cheesygirl

Yet another Doctor Who Post about the Pony!

Appearances to the contrary, I have put aside my Doctor Who obsession and am working on original fiction at the moment. However, in the course of outlining and fleshing out my own work, I often find myself referencing Russell's work. Take for example...a recent flowchart I was constructing around my hero's journey. It gave me some sharp insight into what is truly wrong with the whole "business as usual" attitude of Doctor Who when applied to what we've seen since it returned to our screens in 2005.

Let me explain...

A few of us...maybe many of us...but definitely a few...were disappointed to the core by what the Doctor did to Rose and Donna at the end of Journey's End. Yes, we were Rose fans or Donna fans for the most part...and we couldn't believe THEIR journey's would end so meaninglessly. However, as I have been saying, the real issue, for the future of the show...is that the Doctor's future is now pointless. And my prediction about that is playing out in Humperdinck fashion...as we see the Doctor now as an aimless drifter who can never be happy for long.

Flawed heroes earn our forgiveness by growing and changing.

In the beginning...the Doctor didn't fundamentally change...but then...he was NOT a flawed hero. He was a wise elder archtype. Sure, he had a little anarchy in his soul...but he wasn't a tormented guy. He swooped in to save the day with a song on his lips and a glint in his eye and everyone thought he was a "splendid chap."

Now, the Doctor is troubled, flawed, lonely and needy. He wanted to love Sarah Jane, but didn't dare...because...he tells us...it would have been far too painful to watch her wither and die. He craves a normal life and "Forever" with Rose Tyler, but feels he "cannot" have those things. He is tormented by his sins and, yet, continues to punish others and himself, driving anyone who would care for him away. Yet, while giving us all of this depth and emotional baggage, RTD appears to cling to the idea that the Doctor is still a child-like wanderer, happy to be experiencing new things, someone the young audience will look up to and admire. But the Doctor as he stands is a being who lives in the moment because he knows that's all we really have, a few stolen moments before it all ends in pain and suffering. Only...he doesn't quite LIVE in the moment...he runs away from it, avoiding any messy reality...unless it is punishing him somehow.

The problem with this attitude of avoidance is that it is antagonist behavior...not protagonist behavior. The audience can certainly sympathize with a well-drawn villian, feel his pain and understand why he makes his twisted decisions. We all can relate to the Doctor being afraid to face Rose Tyler and Donna Noble dying. We understand that he will have to face the loneliness of losing Rose if he goes to her, of watching their kids age and die...and we understand that he will have to face that over and over again if he decides to accept the limitation of being "the last of his kind." We know that the work he does is very vital to the universe and he must, in a few decades, put the desire for the normal life behind him and return to the fray.

David Tennant and RTD both dance around the concept of dancing, of the Doctor truly giving in to his needs. How much does the Doctor feel for Rose...how much of a normal life could he give her. Is she being mature to settle for 10.5 because he's "the best she can hope for"...or is there hope with the Doctor. Did Rose get the shaft...and the cloned shaft at that? This leads me to wonder about Moffat...because Moffat is the one that introduces sexuality to the Doctor in the first place. He does it when he suggests that the Doctor has "danced" and he wants Rose to see him as a man, as a rival for the newly arrived and uber-erotic Jack. He does it, again, in Blink when he suggests that the Doctor was been married. But he goes further than that in Girl in the Fireplace...where quite obviously sex is on Madame's mind and again there is "dancing." And in Silence in the Library when we are asked to assume that one day the Doctor has frisky interaction with handcuffs and such deep intimacy with River Song that she has a screwdriver and his name. All of this in the middle of RTD denying Rose and Ten their happy for her lifetime.

So, we do not really have the balm we used to have of the Doctor being "too high minded for sex". And while we can understand why the Doctor runs from the pain of loving and losing people...we can't accept this rabbiting as heroic. He fails to act in a way that earns him our respect. And once the audience no longer respects the hero of a piece...they find his antics tiresome...and they transfer their affections to another character...in this case, many people transfered their affections to 10.5 or Donna.

I do hope that David Tennant isn't just blowing smoke when he says that the Doctor will be forced to confront his emotional issues in the final episodes. But more than that, I hope that he confronts them like a true hero. That he changes for the better. That he allows himself to love and be loved. Because the promise of a return to the status quo of 1989...of the Doctor being happy to wander... or of the Time Lords coming back to make it all better for him...that's just another way to avoid all of the issues RTD has forced onto us. It is rather like a 25 year old moving back home when he finds he can't cope with real life on his own. We are expected, then, to seal off the work of RTD, let it scab over and eventually...pretend it never happened. The Doctor was never challenged. He never failed to deal with change. But it did happen. And if the Christmas specials fail to address it, if RTD doesn't take responsiblity for finishing the story he started, the wound will be there in the canon...lurking and waiting for someone...some child watching today...to try to repair it in 20 year's time.

Rae
Please... not the "It was just a dream. Resume your lives as normal" ending. As elderly gentlemen will likely say, Coward!

We have to cross everything that the mind of 10.5 is Matt Smith. With being part-Donna, there's plausable deniability about the Doctor's sexuality and he can compete with Jack in fathering the most children by the end of the Universe. Or something. Donna had great joy in travelling the Universe and helping people too.

Lisa
Waving goodbye to the asexual Doctor... hopefully for based in story reasons
I do hope that David Tennant isn’t just blowing smoke when he says that the Doctor will be forced to confront his emotional issues in the final episodes. But more than that, I hope that he confronts them like a true hero.

I’m still too scared to hope. But… well, I’m still here. There must be a part of me that hasn’t given up yet.

Because the promise of a return to the status quo of 1989… of the Doctor being happy to wander… or of the Time Lords coming back to make it all better for him… that’s just another way to avoid all of the issues RTD has forced onto us.

I agree. Unfortunately, I think RTD wasted his best chance to bring back the Time Lords without it being a reset button. (A year ago, I thought that would end up being the answer to the question of what Rose had been doing in Pete’s World.)
Well, as I've noted...we don't really know anything about those clips of Rose shouting into the vids...on the TARDIS and in Midnight. Rose doesn't actually address them...something...again...that we now cannot count on RTD to explain. We must, sadly, because of Children of Earth...look on RTD as not understanding what he's presented to us in subtext. This is something that is very hard for me to grasp. So, I keep reminding myself that it doesn't have to and probably will not make any sort of logical sense in the end. And this also pulls the rug out from under me on supposition...I can't guess what will happen because it doesn't have to make sense.

If it was going to make sense...I could tell you about it. But I imagine only that it will be blockbuster tv that will please the simplest viewers, because they..."Knew that the Master would be back."

The only think going for us at this time...is the simplest viewers all know that Rose is special and the Doctor loves her...so she's probably going to come back to him. Also, they want a proper kiss...I think.

Rae
Well, as I’ve noted… we don’t really know anything about those clips of Rose shouting into the vids… on the TARDIS and in Midnight.

There are a lot of things we don’t know. We don’t even know why the dimensional cannon took half an hour to recharge in “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End” but not in “Turn Left.” And, like you said, we might never know.

The only think going for us at this time… is the simplest viewers all know that Rose is special and the Doctor loves her… so she’s probably going to come back to him.

I think my favorite part of the article you linked to earlier was the first sentence: “Show of hands: how many people felt that Rose Tyler was a bit ripped off in the season finale of ‘Doctor Who’?” I don’t think a professional journalist would start an article that way if he wasn’t fairly sure his readers agreed with him.

I think a lot of fans forget that most of the people watching Doctor Who aren’t in fandom. They haven’t spent the past year reading and writing Ten II/Rose fic, or talking themselves into the idea that “Journey’s End” was a happy ending. Besides, the Doctor they can actually see is clearly still miserable. (In that sense, I guess I’m one of the simplest viewers. My handwave-fu isn’t strong enough to let me ship Ten II/Rose.)

The only question is whether RTD cares any more about those viewers than he does about fen.
Yes...that is the question...
...obviously...even as he was writing Journey's End...Russell was finding it very hard to justify what he was doing to himself. Ben Cook, who is, after all, part of the Old School who fans with his connection to DW Magazine...may well have been trying to hoist RTD over that particular mind barrier...and may well have succeeded. I don't know. David, for my money, can't believe both that Rose is "all that the Doctor wants in the universe" and also...that JE is a happy ending for anyone.

The real question is are their minds simply closed to the idea of "chapters" in the Doctor's life. Because that is all I am asking for...is a happy close to this particular chapter. The next chapter can have a different type of closure to it. For my money...Moffat is the man to bring the Time Lords back. Moffat is going to give us a legendary lothario Doctor...in nerdy pants, apparently. :grin: And that sort of man might well do anything.

One thing that also makes logical sense in all this...is River Song saying the Doctor had old eyes...if he goes to Rose...the Doctor will mature as a being...and so he will gain a sort of wisdom that has nothing to do with the young face he's sporting. Literal minded sorts take her meaning to be that David Tennant looks young and she met him when he was older looking...but I've always assumed she was talking to THE DOCTOR...that she had met him looking different...not like Ten...and she was noticing his naive ways.

I like to believe...that her comment about how young he is...coupled with her reaction to Donna Noble...tells us that something major will happen to him. And that best major thing would be his growing up and changing and accepting that he loves Rose but she is going to die before him...and he deals with that and goes on...an older and wiser Time Lord.

But that's me being all logical about stuff.

Rae
also agreeing with you that most of the fans of Doctor Who are just kids and families and they love Rose and all they are feeling is empty and all they are wondering is when RTD is going to fix this.
we can't accept this rabbiting

There's only one respect that would make any "rabbiting" by The Doctor acceptable -- call it "The Thumper Imperative".

No Jack-rabbiting for Rose, tho'.
The Thumper Imperative, hey?

I am worried that we have created our own lingo for this little club of ours.

Humperdinck

Pony

The Thumper Imperative

Though, I must say that I like the idea of calling what the Doctor did at the end of JE "Jack-rabbiting" on Rose. Run for it, my brotha!

Hee

Rae
I don't know if you have read this interview, but here it is
RTD talks about Rose
http://io9.com/5324964/

We Asked Russell T. Davies Our Most Pressing Doctor Who Question
When we finally sat opposite Doctor Who's Russell T. Davies at Comic Con, there was only one question we were burning to ask him: Why exactly is the blonde ingenue Rose Tyler the most special of all the Doctor's companions?
Yeah...I talk about that...
...in another forum. It is rather a combination of hope and despair for me to read. On the one hand...his comment about not feeling special when he writes Rose...is meaningless. I don't feel that any of the characters I am writing are "special" as I write them. This is because you must be inside a character as you write it.

A better question is "Why is Rose so special to the Doctor?" And most people ask why the Doctor loves her best. I don't think that he loves her "best" because that would be missing the point of WHAT he loves about Rose. Donna he loves like a sister...like a right hand. Martha he loves like a dear friend who stands beside you during the darkest period of your life. Rose he loves like a man loves a woman. Rose is simply the companion who speaks to his loins, his desire to nest and be complete physically. But asking the Doctor or RTD to decide who is more important...Donna or Rose...is like asking you to decide between your sister and your husband.

On the other hand...by the very fact that Rose had to have a duplicate Doctor...and we are asked to believe this Doctor is an exact duplicate...would make Rose special indeed. He still has the Time Lord mind after all...if we are to assume they are a couple...then Rose must be well above average in many respects.

Rae
"Russell completely changes all the goalposts."
http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2009/07/inevitable-and-inescapable.html

...there's a reason why Bernard Cribbins is in the center of the story. It's absolutely central to what happens. And there's a reason that John Simm is there because that absolutely tells you more about who the Doctor is.

So, an elderly gentleman who still loves life and an alien that body swaps are essential to the story.

Lisa
Russell completely changes all the goalposts
That keeps him well within our goalposts. I feel that Bernard Cribbens being such an age...is important. I mean...first we have a woman 30 years older than Rose in Waters of Mars...then we have Wilf who is 50 years older than Rose. It is as if we are seeing just how active Rose would be with him. And then...if we have the Master alive...then that does tell you a lot about the Doctor's ability to return from "the dead" and still be recognized as the same man.

Of course, I often think RTD is addressing us in these interviews and in one of them...maybe this one...which I am not reading because I am avoiding the temptation to speculate off of these things...but anyway...in one of them...he states that he doesn't plan any story ahead of time. So, he's not really going to be drawing on what happened in Last of the Time Lords. And so...I feel sort of like...why bother?

Rae
Re: "Russell completely changes all the goalposts."
You know...I skimmed that article when you posted this...but I didn't read it because I was avoiding spoilers...but I was looped back from somewhere else...and just read the "Goalpost" quote.

Now, I really wish I hadn't read that...because it is causing my heart to go pitter-pat and I'm getting all excited again...even though I had that under control.

Frankly, I can't believe David would dangle that out there like that. It has been suggested by the geek boys, you know? That he's just going to survive...and they went to some trouble to announce that we will see David become Matt's Doctor in the New Year's Day episode. This caused all of the geek boys to heave a collected sigh of relief. And then David goes and says something like that. Hmmm? Either David got too excited himself...or...he's kidding us along?

I do think though that this whole article is very hopeful for what needs to be done to secure the pony. We need Bernard and we need to have the Master explain how he survived. And we need the Doctor to come to grips with what he fears...which is watching the people he loves die. Which is totally understandable...as long as he gets over that and tastes the strawberries. <<---sorry, momentary Buddhist lapse. :grin:

Rae