Victorian Cut-out Theatre: Grand Designs

This episode was one I had been dying to do for a long time. Occasionally, Stephanie Yuhas sends me articles and bits of inspiration for VCoT that percolate long before an episode takes shape. As a matter of fact, I'm still trying to find a way to create a show around a musical instrument made from a choir of mewling kittens. Regardless, Grand Designs is based in fact. In the late 1800s, doctors began using vibrators to "cure hysteria". There is actually an entire film about this called Hysteria released in 2011.

The term "hysteria" is actually specific to females and was a broad, made-up term applied to a wide range of medical problems. Because it is a nonsense, catch-all term, the official medical use of the word "hysteria" was discontinued in the 1950s, but still lingers as a vestige of gender politics even now. One can't throw a gyno-wand online without hitting a scholarly article about the subject of hysteria and gender dynamics.

However, like our Gyro-Thruster in the episode, Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville filed a patent for an electric vibrator in 1883. This tool was meant to be used to treat muscle ailments but it wasn't long before other physicicans began using the device in female genital massage as a cure for hysteria. It is also worth mentioning that the device was named "Granville's Hammer" which is a great name for a Victorian vibrator. I bet Granville's Hammer was also what Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville used to call his...ahem... anyway...I would, if it were me.

The episode itself takes male ignorance and the vibrator concept to a ridiculous extreme. In the interest of time, several jokes were cut, including the inventor starting the device and it's loud machine noises being referred to as "the barely audible purring of a kitten." I also changed the look of the device last minute. The original "gyno-wand" was a gloved hand, but I was worried that it was too subtle. In the end, I think I made the correct artistic choice including the balls.

I hope you enjoy this episode and continue to check in the 15th of every month for more Victorian Cut-out Theatre.

Take care,

-Rob