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Nope, the relationship metaphor titles will not be stopping any time soon. 

1.09, The Empty Child/1.10, The Doctor Dances
PEOPLE, I HAVE A CONFESSION TO STATE UP FRONT: I do not like Captain Jack.

The feeling that I wouldn't has been nagging at me ever since the second paragraph of the Wikipedia summary for this episode mentioned him as "the first character in the show's history who was explicitly not heterosexual."

I worried about that word "explicitly" as visions of another explicitly-not-heterosexual Jack danced through my head. Jack McFarland caused a lot of damage, OK?  I was not ready for another stereotype.  Still, I thought I might give Jack Harkness the benefit of the doubt since everyone swore up and down that he was The Greatest Character Ever.

The preview didn't help my reservations a whole heck of lot, though, since my first impression of his nauseatingly wide smile, with Rose all starry-eyed and flushed in his arms, was "Well, he’s a cocky bastard, isn’t he?"

And then I finally saw him in action, and frankly, all I can say is that he really skeeves me out. Pretty much all I could say throughout the entirety of his scenes in "The Empty Child" was "Ew" and "Skeeeeeved." (and once, "Grr, Glen Miller hate.") 
Voice: Huh, that's funny.  Remember when you hated Nine?
RS: I did not ever HATE Nine. I just found him unattractive at first. Is a difference. I can vaguely recognize Jack as being handsome, but he doesn't do a whole lot for me.

I'm also feeling a tiny bit cheated that everyone swore up and down that it was The Greatest Episode Ever, and yet 11, 25, and even 32 minutes in, I was still feeling incredibly apathetic. Okay, the gas-mask child calling for Mummy was creepy as hell, and I promptly fell in love with Nancy and was enjoying the aspect of street kids struggling to survive in the middle of WWII, but for the most part, I just did not care!  At all!  Was I getting burned out on Who?  Or was the storyline just not that amazing? Or: was it actually just totally ruined by Jack? Yeah, I kind of want to vote for the last one there.

True, the idea of identical injuries and whatnot as a plague was impressive/stuff that will give me nightmares, and things got really interesting about three minutes from the end, with a whole room full of gas-mask bodies closing in, so much so that I was shocked to find myself suddenly cut off by credits...but damn, that was a waste of time. 

Although the Doctor did hold a cute little kitty, so that was something.

The Doctor Dances showed a marked improvement over part 1, but it still falls into the bottom half of the episodes thus far.  Maybe things would have been different if these were the first ones I ever saw, but by this point I've gotten rather snarlingly defensive of my attachment to it being just the Doctor and Rose, and I dislike the intrusion of other characters (Jackie and Mickey don't count.  Pieces of Rose's old life are always welcome).  But...I just dislike Jack so much.  He's so horribly overconfident and full of himself that I am overcome by a desire to smack him across the face whenever I see him.

Okay, maybe I don't hate him at quite the level I hate McSteamy McSleazy, which means there is, I suppose (she admitted grudgingly) the possibility that this opinion could be overridden.  But on the other hand, I am a terribly contrary person, and the more I hear about his greatness, the more I want to stubbornly dig my heels in and keep hating him.  Which is problematic, because according to IMDB, he is going to hang around until the end of Nine's days (and I refuse to know any more than that).  It's like having a giant presentation on the last day of school: you desperately want to get it over with but you equally desperately don't want to let go of the school year.  Probably it would be easier in the long run if I just made myself like him, right?  *insert long pause*

Can't do it!  Stubborn!   

Although I will grant him one, one, you hear me? moment of Absolute Win: "Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks 'Ooh-hoo, this could be a little more SONIC'?!"  That may be the best line of the series to date.  Every time I repeat it I start giggling uncontrollably. 

Things I Actually Liked
-"When he's stressed, he likes to insult species." Oh, Rose.  I love how she can say that without batting an eyelash, having just accepted it as a fact of life.  Also, I'm bemused by the subsequent "Cuts himself shaving, does half an hour on life forms he's cleverer than" line and feel there should be fic of some sort to go with this statement.   

-"I'm making an effort not to be insulted." Poor Doctor.  Rose can be so very trying at times, can't she?

-It was a little sweet that they were oblivious to being teleported as long as they were focused on each other.  Jack gets another half point for saying so, although he will later be penalized 5000 points for not dying like he so very clearly should have.

-Nancy continued to be totally amazing; loved the absolutely masterful way she played the rich, obnoxious jerk, and...well, pretty much everything else she did.

-The storyline got massively interesting, and I had read the summary prior to viewing so I knew that Nancy was the little boy's mother, but I had managed to forget that fact until it was explicitly spelled out for us.  That part was all very compelling.  But really, when your storyline saves you, and the best scenes belong to your guest star of the week that's not a good sign.  

-Oh!  Almost forgot, this is the origin of the "red bicycle when you were 12" line!  Finally knowing the context delighted me for a bit, but - that can't be all!  That was not nearly an important enough moment to become one of the most popular ideas in all of fanfic.  I remain in love with the line but otherwise perplexed.

Just for the record, dancing is not on the Checklist of Cute. Because it is stupid.  And in this case, painfully awkward at first.  I would blame Jack for ruining it at the end, but unless I was just carrying residual crankiness - entirely possible - I was annoyed even with Rose's first teasing nudges, prior to the teleporting.  (although, one point of squee for the first moment he takes her hands)

And now I'm cranky that I have to stop my Who fest on a low note, because I was honestly on the verge of declaring my love for and undying devotion to this show in big capital letters, since clearly it could do no wrong...and then it just imploded.  I want to move on to 1.11 to see if it gets better, and yet I also don't want to, because that brings me one step closer to losing Nine.  And I think I've had all I can take of Jack.  

And yet I'm too keyed up to sleep or keep working on homework.  Hm, decisions, decisions.

I'm trying really hard not to sidestep the problem by spoiling myself with more Ten/Rose videos on YouTube.

 

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
scsquidsnaps
Feb. 4th, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC)
I still can't believe you don't like Jack, but I'm going to stick to the fact that you're not really supposed to like him these two episodes and hope you change your mind. He's supposed to come across as cocky and arrogant, but he does change a bit.
rainbowstevie
Feb. 4th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
Even so - what is so magical about him? Does he do something amazing and heroic in the future that renders me incapable of not falling in love with him? I'm really becoming curious now as to why he's the fandom's darling. I don't mean to sound facetious; I'd genuinely like to hear what you like about him.
scsquidsnaps
Feb. 4th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
There's some things he does, especially in the last episode, that I don't want to go into, but that really made me love him. There's especially one scene that really makes me pity him, despite knowing what happens after. Maybe Jack just isn't the character for you, though. I suppose it was bound to happen eventually. Lol :)
eleigh
Feb. 4th, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC)
Aww. I'm sad that you didn't like these episodes much. Perhaps it helps if you massively ship Rose/Nine? Because that way you can look at dancing as not just dancing but as a metaphor for sex. It's much more amusing that way.

And iirc I think I was less than enamored of Jack at first too but he kind of grows on you. He may not grow on you, but I do suggest keeping an open mind.
rainbowstevie
Feb. 4th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Because that way you can look at dancing as not just dancing but as a metaphor for sex.
Hm, well maybe - ngggggh, okay then, all brain cylinders firing backwards. Despite previously declared ship intentions, apparently I'm not ready to go to that level yet. I did read about the dancing/sex metaphors in my information-gathering travails, though. I figured I’d file that away for later use.

As for Jack, I think I’m going to need some character witnesses if I’m going to give him a chance. Do you have an estimate as to when he might start to grow on me; is there some particularly great episode I should keep an eye out for? Or maybe you could just tell me what it is you like about him.
eleigh
Feb. 4th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Jack. It's been a while since I've seen season 1 so it's hard for me to remember when he clicked for me. And Torchwood probably has something to do with it because I've seen much more of him and what happens to him in "Parting of the Ways" makes him much more interesting in Torchwood.

However, I would have to say his character progression in the eps he's in really work for me. You're right, he does start off as a sort of cocky bastard. He's a con man and is really just in it for himself but he changes because of Rose and the Doctor. I would say that if you don't at least like Jack by the end of "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways" then you probably never will.

I also have to say that you're the first person I've known who doesn't love Captain Jack so I'm not really sure how to sell him to somebody because I've never had to do it before.

I
stunt_muppet
Feb. 4th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
You know, I kind of figured you wouldn't like Jack, but I didn't say anything so as not to influence the decision. And while I can understand you not liking him, I'm utterly baffled that you didn't like this arc. This was the peak of the season for me, all creepy and atmospheric and full of banter between the Doctor and Rose and Jack...and lordy, the gas-mask kid SCARED ME TO DEATH. "The Empty Child" was actually the episode that made me a Who fan.

*shrug* Hmm. Well, maybe you'll like Boom Town better.
rainbowstevie
Feb. 4th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
*shrug* Hmm. Well, maybe you'll like Boom Town better.

As a matter of fact, I did. Which now makes me feel like an uncouth Who fan since it was clearly of lower caliber than the 2-parter…but I'm telling you, it was all Jack's fault that I didn’t love that arc. His banter just comes across as forced. Like he's so very clearly meant to be this charming, dashing guy that I can’t help thinking the opposite.

The gas-mask kid actually creeped me out less than the mannequins or the Gelth. It was eerie, yes, but while his voice was like the scariest haunted house story ever, it was tempered by his rather normal-looking appearance. It mostly just got me thinking about how awful it really was in 1941 London, wandering away from the Doctor Who context entirely.
stunt_muppet
Feb. 4th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
I'm telling you, it was all Jack's fault that I didn’t love that arc.

...but Jack was in Boom Town, too...?

I get what you said about feeling contrary towards him, however. I was quite fond of Jack when I first met him, but the fact that he's fandom's darling (and very few authors write him well) made me a bit sick of him. I'd tempt you with Classic Who, since that has lots and lots of unloved characters who are just as awesome, but I figure I've been enough of a fandom drug dealer as it is.

his voice was like the scariest haunted house story ever, it was tempered by his rather normal-looking appearance.

His very normal, common appearance is what did it for me, actually. I mean, yeah, I'll find monsters scary if they're well-realized, but I've always found it scarier when something ordinary and innocent-looking turns out to be evil/insane/a harbinger of imminent doom. I don't know why, but that feeling that something is familiar but just not right gets me all the time.

That, and the moment when the mask burst from Dr. Constantine's face made me squeal and bury my face in my daddy's shoulder. :) But I'm kind of a wuss that way, so you shouldn't listen to me.
rainbowstevie
Feb. 4th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
*shrugs* Jack was easier to ignore in Boom Town.

I reject your Classic Who! I reject all film prior to the year I was born! Even though the Third doctor seems rather perfect for the role.

I will grant you that the mask-burst was a moment of horror, though.
stunt_muppet
Feb. 6th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
In that case, the last two episodes should be a mixed bag for you. Jack's still pretty smirky in the first half of the first episode, but he gets serious after that, so...well, we'll see.

Mwahaha. Three!love is infectious. Infectious I say!
dollsome
Feb. 4th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
I was kinda wary about whether I was going to like Jack, just because I'd heard so much about him being The Greatest Character In The History of the Universe, but then . . . I totally fell for him. Madly. I think I may have swooned a little bit. So, y'know. :D

The Empty Child was the first episode of this show that I actually ever really, really enjoyed fully throughout -- before when I'd tried to watch it, I kinda wound up getting bored, so this episode is really to thank for the fact that this show has since eaten my brain. Hurrah?

Just for the record, dancing is not on the Checklist of Cute.

??!! *faints from shock* Dancing? Dancing? Oh, come on!
rainbowstevie
Feb. 4th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
See, I was hoping I'd fall for him, especially as normally I’m all for the attractive guys…but it just didn’t work.

The Empty Child was the first episode of this show that I actually ever really, really enjoyed fully throughout
I’m feeling increasingly bad that I didn’t like it, and am wondering if there is something faulty with the inner workings of my head. I can see how it was decently entertaining, but can’t figure out why it’s captivated the entire fan base.

Oh, come on!
I have a deep, deep contempt for dancing. I think it stems from the fact that everyone always acts self-conscious/embarrassed to do it, and I HATE conspicuous embarrassment. I'm also pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that I spent 15 years in dance classes, which for most people would probably make it easier, but for me it just burned in the conviction that the only acceptable form of dance is a carefully choreographed routine.
miniola1
Feb. 4th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
Personally, I'd have to say that Jack's character does come across as just a bit strong, but he has something that makes everyone flock to him, so maybe if you don't start liking him, you'll at least stop disliking him so much? It's something to hope for, at least.

And I definitely agree about the 'This could be a little more sonic' line. I have that on a button... *dorky grin*

The gas-mask kid seriously gave me nightmares though. More the part with the typewriter than anything else... *shudder*
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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