One of the realities of being a novice TV writer is that you spend a lot of time pitching. The ultimate goal is to get a full-time position on a writing staff, but selling individual episode scripts is what you do the rest of the time. And to sell a script, you have to go into a TV show’s office and pitch to one or more of the writers.
This story takes places after my time on “Roseanne” but before I left LA to move to Seattle to start working at Wizards of the Coast. I am a longtime fan of science fiction, so one of my goals was to get a pitch to “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. I don’t remember how it happened the first time, but I somehow got an invite to pitch.
The way it worked on the show was you pitched to just one writer and then that writer would advance any ideas he (or she, although all my pitches were to men) thought the rest of the writing staff might be interested in.
If they liked what you pitched, even if they didn’t buy any of your ideas, they would invite you back, usually six months or so later, to pitch again. This story took place during my third pitch. (I pitched three times to “Next Generation” and once to “Deep Spave Nine”.)
Normally when I pitched, I would bring ideas for ten fleshed out shows. I would start talking about the first one and the writer I was pitching to would stop me when he’d heard enough. Every once in a while, he would ask me a question or two but most often it was a sign they were passing on that idea and I would move to the next pitch.
Sometimes before I came in, they would give me a note about something they were looking for. For this meeting, I was told they were looking for a Wesley story. Wil Wheaton played a character named Wesley, the son of the ship’s doctor. He was a regular during the early seasons but during the later seasons, he was usually on one episode a season. They were interested in a story for him.
As that was the one thing they asked for, I decided to spend extra time on it. I had recently read a story about Albert Einstein and it introduced the concept of a Themata and that gave me the idea of a story where Wesley wakes up surrounded by members of the Enterprise crew plucked from different points in time. I always named my stories and I called this one simply “Themata”
It was my favorite of my pitches so it was the first story I pitched. I was only a little into the pitch when I was stopped by the writer I was pitching to. “Is this a time travel story?” he asked.
“We don’t accept time travel stories through pitches.”
“But you guys do time travel stories.”
“They’re very difficult so we only do them internally.”
I moved onto the next pitch, but I was sad because I really liked the story.
Flash forward twenty years. I hadn’t done an offbeat column in a while and for some reason I thought of “Themata” and thought to myself that it was time I told this story.
I swapped out Wesley for myself and the rest of the Enterprise crew for more of myself and the thing in jeopardy being Magic rather than a larger intergalactic threat.
And that is how “Themata” came to be.
For those that haven’t read it yet, here’s the link:
Whouffaldi has been around for a couple years, and before that it was Whouffle. And if you take the whole shebang you end up with “Cloctor” or your portmanteau of choice. And naysayers often come out with statements like “it can’t happen because the Doctor never falls in love with anyone”. Despite on-screen evidence to the contrary.
I only just tonight found out that at a Wizard World convention in March, David Tennant out right confirmed that Rose was the Doctor’s girlfriend. And you have Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman telling Wil Wheaton last summer that the Doctor and Clara didn’t want to come out and say they’re “crazy about each other” (Capaldi’s exact words), but it was still a romance. And the Doctor used “deep love” in another interview.
People still want to deny that anything existed between the Doctor - a 2000 year old character - and a 20-something schoolteacher. Yet we just got confirmation that when the Doctor was 900 years old he had 19-year-old girlfriend. Work the math people - what’s the difference? And to hell with the fact Peter Capaldi is 25 years older than Jenna Coleman: there are romances with that age gap in real life and when it comes to the Doctor, the character could be played by a 5 year old and still be infinitely older than a 90-year-old being cast as the companion.
I wish people would stop playing the “platonic” card too as if that’s some sort of disqualification for romance. Read my earlier rant about people who think sex is the only indicator of romance. To be brutally honest, the romance between the Doctor and Clara, and between the Doctor and Rose Tyler, feels more real than most televised romances where the two go to bed in every episode. And for all we know they could have been bonking up a storm between episodes. We don’t know and it’s not brought up in the episodes we do see because it’s not as important as the other aspects of their relationship. The “deep love” as Capaldi put it. Rose and Clara would take a bullet for the Doctor, and the Doctor likewise. And in many respects they did, many times.
One of the other Tumblrs (I’m sorry I’ve misplaced the name but I will reblog when I find it again) mentioned a friend who was convinced of Whouffaldi based on viewing one single scene of Last Christmas. If “drive-by viewers” get it, why don’t people who watch the thing year in and year out?