The Doctor Who episode “The Happiness Patrol” provides a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek exploration of the nature of happiness and of society, at times functioning as a parable, at other times engaging in wicked satire – as when the dictatorial ruler of the colony, Helen A, herself responsible for requiring happiness of the population, speaks of the importance of carrying on and maintaining a stiff upper lip, only to break down and weep at the death of her dog-like pet Fifi. A parody of a well-known British stereotype that some do indeed seek to embody, while others around the nation have borne little or no resemblance to it – just as in the episode.In the course of the episode, the TARDIS gets painted a more cheerful color, and death by candy is avoided more than once.
But while some elements might seem silly, once one recognizes that one is dealing with satire and spoof, poking fun rather than creating a realistic world, then one can see that at times the episode gets quite profound.
In the end, the Doctor argues that happiness can only be appreciated in contrast with sadness, and he suggests that Helen A is running from herself.
This episode is the second one in which the Doctor mentions his nickname in college, Theta Sigma.
Happiness will prevail!