“I’ve got Tom Hiddleston playing Henry V. I don’t want a bowl haircut, I want him looking good! So, you know, I want him in delicious, kind of tight fitting leather jackets. Yeah! That’s what I want. Because I want people to look at it and want to keep watching. I don’t need him in tights. We can still make the point. So he’s got very nice leather trousers in mine!”—
Yep, still working through word prompts. TenII/Rose - fluff/crack
Once they settled into Rose’s flat in Pete’s World, the Doctor had the task of acquiring what he called “humany things.” It was sort of game to him really. It started with a trip to a shop to buy personal hygiene items like shaving foam, deodorant and a toothbrush. Of course, he had to examine each and every item from scent, to texture to taste to chemical components. Rose would stare at him, wince or just giggle and say, “You’re such an alien.” He rather liked that, especially the giggling and smiling part. He had missed that about her. She’d been sad and withdrawn since their arrival in Pete’s World,
Humany things did sometimes annoy him in way. Although happy to spend his forever with her, part of him resented being reminded of the human bits like body odor or inefficient waste elimination and the need for sleep. Well, he didn’t need as much as sleep as Rose but still… It annoyed him when he dozed off when he could be doing something important like devising a way to eradicate all pears on Earth.
Aside from personal hygiene items, Rose had lectured him on fashion. Him! On fashion! He then had to advise her on all the worlds he was a fashion icon. He preened at this and just knew Rose was impressed. Well, maybe she was only somewhat impressed as soon after, he found himself forced to endure a shopping excursion.
There he lay before her with a new face, a new body, a new everything. A mixture of confusion, fear and a little bit of wonder raced through her. She had seen him burn before her eyes, her best mate, the man she had come to love, disappeared leaving this stranger behind. “Who is he now?” she wondered. In all the time they spent together and grown closer, she had forgotten how alien he was. She caressed his face and he seemed to turn toward where she touched him. A slight smile lit her face. It was so hard for her to process that the man, no not man, alien she had come to love could change so completely right before her very eyes.
Soon, she would learn exactly who he had become and who he still was. There were the Sycorax, a sword fight, Harriet Jones, Torchwood and six words that could topple a Prime Minister. Yes, he was her Doctor. That evening she nervously went through the motions of Christmas dinner but part of herself was still worried about him. Would he leave her here? Maybe he was hurt that she had not immediately accepted this change? She longed to continue traveling with him in the Tardis. He was so different from anyone else in her life and she felt so close to him. It was no lie when she called him a best mate. Alien or not, they understood each other and had connected at some intangible level. This was beyond the human friendships she had known in the past. Perhaps, it was even more intimate than any romantic feelings she’d had for anyone else as well.
There is something called the Bechdel Test. It’s a scale you run movies through to basically see how misogynistic they are.
The test is as follows: 1. It must have at least two named female characters. 2. They must speak to each other. 3. They must converse about something other than a man. Anything with a score lower than 3 fails.
I’ve run all of the episodes of NewWho through this test and here are my results:
Percent of failed episodes written by RTD: 9.7% By Moffat: 55.6% Percent of episodes in which there were two named female characters, but they didn’t speak to one another by RTD: 9.7% By Moffat: 16.7% Percent of episodes without two named female characters by RTD: 0% By Moffat: 5.6% Percent of failed episodes with RTD as showrunner (including those written by other writers): 20% With Moffat: 67.8% Percent of episodes in which there were two named female characters, but they didn’t speak to one another with RTD as showrunner: 10% With Moffat: 25% Percent of episodes without two named female characters with RTD as showrunner: 0% With Moffat: 25% Total percent of failed episodes: 35.2% Total percent of episodes in which there were two named female characters, but they didn’t speak to one another: 14.8% Total percent of episodes without two named female characters: 8%
RTD did a lot better than Moffat. This is not a go at him, just facts.
Over half of SM’s episodes failed. RTD neither wrote or was showrunner to an episode with less than two named female characters. Moffat wrote one episode with less than two named female characters, and a staggering 25% (1/4!) of episodes with him as showrunner did not include more than one named female character.
My data is here. You can check it if you like, and please tell me if you find any errors. Thanks!
Wow. I mean, we all know the Bechdel test isn’t perfect, but it is a good indicator for representation. And, this from a show which almost always features at least one main female character. Jeez. That’s astounding.
I’d hate to see the numbers on a racial Bechdel test (replace woman with POC and man with white person, I wouldn’t count non-human looking aliens); I don’t think the full pass numbers would be very high for either, but thanks to MIckey and Martha, the partial-pass numbers would be higher in S1-4 (two POC who talk to each other)
Full passes off the top of my head:
Impossible Planet/Satan Pit
Age of Steel/Rise of the Cybermen (do Mickey/Mickey interactions count?)
Smith and Jones
Gridlock (I think? Martha talks with Cheen about future desires, right?)
Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords
End of Time Pt 1&2
That’s actually a little better than I expected, all things considered. And there are a good number of half-passes. But the main number worth noticing is that in RTD’s time as showrunner a (still disappointing) 17.6% of shows passed a “racial Bechdel test,” while in SM’s time as showrunner, 0% passed.
Again, any version of the Bechdel test doesn’t prove a text is particularly progressive or that its representation is good, just that the representation is there (the fact that the test is so frequently failed points to a problem, of course) (also, I’d take more Ritas over more Gridlocks, even though Gridlock passed the test and the God Complex didn’t.). But I do think these hard numbers show that those of us who have felt a drop in some of the progressive representation of POC and women on Doctor Who is not just a fantasy or RTD fangirling.