Confessions

Confession #6: The Fourth Doctor Kind of Bugs Me

Mar
02

If Confession #3 irked a few Neo-Whovians (and yes, I did catch some flak from the Ladies), then this one is sure to incur the wrath of some Old Skool Whovians.  Tom Baker, aka Four (you know the one - "all teeth and curls," perpetually wrapped in a ridiculously long scarf), is one of the best-loved Doctors of all time.  In fact, before David Tennant's stint, he was the most popular Doctor ever.  However, though I do generally enjoy him, a lot of times Four just sort of rubs me the wrong way.

First, there's the way he seems to work so hard on being weird.  Sure, the googly eyes give him a head start, but that's the least of it.  There are so many instances where he'll just repeat! someone else's line enough to startle ("of course!"), and then come down from that vocal high still as confused as ever ("nope - still don't know what you're talking about") that it ceases to either surprise or amuse (a trait Tennant borrowed for Ten, though I don't believe he wielded it as often).  I think it would bug me less if it weren't such an ongoing gag.  It's something that feels like it started as one of Baker's many attempts to make the cast and crew lose their composure and start laughing on set - except that once it worked, he kept inserting it as one of Four's quirks, and it lost its effect (file under: funny once).

What really irritates me, though, is how rude he is to everyone.  He frequently cuts off his Companions mid-sentence, usually when they're trying to tell him something important that he needs to know.  It doesn't matter who it is - Sarah Jane, K-9, even Romana (who's supposed to be as clever as the Doctor) - all suffer the same indignity and implication of insignificance.  Again, every once in a while it can be amusing, but it seems to happen nearly every story.  His self-centeredness in this sense feels very anti-Doctor to me, and makes me wonder:  where's the Doctor who loves and values his Companions?  Oh, I know he does, but as the saying goes, he has a funny way of showing it...

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Confession #5: I Have My Own Theories About River Song

Feb
16

This is more an "admission" than a confession, but hey - it's my blog.
 

Especially with Series Six coming up in a matter of weeks, and a promise that "everything changes," ideas about who River Song "really is" are as abundant as fans who watch Nu-Who (if not more so).  I figured now was as good a time as any to put forth my own.

Perhaps I should start with a brief list of the most common hypotheses that I don't buy.  For example:

  • She's the Doctor's wife.  Yeah, right.  They may act "like an old married couple" and there have been hints dropped left and right that they are, but I just can't credit it.  Undoubtedly, there's a romantic (or even just sexual) component to the relationship, but if River is the Doctor's wife, then that is only a fraction of the whole story.  Otherwise, the rest makes no sense.
  • She's a future incarnation of the Doctor.  This idea clearly comes out of certain fans' long-standing desire to see a female Doctor, but River Song is no Valeyard.  While she clearly knows how to handle herself in the TARDIS and such, she's much too comfortable with violence in general, and guns in particular, for me ever to believe she's the Doctor.
  • She's another Time Lord.  I'm more willing to believe this one than some of the others, but it still doesn't ring true to me.  If she's traipsing around the 51st century, why is the Doctor convinced all through the rest of Nu-Who that he (or, for a time, the Master) is the last of the Time Lords?  Supposedly he can sense other Time Lords, regardless of where (or, presumably, when) they are.  None of that fits with what we know of River.
  • She's the Doctor's mother/daughter.  Are these people on drugs?  There is nothing either maternal or filial in River's attitude toward the Doctor.  If there were, then other comments would be distinctly incestuous in nature, which is far too creepy for someone like Moffat to include in a show that is - at least in Britain - specifically aimed at a family audience.  I'd sooner believe the Woman in White from The End of Time had either familial relationship with the Doctor (most certainly not my interpretation) than that River does.
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Confession #4: I Hate the "Standard" Regenerations

Feb
02
Warning:
This site (specifically, this post) contains profanity.  If you can't handle that, turn back now.

When Nine regenerated into Ten, Rose looked on in consternation as all the energy of the Time Vortex streamed back out of him as a bright, shining light pouring from his arms and head.  It was dramatic, it was beautifully done, and it was appropriate.  So what the hell was going on when the same effect turned the Jacobi-Master into the Simms-Master?  He'd just been shot, for shit's sake - why would he get all glowy?

Former Head Writer/Executive Producer Russell T. Davies (commonly known as RTD) would have us believe that there needed to be a sense of continuity about the regeneration process, or new viewers wouldn't understand that it was the way all Timelords change their bodies whenever they near death.  Give me a fucking break.  Are we really so stupid we can't figure out that a body change is still a body change?  How does it make sense to have all regenerations the same, no matter the cause?  If a Timelord dies of a paper cut, should his regeneration cause him to stand up from where he's collapsed and shoot golden light out of every orifice?  Hardly.  That's clearly something else coming out of one of RTD's orifices, if you ask me.

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Confession #3: I Might Like Matt Smith Better Than David Tennant

Jan
26

Blasphemy!  Heresy!  Buuuuuurn heeeeeer!

OK, that's probably overstating the reaction a bit, but I may well be ostracized at my own get-together after this one.  The Ladies of WhoFest are firm Tennantites, so admitting my Smithian leanings is sure to engender some antagonism, or at the very least disdain. I can't deny it any more, though.  I think Eleven has surpassed Ten for me in terms of watchability.

Don't get me wrong - Ten is my Doctor.  I fell in love with him (yeah, I mean it that way - how Mary Sue of me; and yes, I wept like a pregnant lady during The End of Time...), and through him learned to love all the Doctors, each in their own way.  But there's something a bit off-putting about The Lonely God after a while.  While I loved the Saddest Doctor when he was in a manic phase - oh, that smile... - I got tired of him getting screwed (metaphorically, and - depending on how you interpret a few things - literally) all the time.  The guy couldn't catch a break.  Given how RTD chose to write his story arc, I have to say it was probably time for Ten to regenerate; I mean, how much lower could he go?

Perhaps it will come as no surprise, then, when I say that what I've come to love most about Eleven is the return of his joie de vivre.  Sure, the pain is still lurking there in his eyes when someone forcibly reminds him of it, but for the most part, he can put it out of his mind the way anyone who's lost a loved one learns to do(or, as Two put it in Tomb of the Cybermen, "I have to really want to - to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they... they sleep in my mind, and I forget.").  But overall, Eleven gives off a kid-in-a-candy-store vibe, like he hardly knows where to begin because it's all so fabulous - sort of like Ten's breathy "that's beautiful!" upon first seeing the werewolf in Tooth and Claw, except all the time.  New regeneration, new companion(s), new outlook; in a sense everything that Ten was really did die.  And while part of me misses him, another larger part just doesn't have the time, because watching Eleven is too damn much fun.

This certainly wasn't a quick or simple transition.  I went through a real grieving process for My Doctor (details are irrelevant, and vaguely embarrassing).  How many times before had fans gone through this?  "This Doctor was so good; how can the next bloke possibly measure up?"  Over and over again, though, it worked (with a possible exception of the Five to Six transition, which really wasn't Colin Baker's fault so much as his writers').  Knowing that, I resolved to remain Cautiously Optimistic.

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Confession #2: I Haven't Seen Them All

Jan
19

Now I may damage my cred with certain parts of The Community by this admission (perhaps especially those Neo-Whovian friends who regard me as a font of knowledge about Classic Who), but the sad truth of the matter is, I haven't seen all the Doctor Who stories out there. Shocking, I know.

This lapse in my own Doctor Who education is the product of one of my general character flaws (or "quirks," depending on who you ask): I'm not only a completist but also very particular about what I choose to collect. When I began my search for Classic stories, I didn't want anything on VHS, dinosaur technology that it is, so I started looking for what was out on DVD. Rather to my surprise, not everything had yet been released. (What had the BBC been doing all these years that I didn't care about Doctor Who? They were supposed to be getting everything ready for me, for when I discovered a new obsession!) Not only that, but each story (often misleadingly labeled as an "episode") was its own DVD, worth anywhere from $10 to $35 ("on up" for boxed sets of related stories) at list price. Yikes!

Much to my chagrin, my local library system failed me. Not only were there no DVDs in the system to check out, there were precious few VHS tapes, either. Fumbling around in the dark on my own, not having found any real link to The Community yet, I didn't even know whether or not to waste my time with what the library had. There had to be a better way...

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