December 25, 2011

25 Days: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe
by docsmartypants

Doctor Who: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe (2011) Matt Smith, Claire Skinner, Bill Bailey

It’s Christmas Day, so Larry and I pulled some Christmas crackers, put on our paper crowns, and watched the new episode of Doctor Who.

I’m glad that they’re finally airing Doctor Who episodes in the United States on the same basic schedule as in the UK. That being said, neither Larry nor I were huge fans of this episode. No big shock—I never seem to like the Doctor Who Christmas episodes as much as other people. Really I feel like this episode was a bit of a Christmas present from Steven Moffat to his mother or something, which is fine, except that I’m not Moffat’s mum.

On Christmas Eve, 1938, the Doctor falls to Earth in a spacesuit and is helped back to his TARDIS by Madge Arwell (Skinner). The Doctor says that if she ever needs his help she should ask for it by making a wish. (The Doctor is apparently some sort of Christmas angel/Tinkerbell/Jesus figure now.) Three years later Madge makes that wish after her husband is lost in the war. She is determined not to tell her children and ruin their Christmas. She takes them to an old house in Dorset where the Doctor is posing as the caretaker. His Christmas gift leads them to another time and place—one full of magic and danger and important lessons about the strength of women and mothers and wishing or something.

I’m such a Scrooge, but I just found the resolution of the plot to be a total copout. Larry agreed. (Stacey, feel free to argue with me about this.) I know, I know, Christmas miracles yada yada…it just didn’t work for me.

I did enjoy Bill Bailey’s very brief appearance, especially when he says to Madge, “Ma’am, please stop crying. I can’t interrogate you while you’re crying.” HA! I also enjoyed some of the quieter moments, such as the one between the Doctor and Madge about not letting the children know their father is dead. “What’s the point of them being happy if they’re going to be sad later?” asks the Doctor. “The answer of course, is that they’re going to be sad later.”

Larry liked the fact that Amy and Rory’s front door is painted TARDIS blue, which he found “ridiculously cute.” But overall he didn’t find the episode fun. He said, “It was ridiculously predictable and didn’t feel that Christmassy.” I think it was Christmassy enough, but I absolutely agree that it was predictable and just not that much fun.

You can do better, Moffat! Make your mum proud.

And that concludes the official DocSmartypants 25 Days of Christmas schedule. Hope you enjoyed. Happy holidays!

posted under Media
4 Comments to

“25 Days: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe”

  1. On December 25th, 2011 at 11:49 pm Larry Says:

    But there is still Rudolph’s Shiny New Year to watch!!!

  2. On December 27th, 2011 at 8:31 pm Stacey Says:

    Eh, I wasn’t big on this episode. I just didn’t care enough about the central characters. I think the fact that it was marketed as a play off of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” had set me up for it to be more homage-y to that, the way “A Christmas Carol” last year was so overt (in a way I loved) about the Dickensian source. So I was disappointed by what we got. I enjoyed the three workers who showed up and in a few lines of dialogue were more beloved by me than the entire family I was supposed to care about. The Doctor had some nice moments, and I’m with you, I thought the “Because they’re going to be sad later” bit was a highlight of the episode. But I was meh about the rest of it. (I did think it was probably nice for kids: Mummy always comes through. Yes, it’s trite, but, well, little kids really *do* live in that world.)

    I think the best part of the episode for me was when the Doctor was doing his usual “I never stay for Christmas dinner, woe is me, I have no friends” emo-ness, and Madge was like, “How very sad. FOR YOUR FRIENDS.” YES. FOR HIS FRIENDS. NOT FOR HIM. My favorite part of the Moffat era genuinely is that every once in a while he kind of slaps the Doctor upside the head, like, “Dude, get over your own melodrama, you have friends, it’s *your* fault you’re alone on Christmas.” The episode really clicked for me from that point forward, because I felt like it was more recognizable to me. I think I like how Moffat writes the Doctor (I always have), and this was an episode that was very much not about the Doctor until the very end. And I don’t mind that if it’s not about the Doctor because he’s doing some kind of clever little writing exercise to amuse himself, but this just seemed half-hearted to me.

    Long comment over.

  3. On December 27th, 2011 at 8:31 pm Stacey Says:


  4. On December 27th, 2011 at 8:32 pm Stacey Says:

    Also, one last thing: I literally *just* settled on “Dorset” as my pseudonym surname on Christmas Eve morning…

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