Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 23:23 on 13-06-2010, Dan H
For what it's worth, I'm playing a new game in my head of assuming that spoiler tags are just censoring out things which are unfit for publication.

Particularly Jamie informing us that social convention makes it quite unacceptable for
something something something
. I certainly hope nobody is
something something something in public.
at 23:05 on 13-06-2010, Jamie Johnston
Yes, though also social convention still makes it slightly less acceptable for
her to make a move on him than vice versa
, and more importantly
she has the slight redeeming feature that even if she was too wet to actually tell him how she felt she was at least not-wet enough to break out of the cycle by leaving the country and doing something she wanted to do that didn't revolve around her relationship with him.
at 22:42 on 13-06-2010, Arthur B
To be fair, I don't think
there's anything "secret" about Sophie's feelings for Craig, except from Craig's POV. The opening scenes made it quite clear to me that they were caught in this cycle of wanting to admit to their feelings for each other but both being very slightly too wet to actually do it.

The difficulty here is that
we spend far more time with Craig than with Sophie over the course of the episode proper, and tend to see things from his point of view rather than Sophie's, so for most of the episode we only see his dithering and not hers. Whereas in the opening scenes we're actually given a more neutral point of view from which we can see both of them dithering.
at 20:40 on 13-06-2010, Jamie Johnston
@ Viorica: Interesting question. I felt the episode as a whole and the Doctor himself were fairly clear that
both Craig and Sophie were being quite rubbish. They did it in the standard New Who way of being all supportive and encouraging them to be better rather than saying 'you're rubbish', but still. It's always kind of unsettling when Object Of Nice Guy's Affections turns out to have been secretly in love with Nice Guy all along.
Ideally maybe the Doctor would have
persuaded Craig to admit his secret love and then have him get rejected and then get him to understand that that's still a better outcome for his self-respect and his treatment of other people than if he'd carried on as before.
But that would perhaps be rather beyond the emotional scope and the 45-minute time-slot of an episode of Doctor Who.
at 19:23 on 13-06-2010, Shim
Not satisfied with reviewing the literary merit of Warhammer 40,000 novels? Behold!
at 18:35 on 13-06-2010, Viorica
Ah, so it was an actor problem then? (I mean, aside from the script condining his douchey Nice Guy behaviour)
at 18:26 on 13-06-2010, Arthur B
@Viorica: It doesn't help that James Corden just plain isn't very likable.
at 17:49 on 13-06-2010, Andy G
@ Viorica: I think he came across like that, I don't think it was intentional.
at 15:18 on 13-06-2010, Viorica
For those who watched the episode, do you think
that they were intentionally making Craig a Nice Guy, or did they think that he was sweet just too shy to tell Sophie how he felt? If it's the latter, I can see what they were going for, but . . . he just came off as creepy. And I can see the sweet and shy trope working- I quite like it when it's well-handled- but it didn't work here.
at 11:12 on 13-06-2010, Dan H
Unless the whole teaser was a massive misdirection.

To be fair, this would *not* be entirely unheard of...

The phrase "this is the day I died" springs to mind.
at 02:05 on 13-06-2010, Andy G
And one spoiler-ish thing I noticed about this episode:

It made me watch football when I was deliberately trying not to!
at 21:46 on 12-06-2010, Andy G
Two (non-spoilerish) things I've noticed about this series:

1) Each episode seems to start with the Doctor turning up at a different place or time than intended
2) Tonight's episode was the only one in a contemporary urban setting
at 19:37 on 12-06-2010, Jamie Johnston
I switch channels immediately I see the 'NEXT TIME' screen. Being very sensitive to spoilers gives one excellent spoiler-avoidance reflexes. :)
at 19:35 on 12-06-2010, Arthur B
I feel the teaser for the next episode gave too much away, though - it's blatantly
the Doctor
inside that big box. Unless the whole teaser was a massive misdirection.
at 19:29 on 12-06-2010, Jamie Johnston
Fab Who is fab.
at 19:19 on 12-06-2010, Arthur B
It's not even three-quarters over and I already love the latest episode of Doctor Who, mainly because it involves the Doctor being a complete dick to James Corden.
at 15:15 on 12-06-2010, Dan H
Fuckin' Magnets: How do they work?
at 23:44 on 11-06-2010, Arthur B
I like it but I think people should acquaint themselves with the source of the quote first. ;)

Though an Objectivist version of The Wicker Man could be pretty fun.
at 23:15 on 11-06-2010, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Apropos of nothing, this is a joke that works on about two levels.
at 12:21 on 11-06-2010, Arthur B
I'm also not entirely sure that this encounter isn't just evidence of an overzealous NPC mount script - most people will try to steal your horse. I'm pretty sure Kyra's got of her horse to rescue a man being attacked by wolves and had the exact same thing happen.

There's definitely a horse thief random encounter coded into the game - I've found people in the wilderness yelling "help, help, can you please give me a ride?" and then when I stop by them they shove me off my horse and gallop off. (And then get shot in the head. And then I set fire to their body because nobody fucks with my horse.)

It's always been a man, so far.
at 12:03 on 11-06-2010, Dan H
I'm afraid that, like Arthur, I'm kind of unconvinced. Sorry to go into lengthy-rebuttal territory but:

Point one (all women are horse thieves) is based on one respawning random encounter in which a woman tries to steal your horse. The random encounters in the game respawn, which means you will get the same more than once. Also, as Arthur points out, there's a huge number of male horse thieves in the game, and curiously the columnist doesn't take this as evidence that all the men in the game are horse thieves. I'm also not entirely sure that this encounter isn't just evidence of an overzealous NPC mount script - most people will try to steal your horse. I'm pretty sure Kyra's got of her horse to rescue a man being attacked by wolves and had the exact same thing happen.

Point two is about glitches. It's this that almost made me assume the article was a parody.

Point three I'll give them, it's one of those situations where "fidelity to genre expectations" steps over into "actually unacceble".

Point four is just how this sort of game works. Shooting *anybody* nets you a tiny slap on the wrist and you really can just tie up anyone you want and carry them off. There's no gender discrimination in the way these things are implemented as far as I know, except insofar as the penalties are harsher for killing marshals and government officials who - since the game is set in 1911 - are all male.

Point five, as Arthur points out, isn't entirely fair. There are certainly *fewer* female questgivers, and therefore it's easier to make a pattern out of them, but the only person who really gives you mundane domestic tasks is Bonnie, who's effectively the tutorial level. And as Arthur points out, a lot of those tasks are actually to introduce specific minigames for things you actually do a lot of in the game (or can if you want).

Point six is the one that really gets me, because the complaint seems to be that the prostitutes *aren't attractive enough*. Anybody who considers "doesn't glamourize the sex trade" to be evidence of "hating women" might almost be considered to have issues of their own...

I mean ultimately Red Dead Redemption is a Rockstar game, and Rockstar aren't exactly known for their sensitivity to gender issues, but most of the specific criticisms made in that post are just off the mark.
at 10:57 on 11-06-2010, Arthur B
Point number 5 is just plain wrong. I really enjoyed the farm missions Bonnie gives you (HORSE BREAKING, people, HORSE BREAKING). There's also Luisa, a Mexican woman who gives you missions based around plenty of egregious violence - including
ambushing and massacring a Mexican army supply convoy

Some of the other points are entirely legit, but the "women don't give you violent missions" thing is just nuts. It's only true if a) you ignore all the women who give you violent missions, b) you ignore all the times men give you nonviolent fetch quests and racing missions.

(Also, 100% of the horse thieves I've encounter so far were men.)
at 10:07 on 11-06-2010, Viorica
6 Things Red Dead Redemption Taught Me About (Hating) Women. For a comedy website, Cracked is remarkably feminist-friendly.

. . . I'm going to go ponder how sad a statement that is.
at 22:01 on 10-06-2010, Jamie Johnston
Wonderella! No further comment - busy laughing my way through the archive.