|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic • Source • Setting|
I can hear the sound of empires toppling.
The Doctor and Ace visit the planet of Terra Alpha, where unhappiness has been outlawed, and people who can't keep a smile on their face at all times have a tendency to... disappear.
Two characters from the story are particularly remembered: Helen A, the dictator, who bears a striking resemblance to Margaret Thatcher (deliberate, Word of God would later say); and the Kandy Man, a killer robot made out of candy, who bears a striking resemblance to the advertising mascot Bertie Bassett (not deliberate, but the BBC got in trouble from Bassetts all the same).
- Amazon Brigade: The Happiness Patrol.
- Bittersweet Ending: Helen A is finally forced to confront her sadness upon the death of her beloved pet. However, her government is overthrown and the people are free to experience whatever emotions they damn well want, happy or sad.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Susan Q disarming Daisy K.
- Bond One-Liner: As it's immediately after the vicious execution of a political prisoner, done as a Kick the Dog.
- The Chessmaster: The Doctor manages to orchestrate the complete collapse of a ruthless despotic society over the course of a single evening.
- Continuity Nod: The Doctor tells Ace that the Brigadier once saw a triceratops in the London Underground.
- Covered in Gunge: In a decidedly non-comedic version -- Helen A's favourite execution method involves large quantities of hot strawberry fondant, either suffocating you or scalding you to death.
- Crap Saccharine World: You really have to squint to see the Sugar Bowl, though.
- Creator Cameo: Director Chris Clough voices Fifi.
- Culture Police: The titular Patrol. A rather creepy use of the trope, as they go beyond enforcing any kind of culture...
- Deadly Euphemism: "Disappearance".
- Defector From Decadence: Susan Q.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The story has generated a lot of discussion about the political meanings and agendas behind a lot of what's going on, particularly concerning 1980s politics and gay rights among others; Helen A and her cronies are stand-ins for Margaret Thatcher and her government, a young woman describing her realization that she was 'unhappy' is played as if she was coming out of the closet in another sense, and so forth.
- Dystopian Edict
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: They don't appear, but Ace seems to believe this; at the beginning of the episode she's excitedly begging the Doctor if they can go see some.
- Evil Chef: The Kandyman.
- Faux Affably Evil: The Kandyman. He considers himself a confectionery artist even though his talents are used more for executing dissidents.
- Fascist but Inefficient: Terra Alpha is clearly starting to fall apart at the seams when the Doctor gets there, but he manages to press the right buttons to bring down Helen A's government entirely.
- Fascists' Bed Time
- Five-Bad Band:
- Fluffy the Terrible
- Glurge Addict: Helen A.
- Happiness Is Mandatory: And if you're not happy, you get the death penalty.
- Implicit Prison: The waiting areas are specifically NOT prisons ... but step over the line that marks the edge of the area, and "you're a dead man".
- Killer Robot: Made of candy.
- Love Hurts: Between Helen A's ruthless Stepford Smiler persona and determination to be utterly happy at all costs and her strangely bitter-yet-wistful retort upon the Doctor's accusation that her perfect world is a world without love that "I always thought love is overrated," it's implied that something like this might be lurking somewhere in Helen A's backstory.
- Mad Artist: The Kandyman is a mad culinary artist.
- Motive Rant: Helen A delivers one at the end during her confrontation with the Doctor.
- My Card
- One-Letter Name: All the Terra Alphans have a personal name followed by a single letter indicating their social rank.
- Police State
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Seventh Doctor continues his grand tradition of beating his enemies down with speeches that deconstruct their flaws and weaknesses, firstly with the sniper he confronts on the rooftops, and then finally Helen A herself.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Gilbert M and Joseph C. Together.
- The use of letters as surnames recalls "Josef K" in The Trial.
- Ace relates the plot of Mark Dinning's "death disc" song "Teen Angel".
- Susan Q, the Happiness Patrol member who does a Heel Face Turn, is probably named in reference to Dale Hawkins's R & B song "Susie Q".
- Sociopathic Soldier: Priscilla P
- Stepford Smiler: An entire culture of them, led by a Margaret Thatcher No Celebrities Were Harmed who enforces this way of life with the death penalty.
- Take Me To Their Leader
- Talking Your Way Out: Faced with an enthusiastic sniper, the Doctor simply goes up and demands that the sniper shoot him, end his life; the sniper gives up. Surprisingly not played as a CMOA at all as it ends up making the Doctor look a little... creepy - both snipers are really unnerved at the end.
- Creepy or not, however, the Doctor still talks a fanatic into doubting and rejecting all his convictions under the space of a minute while having a gun pointed at him the whole time, which is impressive to say the least.
- Uncanny Valley Makeup: All the Terra Alpha characters. Gilbert M and Joseph C take theirs off while running away together, which doesn't actually make it any less homoerotic.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The Kandy Man can be rendered immobile with a quick spray of lemonade to his feet.
- What Could Have Been: This story was orginally planned to be filmed in black-and-white to compliment its Film Noir-ish atmosphere.
- You Gotta Have Pink Hair: Helen A and The Happiness Patrol.
- Villainous Breakdown: Helen A is clearly struggling with things but manages to hold on with stiff (yet happy) upper lip more-or-less maintained until she discovers her pet dog Fifi, the only thing she has ever loved, is dead.