aerdnasarrih: Located on the way to Disney World (Default)
(Originally blogged at my Tumblr site.)

I’ve been going through some of the dialogue from some of the this season’s Who episodes that I’ve missed, and I just can’t accept the way the series is turning out so far. My disjointed and possibly incoherent objections are as follows:

One: last season we had the universe all restarted and Amy restored to her family and happiness. This season we have clingy, “has too much faith in the Doctor,” abandonment issues Amy, who suddenly seems to lose all interest in her own daughter once she finds out said missing daughter was best friend Mel, who regenerates into River Song. No wonder the Doctor seems to prefer to see her as little Amelia — I would too.

Two: the more I think about it the more the idea that River Song is Amy’s and Rory’s daughter just does not make sense. It just doesn’t.

Three: I really don’t believe in the “they made a baby in the Tardis and therefore it’s a Human Time Lord Magic Babby!” at all. If it was that easy to make more Time Lords, don’t you think the Doctor would have known about it? It’s his race and his Tardis, after all. Why does cool snake lady and her girlfriend get to be the one who figures this out? Where did the Doctor’s big brain that knows all things go?

Four: people keep saying that Steven Moffat doesn’t have really evil villains, but that Kovarian lady is a fucking evil bitch who needs to be put into the heart of the nearest sun. I’m not sure why I’m supposed to feel any sort of sympathy for her and her crusade against the Doctor because he’s so ooooh, scary.

Five: this whole thing where the Doctor has scared so many people across the universe with his awful awesomeness or something is fucked up and wrong. Maybe I’ve been watching a Doctor Who from an alternate universe, but I was under the impression that the Doctor was a hero who did good and helped people and that the sort of people who were afraid of the Doctor were bad people who should have been afraid of him and deserved to be scared. What fucked up shit is this speech River gives him at the end of Good Man Goes To War where it’s all his fault that the evil people have stolen the magic baby to make war against him because he lost his temper with quite a bit of justification. If you will recall, these people had kidnapped his friend and forced her to have a baby in a tube, and they kept his friend, letting her bond with the kid, all the while making sure the new mother knew they planned to take the baby away and do something horrible to it that would turn said baby into weapon to kill Amy’s best friend, the Doctor. You know, I do think that not only is there nothing wrong with the Doctor being a bit miffed that this happened, I heartily approve of his anger. Because it’s an actual normal emotional response (kidnap pregnant friend, force pregnant friend to have baby in tube, torment friend with knowledge that baby will be taken away and psychologically tortured into becoming killer of YOU — yeah, I’d be just a bit FUCKING PISSED OFF), in a series where most of the characters haven’t been having a lot of normal emotional reactions to anything. And I include River’s “your anger is wrong and it’s your fault all this happened” rant, because I don’t for one minute trust her motives at all. (If it turns out she’s just really their daughter it will both be squicky and boring, because it would be great if she was always the mastermind of this, from way back with Ten.)

Six: the Doctor’s depression. It’s getting very wearing. I know lots of the fans love it, because this isn’t the Seventies anymore and self-hatred and depression are cool now. I mean what the fuck, when do they show the Doctor cutting himself? I mean, self-knowledge of one’s own flaws is one thing, but to be continually down on oneself is not healthy, and it’s not healthy to be all accepting of your impending murder either. (The previews of next week give some hope that he’s fighting off this haze of gloom and trying to ask questions about it, but it’s a real downer all the same to see him moping about saying “good-bye” to everyone. We had that with Ten. It was shit then. When I said I didn’t like the way Ten dragged out his death forever because he didn’t want to die, I didn’t mean I wanted a Doctor who was all “accepting” of dying either. I can’t imagine what sort of effect this is having on the kids who watch this show.)

Seven: again we have companions fobbed off with expensive presents. I just find that weird. One of the things Doctor Who was all about was there was more to life than material gain. I’ve nothing against material gain and nice presents, but it just looks weird in context. I mean, didn’t Rory and Amy already live somewhere? And they did have a car, though I imagine it was impounded by the police after being left in that field. (And what happened to that? They were being chased by cops, courtesy of Mel. Surely the car, registered to the Williams, would have gotten them some sort of questioning by the authorities. Not to mention where was their friend who was wanted for stealing a car. Not to mention they were using their own car to trespass in a field and basically vandalize it. I guess we’re supposed to just forget about that.)

Eight: this is more for fan reaction than anything going on in the show — it concerns complaining about how the Doctor is dumping another companion and telling her what to do and so on. Look. It’s the Doctor’s boat. No one has any right to travel with him. If he decides that the companion needs to go home now, that’s it. I don’t care how said companion decides, all on her own (it’s been her — in the new show anyway all of the guys were only traveling with the Doctor because they were either girlfriends or husbands — more on that subject someday), that she wants to travel with him “forever” (I’m looking at you, ROES, and, sadly, Donna) and wants to devote her life to him, if he decides that’s not what HE wants, that’s too damn bad. The Doctor is not obligated to let people travel with him for the rest of their lives just because they went about with him for a while. Yes, even if they’ve been a help to him. Because it’s HIS spaceship. It’s like this: if I ask you to come with me to the grocery store and help me shop because I’ve got a bad leg, that doesn’t mean you get to ride in my car forever everywhere. And as a matter of fact, what sort of help has Amy been to him? Rather, he was the one who helped her — he sealed up the crack in her wall, and actually sacrificed himself to put the universe back together which resulted in her having a life again. Sure, her remembering of him brought him back too, that was nice. I’d call it even-steven, not “now you must take me across space-time always.” (I’ll just add here that this isn’t actually the way the Amy character is acting — it’s the way fans are acting about her.)

Nine: speaking of Amy’s use as a companion; I do wonder why she was still going about with the Doctor, reluctant husband in tow. Because Rory was reluctant. Sure, he seemed to enjoy himself a bit, but he clearly would rather be home on Earth. The thrill of traveling through space and time didn’t seem to be present in the breast of Rory Willliams. (In many ways, he’s like a lot of Who companions across the ages — male ones especially — at least if they were from contemporary Earth and British. This blasé attitude seems to be some sort of British thing. Girls get excited; men affect a stiff upper lip and ask for a cuppa. I dunno.) Some of his attitude could be justified by the whole 2,000-year-old-plastic-Roman thing. And he did make himself useful, so he wasn’t a drag or a load. Amy I don’t get. I guess she and the Doctor were just best buds, and she cheered him up, but really, the Doctor needs companions who do more than cheer him up — and then drive him into paroxysms of self-hatred and depression when their lives get endangered because after all, he’s a danger magnet. He needs someone who doesn’t go around the bend (or get pregnant and kidnapped) when things go south. I would once have said he needed someone like River Song but her story has gotten all squicky with the whole “the Tardis maded a girlfriend for you” thing.

That’s all for now.



aerdnasarrih: Located on the way to Disney World (Default)
Something has started to puzzle me about reactions to one of the motifs in the current run of Doctor Who. Specifically, the way Amy seems to feel entitled to have the Doctor at her beck and call, and to become angry and bitter when he "breaks his promise" to come to her when she expects him to.

That's a little harsh, but I don't know how to say it another way. From the very first episode we are shown a grown up Amy who has obvious psychological problems because the Doctor didn't come back that first night, when she was seven (I think) and whisk her away into time and space. Now I can get a child not understanding what was going on at that moment with the Doctor and the broken-down Tardis (which had just crashed), but over the years her increasing knowledge of how things work could at least have brought her to some realization that something must have gone wrong. I mean, smoke and flames were coming out of his magical box. If it was me, I would not have been angry so much as worried. Of course, anger is a natural reaction -- "Doesn't he know how worried I am? Where is he!?! If he's dead I'll never forgive him!" But still, we don't get a sense from the show that she was worried that he somehow blew up -- just that she was pissed off that he didn't show up until she was in her twenties. And he shows up in the same raggedy clothes she's seen him in when she was a kid and obviously remembers so a smart person would, after the initial shock wore off, figure out that something other than "Oh, I just made a promise to get you off my back 'cos you were a boring kid" had gone on.

The fact that this is played for semi-comic effect hides the weirdness of the situation. But if you take out the funny bits her reaction doesn't just seem weird, but psychotic. I mean look: the first thing she does when she sees him (even before he sees her grown-up self), is knock him unconscious with some sort of field hockey bat (I don't know what sports things are called -- the thing reminded me of those wooden things we used when we'd have to play field hockey -- well, not me, no one would trust me with one). Knocking someone out, far from being the funny slapstick act of a million comedy skits, is actually extremely dangerous and usually results, if not in death, then in permanent brain damage. At least the Doctor's a Time Lord who had recently regenerated and so probably healed right up. (Hey, now that I think about it every single puzzling aspect of the 11th Doctor season could be explained by the Doctor being in a coma and having weird dreams due to being clocked over the head. He could still be handcuffed to that radiator!)

Getting back to the subject, Amy's reaction could be explained away by the fact that he's an intruder in her house... if we weren't shown later that she had recognized him all along. So she sees the man who "let her down" as a child and who she had waited for her entire life... and she violently attacks him. Not normal. Though it's all played for edgy laughs. (And I'm going to break in here and say I enjoyed all these scenes immensely. I can turn off the overthinker when necessary.) The thing with the psychiatrists and how apparently she insisted he was "real" even when no one believed her (and apparently no one wondered what the hell happened to that shed in the back yard that the Tardis crashed into?) is also odd. Most kids have an "imaginary" friend and most adults just go along with the fantasy until the kid grows out of it. (Later on we have this weird repeat of the whole "kid believes in the Doctor so hard it makes her bonkers" with Mels, a.k.a. Melody a.k.a. River Song before she became River Song. Like mother like daughter? The whole relationship between Mels/Melody/River and her supposed parents doesn't make a whole lot of sense even in this context. For one thing, where would Mels get the idea that the Doctor should save the world from evil people? When she and Amy and Rory all grew up together was before Amy knew any more about the Doctor than he'd crashed a spaceship into her back yard, been weird and wacky, made her empty the contents of her kitchen before he settled on fish custard, and closed the scary crack in her wall before vanishing into the night. But that's for another post.)

Anyway, all of Amy's out-of-proportion anger at the Doctor for basically not kidnapping her from her home (I guess her parents had been eaten by the crack in the universe before giving her that don't-get-into-vans-with-strange-men talk) can be explained. But not the fan reaction to it. So far (I haven't read the entire internet) I seem to be the only one that is wondering what is okay about treating the Doctor like your personal time-travel-guide/extra boyfriend. It's not like Amy's the first to do it either -- it seems to be a theme in New Who. Rose was the worst offender -- she basically threw a tantrum ("Bad Wolf" is right) when he tried to save her freaking life by taking her home before going off to the future to be killed by the Daleks. But you know, it was ROSE, the Bestest Companion Evar, so even ingesting Tardis gas (or whatever turned her into a temporary goddess) and committing genocide (she destroyed what were for all the Doctor knew the last Daleks in existence, something he had been feeling guilty about and it turned out he didn't even do!) got her, not dumped back on her arse in 2005 London as punishment, but magically cured with a kiss and given a brand-new cute Doctor. One she complained about as "broken" by the way. Remember all that?

Amy's character is, imho, much better written, but she has the same problem too many female characters on NuWho, in that they seem to think they are entitled to the Doctor's company and time. Grant you, a lot of the time this was worked out as due to interference by Others (Dalek Caan playing around in the Time Vortex or whatever, I can't remember exactly and also Dalek Caan was crazy by that time but I believe there was something about him (it?) manipulating Donna's "time stream" so she would end up becoming DoctorDonna and destroying the Daleks and that's enough of that deus ex machina fail for now.) And Martha never acted like the Doctor was her own personal interstellar playtoy -- quite the opposite. Of course, she was rewarded by being labeled "pathetic" and "racefail" by too many fans. It's obviously much better being the entitled companion who pushes the Doctor around.

Anyway, I had left this post cooking for a day or so, and then recently came upon a fan discussion of the upcoming episode ("The God Complex") which mentions Amy's "abandonment issues." Okay, fans, help me out here: what has Amy got to feel abandoned about any more? True, when the Doctor first encountered her, the cracks in the universe had eaten almost everyone in her life. It would have taken a very cruel person to not offer to take her away from her horrid empty house, and the Doctor was not that person. Still, something went wrong and he didn't appear until Amy was grown up. Even so, you can't say he "abandoned" her. It wasn't like he was family -- he was a stranger. (He's not even the same species!) I mean what. I really don't get the "abandonment" thing. And in all the other episodes where Amy got into hot water because basically life with the Doctor isn't exactly a trip to Disney World, he did everything he could to get her out of it. In fact, he basically committed suicide (In "The Big Bang") so the world could be "rebooted" (he had no certainty that Amy would "remember" him back into existence). Really, what more does she (or rather, the fans who are pushing this particular wank, possibly based on their own "abandonment issues") want?

I need to reiterate that I like the Amy character but I have some issues with it. I can accept that they've written her to have the flaw of having problems with entitlement as concerns the men in her life (she tends to treat Rory like an accessory when she forgets herself too), but that doesn't mean that we should accept them as being wonderful just because they're a characteristic of a Who companion. And actually, problematic companions with deep flaws were a feature of the classic show. We weren't supposed to accept Turlough's cowardice and treachery as good things, just to name one example.

This will be continued after I watch "The Girl Who Waited."

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aerdnasarrih: Located on the way to Disney World (Default)
aerdnasarrih

June 2013

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