Poppe Up! – Friday, January 24

In honor of Sherlock and Downton Abbey finally making their return to American airwaves, Poppe Up is going British! What is your favorite British import?

Laura McClellan: My current favorite British import is Doctor Who (no one is shocked). It’s the perfect blend of intriguing, charming, funny and heartbreaking. A great story, well told. Obviously it’s one of my favorite shows. Though if I’m talking all-time favorite British entertainment, I’d have to say anything and everything Harry Potter (especially Emma Watson’s accent). Broadchurch and Sherlock are tied for a close second place in television though. Sophia Grace and Rosie could also be in this mix of favorite brits. I mean HOW adorable are they?

PINK!

J.T. Landry: While I adore both Downton and Sherlock, one of my very favorite British imports is Emma Thompson, back on American shores this year in Saving Mr. Banks. I’ve been a huge fan since the early 1990s, and since she’s been a hoot on the awards circuit this year, it feels like a good time for a true appreciation. This woman is hilarious giving out an award, but she is so much more than that. If you’re lacking Thompson in your life, check her out in her Oscar-winning role in 1992’s Howard’s End, 1993’s The Remains of the Day, and Sense and Sensibility (for which she won the 1995 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and starred as sensible sister Elinor Dashwood). And of course, she’s one of the very best things about Love Actually – the Joni Mitchell scene, you know the one.

Our Queen

Haley Bragg: I’m as much of a fan of Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jude Law as the next girl – and I certainly am thankful that Harry Potter exists in this world. But I’m most thankful for BBC America, solely because of The Graham Norton Show. As much as I love Jimmy Fallon and can’t wait for him to take over The Tonight Show, Graham Norton somehow gets away with treating celebrities (even Robert De Niro!) like they’re the same sort of normal as we are. And the result is a panel of celebrities that are more laid back and relaxed than you’d ever see on an American talk show! Plus, he’s just really funny. If you’ve never seen it, you should try it out with the episode from last season with Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig and Chris O’Dowd. You wouldn’t believe what happens if I told you.

Sadly, no gif without spoilers.

Landry Harlan: It must be good if the US is copying it right? Strangely enough, the US version of this show will star the same lead actor as well! Doctor Who fans, prepare to see a whole other side to David Tenant. My current favorite British import is the 2013 Whodunit, Broadchurch. This crime drama is set in a remote coastal town where everybody knows everybody, so when a dead boy is found on the beach, everyone is under suspect. Tenant plays a grizzled cop with a mysterious past who partners with a local detective (a remarkable Olivia Coleman) to investigate. What separates this mystery from others is the unique setting filled with rich characters that slowly show their darker sides as the series progresses. The ending is shocking and well worth the binge-watching of all eight episodes. Holding out hope that the US version, “Gracepoint”, will be a worthy successor.

Not the Doctor anymore

Jennifer Clapp: So, there’s this whole thing with Idris Elba that we’ll get to explore later, but as much as I love British television, British literature (even if I did skip the two Brit Lit classes in college FOR REASONS (sorry, Samford)) and British candy, I am ENRAPTURED by BritPop. Kylie, Will and Gareth, Robbie Williams, you name them, I love them. Then there’s also Elbow, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay (yes I still like Coldplay. Deal with it.). And then of course the Rolling Stones, The Who, the effing Beatles, ELO. The Clash. Oh, gosh, guys, PETER GABRIEL! Phil Collins. I have to go, Spotify needs me.

This episode is better than you think.

Everybody Knows New Names: Recasting Cheers

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Quite a few years ago (long enough that this movie was relevant), my friend Natalie and I put together our perfect Twilight cast while working out. The “real cast” had just been announced and we had some ideas for changes…mainly because some of the cast were people (young people?) we’d never heard of.

Recasting movies and tv shows has become a favorite game of mine since then, and I’m always up for a good discussion about who could perfectly play (or resurrect) a role.

Today’s post is dedicated to recasting Cheers for a modern audience. I’ve set a few rules for myself:

  1. In this recasting world, I can pick a Dream Team. I don’t have to worry about one actor being “too big” for TV, or not likely to work with another actor, or anything like that.  This is Cheers; everyone knows your name.
  2. All of the actors must be old enough in my memory to drink (real age minus five years for Hollywood). So sorry not sorry, Selena Gomez will not be sidling up to this bar.
  3. I’m not looking for recasting body types, but instead actors who can embody characteristics of the originals.

First, let’s take a look at the original cast:

Sam Malone: Ted Danson*

Diane: Shelley Long

Rebecca: Kirstie Alley

Woody: Woody Harrelson

Norm: George Wendt

Cliff: John Ratzenberger

Carla: Rhea Perlman

Frasier: Kelsey Grammer

Coach: Nicholas Colasanto

Lillith: Bebe Neuwirth

Eddie: Jay Thomas

Now, assuming that this show would air on CBS on…Tuesday night at 9pm?…sans laugh track (although I think the original had a laugh track), here are my ideas for the new cast:

Sam Malone: Josh Duhamel

Don’t hate – think about it for a second. Duhamel is dashing, capable if a little harried, coveys strength and masculinity. He might actually be the love child of Sam and Rebecca.

Diane: Rebecca Romign

She’s really great on TV. Is she on a show right now? Let’s get her back, and in a role where she can portray strong business sense without having to have first been a man.

Rebecca: Thandie Newton

While being a tiny little thing, Thandie Newton oozes power and femininity, the two traits (to me, at least) that characterize Rebecca. I’d love to see her do some physical comedy, too; she was excellent in Run, Fatboy, Run.

Woody: Zac Efron

While I have misgivings about putting post-rehab Zac in a show about a bar, he could be really great here. I’d like to see how he is on a standard network show, too.

Norm: Seth Rogen

I’m willing to give on this one; I’m not necessarily a Seth Rogen fan. However, if any actor could be convincing as a bar regular, I think it’s Rogen. He’d need a strong script, but I think he could work. Maybe he doesn’t have to be in every episode. (I’m sad thinking about how, looking at my proposed lineup, Seth Rogen is probably the most commercially successful of these actors right now. Nothing specifically against Seth Rogen, but…let’s put Rob Riggle in a Walter-Mitty-esque movie, STAT.**)

Cliff: Rob Riggle

Cliff Craven as you’ve never seen him before***. I’m totally sold on Riggle as Cliff (I mean, alliteration) and that’s why I’m not as sold on Seth Rogen as Norm. I’m not sure they’re a good pair. I can’t think of who to better pair him with, though, unless I were to suddenly skew the show “old.” Could this version of Cliff wear the short blue USPS shorts? Ha!

Carla: Kristin Wiig

Yeah? YEAH?!? Suspend your notion that Carla has to be small (I’m not advocating for a line-for-line recreation of the original scripts, after all) and think about how perfect she would be. I would listen to relationship woes and pet peeves from Wiig any day.

Frasier: Jude Law

Perfect, right?!?! RIGHT?!?!

Side note, I follow the  Law of Law: I tend to find ways to put Jude Law into every dream cast situation, even though he’s not necessarily one of my favorite actors. How can someone with such a quickly receding hairline remain so devilishly handsome?

Lillith: Susan May Pratt

Susan May Pratt is basically the patron saint of uptight type-A girls, right? I haven’t seen her play any other part. Plus, she looks a LOT like Bebe Neuwirth, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in this role.

Eddie:  Ben Falcone

Okay, so believability as an ice hockey player might be a stretch for Falcone. BUT being a former ice hockey player who’s now in the ice-capades as a penguin and is killed by a Zamboni? Not a stretch. Plus, Falcone and Wiig, FTW.

Coach: John Ratzenberger

There has to be a Coach. Ratzenberger has to get a nod. This allows for both things, while freeing JRatz up after one season to get back to Pixar. Win-win.

new Cheers

I’d be willing to allow NBC to run with this, if only to set up the cross over episode with Community when the team needs an after-class drink. The bottle episode to end all bottle episodes.

What do you think? Am I ruining Cheers? Do you have any suggestions for casting ? (PLEASE give me some better ideas for Norm; PS I’ve already thought about Vince Vaughn and I think he’d overshadow everyone else with his demeanor and literal physical size. Give me more options.) Crossover episodes?

*Let’s all think about Ted Danson for a second.  Think about Cheers. Then think about Two Men and a Baby. THEN think about Two Men and a Little Lady. Did you ever think he’d be where he is now? ARTHUR FROBISHER, y’all .
**I’m pretending that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is going to be more like the first preview I saw than the second. Pretend with me. (::closes eyes:: pretend with me)
***Hot.

Introducing the Thursday Next Book Club!

Update: Discussion has begun on Jane Eyre! Visit http://culturepoppe.boardhost.com to join in!

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It’s 2014, and in an effort to help with those resolutions, we’re hosting a book club! Structured around Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, we’ll read both his series and works referenced in (or with the same themes as) the Thursday Next books. The idea is simple: Read one book per month and discuss it on a dedicated discussion board.

jane-eyre

I prefer Toby Stephens as Rochester, but Fassbender wasn’t so bad.

Our first book is the classic Jane Eyre – available for free on most eReader download sites. (You can find the Kindle version on Amazon.com and with a valid and subscribing library card, on Overdrive.com; if you’re in Nashville, here’s your link.) Unless you want to get started early, we’ll kick off the discussion of Jane Eyre on Wednesday, January 15.

Happy reading!

Some general rules for the discussion board:

  • Feel free to post thoughts and questions as you reach them, but please identify the chapter number at the beginning of your comment to help avoid spoilers.
  • Culture Poppe will make the discussion forums available for posting on the first of each month, but won’t begin posting until the 15th; however, please feel free to begin posting at any time. Discussion will last through the end of the month and a wrap up post will come to CulturePoppe.com.
  • Note: Unless requested specifically by the poster, all content is available to repost on CulturePoppe.com.

And if you can’t join us every month, we’re posting our full 2014 schedule below – Poppe by when you can!

January: Jane Eyre

February: The Eyre Affair

UPDATE: Further hosting of the book club will be done via http://anunreliablenarrator.com. Join us!

March: Lost in a Good Book

April:  The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

May: The Well of Lost Plots

June: Hamlet OR The Merry Wives of Windsor

July: Something Rotten

August: First Among Sequels

September: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

October: One of Our Thursdays is Missing

November: The Little Prince

December (possibly November*): The Woman Who Died a Lot

Possibility for December*: Dark Reading Matter

*The publish date hasn’t been announced for the eighth (and rumored to be final) installment. If it occurs in 2014, we’ll take off The Little Prince and shift everything up so that all books can be included.

UPDATE: Further hosting of the book club will be done via http://anunreliablenarrator.com. Join us!

Thank who for being a friend?!?: Recasting The Golden Girls

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Are you kidding me? Why did you even click on this? Was it to post angry comments? I HOPE SO, because this was a trick question. The Golden Girls could never be recast and should never be rebooted. These ladies are perfection.

Do we have you nostalgic for St. Olaf and coffee on the lanai? Grab your cheesecake and head on over to the Hallmark Channel. They marathon it all the time.

Conversations Through Space and Time: Evaluating Eleven (Pt. 2)

In this segment, we’ll look at some of the more introspective traits of Eleven. What made him tick? And, more specifically, what made him tick differently than Nine or Ten?

(Need a refresher of Part 1? Try Here.)

Hello, sweetie

MONOLOGUE-ABILITY:

Laura:  I would argue that Eleven’s monologue-ability rivals the other two modern doctors and wins out every time. His speech to all of his enemies when the Pandorica opens is brilliant. (“ANNNNNND THEN!”) His soliloquies to baby Stormageddon and a young sleeping Amy are beautiful and a tinge heartbreaking. Matt Smith knows how to deliver a monologue.

Jennifer: Eleven’s delivery reminds me of Susan (Vanessa’s fast-talking friend) from The Cosby Show. His monologues are most often external internal-monologues and aren’t necessarily directed toward other characters, which is a little different from other Doctors.

Megan: I remember being so upset about losing 10, I worried about continuing. But a friend of mine told me one of his favorite things about 11 was that he was a little angrier, and seemingly better at it. So, I came in looking for that. Oh, I found it. Eleven delivers a monologue with the best, most malicious mischief. He dares the universe to cross him. He’s funny and awkward and consistently whimsical, but you piss him off in a dark alleyway and he quickly reminds you of his ordeal. His angry try me moments are hands down some of my favorites. A few:

Ep. 5.1 The Eleventh Hour

Hello, I’m the Doctor. Basically, run.

Ep. 5.4 The Time of the Angels

monologue1

Ep. 5.12 The Pandorica Opens

(this needs no statements; but see my thoughts on catchphrases, because Come ooooon, then!)

monologue2

Ep. 6.4 The Doctor’s Wife. **My favorite episode of all time.

House: Fear me. I’ve killed hundreds of Time Lords.

Eleven: Fear me. I’ve killed all of them.

I could go on. But, basically, he has nailed the angry, raggedy Doctor: worse than everybody’s aunt.

DEFINING MOMENT:

L: Eleven was my first doctor. I realize that doesn’t make any sense, but he’s the only doctor I saw in passing while my husband was watching it that made me remotely want to entertain the idea of watching Doctor Who. I watched him first, then went back to 9. So for me, his defining moment is landing in Amy Pond’s yard. He won me over from day one. He’s the reason I watch this show at all. His charm, his wit, his humor–it all comes across in that first episode. Of course, he gets even better as it goes on, but Eleven had me from the get-go.

J: I have several. 1) In 5.3, The Beast Below, he was willing to kill the alien to save humanity. This crops up in several other episodes where he seems completely willing to sacrifice himself. 2) In one of my favorite and sadly often forgotten episodes, 5.7, he interacts with the Dream Lord. More about this later…

dream lord

M: I loved series 5. I loved Eleven in a charmed, intrigued but distant way the entire way through that first season with him. But my defining moment comes in my all time favorite episode, the aforementioned The Doctor’s Wife (Neil Gaiman’s Doctor Who debut!!). His victory speech to that villain has been a line that settled him in my bones as the Doctor, as well as something that swirls and bangs around in my head like the wild TARDIS itself just as consistent lifeperspective: That’s your problem, House. Size of a planet but on the inside you’re just…so…small.

RELATIONSHIP TO COMPANION(S):

L: Eleven’s relationships with Amy and Rory are characterized by a deep adoration and care for their well-being. Even though there was no romantic relationship with Amy (something I appreciated), Amy holds a special place in his heart(s). He was endeared to her when she was a child, and therefore still feels the need to take care of her and prove himself to her. As a couple and as individuals, Amy and Rory mature greatly over the course of their tenure, and you get the sense that the Doctor actually looks up to them. He admires them. The depth of his relationship with Amy and by extension, Rory, helps shape the Doctor and makes it all the more heartbreaking when they leave.

With Clara, everything is new and different. She knows nothing of his past life and, though she is an adventurer, she is skeptical of him. Unlike any of the other companions (except maybe Donna), she is not impressed by him. She is (was?) a mystery to him. A totally different relationship than with Amy. The Doctor and Clara are still getting to know each other, but I think their relationship will be a fun partnership.

clara

J: He’s always rather evasive, isn’t he? At least with Rory and Amy – I honestly can’t remember much about his interactions with Clara. He’s connecting with them and caring about them, but it seems to be at the cost of being 100% comfortable and himself around them. I didn’t notice this on a first watching. Nine and Ten just seemed more communicative with their companions; they let people into their lives a little more. One thing that annoys me – Eleven lives on the edge of possibility, apparently. If Clara is known as “the impossible girl,” I can’t overlook that first Amy was “mad, impossible Amy Pond.” In Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen says “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” I don’t know if recalling that quote that makes me like all of these impossibilities more, or expect them to pay off less.

  • Nice moments with Rory: I feel like Eleven could’ve left Rory at home, but he brought him in for Amy’s sake. The Doctor saw what he did with Rose and Mickey’s relationship – pulling out one member of a pair and taking them on grand adventures before sending them home for a visit. Even outside of the romantic relationship with Rose and the Doctor, there was a different kind of resentment between her and Mickey. Rory and Amy won’t have to go through that. To me, Rory exists as someone who can call the Doctor on his alien-ness (see “Mindset” below). For example, there’s this one scene where Rory is talking to the Doctor about how dangerous he (the Doctor) is: “It’s not that you make people take risks, it’s that you make them want to impress you.” SO GOOD. (Side note: You know who didn’t fall risk to this? Donna Noble. All the points to Donna’s Hogwarts house. I claim her on behalf of Hufflepuff.)

doctor-who-matt-smith

Also in regard to the companions, I love these moments:

  • In the episode with the Silence, he refers to his “agents” as the Legs, the Nose and Mrs. Robinson (“Oh, I hate you.”). So good.
  • Doctor: “I’m being extremely clever up here and there’s no one standing around looking impressed. What’s the point of having you call?” River (to Amy and Rory): “Shouldn’t we just slap him sometimes?”
  • “Space can be very lonely and the greatest adventure is to have someone sharing it with you.” This line made me miss Donna Noble very, very much. I wonder if Eleven misses Donna.

M: I’ll be brief here, as Jen and I have talked at length about the companions themselves in previous posts. But overall, I am convinced that Eleven was given great story lines for companions, and terrible companions in comparison. He stole every drop and dash of spotlight from them every single time in my opinion (much as I came to love the lot of them) (sans Clara, who should’ve been cast as a child).

CREW/GANG:

L: Though Ten does have recurring characters aside from companions, like Captain Jack and Harriet Jones, Eleven has a gang. More than one, actually, if you count the group he actually deems his gang (“It’s new.”). Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax are always there for him, especially when he loses the Ponds. They’re always in the same place in time, so he can always go back to them. They fight for him and protect him, but also provide a sense of steady companionship, which, ironically, companions can’t really sustain. Eleven’s gang always gets a welcome return in my book.

crew

J: This guy isn’t really a member of the gang, yet he’s always a member of the gang, you know what I mean? The Dream Lord. There’s that moment when he’s in his tweed and bowtie and says “I love it when he does that. Tall, dark, hero.” And then he immediately “changes” into spiffier clothes – WHICH ARE ALMOST EXACTLY WHAT ELEVEN WEARS WITH CLARA. Damn, Moffat can be good. Then later in the same episode, Eleven tells the Dream Lord “There’s only one person in the universe that hates me as much as you do.” Break my heart, Matt Smith. Break. My. Heart. Oh, and God bless Craig Owens.

M: Hands down one of the most relatable things Eleven brought to the Doctor was his deep love [need, even?] for everyone getting along and just being together [much like a child], yet feeling awkward trying to actually receive or participate in the togetherness. Remember when he wanted to spend Christmas with the Ponds and found they’d set a place for him every single year? What a great, great moment in respect to having/being a crew/gang. *sigh. Does he HAVE TO GO?!!?

RELATIONSHIP TO VILLAIN(S):

L: My all time favorite villains are the weeping angels. Though they typically send you back in time rather than kill you, they are one of the most (if not THE most) terrifying Who villains. Primarily because I can’t go more than three seconds without blinking. I know they didn’t originate with Eleven, but he has my favorite interactions with them. They are subtle and silent, yet powerful and frightening. You can’t reason with them. You just have to accept their presence and figure out a plan. The urgency they create just by standing there, and the fact that they only move when you aren’t watching–brilliant.The two-part episode in which River, the Doctor and Amy take on the angels with the soldiers (The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone) is one of my favorites.

NOT a jelly baby

J: Eleven is the most sympathetic Doctor we’ve seen toward our villains. At times, this Doctor has been a villain (Hyde, Flesh). I like both of these things. Especially in that Flesh episode – as frustrating as his episodes can be, Moffat is really great at societal lessons. (Side note: I don’t know where this comes from, but Matt Smith is SUPERB at playing against himself*. Two are at least just as good as one (and better than him playing against Miss Sexy Mouse).)

two

M: Perhaps the most endearing quality about Eleven to me is his consistent sight of himself in nearly every [supposed] villain he encounters. It is a weakness of his from the word ‘go,’ (rather, from the speech Amy gives him in Ep 5.2 The Beast Below [Amazing, though, don’t you think?  The Star Whale. All that pain and misery… and loneliness… and it just made it kind.]) and somehow everyone manages to play on it. I’m thinking specifically of Ep 7.3, A Town Called Mercy and 7.9 Cold War. But it’s perfect every time to me. It feeds his angry vibe, his whole heroic ‘woe is me’ mindset (I’m getting there), as well as gives him every opportunity to overcome himself, which he does. Is doing. Will do.

MINDSET:

L: In “The Day of the Doctor,” Rose (or the interface, rather) calls Ten “the one who regrets” and Eleven “the one who forgets.” I think that’s pretty accurate. Eleven, even more so than Ten, gets caught up in whimsy and childlike expressions. He doesn’t want to talk about what happened that day, and he has a lot of buried anger about it that he’d rather not tap into. It leaks out in places, but I think “the one who forgets”—or the one who chooses to forget—is a fair description.

J: I’ve read SO MUCH about this – Nine being the “revenge one,” Ten being the “regret one,” etc. What is Eleven? I’m not sure there’s an easy answer. While he does seem flippant and easy-going a lot of the time (“I do what I always do. Stay out of trouble. Badly.”), he also has some really angry moments (“You don’t ever get to decide what I need to know!”) I think that (and again, I can only say this about his time with Amy and Rory…sorry for drawing a blank on Clara) his mindset can be summed up in this line, again from The Beast Below – “The impossible choice: humanity or the alien.” You just have to look as far as his friendship with Craig to see that’s what he’s working through his entire run. How human can he be without remembering – or being drawn back into – something that’s superhuman, extra-human, alien?

M: Look. Y’all know I love the Doctor. I do. Thick and thin. Sickness and health. Till Bad Wolf Bay do us part. But he’s growing a bit tragically narcissistic these days, which truthfully is a perfect carryover from Ten’s whole “…the laws of time are mine and they will obey me” complex. The Doctor, as any consistent hero, is always in danger of it; it’s why he’s always told by the people who love him to stop traveling alone. But Eleven’s companions have NOT helped the situation at hand, even though I think their whole strong-feminine-you-don’t-know-everything approach was supposed to come across as putting him back into his place. If you ask me, it didn’t work. And we need a new Donna Noble to come in and actually take care of this. Stat. Read: River Song. Kthanks.

idris

Just for your feels: Megan’s coping playlist: http://open.spotify.com/user/megebeam/playlist/0877eGbougj6BzEOwCd6OX.

*I recently got into a very detailed discussion about Eleven with my friend Natalie and she had some interesting and potentially divisive things to say about Matt Smith playing opposite himself. I implore her to comment and hash that out again. Fish fingers and custard for thought.

Conversations Through Space and Time: Evaluating Eleven (Pt. 1)

This is it, y’all. Our final days with Matt Smith’s Doctor. With honor and appreciation, Laura, Megan and I decided to take a moment to travel through space and time and look back at the past three seasons of Doctor Who. In this first of two parts, we take a look at some of the outer symbols of Eleven.

Laura: Full disclosure, Eleven is my favorite doctor, so I might be a little biased. And gush. A lot.

Jennifer: I have a confession: I tried to do the impossible for this post – I wanted to rewatch ALL of Eleven’s episodes to date before submitting my answers, but it just didn’t happen. At this point, I’m about halfway (well, exactly halfway, actually) with season six. Unfortunately that means that my examples will be light on the Clara front, but to be honest I’m okay with that.

Megan: I’m going to attempt to make this brief, but let the record show, I have a LOT to say about Eleven. Ten is my fav, but Eleven has a most special place in my heart. And not [just] because I would marry Matt Smith if he asked me, okay? So, back off. Still. Should anyone need to get obscenely existential about his ability to pull off a scene, you know where to find me. Moving on to the task at hand. Eleven. Take it all, baby.

Hello, sweetie

ATTIRE: 

L: Eleven’s outfit is totally reflective of his personality—the mad, goofy, professor/adventurer. The boots combined with the suspenders and tweed is a perfect juxtaposition. The pants that are a bit too short add to his quirk and madness. And of course, the all-famous bow tie he insists is cool is now his trademark, which I love.

J: Okay. Doctor Who Pet Peeve: When Eleven first shows up he’s in Ten’s clothes. Makes sense. HOWEVER, Ten’s clothes are made to look super short in the arms and legs, yet we all know that David Tennant is a skyscraper to Matt Smith’s normal-sized person. If ANYTHING, they should’ve had popped buttons to account for Smith squeezing to try to match Scarecrow Tennant’s circumference. Moving on. In seasons five and six, Eleven wore the tweed coat, bowtie and suspenders with too-short pants and floppy hair. Upon meeting Clara, he switches to more Victorian wear. I don’t get it, and I like the tweed better.

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M: I think the whole pick-a-theme-outfit for the Doctors is amazing. It’s one of my favorite little details about this show and its simple consistency. Remember that first episode in series 5? Eleven’s speech as he dressed himself? Swoon. And, come on, I could go all day about the delight of bow-ties, stetsons and overcoats, but fact of the matter is there’s only one real thing to say about Eleven’s attire: nobody pulls off super hot hipster old man awkward giraffe like Matt Smith. Not nobody. Not. No. How. Suspenders? He’s on it. Monk get-up? Suddenly cool. Tux, top hat and tails? Treat. Yo. Self. In the words of the great philosopher, T.I., you, Matt Smith, can have whatever you like.

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HAIR:

L: I personally like Eleven’s hair the best—a little floppy, a little goofy. Just like him.

J: How can someone so young look so old? We’re all kinda sad he didn’t regenerate as a redhead, right? I was going to mention this under “Attire,” but did you notice that… He always maintains that floppy hair UNLESS he “isn’t” the Doctor – for instance, in one of season six’s opening episodes he says “I’ve been running…and tonight I’m going to stop.” He has perfectly coiffed hair at that point. Again in the ‘ganger episode and again in the Jekyll/Hyde episode. The similarities: In all of these instances, the more put together Doctor isn’t the Doctor (robot, Flesh, Hyde). I LOVE THIS.

M: It’s not a secret. Eleven’s hair battles closely with Ten’s. It’s true. Perfection all around. But :: UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT:: some of my favorite looks on Eleven are his less polished looks. The scraggly-shaggy-never-shaving-again-even-though-it’s-a-tad-patchy-beard with the pseudo mullet? Win. The long hair [most popularly seen during The Wedding of River Song]? WINNING. (I know, right? He DOES have hair during that scene. He does, in fact, still possess something other than that mouth everybody doesn’t want to admit they rewind to watch. It has been confirmed.)

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TARDIS, SONIC STUFF and GENERAL GADGETRY:

L: Compared to years past, Eleven’s sonic screwdriver is significantly larger and more robust. It opens at the end and seems a bit more mechanical than Ten’s, which looks a little more pen-like. I think this along with the bronze color makes it a little steampunk-y, and I like it better than Ten’s. The TARDIS design during the Ponds’ reign was probably my favorite so far. It was industrial but not too dark or sparse. They updated it after that, and it’s a little too machine-like for my taste. Very minimal, metallic and kind of dark.

J: I do love that these regenerate with the Doctor, especially when you think that they are all a part of him. I do like the yellow tardis better than the blue one, but that’s just a glitter thing. As far as other gadgets, my favorite from Eleven’s seasons is probably the mirror/computer thing he used in Vincent and the Doctor. It reminded me of a one-man band. I like to think of the Doctor that way. One other element that was introduced with Matt Smith (and probably more likely, Steven Moffat) – the Doctor’s Theme. It’s a big overused and can go on too long in a scene, but I LOVE it when it appears at just the right time. (There’s one point it’s used for Rory when he’s defending Amy and I basically die.)

M: Love the redecoration (though I maintain that Ten’s TARDIS is the proper TARDIS, I will receive remixes accordingly). Love the sonic. But to throw in some extras on my part, I am a huge music snob/nerd, consistently obsessing over scores and once Jen brought up the Doctor’s theme this past few seasons with Eleven, I cannot say enough times that I love love love love it and never want it to leave. Ever. That is all.

You’re welcome: http://soundcloud.com/bbc-radio-3/08-i-am-the-doctor

CATCH PHRASE:

L: Though “geronimo!” is typically cited as Eleven’s catchphrase (opposite “Fantastic!” and “Allons-y!”), my favorites are things like, “bow ties are cool” and “come along, Ponds!” Coupled with his accent, Eleven couldn’t be more charming.

J: When I started thinking about catchphrases, “Geronimo!” obviously popped into my head first. I like it. Works great with “Fastastic!” and “Allons-y!” However, I do miss Ten’s “I’m sorry; I’m so, so sorry.” BUT why does Eleven tell people to shut up so much? Seriously, at least once per episode he’s telling someone to “SHUT UP.” Usually with vigor. It assaults my ears. I don’t like to hear the Doctor use “shut up” so often. It’s an easy leap in my head to hearing him tell poop jokes and wear jean shorts. Ohhhhh but I bet Matt Smith does love an ironic pair of jean shorts, though. (I must forget. I must forget.)

M: Honestly, Eleven’s whole “Geronimo” ordeal is secondhand in comparison to some of his greats. His use of phrases like ‘you lot’ and referring to things as ‘important’ (something about how Matt annunciates that word makes it twice as dignified) and ‘Ha!’ But when it comes to the ones I love to hear him say most often, it’s “Come ooooon, then!” and “I. AM. TALKING.” (Which is a great throwback to one of Ten’s first episodes, in series 2, The Idiot’s Lantern and that miserable father. Go on back and check that out. It gets dragged around a bit by Ten, but it’s really something by Eleven).

MILEAGE/TIMEAGE:

L: Eleven did spend a lot of time on earth, but as an earth-dweller I wasn’t disappointed. More space and other planets would be fun though.

J: Is it just me, or did Eleven spend a LOT of time on Earth? During my rewatch, I’ve done some tallying. In about 25 episodes, there were seven episodes in space and 22 on Earth, 14 of those being in England. (If my math seems off, that’s because four of those episodes took place in multiple locations. ) He needs to spend some time in outerspace, y’all. I will say this – I love that Eleven jumped around in timelines more than the others – visiting the companions, River, Craig, etc. at different times in their lives. He used that TARDIS almost exactly as the rest of us would.

M: This is very simple. Loved the time travel with Eleven. Need more space. Which translates in layman’s terms: NEED MORE GAIMAN KTHANKSBYE.

We aren’t finished yet; check out Part 2 here: http://wp.me/p1J3NC-rk

While you wait, here’s Jennifer’s coping playlist: RUN on 8tracks.

Conversations Through Space and Time: The Others

Hello, sweetie

When we began our conversation about the Doctor’s companions, we realized we could go on for years unless we set some ground rules. So we created the “secondary” and “tertiary” categories for companions – secondary being those who were IN the TARDIS, and tertiary for those that weren’t (or at least weren’t for a long time). The actual series list is exhaustive, but we picked out our favorites…submitted for your perusal:

WILF. 

WILF

Megan: Look. Wilf was the perfect non-companion/kindred spirit for Ten. And, to me, they got just the right amount of time together. His ability to draw out both the child and the parent in the Doctor has yet to be paralleled, I think, by any kind of companion. And [spoilers!] his moment with Ten just before his regeneration? Spot on. Can’t say enough good things about him.

Jen: Coffee shop scene. Just…just…that coffee shop scene. I loved that the Doctor was able to share real feelings with someone who was a confidant – they were both completely committed to protecting Donna. Also, their statuses as the “old guys” made for sympathetic ears and endearing moments. I adore Wilf and would love to see more of him. (Side note: Did you know Tennant has a son named Wilfred? YEP.)

JACKIE.

M: Hands down the most ridiculous, obnoxious, loveably flawed, drama-drenched secondary companion ever. Come on. That blue eye shadow? Those juniors’ jeans bedazzled with rhinestones on the pockets?  She’s so great on her own, let alone as a context for Rose. 

J: I love Jackie because (and I know I’m saying this after seeing all of the episodes) she’s the only mother who realizes the GOOD that her daughter is experiencing by traveling with the Doctor. She doesn’t lose her protectiveness of Rose, but doesn’t let her own fear keep her daughter from having an adventure. She doesn’t blame the Doctor for decisions that are ultimately her daughter’s (::cough:: Martha and Donna’s moms ::cough::).

MICKEY 

M: I’ll be honest. I want to love Mickey and his whole storyline. But it just never really happened for me. He was interesting insofar as making Rose and the consequences of running away with the Doctor believable, but any further than that felt forced. I don’t actively find him to be the worst, I just can’t help but see him falling flat every single time. I feel so ashamed for even saying that. I WILL say that ending up with dreadlocked Martha Jones? WINNING. 

J: Poor Mickey. He was really just holding Rose back. He really only existed as a vehicle to show just how brave Rose was to go with the Doctor. Mickey was a safety net – Rose wasn’t just a girl living with her mom, she was a girl with a job and a boyfriend who was a childhood sweetheart, and she saw that it just wasn’t enough to be “safe.” I think Mickey’s shining moment was when he stayed with his Grandmother in alterna-England. I think there’s a really cool thing with Rory that is directly related to Mickey, but more about that next week when we talk about Eleven specifically.

Jackie, Mickey and Sarah Jane

SARAH JANE

M: I’m so not qualified to talk about Sarah Jane any further than the few episodes I’ve seen with her. That said, I cannot fully express my love for her and K9 particularly. And her bonding with Rose in series 2 was easily one of the best ways Davies thickened up the history of the show. So great. 

J: Ditto on all counts. I would’ve loved to see more Sarah Jane and Captain Jack interactions in her few short appearances since 2005, though. I feel like they would have clashed like I’m HOPING Twelve and Clara will clash. I think that Sarah Jane’s appearance in the “reboot” was so telling of Davies’ devotion to the show as a British icon, too. It makes me even madder thinking of Eleven sitting next to little Amy’s bed in the finale of season five and saying “I think I’ll skip the rest of the rewinds. I hate repeats.” MOFFAT.

CAPTAIN JACK.

GLEAM

M: I love Jack for so many reasons. I want to hate him. I feel an urgency about my sophisticated Doctor Who tastes to find Jack annoying, but it just won’t happen. And you know why that is? FACE. OF. BOE. The hopeful theory is all I need. 

J: That face. That entrance. His place in Ten’s exit. I WILL DIE if we get to see him with Capaldi. DIE. I absolutely love Captain Jack. I heard that his turn on Torchwood was kinda dark, but I loved the levity he brought to Doctor Who. Also, much like my weird Stephen King devotion, I feel an odd sort of pride in/for John Barrowman. He seems like a delightful individual and I want him to succeed in all things.

 ADAM

Yep. Nope.

M: I will say that the use of the chemistry between Rose and some of the other secondaries (Jack and Mickey included) to bring about a little more complexity in hers and the Doctor’s relationship was pretty great. Adam was a solid addition: young, impulsive and curious enough to run away with her. But real talk: Adam was not hot enough to stick this thing out. So one good episode and BYE. Fine by me! 

J: I always want to turn Adam into the guy that worked for the military lady (real name: Adam Garcia) in The Christmas Invasion, but it isn’t him. I do like that they introduced another potential love interest for Rose, especially since it was hard to feel bad for Mickey since he pretty much refused to travel with her and the Doctor, but his lot was always to die and make Nine step up.

BRIAN [our only secondary for Eleven!]

Perfection of Wilf 2.0

M: What is not to love about Brian? He’s Rory’s dad. He is constantly curious about what’s going on and totally willing to buy into the whole thing. I love it. And I’m gonna say something big: I think with a little more time and cards played right, he could’ve been another Wilf-like mentor for Eleven. 

J: YES Wilf 2.0. I say that in love. Much like Jackie and Wilf, I SO appreciate that there’s a character who is supportive of their loved one’s desire for adventure and that can show appreciation for the opportunities that the Doctor’s given companions not just to travel in space and time, but to become self-actualized and develop traits that they might not have needed to if they’d stayed in [Wherever,] England. I like that he gets to travel with the Doctor and form that bond (even if it’s a bond that will never really be shared in person (tear)) with Rory. Also, Mr. Weasley.

 

As for tertiary…

MADAME VASTRA & JENNY 

Madame Vastra and Jenny

M: I am sorely disappointed to not have more time with these two and the Doctor. The Snowmen episode with Clara, Madame Vastra’s kind of angry vibe was fantastic. And it always leaves me wanting more from her. And Jenny? It’s one of my favorite things, honestly, how unapologetic this entire relationship is. No explanation. No context. It just is what it is. Deal, humanity. I love it. 

J: EVERYTHING YOU SAID. Also, I always want to make Madame Vastra a recurring character from one of the earlier two repto-sapien episodes, but she isn’t. I like that just like the Doctor, she has a companion in Jenny (her Rose) that helps her stay sane – I mean, she’s a LIZARD LADY traveling through time, so, actually a ton more difficult to go unnoticed than the Doctor. Madame Vastra should have a spin off show. Madame Who?

CRAIG

STORMAGEDDON DARK LORD OF ALL

M: I would’ve loved Craig to become a full companion for at least one or two episodes. Some of Eleven’s finest, most human moments were with Craig (and Stormageddon, obvs), and I almost resent that. But only almost. Because Craig was everything I could’ve asked for in a male counterpart for Eleven. Everything. 

J: At this point, I think everyone knows how much I love Craig. LOVE CRAIG. (Side note, Megan: Have you see History Boys? RENT IT.) I really liked the points in The Lodger where Craig got frustrated at how perfect Eleven was at everything; I think that if he’d gotten to be a full time companion, that would’ve really humanized the Doctor. Instead, we got three seasons of watching the Doctor chase girls. (I’m really not as bitter as I sound, honestly.) James Corden is really terrific. I hope Craig comes back for more episodes.

MADAME DE POMPADOUR:

madame-de-pompadour-dw

M: I do love the Madame De Pompadour episode, and I think it’s because of the complexity it adds to the Doctor’s sort of constant heart-on-sleeve status when it comes to humanity (and particularly women, at least for Ten). It was kind of a twinge of “oh yeah, he just goes on and people die around him” before we actually had to do any rough heartbreak…say, on Bad Wolf Bay… *le sigh

J: Lots of people really love her episode not because of the awesome villains (CLOWN ROBOTS!) or the adorable tete e tete of Rose and Ten about the horse, but because of the character herself. WHY? I don’t get it. No one between Ten and Rose!

VINCENT:

Vincent

M: Vincent goes down as one of the greatest episodes of this show, and I don’t think many would argue with me about that. Related to Mdm De Pompadour, things end. Vincent was going to die in some way all along, and it was going to be hard no matter what actually happened. But the fact that it gave Amy a little moment to say, “I didn’t change everything, but I changed something,” was really valuable to her character and to/from the Doctor. Plus, that scene… bringing him to the museum. Ugly sobs from me every single time. Bonus: BILL NIGHY. HOW I LOVE IT.

J: Vincent and the Doctor isn’t a topic I’d usually relegate to one paragraph, but here goes – I feel like Vincent helped remind Amy that while they were getting to go on these grand adventures, and her world was being shifted, the lives of the people they encountered generally went on as before. The Doctor wasn’t going to bend the rules just to have a happy ending (see: Killing Hitler, related: Ten was okay dropping some lines to Shakespeare). Vincent helped remind the Doctor that sometimes a person doesn’t have to be the last of their kind to FEEL like they are alone. I love Vincent and I was happy to see them do this kind of episode again (Dickens, Shakespeare, etc.). BILL NIGHY in my heart.

THE NEXT DOCTOR

Allons-y!

M: Don’t act like you weren’t at least a little nervous to put the Governor in the same room with Ten. Because if you weren’t, you may be dead inside. And if I said I didn’t kind of want him to be a Time Lord, I’d be lying. Because a time traveling hot air balloon? UH OKAY. You had me at “hello, run for your life.” 

J: Confession: I think David Morrissey is sooooo dreamy. When I saw his episode of Who, though, I’d actually just come off seeing him play a total creeper in Our Mutual Friend, so his lack of eye patch didn’t even cross my mind. This story, “The Next Doctor,” as a Christmas special is total genius – the concept of a regular guy – a guy who would normally be the type getting to be a companion – getting to actually be THE DOCTOR, was amazing. I loved that while Ten, and the audience, could see that everything was all wrong, Morrissey behaved with the same conviction and valor that the Doctor would show. Spirit of Christmas-togetherness? YES. Also, he had everyone cheer for Ten. So dreamy.

Bonus: Doctor shade

Bonus: Doctor shade

 

Related topic:

AS FOR THE PATRIOTS…

J: Megan, in an email a couple weeks ago you threw out a question about American companions that I’ve been mulling over. I’ll be honest…I’m still just not sure how I feel about this happening. I mean, remember when DC announced that Superman wasn’t American? That he didn’t identify with any one country? JUST SLAP ME IN THE FACE WHY DON’T YOU. I feel the same way with introducing Americans into Doctor Who (or, I feel like this on behalf of the British people). I don’t think there should EVER be a non-Brit playing the Doctor, but I don’t know about companions. Are we distinguishing between having American actors playing Brits and vice versa? Maybe that’s a thing, too. Here’s my best case scenario, and one I’ve thought way too long and hard about: The Doctor (preferably 12) is really spending quality time with his wife, River. YOU KNOW. She has a baby, but timey-wimey, space prison, action adventure and all that and somehow they baby can’t be raised by River and the Doctor (in my mind, somehow the Doc has been shielded from the knowledge that he has a baby). River delivers the baby to the 1930s (I haven’t worked that out yet) and AMY AND RORY RAISE THE BABY!!! THEN the Doctor finds them in a wonderful reunion episode, spends a couple episodes (i.e. decades) bonding with their second child only to realize when the child is…20ish?…that it’s his and River’s. This child (in my mind it’s a daughter, because ME) would’ve been raised in America by British parents. It could be played by an actor of either nationality. This would also be the next companion because I’m convinced Clara will ditch the old dude and River will end up in Trensalore sooner rather than later. What do you think?

M: The thing is, I could go either way. I love the Brits. Obviously. I near-religiously believe they can do next-to-no wrong. That said, part of me really loves the idea of American companions, particularly if we could spend a little less time on Earth and a little more time on some crazy other planets. I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity for commentary there that could (potentially) broaden both audiences. And if I was going to trust someone to pull it off, it might actually be Moffat. I know it’s super popular to hate him at the moment, but I stand by my belief that he could pull it off. He’s pulled off an awful lot so far. Agreed, however, on the point of a non-Brit playing the Doctor. Not okay. Never going to be okay. And 2nd agreement, ideal would be Capaldi (am I supposed to call him 13 now? I need some guidance on how to refer to him after that 50th) and River. Don’t hate that baby storyline, btw. But I say we could use a few American actors playing American companions. Doesn’t have to be extravagant. Doesn’t even have to be an entire season. I just think there’s untapped potential, and I’d be game to see what they could do with it. 

 

Okay Whovians, who’d we forget? Tell us all about it. (Note: We did NOT forget about River. She just deserves her own post, don’t you think?)

4t3fvm

(Pssst! Check back next week for a special “All Things Eleven” roundup before the Christmas episode and regeneration!)

Do you need to brush up on the “main companions?” Check out our earlier post here: http://wp.me/p1J3NC-mT

Conversations Through Space and Time: Darlin’ Companion

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, as well as the regeneration of Eleven to Twelve, we’ll be having a series of conversations about the Doctor and his world in the next few months.  Join the conversation; we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Hello, sweetie.

Hello, sweetie.

First, be aware that these posts include information covering all aired episodes. There will be spoilers!



A companion track for the companions, should you be inclined:

Subject: Conversations Through Space and Time: Darlin’ Companion

On Nov, 21, 2013, at 12:24 PM, Jennifer Clapp wrote:

Hi Megan!

So, I realize that in two short days (very short days, judging by my to-do list) we will get a chance to talk about this in person. BUT we might also be too distracted by our utter disdain of Clara to form proper thoughts. So, my question to you is about the companions. I wish I could say ALL the companions, but I admit to not watching before Eccleston’s Nine. Who’s your favorite (there is a right answer, by the way)? Least? What do you think about the development of the companions “as people” during their travels with the(ir) Doctor? (I could answer these questions now, but I’d like to hear your opinion first (so I can judge you. (Kidding.)).) <–puncutation!

First off, how do you categorize the companions? I tend to lump them into two main groups:

The “actual” companions: Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory, Clara

The “other” companions: Mickey, Jackie*, Captain Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane**, Wilf, Brian***

*I can’t wait to hear what you think about Jackie

**I hate calling her an “other” because she was a companion of an earlier Doctor (sadly not Paul McGann’s, aka the studly one..but maybe actually good because that means she wasn’t relegated to one-and-done companioning. I don’t want to think about what that would actually mean. Forget I said it.)

***It’s possible that Brian (Rory’s dad) was never actually in the TARDIS. Do you remember? I just want for it to be true so bad. So, so bad.

The other thing I want to ask you related to this: Does the Doctor make the companion, or vice versa? I have thoughts on this, too.

Happy Thursday!

Jen

Rose Tyler

Rose Tyler

On Nov 21, 2013, at 01:08 PM, Megan Beam wrote:

Yeah, girl. It’s my favorite kind of gossip: of the time and space transcendent variety.

There are so many nuances that will be missing not discussing this face to face first thing. For instance, the way my eyes cross when I try to do an impression of Eleven doing an impression of Nine and Ten. Or perhaps the way my voice slowly rises in tone and decibel level when I think about how Clara bosses Eleven around the TARDIS: who, by the way, speaks for all of us.

First things first: I absolutely cannot choose a favorite between Rose Tyler and Donna Noble. It is more than virtually impossible for me to do this. And let me say why.

First, Rose. I admit, the first I hear of a new Whovian watching the Doctor and not caring for Rose, I automatically worry that I’ll never really be able to talk about the show with him/her. She was the perfect reintroduction of the show, in my opinion, to an [almost] entirely new demographic of watchers. Of course, she’s Billie Piper, with whom I’m always going to be slightly obsessed. But when she started this show with Nine, she was so ordinarily British as Rose. Working her retail job. Dating Mickey. Playing the world. Wearing her jacket strategically off one shoulder like it’s an accident. And I think the big reason I put her and Donna in the same affectionate category as companions is that neither one of them were overly concerned with what “more” the world had for them. They just kind of tackled what was in front of them. Only letting out that existential sigh once a blue moon. Like they weren’t going to let themselves be TOO discouraged with their realities. They weren’t really worried about it. You know? So, when the Doctor comes in, he’s not saving them from an obsessively miserable self concept (except let’s pause for that speech with Ten and Donna in the TARDIS at the end of season 4 [my favorite season] about being special. HELLO, FEELS). He’s not spending his time digging them out of a self-made hole of hatred and dissatisfaction. He’s just starting at ground zero and opening the sky. To me, that’s a fantastic representation of what kind of perspective the Doctor really brings to a pseudo-ordinary humanity. His wonder at the ordinary so perfectly matches their wonder at the extraordinary. He isn’t necessarily just fascinated with what we can overcome as a species, he’s simply fascinated by what we just are.  Can’t help but make us think that maybe our definitions of “ordinary” and “extraordinary” have been a bit lacking. But that’s another post for another day.

So there. Rose and Donna. I love the kind of confidence they both instilled in their Doctors. I love the chemistry of love and friendship both Billie Piper and Catherine Tate pulled off with David Tennant especially. And I love the man the Doctor was with each of them. I cannot WAIT to see Rose with Eleven. Be still my heart.

I feel pretty sure I haven’t answered that one your right way. But. There it is 😉

Least? I think this has been established. Clara. And you know, I really do hate that I dislike her so. I love the storyline she has. I love the idea of Clara: The Impossible Girl. And maybe the bone I have to pick is more with Moffat and maybe even Jenna Coleman for the way Clara is being played. Something about her little mini-skirt-bossy-mouse routine takes away from the idea of companion in some of the storyline. Don’t get me wrong, she’s adorable. And she has great chemistry with Matt. But that’s kind of it, too. We got so attached to Eleven and River, bleeding hearts on our sleeves. Then that gut-wrenching Amy and Rory exit. It’s so soon to throw someone in with the kind of sharp, sassy, sexy chemistry with him. Slow down, Moffat. Think about how we got over Rose and Ten? First, we got Martha, which, okay, no thanks. But we still didn’t get a Doctor who’d just gone on and forgotten Rose. Which was satisfying to us in its own right. And then Donna. The perfect friend for the Doctor. Chemistry was perfection, have I said this enough. It was like the storyline was giving both the Doctor and the watchers space to heal from all of that broken-hearted love stuff. And It’s one of the things I appreciate most about this show: every single companion doesn’t have to be in love with him, and vice versa. Let’s stop making that the only reason to watch a show, ok? [Looking at you, ‘Merica] All of that said, I think Clara’s appeal brings out too much Matt and not enough Eleven. That statement will UNDOUBTEDLY provoke more to unpack. But I said it. And I meant it.

I have lots of thoughts on Amy and Rory and even Martha, but I didn’t want to get too talky in the first email. I’m sure you have thoughts 🙂 So bring them on!

M.

Martha Jones

Martha Jones

On Nov 21, 2013, at 03:00 PM, Jennifer Clapp wrote:

Rose and Donna. They ain’t bovvered.

First off, let me say HOW EMBARRASSED I was when I realized I forgot about River. What was I thinking?!? Let’s save up and talk about her later… (You mentioned once that you’d love to see Donna meet Clara. What about River meeting Rose? RIVER MEETING ROSE.)

You were almost right – the answer for best is Donna. You were mostly there. Here’s my say about that: I do love Rose, and I think she’s the perfect reintroduction of Doctor Who as a cultural icon in 2005. Billie Piper is undoubtedly a huge reason for that success, along with your comments about her being a typical 19 year old British girl. Still lives at home, works retail, dates a childhood sweetheart, those jeans and all that pink. At the core of Rose’s story, she’s a girl who leaves what she knows to go after what she doesn’t know – LOVE THAT. Absolutely love it. But then…at the end of her run, she’s a girl in love with the Doctor. That’s who she is. Even when she comes back (and I just finished Ten’s tenure last night, so this is fresh in my mind), she’s jealous of the new companions and behaves like the jilted girlfriend. Even when she becomes a “searcher” on her own in the alternate universe, it’s to find the Doctor. Yes, yes, it’s a very romantic story. It’s what had to happen to bring this show back, I think. Love, actually, is all around.

Donna, though. DONNA. It’s almost like she’s Rose at 29 (okay, 35) if Rose didn’t meet the Doctor. Working as a temp in Chisick. Living at home. And then she leaves it all behind, and part of her recognizes that she has the ability to help the Doctor heal after the loss of Rose, but then there’s a stronger part of her that recognizes that her greater challenge is to restore his humanity and take responsibility for his actions. There’s a reason that The Waters of Mars – and all that means for Ten – follows Donna’s departure and not Rose’s. She’s comfortable with herself, she’s comfortable with other people, she’s the best. I want to be Donna.

Now, here’s the weird part. Martha Jones. I remember on first viewing, I thought she was the WORST. THE WORST. Always mooning over the Doctor and having a truly annoying family. Then I rewatched it, and I think she got a bad deal with writing. The character of Martha does have the moon-y side, but for the most part she’s the perfect counterpart to the Doctor in her ability to comprehend the “science-y side” of things. She was really interesting to see a second time. She’s someone who did pine for more, I think, but was also going after it (through studying medicine) but then she was willing to walk away to maintain her own identity. Kudos, Martha Jones.

I do have thoughts about Amy and Rory (and Clara), but it sounded like you had something to say about Martha…?

Jen

Donna Noble

Donna Noble

On Nov 21, 2013, at 06:25 PM, Megan Beam wrote:

RIVER MEETING ROSE. This is an entire fictional post in and of itself. I actually think this would be a really heartfelt moment. For both of them. I just know I would love it.

And you’re right. At the end of her run, that is the role Rose played: The girl who was in love with the Doctor. Not only that, the Doctor was madly in love with her as well. All of this in the best of ways, I think. Reminding us of all of the beautiful things about a story of love that isn’t jarred and constantly beat to death with the story of lust — to an almost painful extent. You know? Yes, that tension makes for great TV and fun plot points. Important even, sometimes. But I think Rose’s storyline will hold a special place with me because of the depth of purity it had. Another reason why I think this show is so brilliant. It’s that well written. It doesn’t have to tantalize my senses to engage me and have me committed. It’s just a well told story. Period. It does its own work.

That will be my one token “old woman” moment for this conversation (yeah, right).

Donna. Look. You are 100% right about this. No doubt. And I’m with you on wanting to BE Donna. Because… well you’ve said it. She’s DONNA. And her development with him was hands down the best. As well as facilitating his best development. Tis why that is my number one favorite season of the show. No question.

And come on. That Adipose moment? Where they finally see each other again? I’m literally pulling out my Apple TV remote to watch it as we “speak.”

I was the same way about Martha. I did feel like the writing kind of gave her the run around. Moon-y eyes were kind of her thing, and maybe it just took awhile to decide how to give her a real storyline at all independent of the “in love with the Doctor” route. But by that finale in season 3 with the Master — by the time she had walked the earth proclaiming her love for the mad man with a box — she earned her companionship then. It was after THAT Martha emerged that I would’ve applauded her forward. She certainly earned her keep in the end. I give her a lower score in comparison to other companions, but she has held her own in good company, I think.

Let’s go. Rory and Amy. My turn to judge you.

M.

Amy Pond and Rory Williams

Amy Pond and Rory Williams

On Nov 22, 2013, at 02:05 AM, Jennifer Clapp wrote:

Rory and Amy.

A few surface level observations:

  1. I love the girl who plays young Amy. I heard it was a relative of Karen Gillan, which I also love.
  2. I was happy to see  male companion to the Doctor that didn’t serve as an “inside antagonist” (like Captain Jack).
  3. I do like that we saw Amy independently of Rory in the beginning.

I wasn’t sold on Amy at first, and that’s because I wasn’t sold on Matt Smith at first. However, I came to LOVE the idea of this young girl’s imaginary friend suddenly showing up and meeting everyone. And Matt Smith certainly delivered as Raggedy Man. The issues I have with Amy and Rory are more issues I have with Stephen Moffet, and probably traceable to issues that came along with expanding Doctor Who to try to entice an American audience. Starting with…the voiceover. GAHHHHHH I hated that voiceover in season five! All of a sudden, this wasn’t Doctor Who, it was “Hi I’m Amy and here are my adventures with this guy in a police box!” It was a very American approach, though (“Hey, y’all, what we really need it to take the imaginary stuff out of this and make it about a redhead who wears short skirts!”), and at least it was ditched after a season.

Unless I’m forgetting a major plotline, Amy and the Doctor were mainly pals through their seasons, right? I can’t remember an instance where one or the other of them really had to grow or overcome an obstacle…and I’m okay with that! I think that it’s just what EVERYONE needed after the emotional roller coaster of the last half of season four. I also loved the addition of Rory as someone who, unlike Mickey, wasn’t really jealous or threatened by the Doctor, but still made protecting Amy his number one goal. I have the idea that outside of Amy, Rory wouldn’t have traveled with the Doctor. As in, if Rory had been the first in that pair approached, he’d have replied, “Nah, I’m good. Everything I need is right here.” Steady, steady Rory vs. impetuous Amy. (Another River sidenote: If we get more River this coming season, will we see a steady, steady Doctor vs. impetuous River?)

I should make two confessions: 1. I started watching Doctor Who around the time of the Pond-Williams’ departure. I’d seen a bunch of stuff on Pinterest and got curious. I started from the beginning of Nine but, sadly, a bunch of Eleven had been spoiled for me. Eh. What do you do? 1. Two of my favorite episodes (let’s say two of the top five) are in Eleven’s first season, even though I wouldn’t say he’ s my favorite Doctor. They both have to do with the companions. The first is Vincent and the Doctor. Does it get any more wonderful than that? The second is The Lodger (wherein I’m adding Craig to tertiary companion status…tertiary and not secondary in that he doesn’t even SEE the TARDIS, does he?).

Earlier tonight I saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and one of the main takeaways was what a great job Josh Hutcherson (sp?) did this time around of showing the gentle, sweet spirit of Peeta. I’d always thought the character was a little too soft to be considered so heroic in the books, but Hutcherson just knocked it out of the park in CF. That’s what I see in Rory – he never misses an opportunity to stand up for Amy, and ensure their future together, even if it means something bad for the moment. He’s a big picture guy. Love ‘im.

One trait missing from Amy that I remember in the other companions (and again, I could just be forgetting, since I’ve now seen the other episodes THREE times but Amy and Rory’s only once) is the desire to protect whatever alien of the week they’re up against. Even Rose argued a case for the Daleks. I remember Amy being combative (and true, they did come after her and try to steal her baby), but instead of bringing a maliciousness to the show, it let us see those traits in the Doctor. I really liked that turn.

I hope this makes sense – I’m burning the midnight (post-midnight) oil getting some stuff ready for the 50th Anniversary party on Saturday! Yea!

Ok. Judge me. Bring it. (If for no other reason than to put off talking about  Clara a little longer.)

Jen

PS That moment in the Adipose. I’ve been known to rewatch that and the part when she shows up in the TARDIS in her wedding dress (those five minutes) just for funsies.

Clara Oswin Oswald

Clara Oswin Oswald

On Nov 22, 2013, at 01:35 PM, Megan Beam wrote:

Yes! The young Amy Pond. Legit. Easily one of my favorite things about gently introducing affection for Matt. And what a great move.

I’m with you. I wasn’t sold on Amy at first, either. And I didn’t want to love Matt as much as I did almost instantly [but seriously — whose idea was that voiceover? Kill me]. And part of the issue that keeps me from just loving Amy is the same twinge I don’t like in Clara — that kind of bossy “I know more than the Doctor” routine. Yes, I think that plays a part in humanizing him and bringing him down from his proverbial Olympus. But when I think of the way Donna managed to do it, I don’t know. It’s different. Maybe just more charming. In short, she’s the only one in my mind who’s really allowed to talk to the Doctor like she knows that she knows that she knows him, you know? That’s alway gotten under my skin about Amy.

Still, can’t hate her. Particularly because: RORY. Steady, indeed. I always cry at the Pandorica season finale (before the wedding) when she’s watching the video of the legend of the centurion. And then that moment when the Doctor calls him the “boy who waited.” Just. Yes. To that entire deal. I love the thought, too, that you introduced of a steady Doctor and an impetuous River. Wouldn’t that be something…

There’s really no judgement necessary. We’re in agreement across the board here. I do love the Vincent episode. And I adore The Lodger (because, yes, Craig). Eleven, Amy and Rory have my number one favorite episode of all time with The Doctor’s Wife. So there’s a side note for you.

You’re right about the “alien of the week” defense. I hadn’t really thought of that, but it is a major difference ushered in by Amy. And I do like it. I like the complexity it brings to the Doctor’s history with these various species as well as the tension of his self-preservation and pseudo-pacifist tendencies. She serves as a great observer alongside a watcher, I think. And I hadn’t really thought of that until now. Solid.

[insert the rolling of eyes] Do we HAVE to talk about Clara…

You've seen how dangerous it is - do you wanna go home?

You’ve seen how dangerous it is – do you wanna go home?

On Nov 22, 2013, at 04:57 PM, Jennifer Clapp wrote:

Clara. Clara, Clara, Clara.

Was there ever as much spoiled potential? Sadly, souffle girl had to become the Impossible Girl, and then I got bored. Really bored. Bored, bored, bored.

I’m so bored by Clara that it’s honestly hard for me to remember much about here. And that’s probably the biggest thing I can say against her. She wears boots. She’s really young. She nanny’d in a house that later went to Narnia (one of my fave Doctor Who callbacks). That’s about it. I do need to rewatch her episodes, but there’s a shocking lack of wonder about her. She never seems that impressed by the Doctor. I mean, sure, Matt Smith is a little goofy and doesn’t spout off facts and info like Nine and Ten, but they’re still TIME AND SPACE TRAVELING. She just doesn’t seem that excited about it. She won’t even give up that nannying job.

Here is one thing RIGHT about Clara, and something I file in the “what might have been” folder: Remember when she was Souffle Girl? AKA Remember when she was A DALEK?!? WHATTTTT?!?! That was the biggest introduction into Doctor Who of any companion (she’s even one of two (Donna) that got to play the same person) and it totally fell flat. As soon as she was a nanny in the Christmas episode, were we supposed to forget she was a Dalek? Is that still something out there? OH MAN is Capaldi going to turn her into a Dalek?

You take the Impossible GIrl that is important for a reason I still haven’t fully figured out. I’ll take the girl who’s going to be a Dalek (because who doesn’t want to see that go down?).

Much like poor Martha, I think the problem is in the writing/characterization and not with Jenna Coleman. She seems like a perfectly capable person of pulling off a compelling character.

It sounds like you have some definite examples in your case against Clara, and I can’t wait to hear them! I wonder if this is because your fave is Eleven and mine is Ten? (That you remember these episodes better?) I mean, I’ve watched them THIS YEAR and I can’t remember much of anything that happened. There was an amusement park at some point, right? And then something else with CRAIG again, right? Craig. [Craig.]

Jen

Expelliarmus!

Expelliarmus!

On Nov 22, 2013, at 09:54 PM, Megan Beam wrote:

Listen. Before we even move forward you need to understand something: TEN IS MY DOCTOR. 100%. Never going to change. I love Eleven. I do. I love Matt. And I have SO MANY THOUGHTS on the chances Matt gets with Moffat that David never did. But this is me, calming down and focusing. Now that I’ve made that clear.

So, I just watched The Name of the Doctor again. And I gotta say, this is where we’re about to almost disagree. I know, I know, after all this time. But the truth of the matter is, I can’t fully blame the writing for Clara. Here’s why.

1. I know. That whole Asylum of the Daleks thing. It wasn’t very well explained. BUT. When you think about how Clara threw herself into his timeline in Trenzalore, everything that happened in that episode that first introduced her to us was probably about just that: saving his life. Run you clever boy. So, I can’t think they just wanted us to forget about that. AND. How can we help but think that some of it will appear in this next episode. Maybe even clarify a little? Who knows. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. Moving on.

2. I’m with you on the boredom. She bores me. And maybe it’s Jenna Coleman. Maybe it is the characterization of Clara herself outside of the overarching storyline.  But yes. Bored bored bored. I get it. 100%.

3. The overarching storyline of Clara and the timeline is brilliant. I love it. I do. I think the details of it are genius. The only thing lacking to me is, honestly, that Jenna Coleman is too cute to be the Impossible Girl. Seriously. That short skirt sexy mouse thing she puts off throws the entire balance of the storytelling completely out of whack. Like. Are we supposed to think he feels about her like she’s his friend? His kid sister? His daughter? His mistress? How are we supposed to be interpreting his feelings as The Doctor? Versus the chemistry she just has naturally with Matt? To me, that’s all so muddied and mucked up that it barely leaves room for what is actually a really, really good story. You know? I don’t know if that makes any sense. I just think their personal chemistry is better suited for a different storyline. This one was too good to be fogged up by all of that confusion. Blah.

I hope that’s at least remotely coherent…

M.

Oi! Watch it, spaceman.

Oi! Watch it, spaceman.

On Nov 22, 2013, at 011:42 PM, Jennifer Clapp wrote:

Oh no! I did make a beginner’s error and assume…my complete bad. Forgive me and unite with me in proclaiming all for Ten. You should know that I saw this email come through a few minutes ago, but I was too busy crying over Wilf to stop and answer. So you’re LITERALLY catching me at the  moment of Eleven’s regeneration. I’ll finish this email, go put the next batch of potato cakes (for tomorrow’s party!) in the oven, and come back to “meet” Amy Pond. (PS I’d forgotten the Doctor’s line about Donna, “Do you think I’d leave my best friend without an escape mechanism?” I’m going to use that the next time I need to be a wing-person.)

1. Oh, I hope so – I really do hope that we get some clarification about the Dalek thing in this next episode. Howevs, I know that Clara is going to continue to be Twelve’s companion, so I just…I don’t know how that will work. Is Moffett still involved? I feel like I heard the show runner was changing along with the Doctor, but I could be making that up. Mainly, I’m wondering if he’ll feel the need to wrap up storylines or not.

2. & 3. No, this makes perfect sense, and I think we actually still agree. It’s not so much that Clara is BAD, the whole situation is just confusing. I think some of that might be that Eleven is the “awkward Doctor;” he seemed most comfortable with Amy and Rory, and then after that just awkward with girls (River, Clara). When I think about it like that, it’s kindof adorable, yet I don’t know if my brain will let me do that in the wake of Nine’s complete studliness and confidence with the ladies. And it does get convoluted, because we have Rose as a soulmate, right? But then River as the wife. So do we (and we’re veering out of talking about Clara and into talking about Rose now. Or actually the Doctor.) think that Rose and the Human Doctor are happy in the alternate universe and the Gallifreyan Doctor is emotionally clear to have another soulmate in River? But then that does lead to a weirdness with Clara. She doesn’t seem moony like Martha, or all that mate-y like Donna…but she isn’t romantic like Rose, either. She’s an acquaintance. A person you see at parties once a year and enjoy talking to…but don’t make an effort to hang out with. So why is she here? Sigh. I’m not going to make another assumption like I did last time, but am I at least close in thinking that we don’t really care for her because we don’t know how to think of her? This is all adding to the anticipation of tomorrow…

Let me know if that makes sense about Clara.

Now, I have one more question for you, non-companion related, before tomorrow’s Day of the Doctor.

This has been my burning question ever since I first watched The End of Time, and I was reminded of it a few minutes ago. There’s the lady in white who comes to visit Wilf, then we see the SAME LADY, now in red, with the council of Time Lords. THEN she comes with T. Dalt (my little nickname for Timothy Dalton, btw) and we see her cover her face in her hands. At one point, she tells Wilf “[the Doctor] saved me once.” The question: Who is she?!?! I have several theories:

1. At one point, T. Dalt actually says something about the weeping angels. Was she a weeping angel, or did the Doctor turn her into one to save her (related theory, is this his mother (Verity), and he made her a weeping angel to save her from the destruction of Gallifrey? Can he do that? He can, right, because he banished that one little girl to the mirror.)

2. Is she a part of the coven-thing in Pompeii, since they all covered their faces with their hands? This is a spin-off from my weeping angel theory.

3. She’s in either white (River’s color) or red (Clara’s color). River at one point is banished to a false world (with false children) to keep her from dying; however, she ends up in Trensalore. Is this her being saved by the Doctor? Similar idea for Clara. When Clara first appeared all in red with that “Who is the impossible girl?” time travel theme, I was SO CONVINCED this lady was adult Clara. But Clara never seems to get to be an adult, so…

4. When Wilf asks the Doctor who the lady is (at the end of The End of Time), he doesn’t get an answer, but the Doctor does give Donna a stare-down. Is this an adult Donna? Because she was Doctor Donna, does the Doctor somehow send her back in time to save her brain from exploding – she gets to live her life with the Time Lords?

I realize this is an entire different can of worms. We can talk about it or not…just wanted to see if you had any theories (I am a theory-developing fiend, btw. Ask me about what I thought LOST should’ve been sometime.).

See you TOMORROW!

Jen

Oh, it's all mouths today, isn't it!

Oh, it’s all mouths today, isn’t it!

Coming soon…We’ll follow up on that mysterious lady in red, plus have an intentionally less involved conversation about the “secondary and tertiary” companions of the Doctor!