Doctor Who is an Asshole
Ok, I admit baiting you a little with that title. This isn’t so much to do with the Doctor as he currently exists. That Doctor is awesome and viewed with something approaching reverence. It’s a fair thing, he’s a very positive character. So when I recently delved into the first episodes featuring William Hartnell – the original Doctor – I found something rather surprising. He’s an asshole.
Remembering that the Doctor changes not only his appearance but his personality whenever he regenerates, it could be accepted that this was just an aberration. A random jerk who slipped in among the cool Doctors. But this isn’t just another regeneration: he’s the Doctor as he originally existed before any regenerations. For all intents and purposes he IS the Doctor.
So what exactly does he do to get himself labelled an asshole? Let’s take a look at some of his behaviour…
The Doctor doesn’t like being lonely. He’s the last of his kind (apart from the deranged Master) and seeks out companions to share in his adventures. In recent times he finds his companions by appealing to their sense of adventure and curiosity. Wind time back to the original serial, The Unearthly Child, and it’s a different story. When Ian and Barbara, two teachers looking out for one of their students, find their way into the TARDIS the Doctor wants to show them a thing or two and hits the ignition. Just to prove that he can travel through time.
Prove made, time to go home? Nope. The Doctor keeps Ian and Barbara on board for a long time, outright refusing to take them home. They did get to go on some pretty awesome adventures but that doesn’t excuse the action!
Asshole Rating: 7/10
DECEPTION AND MANIPULATION
The Doctor always gets what he wants. Usually by charming people or turning them around to his way of thinking. Ultimately if people won’t budge he won’t force them to do anything they don’t want and if he does it’s in their best interests.
Such was not always the case. In the episode The Dead Planet the Doctor wants to explore a deserted city when everyone else thinks that they’re in great danger and want to leave. The Doctor gets what he wants in the end – by lying to them about a missing TARDIS part that they have to go to the city for. Going by recent experiences this would all work out for the best – it’s not like the city is flooded with radiation and full of Daleks who will imprison them.
Oh wait…IT TOTALLY WAS!
Asshole Rating: 6/10
If there’s one thing that gets the Doctor into trouble, it’s his refusal to leave anyone behind regardless of the danger it may put him in. He wasn’t also so selfless though. Back in the day he couldn’t wait to leave everyone else in his dust as he scampered towards the exit. Take ‘Dalek’ serials mentioned above. When the arrive in the city and discover the high levels of radiation he uses his logical mind to deduce that they should get the hell out of there. Barbara, however, is missing. His response? Leave her behind.
Likewise when Ian is trapped in an elevator with the Daleks closing in – “leave him behind”. If he started breaking peoples legs so he could leave them behind I wouldn’t be surprised.
Asshole Rating: 7/10
During the Edge of Darkness episodes the Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara find themselves trapped on an unresponsive TARDIS. The Doctor vehemently accuses Ian and Barbara of sabotaging his ship to get them back to England (no, it doesn’t make sense to me either) which is dickish behaviour as it is. What he does next is even more nasty, however. He offers a drink to each person as a gesture of peace – having slipped a drug to knock them all out into each drink.
Asshole Rating: 8/10
During the first serial the Doctor runs afoul of some prehistoric people on the verge of a civil war over the secret of fire. The Doctor learns that one has deceived them and may have put them in danger. The Doctor, usually portrayed as a pacifist, deals with this the only way he can: he tries to kill him.
And if that isn’t bad enough, his method of execution is a good old fashioned stoning, encouraging those around him to participate in a mob stoning.
Asshole Rating: 10/10
Looking at how much the Doctor has changed over the years it’s hard to connect this version of the Doctor with the modern incarnations. One has to wonder how he ever became a sympathetic character. Perhaps he was just high.