Aaron R. Davis
For the first time in seven seasons, I was not actually looking forward to watching the premiere of a new season of Doctor Who. I waited a couple of days because after last season, it wasn’t a top priority for me. It wasn’t that long ago that I could barely contain myself in the days leading up to a new episode. Now … eh, I’ll get to it when I get to it.
Though the problems I have with the show are myriad, a lot of it boils down to two words: “Amy Pond.”
I hate Amy Pond.
Amy Pond is not a character. You can’t tell me anything about her. We know she’s married to Rory and that she loves The Doctor (I know, I know, she really loves Rory; we know because she has to constantly convince us over and over again), that she’s The Doctor’s current companion, that she’s River Song’s mother and that she’s a hooker. (Right, right, she’s a “kissogram,” the most labored explanation for a bachelor party escort I’ve ever heard on a kid’s show for a cheap laugh.)
What else is she, though? What motivates her? What has she got that isn’t just being a part of the Doctor’s circle in some way?
That’s the problem with Steven Moffat’s version of Doctor Who: nothing seems to happen anywhere that isn’t ultimately about the Doctor. They have no life without him.
It’s funny looking back and seeing Moffat talk about how he was never going to have Rose Tyler back on again and how he didn’t like Rose Tyler, but all he’s done with Amy Pond has been to take Rose Tyler, keep her superficial elements and boil away all of her personality and character.
What did we know about Rose? Well, we knew she dropped out of school and moved out when she was 16. We knew she never got her A-levels. We knew she was a gymnast when she was a child. We knew she had a best mate as a kid named Shereen, and that she loved pizza and never learned French. We knew details. We knew her relationship with her mother Jackie and her on-again/off-again boyfriend Mickey, and we knew that those characters had lives and relationships completely independent of their connection to Rose. People had a life without her, and she had a life without The Doctor.
We knew the loss of her father as a child devastated her, and did so in a way that affected the plot. It was actually explored; it became an integral part of the series.
What do we know about Amy? She met The Doctor, she worshiped him, she grew up to become a hooker, she bossed Rory around all the time and married him and then she was a companion and at one point gave birth to a baby that conveniently disappeared and came back as Alex Kingston. And that is everything there is.
Do you remember that at the end of the fifth season — Amy’s first — The Doctor actually changed her timeline so that her parents never died? How has that affected her? Apparently not at all. Who are Rory’s parents, for that matter? These two exist in a bubble where she treats him like crap and nothing ever happens to them that doesn’t affect The Doctor (except in the season premiere they get divorced, just to mess with Amy’s inexplicable legions of fans).
Amy Pond is a great Bella Swan: she’s a blank with no personality of her own that allows a certain kind of person to write themselves onto. She’s a Mary Sue for the audience. She needs no personal details because Steven Moffat just doesn’t think they’re important. She’s basically just River Song with different hair. It’s the only type of woman Moffat is interested in writing anymore: irritatingly sassy, smarter than everyone else (even The Doctor, oh, he’s just so awkward), cartoonishly proactive, overplayed and completely pandering.
And now we’ve got our first glimpse of the new companion who is, naturally, a young English girl who is basically River Song with different hair and a hideous jacket. I have to hand it to Moff: I didn’t think he could pander even more than he already has with the Doctor’s Manic Pixie Dream Companions, but he sure did. She’s like River, only a thousand percent more so. Getting through her scenes in just one 48 minute episode was a trial. Amy’s scenes, too; I get a headache because I tend to roll my eyes at absolutely everything Amy ever says. (Yeah, waiting for 2000 years outside of a box is not even a little harder than giving a guy up for a couple of months, that’s really a reasonable thing to say – god I despise her.)
So now we’ll have a new little girl to moon over The Doctor and be a flirty little genius, because I’m not tired of seeing that over and over and over again. I don’t know why they even bother to give them names anymore. Even Russell T. Davies gave us Donna Noble, a great character who seems to be disliked by a lot of the fans because instead of falling all over The Doctor in a love-addled haze, she actually challenged him and questioned him and helped him to be a better person.
Why bother with characters when people are just going to watch it, anyway? Brands are much easier than stories, right?
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.