THE MIND PROBE

It's a Doctor Who blog.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

wiv da angles now

cw/ Contains a hot take. Also mentions Harvey Weinstein.

You may have seen this tweet going around.

So I prepared a quote retweet, started thinking about which stories I'd choose (and which ones I'd watched with Ali) when it occurred to me that The Caves of Androzani's gender politics feel like they're increasingly relevant.

It's been noted that only the female characters survive, and all the male characters die. Also worth noting, and what leapt out at me in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein news is that the Fifth Doctor's heroism is in sharp contrast to the fact that he's been kinda useless recently. It reminded me of male celebrities 'Now I have a daughter'-ing in the wake of sexual assault charges against friends or colleagues.

The Fifth Doctor is a nice man, probably. It doesn't really work out for him, though, and he's actually consistently sarcastic and rude to his friends and politer to strangers. Then he wonders why nothing goes his way. The Fifth Doctor is Scott Pilgrim.

Then, once hundreds of people have died and he's been left with Peri - who quickly describes him as a pain - he gets to finally be a hero. He saves her life, although as with many tales of heroism a huge part of the obstacle is caused by the hero themselves (see: every movie with Iron Man in it).

The impact of this on screen is that the heroism looks very much like HEROISM, the contrast and determination to get out of this situation marked. It's not an invasion from some stoned underwater lizards, just some backwater planet where some horrible people are fighting over a wonder drug that isn't really that impressive anyway. Everything that went before is contrasted here, but the angle that struck me just now is how this echoes being rewarded for failure.

You know that thing where white male directors get given huge blockbuster movies after making one moderately successful indie drama, tank a few franchises but then make an acclaimed mid-price movie that is 'my most personal project'? That, basically.

Back to the original tweet, I'm still going to put The Caves of Androzani in my list of five. After all, I am a straight white cis guy. It is kinda reflective of me.

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