My Main Issue with Moffat

As my classmates already know, I am not a fan of Steven Moffat. I have watch Doctor Who and Sherlock, both shows that he has spearheaded, and I have been greatly disappointed by how he writes women. He has a terrible habit of watering down strong female characters with the use of sexist stereotypes. While this is true of both the shows I previously mentioned, I am only going to write about Doctor Who in this post.

While Amy Pond is a spunky and generally competent character, she spends her whole life obsessing about the Doctor. I could buy that a kid would latch onto the idea of an alien taking them on magical adventures through time and space, but the degree to which she did is unrealistic. After all, she had only met him once. Odds are she would have forgotten about the Doctor after a few years or just dropped it after being scolded for bringing it up for the millionth time. Moffat also degraded her character by defining her by her pregnancy in the sixth season, which I previously wrote an entire post about. Even worse though, when we see the Ponds again in the seventh season, we find out that Amy cannot have children anymore. This has led Amy and Rory to hating each other and getting a divorce, as if having children is all that a woman is good for.

It is easy to be fooled into thinking that River Song is a great example of a strong, independent female character, but her character progression is heavily dependent on the Doctor. As soon as she is born, she is kidnapped by the Silent and is raised to kill the Doctor. When she grows up, she ends up befriending Amy and Rory because she knows that they will lead her to him. Then, in the episode Lets Kill Hitler, she attempts to kill the Doctor, only for him to stop her by revealing who she becomes to him. She then decides to become a student and archeologist so that she can spend her entire life looking for him. Even while she is in jail for killing him, all that brings her joy are the rare occasions when the Doctor breaks her out to go traveling. All of the major life choices she makes are either because the Doctor told her to or because she know it will bring her closer to him.

While I am not caught up on Doctor Who and stopped watching once the 12th Doctor showed up, I do know enough to know that Clara’s life revolves around the Doctor too. It is revealed in the episode The Name of the Doctor that Clara, in an attempt to save the Doctor, jumps into a time stream which scatters mirrors of herself across space and time so that she can save the Doctor over and over again. While this is very heroic, once again, Moffat’s wording spoiled it. In Clara’s own words this episode, she was supposedly “born to save the Doctor,” and that is it.

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3 thoughts on “My Main Issue with Moffat”

  1. This is a trend I also noticed with the transition to Moffat. Previous writer, Russell T Davies, did a phenomenal job of portraying female characters in a positive light. Donna, Martha, and Rose were all excellent female characters in that they all played pivotal roles in saving the universe. While Martha and Rose were in love with the Doctor, their heroic story arcs were independent. Donna didn’t want to be romantically involved with the Doctor, and it made her character stronger for it. With Amy, we revert back to the female lead being the damsel in distress, a marked change from previous female leads in the show.

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  2. I think you are right in a lot of what you say on this blog but one comment really didn’t sit well with me. When you made the comment that their marriage is broken after they are unable to have children and then saying that we only see women good for is for children is FAR FROM THE TRUTH. There are many times that this is a real world problem for both men and women. In life, there are many couples that are unable to have children and it could be the fault of the man just as easily as it can be the women’s. Being able to have a family is a very important part of the process of many couples and there are many variables. What if the writers had made it so that Rory could not have children for some odd reason similar to what they said about Amy? Would you say in your blog that they write the show in a way that makes it so that men are only good for making children? I liked the blog post but this comment really had me livid because they wrote a real world problem that couples all over the world face and you just see it as a battle cry for feminism and attacking the writers for bringing real problems to the Doctor.

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    1. I understand where you’re coming from, but my issue with it is that there are other options they could have explored. They could have adopted or gotten a surrogate mother, not to mention they already had a child. While having children is something that is very important to some people, it is not all there is to life. Amy and Rory could have still been happy together with or without a child, they just needed to communicate.

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