….or An Auton Has More Feelings Than I Do.
(ALERT! If you haven’t watched the season finale of Doctor Who, look away now.)
I’ve been waiting to write about this season of Doctor Who for two reasons. One, because it gets written about a lot already and therefore there’s absolutely nothing new to say about it. Two, because I’ve been waiting for the big emotional pay-off that reminds me I’m a person with feelings who is capable of crying now and again.
I take all my emotional cues from television. As anyone who knows me will happily tell you, I’m a bit of a cold fish. I don’t cry at funerals, I don’t cry at weddings. I cry at good pop records and good television, and that’s about it. I don’t even do hugs particularly well, as anyone who’s been on the receiving end of one of my marionette-like embraces will also tell you. And a colleague gave me a dressing down when I happened to mention that I’d been practicing my sincere face at home – apparently that’s not something you should have to work on. Another person would take this as a sign that a little light therapy may be required, but I’m perfectly happy letting it all out when someone dies on Brothers and Sisters. Actually, they don’t even have to die – maybe they’ve just bought a really nice new dinner service. That’s all it takes.
Now, the show that has made me cry more than any other is Doctor Who. Since it returned in 2005 I’ve invested much of my emotional development in this one programme. I cried for a solid hour when the Doctor and Rose Tyler were parted in 2006, and I cry every time I watch it on DVD. I cried when they were reunited and then parted again in 2008, although perhaps, understandably, not quite as much. I cried when Donna had her memories wiped and I positively blubbed when Wilf saluted the Doctor as he left, alone on his travels. I cried a little when Martha left, but that was mostly due to overwhelming relief that I wouldn’t have to hear her say “but it can’t be” ever again.
This year? Dry. Nothing. Rory died – couldn’t care less. Rory came back – fair enough. Amy died – that’s a shame. Amy came back – oh good. Not a single tear, and I can’t fathom out why. One thing I do know, however, is that television never lets me down: therefore, I must be the problem. However, in the interests of doing things properly, let’s give the principal players a quick once over just to make sure…
1) Matt Smith. Nope, he’s brilliant. That is an empirical fact. Don’t dare argue with me.
2) Karen Gillan. Are we onto something here? I tend to feel she’s excellent, but as we say in Glasgow, she can be a bit too gallus for her own good (or, as my dear friend Scott so rightly puts it, “girls like her are ten a penny at the Irn Bru factory.”) To be fair, the girl’s had to carry a lot of heavy plot on her shoulders this season, and while it’s tempting to think what someone of the calibre of, say…Billie Piper would do with it, she has on the whole made a decent fist of things. It’s just a shame she was totally upstaged by her niece.
3) Steven Moffat. Again, no. Clearly the man’s a genius, although to be fair his Scottishness means that we’re never going to get overtly emotional and/or lovesick plotlines (being Scottish, we either don’t say it or just have sex instead). Which isn’t to say he doesn’t do the romantic thing – Rory waiting two thousand years for Amy to emerge from the Pandorica is fairly romantic (although personally I think Rory reckoned he stood a better chance of survival lingering around a concrete Terry’s Chocolate Orange for a couple of milennia than hitching his wagon to the Doctor’s) – it’s just not as in-your-face as we’re used to. But he does intricate plotting like no other and is a master at hiding incredibly significant moments in plain sight. The oft-quoted ‘fairytale’ aspect of this season was judged perfectly – miles away from the (equally effective) council-estate modernity of the Russell T Davies era, it brought back something of the mystery and other-worldliness of the show’s roots while still being recognisably our world. As I say, genius.
4) Me. I am a soulless automaton, rendered emotionally barren after too many afternoon marathons of Gilmore Girls. I am immune to subtlety and must be directed to cry via large signposts saying “CRY NOW” in big black letters. I am a little bit dead inside.
Clearly that must be it, because with so much to admire this year on Doctor Who, can there really be so little to love? Maybe I should ask my new therapist…