Magical Mondays: Making the Normal Abnormal

I often revisit old columns to get ideas for new posts, and Lady Geek Girl’s post on the magic in Welcome to Night Vale is one that’s stuck with me for a while. The strange and popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale makes the abnormal normal, and uses it to critique some of the ideas we have about our society. If you’ve heard any of the Night Vale episodes, you’ll know that Night Vale is the weirdest place ever, full of carnivorous librarians, dog parks with no dogs, and strange floating cats. (Also, actual diversity in its cast. Hah.) Possibly the only normal thing about Night Vale is Cecil and Carlos’s relationship, and the storytelling focuses on this more than it does the abnormal, things. The audience thus gets the reinforced message that yes, the entire world is crazy, but this gay relationship is normal, disabled people should be treated with respect, pronoun choice should be followed, and racism shouldn’t be tolerated. It’s really shockingly effective. And the interesting thing is, when you take this idea and turn it around—when you make the normal abnormal—you can teach lessons and explore characters just as effectively.

Spoilers for Supernatural and Doctor Who below.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Possibilities, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bananas by rosa_acicularis

rose and her doctor

image via suuuz

“I didn’t come here because I thought you needed me,” he said, his voice low. “I knew you didn’t. I didn’t come because I missed you, though I did. I didn’t come because I love you, though I think I must, given the evidence.” His thumb traced the curve of her cheek. “I came back because I’m old and tired and selfish, Rose, and I wanted to see you again. Because I finally could, and I didn’t think of the consequences.”

Rose closed her eyes. There was a sour taste in her mouth, like metal and blood and heartbreak, and she almost didn’t have the breath to say what needed to be said. “I can’t go with you.” She turned her face away, and his hands fell to his sides. “I’m sorry. I can’t leave them again.”

There was a silence. “If you can’t come with me,” he said, “can I come with you?”

Her eyes snapped open. “What does that mean?”

“I don’t know,” he said, his expression wary. “What do you want it to mean?”

Rose Tyler has always been my favorite Doctor Who character. Most people think it’s one of the Doctors, probably Ten, but I’ve always loved Rose best. To quote the Doctor, “Everything she did was so… human.” She was adventurous and clever and passionate, but she was also reckless and juvenile and selfish. In other words, she was allowed to be a human character with human flaws. That’s something we, unfortunately, rarely get to see in a female character. And so I was really annoyed with the “Doomsday”/”Journey’s End” plotline that stranded her in an alternate universe, brought her back, and then sent her back permanently. It felt like a half-assed compromise between the part of the fanbase that wanted Rose gone and the part that wanted her to stay, and it didn’t particularly make much sense.

As for character development, I was thrilled that older Rose got to take a level in badass, capitalizing on all her positive traits—but less than thrilled that any character development with her negative traits was left to the wayside. Still so selfish. Willing, again, to give up her family at the drop of a hat to be with the Doctor. Eventually I came to realize that the Rose/Doctor relationship that I wanted to happen (as opposed to the one we were given) wasn’t possible within the constraints of the show. Rose would always have to fight her way back to the Doctor, where the plot was happening, and the Doctor would always need a rotating crew of young female companions for, I dunno, reasons.

Fortunately, when life gives you crap TV, write fanfic, right?

Allons-y!

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Doctor and His Many Companions

I think I need to take a break from Doctor Who, at least in terms of article writing. As it stands right now, there is only one thing I have not done yet, and that’s to look which of the Doctor’s companions are in love with him and which aren’t.

Ten RoseThe interesting thing about the companions is that they spread along the scope of sexual preference. Yes, most of the Doctor’s main companions are females that usually have deep seated crushes on the Doctor. But that’s not the entire makeup of the alumni.

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In Brightest Day: the Tenth Doctor

This is another post I’ve been putting off for a while. The truth is the Tenth Doctor’s emotional baggage could fill a dump truck. He’s been through the ringer multiple times, and had to deal with a lot of memories that, by the end of his life cycle, would be just too much for a normal man.

But this isn’t a normal man. This is David Tennant.

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Are Doctor Who’s Companions Too Sexy?

A few days ago Hypable raised the question, “Is Doctor Who too sexy?” It was in response to The Telegraph‘s piece interviewing Carole Ann Ford (aka Susan, the very first companion) about how working on Doctor Who affected her career. And Hypable isn’t just another site desperate for clicks; this question is a common fan criticism of “New Who,” especially Moffat’s era. Some believe the show’s writing and companions have crossed some sort of risqué line, and it’s damaging the show. So is it?

Doctor Who as a show has a complicated relationship with sex. The show began as a mostly educational children’s TV program, featuring Susan as the granddaughter of “Doctor Who.” Ford reveals that Susan was also originally envisioned to be pretty badass:

“They told me Susan was going to be an Avengers-type girl – with all the kapow of that – plus she would have telepathetic powers. She was going to be able to fly the Tardis as well as her grandfather and have the most extraordinary wardrobe.”

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Oh, My Pop Culture God Tier: The Price of Godlike Powers

With great power comes great responsibility, right? Well, godlike power also tends to come at a steep price, no matter what the situation. Fiction is full of situations where characters in need have acquired phenomenal cosmic powers, but only at a tremendous cost to themselves. For this post I’m gonna focus on the good guys, but there are plenty of bad guys that fall into this scenario as well.

Spoilers for Madoka, Homestuck, Doctor Who below the cut.

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Top Ten Everyman Characters in Geekdom

The Everyman (or Everyperson, as the case may be) is one of the most underestimated and important characters in storytelling. The Everyman is a character with no powers or special abilities outside of those that a normal person might have. The Everyman is not the chosen one; they usually are the stand-in character for the audience (though not always); and they can be the main character or supporting in the story. But the biggest and most key factor here is that they must be a completely and utterly ordinary character. This character represents what a normal person would be like in an extraordinary situation.

Many movies, TV shows, and books like to indulge in our fantasies by revealing that an ordinary person is actually someone amazing. These stories say, “Are you an awkward outcast and loner? Well, that’s actually because you’re a wizard/demigod/slayer/the chosen one!” And while this particular plot is great and all, at some point when watching or reading about one of these characters, you might wonder what it would be like if you were in the story. You then quickly realize that you are not a mutant/fairy/genius/alien and that you would be extremely screwed if you were to step into the story just as you are now.

But what if you weren’t? The beauty of the Everyman isn’t just that they are completely normal and average, but that they somehow survive against all odds in impossible circumstances.

So without further ado, here are my Top Ten Everyman Characters in Geekdom:

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