Fellow travelers, we have finally reached the last in my series of TARDIS Tavern-inspired Pertwee posts. Rejoice! (I certainly do.) In Monday’s post, I pointed out that I’m not fond of Pertwee’s Doctor, in yesterday’s post, I elaborated on part of why. Here are a few more reasons Doctor number three doesn’t do it for me:
As I mentioned previously, this is the suave Doctor, and many folks point to that as one of his winning qualities. I beg to differ. Scratch that, I just differ. Oh he’s suave alright. To the nth degree. I’ll grant him that. But I don’t like it—at least, not in the Doctor. “My Doctor” isn’t suave. Suaveness is a quality I much prefer in a villain because it’s something I love to hate. The Master is a perfect example of this. He’s got a very similar quality, but in his case, it’s ok because I’m not supposed to be rooting for him. He’s the bad guy. In my mind, that’s how bad guys should act. I really feel the Master wears it better.
Apparently in a hero, quips are part of a package deal with suaveness. We’re firmly setting our feet in James Bond territory now. Quipping is another thing that rubs me the wrong way about this Doctor. For example, in The Time Warrior the Brigadier mentions keeping the scientists safe by having all his eggs in one basket. The Doctor replies “That’s fine [zoom to dramatic close-up] so long as no one steals the basket.” *GROAN* I thought my eyes might not return to the front of my skull, they rolled so far.
To continue with the Doctor-like-James Bond theme, there’s the Doctor-as-an-action-hero phenomenon. This, more than anything else, seems to set Pertwee apart from his other incarnations. There are a few swordfights and the like sprinkled here and there throughout the other Doctors’ reigns, but no other era sees the consistent level of action (by HAVOC) that Pertwee’s does. Frankly, this bores me. Venusian Aikido? I have nothing more to say about that than *yawn*.
Next up in the Bondy-Doctor comparison department: the Doctor’s “I’m so cool” attitude. This is, of course, part and parcel with the suave, debonair personality. As such, it bugs the snot out of me. An example from Terror of the Autons: Mike Yates exclaims “A bomb! Is it defused?” The Doctor’s cool reply: “It is now.” You could practically see the “smug” coming out of his ears. I must admit, in one case I didn’t mind this attitude. In the same story, he’s tied up at the circus and being a royal smartass to his captors. That time, I was okay with it. It’s cool to act like that to the bad guys, but there’s no excuse for being a jerk to your friends.
To really get at my feelings about Pertwee, I tried to make an informal pros and cons list, but I found I could only come up with one pro, and that’s his kindness. In the moments when he’s being the kind, grandfather-character, he’s really quite sweet. (However, at the risk of straying back into con territory, that makes it all the more harsh and jarring when he starts acting like a big jerkface again.) When I stop to think about it, the few things I like about him are things I see as overarching characteristics of the Doctor in general. I can’t think of a single thing that stands out as “Pertweesque” that is something that draws me to him rather than alienates me. Maybe seeing more Pertwee episodes will aid me here. I freely admit that I have a long way to go in completing my third Doctor education. These posts illustrate how I feel right now. It’ll be interesting to see whether my feelings have changed after concluding my journey through his era (something I’m not exactly excited to do, but will nonetheless get to everntually).
For now, I’m about as far from a third Doctor fan as you can get. I simply wouldn’t want to spend time with this kind of a guy.
As I said before, there’s nothing here that’s inherently terrible. Lots of folks look at the very things I’ve pointed to and say “yeah, and isn’t it great?” More power to them (you?). It pleases me that there are people out there who are adoring the parts of Who that I don’t like. I think it’s important for every aspect of my favorite show to be loved. I’m just not equipped to cover it all. So hooray for all the third Doctor lovers out there! I hope you keep on enjoying the hell out of seasons 7–11 (in part, so I don’t have to).
In closing, I want to encourage each and every one of you (who haven’t already) to check out TARDIS Tavern’s Episode 61: A Pertwee Extravaganza! It was great fun to record, and it definitely gives a more balanced look at the third Doctor than I’ve presented here. Believe me, if I could head back to the TAVERN right now, I’d do so. After all this Pertwee talk, I could sure as hell use a drink!