I think the thing that bothers me the most when people say things like, “How could the Doctor possibly fall in love with Rose? She was just a regular teenage girl and he was this ancient, amazing alien,” is that that, right there, was the ENTIRE point that RTD was trying to make through their relationship. You have this character, the Doctor, who’s been so many places and lived so long and is obviously brilliant, and you start thinking “yeah, he’s the best, he’s better than everyone else, he should only love/associate with people who are on the same level as him.” And then suddenly you have Rose — a lower-class shop girl with no A-levels — and the Doctor falls in love with her.
Rose breaks apart every elitist ideal, completely shatters the entire concept that some people are better than others because of their social status or profession or education or age, and her relationship with the Doctor shows that it isn’t these things that make people equals.
Their story touches on what I’d say is one of the main ideas throughout all of Doctor Who ever, which is that every single human being (or alien) has the potential to do amazing things. That great deeds aren’t saved for the upper classes and the intellectuals. That people are equal because they are people, and if anything were able to make someone “better” than someone else, it wouldn’t be class or age or intellect. It would be the choices people make, how they create themselves. It would be kindness and courage, and sometimes cleverness — not book smarts, not education, just plain old ingenuity — all things which Rose has in multitudes and even rivals the Doctor in at times. You go girl.
The point that Rose and the Doctor’s story makes is that you don’t have to be a certain age or from a certain place or background etc. to be extraordinary and worthy of another, as well as that love has the amazing ability to look past all of those things and see people for who they really are on the inside. I mean, come on, it’s the oldest story in the universe:
- the princess who falls in love with the pauper
- the lady who falls in love with the farm boy
- the wealthy estate owner who falls in love with the woman of modest means
And you only have to look to real life to see that love looks past age too. So of course an ancient, time-traveling alien can fall in love with a young shop girl. Of course a woman with more compassion than the ocean could hold can fall in love with a man who’s killed billions. Because love looks at what matters. It’s really good at that. And if you think otherwise, you’re missing out on the entire message the Doctor has been trying to tell us for the last fifty plus years. And in that case, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.