Hi all! Once again I am late on this journal entry. I am sorry, but in my defense I have been a bit of a spaz lately. In any case, here are all the things that are up.
I recently applied for a RA-ish job, but with much more responsibilities. It is called a “Community Assistant” and basically means that I would be responsible for an entire building rather than a single floor. That is about 3 floors. It is quite a lot, but a challenge that I welcomed… and I got the job! I am so pleased. The only problem is that one of my very best friends unfortunately applied for the same position but did not get it, and may also not be rehired as an RA at all, and it really breaks my heart. He was the reason why I think so highly of the job in the first place and give it my all. He has been really upset lately and boy have I been feeling it. It is hard to be happy for myself when he is carrying such an ugly energy around, though I can’t blame him. I was a bundle of nerves before they dropped the sugary spoon in my bowl. (Is that a strange way to phrase it? I felt like I was on a role, oh well.)
In other news, Doctor Who is back on and, unlike Erin, :), I am loving it. I can see some obvious things that bother me but overall, I am far more engaged than I’ve been in a while and the new theme, new clothes, new TARDIS, new everything is exactly what I needed. I feel like I’m watching the 9th Doctor meeting Rose all over again, except I am favoring Clara quite a bit. I am definitely going to seriously review the episodes of this later season 7 and I will start with the Christmas special. Eventually I’ll go back and finish reviewing the earlier episodes of this season, as I think I only covered two or three, but I am ready to move on, so that may not be for a while.
I am getting more and more excited about London everyday. I do hope that money does not become the reason that I cannot have this adventure, that would be truly awful, but I remain hopeful.
On a sadder note, I read some facebook posts from a friend of mine who passed a way today and that really put me in a place. I just want you all to know that even though our biggest communications may be these silly journal entries and not much else, I still love all of you and am very happy for all your growing up adventures. I will always remember the wonderful times we all shared and I hope we are still able to make some new ones before these lives are through. :)
That’s it for now, I have an itch to watch DW.
What are you all’s favorite television shows these days?
This is an article that begins by stating that the Doctor requires a certain type of companion and then progressing into a statement on the show’s sexist nature and a rather clear distaste, not for the show in general, but more the new head writer, Steven Moffat.
I have many thoughts on this article, most of which actually disagree with the author’s opinions, so be warned. This post while it may be primarily PRO Doctor Who, will of course, hold some of my own ANTI Who feelings.
Here we go,
Firstly, what makes a companion? It is certainly true that a companion must be above all else, trusting in the Doctor. That being said, I do enjoy that there are exceptions to the rule. The companions don’t always jump off cliffs because the Doctor is first to leap. My favorite example is Rory Williams, a male companion who constantly disagrees with decisions made by the Doctor. Donna was another companion who frequently questioned the Doctor, and I have found in watching series 7 that Clara is the first companion in my eyes to be obviously trusting of the Doctor’s choices. By that, I mean that when he asks something of her, for example in Cold War where he asks her to stay put, she agrees without question. This is a very new aspect of companionism in my book. While the companion must always trust the Doctor, there has always in my mind the inkling to question. He says “Stay put, it’s too dangerous,” companion says “Sure, yes,” while secretly sneaking behind him to be of as much use as possible. That all being said, I don’t think this new quality in Clara is a fault as defined by her womanhood. I think it has more to do with the overarching theme of family within this new series. It is undeniable that children are the motif of the season, and Clara, while being a nanny is a position built to give her the idea that mother and father know best. These are the rules, follow them as follows. The series is slowly inching towards bringing back either Jenny or Susan, or something in that regard and I am nearly certain that Clara is a huge part of that, so no. I don’t think the character of Clara was built to display woman as frail or weaker than men or even to further illustrate Moffat’s apparent distaste for women.
Now, I have seen a lot of old Doctor Who, and I can say as a young adult woman who has seen at least a piece of every reincarnation of the Doctor, that Tom Baker did about nothing for me as well. He was no Pertwee and Paul McGann is vastly underrated as a Doctor. For all of those out there who have not seen any old Who, have no fear, it is intentionally not needed. That is the job of the writers, to make every episode as understandable to an unknowing public as possible. With that, there is always the obligation to appease long time fans. Series 7 is undeniably a long time fan appeasing season, as nearly every episode has brought back a villain from old Who. This is not a bad thing. RTD did the same thing, all the time! Moffat has just chosen to do it more this series. Why? You might ask, well because of the giant finale we are inching to. And anyone who says they don’t want to know the Doctor’s name, guess what? You aren’t alone. I think I can safely say that WE, the watchers of Doctor Who, do NOT want to know. So guess what? They AREN’T going to tell us. It will just never happen. That is like changing the name of Cougartown. To do so would make sense, but it would kind of ruin it all the same. With that, it should also be stated that just because we don’t care what the Doctor’s name is, DOES NOT MEAN WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE MYSTERY THAT IS THE DOCTOR. I apologize for the aggressive caps there, but it is true. The Doctor is the main character, he is a Time Lord, in a universe with no more Time Lords. Of course we are interested, and for all the many people who never saw the universe before the Time War, there is a ton to learn! It is exciting, so quit complaining about there being too much emphasis on the main character of the show.
Now I have to comment on how structurally sexist Doctor Who isn’t. Now I will say this, there is the occasional unfunny sexist joke. With that remember that one joke does not define the integrity of the show, and Moffat isn’t the only writer throwing them in. They have been there since day 1. That’s right, 1963 Who is no different and neither was RTD’s Doctor Who. So I suggest we all take a deep breath before I continue.
Someday we may have a female Doctor, and ooh! How exciting! If we had a female Doctor, guess who would be complaining next? Why hasn’t there been a black Doctor? Or ginger even? You know why. It’s tradition. The reason why Paul McGann’s Doctor, the 8th Doctor from 1996, was dressed in some goofy renaissance fair clothes and a posh little wig was not because McGann chose to be dressed that way. It was because the producers required it of him. When Christopher Eccleston took over as the Doctor there was a huge change brewing. First, they chose to make him from the North. His accent completely changed and on top of that, he was bald. Not too mention a giant piece of Time Lord history was created essentially for the purpose to beat down the Doctor with guilt and the audience with a mystery to someday puzzle out. None of this is bad of course, in fact, it was exactly what the franchise needed. It must have taken a lot of work in production to clear so many changes of something that had been on over 40 years. People don’t usually take to change so well, but in this case, the timing was practically perfect in every way and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. With all this I can only say that while a Doctor that breaks the norm would be fantastic, it is a lot more difficult to bring to an audience (say 40 years in the making haha), then just deciding, “Oh. You know what? I say let’s make the next one female."
Yes, the companions are primarily female. This is not the fault of any particular writer, and certainly has been one of many other traditions the show has adopted for all 50 years. I can imagine that an older man traveling with his young daughter in 1963 brought in a good variety of viewers to the show in the early 60s. I can also imagine that it does the very same these days, with a 900/1100 something traveling with a girl about the same age, if not a bit older for the sake of new romantic story potentials as established first by Paul McGann’s Doctor in ‘96, as his granddaughter from the first series and occasionally bringing back older parental figures for that extra touch. The goal was certainly not to target women as being weak or feeble or inferior to the Doctor, but let’s be honest, when RTD’s series came out and all the other Time Lords were dead, who was really left to compete. Certainly not a human - man or woman. Half the fun of the show is opposing perspectives. If the Doctor and the companion were on equal ground, the show would be like watching two superheroes in a supercouple and it would be superboring. That’s the joy in a sidekick. A companion, eager to learn, and growing fast with such a skilled teacher to lead them. That being said, the Doctor still grows too, just much slower as most of his growing was done long ago.
I find it very interesting when people say that RTD’s Doctor Who was great, and only now in the Moffat years are they realizing just how awful Doctor Who is. What? We are all still watching the same show here, right? Not to mention how all of my personal favorite episodes from the RTD years were written by Moffat and that series 5 was my favorite of the current 7. I could go more into an explanation of this later, but the main point is… you honestly can’t blame a new writer for warping a show that’s been on for 50 years. Why is that? Because anything written after series 1 has now become fanfiction. That’s right, fanfiction, and if it is making you react so strongly whether that is to like it or dislike it, then they are doing something right.
Now to the nitty gritty details. More or less.
What do the companions starting in the 2005 series have in common?
Well, I define a companion/assistant to the Doctor as anyone who travels in the TARDIS with the Doctor, by his own design.
Rose Tyler, female, white, 19, modern day human, and works as a shop girl.
Jack Harkness, male, white, late 20s/early 30s?(doesn’t really matter), 51st century human, time agent.
Mickey Smith, male, black, Rose’s age-ish, modern day human, does he even have a job?
Martha Jones, female, black, a bit older than Rose, modern day human, in-training doctor.
Donna Noble, female, white/ginger(because that’s significant I suppose), much older than Rose(probably more around Jack’s age), modern day human, temp.
Jackie Tyler & Wilfred Mott are negotiable, as parental figures brought along for the ride.
Amelia Pond, female, white/ginger, about Rose’s age, modern day human, kiss-a-gram.
Rory Williams, male, white, about Amy’s age, modern day human, nurse.
River Song, female, white, probably more around Donna’s age, human/Time Ladyish, professor of archeology.
Clara Oswald, female, white, about Rose’s age, modern day human, nanny.
7/11 are female; 4/11 are male.
9/11 are white; 2/11 are black.
6/11 about the same as Rose; 5/11 older than or equal to Donna.
9/11 modern day human; 2/11 other origins.
4 or 5/9 (not including Wilfred & Jackie, as I don’t know if their careers or seeking of careers was ever mentioned, also depends on definition of transitional period type career) have actual careers; 4 or 5/9 so called "transitional periods”.
Yes, it is clear that most where white women, but they all certainly weren’t and what irks me most about this article are the choices to not even mention male companions - as if they don’t exist. Male companions like Mickey are a grand example of how the so called “structurally sexist” show become rather defunct. After all, Mickey was a man, he was also Rose’s significant other, though he could not control her at all, and he tried to do so no more than the average boyfriend would attempt to sway their significant other. Also, Mickey’s career plays no higher importance than Rose’s, nor does he have any grandiose skills or superiorities to Rose. Likewise is Rory. And while there is the occasional joke on the manliness of a nursing career, the series ends with nurses and the Rory character in a place of great power, not because he is manly or womanly, but because he is strong in character.
The article in the link talks of how the RTD series in particular, emphasize how “sad it is to work in a shop” and that the Doctor has to save these companions from their mediocre lives. Well, that is the point, isn’t it? If their lives were interesting, why would they care to go off and travel? If they had nothing to run from? Something to stick around for? Of course, there is no simple answer, and they always have reason to return. Whether it is to be with their family, or to marry the man waiting behind for them at home, there is always a reason - and the reason is always unique to the character. These men and women that are the Doctor’s companions are not low achievers, but rather stuck with in a small world with their eyes closed. The Doctor, in all his experience in the universe, sees them and plucks them up and tethers them to his ship so they may see the bigger picture. Every female companion the Doctor gives that TARDIS key to is not just good for listening. Rose loved the Doctor and brought him back from the ruins his war had left him. Martha was practically a genius who took on many adventures with little help from the Doctor at all. Donna was funny and perhaps not the brightest, but she was strong willed. Amy was headstrong and aggressive while River was mysterious and sexy. These are just some of the many qualities that these girls possessed, with none being a sole definer of their person. If I was so inclined, I too could pluck out from nearly every episode where the Doctor listens to the troubles of others.
On another note, I can imagine Matt Smith’s Doctor loving someone. Goodness, I have seen it, so it isn’t that hard. Granted, the River story arc turned into a shambled shark-jumpy mess in my eyes, but that is not the fault of the Doctor -more a bout of poor writing. Matt Smith’s Doctor often reminds me of Eccleston’s in that there is a lightness, but more often than not, a much darker gloom under the surface. I feel like perhaps he hasn’t gotten to show more of that darkness off because he has yet to face his death. Sure, series 6 was all about saving the Doctor, but he was barely in on it, and let’s face it. Series 6 was mostly terrible. After “Let’s Kill Hitler,” it all kind of went to crap. Once again, a topic for another day. In any case, I am hopeful that series 7 will give me more of what I would like to see from Matt Smith’s Doctor.
I honestly have more to say, but I am exhausted. This may become a two parter. Please insert your comments. I want to hear them. :)