Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: Closing Time

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved.  I don't mean liked.  I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time.  It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode.  I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things.  I mean give a bona-fide negative review.  Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express).  Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required.  I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut.  What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying.  I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 12 of The Nerdist as Whore: Closing Time .  My 'translations' are in red.

There’s a lot to like about “Closing Time,” the twelfth episode of Series 6 of Doctor Who.

There's a lot to hate about Closing Time, the twelfth episode of Series 6 of Doctor Who.

There’s the return of Craig Owens (played by James Corden), a favorite from last series’ “The Lodger,” and his humorous interactions with Matt Smith’s Doctor.

There's the return of roly-poly Craig Owens (played by inexplicable Tony winner James Corden), a character no one liked from last series' The Lodger, and his faux-humorous interactions with Matt Smith's Idiot Doctor.   I say he's a favorite, but exactly who thinks he is a 'favorite' and why he's a 'favorite' at all is one of those unsolved mysteries.   

It also saw the return of the Cybermen, who, while not used particularly well in the new series, remain my favorite recurring villains.

It also saw the return of the Cybermen, who have been wildly abused by the new series.  Granted, the Classic Series at times could be awful to the Cybermen, but even such horrors as Revenge of the Cybermen can be forgiven when we get them into things like Earthshock.  However, the Revived series doesn't have something akin to Earthshock or Tomb of the Cybermen to counteract the bad Cybermen stories.  HAS there been a good Cybermen story in NuWho?   

And it began tying things back into “The Impossible Astronaut,” and answered a number of questions regarding the Doctor’s and River’s timelines.

And it dragged the nonsense of The Impossible Astronaut Parts 1 & 2 back into this because Moffat can't resist having everything tie into his own warped ideas of 'epic' rather than have stand-alone stories.

So many positive elements in the episode, and yet, as a whole, I found the episode strangely lacking.

I really thought Closing Time was (crap), and I do get paid enough to praise everything about Doctor Who, but I'm going to pull out my "I Get ONE Negative or Semi-Negative Review Per Season Card" on this one, which is OK since this is the next-to-last episode anyway.

I can’t quite explain why.

I'm not allowed to explain why.

It was enjoyable and entertaining, but after two such interesting and profound episodes as we’ve had the last couple of weeks, having an episode like this left me oddly unfulfilled.

It was enjoyable and entertaining if you have the IQ of Forrest Gump, but after going hog-wild for the last few episodes, I think people are becoming suspicious that I will praise anything on Doctor Who.  Therefore, to throw people off the scent, I'm going to say that this was "not as good" as the others so that people can continue mistaking my promotional material as unbiased reviews. 

It also had an incredibly hokey and sentimental ending that is sadly becoming the standard.

It also had an incredibly hokey and sentimental ending that is sadly becoming the standard.  Doctor Who stories can't be resolved by logic or even justifiable violence, but with such weapons as 'love' and 'magic'.  Surprisingly, sending love to our enemies haven't defeated ISIS or thrown the Chinese out of their occupation of Tibet, but maybe if Doctor Who made episodes like that, they would be defeated because, as we all know, one can "blow 'em up with love". 

Series 6 is furthering the Father-Son Agenda and I don’t understand why.

Series 6 has a weird obsession with Father-Son relationships, and I don't understand why.  Is Steven Moffat still asking for his father's approval and is psychologically working out his issues before us? 

The Doctor, knowing he’s reaching the end of his time, is going around visiting old friends for the last time. This sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?

Yes, yes it does.  One almost wants to ask the Doctor, "Do you want to go?" 

He ends up at the flat of Craig Owens, who is now happily living with Sophie and has a baby son named Alfie. Craig is trying to prove to everybody that he can cope with taking care of his son on his own for a weekend, but is actually pretty rubbish at it. Luckily the Doctor is there.

This of course, is true to life, because most if not all men are pretty incompetent at raising children.  The idea of a rational, responsible male parent is idiotic.  Men are only good to provide sperm, because they simply cannot raise children at all, either with a wife or by themselves.  If science could find a way to recreate sperm, men would pretty much be worthless.  Just think of all those single fathers who either by divorce or circumstances have to raise children alone.  Like roly-poly Craig Owens, they prove men cannot be good or competent parents. 

“You’ve redecorated… I don’t like it.” Funny line, even funnier if you know it’s a reference to the classic serials “The Three Doctors” and “The Five Doctors,” both said by the Second Doctor. In the former, he says it to the Third Doctor regarding the TARDIS, and in the latter he says it about UNIT headquarters.

Then again, would any NuWhovians get the joke?  One question I have is, of all the people in the universe the Doctor can visit, why on Earth or Gallifrey or Metebelis 3 would he visit that blubbering, blundering nitwit?   

The writer of “Closing Time,” Gareth Roberts, is a massive Who fan and, like Mark Gatiss before him, puts little references to the classic series for fans to squeal over. I didn’t squeal, but I may have made a slightly audible “ooh” sound. My name is Kyle; I’m a big huge nerd.

I am not beholden to Gareth Roberts as I am to Mark Gatiss or Steven Moffat, so I don't have to claim excitement with Roberts' stories as I do with Gatiss' or Moffat's.  My name is Kyle; I'm a big huge whore. 

While trying not to notice things, the Doctor notices strange power surges, and eventually tracks the source of them to a department store, where he promptly gets a job in order to investigate it.

I'm sure with no references, no previous experience, and a doubtful mental stability, the Doctor (who actually wears a name tag that reads "The Doctor" rather than say, "John Smith") could quickly get a job at a department store.  It's not like the economy is bad or anything like that, right, and anyone can get hired right off the street, right?

Turns out that the Cybermen are behind the power surges and are teleporting people to their ship to assimilate them. You know, standard Cybermen plot.

Turns out that the Cybermen are basically irrelevant to this plot.  You know, standard NuWho plot. 

This time, however, they’re aided by Cybermats, small Cyber critters who do the bidding of their lumbering masters. The Cybermats first appeared in the Second Doctor story “The Tomb of the Cybermen” all the way back in 1967, and were used up until “Revenge of the Cybermen” in 1975. My name is Kyle; I’m a big huge nerd.

Cybermats, which haven't been used in more than thirty years, are being reused as a nod to the Classic series.  My name is Kyle; I'm a big huge whore. 

Using this basic framework, Roberts creates a witty narrative where the Doctor again helps Craig with a relatively small personal problem, his insecurity as a father, and Craig helps him realize that he needs people and does, in fact, help people despite seemingly putting them in danger at the same time. Haven’t we already done that?

Using what appears to be a template, Roberts creates a barbarism where the Doctor is again shown to be an idiot, the guest star (for I won't call roly-poly Craig Owens is a Companion) is the most important character, and we are getting familiar notes wrapped up in a hideous package.

While overall I enjoy the direction the Moffat/Smith era is going, I’m tired of it always falling back to the Doctor not being torn about putting people in danger.

While overall I get paid to promote the direction the Moffat/Smith era is going, I'm tired of seeing the same thing over and over again.  This repetition is more than tiresome: it's uncreative. 

And facing his own mortality also has started to wear thin, though I do appreciate that the Eleventh Doctor is being much more graceful about his end than his predecessor was (even though we obviously know he’s not regenerating any time soon).

And drawing out this "I'm going to die by the shores of Gitche Gumee...I mean, Lake Silencio (which is Spanish for "Silence", by the way) has started to wear thin, I do appreciate that the Eleventh Doctor is not going to be crying like a pathetic baby like the Tenth Doctor did.  Boy did they drag THAT regeneration out like we've never seen a regeneration before.  I know a lot of teen/tween fangirls all knew the Doctor ONLY as David Tennant and couldn't bear the thought of anyone else being the Doctor (because in their world, Tennant was the Second Doctor), but even I, Steven Moffat's personal rimmer, got tired of that being treated as the End of an Era in Television History.  Even though we obviously know he's not really going to die and we're stuck with Matt Smith for at least another season.

What have we done to deserve this?

I think Smith strikes an excellent balance between being silly and morose, but just as a whole, I’d be happy if we moved into a period where the Doctor is just an adventurer again.

I think Smith strikes me as having made the Doctor into an embarrassing idiot who on occasion can make things dramatic, but just as a whole, I'd be happy if we moved beyond this faux-mourning and have the Doctor into the Cosmic Hobo again.  

Patrick Troughton, where art thou?  

Smith and Corden play off each other quite well, and while I do hope Craig doesn’t return all the time, it is nice to see that character again.
Smith and Corden can play idiots quite well, though whether how much is actually 'acting' I cannot say.  I hope both James Corden and roly-poly Craig Owens never come back to the show, because they both are terrible.  Mercifully, we'll never see either again.

Spoke WAY too soon...
The running joke about the two characters being gay was also pretty funny.
The running joke about the two characters being gay was also pretty homophobic.  That kind of humor went out in the 1970s, and here, with same-sex marriage being all the rage to where even straight people want to marry someone of the same sex, we have Doctor Who attempting to create comedy out of something that even John Inman would think was too camp and over-the-top. 
Matt Smith and James Corden's original costumes
for Closing Time.
Really, any time the Eleventh Doctor interacts with humans, it’s entertaining.
Really, any time the Eleventh Doctor interacts with humans, it's embarrassing.
I also like that the Doctor is, apparently, the most likeable person ever, as any time he meets people, they immediately find him endearing.
I'm sure the Brigadier found him so endearing every time they worked together.  Oh, the Brig...don't know who that is, do you?  Well, it's OK if you don't know who he is.  It's not like he's important to Doctor Who Canon or anything like that.  He's a pretty obscure figure in Doctor Who, not like ICONIC roly-poly Craig Owens.  Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is really only important insofar as he is the father of Kate Stewart (who constantly whines about NOT being just "the Brigadier's daughter" but constantly name-drops him at every chance she gets).  Apart from that, he serves no purpose on the show, both Revived and Classic.  Still, it's not like Doctor Who will ever literally resurrect one of the most iconic figures in Classic Who to turn him into a Cyberman or something stupid and insulting to Nicholas Courtney's legacy or anything like that...
And he speaks baby. Pretty funny, but I feel like that joke got a bit old toward the end of the episode.
Gareth Roberts' inspiration for
Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of All?
And he speaks baby.  Pretty awful, and I feel like the joke wasn't funny to begin with and was beaten to death towards the end of the episode.
I'd like to ask all Whovians this question.  Can you picture William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davision, Colin Baker, or Sylvester McCoy's Doctor 'talking baby'?  Let's stretch that to Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, or David Tennant. 
And he speaks baby.  And still you think this was good in any way, shape, or form, Kyle?
The woman who played Val, the older lady at the department store, is Lynda Baron, who sang the Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon for the First Doctor serial “The Gunfighters” and appeared as space pirate Capt. Wrack in the Fifth Doctor serial “Enlightenment.” My name is Kyle, etc.
The fact that the woman who sang that damn incessant ditty in perhaps the worst First Doctor story (and frankly, one of the Worst Doctor Who Stories of All Time) isn't exactly a selling point.  I should knock down a few points for that alone.
I also liked the brief appearance by Rory and Amy and the realization that Amy is now a model for “Petrichor” perfume, which is a reference to “The Doctor’s Wife” when petrichor, or the smell of rain, was one of the keys to opening the lock. Kyle = nerd.
I also disliked the brief appearance by Rory and Amy since they served no purpose, and the realization that Amy is now a model shows what a strong, independent woman is suppose to do in the Wonderful World of Moffat: Be Eye Candy. 

Really, everything in the episode was going along fine until the end of the Cyberman plot.

Really, EVERYTHING in the episode was going along fine until the end of the Cyberman plot?  The 'talking baby' rubbish?  The gay jokes?  The stereotype of the incompetent father incapable of taking care of his bastard child for a weekend?  The Doctor wearing a name tag that read "The Doctor" and the Doctor finding working in a shop fascinating (because he apparently had never been in a shop before and was unaware of how they worked despite finding Rose Tyler IN A DAMN SHOP)?  Really, you thought everything in the episode was going along fine until the end? 

Craig comes to the Doctor’s rescue in the Cybership, buried beneath the mall.

And to show just how intelligent roly-poly Craig Owens is, he takes his baby along into what he knows is danger because...well, the resolution is simply too horrific to believe.

They decide to make him the Cyber Controller, given his obvious aptitude, and begin the process of converting him into a Cyberman.

And now we see why Cybermen will never conquer the Earth: because, given his obvious aptitude (or ineptitude), they decide to make roly-poly Craig Owens the Cyber Controller.  Seriously, the man is a blithering, blundering, blubbering idiot who makes the Eleventh Doctor look like the Third Doctor.  WHY WOULD THE CYBERMEN PICK ROLY-POLY CRAIG OWENS  AS THEIR LEADER?!

Then, he hears Alfie crying from inside the mall, and his love for his son brings him back from the brink of Cyberdom and his influx of emotion causes the other Cybermen’s heads to explode and the ship to blow up as well. Hokum City.

For those of you who thought defeating Cybermen with GOLD was a stupid idea...

"I blew 'em up with love". 

That is a line that will live in infamy.  I know that the whole episode probably caused people who weren't in the same league as those with 'analytical critic's minds' to explode...probably with fury that they sat through this (uber-crap).  Defeating the Cybermen with "love".

Ah, so.  It's not even worth mocking the stupidity of it all: Closing Time, or Kyle Anderson's remarkably enthusiastic review of it.  Some things should really just make you sad. 

Really, even I am speechless at the sheer gasp-inducing, groan-inducing nature of "I blew 'em up with love".

First of all, that’s almost exactly the same ending as “The Lodger,” where Craig’s emotions save the day.

First of all, that's almost exactly the same ending as The Lodger, where Craig's emotions save the day.  In other words, Gareth Roberts copied...himself!

Second, are we to believe that every other person who became a Cybermen could have staved off conversion by just hearing the sound of their child crying?

Second, are we to believe that every other person who became a Cyberman could have staved off conversion by just hearing the sound of their child crying?  Imagine how quickly The Invasion could have ended if the Second Doctor had thought of that rather than go through all the machinations against Tobias Vaughn and the International Electromatics Corporation.  Poor Adric could be alive today if the Fifth Doctor had started playing The Teletubbies during Earthshock

Third, why would the Cybermen’s heads all explode just because he had emotions? Cybermen aren’t hive-minds. Even though they say things like “assimilate,” they aren’t the Borg.

Third, why would the Cybermen's heads all explode just because he had emotions?  In fairness though, I think the Borg are, well, close to the concept of Cybermen, so I'm not going to split hairs.  Besides, the Cybermen will do what they are told to do by Moffat because he knows more about Cybermen and Daleks and all things Doctor Who than those who bothered watching anything pre-Rose.   Therefore, if he declares the Cybermen are now hive-minds, they are, until he changes his mind the next time we see Cybermen, where his new declarations will become Canon and trump what was old Canon. 

Fourth, why would the Cybermen exploding cause the entire Cybership to explode also?

Fourth, why would I really care about logic when the whole point of Doctor Who is to make me cry, and I'm sure at least ONE person cried when roly-poly Craig Owens saved the day thanks to his damn crying illegitimate child. 

Fifth, the explosion of a ship buried deep beneath the Earth would surely affect the mall sitting on top of it. Even if you have the Doctor say at the end “Oh, the bedrock is fine,” that doesn’t mean it should be.

Fifth, the explosion of a ship buried deep beneath the Earth would surely affect the mall sitting on top of it.  Having the Doctor just explain it away with some magic words doesn't mean it should be so.  However, again, since when do I care about logic on Doctor Who?  It's not suppose to make sense...IT'S BRITISH!

Really, it was just dumb.

Really, the whole thing was just dumb.

There’s a strange number of father-son relationships this series. First there was Henry and Toby Avery in “The Curse of the Black Spot,” then there was Jimmy and his son in the hologram in “The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People,” then Alex and George in “Night Terrors,” and now Craig and Alfie in “Closing Time.” In all cases, they focus on the fathers being distant or somehow removed from their sons, either physically or emotionally, and it is the reconciliation that is the denouement of the stories. I do not understand why so much emphasis is being put on this theme, especially considering one would assume they’d try to emphasize mother-daughter relationships to tie into the altogether unexplored Amy and Melody arc. It doth make no sense. I can’t imagine there’s to be some big reveal in the next episode that will make sense of all of it.


Speaking of the very end, which I wasn’t, things now start to make sense. The Doctor gets the blue paper and envelopes as well as the Stetson from Craig and we now know that “Closing Time” takes place the day before the very beginning of “The Impossible Astronaut.”

Well, we have to tie this piece of crap to everything that's come before, because under Moffat's Reign of Terror we have to make the whole season one large story to please The Moff's delusional sense of grandeur and epic.

This means that this Doctor, the Doctor in the story, is 200 years older than the Doctor from the last few weeks. Perhaps. We don’t actually know when the Doctor’s lost years began.

Like Jesus' Lost Years.

It may well have occurred some other time. We also see Madame Kovarian and the Silents recapture River Song, now a doctor herself, and put her into the astronaut suit and put her in Lake Silencio. I really was hoping it would be more complicated than simply “It was River,” but it seems I was mistaken.

I think we were ALL hoping even someone as bad at plotting as Steven Moffat could have come up with something more complicated than simply "It was River", but it seems we were ALL mistaken.

"1) If the little girl we saw in the suit and regenerating is River, why wouldn’t River have remembered it while she was investigating it? Unless she’s just “spoilers”-ing again.
2) I don’t think River is the one in the space suit that kills the Doctor in “The Impossible Astronaut,” BECAUSE grown-up River looks genuinely shocked and sad when the Doctor dies. However, this could just be her lying again, or it could be the Silence making her forget. I just think it’s someone else entirely we haven’t met yet."

That was from Kyle's review for A Good Man Goes to War. He thought it wouldn't be River Song, but now he meekly takes it because either by this point he's tired of trying to defend The Moff or simply cannot reconcile himself to the fact he's a tool.     

It’s also fairly clear now that the eye patches are used to allow people to remember the Silents all the time. So if we solve the River Song conundrum and find out how and why the Doctor allowed himself to die, then we still need to figure out why the TARDIS exploded in “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang.” Come on, Moffat; give us an answer!

Oh, Please!  Look, Kyle, let me spell it out for you in terms so simple even your analytical critic's mind can grasp the concept.

You. Will. Never. Get. An. Explanation. To. Why. The. TARDIS. Exploded. 

You will never get an explanation to why the TARDIS exploded because no explanation is plausible.  Note I didn't say 'possible', I said 'plausible'.  The Exploding TARDIS (from which River Song was conceived by the Power of the Holy TARDIS) was there to provide a literal explosive ending, and Steven Moffat would sooner you forget the Gordian Knot he's created than even attempt to offer a plausible explanation, let alone a rational one. 

By this time I've pretty much forgotten about the Exploding TARDIS and really don't care.  I'm genuinely surprised though, that you care at all about something that happened last season given how you generally don't care one bit about how Doctor Who, on many levels, doesn't make sense. 

All in all, “Closing Time” had a lot going for it, but was unfortunately less than the sum of its parts. Lots to like, but I wasn’t particularly moved or thrilled by it.

Lots to like, but even I can't dress this turkey up as being any good...and I thought Curse of the Black Spot was great!  What was the name of this crappy episode again?  Oh right, Closing TIME (keeping the Doctor Who "Curse of 'Time'" tradition alive and going... 

Next week’s episode, the series finale, “The Wedding of River Song,” looks crazy-go-nuts. Please enjoy the prequel and the trailer for it.

What the hell is Churchill doing there!?!?!? Tick tock goes the clock, bitches!

To quote Her Majesty Queen Latifah, "I ain't a bitch or a ho!"

Doctor Who, Are You Free?

-Kanderson is named Kyle and is a big huge nerd who loves to be followed on TWITTER

Kanderson is named Kyle and is a big huge whore who loves metaphorically rimming Steven Moffat, Chris Hardwick, Mark Gatiss, and anyone who pays him enough to shill their products by pretending to have an analytical critic's mind.

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