A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her

Doctor Who - The Doctor's Wife

here's a moment in Doctor Who - pre-2005 - in which the Doctor and his travelling companion Romana are being chased down a corridor, and stumble upon a drippy, but conventionally good-looking, doctor (an actual doctor, that is), who's desperately searching for his beloved Princess Astra. "Where's Astra?" said doctor demands of the Doctor and Romana. "Why do you want to know?" the Doctor demands suspiciously. "Because I love her," our lovelorn medic replies.

"Ah," the Doctor says, thrown. "Oh," Romana says, somewhat disdainfully, as if such a motive hadn't occurred to her. And both our heroes glance away, stage left and stage right respectively, as if to process this embarrassing declaration.

In Doctor Who pre-2005, "love" was rarely mentioned. If it was love you were after, there was Mills & Boon. In Doctor Who, "love" could only get in the way of telling a damn good story. Fast-forward to 2011, and we have a Doctor Who aimed at people who like reading about Matt Smith's girlfriend in Heat magazine.

As bad as things have got, there's some things I never thought I'd see in Doctor Who. Rape is one of those things, and that's exactly what we got last Saturday. Having already managed to inflict unspeakable horror on one of the twentieth century's design icons, the Dalek, showrunner Steven Moffat has finally got around to applying his lowest-common-denominator approach to the TARDIS. With everything else sexy (by his definition at least) and smutty, Moffat and fellow genius Neil Gaiman (he must be a genius, all the fans are incoherent with excitement that he's writing for the series) made the TARDIS into a woman. And not just a woman - a "sexy thing". Because, you know, all the Doctor's ever wanted to do is fuck the TARDIS. That's what it all comes down to in Moffat's Doctor Who: on the one hand, so Disneyfied, so broadstroke, and on the other, one long sleazy joke by a grubby little man (did he insist the new TARDIS floor be glass so people could look up Amy's tiny skirts?)

In the behind-the-scenes show, Doctor Who Confidential, Moffat says excitedly about translating the TARDIS into a woman, "It can't be a straightforward babe... it has to be some real character, very very sexy."

Err... Why? Really, why, you horrible, puerile little man, why?!

That's what this episode is: Moffat pulling out his cock and spunking his load up the side of our lovely blue box, and leering gleefully at us, "Look! Look what I did! Ha ha ha ha!"

This episode ignores everything that could have been interesting - what the alien threat House is, and Uncle, Auntie and Nephew - and gives us more gushy feelings, more soap bullshit, and the worst TARDIS set design ever. Really? That's the best you could do, guys?

Getting back to that scene from proper, old school Doctor Who; well, it was all a bit more grown-up and sophisticated, wasn't it? For all it's glossy CGI, with overblown orchestral score saturation and pretty young things robotically intoning pseudo-Seinfeld one liners, Doctor Who in 2011 just isn't up to much. As I've said before, it's got no balls.

Grubby, self-indulgent fanwank, the rape of our wonderful Doctor Who goes on, and on. Surely Moffat must have drained himself by now?

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Ian said...

While I love your review of The Doctor's Wife episode, I actually found myself entertained. So far it was the ONLY episode this season, with exception to scenes with River Song here and there, I could say I completely enjoyed.

I keep hoping it'll get better though. Perhaps PRAYING is more appropriate, but....

John R Gordon said...

Very well-put! Mr Moffat is curiously infatuated with adolescent emotions. I think in a past life (or future life or life in a parallel universe, or universes or multiverses etc etc) he was/is/isn't/will be/won't be a teenage girl.

I found the idea that the Tardis, rather than being an entity in it/herself, perceived it/herself as crippled & voiceless, depressing rather than touching, & the 'sexiness' silly & self-indulgent. The idea the Tardis wanted to be stolen & chooses where she & the Doctor go seems bravura to fans ('Oh, so that's why he always ends up where the story needs him to be! How clever! How deep!') but is really a dead-end, as it assumes the Tardis either has a god-like cosmic purpose (not likely) or is being directed by someone with an overall plan for every episode ever - not true: we all know (given how TV's actually written) that that's not the case.

As usual my beef is with what seems to me malformed story-telling: lots of weepy emotional girl-Tardis scenes, with no time to explore any actual science fiction - eg the alien House: what is it, what are its motivations. Even the fact that House has murdered hundreds of Time Lords is quickly hurried over (when one would have imagined that would be the story's emotional centre).

I guess we live in histrionic times, but to me it was all so much less moving than the very simple moment of Jon Pertwee staggering out of the Tardis at the end of Planet of the Spiders, saying, 'She brought me home,' & collapsing to the ground. What more, in the end, do we need to know?

Liberator Émigré Éire said...

Ian - I enjoyed it too, as it happens, mainly because I liked the bird playing Idris. Shame she was wasted on this. It's McTV though, with no nutrional value.

John - What more, in the end, do we need to know? Well said, sir!

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