I like Jodie Whittaker. I liked her in "Broadchurch". I liked her in "St Trinian's". I liked "Tess of the D'Urbervilles".
I am not sure I like her for this part.
I know, I know, if I DO like her for the part, I am a feminazi who deserves to be flogged, and if I DON'T my feminist instincts tell me I am being a regressive arsehole. Unfortunately, I can't help it.
I need to get something straight first. I LOVE DOCTOR WHO.
No, see, I don't think you get it - I LOVE Doctor Who. If I hadn't had Doctor Who when I was growing up, I don't think I'd be alive right now to write this - it stopped me from killing myself more than once. It got me through some of my lowest points, and made some of my highest points even better. When in doubt, I use a Tennant quote or recite Eleven's speeches. Whenever I see Jelly Babys my brain fizzles at me, and whenever I see a recorder I want to burn it because it reminds me of primary school playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb", but I am stopped from setting them on fire by the image of Patrick Troughton's cheeky smile. Eccleston reminds me of my Dad, and Peter Davidson was a GREAT follow up to Tom Baker, fight me! Alas, Peter Capaldi was not my favourite Doctor, and I do not blame that on him in any way. I believe the show didn't know how to walk the line between the hayday of the old Doctors, which Capaldi harkened back to, and the new Who, which they usually placated terribly with things like Sonic Sunglasses and having machines speak in... EMOJI? Did I really sit through that? Yes. Yes I did. Because I love this show, and I'll probably watch even if it gets to "Lost" levels of clusterfuck.
So, I'm apprehensive; I'm worried, because I have a hunch that Jodie Whittaker wasn't hired at the right time, or for the right reasons. Because NOW, even if she's the best Doctor we've ever had, it won't matter - because she's a woman.
Let me explain: the very first thing that happened when it was announced:
If you have to immediately tell people not to worry just because you're a woman, there is a problem. There is a problem with our society as a whole, a systemic problem, a far-reaching problem. It is slowly getting better, but is still not there yet. Watch the comment sections of the announcements and you'll find it divided evenly between people decrying her because she is a woman, and praising her because she's a woman.
THAT IS NOT THE BLOODY POINT. It shouldn't MATTER that's she's a woman, just like it didn't matter that Matt Smith was "too young" or that Peter Capaldi was "too old" - the ONLY thing that matters is whether she is good enough or not. And we cannot know that yet, because we haven't seen her.
People thought Heath Ledger was terrible casting for the Joker and he turned out one of the best performances by any actor in recent memory, not just of a Batman villain, but any villain.
This is the face of a serial killer.
People thought Johnny Depp would be a good Willy Wonka until we watched it and realised he was a perpetually high, semi-adolescent, terrifying psychopath.
This is the face of a serial killer.
So she could be amazing, and she could be terrible, but either way it doesn't matter, because all anyone will be talking about is her gender:
"She was fine, for a woman."
"She was terrible, it's because she's a woman."
"She was great, but she has a vagina, so it's automatically filed under a different category."
That's not how it should be - the casting of the Doctor shouldn't be reduced to tokenism. Of course, even if that's not what they intended, even if they auditioned everyone possible for the part and Jodie was the best possible option, that is all it is going to be seen as, and that is a shame. Because it detracts from what could potentially be great (or terrible) on its own merit, by turning it into a discussion on progressiveness - the same would have happened if they'd hired a black person - the discussion wouldn't be about the performance, it would be about the colour of their skin.
But here's the thing. I'm running under the assumption that she was hired because she was the best person for the job, and she's going to blow us all away with her awesomeness and lack of a sonic handbag *cough* sunglasses *cough*. But even if I run under the assumption that she was a token hire (again, I don't believe she was, just roll with it) maybe we needed a token hire to get there in the first place? It's still a step forward in the 21st century mentality as a whole; we shouldn't have to celebrate gay people being able to get married because it should have happened a long time ago, but that's where we are and that's a step we have to go through. And if Doctor Who keeps going forever and ever then it will become the new normal to includes all types of people in the casting, and no-one will care whether or not someone has a penis, or is slightly darker than the previous incarnation, because it's just part of the natural makeup of the show.
I mean look at politicians- some places have a compulsory female quota, and some people argue that you're not always getting the "best person for the job" because sometimes there will be more males than females that will be good at that job. However, if you don't have compulsory quotas and ensure there are women in those jobs then men will always by default end up in those roles because "society". Then women don't get represented properly, so even if the female is a "less good" option in some way (less experience, etc) she still needs to be given that role for political correctness for the good of society as a whole. So female doctor = societal improvement, regardless of how good she is.
But I personally think she was hired because she's going to be great.
It's not fair.
It's not right.
I am apprehensive.
As an aside, I am also mildly irritated by the fact that Jodie was invited to audition by Chris Chibnall, who worked with her on Broadchurch, and is now writing Doctor Who. Because AGAIN, even if she was the best possible hire, it now at least LOOKS like he hired her because he'd worked with her before.
Please bear in mind, NONE of this is written to slight Jodie, or Chris or Doctor Who, but just to get some of my concerns out in the air.
Who knows - the next season of Doctor Who could blow the previous out of the water. Of course, if it doesn't, I'm still going to watch it, until there's a Flash Sideways Timeline where the plane never crashed on the island and there's a weird church scene at the end where they are now dead and all of them deem their time on the island in the OG timeline to be the most important time of theirs lives so that they may move on and... no... hang on... that's "Lost".
I love Doctor Who. I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I could breathe, but I've wanted to write specifically for TV ever since I started watching Doctor Who. It is my raison d'être. It is ingrained in my soul. Please, please, please don't ruin it guys. Don't ruin it with your "sexism" or your "progressive PC attitudes" or with bad writing. Please?
No, I'll... write a strongly worded letter of complaint.
Urgh, fine, all I'll really do is cry, alone in my room, and drink a lot of alcohol.