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Voodoo Joe

I Am Iron Man...

It’s Robin Hood time, you know the drill:

This week we open in the depths of Sherwood Forest where four kids are playing at Robin Hood! At this point we establish that only two of the kids can speak, the other two are seemingly mute as they don’t say a single line in the entire episode. They’re either Hungarian or the script called for two silent kids to stand in the background and look slightly worried at all times. They are so inconsequential they don’t even have names. The kids run around a bit and eventually come across Goth Guy and a few of his ill-dressed guards. The guards shoot arrows, firing squad style, at a prisoner wearing a breastplate. The arrows bounce off leaving the victim unharmed. Guy then rewards for the prisoner for his help in the experiment by stabbing him with his tiny-curved-dagger-of-instant-death. The kids gasp and Guy chases them around for a while until he captures three of them. One gets away and runs into Robin Hood who helps him escape.

So the evil pantomime villain scheme of the week is the Sheriff’s plan to hire a blacksmith to forge suits of plate made from Damascus steel, this will make his army of evil invincible. Damascus steel made very sharp and hard blades, not armour. But hey, I’ll let them use some artistic licence here. Oh dear, now the process needs ‘black diamonds’. What? The Sheriff has a handy supply of these magic diamonds (probably culled from his treacle mine) so his suits can be constructed right away. These diamonds can be crushed in a mortar and pestle and then burned. Um, Sheriff? Isn’t that maybe, coal?

The kids are held at the camp of evil in Locksley village. The Sheriff reprimands Guy for leaving the captured kids alive and doesn’t like Guy’s plan to have the kids work in the treacle mine. The Merry Men assemble to rescue the children while Robin decides to steal the black diamonds. What follows is possibly the greatest rescue scene ever committed to television.

Little John and Will carefully cut a hole in the wooden wall of the stable the kids are in and begin to evacuate them one by one. The final child is tied to a chain that is anchored to the ground. Little John sends Will to get help and waits all of 2 seconds before thinking, “Fuck it” and bursts through the wall like the Incredible Hulk (complete with slo-mo). He then roars and manages to tear the chain out of the ground. The Sheriff’s guards prove that they’re not sleeping on the job this week and burst into the barn to find out what the shouting is all about. At this moment Little John uses his knowledge of The Tick to form the Two-Headed, Four-Armed, Engine Of Justice – he hoists the kid on his shoulders and gives him a plank of wood and says, “Protect me from above!”

It was hilarious. I had to compose myself after that line and pause the show for a few minutes.

Surprisingly this tactic works as the inept guards are defeated. Wow. Just goes to show, if you’re in a tight spot stick a kid on your head, arm him with a plank and you’ll get through it!

Robin tries to steal the diamonds and ends up in a brawl with Guy. The fight rumbles along until Guy is shot by a kid with a catapult (the little hand-held kind, not a piece of siege equipment, although that would be pretty funny) and does what all the villains do when shot by scrappy kids – he falls over and allows the good guys to escape. I’m glad to see that the writers watched the British Children’s Film Foundation specials as kids.

As usual the Merry Men screw something up and they manage to let the kid who escaped from Guy in the first scene, captured. Still, they rescued three other kids so I guess it’s a profit. A hostage exchange is arranged between the Sheriff and Robin for the kid and the diamonds. But first they try to rescue the kid before the exchange by sending Alan “I’m not a traitor, honest” A-Dale to sneak into the castle disguised as a guard and steal the kid away. Alan A-Dale reports to Guy instead and reports on Robin’s plans. He also tells Guy of Robin’s plans to blow up the diamond box during the exchange, using a flaming arrow and some pitch. Yes, pitch. How were they going to put pitch in the diamond box and not have the Sheriff notice? “Thanks for returning the diamonds Robin but you seem to have covered the diamonds in some gooey black stuff. Actually, I don’t want to know what you’ve been doing to this box, you deviant.” The plan is just so flawed it’s not even a plan. Robin may as well have used this plan – “Okay while I hand over the box, you men set fire to a nearby building and I’ll kick the Sheriff in the nuts. In the confusion I’ll run off with the kid and the diamonds!”

Alan A-Dale gets beaten by Guy to make his failure look convincing to Robin. Hilariously there’s hardly a scratch on Alan in the next scene. Guy must hit like a limp-wristed fop. We also get to see Marian’s dad actually look ill this week. I bet she’s slowly poisoning him though.

The exchange goes ahead the next day. The Sheriff knows all about Robin’s plan and puts the diamonds in a bag. Robin’s carefully constructed plan is ruined! Then Guy emerges in a suit of indestructible armour and lumbers toward Robin. There’s some swordplay but that’s soon dropped for comedy brawling as Guy walks around like a B-movie monster and throws Robin through fences and walls. Guess the steel armour gives him super strength too. Eventually Robin throws pitch on Guy and then shoots him with a flaming arrow. Guy is set on fire and falls in a conveniently placed, large tub of water. Robin threatens to drown him, the Sheriff doesn't care. Marian threatens to knife the blacksmith, so the Sheriff finally gives in and hands over the diamonds and the kid. The diamonds are placed in the tiniest camp fire ever (it’s one step up from a match) and they burn away. England is safe from indestructible armoured idiots!

The kids are inducted into the Merry Men and everyone laughs and cheers like an episode of Thundercats. Yay! This programme should be on CBBC really but then it would actually hamper kids' development, so I guess it's safer on Saturday nights where misanthrope 29 year olds can watch it and laugh. I think this show does the same damage to your brain as a night of heavy binge drinking. I think the government should fund my study - for the benefit of SCIENCE!