It's the new black.

Dear Peter Capaldi: This Is Why You Make Me Nervous

Letters of love (or something like it) is our running series expressing love and admiration (and other things) for those unlikely to respond. 

Dear Peter,

Peter_Capaldi_2009It’s the elephant in the room, really; or rather, the foul-mouthed British politician bullying everyone in the room, in the room. You are the 12th (13th?) Doctor. We’ve had about two weeks to digest this fact, try to count the number of doctors, and process. I have had time, therefore, to be nervous.

Please don’t take this personally. I’m not worried you’ll start dropping f-bombs in front of the Daleks (sensitive creatures) or recommending that Jenna Louise-Coleman, the little dear, go do something unmentionable to herself. I trust in your innate English reticence and in the BBC censor.

I also am unconcerned about your acting prowess. After seeing highlight reels from The Thick of It and most of In the Loop, you have a knack for staying in character. Once that character is the Doctor, I think you’ll start appearing on Jonathan Ross with a sonic screwdriver and turn up at the Globe wearing a trenchcoat, or Roman robe, depending on your incarnation’s particular sangfroid.

I’m worried, Peter darling, that we won’t fall in love.

You see, my heart was broken by two men last season; the face of one man and the creative choices of his puppetmaster. The face belonged to Matt Smith and the choices belonged to Steven Moffat, that bleepity-bleep whom I would work for in a heartbeat, of course, but since I do not work for him, I carry great and seething rage in my shredded internal being towards his soul.

The soul was shredded in the lack of a narrative arc in the second half of the season. Either trying to save money from the two-part episodes of Seasons 5 and 6, or shell-shocked because he himself was in love with Amy and Rory, or because he had a secret stroke, Moffat shied away from the Big Story in Season 7. He relied on specific ; like the Horcruxes in Harry Potter, When he did — the impossible girl — it was obvious, in quotation marks, a lack of subtlety that carries over the airwaves as an insult to his actors and to his audience.

Individually, the episodes were excellent; transcendent, even, if a children’s show about a mad man in a bright blue box can be transcendent. Yet strung together, each was a retake of another, the same photograph tried through different Instagram filters. They were new attempts at creating relationship and history where one strong, evolving tale should have been.

I must be fair. The way last season ended was fragmented in medium as well as message. My beleaguered computer threw tantrums and refused to let me watch Who through it; so I relied on my new but tiny iPhone screen to watch it unfold. Matt Smith’s emotional spasms happened while friends texted me and my mother called to check on my job progress; fragmented, jarring, I know this must have affected my perception of the show.

Yet it hurts too much — in all honesty, Peter — to watch the episodes again, because if it is as disappointing as I remember, then the pain will be felt twice. If, on the other hand, it is more beautiful than I remember, losing Matt Smith will be all that much harder to bear. How will I be able to face you with that much emotional baggage?

Then again, I’ve always had a thing for arrogant, overly intelligent men who show off how clever they are while remaining emotionally stunted. Perhaps we shall get along fine.




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This entry was posted on August 23, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , .
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