 & 6). Any signs or expression of anything other than annoyance and indifference between the two. The smallest hints and insights of what drew us to this couple and their charm was gone. Gutted.

    The Doc had more in-depth conversation with the stranger/patient than the pregnant Louisa or later, his wife. In one example, he had more concern and care for the teacher “artiste” outside the school entry (wife of Tommy, taxi driver) than he had shown throughout the last two seasons with Louisa. We, the viewer, saw his despair (why didn’t she) and when he spoke to her outside of the bathroom door before the departure to Spain, we heard him painfully whisper “Louisa.”

    I have only two other comments: Why did Martin try and “sabotage” Louisa’s chances at her efforts to become head teacher. Obviously, a rhetorical question. I was offended personally. I saw it as cruel and selfish – even for DM. Again, confused as to this man’s indifference to her and his lack of remorse in any of it. Some here have commented, also, as to why she didn’t marry him. Well, we got a mouthful in the episode where she confronts him at his door (Edith is there) as she boldly tells him that she knew she couldn’t be with a man that treats a pregnant woman has a second-class citizen (I cannot recall all that is said) but its all there in that scene. She, for the first time, is given a voice as to why she did not go through wit/ h the marriage. I am still bothered by the fact that DM sat in his living room knowing he could not go through with the marriage but yet had no concern for his Louisa, standing in that church alone, waiting…

    Thanks for the opportunity to reply (vent)!

  21. Post author

    Welcome Elle! I was away all day yesterday and catching up all day today and had no time to reply until now. I really appreciate your “venting” and sometimes want to do the same. My explanation for some of your complaints would be that the premise of the show is the fragility of the relationship between Martin and Louisa along with this surgeon having a blood phobia. My feeling is that all of the problems we see this couple dealing with reflect fairly common household problems of child care, mother’s working outside the home, difficulties with in-laws, family deaths, etc., and that is responsible for attracting our interest and for stimulating a lot of thought about what those circumstances can mean for all of our lives.

    Although I agree that S6 was quite devoid of affection between Martin and Louisa following E1, I thought S5 had quite a few tender moments between them, both before and after Louisa decided she had to have a break from Martin. The discussion they have in the bedroom when Martin has filled out the papers with the choice of names is quite warmhearted as was the occasion when Louisa is upset about her mother and Martin touches her cheek gently. Of course, the final scene of the series is very loving. For me, that scene was so well written that it made me that much more disappointed in S6 (after E1 and 2).

    As for the scenes where Martin shows concern for Tommy’s wife and other scenes with patients, the posts on kindness could clear some of that up for you. Martin’s physician mode often kicks in and demonstrates his true concern for his patients. These scenes also make it clear that leaving Portwenn is not as easy for him as he wants to think. He considers these villagers “his” patients and hates to see anyone else disrupt the good care he’s been giving them.

    Your example of some of the occasions when Martin does not act kindly towards others is something that bears discussing. You bring up his threat to sabotage Louisa’s interview for head teacher and the time when he stays at home planning to leave Louisa at the altar as two times when his own needs supersede those of others. We could also mention his treatment of Helen who dies when he is irate that he was asked to visit her at home, and his lack of concern about Aunt Joan’s gunshot wound after he allowed the gun to discharge near her. We also see him step on a child’s hand and consider the child’s cries unwarranted and we often see him treat children with an unnecessary harshness. He also tells off Janet Sawle about her experimental treatments of her sister’s infected knee a well as Neville Pote about his efforts to help his son build muscle. He’s right about their misguided choices, but he comes on quite strong.

    These scenes are the converse of acts of kindness that Marta’s posts have highlighted. What are we to take away from these moments? Are they signs that Martin’s social ineptitude causes him to be unsympathetic at times, even at the cost of mistreating a patient? Maybe DM or Santa can elucidate the psychological assessment that would illuminate what might be leading Martin to act out in this manner. On a layman’s level, these instances play out as times when he allows his exasperation with the ignorance of the villagers to get the better of him or when his city ways take over and stop him from being caring. In general, he hates to be wrong; therefore, when Helen dies, he cannot accept that he has not handled her case very well. It is also his mistake that leads to AJ being shot and to Harry Pote breaking his leg. True, Harry’s bones were too brittle as a result of the mixture of things he’s been ingesting, but Martin tripped over him and was directly responsible for the break. Unsurprisingly, we never hear an apology from Martin. I’d love to hear from others about their interpretations of this side of Martin.

  22. Santa Traugott

    I suppose there’s no really humorous way to portray a marriage going south. “Gutted” seems exactly the right word to describe what their relationship feels like in S6, and also “despair.”

    We’re meant to conclude, I think, or perhaps it’s the only reasonable premise, that this man was in no way equipped for marriage, beyond a strong need to be with Louisa, amounting almost to desperation. And as the real state of being married settles in, as opposed to the anticipation and the honeymoon, his despair grows as his inability to cope comes to the fore. I can imagine him thinking, at the end of some of S6 episodes, what have I gotten myself into? Or maybe, trying real hard to suppress that thought.

    What I can’t get my mind around is Louisa’s seeming obliviousness to what is going on with him (although she does know he’s not sleeping) and her inability to effectively confront him about it. And when she’s forced to face how badly wrong things have gotten, her first choice is to bail, rather than use the crisis as an opportunity to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Some argue that the choice to leave is typical Louisa; maybe so, but the rest of it doesn’t strike as realistic or typically Louisa. (I know, it’s not realistic, it’s a TV show.)

  23. Elle

    Santa T writes:
    “We’re meant to conclude, I think, or perhaps it’s the only reasonable premise, that this man was in no way equipped for marriage, beyond a strong need to be with Louisa, amounting almost to desperation. And as the real state of being married settles in, as opposed to the anticipation and the honeymoon, his despair grows as his inability to cope comes to the fore. I can imagine him thinking, at the end of some of S6 episodes, what have I gotten myself into? Or maybe, trying real hard to suppress that thought.”

    This is my premise, as well. A man that was desperate to not be alone and abandoned. Probably more “that” than a desire to be loved. Let’s hope that this is explored in the season to come. All in all, what bothered me as a viewer that enjoyed the flirty push and pull of the couple and the charm that exuded in those lovely moments were absent. My point: the writer could have continued that angle in the mix (baby, as well) and then much later “thrown” the brick house at the couple. Typically, newlyweds have time to build the foundation to withstand the storms to come.

    We wanted the treats (!) and the writers gave us the tricks, instead! I’m being light-hearted here. As I’ve said below, the commentary here is throughtful and important. I certainly do not mean to diminish that. Just having a bit of fun. I think I read that the actor’s personal issues might have expedited the movement in the story. Yes, that would explain things.

    kjacobson: Thanks for your analysis. I have watched sporadically, unfortunately. My recall is not as honed as yours. The analysis’ here is outstanding. I am not a writer – just simply a fan (that’s obvious)! I enjoy the thoughtful commentary here. Thank you for this lovely site.

    Martin says to Louisa: You could die.
    In the taxi, while convincing her that she shouldn’t return to work and that the school would survive. (para)
    Stunning. How those words must have crushed her. It wasn’t the first blow – he “threw” many.

    Louisa, poor girl. She feels so unwanted and unloved. Wouldn’t you? I am not so bothered by Louisa’s lack of care in this relationship. She “runs”, yes. Again, wouldn’t you? I want her to stay and fight. We all do!

    What exactly would she be fighting for? Does he love her – can he love her? There’s the story. Hopefully.

    Oh, and his blood phobia? He saved Louisa and saved his career! What a magnificent twist !?!?!?

  24. Elle

    Additional comments:
    Santa writes..”What I can’t get my mind around is Louisa’s seeming obliviousness to what is going on with him (although she does know he’s not sleeping) and her inability to effectively confront him about it. And when she’s forced to face how badly wrong things have gotten, her first choice is to bail, rather than use the crisis as an opportunity to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Some argue that the choice to leave is typical Louisa; maybe so, but the rest of it doesn’t strike as realistic or typically Louisa. (I know, it’s not realistic, it’s a TV show.)”

    Yes, oblivious. On the surface, it fits. My take is that she was overwhelmed with balancing the new prickly relationship/marriage, work, baby, etc. Single Louisa, conversely, was overly concerned with his motivations and behavior. She did show a sincere desire to know and understand the real Martin. In the present, her focus was simply directed elsewhere. Was she in over her head. Yep – understandably.

    A closer look is that her feeble attempts to clarify or understand what was troubling him were a defense mechanism. She didn’t want to know. I think she’s written as insecure as to her importance in his life. She
    struggles with telling (admitting) him her own difficulties. Yet, we see when she does try to reach out – he denies, he hides, he dismisses. This has been his pattern. Her underlying fear is that he regrets the marriage, and all the rest, as an ultimate rejection of her. We see her hold her breath, swallow hard, and we see real pain on her face in much of their final scenes (watch the bathroom scene, she waits for him to say in reply to “what time is taxi…” not, “I have patients waiting” instead hoping to hear a declaration that might sound like this: Don’t Leave Me, Louisa.

    In the final hospital scene, she explains that they cannot brush their problems under the rug but her pained expression tells so much more. You see her reaction – she is looking for any crumb from him. He states: I agree, I don’t want that either. She thanks him for coming after her. It underscores her absolute belief that she has little value in his life. He has to remind that she is his wife.

    I’ll admit, it is easier for me to give her a pass. They are both in a free-fall. That’s entertainment, folks.

    Remember the CS Lewis quote (I cannot) but its something like when you choose love, you also get the pain, and that’s the deal.

    Damn. It.

    Elle (sits with a big grin)

  25. Post author

    I’m going to try to look at this situation from a slightly different perspective and see what you all think about this way of viewing what happens in S6.

    We’ve been going round and round about why there was so little humor and affection in S6. Many of you think that because they decided to take the couple apart again, and they chose to do that by having Martin devolve into a depressed, caged, insomniac, that humor and affection were impossible. Since their relationship has had many previous separations and demises, I think looking at how those were handled might shed some light on what’s different in S6.

    For the most part, every time they have had rifts in their romance, Martin has ruined a tender moment by saying something that Louisa finds insulting and utterly in conflict with the setting. At each of these moments we laugh because of the crassness of the comments. What man would not realize that he shouldn’t tell a woman he is enamored with, and who has just passionately kissed him, that her breath smells bad or her perfume has a hint of urine in it? However, each time that sort of thing happens, he redeems himself fairly quickly by saying or doing something nice, and usually by the end of the series. The first two series end with Louisa slapping Martin, but we can still laugh because it’s early in their dating history and, once again, Martin deserves it. In S2 there is a Christmas special that brings them back together.

    In S6 though, we start out as expected with a very funny episode filled with tender moments, including its ending when they walk arm in arm, still wearing their wedding clothes now covered with dirt and blood, pushing a man in a wheelbarrow up a dirt road while they discuss how unforgettable their first night has been. Most of us also expected trials and tribulations would follow their marriage. What we didn’t get in this series are enough of the humorous situations like the dinner in E2, or the children’s music group, and enough of a reconciliation at the end. What I’m arguing is that the balance between the serious and dour moments versus the awkward yet funny moments was off. The ending brings them back together, but this time Martin has gone way beyond what he’s ever done before to upset Louisa. E7 was such a stunningly awful experience for Louisa from beginning to end, with Martin relentlessly doing many distressing things. That episode was followed by E8 in which Louisa’s life is even further upended and she is at risk of dying. To redeem himself this time he has to save her life, serious stuff indeed! The following reconciliation is muted because Martin expresses his regrets to Louisa in the operating room while she’s sedated, and his catharsis in the bathroom is a private moment unseen by anyone but us. When he checks on Louisa after the operation, he does not have the usual emotional outburst and they deliberately leave the ending ambiguous. We have grown accustomed to an ending that is much lighter in tone and can’t help wondering what happened this time.

    Like some of you, I would never have guessed that their marriage would have almost no light moments. The only dispute we still have is whether the show had to take Martin to such a low point. Could he change significantly without that? How much does he need to change in the first place? I suppose the folks who decided on this direction for the show thought he did need to go that far down, and many of you agree. I don’t think he did, but I’m just one voice in the ether and I don’t get a vote. I think they missed many opportunities to keep the show amusing while continuing to include nuanced and poignant scenes.

    I don’t expect us to ever resolve our disagreements on this; therefore, we should get back to other discussions.

  26. Santa Traugott

    Reply to Karen’s last comment below:

    Agreed Karen. Not only will there probably never be consensus among DM fans as whether S6 “had” to be this way, or whether Louisa might have behaved somehow “better”, I can’t even get consensus on these matters within myself! I suspect I’m on record as having argued both sides of the debate. Hopefully, S7 will shed some light on these matters, but probably will wind up with still more fodder for discussion.

    BTW, I didn’t, in my last comment, mean to imply that I think S6 had to play out quite as darkly as it did. My reasoning is, given the way it did develop, that’s the only rationale I can come up with for what the writers thought they were doing. I’m really still on the fence here.

  27. Post author

    I see what you’re saying. Yeah, it’s impossible to know their rationale and whether they, too, ended up not being so happy with what they chose to do. And that makes it totally opaque to all of us as well. We just have to shrug and throw in the towel. Thanks for being such a great participant on this blog.

    I am at a loss to figure out the reply situation and will keep working on it. I hope to talk to someone who can tell me what I need to do. I see everything exactly as it should appear and that makes fixing it much harder.

  28. waxwings

    Elle, I think the CS Lewis quote you might be referencing is:

    “This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.” –C. S. Lewis

  29. Amy Cohen

    Great post—wish I could read the comments in the order in which they were written. I tried to follow the sequence, but I just got lost and gave up. I couldn’t figure out how people got from the fairy tale theme to discussing S6 and its darkness.

  30. Post author

    Sometimes it seems people start commenting on subjects in unusual places. I can’t really tell you how my post on whether Doc Martin is at all similar to a Fairy Tale/ Folk Tale became a discussion of how S6 turned so dark. I just let the comments flow even though at times I admit I get frustrated that we got off topic.

    Suffice it to say that even though the village of Portwenn appears to be sunny and warm all the time and the characters are quite quirky and odd, the show is not a Fairy Tale as we understand it normally. I’m guessing that once they noticed that viewers were imagining the show as a Fairy Tale, they decided to make fun of that and even undercut that whole notion. They don’t want the story of Martin and Louisa to be taken as a Fairy Tale, but they don’t mind being amused by that idea.

  31. Amy Cohen

    Have you figured out a way to read the comments in chronological order rather than in reverse? I guess you don’t have to because you read them as you come in. My blog posts newer comments at the bottom, not the top, so it’s somewhat easier to follow the flow from beginning to end. You have a lot more comments than I do, and a lot more responses to those comments, so it gets complicated!

    I never even thought of the Fairy Tale possibility until I read your post. I did think of it in S5E8 because of the castle and Mrs T’s references to Martin as the prince coming to rescue her, but that was it.

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