I have this really weird complicated relationship with both Doctor Who and Sherlock
It’s called “Part of me still loves you deeply, but the other part of me can’t even get excited anymore because Moffat”
Why? Because he wrote…
After the Series 7 Minisode "Clara and the TARDIS" leaked online, I received a lot of very impassioned submissions questioning Clara’s description of Amy:
Dear God that woman is made of legs! That’s the most legs on any living human!
To those who sent me…
This is not just Moffat though. It’s a pervasive element of pretty much all acting. If you’re not pretty, you don’t get cast. You definitely don’t get leading roles. Even in freaking high school drama, the pretty girls always got the leads. I was pretty, but in high school I was heavier for my size, so I got the secondary leads, and the tall slender girls got the leads. So yeah, it totally sucks that Moffat did this with Karen/Amy, but let’s not demonize him completely, because this is a product of the industry, not just Moffat-being-evil.
To a certain extent, that’s true. Men can look like pretty much anything on TV, but women pretty much always have to be stunningly pretty. However, we have to look at this within the context of Doctor Who.
Before Moffat, the companions wore a greater variety of outfits. Casual, frumpy, fun, stunning, period pieces, you name it. Since Moffat took over, there’s been less casual and frumpy clothing, and more fashionable and trendy clothing. If it was just an upgrade in fashion in isolation I wouldn’t care. Some women just like to dress like that constantly, and Karen Gillan certainly had influence on her own fashion choices.
And Karen Gillan is not the first conventionally attractive woman to play a companion, in fact, the overwhelming majority have been conventionally attractive. And while I’d like greater diversity in the companions, Moffat’s certainly not responsible for the entire trend of companions over fifty years (though, like his refusal to consider a more diverse Doctor, he can certainly be criticized for not being more willing to cast an actress who isn’t conventionally pretty, and can be especially criticized for objectifying Karen the way he did).
But it’s not that Karen is pretty and dresses trendier. That’s not the problem. The problem is that almost every opportunity is taken in the production of an episode to linger on Karen’s body or to comment on how sexy she is. She’s objectified and subjected to a degree of male gaze that pretty much outstrips anything any other companion has been subjected too.
All of the companions have been gorgeous women. Even Donna, who is closer to the everywoman, is still very conventionally attractive. Each was subjected to some level of male gaze, with lingering shots and comments on their sexuality. But none of them were objectified and reduced to their sexuality to the degree Amy was. That’s not just prevailing media trends. That was a deliberate decision by those currently running the show.
I think the problem with this whole argument is everybody says: ‘a woman’. … You don’t ever cast ‘a man’ as the Doctor. You cast a particular man. One day, I am reasonably confident, somebody in this role, whether it is me or someone else, will say not: “Let’s cast ‘a woman’ “, they’ll say: “That person! That’s the one that could be the Doctor.” And that’s what we did. I think most … the vast majority of men will be terrible at playing the Doctor. There are only a few who would be great at it. So you are not casting ‘a man’. You are not casting a gender. You’re not casting anything. You are just casting someone that you think, will set that role on fire. And I think for now that is Peter. I thought it was Matt before. I think someday you’re gonna say *points* … ‘her’. That should be the Doctor. But it’s not about the gender thing. It is about the person who can inhabit that role. The only reason you can have, to cast someone in a role … full stop … the only reason is because you think they will be brilliant. There can’t be any other player on the board. That’s all there can be.
Steven Moffat on: "Why isn’t the Doctor a woman this time?" (x)
I have to be honest here: when I first read through this quote, all I could think about was that he is using the exact same language that many white Americans have used for decades to criticize affirmative action policies. They always say, “Why can’t we not look at race/sex/whatever and just hire the best person for the job?” Which, if you’re not a a white male, is so clearly code for, “When presented with two otherwise equally qualified candidates for a position, the default should be to pick the white male one. That’s how it’s always been, and it’s unfair to change the rules now, because I deserve to have the same advantage all of my ancestors had.”
I don’t know if the rhetoric is the same in the UK, but when Moffat uses those particular words to explain why he hasn’t cast a woman as the Doctor, to my American ears it sounds like the same argument. It’s hard for me to dissociate his words from that cultural context, and I imagine I’m not alone in that.
The thing that gets me about this is that he’s acknowledging that you should cast a person for traits and not their gender, and all I’m thinking is, so you think you can’t find a woman with those traits? Because what, all women are a certain way? He didn’t even look for anyone else but Peter Capaldi. And then he goes, “Well, he was the best one for the role, what can you do?” Which is the biggest catch-22. Moffat didn’t try to cast a woman because he doesn’t try to cast people; he casts people who match the archetype he’s decided on for the role.
I remember when I was reading that story as a kid, Sherlock goes on and on about The Woman, the only one who ever beat him, and you’re thinking, he’s had better villains than this. And then you click: he fancies her, doesn’t he? That’s what it’s about.
- Steven Moffat on A Scandal in Bohemia.
That quote from Moffat that I just reblogged made me think of something about the way most adaptations have handled Irene Adler and Moriarty.
In the original stories, Adler wasn’t a plot device, she was the adversary in the mystery that matched wits with Holmes, outsmarted him, and that he respects greatly at the end. While she’s still a character in the story, she doesn’t exist for Holmes, and she comes up with a solution to the dilemma that’s actually superior to his.
But Moriarty existed purely as a device for Arthur Conan Doyle to get rid of Holmes. He had to create a reason for Holmes to be willing to sacrifice himself, so he created Moriarty who was given this big criminal past and was said to be super smart. The story itself really didn’t show him being particularly smart, and most of what sets him up is just told to us. At the end he ends up being tossed off a cliff by Holmes after Holmes has ruined his empire. He’s completely a plot device, his entire raison d’etre in the story is focused around Holmes, and to get ACD from point A to point B which is having Holmes die a hero’s death that hopefully the fans would accept. He wasn’t Lex Luthor, he was Doomsday.
Adler didn’t exist as a plot device, she didn’t revolve around Holmes, and she got what she wanted at the end. Moriarty existed just to facilitate Doyle getting rid of Holmes, everything he does in that story revolves around Holmes, and Holmes gets what HE wants at the end (even without Holmes coming back to life, it had already been established Holmes was prepared to die to get rid of Moriarty).
Yet in almost every adaptation, it’s the opposite. Adler is the plot device, she’s a romantic interest, she’s a hostage, she’s the fake out, she’s the bait, etc… and Moriarty is the active agent who is smarter than Holmes and outwits him (at least until he’s defeated) and that Holmes respects as an equal. Adler tends to exist for Holmes, revolves around Holmes, and Moriarty is the greater character with his own story.
The Moffat quote makes me wonder if many boys (him included) grew up reading A Scandal in Bohemia, rolling their eyes and going “stupid chick, he probably let her go just because he likes her, why else would he think she’s so great?” while reading the much less fleshed out Moriarty who Holmes defeats and going “WOW WHAT A COOL BRILLIANT DUDE! HE’S SO SMART AND AWESOME. WHAT A WORTHY FOE.” Even though he’s not shown as being so, he’s just said to be so, but he’s a man and he captured the imaginations of boys reading the story, while she’s a woman and they fit her into a slot for women characters (and how women are seen in relation to men in society) and dismissed why she had won such profound respect from Holmes. So when they grew up and wrote the adaptations that now shape how people see these characters, their biases changed the way the characters were represented, and also the way people now see them.
Okay so imagine you ask somebody to tell you a riddle.
They turn to you and they say “the south pole.”
You say “what?”
They just repeat “the south pole!”
So you press them for some sort of explanation. They urge you to figure it out on your own, they say it’ll be better that way. They give you an hour to figure it out.
So you set to trying to figure it out, but every five minutes, they say something like “you still haven’t gotten it? It’s going to be great when you do!” or “but what do I mean by that?” or “don’t forget: the south pole!”
And then, the hour’s up, and you still have no idea what they mean.
"Okay, are you ready for this?" They ask you. You say yes, and they say:
"Where can I build a house with four walls, all facing north?"
And of course, you reply “the south pole.”
Now, I imagine you’re pretty unsatisfied. You feel like, if you had been given the riddle to begin with, you would have had a lot of fun trying to figure it out
But instead, you were given the answer at the beginning, and it just feels like your friend just spent a full hour enjoying watching you squirm while you tried to figure out what the riddle was
And that’s the problem I have with how Steven Moffat constructs his seasons of Doctor Who
lucy liu for twelve tbh
I can see her scaring the shit out of him, though.
“So, Lucy, can we have more of an up-the-leg sho—”
“Lucy, honey, we’ve got the new script, and we want a male companion as a lov—”
“That’s overdone, Steven.”
“In an interesting twist, we can have the companion save the Doct—”
“I’m sorry, but can I remind you who is the Doctor and who isn’t here?”
Steven Moffat : Sherlock Series 3 More Emotional
like season 1 and 2 weren’t emotional Steven? …duhhhh
for the love of god! I didnt think it could get any more emotional!
“It’s about him coming to terms with the fact that he can do a better job if he has a little bit of morality, feeling and emotion and to be able to play with those things without necessarily being taken over by them.” - BC about Sherlock in Series 3 (x)
Spoilers for the last scene of Season Three:
INTERIOR, church, decorated for a small wedding ceremony.
Priest: Do you, John Hamish Watson, take this woman, Mary Morstan, to be your lawfully-wedded wife?
John: I d-
Doors bang open at the back. Everyone gasps and turns to see what is happening.
Sherlock: John! Please wait! There is something you must know!
John: Sherlock, what the-
ROLL END CREDITS AND THEME MUSIC
BASK IN THEIR ANGUISH FOR ANOTHER 18 MONTHS
Reblogging for the tags oh my moffat.