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March 22, 2015 12:46 PM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

After receiving an injection of money following the sale of her articles, Daisy returns from her holiday in Asia, but finds it hard to settle back into the flat atmos of play-fighting and repeat viewings of skateboard accidents--and who can blame her? Tim works through his George Lucas/Phantom Menace issues via a Star Wars bonfire, minus the Obi Wan robe he wears, of course. And Mike has moved into Daisy's room after an unfortunate accident (particularly unfortunate for the cat). Matrix Agents (Kevin Eldon and Mark Gatiss) are tracking Daisy and catch up with her at the pub, resulting in a karate-fight specatular.

This episode has John Simm in it as the mysterious stranger she meets while on holiday. American viewers may recognize him from Doctor Who, Life On Mars; he's done plenty of other stuff, as well.

Viewers may recognize references to Manhattan, Apocalypse Now, The Matrix, The Karate Kid, Pulp Fiction, Midnight Express, and Goodfellas. More references for this episode can be found at Fried Gold.

Soundtrack for this episode (imdb)
References and Spoofs (imdb)
YouTube: "Spaced" DVD Launch Event, with Kevin Smith, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
YouTube: Spaced San Diego Comic Con (2008) Panel - Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes, Edgar Wright: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Originally aired February 23, 2001.

Agent: "Don't think about leaving the country Miss Steiner."
Daisy Steiner: "I won't... I can't afford it."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (6 comments total)
It's Mycroft! John Simm really did resemble Simon Pegg at that age. How odd.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 1:29 AM on March 23, 2015

Out of all the hundreds of call backs and references that are packed into Spaced, the ones having to do with The Matrix strike me as the most dated for some reason. So in that sense, lots of this episode kind of doesn't work for me. But then the whole second series is so much stronger than the first, it can be forgiven. Like even after my fifth or sixth viewing of series 2, I still find myself laughing out loud at so much.
posted by catch as catch can at 1:27 PM on March 23, 2015

In the new(er) US commentary, Quentin Tarantino joins the crew on this episode because he wanted to talk about the Star Wars bonfire with glee, and retell about how Edgar Wright (not Wight, that's in the Shaun of the Dead fanfic :)) told Tarantino how Episode 3 (?) wasn't that bad, then Tarantino made a point of telling Wright when he saw him next (in public, in a restaurant) that Ep 3 was still shiite. Simon Pegg talked about having a bit of Star Wars fan syndrome (??), where they view the 3rd episode as being "not that bad," when compared to Eps 1 & 2.

They also talk about some Pulp Fiction homages, something about Reservoir Dogs, and how all this Matrix hype is similar to the Star Wars hype before Ep 1 came out (an episode in the first season of Spaced included a line copied from the trailer of Ep 1, because they were so excited about the return of Star Wars, but clearly had a different feeling about the new trilogy after seeing them all). In retrospect, the Matrix hype feels fanboy-ish, especially after seeing the second and third Matrix films, but that hadn't happened yet when the episode was filmed. (The Matrix: 1999; Spaced season 2: 2001; The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions: 2003).

I agree, they went pretty heavy on Matrix riffing, and it pairs awkwardly with "Ends," as is done in the A.V. Club review, in terms of episode quality. They're bringing back the the show after two years, so things are different, including the film stock (according to Edgar Wright, who laments over the lack of "milky" appearance from the first season), but it's a decent "here's the cast and crew again, remember this lot?"

One last thing from the US commentary: they talk about the difference between US shows and UK shows, with the former going on until they're canceled, while the latter are produced a season at a time, so you don't get as many sudden, hard endings with the story trailing off without closure (but there are counter-examples -- I'm looking at you, season 2 of Survivors).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:29 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yes, the Matrix riff does seem dated! Two reasons I think: first, it's unusually sustained across most of the episode rather than the usual throwaway joke. And second, much as I like Eldon and Gatiss, they don't really pull off their Hugo Weaving impressions too well: they're too British.

The Pulp Fiction joke at the beginning is much better done: less obvious, less forced, so you get the joy of recognizing it rather than the very telegraphed "LOOK WE'RE DOING THE MATRIX" appearance of the two Agents. Also: they spike it by adding Mike's choice of bathroom reading.

A very quick visual callback: one of the pieces that Daisy sold was indeed about bogling.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:45 PM on March 23, 2015

Mike's choice of bathroom reading had me laughing hard, had to rewind.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:02 PM on March 23, 2015

Yep, this is probably the weakest episode by far. The Matrix stuff doesn't work terribly well (I'm not sure it was that fresh at the time), and the episode leans on references unusually strongly (you didn't need to have seen Resident Evil to enjoy Simon Pegg being scared of zombies, but I feel like you do need to have seen the Matrix to watch this episode)
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:58 PM on March 30, 2015

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