Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy.
The second half of Season Seven of Doctor Who starts this Saturday evening [March 30] on BBC America, and I’m not going to watch it.
I’m a huge fan of the show – well, at least I used to be – and when it returned to the airwaves back in 2005, after about fifteen years of exile, I was excited beyond words. I had watched every episode of the original series when the local PBS station ran it back in the late 80’s, recording them on VHS tapes (for those of you too young to know what VHS is, Google it). Good campy fun with terrible special effects, hammy acting and mostly decent scriptwriting. I’ve seen every show from Jon Pertwee on (#3), and I’m now of buying DVD episodes of the first two Doctors, so yeah, I’m a fan.
When the hiatus ended, gone were the cheesy effects, adios to the hammy acting (mostly – David Tennant was bit borderline here and there) and welcome back, good scriptwriting. Well, mostly good, anyway.
Even with all that, though, I’m not watching it anymore.
Same-sex “marriage” has ruined it for me. Not the fact that it’s a controversial topic, or one that seems to be dominating the culture currently, but in the manner in which it’s used.
Ever since the show returned, there was a subtle wink and nudge to the “gay” culture. Russell Davies, the show’s first executive producer post-reboot, as well as one of the writers, is homosexual (Steven Moffatt is the current producer, and he is not a homosexual, FWIW). Thus, it wouldn’t have come as a surprise if a character would be homosexual, and as it turned out, Captain Jack Harkness (who headlined a spin-off show called Torchwood, which I never watched), appeared midway through the first season, and was bisexual. It didn’t make a difference to me, because DR WHO WAS BACK ON THE AIR!!!!!! Honestly, that’s what I thought, so I didn’t care. And to be fair, it was never played up all that much on the show, save for the very last episode in which David Tennant portrayed the Doctor. Before regenerating, he visited each of his various companions and friends from the previous 3 seasons. Jack was in a bar, seated by himself, when he noticed the Doctor standing in the doorway. Jack saluted (The Doctor’s expression kinda said I’m going bye-bye, so like, see ya, and Jack knew what it meant), while the bartender handed him a folded sheet of paper. On it was the name of a guy seated down the bar from Jack. He looked back at the Doctor, who motioned towards the other guy. Ugh – the Doctor, facilitating a homosexual hook-up. Not his best moment. Nor most virtuous.
But having a bisexual character isn’t same-sex “marriage”.
Let me give you four examples from the past few seasons, starting with the oldest first, where same-sex “marriage” was mentioned. And for those of you who are working their way through the seasons via Netflix or your library – you can rest easy. As Dr River Song would say: “No spoilers!”
In the episode “Gridlock“, which aired in 2007 and starred David Tennant as the Doctor, one of the vehicles caught in a never-ending traffic jam is driven a lesbian “married” couple.
In the episode “The Waters of Mars”, which also starred David Tennant and aired in the fall of 2009, one of the Mars-base members mentions to a fellow basemate that his “husband” sent him a funny video message.
In the episode “The Power of Three”, which aired in 2012 and featured Matt Smith as the Doctor, Amy Pond (one of the Doctor’s companions) mentioned to the Doctor that she had been asked to be matron of honor by her girlfriend, who was “marrying” her girlfriend.
In the 2012 Christmas Special “The Snowmen”, which starred Matt Smith as the Doctor and took place in Victorian London, one of the characters, a female Silurian (homo repitilia, or human lizard) named Madame Vestra is “married” to her servant Jenny Flint, a human lady. (Lizard woman + human woman = is it just me, or is this treading close to the line of bestiality?)
Four incidents that I can recall, out of six-and-a-half seasons. You might be asking What’s the fuss?
Here’s the question I ask myself: In any of those four circumstances, would the story have suffered in the telling had same-sex “marriage” not been mentioned at all, or if the couples in question were male & female? Without exception, the answer is No. That being the case, it’s inclusion merely serves as a soapbox for the writer (or producer, or the BBC itself), to promote and propagandize same-sex “marriage”, and set forth nothing more than agenda. The actors aren’t saying lines that are pertinent to their character – they’re only parroting what the writer believes and wants the audience to accept.
Let me add what made the Christmas Special circumstance a bit more unsettling. At one point in the episode, Madame Vestra comes face-to-face with the villain, and the villain – the guy everyone is supposed to hate and revile and root against – states with no uncertain level of disgust, with all the Victorian values he can muster, that he disapproves of her “unnatural” relationship. Get that? The bad guy is opposed to same-sex “marriage”. Not the Doctor, not the good guys – the evil villain bent on destroying mankind. Now, to me, that’s a redeemable quality on the villain’s part, but I highly doubt that was the writer’s intent. In his mind, it was just another reason to hate the villain.
To which I say – bollocks.
Dr Who is being used – marginally at first, and perhaps more assertively as of late – to push an agenda. These incongruous factoids, completely irrelevant to the show and worthless as “character development” or “background”, are glaring and obvious. Seriously now – did it matter that a lesbian “married” couple was gridlocked anymore than a traditional couple (there were male-female couples in the story as well)? No, it didn’t. They were included because the writer wanted them there. That’s plain ol’ bad writing.
This rarely happened in the original series (1963-1989). I can watch any episode and not “hear” the writer speak. Even if the episode focused on a serious subject – such as “The Green Death”, from Jon Pertwee’s era. This episode dealt with the dangers and evils of industrial pollution, and the problem of seeking maximum efficiency at the expense of treating people morally and humanely. The Doctor had some fairly strong things to say about environmental stewardship, and pursuing excellence at any cost – but it was said in character. The words sounded natural coming from him. Throw in the fact that a sentient computer had taken over the company – well, it’s what made Dr Who what it used to be. Now, given it’s huge popularity and success, perhaps a bit of hubris has wound its way into the story development process, and it’s becoming a vehicle for advocacy rather than just plain old fashioned fun and entertainment.
It doesn’t matter what The Agenda is, either. The characters could have been idly mentioning who they were intending to vote for, or what religion they were, or their opinion on medical marijuana. To me, it’s a crime in storytelling when you hear the author’s voice rather than the character’s. It’s a writing cardinal sin to insert useless information that doesn’t drive the story, especially in a 43-minute television program, and instead broadcasts the show’s bigwigs’ ideology. Entertain me, don’t proselytize me.
What makes this bad, is that the topic of same-sex”marriage” is so polarizing. This isn’t the same as the first interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura. It’s natural for a man and woman to kiss. Same-sex “marriage” doesn’t fall into that category, not by a long shot. Same-sex”marriage” activists seek to reconstruct an institution to the point where it won’t mean anything anymore. Is it appropriate to wedge that into a sci-fi program, that once upon a time, was billed as a children’s show? You wouldn’t think so.
I’m not naive – I know the BBC is pro same-sex “marriage”, and that the overwhelming majority of people in the entertainment industry are too. So when these incidents happened, I wasn’t all that surprised. They disappointed me, because apparently, entertaining fans with good stories, great effects and new scary monsters (hello Weeping Angels and The Silence!), without cramming in propaganda, wasn’t enough.
Come this Saturday, I won’t be watching Dr Who. I won’t be trying to figure out the mystery of Clara Oswin Oswald. Not merely because I might hear another instance of same-sex “marriage”. No, it’s because I won’t achieve suspension of disbelief. Instead of being entertained, I’ll be wondering when the writer will make an unnecessary and unwanted appearance.
For me, it’s back to the cheesy effects, hammy acting and decent scripts of the original Dr Who series. I just bought “The Aztecs”, originally broadcast in 1963. I bet the writer just lets the actors say their lines, and not his.
© 2013. LarryD. All Rights Reserved.