Pop Culture Fix: Does This Mean Doctor Who Is a Lesbian?

It’s ten billion degrees in New York City. This Pop Culture Fix is my last act of defiance against the sun. By the end of the day I will be fried like an egg on the sidewalk. I love you and I hate Skins Fire. Never let the world forget. 


You and me. Time and space. You watch us run.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Doctor Who has revealed its 13th Doctor and it’s a woman! She’s Jodie Whitaker from Broadchurch and through the tears of straight men everywhere — “remember: boys need heroes too,” Mark Smith of Scotland’s The Herald cried in his post-announcement op-ed — Alex Kingston’s voice rang the loudest. “I’m always a cradle-snatcher,” she laughed to a group of giddy fans at Raleigh’s SuperCon. Right because confirmed bisexual River Song is married to the Doctor so I guess that means Thirteen is a lesbian. (With a lesbian companion…?!)

Pass along your fan fic as soon as it’s ready. (Also, you can call this helpline if you’re a man struggling with this casting choice.)


Teevee

+ Here’s a headline from the Los Angeles Time: “Jesse Eisenberg had 24 hours to write a musical — and came up with ‘four lesbian sisters'”

+ The next American Horror story is about bees?

+ There’s a new writing lab for women screenwriters.


Movies

+ Should we talk about the Wrinkle in Time trailer? (Yes, obviously.) (Here’s my contribution: HOLY CATS!)

+ Wonder Woman has now made more money than the last Harry Potter movie and is holding stronger in the box office than any superhero film in 15 years.

+ Speaking of which Wonder Woman-ness, it’s been a year since DC unveiled Superhero Girls at San Diego Comic Con. It’s now DC’s biggest new series.

+ However, there’s no Rey in the new Star Wars monopoly because Hasbro says there’s “insufficient interest.” Sure thing, guys.

+ The Hollywood Reporter’s got an excellent, candid interview with Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee.

Black Girl Magic is real — people want a piece of it, they want to see it, they want to be empowered by it. I wanted a counterbalance to women sniping at each other or throwing drinks in each other’s faces; I wanted some real relationships. And my wife’s book club watched the movie as one of my first audiences, and they laughed and loved it and said, ‘I love how soft they are with each other.’ If that’s part of the takeaway of this bold, outrageous comedy, that’s great.

An Iranian Woman Finds Love in the Japanese Lesbian Drama ‘West North West’

+ Here is a movie about that thing I talked about on the special Wonder Woman episode of Kristin Russo and Jenny Owen Youngs’ Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast last week!

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 882 articles for us.

68 Comments

  1. I need advice: I’ve never see a single episode of Doctor Who. If I start with the 13th Doctor, will I be hopelessly lost? I’ve been meaning to get into it for years, but 64 season or whatever is quite a daunting task, but I think a female Doctor is the kick I need to finally get started!

    • You should be okay. There might be some weirdness with unfinished business from a previous season, but you can pretty much jump in where you want. (Though I recommend the beginning of a new Doctor.)

      If you want to watch more, the new stuff starts in 2005, after a break from the classic stuff.

    • I used to watch it years and years ago with my dad, and I’m pretty sure you could jump in and not be too lost. There might be some references and in-jokes you wouldn’t get, but I think most episodes have enough of a self-contained storyline that it wouldn’t be an issue. Unless that’s changed in recent seasons.

    • You won’t be lost if you want to start with the 13th Doctor. It should be fine. Her first official appearance is supposed to be the upcoming Christmas special but I doubt she will be in it much as is customary with new regenerations. The show is getting an all new showrunner next season so it is highly unlikely they are going to pull too much of anything from previous seasons besides basic Doctor Who lore.

    • You’ll probably be fine starting with next season; but you might consider starting with the just-completed season, which features a new, modern-day (not to mention lesbian) companion learning about the Whoniverse.

    • My doctor was David Tennant, the tenth Doctor Who. You can start with the 9th doctor, where Billie Piper should soothe your aching. I think it’s worth the effort if you care for the doctor who universe. Sidetrack it with some Torchwood. Just remember, “The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.” Enjoy the trip

      • Id suggest starting with the most recent series, because that had a new companion and i thought it was a good series. But also you can really start anywhere. It’s made for kids who werent born in 2005 when it was brought back, so they design it like a new generation can watch every series.

  2. I’ve never read A Wrinkle in Time (I know, I know, it’s on my list) but I’ve watched that trailer about four times and CAN’T WAIT. Also, glad to see that someone on that YouTube channel is staying on top of deleting the predictable bullshit racist comments.

    • Eh, I’m not sure it’s a book you can read and love for the first time as an adult. I may be wrong.

      I loooooooved Wrinkle in Time and the rest of the series as a kid (I was maybe 9 or 10 or 11 when I started reading them) and I re-read WiT a few years ago (in my 40s) and it didn’t hold up that well for me. I was surprised. It’s a really trippy, odd book and I think it’s her first book, or at least an early book, and the story telling is not as smooth as her later work. And it’s quite Christian – a mainline Protestant slightly hippy version of Christianity, but there are actual cherubim and seraphim and all sorts of Christian metaphors that I completely missed as a child. Maybe not as heavy-handed as Narnia, but definitely of that ilk.

      I honestly have no idea how they’re going to transfer all of the delicious crazy-sauce that is the heart of this book into a movie.

      • I’ve had that experience rereading or re-watching things I loved as a kid, but I think I’d still like to read this one, as much as anything because YA fantasy is a genre I’d like to explore in my own writing someday and I feel like I should probably read all the classics. But thanks for the input – I’ll be sure not to have too high expectations. 😉

      • In all fairness, the director apparently read it for the first time as an adult, so maybe it is possible! But yeah, a big part of it for me is the ‘sinking into a hot bath of nostalgia and happy childhood feels’ part of re-reading it that makes it so good, and helps smooth over the Christian-ness of it all.

    • Do I have feeeelings about Meg. I also read WiT when I was somewhere in the 9 to 12 range. I so identified with Meg Murray – just as I identified with Jo March and Anne of Green Gables – because she was an awkward, strange looking smart girl who grew up to be beautiful and successful. And it gave awkward, smart, strange looking me some hope.

      So I really wish Meg looked nerdier in the trailer. Just as I wished that Hermione looked plainer and nerdier in the first 3 Harry Potter movies. I think that this whole plain, nerdy girl grows into a beautiful young woman trope is probably really not so good, but it’s a trope that I loved as a girl.

      • Me too! Meg was my absolute favourite, and re-reading it as an adult honestly gave me an interesting window onto 7-year-old me’s headspace (mostly I wanted to hug her a lot). I feel like the thing about that trope that did it for me, perhaps more so than the attractiveness thing, was ‘awkward nerdy girl finds friends who love her /because of/, not in spite of, what makes her awkward and outcast’, which was a message I really desperately needed to hear back then.

  3. If anybody hasn’t watched Broadchurch they really should. Jodie Whittaker is great in that. The first two seasons are all about the mystery surrounding the death of her son. Jodie is also in a great little film called Attack The Block with John Boyega.

  4. A few years ago my ex decided to watch Doctor Who from the very beginning, so I have seen a few of the original seasons. They are…. umm… not the greatest. I have a feeling she is one of those whining about tradition and is probably very upset about a female Doctor. Almost makes me wish we were still in contact just so I could see her reaction (does that make me evil?).

    I’m really not a Doctor Who fan, but I might give 13 a shot! Especially if there is a female companion…

    • The original series are hokey, for sure, and the effects, film quality, and props are… well, post-war Britain was rationing until the 70s, so things were kind of tight. There are many truly brilliant scripts in there, though. Speaking as a “stay up until midnight to watch it on PBS” Who fan who hasn’t actually seen more than a few “new” Who episodes, I’m thrilled they’re finally giving us a female-presenting Doctor (who knows how Time Lords work?! They have two hearts, what else is going on there?). Heck, queers, women, PoC, and all three have been so involved in this show since its beginnings that it’s about bloody time! I may need to acquire some means of viewing the new series.

      • I can appreciate the original, but it just wasn’t my style. I’ve seen a bit of the David Tennant Doctor Who series and did enjoy that. But, TBH, that was probably more to do with Billie Piper than anything 🙂

    • I think if you were going to call the Doctor anything, the most evidence is that they’re asexual. But could definitely argue for demiromantic directed to women.

      As a trans woman I’m really eager to see how the transition is addressed, how will she take it?

  5. 1. Oh, Heather. I will never forget and I will never, ever forgive. Thank you for always reminding me I’m not alone in this.

    2. The trailer for A Wrinkle in Time looks encouraging. It looks like it has some vim and vigor, which already puts it head and shoulders above the last adaptation! I don’t remember much about that one except thinking it was boring and hating it. I want so very much for this one to be good. I want to love it.

    3. I’ve been meaning to get back to Doctor Who since I’ve heard very flattering things about Pearl Mackie as Bill. But even if that hadn’t been enough to draw me back, Jodie Whittaker surely would be!

  6. Add me to the chorus of those who have never read A Wrinkle in Time, but are VERY VERY excited for the movie!!

    I am seeing Girls Trip on Friday. I am generally a big fan of Malcolm Lee’s work (and have been since I was a teenager), so thank you for the interview heads up! Looking forward to reading it.

  7. Four lesbian sister sounds like one of those midnight Skinimax films with a cheesy plot and acting to match. Speaking of Eisenberg, I over the weekend saw the Batman vs Superman movie, and while the plot was good, the actors were all wrong as was the portrayal. OG creators of Superman would probably not be happy with it.

    • Do I have feeeelings about Meg. I also read WiT when I was somewhere in the 9 to 12 range. I so identified with Meg Murray – just as I identified with Jo March and Anne of Green Gables – because she was an awkward, strange looking smart girl who grew up to be beautiful and successful. And it gave awkward, smart, strange looking me some hope.

      So I really wish Meg looked nerdier in the trailer. Just as I wished that Hermione looked plainer and nerdier in the first 3 Harry Potter movies. I think that this whole plain, nerdy girl grows into a beautiful young woman trope is probably really not so good, but it’s a trope that I loved as a girl.

      • It’s like they decided they really liked Edward Nigma from Batman Forever and decided that sort of annoying was what they wanted in an antagonist, but wanted to use the name of a villain with several big budget film appearances under his belt.

      • Of course he was all wrong, but, that kind of how antisemitism in media works. They cast a Jewish person as the villain, or at least make the villain have typical Jewish features. Witches in book are a pretty good example(though in some books is based of a mix of Polish fashion of the time, and Jewish women).

  8. I’m REALLY looking forward to A Wrinkle in Time, and everything I’ve seen and read about just gets me more and more excited, but I read the book when I was Meg’s age, so like 12-13, so it is REALLY disconcerting for me to see Meg as so YOUNG, but also to see actors I consider my contemporaries as her PARENTS. Seeing Gugu Mbatha-Raw with a 12 year old daughter is seriously disconcerting, right after San Junipero. And also, Chris Pine as a renowned scientist?! LOLLLL. Sorry, nothing about that is believable, especially after just seeing him in Wonder Woman. Another one for this list:

    http://www.avclub.com/article/just-add-glasses-13-actors-improbably-cast-scienti-206513

    The rest of the casting is PERFECT, but that one just seems so weird to me.

    • Ok – I’ve tried unsuccessfully 2x to post this reply to you and I AM DETERMINED to prevail.

      Do I have feeeelings about Meg. I also read WiT when I was somewhere in the 9 to 12 range. I so identified with Meg Murray – just as I identified with Jo March and Anne of Green Gables – because she was an awkward, strange looking smart girl who grew up to be beautiful and successful. And it gave awkward, smart, strange looking me some hope.

      So I really wish Meg looked nerdier in the trailer. Just as I wished that Hermione looked plainer and nerdier in the first 3 Harry Potter movies. I think that this whole plain, nerdy girl grows into a beautiful young woman trope is probably really not so good, but it’s a trope that I loved as a girl.

  9. I kinda want give credit to Hasbro straight face suggesting the interest for monopoly is either increased or decreased dependent on anything but a persons aversion to Yahtzee and/or their quest for supreme hatred of close acquaintances.

  10. A Wrinkle in Time looks so pretty and what a roundup of women! I’m absolutely thrilled to the bone that Jodie is our new doctor. I’ve been wanting a female doctor for so long and I adore Missy. Pretty pissed at Hasbro for the Rey snub. I’m sure if she were more ‘sexed’ up like Black Widow – oh…wait…nope … Black Widow gets snubbed too.

    The Professor Marston and the Wonder Women looks fan fucking tastic omg.

    -SD<3

  11. “There aren’t many places on television where boys can find a male hero who does not conform to all the usual, boring, violent, dumb male stereotypes… remember this: boys need heroes too.” Say what?

    • If you watch Classic Doctor Who, the Doctor is billed as “Doctor Who”. I know a lot of fans get upset when the Doctor is referred to in this way, but it IS accurate to say Doctor Who.

  12. Still wish they’d cast someone over 40, not white, or big-nosed… Hope they’ll give her a nice Doctory outfit and not pat themselves on the back for five years about oh ho ho, we’re so progressive, we’ve made the Doctor a girlie! I trust Whittaker but I don’t trust the writers.

    • I will be so mad if the first female doctor is straight on top of being white, thin, blonde, and presumably cis. (Can the Doctor be cis if they’re constantly changing genders? I guess not.) At least the actor’s in her 30s and not some fresh-faced 20-year-old.

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