Moffat’s Shitty Fairy Tale Obsession
Extremites, I begin this article with an apology. It’s been a while since I’ve updated Seven Shitty Moffatisms and, like George RR Martin, I’ve been over taken. Blame writer’s block.
Mr. Moffat, I’m back.
It has been a while, sir.
I’ve heard that you and Pete, the former president of the Scottish Doctor Who fan club turned actual Doctor, have had some clashes. Apparently, he thinks some of your ideas are off the mark.
Of course, darling Moffat, this is all unsubstantiated but I chose to believe it’s true because it aligns with my world view. You are no stranger to narrow world views are you, Steve?
I guess that is why we are here today isn’t it; because your misguided world view is decimating our beloved Doctor Who.
Steven, you have confused the fundamentals of Doctor Who. We’ve already discussed your narrative problems, your incessant use of epic structure and your fondness for passive narration.
Steve, what genre do you think Doctor Who is? Romance? Tragedy? Sports Movie?
No, of course not. I have the sneaking suspicion that you, SM, would not give the answer most Whovians would. You would answer that Doctor Who is fantasy.
Doctor Who is Science Fiction.
My 1980s TV guide would claim it as such and my digital guide concurs. Not only, my dearest motley headed TV tyrant, would you claim that Doctor Who is fantasy but “a fantasy fairy tale.”
What’s that? I’m splitting hairs? Genre conventions are pointless constructs that only tweed clad professors use to make themselves feel important?
Stevey, genre conventions are much more then tools of academia. They help shape the stories we consume. A fairy tale is very different from science fiction. Their goals are apposed to each other. Your confusion in genre has convoluted the show.
Fairy Tales differ very much from legends, which are often confused with or lumped together. Where as the legend embraces a kind of veracity when describing events, fairy tales have no pretension and rely upon archetypes to populate their magical and colourful worlds. Meriam Webster, everybody’s favourite American imitation of the far superior Oxford, suggests that fairy tales possess an “exceedingly happy” flavour while also depicting grotesque and brutality. Sometimes even absolute and abject oppression. As wonderful as this definition is, it’s not the complete picture. Fairy tales concern themselves with what is spiritual and abstract. Where this comes into conflict with Doctor Who is that even though the show is often quite large and ‘out there,’ it remains practical; always showing a cause for every affect. Steve, your imposition of the Fairy Tale upon Doctor Who has removed this all important aspect of the show.
Doctor Who, like most science fiction, has always been about the tension between rationality and spirituality. Examine the favourite plot of early Who: a monster, usually one of legendary proportions like a werewolf or vampire, is besetting some village. The Doctor arrives and it turns out that this being is just some alien causing havoc. A rational explanation or fantastical event is found. This is the exact opposite on what I have noticed in recent episodes.
Steve, before you rise up those angry fists and say “wait a minute, insignificant internet twat, this is not true: we still do those plots all the time” and, Steve, you are right. However, rationality is not emphasized. The Doctor is often talks about some ancient time lord magic. Events are no longer framed through the lens of science but myth.
Mofftastic, look to the The Time of the Doctor. This episode — if I can even call this unclear medieval tapestry an episode — was rife with irrationality. I have seen it twice now and still do not understand why anything happened. My biggest frustration here was the reduction of a Timelord’s regeneration to a magical event. The regeneration was used as a ‘fixall’ for not only all the villains but also a time conundrum. Ignoring that the regeneration of the Doctor had never been as cataclysmic nuclear bomb before, since when was time curable by a simple explosion?
Steven, your version of the Doctor is inhuman. Hell, you’ve made a deity of him. He’s now a sorcerer. Many of your characters have even referred to him as a wizard, but we’ll come to that in a moment.
What is with your disregard of established show science?
If you recall, sir, back in the time of Eccelston and Davies, you will remember an episode that talked about fix points in time. Rose had encountered her father and decided it was best to save him from his demise. When she did this, weird dragon monsters appeared in an effort to reorganize the fixed time. Nine explained that these beings appear at any point the fixed time has been broken, yet, in your many episodes where the Doctor does just this we have never heard tell of these things.
I don’t mind your ignorance of this, but I am annoyed you have reduced the show into a wax poetic about how the Doctor is a demigod that can right all wrongs in an evil universe.
Steve, you’ve reduced everyone to archetypes.
Dear great and powerful Moffat, look at your female characters. You no doubt have noticed in the past I keep making allusions to an article written by University of Toronto’s Holger Syme taking you to task in Sherlock. He thinks, and I agree, that you have managed to be more backward then the Victorian example. Go read it here. Although I plan to expand on this in a future Moffatism, let me just mention some of this Victorianism is on the TARDIS.
Your companions, each and everyone that has a vagina, has been reduced to a damsel in distress. Amy is nothing but a vacuous red head that has a literal knight pining after her. Clara’s — she’s been around for a long time now and I still don’t get her — soul purpose is to scream a bit then be rescued. Even River, your favourite swashbuckling damsel, becomes goo whenever the Doctor is around. Why not just literally put Rapunzel on the TARDIS.
S & M, it’s not only your companions that have become floppy archetypes, the Doctor himself has been reduced to one as well. In The Eleventh Hour you introduced us to the idea of “the Raggedy Man.” A creature that kind of appears, is mercurial, steals the hearts of little children then disappears. You’ve created a trickster deity.
Moff, watch the show before you started writing it. You will notice that the Doctor was never once an interferer for the pure sport of it. That’s the Master. The Doctor was always a traveller. A person who navigates the universe in effort to better understand it and himself. A trickster fucks around to fuck around.
I’ve brought up before “the Doctor lies.” Lying is malevolent.. Tricksters lie. The Doctor does not. He may withhold but he does not outwardly lie. For instance, the Doctor may have withheld the that he had lost a lot of companions to death, when speaking to Rose but he didn’t lie.
Your Doctor pretends to die. He lies. That’s the sort of thing better suited and indeed done by Sherlock Holmes.
Moffalicious, is it a coincidence that both your Doctor and your Holmes pretend to be dead and lie to their best friends?
You have confused the two characters. You write the Doctor as a calculating Timelord, who steps over everyone and anything to defeat his enemies. That is who Sherlock Holmes is. Sherlock, well your Sherlock anyway, describes himself as a high functioning sociopath whereas the Doctor has always had a heart. He cares about humanity, his companions, the little rabbits, hell even the Daleks. Your Doctor is a cold sociopath. Your Doctor, aside from being a blatant Sherlock knockoff, is the Master. Is this the reason that Matt Smith’s Doctor never once faced his archenemy?
Fairy Tales are cruel. They depict a world that is dark and selfish. Most of them stem from religious moral tales and medieval traditions. Doctor Who has dark elements, as all Science Fiction has, but its core message has always been optimistic. ‘Humanity has great potential’ is a mantra often uttered by the Doctor. Fairy Tales spout just the opposite with their reliance on staying where you are and being comfortable in oppression; never questioning authority.
Steve, you have removed all the sense of wonder from the show. The Doctor spends many times waxing poetic at the skies that he is a “protector” or a “guardian.” Look to the Series 5 episode The Pandorica Opens to see what I mean. The universe is so afraid of this trickster god that try to lock him up in an unescapable prison. They have good reason to do that for in response to this plot he turns around and breaks time again. This is in no way the Doctor. The Doctor has always been damaged but at the end of the day he is loving. You, Steve, have injected him with sadism.
It’s a common theme in Fairy Tales to depict a world that is asleep, while all the magic that once existed in the open, lives on in the back corners of this world. That is exactly how you have set up your Earth. It’s a place that wants to remain asleep to the threats and creatures that live beyond their orbits. You, Old Moff – my Moff, see humans as limited creatures who refuse to examine their existence. Why have them in the show at all then?
This Human nothingness is really one of the greatest problems in your Doctor Who. Like a true Fairy Tale the fairy is the centre of the story. Historically, the Companion has been the focus of the show and the Doctor has always been secondary to the experience. You have placed him at the centre and this has made the show uncompelling. The Doctor works best as a facilitator to the story. He fills the same position that Willie Wonka or Gandalf might fill, a guide to the universe.
Stevie Moffat, oI have heard your claims that Doctor Who is primarily a children’s show. You are correct to some degree here. It certainly began as a children’s show. Just because it is a show that is intended for children doesn’t mean that it has to be reduced to the level you have reduced it too. A good piece of child oriented story telling is one that is complex and rich. Your “modern fairy tale” is far too reductive and archetypical while your plots have become more convoluted and confusing.
Steve, I admit the Doctor snapping open the TARDIS is cool.
Until next time, Extremites and Mr. Moffat, I remain: Julian Munds.