2MTL 199: Taking Skirts and Skits Seriously

  • "Space."
  • "Time."
  • Two funny and cute skits during Comic Relief.
  • Amy Pond.
  • Skirt length.
  • Jokes.
  • Objectification?
  • Less than eight minutes. Too serious?

Also check out Teresa Jusino's take on "Space" and "Time" at tor.com (just beware the comments).

Part One: "Space"

Part Two: "Time"

(Also a hat tip to the TDP.)

Join the Conversation


  1. Thanks for responding and for taking the comments seriously! Enjoyed your take, and especially your pointing me toward Teresa Jusino's blog — I will be keeping an eye there as season six gets underway. As always, thanks for a great podcast!

  2. Hi Chip.
    I think this whole skirt business is really a symptom of a larger issue concerning characters in Doctor Who.
    A large number of fans dislike Amy, they consider her to be poorly written.
    The phrase "bad characterization" seems to have supplanted "Deus Ex Machina" as the go-to phrase for vague and sweeping criticism.
    Amy simply isn't providing some fans the emotional connection that Rose, Martha and Donna did. The reasons behind this aren't difficult to figure out. Rose, Martha and Donna were very easy to identify with. They were straightforward characters, brave, smart and loyal.
    It was very comfortable for the audience to slip into their shoes and walk beside the Doctor for a while. This is empathy, where we, the audience, share the emotions of the character. It's the single strongest way a writer can create an emotional impact, and it works really well, but there are a few drawbacks. The shoes we all slip into have to be one-size-fits-all. These characters were well written to be sure, but carefully generic in certain ways -just enough of a blank slate for us to project our own specific personalities onto. Rose doesn't just happen to not mention her political views, her taste in music or her religious beliefs, she doesn't have these opinions at all. If she did it would shatter the illusion, and the empathetic link would be broken for some portion of the audience.
    Enter Moffat-
    Amy is a manipulative person and can be obnoxiously selfish. She has crippling abandonment issues and uses her sexuality to get the attention she craves, both in her personal life and in her chosen profession.
    Amy's shoes are very uncomfortable to slip into. (-and not just because she dressed for Rio)
    After the direct emotional rush of empathetic companions, it can be hard to switch to a sympathetic one, especially one who is a terrible role model for young women.
    Amy, as a non-empathetic character, has one huge upside though, not having to maintain a surrogate emotional link with the audience, she is free to change. Free to grow and improve herself.
    *yes, I'm finally getting to my point*
    Amy objectifying herself in the Comic Relief skits is either Moffat thoughtlessly presenting objectionable behavior as normal, or portraying a deeply flawed character who's emotional healing is still incomplete.
    The question is- Does Moffat have an obligation to present positive role models in the short term.
    I don't know.
    I think there's clearly some value in the long term message as well.
    Telling the full story of the tortoise and the hare must have more value than simply stating; There once was a hare who realized that skill is useless with out determination and persistence, the end.
    If Amy appears crafted/contrived in order to appeal to fan-boys- a masculine vision of a sexually liberated woman, Who is crafting her, Amy or Moffat?
    Great show as always, keep up the good, and thought provoking work.

  3. Here is my thought on this in brief.

    As a woman, I think it's funny that the Doctor asks Amy to put some pants on because a) He can trust Amy to put pants on but Rory (being a man) can not be trusted AT ALL to control himself where his wife is concerned. And 2) because her pants will probably be tight and it won't actually fix the problem.

    I view it more at a slap at men and the fact that God/Nature gave them two heads but only enough blood to use one at a time then it is at women. But that's just me.

  4. I guess the thing I find hard to fathom about the whole matter is this: The history of the series has had moments of the female companions being objectified. Jo Grant’s mini-skirts, Leela’s outfit, Zoe’s catsuit in “The Mind Robber”, and Peri’s outfits accentuate and appreciate the female form – though they are realistically impractical. Even Rose gets into the act in “New Earth” when, possessed by Cassandra, she appreciates her form in the mirror. The only difference now is that in “Time” and “Space”, the lovely female companion’s sexuality is acknowledged.
    To me, this smacks of hypocrisy. We can enjoy, even fantasize, about the companions to our heart’s content. But forbid character do it, much less her by own husband. And herself, of course. Does onscreen acknowledgment prove we're demented little pervs or something? No, they just confirm that, yah, we like them, too.
    So while the subject matter itself was questionable for what is ostensibly a children’s show, the screams of “blasphemy” and shock seems hollow given the legion of comely lasses who have traveled in the TARDIS before.

  5. Brian pretty much said everything I was gonna come and say.I will say this it was a charity skit that I bet raise allot of money on the night which is the most important thing.

  6. Great show, Chip. I really enjoyed Draculasaurus' comment because it touched on the difficult dichotomy of Amy. There is a lot to unpack there including the uncomfortable double standard that is too often found in fandom: the Bad Boy gets a pass but the Bad Girl is held to a higher standard, most often by women. I, too, initially laughed at the skit but was left with a nagging discomfort. It's human nature to laugh at uncomfortable things and often they can be thought provoking. The very best comedians slip social satire into their routines and while I'd like to believe that this was the case for these skits, I'm not sure it was. Was it a send up of the all the short skirt nonsense from last year or was it "we can't trust Rory to control himself so Amy must take more care". If it was the former it wasn't handled deftly and if it was the latter, well, that's the issue isn't it? I love that Amy is comfortable in her own skin, that she flirts and is clearly a sexual being but when she is called to task for that, even jokingly, the message isn't all that subtle that she is doing something wrong.

    But this is *my* opinion, one colored by my own experiences as a woman in the world who has been the brunt of these conversations and the mother of daughters who I hope never will. The most disturbing thing has been, as you said, not that the opinions exist (because, let's face it, four people locked in in a room discussing Doctor Who are going to have at least eight wildly diverging opinions on anything) but that they were shut down so quickly, thoughtlessly and, in some cases, cruelly. "It's been done in the past so it's okay now" "Clearly you don't *get* it" "Where's your sense of humor?" "It's just a comedy skit for pete's sake" are not, in my opinion, adequate excuses for discounting someone's (a LOT of someones) discomfort.

  7. "It's been done in the past so it's okay now" what I take from this is well its been done before why know do people have a problem with it now. As Brian mention a few other monents in the Tennant/RTD era no one had an Issue now the Smith/Moff era I guess people now have a prolem with it.

  8. Was it a skit or was it something that could quite easily have been in a Dr Who episode?

    Take the scenes with Amy dressed as a police woman and Rory dressed as a Roman legionary from the latest Christmas Special. If I was shown these and the Comic Relief sketches without having seen either of them before and asked to say which was from a genuine Dr Who episode and which was for Comic Relief, without question I would have said the scenes from the Christmas Special.

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