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19 May 2013 @ 01:26 pm
another drive-by Who post  
Too much grading left for a proper post, but

The thing that has always, *always* bothered me about both Bad Wolf and the DoctorDonna is that Rose and Donna didn't actually ever make a conscious choice to become what they became. (Which is, I think, also why I'm less bothered than some about River's storyline: she's kidnapped by the Silence to kill the Doctor, but *chooses* to go against that programming to save his life and to love him. Which is not to say that I wouldn't have liked to see it play out in more than one overstuffed episode, but she makes that choice herself; it isn't an accident.) Rose opens up the TARDIS in order to try to get back to the Doctor, not to become Bad Wolf - and I'm not saying that she *wouldn't* have chosen to do it, but as the episode is written, it simply happens to her, even if she then controls that power after that point. Same thing with Donna.

So what I love about Clara is that she *chooses* to become "the impossible girl," and willingly walks into the Doctor's timeline. And what it means is what I hoped it would mean: that Clara is exactly what she's said to be in "Hide," an ordinary girl. She doesn't need to become the heart of the TARDIS, or the result of a human-Time Lord metacrisis, to do what she does, only bravery and love. Clara's spent a good deal of the season already rescuing the Doctor, and without being anything other than what she's been all along, she rescues him throughout time and space.

And, you know, it's always kind of bothered me as well that Rose thought her story was done in "Doomsday," that even though she wasn't dead, she was telling the last story she'd ever tell. Clara thinks that her "story is done" because she's going to die, become nothing more than scattered copies throughout space - and then the Doctor gives her that leaf that holds her past and her future (in the way that his tomb does for him), and pulls her back, and tells her to keep on being impossible.

I'm hoping that we get to know Clara better next season; she only really had half a season as herself, and so much of that was about Clara-as-Mystery. Who is she when she's simply being Clara?
viomisehuntviomisehunt on May 19th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
Yes. Choice is everything. I think Moffat deliberately did this to draw the difference between choice to be Super companion and getting bit by an radioactive spider and just letting the powers take over. Rose was always a willful and the Bad Wolf just enhanced that ability.

Maybe we will find out next season. I mean why remain with the ids--who was her friend and what is this obligation she feels to him.

Speaking of the kids--I have heard fans complain about the Moffat's view of women and whatever, what about the appalling, unimaginative portrayal of children? And I don't mean the actors; they are probably very competent actors given something substantial.
tempestsarekind: amelia pond (ready for adventure)tempestsarekind on May 19th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC)
...I don't think Moffat *has* an appalling, unimaginative portrayal of children? We've got little Amelia, little Reinette and Kazran, Mels, Charlotte Abigail Lux, the sensible clever girl in "The Beast Below," and even little Clara in the "Bells" prequel ("I lost my best pencil, my gran, and my mojo!"). In episodes not by Moffat, just off the top of my head, we have Elliot in "The Hungry Earth." And in "Bells of Saint John," Artie and Angie don't have a lot to do, but they're clever and reasonably well-defined, as they are at the end of "The Crimson Horror." It's true that they don't come off that well for most of "Nightmare in Silver," Angie especially, but even there, she's the only one of the group to notice that Porridge is actually the Emperor.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on May 19th, 2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
I agree to a point about Moffat's children in other episodes, which is why, especially coming from Moffat and Gaiman, I was disappointed in the "stock" child characterizations Nightmare. I was not impressed by the "See, she is annoying, but bright" revelation. Sorry.

However I will concede,--especially because of the examples you gave, that, as I often do with Moffat, I may be criticizing too soon. He has all of next season to flesh out these young characters.

It's true that they don't come off that well for most of "Nightmare in Silver," Angie especially, but even there, she's the only one of the group to notice that Porridge is actually the Emperor. What is scary is that in fandom no one expected them to be any better. This is Neil Gaiman for heavens sake: he presented us a flippant, bright, rebellious child as a type of child--although like others I thought her response to Emperor proposal was cool. This is after all the Franchise that gave us Rose Tyler and elevated her tendency towards self-interest to Sainthood, so why wouldn't a young girl getting the chance not ony to explore the universe but to be Empress think it is coo?. But it appears that, as much as many fans may shrink from the idea of Kiddies cluttering up the Doctor's life, the kids will be back, and perhaps we can see something of why (Other than their mom is dead), they are the people they have become.
tempestsarekind: come along pondstempestsarekind on May 19th, 2013 09:01 pm (UTC)
From what I've read elsewhere, it does sound like quite a bit got cut out of the episode, and that Gaiman had written a bit more for Angie and Artie in earlier drafts. But I think it's also worth noting that Angie's "annoyingness" is very much a deliberate strategy on her part; she's having as much fun as Artie, jumping around in low-gravity, but when Artie says enthusiastically that this has been the best day of his life, Angie sobers up quickly and says, "it was okay." For whatever reason, she's refusing to let Clara know how much fun she had, and I have to imagine, *especially* given the way she snaps "she's not our mum" at Artie, that this has to do with their mother's death and Clara's weird status in their family. It's not that she's "annoying but bright"; it's that she *presents* herself as bored and disaffected, but she's actually observant. I think that this could have been fleshed out better, sure, but I don't think the intent was just "Angie's an annoying kid."

As for Artie, I think he came off as a sweet, polite little nerd (I love nerds; this is NOT a pejorative!), who is still a little afraid of the dark.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on May 20th, 2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
This is my point: How many times have we seen these kids--with the exact same reaction to a set of situations, rebellion against a nice care-giver, step-parent, one sweet kid, the other rebellious? But again, Moffat has plenty of time to flesh these kids.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on May 21st, 2013 07:03 pm (UTC)
I see what you mean. I guess I feel like it's a reasonable dynamic - that is, it makes sense, and siblings of different ages often do react that way - but it's certainly true that we have seen it before.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on May 23rd, 2013 02:17 pm (UTC)
It is not only how often we see these children. Usually, if a writer "consistently" designs a character and gives the audience permission to dislike/censor/hate the character we start questioning the writer about racism, misogyny. Gaiman and as you pointed out, Moffat have drawn particularly interesting non-stock children before this episode--and there is a part of me that suspects that--because of the constant accusations of misogyny-the editing might have been deliberate. Few people question writers about the use of the obnoxious child as a type. The Audience anticipates types of children. They seem to want permission to disike a child. Even before the program aired, fandom was filled with censor and even downright hostility towards the inclusion of children on this "Family show". No one complained about the creation of these children, but criticized both the actor and the characters. As I said in another thread, i am one hundred percent certain that the young actress did not shove Gaiman off his word processor to write her self as the most annoying female child since the Harry Potter character Valerie.
tempestsarekind: eleven and amytempestsarekind on May 24th, 2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
I guess I disagree, because I don't think Gaiman/Moffat gave us "permission" to dislike Angie. I don't think we were supposed to dislike her at all. The way she's written in "Nightmare" is a bit stereotypical, sure, but I think the stereotype is supposed to be "kid who's smarter than she lets on," with a side of "and also her mom just *died*, so she's not ready to be nice to the person she sees as a surrogate," not "nothing but annoying teen." I think fandom's reaction to Angie - if that's the reaction; I really haven't read anything about this episode - is about fandom's issues, not about what we were "supposed" to think about Angie. I'm not saying Gaiman did a great job writing her or anything; I just also don't think he sat down and thought, "let me write an annoying child into a children's program, on purpose, just to give the audience someone to dislike." Because honestly, we need to care that Angie and Artie are in danger for the narrative to work.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on May 24th, 2013 04:04 pm (UTC)

While I think it is fair to oppose the idea that Gaiman deliberately created a character for the audience to hate, he is an experienced writer, with a great deal of experience writing for children and about children for adults. He created a type of child that the audience normally find annoying, can easily dismiss or dislike.

I would suggest audience reaction does matter, if indeed the audience was suppose to care if the children were in danger, as opposed to the audience becoming more concerned that the Doctor had put a nearly faceless, stranger's children in danger, placing The Doctor and Clara with an unwelcome responsibility.

However, it's cool to disagree. I want to like the characters--and not just because they resemble my grandchildren. I am hoping if Arte and Angie continue to appear as part of Clara's household they will be more than a vague background and that--as with Rory-Moffat chooses to flesh the out characters.

Edited at 2013-05-24 04:22 pm (UTC)
tempestsarekind: ofeliatempestsarekind on May 24th, 2013 04:37 pm (UTC)
I don't think we disagree all that much, really: I think Gaiman had an off day with Angie (and I'd love to see what was cut from the script, because a major problem with the presentation of Angie is that she's hardly even in the episode before she gets Cyberized); I just don't think we were *meant* to dislike her. (And I don't dislike her; I'd like to know her *better*, but I don't dislike her.) But I also think - just generally - that people (not you) are too quick to dislike children/teen characters just for being young and imperfect. I mean, what does Angie really do that's so bad, except refuse to be sweet? (See also: Romeo and Juliet - seriously, we can sympathize with a selfish serial murderer like Macbeth, but just *love* to hate those two? I call shenanigans - or tons of female characters in YA novels.)
viomisehuntviomisehunt on May 24th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
But I also think - just generally - that people (not you) are too quick to dislike children/teen characters just for being young and imperfect On Who, the adults, especially the Hero are far from perfect. However,-- I don't know if you are a member of any Who fan-group,-- in support of your statement, the audience seemed posed to, the moment we saw the lead in the week before, dislike the children because They were children.

Half joking, I posed the question if audience trepidation was because the children were too attractive, too bright, not bright enough, too politically correct. (That got an interesting response and yes I do like to start -er, um- dialog.)
I saw vague dismissal of the children in the professional critiques also; it seems Vogue these days to dislike children.

This general dislike for no particular reason baffles and in a way disturbs me because of the constant complaints of misogynous scripts and portrayals.

Moffat or Gaiman don't have to really go out of their way to give an audience already posed to dislike children as an intrusion, an child that lives up to their expectation. And people who know better in fandom, allow that dismissal and dislike to spill over to the innocent young actors who are doing their jobs. (It seem very much the same when an actor of color, or any actress accepts a role she knows will ruffle feathers, except that audience and the industry seem to spring to defense of adults who take these types of risk, than child actors.)

I think your analysis of the character Angie was spot on--she probably didn't want anyone to know that she was enjoying herself--she might not want anyone to know how fond she is of Clara--simply because her Mom is dead and that seems like some kind of betrayal. But I'm sorry, sometimes, especially in this medium, you have to slap the audience in the face with plot point, unless Moffat has long term plans for the children.

Edited at 2013-05-24 05:03 pm (UTC)
tempestsarekind: amelia pond (ready for adventure)tempestsarekind on May 24th, 2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
Ugh. If people disliked Angie and Artie before they even showed up, just for being children, that's just gross. One of the things I love about the show is how this Doctor interacts with children.

I think Angie certainly could have been fleshed out more, but at the same time I'm not sure what Neil Gaiman could have done to keep that reaction from happening. Like, I suppose he could have written Angie to be an entirely different character (even assuming that he could or should have anticipated that fandom would look at a girl who is basically just trying to be cool in front of her babysitter, and go, "ugh, she's so annoying, we hate her!" which I'm not sure about), but that's about it - and then I'm sure someone would have been upset about how she was too clever because she noticed something the Doctor didn't, or was too perfect and was totally a Mary Sue, or whatever. I don't know; sometimes I feel like any character who is female and breathing gets hated for something.
pink for pterodactyl: dw:knitting for girlssignificantowl on May 19th, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
yes to all of this, omg.

(I feel like that is all I ever say to all of your posts. But it's always so true!)

I feel like making Doctor/Clara words now, but I don't even know where I want to start...
tempestsarekind: clara/tea OTPtempestsarekind on May 19th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you!

I hope you do make some Doctor/Clara words at some point; I'd love to read them! I do find it tricky to quite grasp her character yet, though... imagining what he feels about her ("my Clara," how dear) seems much easier, because he's been so solicitous and protective about her since "The Snowmen."
Emily-- Toppington von Monocle: tardis [doctor who]sadcypress on May 20th, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
I saw someone being smart on Tumblr who make the comment that the best bait-and-switch of all is to the fans who have been bemoaning Clara as a super special, magical girl, when really? She's absolutely ordinary and CHOOSES (you're so right) to be brave and takes the action to save her friend... which then sends her out across time and space. I love the timey-wimeyness of her decision letting us see the consequences of an action she only JUST made as well.

Plus, she looked supercute in all those other eras. ;)
tempestsarekind: clara/tea OTPtempestsarekind on May 21st, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC)
That is very true - no matter the era, Clara has very good fashion sense. :)

And I'm all about timey-wimeyness, always; it's one of my favorite narrative buttons, and I know some people aren't fans, but I love that recurring thread in Moffat Who: why have a time machine if you're not going to play around with time a little?