have a donna noble post

parks and rec tho

ok parks and rec right:

- has a dark-skinned, fat black woman as the sexy mysterious hottie of the office and it’s not about her “overcoming” anything or anything it’s just a thing, and she’s not “killing men with her sharp eyeliner” or being a bad person at the same time she’s just very confident and she also gets married without losing that (Donna)

- there’s a biracial latina who isn’t all spicy or fiery or remotely stereotypical at all but her heritage and culture aren’t ignored either and her plot line doesn’t center around that (April)

- has a gay guy but there’s no coming out scene or no big stink about it, it just kinda ends up coming up, and he isn’t stereotyped, nor does his story revolve around that (Craig)

- has a depiction of depression that isn’t traditional or stereotypical, especially because the character that gets it is so positive, and shows the character dealing in a healthy way and overcoming it and he’s not reduced to his mental illness and you can see that he is more than that (Chris)

- has an Indian character who deals with racism but is also allowed to be a complete multi-dimensional character with recognizable experiences and qualities separate from that, and also who ends up owning a successful business (Tom)

- there are modern native americans interacting with the people who took their land generations later and exposes some of their issues (Ken Hotate and the Wamapoke)

- shows the bad side of government and the realistic racism, sexism, bureaucracy, etc. that goes on but it also has good hearted candidates who show what good people can do when we believe in them and vote for them (Leslie)

- so much other stuff

in conclusion: parks and rec

7

Part 3 in the “Laughing with Catherine Tate” gif series
[link to part 1] [part 2]

Links to other silliness on the Doctor Who set include:
[ David making faces ]  [ Laughing with Billie ]
[ Dancing with David ]   [Silly on Set 1 & 2 ]
[ Fun with Daleks in Manhattan ]  [Laughs with the Next Doctor ]
[ Laughing with the cast & crew ]

2

Practical Magic AU

Clara and Amelia Pond are the closest of sisters.  Raised by their aunts Sarah Jane and Donna, they belong to a powerful family of witches.  But their family carries a curse; an old prophecy predicts that one day a witch from their family would fall in love and that love would destroy time itself.  To prevent this prophecy from coming true, their ancestor Susan cast a spell that any person her descendants fell in love with would suffer an untimely death.  While Amy goes in search of love, Clara has already loved and lost; but when Amy ends up with the wrong kind of guy, the sisters find themselves in an unwanted adventure of ghosts, possession, a police investigation, and an unexpected stranger whose more than a little drawn to them. (Fic)

Donna Noble’s Ending

So it’s no secret that I despise what RTD did to Donna.

Not because her ending is heartbreaking, because I can deal with heartbreaking things happening to characters as long as they’re well-written or fulfill important thematic or narrative purposes. But unfortunately, Donna’s mindwipe and marriage do none of these things. Her ending is lazy, shallow, and worst of all, completely goes against the main tenets of RTD era Who.  

Here are some popular quotes from the show:

  • “You know, when you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all, grow up, get a job, get married, get a house, have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker, and so much madder. And so much better.”
  • “Some people live more in 20 years than others do in 80. It’s not the time that matters, it’s the person.”
  • “Don’t you see that? The ripe old smell of humans. You survived. Oh, you might have spent a million years evolving into clouds of gas, and another million as downloads, but you always revert to the same basic shape. The fundamental humans. End of the universe and here you are. Indomitable! That’s the word. Indomitable! Ha!”

These quotes illustrate the main messages Russell T wanted to impart to his audience: that life is wonderful and exciting, that the future is full of hope and that humanity will endure. Basically, he wants us to know that life is worth living and that we need to make the most of every precious moment, because a short and wonderful life is worth much more than a long, wasted one. That’s why I hate Donna’s mindwipe so much. Because it completely undermines these wonderful, important messages of hope and optimism.

From what I’ve read, Donna’s mindwipe was not planned from the start. As he was writing the episodes, Davies realised he’d written himself into a corner by creating a character who wants to stay with the Doctor forever and who doesn’t have a good reason to leave, unlike Martha. As the fourth season came together, the only thing he knew for certain was that he wanted to bring Rose back, make a human Doctor for her and send them both back to the parallel world to live happily ever after. This idea ended up supplying the solution to the Donna problem, as he realised he could factor Donna into the creation of the Doctor clone and use this as a way to give Donna her heroic climax as well as to force her out of the TARDIS, in an event we know as the metacrisis. This metacrisis gave Donna an unviable human/Time Lord physiology that should by rights have killed her, thus fulfilling Dalek Caan’s prophecy ‘One will still die.’ However, Davies was reluctant to kill her outright and decided to go for the soft option of wiping her mind instead, killing only one version of her. Given how hectic Journey’s End is, with so many characters to say goodbye to, not least Rose and the clone, there’s little time at the end to handle this mindwipe in great detail. It has to happen quickly and tragically, with no time to reflect on the morality of the Doctor’s actions. But let’s slow this scene down and pick apart what’s happening.

As soon as the TARDIS leaves Bad Wolf Bay, the Doctor turns his attention to Donna. He knows already that Donna’s not long for this world. Donna is slower to realise what’s happening to her, but when she does, she’s horrified. She backs away from him, tears flooding down her cheeks, and says in no uncertain terms:

“I can’t go back. Doctor. Don’t make me go back… No, no, please, no!”

Donna pretty clearly did not consent to the mind wipe. She’s screaming ‘no’ while his fingers are on her temples. But the Doctor proceeds anyway. Unable to watch his best friend die in his arms, he puts his needs before hers, puts his will before her wishes and wipes her mind without her consent.

And that is wrong. Yes, he saved her life, and yes, he’s the Doctor – he has to save people. But it is still wrong, in every way. It definitely fits with Ten’s character to do this, since he’s developed a serious god-complex by this point – but morally, that does not make it right.

There just wasn’t enough time in Journey’s End to deal with all of these nuances, and I understand that. But then came the specials, which did explore some of these themes. The Waters of Mars deals wonderfully with Ten’s hypocrisy as someone who promotes pacifism despite having committed – and continuing to commit - genocide, and also explores his god-complex as he announces that he will make the laws of time obey him, that he will decide who lives and who dies. This episode also references Donna and the awful decision they made together in The Fires of Pompeii. Donna’s fate and all that she taught him are obviously playing heavily on his mind in this episode. From this, I expected Donna’s return in The End of Time to capitalise on this and deal with the consequences of her mindwipe, to perhaps show him that it’s impossible for him to save everyone, that it’s unfair for him to decide who lives and who dies, that the non-consensual mind-wipe was wrong and finally for Donna’s final departure to reinforce Russell T’s central, life-affirming messages about quality of life over quantity.

Instead, Donna’s return in EoT was… lacking. It was fan-service-y. It was shallow. Russell T said in the commentary that his reason for bringing Donna back was to show us she’s okay. And basically, that’s all he does with her. Donna has a very minimal effect on the plot, with her grandfather Wilfred replacing her in the role of conscience and companion. Despite the run-time of EoT and the ample opportunities it provided to deal appropriately with Donna’s mind-wipe, Davies leaves those issues alone and instead sets Donna up with a husband called Shaun. We don’t get much indication of Shaun’s character beyond the fact that he’s sweet, kind and in love with Donna, and from this we’re meant to assume she’ll be happy. In addition, at the end of the episode the Doctor gives her a winning lottery ticket so she can live in comfort for the rest of her life. Then he disappears. Our last vision of Donna is exactly the same as our first vision of her – as a bride in white.

And -  that’s it. Seriously? After everything Davies has told us about the wonders of life, after all his lessons of quality over quantity, after everything Donna has seen and learned, and after everything we’ve seen and learned through her - we’re meant to be satisfied with this? We’re meant to see money and a marriage as making up for the theft of the only thing she valued, the memories of her brief, wonderful life among the stars?

His decision to make Donna’s ending a ‘happy’ one, or to show that she’s ‘okay’ means Davies did not bother to question the morality of the Doctor’s actions. Frustratingly, the mind-wipe, while tragic, is never presented as wrong. It is always seen as the only choice, the right thing to do, even though Donna never consented to it and even though this life she’s living is not what she wanted. Donna had made her choice. She chose to die as the woman she’d become, with all her memories intact, rather than live unhappily as the person she used to be. Donna’s decision and the fact that she chose a short, wonderful life over a long and unhappy one, a decision that celebrates and confirms Davies’ message about some people living more in twenty than others do in eighty, is given barely any consideration at all.

And then there are practical considerations as well. For one, why doesn’t Donna notice that TWO YEARS of her life are missing? The Doctor said he removed every memory relating to himself. That includes her wedding to Lance, parts of the subsequent months that she spent searching for him AND her time in the TARDIS. Donna isn’t stupid. She would notice profound memory loss. And just how safe is she? Will seeing an alien invasion on the news trigger her? What if someone says something that reminds her of the Doctor? Is she just a ticking time bomb whose brain could explode at any moment?

‘She’s okay,’ we’re meant to think when we watch The End of Time. ‘She’ll be fine.’ But what kind of ending is this? What does it prove? What message does it send? I love Donna – but honestly, I would have been happier if she had died if, in the process, she was able to chew the Doctor out for his behaviour and leave with a speech about how she’d choose those precious few months with the Doctor over an entire lifetime without them, or if the Doctor had gotten to hear that she had no regrets about going with him, or if she died a hero’s death instead of being shunted to the side and reduced to a joke for the entirety of EoT. By giving Donna a lottery ticket, marrying her off and suggesting that this somehow makes everything okay for her, Davies undermined the central themes of his show and cheapened Donna’s entire character arc.

Davies understandably couldn’t bring himself to kill Donna, but he did kill the version of her we loved and rendered an entire season of character development null and void. Her ending is unbearably sad, but also incredibly frustrating for the audience. Her story feels unfinished. It feels wrong. It doesn’t come from careful structure or consideration and it doesn’t build on any thematic points – it comes from necessity and the need for a quick fix, the need to kick Donna out of the TARDIS quickly and permanently. The attempt to make the ending ‘happy’ in The End of Time only worsens the entire affair by leaving a lot of things unaddressed and glossing over issues of plausibility and morality for the sake of a half-hearted “happy ending”.

9

Behind the Scenes of Partners in Crime (Part 3)

David Tennant, Catherine Tate, and Phil Collinson on the episode podcast.

[talking about the window-cradle scene]

Phil Collinson: I love you in this basket. You just absolutely go for it.

David Tennant: And that was all green-screen, of course

PC: Yeah, it was. And then we had to fly the sonic screwdriver on a green screen as well

DT: …and I had to catch it

Catherine Tate: And you did!

PC: I love it!  What a catch!  How many times did you drop it?

DT:  I did drop it a couple of times. [Phil laughs loudly]  I remember we rehearsed it twice and I caught it both times but as soon as the camera started I kept dropping the thing.

[talking about filming the scene in the street pictured above]

PC: It was difficult doing all that night shooting on the streets there, because obviously we’ve got a lot of people… onlookers.  We have to have quite a lot of security to keep people out of the way and stop them wandering into the shots and wrestling you both to the ground for autographs.

[lots of laughter]

Other Partners in Crime behind-the-scenes posts: [ one ]  [ two ]
Full list of behind-the-scenes posts:  [ here

Thank you to all of the people who take and share set visit photos!