Tuesday, May 14, 2013

When a man who defeats the cybermen offers to make you queen of the universe, you really should say yes

This last Saturday on BBC America, "A Nightmare in Silver" aired making it the 12th episode of the current season of Dr. Who. I suppose I had unrealistic expectations of the episode as it was written by Neil Gaiman. I did like the return of the Cybermen who, if you don't know, are kind of the original borg (using the term "upgraded" as opposed to "assimilated"). I suppose the thing that surprised me the most about the episode were what I call "The Abercrombie & Fitch" implications. And I guess I don't quite like that.
A&F wants you to know that if you are the child of a white
American, this is how you should look if you want to have
friends, if you want to be popular, if you want to get sex.
Allow me to explain. If you don't know, recently CEO Michael Jeffries of Abercrombie & Fitch (when asked why he refuses to make clothes for larger women) responded:

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids and then there are the not-so-cool kids. We go after the cool kids...That's why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't want to market to anyone other than that."

So basically, if you're fat you're ugly. If you're the wrong size, you're ugly. And no one wants to be friends with an ugly person. Make no mistake, I think Michael Jeffries is an asshole. But then I watched "A Nightmare in Silver" and Porridge who turned out to be the Emperor of the Universe proposed to Clara (the latest in a string of Dr. Who companions). And she said "no."
Porridge played by Warwick Davis of Lucasfilm fame. He was a great guy
in this show. But not only that, Porridge was the Emperor of the Universe.
That's kind of cool, if you ask me. But he'd never be able to wear A&F clothes.
I can't help but think if he wasn't a dwarf (played by Warwick Davis) and looked like Rory or the guy that plays Prince Charming, she would have said yes. What kind of message does this send? Well I got the picture loud and clear. The rules are the same in Britain as they are in America. If you're short and fat, it doesn't matter if you can offer the girl the universe. Because the negative, i.e., being short and fat is the straw that breaks the camels back.
I can't help but think if Porridge had come in the above package instead of being a "dwarf" that
Clara Oswold might have said yes to his marriage proposal. And knowing that makes the whole
episode kind of stink in my opinion. I don't like the message.
Dr. Who is looking less and less an escape, and more and more a reality check for me. Because even when a man offers to make Clara queen of the universe, if he doesn't "fit the bill" it's an automatic no. And let's keep in mind that Clara is a rather insane character. She's died multiple times in history and one time even ended up a Dalek. So why in all that misery could she not have said yes to Porridge and bid the doctor goodbye and seen where that other path led?
I suppose the most important aspect of this show is the return and reinvention
of the cybermen. Maybe I should have focused on that. Maybe if I had
I'd be happier with how Mr. Gaiman brought this bad guy back.
Yes, I enjoyed the episode and the reinvention of the Cybermen as an army of creatures so dangerous it warrants blowing up a planet if you spot just one.  They are terrifying in a way that the Weeping Angels aren't.  But I didn't enjoy "A Nightmare in Silver" as much as "The Dr.'s Wife," which Mr. Gaiman wrote last year. Also, just mentioning this fact makes me think of yet another point that I'd make to Clara Oswold if I could: the doctor can never love you Clara because he's already married to the Tardis. And that's just how it must be forever and for always.
Clara, you should have accepted the role as queen of the universe. It could have been much worse.  *Shakes fist at Neil Gaiman.  I'd say to Mr. Gaiman if I could, "I suppose you and Mr. Jeffries of A&F have a lot more in common than I thought."


  1. In real life, of course, short, ugly, powerful men have the best looking women by their side. Apparently cool isn't all about a nice sweater vest.

    Moody Writing

    The Funnily Enough

  2. I've only ever watched a couple of episodes of THE NEW Dr. Who (read: not the 80s one), so I can't really comment in that regard. But I can imagine being disappointed by the episode.

  3. I loved Porridge in this episode, he was incredibly charming and witty.

  4. Personally I think Gaiman just exposed her as she probably really is. You never know, if it were just up to Neil maybe she would've picked Porridge. Characters can drag you down paths you'd rather not go. Staying true to a character as best you can is always best. A&F can kiss my ass, I guess I'd be too fat and black for their crap. Thanks for sharing this post and I'm glad Mr. CEO, Michael J. spoke honestly because now I know that even if I were thin, whose clothes I definitely wouldn't buy. While I don't live on clothing labels I'd definitely remember not to buy from a line that blatantly tells people they're ugly just because they can't look their airbrushed models. And then the CEO comes out and says it's ok? Ridiculous.

  5. If your interpretation were true it would be kind of funny since Gaiman is clearly not the A&F type.

  6. I think you're reading too much into that "no" there.

  7. Kinda like what Disney just did with their new princess in the toyline. Merida from BRAVE got a new shampoo commercial hairdo instead of her messy curls, a tiny waist even though she refused to wear a corset in the film, and a sparkly dress even though she didn't want to wear it in the film. Which means you are ugly if you don't look like a Barbie doll :((((((

  8. @Moody: Good point.

    @Trisha: They call it the sophomore slump.

    @Kellie: I did too.

    @Sheena: I didn't think of that.

    @P.T.: His wife Amanda is. She'd meet your standards of beauty (which are basically the A&F type)

    @Andrew: It's possible, but without clarification, your comment has little context.

    @Dezmond: Exactly. Great point Dezzy.

  9. reminds a little of Iron Man meets the Iron Giant

  10. Well, I haven't watched much of Doctor Who (something I hope to remedy soon) but I did hear about the A&F thing and agree that their CEO is most definitely an asshole.

  11. Well, it would have ruined the entire Clara mystery if she said yes and married the emporer and settled happily ever after.
    I hope no one ever shops in AF again. That one idiotic statement damaged so many kids.

  12. I'm short and fat and I have no problem with stores marketing to the thin and beautiful. Sooner or later these stores swill go out of business because most people don't look like A&F models.

  13. I almost ran away at the mention of Dr. Who. My short, fat husband is a Dr. Who fan. I am well past the point of catching up.

    I hope A&F clothes are very expensive and the idiots who buy into that ideology spend all their money on it.

    The Lane Bryant and other stores like that target overweight people - they are just trying to make money too. And they don't sell to skinny people. And they charge way too much. Just saying it's ALMOST just as bad.

  14. Really, like you don't swoon over a set of six-pack abs. You're just as shallow as the rest of us so don't be a hypocrite.

  15. I'm a huge Doctor Who fan, but this series has been so disappointing. Ever since Clara appeared, the story lines have gotten weaker and weaker.

    Who is Clara? I DON'T CARE!

  16. Makes me sad the way some people think. It's tragic, really. And I'm scared with the world our kids are growing up in. But being connected with redeeming people restores my faith in everything. You're one of those awesome people, Michael!

  17. Ha! When my oldest daughter was in high school, she shopped at A & F. First off, the music in those stores is freaking loud, it makes me want to choke someone. I recall trying on clothes in there just for the hell of it while she was shopping. Yeah, the clothes are definitely not for the 40-somethings!

  18. I got stuck at the part where that manufacturer is only making clothes for the hip and cool. Could be why I can't find anything sized for larger people in the stores here too. I don't think they've had a good look around lately.

  19. I haven't seen the current Dr. Who but I do like the cybermen. The AF thing makes me so mad. People like that think they can take diversity out of beauty, and condense it into a mold to sell to the masses. But they don't realize that it's diversity that makes things/people beautiful.

  20. Sure, rub it in my face that I can't watch the current series.

    Ditto your view on Michael Jeffries. No wonder everyone has such self esteem issues.

    I can't really comment on why Clara chose what she did since I don't know her yet. From your comments I take it she's in love with the doctor too? Why do they always make the companions goo-goo over him? That's why I liked Donna the best. At least Amy had Rory (LOVED Rory!).

    Anyway, I wish I could say she didn't say yes simply because she didn't know him enough to love him or the chemistry just wasn't there. But that might all lead back to the packaging. Humans are shallow. We're all attracted to the package first. Luckily we can learn to love, appreciate, and find beauty after we get to know someone who isn't "Popularly Pretty". Who knows?

    I'll reserve judgment for when I get to see the episode.

  21. This shouldn't come as news to you, Michael; it's always been that way. Either you've got money or beauty or maybe - if you're lucky - both. If not, well good luck to you and the horse you rode in on.

    But remind me NOT to ever buy anything from A&F.

  22. What a dickhead that CEO is. I looked him up and thought he was creepy looking and he has most definitely had some bad plastic surgery.

    I'm happy to say I've never bought A&F clothes and now plan never to bother to.

    And hey, if a good guy offers to make me queen of the universe, I'm his.

  23. What a away to alienate many people. That was a wrong move on the CEO's part. I've never bought A&F and don't plan on it.

  24. I never thought of Clara's refusal that way, but you do make a good point. This season of Doctor Who hasn't been the greatest. I'm not connecting to Clara at all, and they're not giving Matt Smith a lot of range with the Doctor. And what about River Song?! The Doctor does have a wife who he loves as much (maybe) as the TARDIS.

    I heard a rumor that there might be a spin-off show starring Captain Jack Harkness and River Song. My two favorite characters other than the Doctor.

  25. Like only the beautiful people squish themselves into AF clothing? I've boycotted Calvin Kline for about 15 years; seems as though I should boycott Abercrombi too.


  26. I have loved Dr Who but for some reason this season isn't doing it for me. I've instead watched the show that follows it, Orphan Black, and have a backlog of 3 Who's to watch.

    I was really excited for this season as the mystery around the new companion was great. I loved the episode with a version of her last season and the Christmas episode was one of my favorites. Since then everything has fallen flat. They've returned to many of the same discussions and it feels tired. I hope it gets better as TV can't have enough quality SciFi.

  27. I had to skip this yesterday as I'm about three days behind in my shows. (I see I have to skip today's post as well since I haven't seen Defiance yet. Maybe tonight.)

    Okay, so because Clara, who just met this emperor guy, said no to his marriage proposal, she's shallow? She just met him! She barely spoke two words to him the entire episode as she was so busy trying to keep everyone from being taken by the Cybermen.

    Besides, he's way too old for her. (She's a baby. Practically.)

    I had so many issues with that episode. Ah well...

  28. Did you see this? http://ktla.com/2013/05/15/man-hands-out-abercrombie-clothes-on-skid-row-in-bid-to-shame-brand/

    I already didn't like the company because it was clear they marketed to white people. How can you have an ad with many people and have only white people? It's been clear they don't represent everyone.

    My daughter recently went to the junior Abercrombie and bought 2 t-shirts with her own $. After this happened, I showed her this video. She doesn't want to buy from them anymore.

  29. That was one of the reasons why Shrek was such a great film. It sent the message that character and personality were important, not looks.


  30. So, I'm not up to this point in the show. I'm on series six, episode twelve. BUT I still have some input. :)

    First, okay, I'm pretty sure the Tardis being the Doctor's wife was a metaphor thing. They didn't actually get married. He also has been married to Marilyn Monroe and engaged to some ruler of England (can't remember which). In the older version of the show, he has family so I'm sure he had a wife then. And everyone knows he loved Rose. So, with Clara, that really isn't an argument.

    Second, you point out how horrible it is to marry someone for beauty. It's also kind of horrible to marry them only for power. Just saying.

    And I'm sure it wasn't Neil's fault. He doesn't control the show. He couldn't just send off a companion without the network's permission. :)