Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy: Episode Six Review
The four thieves and the Metal geezer accidentally drive Disaster Areas ship away without actually managing to know how they did it. Gradually it dawns on them that this is, in fact, Disaster Areas’ stunt ship. It is headed for a ‘gig’ and more specifically, certain distruction at the centre of the local star!
Zaphod is understandably worried. He tries to explain to Arthur why they are having difficulty with the controls…. “Every time I try to operate one of these weird controls, which is labelled black on a black background, a small black light lights up black to let you know you’ve done it!”
Then they suddenly see a light informing them that, ‘THIRD STAGE AUTO PILOT ACTIVATED’. They are all speeding towards the centre of a sun! Arthur however, manages to find a teleport system. Ford examines the gizmo only to find that someone has to stay behind to operate it. They all look to Marvin. Poor Marvin is chosen to stay back and grudgingly ushers them all to get into the teleport machine. Zaphod and Trillian are beamed somewhere – we never see them again.
Arthur and Ford arrive in the corridor of a spaceship. It is noticeable that they seem to have changed clothes mid-flight. Suddenly they hear the patter of big feet and cower behind a corner. They pattering feet seem to be a group of rather ordinary, but rather overweight joggers who purposefully run past uneventfully.
The two stumble across a large room with hundreds (if not thousands) of cryogenic chambers containing people with labels such as ‘telephone sanitiser’. Suddenly, they’re moment of discovery is interrupted by an armed geezer wearing a naval officers uniform. He takes them off to meet his superior. “Why isn’t anyone pleased to see us?” Arthur protests as he raises his arms.
The prisoners are introduced to the captain of the large spaceship purposefully whizzing through space. Unusually, the captain is on the bridge immersed in a very large erm…. bath Yes BATH! This rather well spoken captain is publicly taking a bath on the bridge of his spaceship! He greets the prisoners and asks ‘Number Three’ if he would get drinks for everyone.
The oppressive ‘Number one’ menacingly asks what they would like to drink. Ford inquires as to where they are where they are heading. The obliging captain tells them that they are Golgafrinchams on a mission to find a new planet (the old one was eaten by an enormous mutant Star Goat!) with a ship full of frozen hair dressers, security guards, management consultants, hair dressers etc. Ford and Arthur listen to the story of the Golgafrincham exodus with disbelief. It is clear that the Golgafrinchams on that particular ship were erm…. ‘got rid of’ and Ford and Arthur seem to be the only ones able to appreciate this.
Arthur and Ford recognise the planet and decide to embark on a trip to Norway to see if it has a crinkly coastline. It does!
When they return (beards and all), they approach the Golgafrincham settlement to find a meeting of the colonisation committee in progress. They haven’t even managed to begin work on building houses or indeed any structures, but they have managed to re-name Earth, Flintlewoodlewitz.
Ford watches in horror as the middle people conduct themselves in a well-organised meeting in which there would be much discussion and debate and where ultimately, nothing would be resolved. Ford concludes that they are a doomed race – they haven’t even invented fire yet!
A marketing consultant comes to the aid of her colleagues, “You’re obviously being totally naive about that (the invention of fire). When you’ve been in marketing as long as I have, you know that before any new product can be developed it has to be properly researched. I mean, we’ve got to find out what people want from fire, you know, how they relate to it, the image…”
“Stick it up your nose.” Adds Ford……
“Which is precisely the thing we need to know.” The consultant adds. She continues, “I mean, do people want fire that can be fitted nasally.”
It transpires that she is responsible for the development of the wheel. She admits to running up against a few problems. A disbelieving Ford explains that the wheel is the simplest machine known to man! The marketing consultant holds up a rather poor excuse for a wheel and retorts, “Ok wise guy, you tell us what colour it should be?”
Ford wonders off and joins Arthur. He is aimlessly trying to explain to a native (one of his ancestors) how to play scrabble (honestly, Arthur is almost as bad as a Golgafrincham). Ford tries to explain to Arthur that it is the Golgafrinchams that will colonise the Earth, not the next generations of cavemen.
They soon notice however that one of the cavemen has produced the words ‘forty two’ on the scrabble board. In a vain attempt to derive some reasoning for their presence, they try to randomly draw letters out of the scrabble bag to see if they can find the answer to the question, to the answer to Life the Universe and Everything.
Arthur pulls out the letters:
W H A T D O Y O U G E T I F Y O U
M U L T I P L Y S I X B Y N I N E
The two sit back in despair. “All for that?” Arthur adds. “Its very sad you know, at the moment, it’s a very beautiful planet, then in two million years it gets destroyed by the Vogons! What a life for a young planet to look forward to, what a waste.”
Ford concludes with a rather philosophical attitude, “Well, better than some. I read of one planet in the seventh dimension that got used it as a ball in an intergalactic game of bar billiards, got potted straight into a black whole killing ten billion people! only scored thirty points too”
Arthur asks, “Where did you read that?”
Ford answers, “In the book, the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.”
“Oh,” replies Arthur, “That old thing“.
The series ends to the background music of “What a Wonderful World“.
Every time I see that ending I shed a little tear. I can’t decide if it’s because the show is over, or because I’m sitting on a doomed Earth, or simply because I’m a SadGeezer decended from a Golgafrincham. Whatever, The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy is one of the worlds classic SF comedy stories and has enriched millions of peoples lives for decades – this SadGeezer is happier because of it.
Cheers Doug! We owe you a pint mate!
(posthumously I guess) 🙁
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The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy episode reviews are © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl. Not for reproduction without the authors express permission
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of The British Broadcasting Corporation & the Douglas Adams estate.