Conversations Through Space and Time: Evaluating Eleven (Pt 1)
This is it, y’all. Our final days with Matt Smith’s Doctor. With honor and appreciation, Laura, Megan and I decided to take a moment to travel through space and time and look back at the past three seasons of Doctor Who. In this first of two parts, we take a look at some of the outer symbols of Eleven.
Laura: Full disclosure, Eleven is my favorite doctor, so I might be a little biased. And gush. A lot.
Jennifer: I have a confession: I tried to do the impossible for this post – I wanted to rewatch ALL of Eleven’s episodes to date before submitting my answers, but it just didn’t happen. At this point, I’m about halfway (well, exactly halfway, actually) with season six. Unfortunately that means that my examples will be light on the Clara front, but to be honest I’m okay with that.
Megan: I’m going to attempt to make this brief, but let the record show, I have a LOT to say about Eleven. Ten is my fav, but Eleven has a most special place in my heart. And not [just] because I would marry Matt Smith if he asked me, okay? So, back off. Still. Should anyone need to get obscenely existential about his ability to pull off a scene, you know where to find me. Moving on to the task at hand. Eleven. Take it all, baby.
L: Eleven’s outfit is totally reflective of his personality—the mad, goofy, professor/adventurer. The boots combined with the suspenders and tweed is a perfect juxtaposition. The pants that are a bit too short add to his quirk and madness. And of course, the all-famous bow tie he insists is cool is now his trademark, which I love.
J: Okay. Doctor Who Pet Peeve: When Eleven first shows up he’s in Ten’s clothes. Makes sense. HOWEVER, Ten’s clothes are made to look super short in the arms and legs, yet we all know that David Tennant is a skyscraper to Matt Smith’s normal-sized person. If ANYTHING, they should’ve had popped buttons to account for Smith squeezing to try to match Scarecrow Tennant’s circumference. Moving on. In seasons five and six, Eleven wore the tweed coat, bowtie and suspenders with too-short pants and floppy hair. Upon meeting Clara, he switches to more Victorian wear. I don’t get it, and I like the tweed better.
M: I think the whole pick-a-theme-outfit for the Doctors is amazing. It’s one of my favorite little details about this show and its simple consistency. Remember that first episode in series 5? Eleven’s speech as he dressed himself? Swoon. And, come on, I could go all day about the delight of bow-ties, stetsons and overcoats, but fact of the matter is there’s only one real thing to say about Eleven’s attire: nobody pulls off super hot hipster old man awkward giraffe like Matt Smith. Not nobody. Not. No. How. Suspenders? He’s on it. Monk get-up? Suddenly cool. Tux, top hat and tails? Treat. Yo. Self. In the words of the great philosopher, T.I., you, Matt Smith, can have whatever you like.
L: I personally like Eleven’s hair the best—a little floppy, a little goofy. Just like him.
J: How can someone so young look so old? We’re all kinda sad he didn’t regenerate as a redhead, right? I was going to mention this under “Attire,” but did you notice that… He always maintains that floppy hair UNLESS he “isn’t” the Doctor – for instance, in one of season six’s opening episodes he says “I’ve been running…and tonight I’m going to stop.” He has perfectly coiffed hair at that point. Again in the ‘ganger episode and again in the Jekyll/Hyde episode. The similarities: In all of these instances, the more put together Doctorisn’t the Doctor (robot, Flesh, Hyde). I LOVE THIS.
M: It’s not a secret. Eleven’s hair battles closely with Ten’s. It’s true. Perfection all around. But :: UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT:: some of my favorite looks on Eleven are his less polished looks. The scraggly-shaggy-never-shaving-again-even-though-it’s-a-tad-patchy-beard with the pseudo mullet? Win. The long hair [most popularly seen during The Wedding of River Song]? WINNING. (I know, right? He DOES have hair during that scene. He does, in fact, still possess something other than that mouth everybody doesn’t want to admit they rewind to watch. It has been confirmed.)
TARDIS, SONIC STUFF and GENERAL GADGETRY:
L: Compared to years past, Eleven’s sonic screwdriver is significantly larger and more robust. It opens at the end and seems a bit more mechanical than Ten’s, which looks a little more pen-like. I think this along with the bronze color makes it a little steampunk-y, and I like it better than Ten’s. The TARDIS design during the Ponds’ reign was probably my favorite so far. It was industrial but not too dark or sparse. They updated it after that, and it’s a little too machine-like for my taste. Very minimal, metallic and kind of dark.
J: I do love that these regenerate with the Doctor, especially when you think that they are all a part of him. I do like the yellow tardis better than the blue one, but that’s just a glitter thing. As far as other gadgets, my favorite from Eleven’s seasons is probably the mirror/computer thing he used in Vincent and the Doctor. It reminded me of a one-man band. I like to think of the Doctor that way. One other element that was introduced with Matt Smith (and probably more likely, Steven Moffat) – the Doctor’s Theme. It’s a big overused and can go on too long in a scene, but I LOVE it when it appears at just the right time. (There’s one point it’s used for Rory when he’s defending Amy and I basically die.)
M: Love the redecoration (though I maintain that Ten’s TARDIS is the proper TARDIS, I will receive remixes accordingly). Love the sonic. But to throw in some extras on my part, I am a huge music snob/nerd, consistently obsessing over scores and once Jen brought up the Doctor’s theme this past few seasons with Eleven, I cannot say enough times that I love love love love it and never want it to leave. Ever. That is all.
You’re welcome: http://soundcloud.com/bbc-radio-3/08-i-am-the-doctor
L: Though “geronimo!” is typically cited as Eleven’s catchphrase (opposite “Fantastic!” and “Allons-y!”), my favorites are things like, “bow ties are cool” and “come along, Ponds!” Coupled with his accent, Eleven couldn’t be more charming.
J: When I started thinking about catchphrases, “Geronimo!” obviously popped into my head first. I like it. Works great with “Fastastic!” and “Allons-y!” However, I do miss Ten’s “I’m sorry; I’m so, so sorry.” BUT why does Eleven tell people to shut up so much? Seriously, at least once per episode he’s telling someone to “SHUT UP.” Usually with vigor. It assaults my ears. I don’t like to hear the Doctor use “shut up” so often. It’s an easy leap in my head to hearing him tell poop jokes and wear jean shorts. Ohhhhh but I bet Matt Smith does love an ironic pair of jean shorts, though. (I must forget. I must forget.)
M: Honestly, Eleven’s whole “Geronimo” ordeal is secondhand in comparison to some of his greats. His use of phrases like ‘you lot’ and referring to things as ‘important’ (something about how Matt annunciates that word makes it twice as dignified) and ‘Ha!’ But when it comes to the ones I love to hear him say most often, it’s “Come ooooon, then!” and “I. AM. TALKING.” (Which is a great throwback to one of Ten’s first episodes, in series 2, The Idiot’s Lantern and that miserable father. Go on back and check that out. It gets dragged around a bit by Ten, but it’s really something by Eleven).
L: Eleven did spend a lot of time on earth, but as an earth-dweller I wasn’t disappointed. More space and other planets would be fun though.
J: Is it just me, or did Eleven spend a LOT of time on Earth? During my rewatch, I’ve done some tallying. In about 25 episodes, there were seven episodes in space and 22 on Earth, 14 of those being in England. (If my math seems off, that’s because four of those episodes took place in multiple locations. ) He needs to spend some time in outerspace, y’all. I will say this – I love that Eleven jumped around in timelines more than the others – visiting the companions, River, Craig, etc. at different times in their lives. He used that TARDIS almost exactly as the rest of us would.
M: This is very simple. Loved the time travel with Eleven. Need more space. Which translates in layman’s terms: NEED MORE GAIMAN KTHANKSBYE.
We aren’t finished yet; check out Part 2 here.
Or, if you need it, here’s Jennifer’s coping playlist: RUN on 8tracks.