Everybody loves Doctor Who. I know this to be an incontrovertible fact because I wore my “Trust Me, I’m The Doctor” tee-shirt when I went to see Cirque du Soleil’s “Iris” tonight and got complimented by a total stranger on the way in and was given a free bag of Peanut M&Ms by the guy at the concessions stand (who, incidentally, was wearing a Vortex Manipulator).
But sometimes the people who love Doctor Who say things which are, bluntly, fucking ridiculous. They open their mouthes and some of the most asinine goddamn bullshit tumbles forth like a waterfall of diarrhea.
I’m willing to believe it may not be their fault. Maybe they just don’t know any better. To that end I am writing this post, so that fans who suffer from this enshittening of the vocal chords can receive the proper treatment, and so my fellow Whovians can spot the signs of Mouth Butt and treat the affliction accordingly.
Shall we begin? Yes, let’s. Spoilers ahead, obviously.
#1 - “Don’t bother watching the first season. Just start with ‘The Christmas Invasion’ and work your way forwards from there.”
Any Doctor Who fan I see giving this advice to newcomers to the show is, in my opinion, a shit. They are. Look, I don’t make the rules (yes I do). But saying “Start with ‘The Christmas Invasion’” is like telling people to skip “The Fellowship of the Ring”, or not to bother reading the first few chapters of “The Hichhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.
Why do people offer this advice to newcomers? Do they think the Ninth Doctor is inaccessible? If that were true then the BBC wouldn’t have commissioned more seasons of the show in the first bloody place. The first season was phenomenally successful and reintroduced Doctor Who to a whole new audience. But importantly, it sets up key elements of the revived series - the Time War, the Doctor’s survivor’s guilt, and the seeds of his relationship with Rose.
And, ah, Rose. She’s so optimistic in the first season, so full of wide-eyed wonder. Come the second season that wonderment has been replaced with an arrogance and a sense of entitlement that make the character very, very difficult to watch. When “Doomsday” rolls around and she gleefully leaves her mother in Pete’s World because she simply can’t bear to be apart from the Doctor, I was done. I didn’t give a shit about the character anymore.
But in that first season? Oh, she’s magnificent. Such a brilliant character, and so well-written by everyone involved. Especially Moffat.
Skip the first season? You must be joking.
#2 - “Rose is a Mary Sue!”
Or indeed, any companion character is a Mary Sue. To which I say, y’know, fuck off, basically. I notice nobody ever says this of classic Doctor Who companions (except possibly Adric, but even then that’s patently not the case). Not even Ace, who the producers basically admitted was being groomed by the Seventh Doctor to become a fucking Time Lord.
Rose in particular is something of a sticking point, though. Some people consider her to be a Russell T Davies self-insert. Some consider her a Mary Sue because they believe she fundamentally changes the nature of the Doctor’s character. Neither of these things are true, for obvious reasons, but the biggest and most obvious reason is that the Doctor basically killed his entire people and destroyed his home planet. He did that. You’re honestly telling me that wouldn’t change someone?
The Doctor is loaded with survivor’s guilt, and Rose is (as far as we know, at least) the first person he lets into his world after the end of the Time War. Her presence, for whatever reason - she’s smart, or he needs to see the universe again through fresh eyes, or maybe he just doesn’t want to be alone with his guilt - helps him to mend. But he’s not the same person he was in the classic series. That’s perfectly fine. I’m okay with that. He shouldn’t be. Not with something as big as double-genocide hanging over his head.
Rose isn’t a Mary Sue. Neither is any other companion. Get over yourselves.
#3 - “I stopped watching the show when [insert actor playing the Doctor here] left.”
These days you mostly hear this from Tennant fans who are unwilling to accept the basic fucking nature of the programme. There were nine actors in the role before Tennant filmed a single frame. Get over yourselves and give the new guy a go. Who knows? You might even like him.
#4 - “The Statue of Liberty thing in ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ was stupid.”
This is debatable - I personally think it makes sense when you remember that the version of New York that exists for the bulk of the episode basically no longer exists thanks to Amy and Rory - but the thing that gets me the most? This is almost uniformly said by people who, not one year earlier, were talking about how fucking cool it’d be if the Statue of Liberty turned out to be… what it turned out to be. I mean honestly, just how short a memory do you fuckers actually have?
#5 - “The TV movie isn’t canon.”
I… look, we all have our gripes with the TV movie. It is, putting it politely, a flawed production. But the one key element of the TV movie that everybody seems to hate - the Doctor’s half-human nature - has basically been retconned by the new series. Twice. Three times if you consider the IDW comics to be canonical.
And despite its flaws, I actually like the TV movie. It’s not perfect, but then neither is much of the show itself. It’s a fun romp, a fireworks display of an adventure. Doctor Who is full of such experiences throughout its 49-year history. Just go with the flow. If you’re willing to accept “Timelash” as canon, you can offer the same courtesy to the TV movie.
Update: I added two more things! Read them here.