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Be_You_
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Mana: 
 Posted: Sat May 19th, 2012 01:59 pm

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I've mentioned before that Lafftrak (sometimes I've mistakenly called it "TV World") was the first episode I watched in its entirety. It was definitely the one that crystallized my realization that the show could be expected to both feature sexy women acting sexily on a regular basis -- and could also be counted on to horrify and shock me with a deeply contrasting "darkness" on occasion.

(Xev lifting her leg high and offering an instant "oral exam" to one of the students in Boy's School... woooo... withered skulls in boxes next to decaptitated captives.... eeeah...)

I remember seeing one of the filler interviews from one of the DVDs where Paul Donovan and/or Lex Gigeroff remarked how sci-fi had originally been unabashed about using scantily clad women as a draw, but had become rather stodgy in that regard in more recent times. I believe the phrase "Lexx delivers" was used to distinguish the show from others whose promises in that regard went largely undelivered.

Anyway, suffice it to say that I'm a boy and the characters Slinka and Yoyo with their saucy demeanors and bikini-clad bikini-bodies made a distinct impression on me at the time; so much so that since then I've christened my classic Swedish sports car "Slinka" because the name sounded like a sexy Swedish girl's name... not realizing how very appropos that was and how its nasty connotation makes it particularly suitable for a car that was meant to be driven hard and fast...

 




... but I digress...

I remember reading somewhere that the show was a send-up of the insiders world of TV programming: what would happen if "ratings wars" turned to real violence? The planets Leister and Lieber (check my spelling) both competed for the bragging rights of having the best shows and ended up destroying everything except the apparatus for making those shows, TV World.

TV World lived on finding purpose for itself by enticing unsuspecting visitors to "join in the fun" but it could never work out for them because the studio audience was made up of beheaded former players who really only wanted to see others get beheaded just like them. The robotic props for the shows started malfunctioning and that made it all the more difficult for anyone to succeed in formulaic and endlessly repeated scripts.

I've mentioned this  before, but the fact that Kai's decapitated body is incorporated into the cast of Heartbreak Hospital as the body of the jealous wife suggests that TV World had adapted to not only capture a studio audience, but was using the bodies of the victims for props.

I'm not really sure about this, but perhaps Slinka and Yoyo were the only two models of robots still in good order because they didn't make ricketty machine noises or stutter; all the others had some problems or other. I think that many of the other characters on TV World were made up of the flesh bodies of the planet's former victimes with robot heads in control of them, because they always had their necks covered as though to cover a seam. (i.e. -- all the boys in Boys School and all the cowboy characters in the Xev Show)




"Someplayersmaybeunabletodrawhighratingsandwillbecomepermanentmembersofourstudioaudience"



mayaXXX
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 Posted: Sun May 20th, 2012 09:40 pm

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Slinka and Yoyo were Stan's "posse", see below....



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Be_You_
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 Posted: Fri May 25th, 2012 01:17 pm

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Stan's posse? Yes, that sounds right -- and just as believable as anything else related to a "swinger's" magazine! Great art, Maya.

Security Guard Class Four looks competent and serious, for a change... just like when got converted into a zombie by the giant spider. (Of course, we should remember that Stan *was* the hero in this episode -- albeit a Kai-facilitated hero.)

Yoyo, especially, looks like she knows what a delight she is in her yellow bikini and negligee. Was that a publicity shot -- or from a fan event?

In my mini-review of Lafftrak, I neglected to elaborate on the deeply horrific aspect of this episode; the scene near the end where Kai screws his head back on inside the studio audience chamber and the threesome prepare to depart TV World. All those poor souls are apparently chattering away in an agitated manner... uncomfortably. It sounds a bit like coughing.

Would not the momentary sight of real life as a contrast to their pathetic TV World existence prove to be too much to bear?

Later aboard the Lexx, Xev is explaining how being the center of attention made her feel special -- in a way, as we can readily believe, her Wife Bank training never prepared her for -- and Stan replies "it was all artificial, they weren't really alive." By Stan's tone, he appears to diminish the importance of the fake TV Show existence to both Xev and himself, but as soon as he's finished saying the words, he seems to realize that he's really trying to talk himself out of feeling the full depth of horror for the studio audience members.

Kai remarks that "being alive isn't everything."

Why didn't Captain Stan have his mighty ship blow up the planet? Didn't he have the courage to put the poor hapless studio audience out of their misery? At last, it represents a failure in keeping with his character.

It with deep irony that we can be thankful for Mantrid and his drones who "happen by" at the end to do the deed.

The dark soundtrack during the credits struck me as absolutely awesome.

Last edited on Fri May 25th, 2012 02:00 pm by Be_You_

mayaXXX
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Mana: 
 Posted: Sun May 27th, 2012 11:40 pm

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The pic of Slinka and Yoyo was a costume shot from a collection of Lexx costume shots seasons 2-4.



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cat1946
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 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2013 02:01 pm

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Lafftrak was one of the episodes that you don't even think about untill someone brings up the topic.

The story line involves the extreme. The writers are masters of this art, they are able to make us see the absurdity of our willingness to go to far. Horrifying isn't it.

And as for Stanly, the audience heads have been there for some time, maybe he thought that being alive as a head is better than being a dead head.

By the way, Cute car.

Last edited on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 02:04 pm by cat1946

Be_You_
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Mana: 
 Posted: Mon Jun 10th, 2013 07:23 pm

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I'm glad you like my Saab, cat1946.

The old Model 96 garners many such comments and that's part of the allure of having it. Nowadays I literally can't drive 15 minutes on the freeway without getting a "thumbs up"; even with the car needing a paint job as it does... though, on the other hand, Slinka's contrasting front fenders and driver's door may actually impart a bit of that jaunty rally car look which people favor.

Anyhow, it is not mainly about looks. It's about total driving satisfaction. (How to say Fahrfegnugen in Swedish?) The torquey little stock 104 cu. inch German-made FoMoCo V4 and its rally gearing makes it an able San Francisco hill climber, and the four-speed column shifter facilitates one-handed operation. I don't have to miss a sip of coffee while driving because I can palm steer with my right hand while flipping through the gears using my fingertips.

The front wheel drive makes for zesty handling around the many local winding roads, and hassle-free operation up in snow country.

In fact -- as I suppose you might expect from a Swedish car -- snow conditions are where the car really shows its character.

Probably the biggest factor making it a joy to own and drive is that I've been sole mechanic on the car for such a long time that I've taken apart and put together the vast majority of its component parts.



Saab four-speed transmission ready for final reassembly

One last detail I'd like to share about the car is the unique freewheeling clutch it has in its transmission. This can be engaged to allow the car to freely coast down hills without any of the engine braking which regular car drivers are accustomed to. The feature was originally designed to keep the earlier three cylinder two-stroke engines -- which depended on a constant throughput of pre-mixed oil and gas mixture for their lubrication -- from being forced to spin at high RPMs with a closed throttle on long downhill grades. Later the freewheel clutch was kept for reasons of fuel economy and ease of shifting; one can downshift without stepping on the clutch pedal any time the transmission is spinning faster than the engine as the two are then effectively de-coupled.

"Saab doesn't make automobiles: they make Saabs."

Anyhow, I do have a few more thoughts on Lafftrak... and I'll admit it: I *am* fascinated by this episode.


"A scumbag!"

I've already said this was the first Lexx I saw complete -- having previously seen only bits of other episodes -- and I remember well how the opening scenes didn't make any sense to me.

Just as when previously, in 2.01, I'd seen the mostly disembodied Mantrid floating in space and had it register as the Baron Von Harkonnen from the Dune movie -- okay, I'll stipulate to having been somewhat "impaired" at the time -- I saw the slapstick sci-fi dogfight between the cartoonish/claymation-looking ships and thought I'd tuned in to some Buck Rogers remake. I was convinced that I'd made a mistake.

I'm quite sure it's been mentioned elsewhere that Lexx's Supreme Beings seemed to have been stylistically quoting from sci-fi classics: Thunderbirds are Go!, Luke Skywalker's attack on Death Star, to name two others.

With the best CG available to the 'beans, it seems those ships looked like they were *supposed* to appear like they were supported on strings. Was there a grand reason for doing so? Just for fun? Set the table for the surreal TV World experience?

The two fighter pilots -- one Leisterian (Leister-ian? Listeria? Listerene?) and one a Lieberian (Lieber-ian? Liberal? Librarian?) -- are dogfighting as the last two representatives of their respective races who've wiped out each other along with their home worlds in a mutual death match stemming from rivalry over which made the most entertaining T.V. shows.

The Leisterians seemed to have a more coarse sensibility in that regard, which is perhaps telegraphed in the first shot when the grizzled-looking Leisterian pilot takes a pull from a flask as he chases his quarry. Is that water? He excoriates his target, the fleeing Lieberian for his race's supposed habit of faking their ratings.

The Leisterian shoots down the more sensitive pilot.

In passing, I'll note that the Lieberian pilot -- credited as Andre Haines -- was so "sensitive," in fact, as to later merit a seamstress job in Girltown*  -- no? Yes... though working under the alias "Andre Gigeroff" in that case. (Girltown is also the only other Lexx episode besides Lafftrak whose writing is credited solely to Andre's possible close relation Lex Gigeroff, according to the Wikipedia page.)

Though I've mentioned the dark closing music which struck me right to my core -- and which brought such a sense of dread and catharsis that I knew right then I'd been indelibly marked as a Lexxian -- the audio and musical tracks were brilliant throughout this episode: from the bouncy jingle of Girl Time! to the ethereal space noise of the opening scenes, to the pitchman CG's cloying come-on tone.

I think the closing theme was preceded by an light sort of xylophone vamp which melded into a kind of heavy metal jazz before being replaced after a pause by the dark, droning, downward chord progression closing theme. It was precisely this sort of musical transition that made Lexx such a tasty piece of ear candy as it was a treat for the eyes. (I've been rewatching on my computer and chancing to plug in my Senheiser ear buds reawakened me to this feature of the show.)

Perhaps a decap recap is in order here: these include the entire studio audience, many of the T.V. World regular cast, Kai, 790 (in effigy), the Jealous Wife (from Kai's body), the sassy android/cyborg boy of Bubbles' studio audience -- "your bum stinks, Diapers!". The Leisterian pilot seemed to have had his head blown off by the hip shot from the Lieberian's large bore space gun, but in a subsequent scene it is clearly shown that he simply had his head and torso semi-incinerated.

One more thought on the origins of the T.V. World planetoid: Early in the story, 790 speculated lazily that T.V. World was created to entertain the inhabitants of the two destroyed planets, but while true, might the robot head have missed a more thorough analysis indicating that it was predatory visitor to their system in the first case?  Recall C.G.'s obviously fake and cloying platitude about the two races' homeworlds -- "beautiful planets, both!" -- I suspect that T.V. World was never a neutral and innocuous element in the solar system.


"Someplayersmaybeunabletodrawhighratingsandwillbecomepermanentmembersofourstudioaudience"

Might TV World have even been an artifact created by HDS bio-viziers? Or an independent actor on the order of Lyekka, but machine-based instead of plant? Decrepit instead of hale? I think so.

From the dialog in the opening scenes between the two fighter pilots, we learned that their war lasted for nine years. How long can we suppose their television rivalry had gone on peacefully before war broke out? I suspect the little grey planet had made relatively short work of the two peoples.

Elsewhere on Lexxverse I remember reading that every Lexx episode was based on a movie, and in the case of Lafftrak, it was the Truman Show. It is with some degree of chagrin I have to confess I have never seen it. Yet. Perhaps further revelations are in store for me when I finally do.

B.U.

************************************************************

[Leisterian and Lieberian are in a space dogfight to the death. The Leisterian stays on the Lieberian crafts tail firing as they transit through asteroid debris of their destroyed planets. The Leisterian stops firing to take a pull from his flask, then scores a hit]
Leisterian:
"You're about to be cancelled, Lieberian. Permanently! Nine years ago you faked the ratings on your precious poetry show. Why? Because you're cultureless bastards!
[Fires again and again, chasing the Lieberian down one of T.V. World's avenues]
How appropriate that the last living Lieberian is going to die on T.V. World."
[Strikes a direct hit on the Lieberian's ship and chuckles. The Lieberian crashes.
The Leisterian circles around to deliver a coup de grace.]
Leisterian:
"Your crap shows never rated, your crap planet was destroyed, and now your crap life is about to end."
[The Leisterian fires a shot dead center on the Lieberian's fallen ship, but meanwhile his intended victim has pulled himself from his ships wreckage and torn an operable cannon its broken wing. The Lieberian takes aim at the Leisterian's craft and fires off a perfect shot.]

Lieberian:
"Ahh, Yes!"
[Now it is the turn of the Leisterian to crash land on the tiny planet. He is thrown some distance from the stricken craft, injured. The Lieberian approaches slowly, limping]

 Lieberian:
"You Leisterians always faked your ratings. You started this war, and now the last living Leisterians will pay the final price!"
[Fires a shot wildly and falls back under the force of the recoil]
"We did not have to fake our ratings because we were not dull, dull, dull! A commercial on Lieber was far more entertaining than an entire network on the planet Leister!"
[The Leisterian has busied himself with some T.V. World apparatus. The Lieberian fires another wild shot]
"Was it worth faking your ratings? Was it worth starting a war that destroyed two planets? I want to hear it from your mouth that it was worth it before you die!"

Leisterian:
[chuckles] "You're the ones who faked the ratings... cultureless Lieberian vermin!"
[chuckles]

Lieberian:
"Arghh! "
[Fires one more shot, this one a deadly hit which scorches the head and torso of the Leisterian pilot]
"Apology accepted! I die in peace..."
[The Leisterian collapses and seems about to pass into eternity with a look of sublime satisfaction on his face, when a recording which the Leisterian has apparently managed to make in his final moments begins to play on surrounding monitors, looping endlessly]

Leisterian:
"Let it be known for all times, that there were once two planets in this solar systems. The planet Leister made great television shows; the planet Lieber made crap. They had to fake the ratings. They had to fake the ratings. [sobbing laugh]"
"Let it be known for all times, that there were once two planets in this solar systems. The planet Leister made great television shows; the planet Lieber made crap. They had to fake the ratings. They had to fake the ratings. [sobbing laugh]"
"Let it be known for all times, that there were once two planets in this solar systems. The planet Leister made great television shows; the planet Lieber made crap. They had to fake the ratings. They had to fake the ratings. [sobbing laugh]"
"Let it be known for all times, that there were once two planets in this solar systems. The planet Leister made great television shows; the planet Lieber made crap. They had to fake the ratings. They had to fake the ratings. [sobbing laugh]"
...
****************************************************************************************************


What's better? Balloons... or making a booboo in your bubby?

Last edited on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 04:55 pm by Be_You_

Nell
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Mana: 
 Posted: Thu Jun 13th, 2013 11:00 am

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My grandmother always repeated to me:
"If U really want to tell someone the inconvinient truth, the first thing to do is to close Ur mouth, bite Ur tongue and than smile as much as possible. But if U still want to make this mistake, turn the truth into a joke. Make it sound as exaggerated as possible. Add as many extra words as needed to cover the gist. Believe me, people will like it (if U, pumpkin, master this method). They will go further, will start sharing this joke and sooner or later it will find the audience that will grasp the true idea. That's how it works in this world."

There are many jokes in the Lexx. And the one U r talking about is a masterpiece.



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