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Blerd Chick Stories: Breaking Up With The Doctor?

April 1, 2013

dr who bells

I’ve broken up with shows before; Glee, because it refused to care about continuity, Once Upon A Time, because it used to be and interesting take on fairy tales and then just because a show about more and more characters and not any interesting character development, Sons of Anarchy, because it stopped being a show about the interesting biker subculture and became a show about Kurt Sutter’s ego, and my break up with The Walking Dead was detailed rather a lot on this blog.

So breaking up with a show, while sad, is nothing new to me. I don’t hate watch and if I find myself doing so, I just stop. I feel it might be close to time to stop watching The Doctor.

This is entirely Moffat’s fault. He appears to just be phoning his scripts in and attempting to cobble together as many references to previous episodes and incarnations of the Doctor as possible. You know what that’s called? Bad writing?

The latest episode was awful. Spoilers Ahoy!

I watched the two minisodes that led up to the new ep and they were kind of stupid. Stax fainted? He fainted? Really? Except we saw him die in A Good Man Goes to War and the Doctor said he died and was brought back in The Snowmen. If you’re going to show us a moment wherein a canonically dead character comes back to life you have better explain the hell out of it. I would have been fine with Jenny and Madame Vastra telling him that he fainted if the episode had indicated something else. But it didn’t. We’re just going with fainted? Bad. Writing.

And the minisode on the swings? You know, when 11 met Amy as a child and then went back for her as an adult, it was interesting. When River turned out to be Melody Pond whom the Doctor had met in the womb, it was a little weird, but acceptable. Now we have a third instance of the Doctor meeting a child and later going on to spend some serious time being flirted with by their adult self. It’s gotten to the point of creepy now and it needs to stop.

The whole monk thing? It was stupid too. If you’re a fan of old Who, you might have recognized that as a bit of a shout out to the early series character of The Meddling Monk, except it wasn’t him. We’re never going to see him again (because of the Time War) and what was the point of that other than wasting five minutes wherein we are not furthering the plot, adding a sexist visual gag (for the lulz, I guess?) and making sure we are all we aware that the mysterious Clara Osbourne is mysterious?

I guess having her randomly handed a phone number by “a woman in a shop,” wasn’t mysterious enough. The woman is going to turn out to be River. Just wait.

Full disclosure, I hate River. I didn’t used to hate her. I sort of just thought she was an annoying plot contrivance. I’ve never liked the whole “we’re destined to fall in love,” trope and I like “I can be reckless because you will always rescue me,” even less.  Most of all I dislike the fact that Moffat never bothers to actually build a relationship between her and The Doctor. He just tells us over and over that it’s going to be there and then, because he’s decided it’s going to be there, it appears. Relationships in fiction aren’t anywhere near as interesting unless we get to watch them grow. Just telling the viewer that a relationship has grown/is growing is lazy.

It’s clear to me that he was trying to build a temporal badass but he failed. Instead, River comes off as a creepy stalker chick . One of those people who contrive circumstances to interact with the object of their obsession over and over in escalating levels of weirdness.

You know, if she is just a creepy stalker chick who has been lying to herself and everyone else forever, in an attempt to build a family and relationships I would like her more. That would make her a significantly more interesting character. That’s not the case but fine, she had a built in expiration date so I dealt with it. Since the Doctor met River at birth in A Good Man Goes to War and at her current incarnation’s birth in Let’s Kill Hitler we should be done. But as of The Wedding of River Song, she’s back. OK fine, they did kind of have to wrap up that who River kills the Doctor thing. Great. Done now? Nope. The final Amy & Rory episodes just required  her. Fine again. Now are we done? Nope. Moffat has stated she’s going to return in the back half of the new season.

Sigh. I’m getting the impression that they just trot her out when they feel they need some drama or mystery but they are sacrificing actual drama and mystery in that effort.

Great so we have “there’s something in the wi-fi’ which is remarkably similar to the plot device used in The Idiot’s Lantern and the TARDIS phone ringing which is yet another call back, this time to The Empty Child. Yep, got it. Fiftieth anniversary. Gotta bring in a lot of little tips of the hat. With you. But here’s the thing Steven, the way you do that well is to do it subtly. Otherwise it’s just bad writing.

The return of her catch phrase “Run you clever boy and remember,” is shoehorned in, in the most blatant way. It’s completely unnatural, which may have been the point but still. It’s clumsy. Further, the Doctor comes off like an incredibly creepy stalker dude throughout.

While I’m pointing out all the flaws, let me not forget the gigantic plot hole right in the beginning of the episode. WHERE THE HELL DID THAT SPOONHEAD COME FROM? Clara was alone in the house. The Doctor was in the TARDIS changing. Was it just hanging out up there the whole time waiting? Does it fold itself up when not in use and wait in a closet or something? It makes no kind of sense.

Bad writing.

Stuff with Clara, blah blah. The villain is The Great Intelligence, which anyone who saw the Christmas special already knew. Catch phrase, bow tie, blah blah some more. Anti-grav bike? Did I really just watch that? Anti-grav bike? What kind of gimmiky bullshit is that? Go home show. You are drunk. That thing underneath you is a shark. You are jumping it.

Eleven saves Clara which I would probably care about more if Moffat had given me any reason to like her. I liked her as a Dalek. I’m a little interested in how she keeps turning up and I love the fan theory that she is somehow CAL from Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. The most logical explanation is that she is a Dalek cyborg as introduced in Asylum of the Daleks. But as far as why she keeps cropping up, I have little hope or real concern. My lack of these things stems largely from the fact that Moffat keeps throwing in random asides and idiocy that annoys and distracts me.

What would have been really interesting is if the show runners had figured out what they were going to do last year and had Jenna-Louise Coleman playing Lorna Bucket in A Good Man Goes to War. But they didn’t plan that far, which is really the problem.

Fans of Buffy and Angel saw this same thing happen when Joss Whedon went off to first Angel and then Firefly. The head writer guy gets distracted by his other show and the quality of the first show suffers. Moffat’s concentration is split between Doctor Who and Sherlock and the Doctor is suffering for it.

It’s really disappointing.

I don’t want to break up with this show and I will grant you that every show has its off episodes, Love & Monsters from Series 2 springs to mind. but you know what? If the quality of writing doesn’t improve drastically and with a quickness the Doctor and I are going to ave to see other people.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2013 10:46 AM

    I couldn’t watch any more Doctor Who after I realized how infatuated Moffat was with River Song as a character. My wife, who loves to deconstruct everything we watch, read or play, said that she couldn’t tell if Song was some kind of Mary Sue self-insert or if he’d never heard the phrase “kill your darlings”. I agreed.

    I’m the most amateur of fiction writers, but I think what the show really needs right now is to do away with the notion of a showrunner entirely, bring on a small group of young, talented writers who weren’t necessarily raised on the Who and get Tilda Swinton or Gary Oldman or someone in to be the Doctor.

    Two cents.

    • April 3, 2013 9:26 PM

      I’d love a female Doctor, but Moffat has made clear it isn’t going to happen. Because…IDK why.

      • April 4, 2013 8:42 AM

        I’d like to think it’s because he’s already selected his successor and whoever that is has told him that the first thing they’re going to do is get a woman to play the Doctor, but that’s probably not the case.

        Likely what happened is the BBC somehow gauged audience interest in a female Doctor and the neckbeard contingent came out in force, if the research I did into some comments sections are any measure. Hoo boy, if you want a headache bad enough to make you doubt your faith in humanity, just try to follow some of that rationale. “The Doctor should never be female because he’s ALWAYS been a male! The character is inherently male!”

        Head, meet desk.

  2. April 5, 2013 3:49 PM

    I watch Who on Netflix,so I’m stuck waiting for them to get the next season on. I haven’t “met” Clara yet, but I agree completely with your assessment of River Song to date. I was really hoping we’d be done with Matt Smith soon, because he does have a creepiness that bothers me; I think it’s supposed to be boyish charm, but it just doesn’t work.

  3. calamitousmind permalink
    January 18, 2014 6:03 AM

    Reblogged this on Infections of a Calamitous Mind.


  1. Blerd Chick Stories: It’s Time To Recognize That Steven Moffat Is A Misogynist | What a Witch

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