Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why I Could Never Be the Doctor's Companion


"I'm the Doctor, do everything I tell you, don't ask stupid questions and don't wander off."~The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) in the Eleventh Hour.
I completely missed the 5th season of Dr. Who.  The changeover from David Tennant to Matt Smith was just too traumatic.  Here and there I caught scenes.  Amy Pond and the Doctor trying to assess why a child would cry alone, the fruity-colored Daleks, and the reappearance of the weeping angels.  But until the other day, I just was not willing to sit through the 5th season and find out what the Doctor was like now that David Tennant was gone.

The quote above is not the most famous quote by the Doctor, but it is one that has the most relevance for me.  I've traveled with all personalities, from the shy to the dynamic; both sexes, all sorts of emotional, psychological, and mental issues, etc.  Yet, every once in a while I run into people who have difficulty adventuring with me.  I call this the Doctor/Doctor confusion or the Lady Christina de Souza Syndrome.

Okay there are no real Time Lords, but there are adventurers and there are companions.  My difficulties lie when I meet an adventurer who mistakes my naturally cute, flirtatious, curious behavior as the personality traits of a good companion. They are looking to show off their knowledge to someone who can appreciate it; and while I can appreciate it, I never take anybody's word as gospel, which makes my co-adventurer feel less magical and less appreciated.  I am able to travel with these people if I make a huge alteration to my personality ( i.e. I abide to the three rules listed above).

So can these rules be broken? Yes, but not by the same companion in the same adventure.  I point this out because the Doctor has traveled with simultaneous companions (Rose and Mickey) and sometimes works with a past and present companion (Sarah Jane and Rose and Donna).  No companion has completely 100% ever listened to what the Doctor said, which has probably saved his life a time or two. Sarah Jane wandered off all the time, as did Donna and Martha. And stupid questions: Donna please--you were a ditz. The consequence for a companion who broke all three rules in a single adventure were the same.  Rose Tyler broke all three rules in Doomsday and got exiled to a parallel universe and Lady Christina de Souza did it in Planet of the Dead and the Doctor refused to let her in the TARDIS.

And perhaps what is needed is an evolution from these three rules.  There is one companion who follows these three rules without looking submissive. River Song is a time traveler who speaks as an equal with the Doctor and even harasses him by calling him "Sweetie."  She doesn't always do what the Doctor tells her, but she is sure to have long logical discussions with him before doing something else.  She doesn't ask dumb questions because she is well-educated and devises a grand logical structure built around solid observations; and then she doesn't ask every question, just the most pertinent ones. And finally, it seems that she doesn't wander off because she always has an entourage with her.  Now what she was like with the Doctor by himself remains to be seen, but my guess is that some flock or another always kept her company, which in the Doctor's mind equated to safety.

Then again maybe there is a reason River Song is her own time traveler.  The Doctor describers her as future companion who he keeps meeting out of order on the timeline.  That sounds like dimensionality delusion to me.  Maybe the brief moments they meet is the extent of their companionship.  He is basing faith in their compatibility on a journal she keeps of their adventures.  Maybe that journal describes a point in which she does break all three rules and maybe her time travel is her exile from him. If that's the case, I'll do as Winston Churchill suggests KBO=Keep Buggering On.  Now to look through my list of potential companions...

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