Friday, October 24, 2008

Life on Mars: Find Yourself

This was the weakest of the episodes for the stateside version of Life on Mars so far, even though the storyline had great potential, with the theme of 'finding yourself,' and interweaving the troubles of returning Vietnam Vets and similar troubles of gays coming out of the closet. The season's plot has Sam searching to find himself as a boy, while the sixties' version of 'finding yourself' is still prevalent in 1973, shown here through guru-led peaceniks. By choosing the most innocuous tracks from the late sixties (Tommy James & the Shondells, The Turtles, Marmalade) to back the 'hippie freaks,' as Ray so fondly calls them, we're being reminded that the sixties doesn't have much in the way of teeth by this point.

Meanwhile, their leader Sticker (sp?) sees Sam and says he "looks like a star, but is really out on parole," lyrics from Mott the Hoople's "All the Way From Memphis", which appeared in last week's episode, reinforcing the song's parallels to Sam's situation.

Another fine pop cultural reference with parallels is the reference to the film Soylent Green, which famously follows to cops from the future (played by Charleton Heston and Edward G. Robinson) who find that there's a lot more to the murder their investigating. Whereas Soylent Green uses the future to comment on the environment, the Life on Mars goes back in time to do the same with gay rights and hate crimes (Gene: "As opposed to what? An 'I like you' crime?").

Also of note this week is the new use of a Mike Post-inspired score to emphasize the explicit setting of a 70's cop show, versus this just being a period specific drama. "Book 'em Dan-O" indeed.

Ray's quote of the week: "Saddle up no-nuts... we're going to need that dewey-eyed doo-doo that you do"

Life on Mars - Episode 1.03
1. "Sweet Cherry Wine" - Tommy James & The Shondells"
2. "I'm Chief Kamanawanalea (We're The Royal Macadamia Nuts)" - The Turtles
3. "Just a Little Lovin'" - Dusty Springfield
4. "Reflections of my Life" - Marmalade

Previously: You look like a star but you're still on the dole (Episode 1.02)

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