Sunday, May 07, 2017

Knock Knock - the woodlice

Knock Knock!

Knock on wood!

Can you shoot an episode of a tv series about the relationship of these two unrelated sayings? Doctor Who can.

Do you think Doctor Who writers research whether English terms are used in the US? (Or Australia, or wherever, but I'm thinking of BBC America here.)

Doctor Who's bugs are clearly pillbugs.

Last night's episode was about alien pill millipedes, which they kept calling woodlice - often just lice - even though the pilling kind and the woodlice kind are entirely different. The pilling kind are Myriapods (millipedes), and the woodlice are Crustaceans (like crabs). And they're called sowbugs and pillbugs around here in the western US. They have lots of other names around the world - like roly-polys and wood pigs - and the woodlice name seems to be relatively uncommon. 


Pillbugs, unrolled and rolled.


Woodlouse. That's the way a woodlouse rolls, i.e. it doesn't roll at all.

I was especially revolted by a killer pillbugs plot as I have just started a farm (with both pillbugs and sowbugs, since my yard teems with both) because my chameleon ADORES eating them, but they're known to be parasitized in the wild. No, I'm not talking about the Isopods that ARE parasites like the famously off-putting fish-tongue-eating Isopod, Cymothoa exigua, that continues to live in the fish's mouth and perform tongue duties as the price of its meals; in their turn our garden Isopods can get a parasite that makes them walk above ground in the sunshine where they're easy prey for birds, who are in turn colonized by the parasites. (They're called Plagiorhynchus cylindraceus. Calling Charlie Stross!) I thought a farm would be a good idea as I can keep the birds away and hopefully raise a generation of healthy sowbugs and pillbugs. I did not expect to see cheap CGI of them eating people.


I suppose I shouldn't agonize too much over the comprehensibility of their common name since the characters in Doctor Who kept calling them insects, which is like calling humans a type of bird. (We do have two legs, like birds.) Since the young housemate characters were all students, I'm hoping none of them is a zoology student. 

Loved the pun about, "How do you feel? Rotten?" though. Hahaha.


Spoilers below.


The common name of the Isopod  wasn't the most confusing thing about the episode, however. They presumably went with 'woodlouse' because the wood of the house - the 'fabric' as the doctor called it - had something to do with the plot. As did the wood of the trees outside, since they also attacked a character. But it didn't really hang together - the woodnymphs, the dryads, the tree spirits, the tower, the wainscotting, the woodlice, OK. Eating someone's vital essence to preserve someone else's life as they turned to wood, OK. Yet, somehow the victims themselves being preserved forever - or so the landlord said? In what way was Pavel preserved as part of the house if he'd been used up? Aliens summoned by a tuning fork or a musical box, and yet halted from action by a stuck record? Seems a bit, well, rushed, to put it charitably.

No comments:

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
I sometimes mention a product on this blog, and I give a URL to Amazon or similar sites. Just to reassure you, I don't get paid to advertise anything here and I don't get any money from your clicks. Everything I say here is because I feel like saying it.