Why, oh why, oh why, you may be asking, have I stuck a picture of this lot up here? Well, this is how it breaks down. (Although if you don’t want to read about it, you could just skip to the end for the payoff; I won’t hold it against you.)
I read a couple of (ageing) articles last week that made me cringe. First and foremost, there’s Rebecca Kulik’s assertion that “the new Doctor should fall in love”. I don’t really agree with the point she was making, but I didn’t have the energy that evening to form a coherent counter-argument, so I let that one go. Instead I gazed with awestruck horror at the remarks of a user who calls himself Tom Baker, and who I hope to goodness is trolling. Go on, have a read. You’ll see what I mean. He completely misses the point of ‘Blink’. Both Rebecca and I weighed in on that one and “Tom’s” radio silence since suggests either that he’s realised we’d debunked his argument; or that he was indeed a troll delighting in the short-term gratification of a response, which he’d got; or that he really didn’t care about this enough to have a look at the page again.
That discussion seemingly done and dusted, I turned my attention to other matters, most notably an August article on thetvaddict.com that suggests that Doctor Who will lose half its audience when Capaldi starts, because “DOCTOR WHO found its world-wide appeal (particularly in the U.S.) by introducing sex and romance into its story”, before questioning “Will those same fan-girls and younger viewers feel the same desire to scream and yell for Peter Capaldi? For many, he will seem as old as their grandparents. He is not offering the same kind of appeal that David and Matt had…. All the great acting in the world won’t make up for one critical deficiency: sex appeal.”
This is so horrendously off-base that I don’t know where to start. Her argument is rooted in one particular interpretation of the show, and one corner of the fan unit, so while some of the points she makes are valid, the way she twists it and shifts bias in order to assume that their view actually counts for anything is fundamentally wrong. Let me make this clear: the view of the screaming fangirls doesn’t count, any more than mine does, because we’re each a part of a whole that only the executives (or the particularly media savvy) can actually see. To ascribe the success or failure of the show to the one corner of the market who might actually care about that sort of thing is demeaning and patronising to everyone else, assuming a mindset of crushing superficiality on behalf of the average viewer.
“Youth rules,” Tiffany goes on to say, exposing the problem of older actors getting roles (which is certainly true, but not in Doctor Who), before unintentionally showing a similarly judgemental attitude to those she ostensibly condemns. Her facts are off kilter – she screws up on several key details, insisting, for example, that “when [Capaldi] was welcomed on screen as the new Doctor, he was met with silence”, which really wasn’t true at all. And even if her argument that Doctor Who‘s success is dependent solely on the aesthetic qualities of its central character weren’t so skewiff, she still insists (in true Hollywood style) on using the physical appearance as an indicator of quality, despite the fact that Smith was always at his worst during the love scenes – and in any case, her assumptions about Capaldi’s inability to cut it as a romantic lead purely because of his advancing years are the worst kind of ageism.
So the whole thing is wrong. It’s not just wrong, it’s like an enormous cake of wrongness into which I know I must cut, but I don’t which corner to decimate first. And it’s a good thing I was away for most of August because it seems that most of the hard work’s been done for me. The fact that she had forty-one comments (a good many of which were admittedly repetitions) with about thirty-nine of them taking a fiercely oppositional stance is a surefire indication that people saw the article for what it was – as someone said, “I can only imagine that you are trolling this for the headline and hits; it’s tosh”. She’s writing from an uninformed perspective (I was going to say ‘American’, but that’s not fair) about a programme that’s survived rubber monsters, threats from concerned parents, and even Bonnie Langford. We probably will lose a few of the eye candy obsessives, but we didn’t need them anyway. They’re certainly not a big enough part of the audience share to make any sort of substantial dent.
But the remarks of Barry, right near the bottom, had me rolling my eyes. He suggests that Capaldi’s casting is nothing more than “a DECOY – and thus Moffat will not be trashing a whole season of romantic setup…he is too old – to hold my interest in the show, that is. As a fan-‘boy’, the thing I have ‘invested in’ is the fact that the hero is a dashing romantic hero – who gets the girl – or at least has some (romantic) ‘tension’ with the girl. When I watch the show, I am the Doctor – he’s the thing I identify with. And I’m just simply NOT interested in identifying with an older guy who doesn’t get the girl – in fact, one who is not even in the running!”
I’ve spoken with people like Barry before, and I’d suggest that if he needs a dashing, romantic Doctor to hold his attention he might do well to avoid Hartnell, Troughton…oh, just about every Classic Doctor. And while I don’t wish to be territorial about Doctor Who, if he’s bowing out, that’s fine. The average IQ of the forum users will go up a few points in the wake of his departure, and those of his ilk.
Nonetheless, some of his remarks might hold water. When I mentioned his theory about Capaldi’s casting being a decoy to Gareth, he said ” Maybe it is, and the new Doctor will actually be someone from One Direction. (After all, it’s an anagram of “i.e., Doctor Nine”.)”
Indeed it is. And then – oh, well, one thing just led to another.
I think it’s an improvement, don’t you?
Of course, such things work in reverse as well. If we can lobotomise Eccleston, couldn’t we do the same thing to someone from O.D.? I’m sure there are plenty of people in the queue to make the first incision (and yes, I realise I’m incurring the wrath of the nastier contingent of the fan base in saying this, but most of them are prissy thirteen-year-olds who can’t spell, and who conduct the bulk of their abuse over Twitter, which I don’t use, so I don’t feel threatened).
Anyway, Gareth thought that we might end up with something like this:
Which only really makes sense if you’ve seen ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’, or at least this particular scene. And yes, I know Mr Styles is missing his chin; there was a koala underneath it, and I literally had to draw the line somewhere. Besides, I think the resulting Frankenstein’s monster effect kind of works.
And of course, he’s not really an imbecile. But I think we can agree that Tiffany Vogt probably is.