9.29.2011

Boycott: Dr. Who

~ Inaugural Post ~

Bar Patrons, Neo-Prodigy submits that POC (and LGBTQ folks as well) boycott Dr. Who.

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So as of last weekend I decided to boycott Doctor Who.

I took all that I can takes and I can takes no more. Now I may watch the special anniversary ep if it proves worth my time but aside from that, I’m done.

But before I go any further, let me make something abundantly clear, I've got nothing against the new cast. I think each of them are pretty and brilliant and immensely talented actors. I've seen some of their other work, and I can't stop singing their praises. For actors not David Tennant and co., I believe Matt Smith and co. were the best choices. So no, I'm not hating on the new cast. In fact, I adore Alex Kingston who steals practically every scene as River Song and is the main reason I kept watching.

My biggest beef is the new direction of the series, which has virtually erased POCs and LGBTQs from a franchise that had traditionally been most inclusive.

As a double minority, there aren't many examples in the media that portray people like me (be it people of color and/or queer). At best, we're the sidekick, the background dressing. At best most shows might sprinkle a token here and there to show that they tolerate us.

There's a difference between tolerance and being welcomed.

What is tolerance anyway? Tim Wise said it best: "As I see it, tolerance means I don't burn your church down, or tie you to a fence and leave you to die, or drag you down a dirt road behind my pickup. It means I tolerate your existence and little else. I let you live and breathe for another day. How nice of me."

Former Who Exec Russell T. Davies actually made it a priority to make minorities feel welcomed. In doing so, he made me personally invested in the franchise because I was welcomed. Interracial couples were shown in a matter of fact manner and not as a controversial plotpoint for sweeps as is often the case here in the states. It showed a blueprint of how the world could/should be in that regard. LGBTQs could be the ass-kicking leads and an omnisexual male from 51st century could be featured as a leading man. A black woman proved herself to be the equal of any time lord. The themes of diversity and inclusiveness were reiterated time and time and time (no pun intended) again.

This was not only empowering for those of us who too often are marginalized and ignored in the media, but it was also educational to the mainstream (white) masses. White audiences need to POCs saving the world, being heroes and heroines and that we are human.

Did Davies get everything right? God no. Were there areas of opportunity in his narrative? Ya damn skippy. But I'll take his storytelling over 98 percent of the crap that's in the media right now. I'll sure as hell take his work over NuWho anyday.

I suspect this shift is the execs' way of making Dr. Who “more universal (read: straight and white)” to audiences and doing away with that icky PC agenda that mean ole Davies's kept pushing. And isn't it funny how when minorities are expressing our issues or our visibility, we're pushing a PC liberal scheme, but when straight white folks are erasing us from existence, they're never promoting a homophobic white supremacist agenda?

What made Doctor Who, Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures international hits was because they reached out to a marginalized, ignored and untapped audience who were all too eager to support programming that represented them with respect.

And speaking of SJA, with Elisabeth Sladen passing, that's what irks me all the more. Because that's one more progressive show we've lost. And when I look at NuWho, I was just left wondering, why bother?

The stories have also gotten immensely lazy and derivative. In fact for the past episodes, I noticed that I repeatedly glanced at the clock and wanting the episode to hurry up and be over with. That NEVER happened during the Davies/Tennant era. I was stoked when Steve Moffat took over as executive producer because this is the genius who gave us Blink. But even the ball with the two-parter featuring the weeping angels went straight to hell.

And the huge ratings tank for the season finale, that should be telling in itself. Or the fact that they’ve been splitting up the seasons, increasing the gaps and they just canceled the accompanying series Doctor Who Confidential.

An all straight white cast, subpar writing, ratings tanking?

To the Doctor Who brass, I just have one question. How’s that straight whitewashing working out for you?

9 comments:

  1. Great post, Neo-Prodigy. I've learned a lot reading this and this gives me some ideas.

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  2. great post! Yes. Martha Jones was one of my all time favorite sidekicks of the doctor and we haven't seen the likes of her since. Aside from the erasure of minorities traveling space and time, I couldn't get down with Dr. Who after I woke up to the atheistic and secular undertones and ideals it promoted..so to me it comes as no surprise that the script would play in hand with white straight male supremacy now.. I just can't do the 'Who' anymore after this..

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  3. An all straight white cast, subpar writing, ratings tanking?

    When will these bastards start feeling this repeated punch to the face? Maybe not until that ongoing script of Percocet, Demerol or Vicodin runs out. I mean, how long is it going to take for someone to realize that people simply don't want to see shit like that anymore.

    Oh, sorry! Forgot for a second that I was talking about TPTB. My bad.

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  4. As far as I'm concerned Neo Prodigy, RTD didn't do PoC's any favors with his portrayals, he got too much wrong. For the first time in my 35 years of life RTD made me prefer monochrome casting and its inherent racism to the racist, unimaginative, pathetic and abusive treatment PoC characters got in RTD's dull, and over sentimental writing.


    While I loved many of the things that happened with Martha Jones's character she and her family fell into one stereotype after another.She was a maid, she was undesirable and in every episode we were reminded that the Dr. did not care about Martha as much as he cared about Rose. Dr. Who jumped the shark with in execution of the Dr and Martha's relationship because the for first time the Doctor purposefully created distance between himself and a companion. God its just like a bad RL relationship between a BW/WM.

    While I didn't love Mickey I consistently wanted him to be written better than was. Mickey starts out emasculated is repeatedly referred to as an idiot and even though the character evolves when he finally does something heroic he promptly leaves the show.

    Finally Rosita in the next doctor, she starts as prostitute, is very briefly a companion and ends up as nursemaid,brillant, just -effing- brilliant!!!

    One might argue with these characters that these story lines make sense. The Doctor has just suffered a huge loss when Martha became his companion so of course he wanted to put some distance between himself and Martha.He really doesn't want to get close to anyone right now, but he doesn't want to be alone either so he uses because she's not a real person anyway so it doesn't matter if her feelings are repeatedly hurt. Not everyone is going to react heroically the first time they face real danger, and Mickey's reaction is more human, more real and a perfect stereotype. Rosita was a prostitute need I say more. There's a saying I read somewhere 'once is chance, twice is coincidence, third time is a conspiracy. There are multiple examples of racists PoC portrayals during RTD's time with Dr. Who.

    What RTD's portrayals of POCs os unacceptable, he doesn't deserve praise for being clumsy and unthinking when he decided to write these characters. He deserves to have his feet held to the fire while we demand that he does better. I don't want any crumb's from massa's table, I want to overturn it!!

    I haven't seen much of Steve Moffat's era and shit we can boycott him too. But lets write some letters to RTD telling him what we think about the PoC he wrote in Doctor Who. To really make our wrath hit home we can boycott Dr. Who and whatever the hell RTD is working on right now too. Let these damned writers and producers pay and keep paying just like we pay and keep paying.

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  5. Initially I felt upset reading this which is weird because I could have easily ignored you and kept watching it. However, I realize I was upset because I knew you were right and I also realized why the new doctor has been so disappointing to me. I cried (shaking shoulders and tear stained shirt) every season finale with Tennant. Rose was amazing. Martha was fantastic and under appreciated. Donna was awesome and I wish I had seen more of her. The new main pair have no chemistry whatsoever and Rory is treated like shit who doesn't deserve it.

    But my main issue is with Amy Pond. She is the classic example of that pouty, useless white girl the show tries to convince us is perfect in every way but I'm not falling for it. She's a bitch and poor Rory. Just poor Rory.

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  6. "But my main issue is with Amy Pond. She is the classic example of that pouty, useless white girl the show tries to convince us is perfect in every way but I'm not falling for it. She's a bitch and poor Rory. Just poor Rory."

    Oddly that reminds me of Charlie from Spiderman and other useless white characters.

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  7. Yeah I'm not a fan of the new who. They dogged Martha out and put beaver teethed rose on a pedestal. And I'm just annoyed overall with how they went with the new series. Bad lazy writing all around. I don't know why this show is so popular.

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  8. You know, I haven't followed Dr. Who, but it would be funny if the killed off Rose and replaced her with a Muslim Assistant. Now that would rock.

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  9. I'm almost glad I haven't caught up. It makes me sad to know where the show will go. You lose SOOOO much when you homogenize the cast of characters.

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