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03 January 2015 @ 05:02 pm
The Girl in the Fireplace  
The Girl in the Fireplace continues to be an excellent piece of Doctor Who. I dither between thinking that it is a great self-contained short story and thinking that it needs the dynamics of Rose, Mickey and the Doctor to make it work. On the surface Rose and Mickey are somewhat extraneous, but the way Mickey has upset the Doctor/Rose dynamic is, probably, quite important to the way the Doctor switches his attention to Reinette. It is also interesting that it is Mickey who is the more sympathetic and understanding at the end.

NLSS Child thought it was funny and particularly liked the horse, but she had to have the punchline explained to her. She also had to have french royal mistresses explained to her and seemed very dubious about the whole thing. I think she rather disapproved of Madame de Pompadour.

If I had a quibble with this I would say that, on third viewing, the way Madame de Pompadour is constructed as the Doctor's ideal partner/companion stretches things a little. The way she can keep up with his explanations and turn his telepathy back in on him make appear a little too perfect. If Moffat had been a woman I suspect she would be being accused of being a Mary Sue. As it is, the core of the Mary Sue criticism, that the character is a little too perfect and that the writer is possibly fonder of the character than the audience is, does, I think, have some traction here.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/134941.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on January 4th, 2015 10:29 am (UTC)
I haven't seen this for ages, but I recall it being my favourite episode of the season, at the time and on re-viewing. I agree that Moffat does seem to make Madame de Pompadour a little too perfect (I think in my review I made a slightly cynical comment about historians blaming her for her disastrous influence on French foreign policy). Mary Sue allegations were common in this era, with some fans claiming that by this stage Rose had moved from being Everywoman to Davies' Mary Sue. Nevertheless, a great story overall.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on January 4th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
The Mary Sue allegations were silly, but I think Mary Sues are a special case of characters that the author is fonder of than the audience, and I think arguably both Rose and Madame de Pompadour fit into that category.

Although given how wildly popular Rose was in general, it is hard to say for sure that the author was fonder of her than the audience. He was certainly fonder of her than a certain segment of the audience.
wellinghallwellinghall on January 4th, 2015 03:32 pm (UTC)
Can you remind me what the punchline was?
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on January 4th, 2015 03:43 pm (UTC)
The reason why the robots are obsessed with Madame de Pompadour is because they are service robots for the ship Madame de Pompadour (and the story has worked quite hard to explain the way they reason so that this accounts for their obsession). This is revealed at the end after the Doctor has departed. He never discovers the reason for their obsession.
wellinghallwellinghall on January 4th, 2015 03:44 pm (UTC)
Ah, of course. Thanks.