At first glance it may seem mediocre but over time you see why such a vehicle would inspire so much loyalty and devotion.
December 30, 2010 10:30 AM   Subscribe

During the month of December, tor.com has been publishing essays on the Twelve Doctors of Christmas. Today artist Pia Guerra gives us the gift of an extended metaphor: the fifth Doctor as a Volvo.

Upcoming essays include Brooklyn burlesque queen/Time Lady Nasty Canasta (link NSFW) on 10.

Still not down with the Doctor? Now's the time (and tor.com also has some tips for that!). This Christmas Day marked the first simulcast of a Doctor Who Christmas special in both the US and the UK--and BBC America is promising to follow through with this practice in April with the release of Matt Smith's second season as the man in the blue box.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi (38 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
On January 4th, Brooklyn burlesque queen Nasty Canasta (link is mildly NSFW) will be celebrating the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant!

Holy shit I used to perform with Canasta all the time, her acts were always hilarious.

Wow the internet is fucking tiny.
posted by The Whelk at 10:34 AM on December 30, 2010


I once looked Peter Davidson very solemnly in the eye as he autographed a photo for me at a Doctor Who convention when I was around 8 or 9, and while dressed from head to toe in Tom Baker-style attire, with an enormous floppy scarf that a family friend had knitted for me coiled about a thousand times around my little neck, I said with complete sincerity: "You're my favorite Doctor!"

Though I noticed it at the time, it took me weeks to figure out the most obvious explanation for why he had an odd, vaguely unconvinced look in his eye the whole time as he nodded and smiled and passed the autographed photo back to me.

Even though Davidson's Doctor really was my favorite at the time, Tom Baker was just so much more closely identified with the Doctor and so recognizable. (Also, time-traveler's FYI: it is impossible to find decent Cricket sweaters in Bayou George, Florida, circa 1983.)

But yeah, I can live with the Fifth Doctor as Volvo. Thanks for this post!
posted by saulgoodman at 11:02 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pro-tip: if you wish to have any credibility whatosever when using cars as metaphors, for god's sake, learn how to spell Karmann Ghia.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:15 AM on December 30, 2010


Pro-tip: if you wish to have any credibility whatosever when saying who you favourite doctor is, for god's sake, learn how to spell Peter Davison.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:25 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tor's pages (yes, there are multiple ways to get there) are seriously broke in terms of updated consistent links. The main linked to page (above) only goes up to #3 at this time; if you go to the Volvo page (which is weird as hell anyways), you can then jump to a DIFFERENT list, whereby you can get into Tom Baker's writeup - which is what everyone is looking for anyways.
Want to see what the Matt Smith one is like. This years Xmas special left me kinda cold, and we spent way too much time picking the major flaws apart regarding the flying fish.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:26 AM on December 30, 2010


Upon rewatching The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the TV series) on Hulu (sorry non-US) I discovered the previously unknown bit of trivia that Peter Davison was the only Doctor to appear in that show - before he took on the TARDIS and quite unrecognizable (he was Dish of the Day at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe) and was married at the time to Sandra Dickinson who played Trillian. Which explains why I somewhat expected Davison's tenure as the Doctor to be more Hitchhiker-ish and less Volvo-ish.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:41 AM on December 30, 2010


Pro-tip: if you wish to have any credibility whatosever when saying who you favourite doctor is, for god's sake, learn how to spell Peter Davison.

Damn. Sorry. I had a vague inkling that I might be off on the spelling, but it's been a long time since I was a 9-year old fan-boy. You're free to withhold the blessings of credibility from me if you want (credibility's a pretty worthless commodity these days anyway), but you know, I do exist in the real world outside of this clunky little text-based reality, and there were actual people who knew me once. And I did get actual beatings for wearing that damn scarf to elementary school. So--allons-y!
posted by saulgoodman at 11:47 AM on December 30, 2010


You know, not that it matters, but that anecdote probably means a hell of a lot more to me than any typo or slip in spelling properly ought to mean to you. But snark away. Maybe see this post.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:50 AM on December 30, 2010


I have to say: I really, really liked this Christmas special.
posted by meese at 11:54 AM on December 30, 2010


You know, not that it matters, but that anecdote probably means a hell of a lot more to me than any typo or slip in spelling properly ought to mean to you.

Who is serious business

It could be worse... I mean come on BBC I know it's only sub-titles but Spider-Man has a hyphen!

Also, I pestered my gran for weeks until she taught me to knit so I could produced my own scarf. From scrap wool. When I was 8. You have no idea how awesome the resultant object was. No idea at all.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:57 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have to say: I really, really liked this Christmas special.

Ditto. Since all the Xmas specials were available OnDemand on my mom's cable over Christmas, we were able to directly compare it to the others. World's better written--the Christmas stuff was so well-integrated, heartfelt, not tacked on. I'm surprised that Old'n'Busted was so turned off by the flying fish. It was silly, but no sillier than anything else in the series, really.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:58 AM on December 30, 2010


I'm just annoyed that despite Guerra's credentials as an illustrator, she did not see fit to include a visual representation of Peter Davison as a metaphorical Volvo. Artfail?
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:58 AM on December 30, 2010


Who is serious business

Fair point.

From scrap wool. When I was 8. You have no idea how awesome the resultant object was. No idea at all.

From your diction, I assume that you're a Brit? Well, you should know, you native-born Who fans have always had it over on us, your poor American cousins, so it's all too easy for you to cast aspersions down on the likes of me! No doubt, there was considerably more of a social stigma to being a fan of the show on this side of the pond than on yours, so even if I do deserve a demerit for misspelling Davison's name (does it redeem me even in the slightest that I even tried to watch 'All Creatures Great and Small' out of loyalty after his tenure on Who?), I think I should at least get some credit for the abuse I withstood in return for championing the show all those years ago...
posted by saulgoodman at 12:18 PM on December 30, 2010


Who is serious business.

Well, no, it's not. That's kind of the point.
posted by fight or flight at 12:28 PM on December 30, 2010


Pro-tip: if you wish to have any credibility whatosever when using cars as metaphors, for god's sake, learn how to spell Karmann Ghia.

Than and how to write.
posted by the noob at 12:33 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just annoyed that despite Guerra's credentials as an illustrator, she did not see fit to include a visual representation of Peter Davison as a metaphorical Volvo. Artfail?

Good point. That's really what I was chiefly expecting to see when I first clicked the "fifth Doctor" link. What's the deal? Is Tor, as a publishing house, just textist?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:33 PM on December 30, 2010


Than That (dang)
posted by the noob at 12:33 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aaaah, holy shit! I'm linked in a Metafilter post! I am trying really hard not to type in all caps here.

Old'n'Busted is right about the links. Looks like everything is indexed here. (Also, Paul Cornell's hiding in there! And Dalek cross-stitching!)

I really loved this year's Christmas episode, as well. It felt like Moffat and Smith had finally arrived as showrunner and Doctor, respectively. A strong character story looped through with time travel, hand waviness (the fish), and more jokes than you can even catch in one sitting.

I think the only thing I didn't like was the singing, but even then it felt like past Who Xmas specials were being honored. As if Moffat is signaling that while the RTD era is past, he's not going to be ignoring it in terms of continuity or style. It's serious and daffy all at once and that's what Who does best.

I think "Christmas Invasion" still ranks as my favorite Xmas special, but this is a close second.
posted by greenland at 12:41 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The fish didn't just feel tacked on; it felt like it was there as a "we need something more interesting than clouds - let's put a MegaShark in there!" (and yes, Young&Good was expecting an octopus and was miffed there wasn't). The singing also felt really, really, really, gimmicy.

The time travel bit - going back to diddle with who a person was, and also the bit with the Welsh singer in a jar that lives only eight days - was extremely well done, and I consider it better than Father's Day, which I had previously considered "this is where DW starts taking time travel seriously". Here, they took it right-damn seriously, to the point where "this is what you get with it - you get old, your love stays young, and you're not the man you used to be".

That being said: they explicitly violated their own rules regarding messing about with time - the Doctor had *zero* qualms about fucking with the old man's head to the point where his own *machine* didn't validate his login. I would have expected this from Davison or Tennat, but not Smith. It would have been a lot kinder and less screwing about to just gimmic the machine or hey, since you're already violating the rules, why not just change the ship's manifest so that they are not *going to/near this planet*?

(and yes, I know, bitching about Doctor Who is stupid and silly.... at least it wasn't as stupid as the Warehouse 13 xmas special - gag).
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:59 PM on December 30, 2010


Funny, I didn't find the fish gimmicky at all! In fact, I thought that the scenes where young whatshisname (Sardik? I'm too lazy to google right now) laments missing out on seeing the fish to be really poignant.

There's two things that I think Moffat always does really, really well: wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, and children. So much of what's been successful in his stories is the way he accesses the child's view of the world, in all its darkness and wonder and pain. And so that was the value of the fish, for me--to show how isolated from the other boys our young hero/villain was.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:08 PM on December 30, 2010


the Doctor had *zero* qualms about fucking with the old man's head to the point where his own *machine* didn't validate his login. I would have expected this from Davison or Tennat, but not Smith. It would have been a lot kinder and less screwing about to just gimmic the machine or hey, since you're already violating the rules, why not just change the ship's manifest so that they are not *going to/near this planet*?

I've seen several reviews point to this as some horrible break in the Doctor's personality because he did such a terrible thing to the guy by messing with his past... But I didn't read it that way. The Doctor recognized, very early on, that the guy was in psychological pain -- that he had a traumatic past with an abusive father. If you're a time-traveler, and you realize that what's potentially going to kill 4003 people is one guy being very, very hurt, why not just save the day by removing that hurt? Of course, it didn't go exactly as planned... But, you know, time travel's tricky.

There really are some interesting philosophic questions to ask about what the Doctor did to him -- do the Doctor's actions count as destroying the previous incarnation of the guy and replacing him with another? Is that a form of murder? -- but I have trouble really seeing the Doctor's actions as something to have qualms about.

Also, I really liked the fishies.
posted by meese at 1:14 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh! And, lest we forget, that trailer for the upcoming season is really frikken AWESOME.
posted by meese at 1:15 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


That being said: they explicitly violated their own rules regarding messing about with time - the Doctor had *zero* qualms about fucking with the old man's head to the point where his own *machine* didn't validate his login. I would have expected this from Davison or Tennat, but not Smith. It would have been a lot kinder and less screwing about to just gimmic the machine or hey, since you're already violating the rules, why not just change the ship's manifest so that they are not *going to/near this planet*?

I originally had a big huge response regarding personal timelines and paradoxes and such, but then realized that, no, if he can make Michael Gambon nice and and wipe out his reason for needing to make Michael Gambon nice, then he can just change the manifest, too.

I think when all is said and done on the Moffat years, Eleven is probably going to be known as the Doctor who played with time the most. Moffat just can't help himself in this regard. "Blink," River Song, "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang," Amy Pond...Moffat loves him some tangled time travel.

(and yes, Young&Good was expecting an octopus and was miffed there wasn't)

Wow, now I am, too!
posted by greenland at 1:19 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bit of a mixed bag, these. I very much enjoyed the Paul Cornell one
on Pertwee, and the first two have been okay, but it's been a bit iffy for the last two.

Also to be honest Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy don't exactly inspire fond memories in me, so who knows how that'll go.
posted by Artw at 1:35 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Colin Baker one only needs two words... and one those is 'Peri's'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:57 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've seen several reviews point to this as some horrible break in the Doctor's personality because he did such a terrible thing to the guy by messing with his past... But I didn't read it that way.

I'm actually fascinated by what the Doctor does here, because this is about the most complex this character has ever been. The Doctor basically sizes this horrible old man up and decides that what he really needs is for the Doctor to be his best friend in the world. If this were a Russell Davies script -- hell, if this were Moffat's script, and the Doctor were being played by a less nuanced actor, perhaps -- this would be a straight-up act of Christian charity (just in time for Christmas!), and that would be that; oh, that Doctor, loving his enemies that much. Never questioning why. Never saying, wow, that is actually so fucking manipulative it's kind of breaking my whole entire brain. At first, it's really sweet and magical, and to be honest I can't think of a sweeter thing than that girl waking up for Christmas morning over and over again...but then. When Sardik turns on him, and the Doctor actually acknowledges that he knows there's more to it, that Sardik's hurting for some reason and won't say why (and really: the Doctor doesn't know she's dying? of course he does!), and just the right word or act could make it all right...and he just goes cold and tells Sardik, yeah, okay, dude, if that's how you want it, whatevs, I'm out of here. Smith delivers this look, and it's like the guy is just dead to him. You know: I thought we were having fun. Well. So much for that. So much for you, person whose whole entire life I just changed when there were probably a thousand other things I could have done if all I wanted was to save the ship. I wanted to save you, too, but you aren't playing right, so welcome to growing old alone and heartbroken, population you. I'll be back in sixty years or so to get my real friends, who think I'm awesome.

I mean...yikes.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:11 PM on December 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Moffat loves him some tangled time travel

And I think this is key as to why the Smith series is so damn good - you have Matt Smith (which I was seriously cold on when he started) turning out to be just excellent in his role. But all that acting in the world does nothing without a proper writing, and I've seen more real (what?) time travel mucking-about in the last three years than the previous thirty combined.

And I'm already mourning the end of next season when Smith leaves.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 2:46 PM on December 30, 2010


"The time travel bit - going back to diddle with who a person was, and also the bit with the Welsh singer in a jar that lives only eight days - was extremely well done"

Except they forgot the bit where the Doctor could have said "hey, I've got a machine that travels in time and space - why don't I use it to take the pretty Welsh singer to a real doctor that can cure the dreaded 'very ill'?"
posted by Pinback at 3:27 PM on December 30, 2010


And I'm already mourning the end of next season when Smith leaves.

WHAT
posted by meese at 3:29 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, after that shocked response, I looked to find some information. It appears that you were referencing the old news story, explained here.

However, I don't buy it. First, for the reasons explained there. Second, because I kind of remember Matt Smith saying on Craig Ferguson how much he loved the role and hoped to stay for a very long time.

So, unless there's some even more horrible news story out there, I'm having to say that, no, we don't have reason to think the sky is falling. And you shouldn't try to give me a heart attack like that, Old'n'Busted!
posted by meese at 3:35 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


On the whole I liked the Christmas episode quite a bit. My only problem with it was this: I hope that someday, if I have to contract a terminal disease, I get the one that makes me look and feel completely healthy right up until the moment I die and (better yet) tells me exactly how many days I will live. That seems like the most humane and planning-friendly disease ever created. And dear old abusive dad accepted a terminally ill person as collateral for a loan? Really?

That being said, I really did enjoy the episode as a whole - flying fish and all. Only the Doctor could have a friend in mortal danger of dying within the next 58 minutes and still somehow find the time to nip off and get hitched to Marilyn Monroe.
posted by Lokheed at 5:37 PM on December 30, 2010


fearfulsymmetry : Pro-tip: if you wish to have any credibility whatosever when saying who you favourite doctor is, for god's sake, learn how to spell Peter Davison.

Um, you still misspelled "Tom Baker". ;)

/ And to counter the opening of TFA, I happened to like Romana (Ward's version)... Gotta agree about Tegan, though - So far, only Susan and Donna have annoyed me more.
posted by pla at 6:19 PM on December 30, 2010


Upcoming essays include Brooklyn burlesque queen/Time Lady Nasty Canasta (link NSFW) on 10.

*stares*

Their salute to 10 will be handled in a burlesque style?

....I'm going to go get my bunk ready.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 PM on December 30, 2010


Matt Smith isn't leaving. He's here for a long time.

I wasn't the hugest fan of this Christmas special. It was more Christmassy than most, and that equals more sappy. Muting the Christmas influence, like in Waters of Mars, is best. I'd like to see a Christmas special with a return of the yeti though. And I did really like the Christmas shark.

I'm not the biggest fan of all the new time travel hijinx. The bit with Scrooge-2 saying "I don't remember that happening... Or... do I?" was nonsensical and offputting. Doctor Who has always played fast and loose with continuity and rules of time travel, which means that it should leave the mechanics of time travel in the background and use it only to get the Doctor from adventure to adventure. Time travel shenanigans are going to become the new invincible sonic screwdriver or perception filter.
posted by painquale at 8:06 PM on December 30, 2010


Their salute to 10 will be handled in a burlesque style?

I think they chose her because she's already gone there, per this io9 post (very bottom pic).

Happy new year!
posted by greenland at 11:23 PM on December 30, 2010


Ah, Leela... wait, that's not the real Leela!
posted by Artw at 12:03 AM on December 31, 2010


The Christmas special owes a lot to Moffat's previous story Continuity Errors (summary here).

Me, I loved it. *Especially* the bit that's all "I don't remember that happening... Or... do I?".
posted by Artw at 12:06 AM on December 31, 2010


"I don't remember that happening... Or... do I?"

I could see how someone could find this kind of cloying or weird. But I didn't. I have had moments exactly like that, where I'm first perfectly sure that something never ever happened to me and then, click!, the memory suddenly dawns on me. The only difference is, Kazran has just been told this experience is thanks to the Doctor messing with the past, whereas mine are just caused by my faulty memory.


(...Or are they! Oooo!)
posted by meese at 9:50 AM on December 31, 2010


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