52. Romance

Tapehead no 52

Valentine’s Day is coming, and Tapehead is feeling romantic. 

What better to set the mood for love than a quick blast of Natural Born Killers, with Moving Pictures re-running the old controversy, deciding whether it is actually any good or not, and pondering the possibility that the happy couple (Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino) will never get back together again.

True, Ollie had trashed Tarantino’s dialogue but then, if Tarantino’s characters can come up with so many wicked one-liners, they should all be writing gags for Danny Baker. (Let’s face it, it’s about time someone did).

Stone’s own contributions serve only to confirm that Oliver Stone is one of the (precious) few people around who is so off his trolley, he makes Eric Cantona look like John Major.

At first glance, you might think A Wild Romance more appropriate material for V-Day: lots of mating rituals, courtship waltzes, and cute animals nuzzling up to one another – most notable a couple of typecast love doves, being all lovey dovey. 

But after a while, things go a bit Natural Born Killers and, in next to no time, the animals are all jealously beating each other up and having mindless violent sex for the sake of it. Wild Romance has got it all: seductive spiders, macho mallards, and pornographic puffins playing away. (Pufffins ! Never did trust ’em.) 

There’s trouble ahead though when the narrator begins to analyse “why anyone should form a loving twosome.” 

Flares go up, alarm bells start ringing and a full-scale GERMAINE GREER ALERT is declared. Take the female march harrier, for example, accused of shamelessly shacking up with any male who puts food on the table (the bird table). 

Then there are birds like the Single White mallard who plays off all the bloke birds who fancy her against each other, then watches them knock feathers off one another, and swans off with the most macho duck in the pond. Just like another Saturday night down The Pink Coconut.

Most of the other females only move in with their partners because he does all the DIY for them and gives them a nice nest. The little male wren has to build as many as 12 nests to impress the bird he fancies, poor sod. 

Elsewhere, it turns out the original new man was not a features writer for a men’s magazine after all, but a male cotton-top tamarind monkey who spends his life baby-sitting the kids and being hen-pecked while his wife spends her life sitting in the tress peeling bananas and beautifying herself.

Even with the male moorhen, the girls are basically only after his body (to incubate their eggs), although for once, the females do the fighting while the male sizes up the contenders. When he’s made up his mind, he leaps into the fray himself, finishes off the loser, and them, to add insult to injury, has a roll in the hay with the winner. Good work fella !

The show keeps looking for love and finds it eventually with a couple of prairie voles going at it, like, er rabbits, for 10, 20, even 40 hours after which, let’s face it, it’s got to be love.

Meanwhile, in Revelations, that naked couple are still coupling away over the credits (in the font). This week’s church scenes are shot exactly like the ones in The Bad Lieutenant and Edward (the bishop) has obviously gone a bit Harvey Keitel on us. 

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad,” he quotes, obviously not feeling quite his usual self. Actually, Edward wants to go to the police (Edward the Confessor) as he is still tormented by guilt after pushing his pregnant mistress down the stairs; another natural born killer.

It’s his and Jessica’s anniversary and she spends it helping her son Gabriel get over his attempted heroin overdose and showing Rachel (Gabriel’s wife) how to help her husband jack up. 

And they say romance is dead.


Moving Pictures: 8.20pm-9.10pm, Sun, BBC2

A Wild Romance, 9.30pm-10pm, Tue, BBC1

Revelations: 10.40pm-11.10pm, Thurs, Carlton