Now, as regular readers of this blog may be aware, I’m a bit of a Doctor Who fan. Who wouldn’t be? Guy travels through time and space fighting monsters. What’s not to like?
But the other day, a disturbing thought occurred to me. Maybe the Doctor isn’t the heroic role model his fans like to think he is. In fact, maybe the Doctor is actually a terrible person. Consider the following.
1. Living situation
Where does the Doctor live? In the TARDIS, of course. It’s dimensionally transcendental (“bigger on the inside” to you non-geeks), telepathic, capable of travelling anywhere and any-when, and has everything you could possibly want for time-travelling shenanigans.
But consider the civilisation the Doctor comes from, the Time Lords. These are people who can feel probability, stop time, manipulate stars, destroy planets, control black holes, people who are telepathic and functionally immortal and, if the picture above is anything to go by, like standing on rocks and staring into the middle distance because they’re just that soulful. A TARDIS is nothing to them – it’s just how you get from A to B. You wouldn’t live in it, you’d live in a big domed city, or a mansion or something. What I’m saying is, in terms of his civilisation, the Doctor is the equivalent of a guy who lives in the back of his car.
What does the Doctor do for a living? Nothing. Exactly. Which brings us on to the subject of…
So if he doesn’t have a job, he must be pretty poor, right? I mean, you can hardly sign on if you’re just called “The Doctor,” can you? But no, far from it, the Doctor seems to have all the money he could possibly need. Where does he get it from?
Well, the episode ‘The Long Game’ answered that for us – he uses his sonic screwdriver in that story to electronically transfer money over to his companions. In other words, he nicks it. Or electronically “creates” money that didn’t exist. Come to think of it, given the number of his adventures that take place in the late 20th/early 21st century on Earth, it’s entirely possible that the Doctor is responsible for the credit crunch on his own.
This isn’t the only theft he’s responsible for, of course. He’s seen to swipe various items throughout the run of the series, including his current costume. Most notably, though, his TARDIS is actually stolen. He’s quite open about the fact. Almost as if he’s proud, actually.
It’s a sad fact that in this world, we have to be security-conscious. I work in a hospital, for instance, and even though I’m well known about the place, I still have to have all sorts of clearance to go anywhere and to interact with children. Not the Doctor. Every time he needs to go somewhere he shouldn’t, he just uses his psychic paper – a device that appears to be able to supply all the clearance he needs for everything. That is to say, this unstable and irresponsible man is capable of all kinds of identity theft. In the episode ‘The Idiot’s Lantern,’ he even impersonates the King of Belgium. The man has no shame!
But come to think of it, this is a man who calls himself “the Doctor” – does he actually have a doctorate? Presumably, having attended a Time Lord Academy on Gallifrey, he has some sort of academic qualification. But that can’t be the source of the title, otherwise almost all the Time Lords we’ve seen in the series would be known as such. His unwillingness to let people know his real name means it’s impossible to check up on whether he actually has any right to the title, which is very convenient I must say.
Which brings us on to…
Why actually does the Doctor have a problem with anyone knowing his name? Why does the Ninth incarnation have every reference to himself removed from the Internet in the episode ‘Rose?’ It’s not like the Doctor is exactly discreet in any other respect – he’s generally extroverted, flamboyant, eccentric and, not to put too fine a point on it, fights aliens from a vanishing phone box. What’s he trying to hide? Either he’s paranoid or there’s some problem attached to his actual identity. Very suspect, I think you’ll agree.
6. Parental responsibility
The first of the Doctor’s companions ever seen in the series was his granddaughter, Susan, seen left. She accompanies the First Doctor until the end of ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth,’ when she and the Doctor part ways. The Doctor locks her out of the TARDIS, abandoning her on future Earth, claiming that he’s actually doing this because she’s now an adult and has to live her own life. Very tearful, very noble, very self-sacrificing.
Or is it? Consider the episode ‘The Doctor’s Daughter.’ In this story, the Tenth Doctor acquires a fully-grown genetically-engineered daughter named Jenny. Now, you’d think a guy who’s always moaning about how lonely he is and how he’s the last of his species would think it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened – but no. The Doctor spends the entire episode in denial, actually telling her that she is not his daughter. An absurd pretence – I can’t believe he’s even fooling himself.
At the end of the episode, she gets shot, and the Doctor zooms away in the TARDIS. This despite the fact that he knows she’s genetically grown from his DNA and is therefore a Time Lord and therefore can come back from the dead. In the light of this episode, the Doctor’s abandonment of his granddaughter and failure to stay in touch thereafter take on a more sinister significance – this is a man who will happily fight deadly foes, but can’t take the responsibilities of parenthood.
7. The safety of others