So, yeah. “The Caretaker.”
I’m getting pretty close to “ring me up when Moffat is gone from Doctor Who.” And I’m not that entirely sure I’m going to turn on my phone’s ringer. Because right now, there is so very little to like and so very much not to, and I am out of patience with Mr. Moffat.
I don’t like – to paraphrase James Nicoll – that at the rate we’re going, we’ll end up with an entire episode consisting of the Doctor negging Clara for 50-odd minutes straight by the end of the season.
I don’t like Clara again being defined so entirely by what men think about what she’s doing. I particularly don’t like – as Leeson on The Doctor Who Podcast said – that it feels like some sort of competition of who is better at taking care of her. She’s a goddamn adult, she doesn’t need taking care of.
I don’t like Danny Pink anymore, in no small part because of what I just said. I kind of liked him in the first episode; since then he’s become more and more weirdly erratic and demanding in ways that set of alarm bells for me. (I did like him when he went all soldier-and-officer on the Doctor, though, in this episode. I’ll say that.)
I don’t like the Doctor demanding explanations about Clara’s boyfriend, even if I don’t like that character. Wanting to know? Sure. Feeling hurt or isolated if he’s kept out of the loop? Okay, I can see that. Demanding like he has some sort of goddamn right? Fuck you, Doctor.
This show has made me think, “FUCK YOU, Doctor. FUCK you.” And wow, do I not want to be thinking that.
I can take an abrasive Doctor. Sometimes I like it. It’s a delicate balance, a challenge, and I’m not convinced it’s a good idea, because in episodes like this, you end up with nothing to like about this Doctor, or any of these characters. Don’t get me wrong, that can work. You weren’t supposed to like anybody in Absolutely Fabulous either, and that didn’t stop it from being completely genius.
But I think the way Moffat is running this version only works if you have previous regenerations of the Doctor in your head. One, to remind you that eventually he’s not like this, and for another, to place this into contrast, which makes this in turn more interesting.
That’s called “writing entirely for the fans,” and over time, it’s a really bad idea.
But most of all – on top of everything else, the thing that really punched me in the face, the thing that’s making me think that maybe I’m done…
I really, really don’t like the Doctor turning the black maths teacher into “the PE instructor” over and over again.
I really do not fucking like the Doctor playing racist tropes as dismissals.
See, here’s the thing. I can take my own ox being gored with more … grace? With having more stomach? I can more easily deal with problematic material that’s problematic towards me than I can with problematic material that’s that so very problematic towards others. It’s one thing to be all dismissive of humans, I’m fine with that. It’s another to be pulling out racist shit.
Now, I’m willing to listen to people to say this isn’t such a fucking racist trope in the UK. I only want to hear it from Britons, and really, I prefer to hear it from Britons of colour. But I’m willing to listen to that.
Something tells me, though… I don’t think it’s that different.
eta: The original version of this post attributed a phrase to James at The Doctor Who Podcast; the statement was actually made by Leeson, and the post has been edited to reflect that.
eta2: Anna has added her reaction over on her blog. She has other issues I don’t.