All I Want for Christmas is Who

Alternate title: Kill Your Damn Darlings

Here’s the thing about Doctor Who: It’s my favorite. No lie. My Christmas tree boasts a Dalek ornament. My living room has a “To Victory!” Dalek poster. My upstairs hallway has an Exploding Tardis poster. Both posters are framed and frequently dusted. I have a Centurion action figure in my Who action figure collection. There is a sonic screwdriver hanging from my rearview mirror, the makings of a police box hat in my crochet bag, a TARDIS cookie jar in my cabinet and multiple versions of the theme song on my Spotify list. I have Whoelry for my neck. I may have repeatedly exposed my children to the show, praised it from their birth, and put together Who Halloween costumes and birthdays parties just so they would follow me into this passion. So I can share what I love. For the Doctor’s sake, my daughter’s name is River! This show has been my show. My emotional go-to, as good as chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. My. Show.

Until Clara.

listen doctor
I have something important to say. It’s about Clara.
Clara is a pint-sized, perky, personality-free problem. Her introduction was so promising. A dreaming Dalek? But her development was . . . lacking. Seriously. She couldn’t be more plain vanilla if they were trying to write her that way. All that baloney about stepping into the Doctor’s time stream. That was an insult to Rose and the beautiful execution of Bad Wolf. Was Clara meant to be a reflection of what the doctor needed or just an opportunistic hanger on with an annoying amount of foolishly placed pep? Because I know how she came across and it wasn’t the former.

Ahead: Spoilers! In case you are planning to punish yourself by witnessing the worst wardrobe and writing of any companion (with the exception of the last two episodes). Seriously. Her eye makeup in the last season was the most interesting part of her existence.

Doctor Who (series 8) ep 12
Picture shows: PETER CAPALDI as The Doctor, MICHELLE GOMEZ as Missy
The introduction of Clara may have left me hopeful, but every episode after that left me unsatisfied. I felt like Romeo and Juliet locked in their teenage, hormone-fueled, forbidden romance as they held onto and lost each other at the same damn time. But I kept watching.

I watched as Clara died or was peppily stupid over and over and the writers saved her. Over and over. I watched everyone interesting in the series die and not get resurrected. Clara was not the Impossible Girl. She was the Impossible to Permanently Kill Girl. Did the writers forget that all characters are expendable? That in order for the growth of other characters or the plot, a non-vampire is expected to observe the laws of mortality? Ugh.

clara dying
Oh, Jenna. Your superbly acted goodbye was robbed of its grace by a bet at the writer’s table.
Imagine my excitement when I thought the writers had actually killed Clara off. When, for an episode, she actually stayed dead. When I believed the Who-verse was freed from her vacant characterization, albeit through no fault of the actress. Writers, you disappoint me.

“Kill your darlings.”

“Let sleeping dogs lie.”

“Never move a sleeping baby.”

“Don’t resurrect Clara.”

How hard is it to keep to these timeless, high-wisdom adages? Alright. I admit I through that last one in there, but I feel like that should be sent to the writing team in an envelope of glitter. Because what the writers did was go heavy-handed on being lazy. Did they watch the show? Did they read the forums? Did they read their own Who-forsaken scripts?

Is anyone even listening?
If I were a Dalek, I would exterminate Clara’s run. Again, not the fault of Jenna Coleman. With better writing, she could have nailed it and her fun-loving “characterization.” I mean, if you were going to give Clara a do-over, why not in the personality department?

She had a few moments, but the Mistress, the Doctor’s longtime frenemy, had more. In fact, the Mistress had too much personality. I’m guessing the writers were so devoted to re-sexing the Master that Clara slipped through the cracks. I believe this even more after watching Clara’s (please let it be her last please please please) “last” episode. You know, the one where they brought her back after she died because she’s such a gorram Mary Sue that I’m pretty sure nobody likes IRL so WTF. AND they reaffirmed the immortality of another irritating female character and gave the two of them a TARDIS to run away in as a fiery “eff you” to Whovians far and wide.

Jenna-Louise Coleman with Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat
In an interview on Clara’s departure from Doctor Who, Steven Moffat said, “You’ll see Clara in some form again – this is not the end of Clara in the series.” Why have you forsaken us, Steven? Why? And for the Doctor’s sake, PLEASE don’t give Clara and Me a spin-off!
Clara had a fulfilling death. She even said, “Maybe this is what I wanted.” Why couldn’t it have stayed that way?

This is weird for me. I’ve never rooted so hard for anyone to kick the bucket. Even while watching Dexter I didn’t feel this level of “she deserves it, send in the drones” and those characters were some baaaad people. I actually smiled and laughed with my husband when it looked like you had committed to her death, Writers. I was so proud of you!

Haven’t we suffered her enough?
Doctor Who Writers, I suffered for you through time and space. Here is my wish for the next companion. If it can’t be me, let it at least be someone interesting. Maybe someone who doesn’t like the Doctor much but is are stuck with him. Maybe another person of color who isn’t “perfect” and doesn’t make me throw up in my mouth a little bit every episode. I don’t know how much longer I can keep watching as you writers self-destruct. I’d be happy to step in. I’ve never scripted before, but I will learn anything to save the Doctor from another Clara.

And for the sake of the fans, let the Doctor get over Clara. She was only holding him back. A one-shot animal companion episode could have done more in supporting his character than the complete chronicles of Clara.


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Shawna is a writer and in Bloomington, IN with an MFA from Indiana University. Her work most frequently addresses issues associated with survivorship. Some of her published writing can be found in The Manifest-Station, HuffPo, Sacred & Subversive, Exit 7, [wherever], and Role Reboot. She writes most regularly on Steemit and her personal site, The Honeyed Quill. Shawna is the creator of #LinkYourLife, the compassion-based community for artists and survivors on Twitter and Facebook. She is Editor-in-Chief for The Relationship Blogger, a site dedicated to mental health, relationships and their intersections. She teaches writing locally as well as online through the Elizabeth Ayres Center for Creative Writing.

2 thoughts on “All I Want for Christmas is Who

    1. I’m sorry to hear that, Mike. I tried a couple different sources to see if I could replicate the problem but wasn’t able to. We don’t have any pop-ups associated with the site. If you are able to elaborate, that is appreciated.


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