Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace is a self-aware parody that also mixes its metaphors and cliches to the pinnacle of absurdity creating something so awful that it travels through that black hole from which none emerge and emerges from a white hole on the other side to become pure brilliance. It takes meta to a whole new level.

The show is the creation of Mathew Holness and Richard Ayoade (The It Crowd, The Mighty Boosh) where they play the characters of Garth Marenghi and Dean Learner respectively. Garth Marenghi is self-proclaimed "author, producer, dreamweaver, plus actor" that's really a caricature of a novel writing machine (e.g. King, Koontz, Patterson). Marenghi introduces each show by reading an excerpt from one of his novels and then explaining how, with his publisher Dean Learner, created a television show too radical and terrifying to be broadcast at the time of it's creation that television executives shelved until this time of creative stagnation.

So what you might be expecting is something on the lines of the Twilight Zone, or the Outer Limits, but what we get is a Marenghi playing the character Dr. Rick Dagless in a medical drama in a haunted hospital that's also playing with the buddy cop dynamic with a hospital administrator that wants everything by the book. So it's not really surprising when we start seeing stories about hellmouths, PMS driven psychokinesis, devolution, a spectral scotch mist, and a mutant space broccoli virus. To add to the campiness, the production values are reduced and good actors do a great job of giving some very bad performances, specifically Richard Ayoade, who hysterically funny in the roles of Dean Learner playing hospital administrator Thornton Reed.

The problems with this show don't have anything to do with the show itself, but with how it's available. While it does air sporadically on Cartoon Network un the US, the only consistent way is to catch it in a chopped up format through YouTube. That being said, it's still totally worth tracking it down in whatever method you can. Here's a taste from the opening credits.


1 comment:

  1. love the dramatic flair on "plus actor" - it is indeed an awesome opening