I’m pleased to announce that I have high hopes for the Bechdel Test scores. The first two (NuWho) episodes pass the test. I’d assign an extra few points to “The End of the World” for treatment of gender reassignment as completely incidental. Happily, 5 billion years in the future, we are a gender-enlightened people: When the Lady Cassandra O’Brien.Δ17 mentions her boyhood on Earth, Rose doesn’t register so much as a flicker of surprise or interest. (Sadly, Cassandra is a blatant racist. So I guess we’ll still have that.) I’ve always loved her character as a funny hyperbole showing the (il)logical extension of our obsession with beauty and thinness.
Also funny? Jackie. I fucking LOVE Jackie. Her attempt to seduce the Doctor is hilarious to me. I read this as some inherent feminism from the mind of Russel T. Davies as if he thought, See how ridiculous it is two have a one-dimensionally sexualized character for a minute there? This was my first Dr. Who episode, and the first time I saw it I read the Doctor’s reaction as an assurance that sexual tension wasn’t going to be a crutch to give the characters emotional depth. (I’m looking at you, every American television program ever.) The dynamic between Jackie and Rose rounds out the depth of their characters. Almost the entirety of the Bechdel-qualifying dialogue in Rose is Jackie and Rose arguing about money and Rose’s job. Their relationship feels very textured and authentic.
I wanted to present the introduction of the reboot with some care, but I’ll be condensing more episodes into each future “Bechdel” post.
Current score: 2/2