So when I finished series three, I knew that the Christmas episode didn't really impact what happened in four, so yeah, that's why I passed it over. Now I had intended to go back and watch it once I was caught up (mid-season four), but I had gotten more and more into the Doctor/Rose relationship, and I read not so nice commentary about the episode and Astrid/Kylie Minogue. Then I saw brief flashes here and there of the interaction between the Doctor and Astrid that my newly Doctor/Rose-loving heart rebelled against. So yeah, didn't watch it forever.
Well, I finally did.
Erm, did Russell T Davies REALLY write this one? I mean, REALLY?!?!? This was baaaaaaaaaaaad; and not because of Astrid. I actually quite liked Astrid, but I do think that better casting would have made her even more likable. That's not to say that Kylie Minogue was bad -- in fact, the cutest moment for me was her grabbing the box to kiss the Doctor, which only happened because of how flippin' tiny Minogue is. She was, well, rather like Freema Agyeman in that she's not a bad actress, she just doesn't compare at all to Piper, Catherine Tate, not to mention Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. And, being shallow for a moment, she's a very good-looking woman, but she also looks her age and therefore, no matter how much foundation they applied, she still looked older than Tennant. Don't get me wrong, she was very cute and I did think that Astrid was adorable, she just isn't a very good actress, and not quite cute enough for me to buy the relationship that was being sold. Oh well.
Moving on to the main reason (hey, I can be honest about it) that I waited so long to watch VotD: the kissing. I was fine with the first kiss in terms of why/how Astrid did it (again, the box? HI-larious!), but I was a bit thrown by the Doctor's reaction. He was, well, a bit too thrown himself. It's not even about Rose, it's about the fact that the Doctor NEVER reacts that way to being kissed -- okay, well, he did when Rose/Cassandra kissed him, but other than that, he doesn't. I just think that RTD and/or Tennant overplayed that moment. But that had nothing on the fact that the Doctor repeated the custom line and kissed her atoms at the end. WTF? No, seriously ... what the fuck!?!? The Doctor doesn't go around kissing people when he's going to lose them/lost them. He woulda done that when he first sent Rose off in "Doomsday" if he did. He just doesn't do that. It's not about my shipper-tendencies, it's that it was out of character. The Doctor doesn't roll that way; his brain doesn't work that way. It was just stupid, frankly. He's not going to say goodbye to someone by snogging them. That. is. not. the. Doctor!
So, that was complete overkill, in my opinion. But then the Doctor coming across as somewhat fancying Astrid through much of it was a bit out of character too. The Doctor doesn't randomly get a thing for people he just meets. Yeah, it happened fairly quickly with Rose, but it didn't even happen that fast with her. So, yeah, the whole Doctor reaction to Astrid overall was a tad out of character. Honestly, Rusty! Does he have some heterosexual crush on Kylie Minogue that he was incapable of not pouring into the script?
As for the rest ...
- WILF!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had forgotten that Bernard Cribbins was in this as Wilf. Yayers!!!
- David Tennant looked REALLY, REALLY good in this episode. There was actually a shot where I thought, "hmm, he looks hot." And (a minority in this fandom, I know), I NEVER think that about Tennant. The tux, the hair -- much better than how it was in series four, the glasses (when they came out). Very, very nice.
- Some great Doctor moments in general, cute lines ("Take me to your leader. I've always wanted to say that."), good scenes here and there.
- I was actually a tad bummed that the Doctor didn't offer Mr. Copper the chance to come with him. I really liked Mr. Copper.
- The Doctor walking in practically slo-mo, standing still, all bad-ass (while I was literally rolling my eyes), holding his arms out, the Hosts walk up, he snaps his finger (GOD!! So that's where Moffat got it from! Thanks, Rusty!) and the hosts take him flying. SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!?
Yeah, pretty lame episode. As one of the few who really likes "Love & Monsters," I'd easily say this was THE worst Russel T Davies-penned Who episode; and, of course, it's one of the highest ratest ever. So, meh casting or not, Kylie sure brought 'em. I just wish that Rusty had offered up a better episode for the masses. Ah well, now I don't feel like I've been missing out at all by not having watching this before.
At least my new Who-viewing is fully complete at last. (Oh crap, it's not. I still haven't watched "Time Crash." Damnit!)
ETA: I generally share a brain with butterfly when it comes to Who, and I know that she really enjoys this episode and Astrid, and really bought into the Rose/Astrid parallels (which I didn't mention above). I didn't mention them because while to a small degree I could see them, well, shinyopals described the superficialness of it very well:
The way I can just about retcon it is because Astrid reminds me anything from "a little" to "a lot" of Rose. (Although bear in mind it's been a year since I watched it, so my analysis may be a bit off.) Superficially, she's blonde and pretty. Also, she's working a dull, minimum wage type job, pretending to smile and be good at "customer service" and squees like mad when she finally gets a chance to stand on a different world. And her death in particular: she falls from him and then he gets one last chance to see her, but it's not quite real and he *can't* touch her/talk to her.I got all of that too, but I shouldn't have to reach to get there and I did. I WISH that I could have seen those parallels stronger, but I think that would have relied on stronger acting by Kylie. And I don't think she's capable of it.
It did have a few other good moments, salienne mentioned a few more in her comment below; it was just the overall cracktastic nature of it was just too much for me. I dunno, maybe if I had watched it in order and not let so much time pass between with expectations (thinking it would be horrible on one hand, thinking I'd wind up absolutley loving it, on the other) I would have enjoyed it more. I dunno.