Sunday, January 17, 2016

Aragon vs. Anderson: The Time of The Doctor

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 30 of The Nerdist as Whore: The Time of The Doctor. My 'translations' are in red.

That’s that, then, is it? The Doctor is gone, long live the Doctor. I’m sure “The Time of the Doctor” isn’t what most people thought it would be,

Most people thinking and hoping it be...good.

and it might leave a percentage of fandom cold,

I put that percentage at 90-95%, or at least that percentage of fandom that has functioning brain cells and isn't satisfied with tripe (which would certainly exclude Kyle Anderson).

but from where I’m sitting, next to my mom’s Christmas tree after a festive and joyful day, I can’t think of a better way for the Eleventh Doctor to end his tenure that began a week shy of four years ago when a 20-something goofball checked in to see if he had all his appendages, if he was a girl, and if he was ginger.

Oh, sorry.  For a moment I thought Anderson was talking about himself, but I forget…he’s in his 30s.

There were lots of loose ends for writer Steven Moffat to tie up, but somehow he did it.

Steven Moffat tied up loose ends...into a Gordian knot that no amount of timey-wimey can unravel. 
Again, whether or (not) you think he did a good job of it is another matter.

Kyle Anderson knows it was a terrible job and a terrible episode and something that will be looked on in horror and sadness, but Kyle Anderson isn't about to tell you that.  In the end though, anyone else's opinion is irrelevant if that opinion is a negative one.  The (not) is added because it was not part of the original review, but I figure that's what he meant.

Love how Anderson basically says, "Screw you" to all those who can point out why there IS an island called "Easter" and thus making The Doctor's response to why "a town is called Christmas" more idiotic.  Then again, this must have been one of those "loose ends" so well-tied by "The Moff".  

I’ll say this, though: it had no potions or physics-defying not-deaths. Matt Smith got to be the hero he always was and go out with class.


As I said before, Moffat had a lot to do, what with us still not knowing how the Doctor ended up on Trenzalore, why the first question was the first question, why “silence will fall,” and how he could get around those pesky regenerations. It’s as though Moff creates problems just so he has to solve them, like he has a split personality when he writes.

Moffat is a psycho.  It's as thought Moff creates problems that he cannot solve logically, so he's forced to make up outlandish resolutions that make no sense, but since when has Anderson ever cared about logic on Doctor Who?  This is the same man who said that the lack of a plot was "not necessarily a bad thing".  Is it me, or did we really ever get an answer about how the Doctor ended up on Trenzalore (or how he and Clara left his own tomb) or why the first question was THE FIRST QUESTION, or why Silence Will Fall? 

Again, never trust a critic who refers to his subject by a cutesy nickname.

Granted, a lot of the problems stemmed from Series 6, which is easily my least favorite, and the least focused.

Anderson keeps insisting that Series 6 is his 'least favorite', yet he gave at least 11 out of the 13 episodes positive reviews to that same series.  You even go on to say that "despite all the griping I just did, I actually quite enjoyed the episode" (Series 6's Let's Kill Hitler).  Oh sure, you were enraged at The Wedding of River Song, but you do go on to say that "I still love the series, I still love the era, and I even generally like this episode (though a second viewing was required).  Hell, I still really like Steven Moffat’s work as a whole. He’s incredibly innovative from a storytelling standpoint and continues to make compelling, thought-provoking television.  I’m glad he’s showrunning my favorite show". Few people talk out of both sides of their mouths as much as you do. 

Honestly, how do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you say "Series 6 is easily my least favorite and least focused" and also say "I even generally like (11 out of 13 episodes) from Series 6"?

It may seem like a hand wave the way things ended up, but it’s actually very clever (if easy), and it cleans the slate rather nicely for the next fellow. More on that later.

It was a hand wave...of dismissing so much of Doctor Who's history, continuity (both Classic AND revived), and if by 'clever' you mean 'thoroughly nonsensical and insulting to the remaining members of the audience who actually THINK about things rather than cry incessantly whenever an actor is replaced, then yes, perhaps it is 'very clever'.  I'll give you this: it WAS easy. 

So, “The Time of the Doctor” is all about inevitability, fate if you will. We know, even if the characters don’t, that Smith is leaving the show and Peter Capaldi is taking over, but the whole of the series has been about changing the future.

I'd say the whole of the series has been about changing the past.

If “The Day of the Doctor” taught us nothing, it’s that not only can time be rewritten, but popular fan wisdom as well.

If "The Day of the Doctor" taught us anything, it's that only can time be rewritten, but Canon (can be) as well.  If I'd had retweeted that, old Kyle would have been enraged and blocked me.  Oh wait, he HAS!  So much for that idea that Kyle's an open-minded liberal tolerant of all views.

If you don’t like the music, change the station; If you don’t like the future, make a new one.

Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey strikes again!

How does the Doctor reconcile not wanting to die, but knowing he must? The truth? He doesn’t, but that’s where friends come in, yet again.


How does Moffat reconcile the tangled mess he created by making the Eleventh Doctor the Thirteenth Doctor by fiat? The truth?  He doesn't, but that where sycophants and lackeys come in, yet again.

After being tricked into going to Trenzalore by the Church of the Papal Mainframe,

The splinter group of The Church of the Poisoned Mind...

the Doctor finds in the perpetually truthful town of Christmas the crack in the fabric of the universe, the very same crack he faced before and made “The Big Bang” happen, only this time it’s a question being asked by a long-forgotten, and long-destroyed, world: Gallifrey.

Wonder what that question is.  And WHY is there a town called Christmas?

They need to know the Doctor is who he says he is,

because there is no other way to identify the Last Gallifreyan and apparently an imposter can regenerate, though in fairness, if we go by The Impossible Astronaut a robot CAN regenerate.

and so ask the question to which the Doctor cannot lie in order to come back into this reality.

However, for him to bring the Time Lords back will mean the re-igniting of the Time War, with the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Weeping Angels, and even the Terileptils (who get name-checked) all waiting to make it happen. The Doctor knows he can’t abandon these people, and the Papal Mainframe instigate silence to make sure he doesn’t speak the name.

Would that they have instigated silence on the whole series.

He sends Clara back to her home in the TARDIS and spends the next 300 years foiling every plot and attempt to attack the good people of Christmas, Trenzalore.

How BORING!  300 years on THAT planet.  Talk about a living death! 

It’s this action that is the perfect farewell to the Eleventh Doctor.

He’s the Doctor, more than any other, who has run away and not wanted to be tied to any one place or time. Remember how bent out of shape he got in “The Power of Three” after just a couple of days?

What I DO remember about The Power of Three is that it was the first episode of an astounding 13 positive Doctor Who reviews in a far.  Now, I'd like to ask this Doctor Who expert, who knows all things Whovian, didn't the Third Doctor repeatedly try to escape his enforced exile on Earth yet managed to function without turning into a tottering old nutjob who does goofy dances and Punch-and-Judy shows?  HE wasn't particularly fond of being tied to any one place or time either, but then that's Classic Who, of which neither you or the average NuWhovian really give a damn about.     

So here is he, the Doctor who wouldn’t stay still, who lived many hundreds of years more than we’ve ever seen onscreen, compelled to stay put to save each and every life he can. He isn’t pissed off that he has so much more to do in this form; this is his last form,

REALLY?  I thought the Doctor could regenerate twelve times for a total of thirteen incarnations, yet isn't he only the twelfth version?  Oh, now let's see.  There's the "War" Doctor who both COUNTS and DOESN'T count, reasoning being since HE didn't call himself "The Doctor", he can skip the whole numerical order business.  Then The Formerly Tenth Doctor managed to regenerate...into himself, a neat trick the Doctor or any other Time Lord couldn't do until Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat decided they both knew better, thus making himself the Tenth AND Eleventh, or is it Eleventh AND Twelfth Doctor? 

I suppose it DOES take an 'analytical critic' to try and make sense of the disorder Moffat created.

and he’s going to save every single person he possibly can, even if that’s only in one place. He’s always had a scheme or two, but this time it’s just him standing in between innocents and death. Finally, it’s Clara, who finds her way back to him for a third time,

Finally, it's Clara, who clearly can't take a hint about how nobody wants her around...

who is able to save him by beseeching the Time Lords from through the crack.

who is able to save him by essentially begging the Time Lords, "Please, please, pretty please with a cherry on top?"

And it works, because who else can eventually free them?

There’s tons of other stuff worth mentioning here before I get to the final scene, so here we go: I love that the Doctor makes friends with a Cyberman’s head. Adorable.

I know when I watch Doctor Who, 'adorable' is the quality I'm looking for.

I love how well Moffat writes Clara,

and how well Jenna Coleman plays her.

She’s the most compelling companion in ages.

Clara is the most erotically gratifying Companion in ages.

I love how everybody in Christmas draws pictures of their hero and celebrates him.

Who needs to celebrate that Jewish kid on Christmas?  It’s not like Jesus Christ has anything to do with Christmas…

I love how they figured out a way around Matt having shaved his head. Genius.

Bloody HELL, Anderson!  The Doctor said he shaved his head because he was bored.  BORED!  How in the name of all that is good and pure does THAT constitute 'genius' on ANY level?  It's obvious that Anderson and I have widely differing views on what constitutes 'genius'.

I didn’t much care for the nudity joke, especially because it didn’t seem to matter beyond the initial joke, but it didn’t spoil things too much. I loved the puppet show with the Monoid puppet. I loved seeing old, senile Eleven, muttering to himself.

How that was different from young, senile Eleven, muttering to himself, Anderson does not say.

And most of all, I loved seeing Matt Smith being Matt Smith.

And most of all, I loved seeing Matt Smith make the Doctor into a total buffoon. 

Now, for the final scene. It was perhaps the most important thing to me that “The Time of the Doctor” did two things: 1) make sense on its own terms without being too complicated (which it did about 80%), and 2) to allow the Eleventh Doctor to go out with dignity and both appreciate the sadness of leaving without casting a pall over the new. The second passed with flying colors.

What about the first thing, Kyle?  What about the first? Oh, 80% of the time.  Methinks someone doth failed math…Now, for the final scene.  It was perhaps the most important thing to me that "The Time of the Doctor" do two things: make sense on its own terms with being nonsensical (which it failed to do) and to allow the Eleventh...or Twelfth...or Thirteenth...Doctor to go out with dignity and both appreciate the sadness of leaving without casting a pall over the new.  As much as I detested the Smith Era of Doctor Who, even he deserved better than the horror he was put through (and that he put us through). 

Smith returned to his young self in order to say goodbye to Clara,

because...the old-age makeup Smith was given was not just thoroughly appalling, but hilarious too.  That and the fact that NuWho fans cannot bother to think about how this up-to-now impossible ability to degenerate to your younger self no other Doctor could do, but oh, why bother...Moffat pays Anderson's bills and he'll call anything "The Moff" comes up with brilliant, logic be damned.

but he also sees the first face his face saw with a surprise appearance by Karen Gillan.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but isn't THIS technically the first face his face saw?

It was a bit hokum, but still really nice.

I cried.

Then, the Eleventh Doctor says his final words, and they aren’t “I don’t want to go;” they’re his (and Smith’s and Moffat’s) way of saying that remembering THIS Doctor shouldn’t mean casting aspersions on any other Doctor and that each incarnation is as important as the last or the next.

I really don't remember The Eleventh...Twelfth...Thirteenth...X...Doctor's final words, just that he removed that damn bow tie and all these morons were in wails of tears about seeing (if they started watching with Rose) their THIRD regeneration.  You'd think that by now, NuWhovians would not be brought to fits of unbridled anguish by a casting change.  The final words, I imagine, were to try to convince NuWhovians, long used to pretty, young, hot guys like David Tennant and Matt Smith (though who exactly has erotic dreams starring Chinny-Chin-Chin I can't imagine), will have to make due with someone old enough to be their grandfather.

It was classy, exactly as classy as the Eleventh Doctor (but the Thirteenth Form) always was.

It was classy, exactly as classy as the Eleventh Doctor (but the Thirteenth Form) always was.

It was classy, exactly as classy as the Eleventh Doctor (but the Thirteenth Form) always was.  Oh, SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY, does he ACTUALLY BELIEVE THIS?!

It was classy, exactly as classy as the Eleventh Doctor (but the Thirteenth Form) always was.  Talk amongst yourselves, I need a few minutes...

It was classy, exactly as classy as the Eleventh Doctor (but the Thirteenth Form) always was.  I'm sorry, I can't breathe...

It was classy, exactly as classy as the Eleventh Doctor (but the Thirteenth Form) always was. 

World leaders react to Kyle Anderson's thoughts on the 'classy' nature of the Eleventh Doctor (and his attempts to force logic on the irrational with the "Eleventh Doctor but Thirteenth Form" ass-kissing/covering)...

It was classy, exactly as classy as the Eleventh Doctor (but the Thirteenth Form) always was.  The Arab World reacts to Kyle Anderson's 'analytical criticism'...

Oh, sure.  Gaddafi was bonkers, but somehow his ramblings have more intellectual heft than just about anything in Anderson's typically ebullient Doctor Who propaganda he pretends is dispassionate analysis.  They also have a better beat.

I don’t know about you all, but the Eleventh Doctor


was MY Doctor, and I will of course always remember the time when the Doctor was he.

They don't count.
Now, I'm a bit perplexed by that statement.  Given he's watched ALL Classic Doctor Whos, and given he probably started in the 1980s, wouldn't it be more logical to say that Davison, Colin Baker, or Sylvester McCoy were HIS Doctor?  He can say Smith is his favorite Doctor (and I can see why, given both were, in the words of a Doctor Who Magazine reader, "so dimwitted"), but HIS Doctor, like the first Doctor he encountered...  

BUT! We get our first, very fleeting glimpse of the next Doctor, Peter Capaldi, who is just as intense and strange as we probably expected.

BUT! We get our first, very fleeting glimpse of the next Doctor (because by this point no one really knows what version he is), Peter Capaldi, who is just as old and unattractive as we feared.

He knows the color of his kidneys and doesn’t know how to fly the TARDIS, so we’re definitely going to have a lot to get used to,

He knows the color of his kidneys (for which we feel embarrassed that the Academy Award-winner has to spout off such dreadful dialogue in his very first moments as this formerly-iconic character), so we're definitely going to have a lot to be angered and saddened over.

but we have plenty of time to make peace with our goodbyes to Matt Smith before we officially say hello to Peter Capaldi.

but we have plenty of time to get over the fact that Matt Smith is on his way to ruin another time-travelling franchise before we start feeling truly sorry for Peter Capaldi.

Thanks for everything, Mr. Smith. You were splendid.

THANK HEAVENS YOU ARE FINALLY GONE, MR. SMITH.  YOU WERE HIDEOUS. Oh, if only just about EVERY Matt Smith Doctor Who episode became 'Lost Episodes'... 

Until our paths cross again in the 60th Anniversary Special in 2023, Geronimo!

Somehow, I don't see the show lasting to the 55th Anniversary Special, let along long enough for Smith to actually make things more horrendous by returning to Doctor Who (though to be fair, he did he best to make Whovians cringe in disgust). 

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

I'm more shocked that Anderson didn't say he cried, which is what Doctor Who uses to measure the quality of an episode.  I cry quite a bit while watching Doctor Who too: sometimes in laughter, sometimes in fury, sometimes in utter disgust, and every so often, in sadness that a once-great show has reduced itself to this sorry condition, and that lackeys like Anderson will keep making Pravda look like the Daily Planet.

Was it me, or did he not mention the River Song-like Tasha Lem, or how regeneration now is so big it can wipe out a Dalek fleet (which makes me wonder why the Time Lords didn't just harness all that energy to destroy the Daleks whenever a whole group of them were killed in the Time War?  Oh, well, Kyle Anderson's raison d'etre isn't to really analyze a Doctor Who episode for any flaws.  It's to promote whatever crap Moffat produces. 

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