You Don’t Hate Clara. You’re Just Jealous.

Jenna Coleman is leaving Doctor Who at Christmas time. Rumour has it that she’s landed the title role in a historical drama about the life of Queen Victoria. The normal reaction to this sort of announcement would be: “Congratulations Jenna, I know you’ll an amazing job. We’ll miss you on Doctor Who.”

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Did anyone say this? No.

Clara Oswald is the sixth regular companion to appear on Doctor Who since its revival in 2005. She is known as the Impossible Girl because there are multiple versions of her as the result of some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff that happened at the end of season seven. She’s spent three years with the Doctor, which is the longest time for any of the companions on New Who. She is the first companion since Rose Tyler to travel with two incarnations of the Doctor.

All these things make her pretty special. So why is the fandom cheering at her departure?

To answer this question let me take you on a little tour through time. We’re going back to 2005 to meet Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper. When she left at the end of series two in the episode Doomsday” she broke both of the Doctor’s hearts, and all of ours as well. (Just hearing the soundtrack will make me cry.) And yet there are those among the fandom who have immense dislike for her. They thought she was sappy. They thought she was weak. They thought the romance angle was stupid.*

Martha_JonesEnter Martha Jones, played by the fabulous Freema Agyeman. Martha was smart and independent. She stayed with the Doctor only a year, and rather than leaving because something horrible happened to her, she chose to walk away on her own. And yet, well, there is a portion of the fandom who hate Martha more than they dislike Rose. Martha had the capability to be someone other than the Doctor’s companion. She could take charge and look after him when he wasn’t able to look after himself, and the fans hated her for that. Why?

We’re going to skip over Donna, because she’s actually the least controversial of them all. Nobody liked her at first, we were all a little blindsided by her pushy nature, and by the end of her single season run we loved her. Everyone did. Remember that, it’s going to become important.

Amy and Rory, though. The most controversial set of companions the doctor has ever had on board his TARDIS. Some loved them. Some hated them. Some loved Rory and hated Amy. For others it was the other way around. By the time they finally said goodbye in “The Angels take Manhattan” there was a mixture of reactions ranging from “Finally” to “Nooooooo!”

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So when I noticed friends of mine on Facebook (you know who you are) giving all their reasons why Clara was the worst companion ever and it was high time she left, I felt a niggling feeling that we’d been through all this before. Oh sure, individually we all like some companions more than others, but collectively the fandom loves and hates them all in fairly equal measures.

So you don’t really hate Clara. Oh sure, individually you might hate her and prefer to have Rose Tyler or Amy Pond, but in that you contribute to the overall collective opinion of the Doctor Who fandom you don’r really hate her. You just hate that the Doctor has a companion and it’s not you.

tumblr_ndgnsloKGo1rmrq4oo1_500We are all in love with the doctor, in all of his incarnations. Any time someone else is there taking care of him, having adventures with him, risking their life for him, we compare them to our own personal standards of what we expect a companion to be and we find them lacking. Because love isn’t rational. We can’t see companions for their good aspects because subconsciously we’re thinking: “I could do so much better.” “He deserves someone who really understands him.” “You don’t love him–not like I do.”

You don’t hate Clara for who she is or how Jenna portrayed her on the show. Just like you didn’t really hate Rose or Martha or Amy. You just hate them out of blind jealousy, as rivals to your affections. Because they took your place as rightful companion at the Doctor’s side.

*This is an opinion piece. No citations available


Katie Lynn Daniels is the author of Supervillain of the Day, and the mastermind behind Vaguely Circular. She blogs about science and things that are peripherally related to science. You can read all her posts here.


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