Digital Polyphony

film, games, memories & random thoughts


Blog: Rose is Awful

Posted on July 16, 2012 at 2:35 AM

This week, I'm taking a break from the standard schedule and doing something I haven't done in a while: Quick Blogs and thoughts on certain things that have been in the back of my mind. Here we go I guess...

Rose is Awful


One moment, please. I just need to put on my flamesuit. If there's anything the internet has made readily apparent is that nobody should ever criticize anything that has a die-hard fanbase, and there's not a whole lot of die-hard fanbases than Doctor Who.

This isn't about Doctor Who itself, mind you. The show is immensely entertaining and, yes, I'm a fan. This is about one Rose Tyler. For those that don't know, Rose is the first companion for the Doctor beginning with the reboot in 2005. She traveled with the Doctor under his 9th and 10th incarnations, played by Christopher Ecclelston and the fan-favorite David Tennant respectively for two seasons...and I loathed her damn near the entire time.

Seriously, I debated if I even wanted to watch the series anymore about half-way through the first season. I thought wisely, though, and read up on her character (spoilers be damned) and was greeted with the promise of her departure after Season 2. "Thank God," I thought. Or "Thank the Doctor" is probably what I should say. At least to keep everything cleverly relavant.

But why did I despise Rose? Well, it all came down to her motivations from the very beginning. Rose becomes the Doctor's companion not through a passion, or desire or wanting to. She didn't have an awful life or at an crossroads. She had a good home despite the eccentricities of her mother, Jackie. A good boyfriend in Mickey. A steady job despite it being blown up. No,she does it because she's bored. Her mother and boyfriend be damned: Rose is bored and for two seasons poor Jackie and Mickey have to put up with her selfish bullshit. 

But it's not even that she's selfish and everything that happens just has to revolved around her (like in the Season 4 finales where someone mentioned companions and she snarkingly said to nobody in particular "well...I was there first." Oh shut up). Ok, she's not happy with her life despite there being no reason to be, but not once does she ever seem to fully appreciate the gravity of the emotional strain she puts on those that care a great deal about her. Everything has to be about her and somehow, even when discussing with the her mother or boyfriend, turns back to how she's hurting rather than how she's hurting them. She's not. And she wasn't. She was fine. Being "bored" isn't the same as feeling emotional hurt or at a serious crossroads on the level where you feel obligated to run off and leave your life behind. Not like it was with Martha, Donna or a lot of other companions though I don't even need to bring up the other companions to compare because Rose is pretty awful just on her own.

Seen here: Rose's typical expression of not quite smiling, not quite frowning, but probably thinking of something selfishly stupid.

Let's take a look at how she treats her boyfriend, who we can pretty much see has strong feelings for her that mean absolutely nothing Rose herself. In the pilot episode, Rose literally gives Mickey a little kiss, then runs off the the Doctor with really no discussion or consideration for him. Then, when she comes back a goddamn year later, he's still there waiting for her. He brings it up, but she just doesn't seem to realize how much pain she probably put him to. with the Doctor again, sorry old chap. Maybe someone will write you out of the show...oh wait that happens. At least he comes back and starts kicking ass.

Then Jackie, her mother, is constantly concerned. Does Rose really care? Well, probably a little more than she is with Mickey, to be honest, but she still doesn't have much of a consideration for the emotional strain she puts her through. What's annoying is that in these early seasons, the show really didn't seem to have a whole lot of direction and doesn't do the best of job of writing its characters in a believable fashion. Jackie and Mickey are written to simply accept it and "it is what it is" but that doesn't change the fact that Rose still treats them like dirt.


So her entire motivation was that was bored. She wanted a change of pace. But it's not as though her life was utterly horrible was it? She acted...well she acted like a lot of 19 year olds would probably act. But she never comes to fully understand it. She doesn't have much of a character arc in that regard. Instead, it's Mickey and Jackie that are written to "accept" what she's doing, but it never quite feels organic or honest about it. Jackie is an emotional wreck one minute about her daughter then aloof and silly the next, as though there was no connection from one episode to the other in terms of her emotional state. Same goes for Mickey. He was a great guy, treated like shit by Rose, but written so that he accepts her back without question.

Truth be told, that's a bit of a problem with the early Seasons (or Series) of the rebooted Doctor Who in the first place. It's a bit of a hodge-podge and tries to be clever but it';s never all that consistent. Once Season Three kicks off it starts to get better, extremely well written in both consistency and quality and, best of all, character believability.

Certainly can't deny the chemistry between Rose and The Doctor, though. But I wonder...what did he see in her in the first place?

You see, it's not just Rose's character that I dislike, it's what the writers did with elements that involved her character which is a reflection of the often inconstant early Seasons. The Doctor is always the Doctor, there's nothing wrong with him. He does what he does and has always done. Travel. Go on adventures. Uncover secrets. Battle nasty beings. Be silly. He's the through-line.

Rose's stories, which were intended to really humanize not only the Doctor but allow us to relate to everything going on, were handled horribly. I can't relate to someone like Rose, because Rose is a bitch. Christ, she nearly destroyed the fabric of space time because she had complete disregard for anything and everything except herself. "Oh, I can save my Dad! Oh, I won't talk about or discuss it with this man who brought me here to the past and knows everything...I'll just do it because I'm a selfish bitch."

Rose isn't useless, though. Let me make that clear, at least - she does serve a purpose even though I loathe her personality. There are moments of sincerity, but they seem to only happen in a couple of episodes (one about her father and later her farewell). She, occasionally, is able to be a strong character, but let's face it - it's the Doctor's show and even though the writers are trying their best to make her feel relevant, she rarely does. Even in some of the best episodes of the first two seasons, she's kind of just a small cog in a bigger wheel and when the show tries to do more with her involving Mickey, her father or her mother, it never seems to stick. She's back to doing stupid things or asking stupid questions in the very next episode.Yet, she has a synergistic quality with the in he knows everything and can do anything and she really can't. Again, that's a method of script writing to allow us as an audience to have a window into this crazy world full of giant faces, cat nurses, killer robots and Simon Pegg trying to kill us all.

I did feel she was handled best in the final few episodes of her character. Season two seemed to be the only time she kind of became tolerable. I enjoyed her story (away from the Doctor, and nothing to with her family) in the two-part Satan's Pit episodes. She felt strong. Assured. That was nice. And there was that one episode with the cat-doctors. New Earth. She at least felt contributing to the bigger picture.

On paper, she's great. She has that go-get-it attitude with a large dose of vulnerability. In execution, it's never consistent. Sometimes she's one way, sometimes she's the other, usually she's always complaining about shit and being obnoxious. Like a lot of Doctor Who, it's an overarching story and arc but never feels planned out. It kind of just suits the purpose as it goes along and nothing seems to relate to each other. Like how every few episodes people are shocked, shocked! that there are Aliens. You know, by now I think it's a given, don't you? After the ghosts and the giant spaceship that crashed and the other even gianter spaceship that exploded and the millions of Cybermen in the streets...hey...think we can settle it, don't you? Yet people still act surprised.

What the Hell are you talking about!?

Sorry, digressed a little there, as I said inconsistencies are abound in the early Seasons of the the show's reboot, but you get the idea. I can at least forgive the series for forgetting it's more than established people are aware of aliens, but for characters we're supposed to really love and that fans inexplicably do love, it never really settled down with Rose.

Here's the thing, though: fans, you love Rose, but you don't love Rose for her individuality. It's not her story or character, but it's what she means to the Doctor that you love. That's what I love. She has a strong bond with him, and you see if really impact him because he has feelings for her. It changed the Doctor and we saw a different side of him. It's that element that people love, not Rose being a great character but being a great plot device for an already established great character.

Want a great character? Jack Hawkins or Sarah Jane Smith are what you're looking for. Those were awesome characters, Sarah Jane often battling Rose for the number one spot in a lot of "Top 10" lists I did before writing this. Hell even Donna for all her obnoxiousness at times at least didn't treat people like they were nothing and showed a ton of heart. But like I said, I don't need to compare to other companions to show the awfulness of Rose, she does that just fine on her own with every snarky remark and bitchy motivation.

But she's not half bad to look at, is she?

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