Doctor Who – The Happiness Patrol

Doctor Who Story 153 – The Happiness Patrol

I’ve spent three weeks studying Marshall McLuhan in my Religion, Media, and Popular Culture class. As a result, my mind is floating in McLuhanesque probes, which are not full, systematic analyses but short, brief expressions of ideas. They are meant to generate ideas and to challenge perceptions. The upshot of this is that I have had difficulty sustaining longer thoughts. Thus, last post and the next few may be very short. That’s my excuse, anyway.

Anyway, The Happiness Patrol . . . .

Read enough Vertigo Comics and you can see where this story is coming from. The Happiness Patrol fits firmly into a British sub-culture that rose under Thatcher. But the cultural artefacts produced during this time became popular in the United States. While The Happiness Patrol was largely missed by anyone not devoted to watching Doctor Who, many other people discovered comics by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Jamie Delano, and just about anything produced by Vertigo Comics. They were all writing from a similar perspective; they were all reacting against Thatcherism and Right-wing politics in England. The Happiness Patrol looks like something out of a Grant Morrison comic. Helen A and Kandyman could have been villains in Doom Patrol or The Invisibles.


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