Jack GrahamJack Graham wrote about Doctor Who and Marxism, often at the same time. These days he co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper.Support Jack on Patreon.
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May 13, 2013 @ 10:31 am
Some other wag described Clara as "A human-shaped plot device."
June 4, 2013 @ 2:18 am
I think any character traits Clara displays is entirely based on Jenna Louise Coleman's natural charm and screen presence, rather than the writing. Which says a lot for her as a performer, because there is literally nothing there for her to work with.
Whether this has to do with the Moff being sexist, I'm not sure. I think if you're the kind of person who's inclined to read things as sexist, you certainly have plenty to work with, and it's not my place to tell you how, or how not, to read the show.
My personal take is that it's even worse than that: Doctor Who has just plain stopped giving us any reason to care about any of the characters, whatsoever, with the possible exception of the Doctor himself. You're absolutely right – Clara's a human-shaped plot device, an enigmatic puzzle for the Doctor to solve. I'd say this was – as the tweeter above wrote – a kind of weird sci-fi take on the "women sure are crazy and mysterious, huh?" attitude, if it wasn't for the fact that Moff clearly knows how to write female characters with their own wants and needs. Nancy from "The Empty Child" is a great character. Amy Pond, I thought, was a fully-realized person, and one of the more believable characters in the whole of the new series. Even River Song started out interesting.
Lately though… no one seems to be following the basic rules of character creation. Clara has a backstory, a mystery, we've even seen the moment her parents met. (I also give the show some credit for at least resolving that mystery well). But… remember Dawn from Buffy? She was a "construct" character as well – someone who blew in out of nowhere and was created for a purpose. The difference between Dawn and Clara, is that when Dawn found out, she freaked the f**k out! You know, just like you or I would if we were told we weren't "real" or that we were a key or some kind of a crazy-time-paradox lady. Clara looked like she was going to do that, but then the Doctor rewound time and that was that. Oh well. So much for her character having any kind of internal life whatsoever.