Monday, 27 May 2013

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! #33



This week's FIGHT is written by Colleen Cheetham-Gerrard.


It is entirely possible to have a fight with yourself.

Firstly, you can go all metaphysical:

Your conscience's dilemmas.

Your desire to eat chocolate when you're on a diet. Or a boat. Or a funeral procession.

Your urge to check Facebook when you should be writing a blogpost for a friend which makes you feel bad and requires immediate happiness-boosting chocolate.

You can fight with inner demons though outer ones are much more visually satisfying.

You can also physically punch yourself when under the influence of a particularly cruel and depressingly resourceful bully.

And yet, what we all secretly wonder what it would be like to actually fight ourselves. We've all seen that episode of Star Trek.

Really, you have to wonder. Would you deliberately pummel yourself?

Would both of you have the same thoughts at the same time, or would there be subtle differences?

Would you just be constantly matching punch for punch, the only things getting damaged your knuckles, your sense of pride, and possibly a sensible narrative?

Would it be an evil version of yourself? All beardy and with tiny eyes like marbles? Or maybe the better version of yourself? Or just yourself, mirrored down to the last atom, fighting over the very right to breathe on the same plane of existence?

Of course, there is no way to find out.

No sensible way, anyway.

You'll just have to dream. Or punch a mirror.

(Don't punch a mirror, just in case you're in a country without socialised medicine; I don't want to be liable for your bills.)



EDITOR'S NOTE: Go on, punch a mirror.



FIGHT #33

 

LEELA
vs
LEELA


WHO THEY THEN? 




Leela is the one-eyed captain of the Planet Express ship in the 30th century, delivering packages acros galaxies with the earnest hinderings of a frequently non-committal crew. Brought up believing herself to be the last of a mysterious cyclopic race, she is in fact a mutant from the New York city sewers. Fully capable in martial arts, if not in depth perception, Leela is a fierce environmentalist in a marginally-more-complicated-than-usual relationship with her co-worker, Philip J. Fry. For more information on Leela, see Matt Groening's Futurama, despite the fact it has so far managed to be cancelled twice whilst The Simpsons staggers on unto eternity.




Leela is a companion of the fourth Doctor; a warrior of the Sevateem tribe from a far and distant future. That said, she is human, probably because of the continual squeeze on Doctor Who budgets. Leela is a fierce warrior with a tendency to try and stab people on a very small amount of provocation, a strong sense of danger, and what are charmingly referred to as 'savage' manners. She wears a leather bikini more than is strictly practical. For more information on Leela, see her nine story run in 1970s Doctor Who. Doctor Who, to be fair, was only cancelled once (assuming you don't refer to 1986's hiatus as 'Let's cancel this show only to hastily backtrack when it turned out we'd pissed off several million people and the papers saw a chance to exploit things').




THEY PACKING MUCH HEAT?


Leela hails from the 30th century, and as such has the dubious advantages that the technology brings her. Unfortunately, the good ship Planet Express is designed as a courier ship, and as such is fairly limited in its offensive capabilities. (Contemporary cycle couriers' main weaponry is simply to run into you at high speed as the rider realises he is forty minutes late). However, Leela is a great tactical leader and is also fairly kickass in the field of kicking ass. Many a bad guy has been clobbered by a flying kick from her awesome leather boots.

Leela is from a primitive and backwards planet and just carries stuff like knives, and poison darts in the form of lethal Janus Thorns. As you do. She has a lesser sense of tactical planning, but has equal power in terms of flying kicks through the medium of holding knives to throats and general awesomeness. She spends a lot of her time on the TARDIS, which is fairly useless at navigation but generally speaking not too bad at defence. Or would be, if anyone ever remembered to use it. It is also, apparently, silly.




THEIR BACK: WHO HAS IT?


Leela has a crew of general misfits, including an alcoholic robot, a recently defrosted human left over from the 20th century, an elderly Professor with a penchant for nudity and inventing things no-one asked for, and a limbo-dancing accountant. They quite often manage to save the day, but no one is ever quite sure how.

Leela is technically a member of a crew of general misfits, which during her duration was basically herself and a robot dog (probably not an alcoholic, but we're not ruling it out). However, the TARDIS is run (to a greater or lesser extent) by the Doctor, a Time Lord of immense importance and power, with a legend writ over the universe. Sort of. His very name is unknowable/knowable/a massive anticlimax (delete as applicable).

Leela, it must be said, also has a Doctor. He does have a name, and it is Zoidberg. Whilst modern day Doctor Who theorising would angst for a long time over which Doctor was more dangerous to his companions, in the short term you'd probably not want Zoidberg hovering over you, pincers clicking wildly and begging for some money, maybe some food.

A distant cousin of Zoidberg appears during the cliffhanger for The Power of Kroll Part One (See FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!#32).


NUANCES AND WHATNOT


Whilst I would like it to be known that female characters in sci-fi being reduced to their love interests is both boring and anti-feminist, we have to make something reasonably clear here. Both of the Leelas have disastrous love lives. Leela has managed to sleep with Zapp Branigan, and has an on-off romance with Fry, the aforementioned recently defrosted human. If anything, it disproves the adage 'Aim low and you'll never be disappointed'.


The other married literally the most boring Time Lord to have ever guarded Gallifrey very badly from an alien invasion in a shock ending to The Invasion of Time. It was such a shock that the characters didn't seem to realise until the last minute. Or, indeed, the actors. Or the director. It took me several seconds as a viewer to spit tea all over my tea-bag replica of Tom Baker.

Neither Leela, really, can rely on romantic entanglements here.


IT'S CLOBBERING TIME



Inside the Planet Express building, there was a sudden wheezing, groaning noise. “Professor!” shouted Leela. “What have you broken this time?”

There was no response from Professor Farnsworth's lab. Not for the first time, Leela debated looking for a new job, reconciled herself with the fact that the economy never really did recover from the slump of the early 21st Century, sighed and headed up the stairs. She is bewildered by the sight of the Professor slippers sticking out from underneath a large blue box with the words 'POLICE BOX' emblazoned on the side. Her loud exclamations of horror – who was going to sign the pay-cheques now? - was quickly overridden by the door of the box opening. A tall man stepped out, wearing an impractical scarf and a ridiculous hat.

You... you... the Professor!” howled Leela, pointing at him in horror.

No, no, I'm the Doctor!” the tall man said, smiling widely. “I can see how you made the mistake. What a fascinating laboratory, I can see why the TARDIS was attracted here!”

Blinded with rage, Leela launched herself at the Doctor with a flying kick. Her triumphant “Heeee-yah!” was interrupted midflow by a small blurry woman in a bikini grabbing her ponytail and flipping her over.

Leela!” admonished the Doctor. Both women turned around.

Yes?” they said together.

Leela gasped. “You're called Leela?”

The other woman – wearing, it must be said a truly impractical bikini for winter in New New York – frowned. “Who are you to steal my name and try to hurt the Doctor, one eye?” She gave the ponytail another sharp tug.

Oh, you had to pull the race card!” howled Leela, and flipped herself over, startling Leela into letting go of her ponytail. She quickly launched herself at the bikini-clad women, barrelling into her with the rage that only a woman with fairly deep identity issues can possess. Leela was no weak match though, and fought her back punch for punch.

Meanwhile, Fry and Bender had come up the stairs to stand by the Doctor. “Well, I must say, this is certainly a different welcome to a planet,” said the Doctor, making no attempt to intervene. “Where am I, anyway? I was expecting something a little different...”

In the background, the ponytailed Leela had just tried to kick the bikini-clad Leela, only to be averted by the superior speed and distance-judging abilities of the latter.

You're on Earth, dumbass,” said Bender. The Doctor looked carefully at the robot.

30th century? New New York? This wasn't what I was expecting.”

Where were you expecting? Some kind of New New York with nuns that look like cats, and seemingly miraculous yet suspicious medical technology?” Bender sniggered. “That would be stupid.”

Should we, you know, try and stop them?” asked Fry, although sounding a little reluctant. Leela was now trying to avoid the blades wielded viciously by Leela, although the latter was always carefully making sure any bloodshed was minimal and suitable for the potential rage of Mary Whitehouse. Where the blades had actually been hidden was a mystery to all concerned, and Fry had been looking closely. Leela had no such compunction against bloodshed, though, and was focussing her rage on headshots.

This is getting silly,” sighed the Doctor, as Leela grabbed a wrench from the Professor's shelf, and tried to throw it at Leela, although missing her mark by several inches. (Lack of depth perception is a very serious hazard.) “K-9! Come and help!”

The door of the blue box opened again, and a small dog whirred out of the box, before promptly stopping. “Master!” it bleated. Bender looked disgusted. “Carpet! Cannot comply!”

Meanwhile, both Leelas were bleeding heavily but still fighting with a surprisingly ferociousness. The fight had bounced against many walls, leaving experimental weaponry and bits of metal scattered against the floor. The one in the leather bikini crouched down for a moment, attempting to make a crude weapon out of the scrap metal that lay strewn about the floor. Ignorance, and the Doctor's reluctance to teach her about advanced weaponry, meant that she ignored several firearms that would have done the job much quicker, passing over several experimental ray guns.

Leela took her chance while the other scrabbled for something sharp, re-bounding against the wall to build up speed and finally knock the Leela out in a ferocious sign of violence that also looked strangely cartoonish.

This is not...honourable...behaviour...” wheezed Leela from the floor, before stopping.

This is ridiculous,” said the Doctor with a sigh, eventually stepping in. “You! Leela! Stop beating Leela about the head! And Leela, this is not civilized behaviour!”

Master!”came the plaintive voice of K-9. “Mistress is injured! Also suspect violent thoughts of the other robot!”

Bender leered. “Bite my shiny metal ass.”

You killed the Professor!” cried Leela, ponytail askew. “Your vessel landed on his head! Who's going to pay us?”

Killed...?” The Doctor looked at the floor, and the slippers. “Oh dear, not again. Come on K-9, back into the TARDIS!”

Quickly, he scooped up Leela and dragged her across the floor, as the robot dog awkwardly manoeuvred back into the TARIS. As the blue box de-materialised, Leela went to crouch by the slippers of the Professor, expecting to see his horribly mangled corpse.

What's all this noise and mess? Oooh, my spare legs,” came a voice from the door.

Professor!” cried the team. “We thought you were dead!”

No, I was out getting tacos with Dr Zoidberg. He'll dance for sachets of relish. What happened?”

Leela beat the crap out of some chick who can't afford clothes,” said Bender succinctly.

Oh.” The Professor thought for a moment. “Well, good news everyone! We'll take this mess out of Leela's paycheque!”


AND THE WINNER IS...

  

  LEELA




There was only ever going to be one winner, really.

(Or, to put it another way, the levels of violence permitted in 1970s BBC never stood a chance to the violence permitted on an American TV network in the 21st century.)

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! will return in:


"GANDHI KILLS A DUCK WITH HIS FISTS"

If you have any suggestions for who you'd like to see square go each other in future FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! articles, please mention them below.

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