Thursday, January 20, 2011

Postclassical Who - "Father's Day"

Soapy. Melodramatic. Hypersentimental. Manipulative. These are all terms I would use to describe "Father's Day", an episode with all the hallmarks of both a piece of filler and the simplicity in terms of setting to trick people into considering it to somehow have artistic value. As I've already stated, stupid people, which is to say most people, think that emotional manipulation equals art, and that's exactly what this episode feels like. Using heartstring-tugging scenarios, maudlin music and hyperbolic dialogue to try to make people feel as sad as possible, this episode strives to make people think that the time paradox nonsense and bog-standard father-daughter redemption set piece being played out is something of great meaning and power. This episode is also noticeable by being a starting point for this era to try to be the 'Rose Tyler show' instead of Doctor Who. Now Rose is all well and good, and particularly in this series I don't really mind her as a companion, but it's Doctor Who and I want to see the Doctor. All the Doctor seems to do in this story is get angry at Rose, wobble the sonic screwdriver in front of some doors and get eaten. The rest of the time he's offscreen while the Rose and Pete sob story gets played out.
Now don't get me wrong, I think the acting in this episode is very good, especially Shaun Dingwall as Pete Tyler. He's extremely talented and his performance is absolutely realistic and natural even if Pete swallows the time travel stuff very easily. Rose is fine and Jackie is just as annoying as her character always is. It's just the whole situation of Rose wanting to see her dad, and saving her, and they have lots of awkwardly intimate discussions while Pete figures out who she is, then he realises he has to die and they have a big cry, there's lots of hugging, and while I imagine there probably would be a fair amount of crying and hugging in this scenario it's not exactly, as I believe I stated in a prior review, something I particularly want to see in an episode of Doctor Who. I want science, I want cleverness, I want a message about reality and people's nature, but I don't really want lots of crying and hugging.
It's not helped by the fact that all the time paradox stuff is zero logic and one hundred per cent image. The original Rose and Doctor fading away because Pete was saved, but the second set of Rose and Doctor are still there. The TARDIS interior vanishing even though it's dimensionally transcendental and so presumably would be accessible even from a cul-de-sac parallel universe like this one. The car appearing and disappearing repeatedly. Worst of all, the time-travelling gargoyle monster thingies that eat people, also called the Reapers. I hate the idea that because this is Doctor Who they feel the need to insert some pointless monster rather than simply dealing with the consquences of time travel and changing history. If the first set of Doctor and Rose are simply erased by whatever insane causality this episode utilises, why does everyone else get devoured to 'sterilise the wound'? What on earth does 'sterilising the wound' mean? Why would they solely target living things? It's all just stupid babble intended to sound clever and it's basically saying "We couldn't be bothered thinking up a logical plot, we'd rather cut any pretense at science fiction from this Science Fiction programme and just revel in sentimentality and emotion instead." There's no good reason for the Doctor to let Rose go back and interfere in her own history, and the reason we've never seen him do it before is because it's clearly a bad idea. To be honest I quite simply find it tedious. The episode was dull and it was an effort on my part to get through it, again only the first time I have viewed the episode since its original broadcast. I've seen it twice now and I don't wish to see it again. At least the aliens don't get blown up; they just spontaneously disappear for no reason.
Tedious melodramatic drivel; great actors wasted on a played-out scenario and a script with too many bleeding hearts and absolutely no brain.

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