I don’t think I could bear to choose my 10 favorite episodes (I love them all too much!), and yet I had no hesitation when picking my top fave: The Nightmare of Milky Joe.
Why Milky Joe? Because I agree with Noel when he says it’s the best thing they ever wrote. Beyond it merely being extremely funny and absurd, Howard and Vince’s isolation (yes, go ahead, sing the song) for 90% of the episode means that there are no distractions, no subplots, no other characters they didn’t imagine themselves, nothing to get in the way of what this episode is about. And what it’s about, at heart, is Howard and Vince (both individually and as a pair) and their relationship. The dream-architecture of the episode means that what happens on the island is EXPLICITLY about what’s inside their heads and hearts–they made it all, so it absolutely tells us stuff about them: the stuff they don’t talk about, the stuff that’s unspoken but there all the same, bubbling under the surfaces of their personas and banter and superficial habits.
So what kind of stuff is there? Well, there’s the essential clash between Howard and Vince’s life philosophies and temperaments, for a start. Howard can’t help but bemoan his tragic fate and all the things he’s lost (even though he never actually had them), convinced that only misery and tragedy are profound, while Vince is, as ever, focused on the brightest side of things (without acknowledging the loss, tellingly) and trying to bloom where he’s planted. Their unusual situation puts that contrast into much sharper relief than it usually is, though, and that leads to them arguing over the boundaries (and lack thereof) between them… and from there, it’s a short trip to all their anxieties and fears and coping mechanisms: Howard’s intense fear that he’ll eventually push away everybody he loves (meaning: Vince) and end up all alone, his only slightly less intense fear that he’s a masochist and doesn’t actually know how to make himself happy (dreaming up a cultured “friend” who’s a boring, disloyal tit, as well as an abusive marriage), Vince’s deep fear that he’ll never be good enough (especially smart or sophisticated enough) for Howard and will eventually get rejected by him in favor of clever, cultured people like Milky Joe, Vince’s desire to win back Howard’s attention by making him jealous (“Look! I’ve got a girlfriend! Look, I’ve got TWO girlfriends! Look, I’ve got a crowd of people who all love me!!!”). But even that can’t tear them apart for good; even their own inner fears and foibles can’t sabotage their friendship. When Howard finally stands up to Precious by admitting out loud that thing he thinks but never says–that he DOES think Vince is good for him–it’s an epiphany.
All that, and it’s funny, too! I could talk about this episode all day, but the bottom line is this: there is no better episode about these two characters–or about the partnership that created them.
There’s been no shortage in this fandom of nana-based looks–it’s become a THING for us–but the Glam Goth Rock Star Nanas of the Future Sailors tour era are definitely my favorites, even over classic Glamour Nana.
I’m not sure what it is that makes it work so well. It’s just a nana dress, prim cardigan and a strand of pearls… then again, maybe it’s the fact that they’re paired with Alice Cooper eye makeup, gold boots with fuck-me heels, and a whole lot of attitude. It’s not a combination that seems like it should be either beautiful or outrageously sexy in theory, but it’s improbably BOTH of those things in reality. Maybe it’s because Noel and Julian had never before looked so at ease at embracing their rock star destinies. Maybe it’s the contrasts that make it work. Maybe it’s so wrong it’s right. Maybe we all have nana fetishes.
I don’t know why it works so well. But there’s no question that it does.
My favourite bit of music by The Boosh is when they did Married On The Morrow in the Live Lounge. I love the song anyway but when they do it live its so great as you can tell how talented they really are!
I admit, I was tempted to upload something that said “Error: file not found,” because I have not been fortunate enough to have any personal encounters with the Boosh or the people behind it. But then I realized that I had to go with Noelian Heights, because that WAS a great experience, and no less so for not being in person.
I was lucky enough to be in the fandom already at that time, and we’d all been restless, wondering about the direction of the Boosh. They hadn’t done anything together since Zappafest. A certain amount of dread had begun to set in. Leading up to the finals, Noel promised us on Twitter that he had “a cheeky little twist up [his] red sleeve,” and there was a lot of speculation about what that twist might be. Could Julian possibly be involved? A lot of people wondered, but it seemed so unlikely, since Julian HATES that kind of thing.
And then came the day of the final. Noel did his dance, just as he had before; there were no twists or alterations that we could see. (We were all breathlessly watching either on television or via live stream.) And then! Then! Noel looked up and off stage with that MASSIVE cheeky grin. And Julian came on, gone Full Heathcliff! And Noel beamed like a thousand suns when Julian crossed that stage and gestured to him and said, “Come on, Little Man,” and he leaped into Julian’s arms and they twirled around, as Julian swept him off the stage in true romance novel fashion. I remember the shock and the amazement and the joy, both watching it and afterward. Had this really happened?!? Was it a collective hallucination?
But no, it was real, and it was their message to and for the fans: we’re still here, we still love each other, we know you’re going to love this. And we did. We really did. We were high on happiness. How many fandoms give you THIS?