Thursday, 15 September 2011

Rory and Doctor Who

Wow. I had just about given up on watching Doctor Who after that River Song/Melody Pond episode at the end of the series break, but I got back into watching it after some people on my course mentioned it - they love Stephen Moffatt up in Scotland. The last two episodes have just been amazing - to me, anyway. I know they're silly, and that's part of the point of them. That's just what you expect from Doctor Who. Especially as they're aimed at children.

I'm not aiming to be anything like as amusing as Red Scharlach, who (whom?) I hear was recently snapped up to write for the Doctor Who Magazine, and so I won't be able to read any of her reviews of the new series without buying a geeky children's magazine, which I'm not going to do. Anyway, this week's episode made me realise two things. One: I love Rory. He's just great. When was the last time you saw a truly nice male character where they weren't presented as a total dweeb (alright, I know they make Rory a little bit of a dweeb, but it only makes him more lovable). Two: I love post-apocalyptic future stories. Now, I don't know the reason for this. Generally, I tend to prefer stories with happy endings. Somebody once said you can tell the difference between a good story and a bad story because a good story has a happy ending. But I find the possibility of a new and different future endlessly exciting, even if they all generally turn out to be quite similar - i.e., sinister.

By the way, how did I know as soon as Rory put on those glasses that there would be a boob joke? HOW? This was probably the only part of the episode I guessed (apart from the inevitable happy-ish ending) and that's a little bit worrying. I had the thought halfway through that they should make an adult version of Doctor Who, because then at least they wouldn't have to be so coy with all their dirty jokes, and the monsters could be far scarier. Then I realised that they already made it: it was Torchwood, and it was shit. (I'm sorry, that show is inexcusable. It's one of the worst-written, stupidest (even sillier than Doctor Who), most pointless, senseless, boring and gratuitous things I have ever sat through. Actually, every subtle shade of meaning of the word 'gratuitous' can accurately be used to describe every facet of Torchwood. The word could have been made for it. My time was "given without receiving any return value", and the show itself is "without apparent reason, cause, or justification". And Russell T Davies loves putting exposition in dialogue despite ranting against it in all his interviews. Everything about the show is irritating and nothing about the show is redeeming.)

But anyway, that's another story for another time. What I really wanted to praise this episode for was for the way it swaps round traditional gender roles with the characters of Amy and Rory. So Amy can be the tough one who has learnt to survive in a post-apocalyptic future by herself, and Rory is the caring one who wants to rescue her but isn't especially good at looking after himself and often ends up relying on her to stop him getting killed. Forgive me for getting boring and thoughtful, but I think that having a storyline where the man in the couple rescues the woman is excusable, because she would do (and has done, multiple times) the same for him. And it even twists round the traditional guy rescuing girl story, by making Amy the one responsible for rescuing herself, even though Rory set off to try to rescue her in the first place.

I think, in this age, we have forgotten that in a couple, you are both meant to look after each other, rather than exclusively the woman cooking and cleaning for the husband, or exclusively the husband providing for and protecting the wife. You're both meant to do both, it's just that somewhere along the line we forgot and assigned limited 'traditional' roles to each that then stuck. If it was true that only women were 'naturally' inclined to cook, any man who ever lived on his own, or without any women, would die from starvation.

Oh dear, I think I've digressed a little more than I meant to. What I really meant to say was that I love the character of Rory, perhaps because he's how I'd like to be. He's a bit shy and not all that physically strong, but who cares? He's caring and loyal and kind, and even though he's shy he sticks up for himself and for Amy, and will always fight for what's important to him, even though he doesn't really know how to. I want to aspire to be like that, because it takes guts to be brave when you're that shy.

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