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Introducing Jodie Whittaker, first female Doctor Who

The next Time Lord will be a woman!

Fans of Doctor Who were surprised over the weekend with the announcement that Jodie Whittaker, an actress most known for her role in the BBC drama Broadchurch, will be stepping into the role of the thirteenth doctor! This makes her the first female lead of the 50-year-old television show.

The Doctor, an adventurer who flies around in his time-travelling phone box saving the world with a number of different companions, has always been a man — albeit an eccentric man. After such a long sting, I have to admit it’s hard to imagine the character as a woman.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so. The decision itself has caused a lot of controversy. Long-time fans have said they will no longer watch the show now that the lead is female. The Internet has blown up with sexist remarks and angry sentiments from fans completely distraught that the BBC has decided to change a long-standing tradition of making The Doctor a man. A bit of an overreaction I think.

I, for one, am excited to see where Whittaker takes Doctor Who. While it will be an adjustment, sometimes change is a good thing. There has been a call for a female Doctor Who for years, and honestly, if the BBC decided to hire another white male actor, there probably would have been just as much of an uproar from female fans.

But, I really don’t understand the controversy. Doctor Who, for the most part, has always been a gender-friendly television show. It was only a few seasons ago the writers decided to make The Doctor’s nemesis a woman, despite years of the character being played by a man. I don’t remember such negativity on the Internet when Missy showed up instead of The Master.

And then, there are the companions.

The female companions were always strong-willed characters that were able to keep the madman of a Doctor in check. They asked questions, never assuming the Doctor knew what he was doing, and stood up to him when he was being selfish or high-tempered. They were, and still are, critical parts of the show. Never has a female companion simply become the love interest. In a refreshing twist for a television show, romance is just not part of The Doctor’s charm. Even The Doctor’s wife had to work hard for a little bit of action, and she played a much larger role in saving the world than she did as a lover.

Then there was Captain Jack Harkness, who was the first openly non-heterosexual character on the show. His portrayal of bisexuality (although in 2017 terms he would probably best be described as pansexual) inspired so many people that he was re-cast in the role as the lead for the spin-off series Torchwood.

And finally, in the latest Doctor Who series, writers introduced the first female gay companion.

After all of these transformations, there was nowhere else for Doctor Who to go. Having a female Doctor was necessary and should give the BBC the opportunity it needs to bring a new and refreshing take to the show after the last 50 years. Personally, I think all fans should hold their opinions until they see Whittaker in action.

But, I’m still left with one question. Considering the companions of the story are the real heroes of Doctor Who: will Whittaker’s partner in crime be male, or female? Sure, a powerhouse double female act would be absolutely amazing — but who else is itching for a male companion with a female Doctor? Or better yet, an alien!

 

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Review: Lauren Graham’s ‘Talking As Fast As I Can’

As avid readers of Women’s Post are keenly aware, I’m a big fan of the hit-show Gilmore Girls. Even though I didn’t love the revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the original show still maintains a special spot in my heart. That’s why I picked up Lauren Graham’s book “Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything In Between).”

When I started to read this book, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was an autobiography of sorts that touched on the actress’ role as the infamous Lorelai Gilmore and that it would contain a diary of the filming of the revival. But the book also gives readers a sneak-peak at the Graham pre-and-post this iconic role.

I knew nothing about the actress behind my all-time favourite television character — which meant that while reading the book all I heard was Lorelai Gilmore speaking in my head. But, strangely enough, that worked.

It takes a few chapters to get used to Graham’s writing style, which is as conversational and scattered as a Gilmore Girl. She makes the reader feel like a friend and is not afraid to abruptly end a sentence and jump into broadway song lyrics or go on a tangent about her wardrobe or a phone conversation she had with her dad. It’s through this writing style the readers are truly able to get to know the author.

Some of my favourite chapters revolved around her writing and her entrepreneurship. When she first started writing, she received a lot of flak from male journalists and men within these industries, all of whom couldn’t believe she didn’t have help completing her work. When bigger opportunities were offered to her, she questioned it, wondering whether the people she was meeting with had other people in mind to produce or be in charge of her projects. The sexism she experienced made her feel inferior, but it’s something she was able to combat, which I found incredibly inspirational.

“It’s not lost on me that two of the biggest opportunities I’ve had to break into the next level were given to me by successful women in positions of power,” she writes. “If I’m ever in that position and you ask me, “Who?” I’ll do my best to say, “You” too. But in order to get there, you may have to break down the walls of whatever it is that’s holding you back first. Ignore the doubt—it’s not your friend—and just keep going, keep going, keep going.”

And of course, there were the two chapters on Gilmore Girls themselves. In “What was it like, Part I”, Graham re-watches the original series and makes comments on the fashion, technology, and the elements she loved about each season. This chapter seems to go by fast, and I wished there was more insight into the relationships between the actors rather than a simple review — but that’s not Graham’s style. As much as that was what I wanted, I respect Graham for not dishing on her co-workers. The whole book is full of positive messages, and that was something I sorely needed at the time I read it.

In “What it was like, Part II”, there was a lot more detail. Graham kept a diary during the filming of the Gilmore Girl revival and readers get an in-depth look into the challenging process of re-creating the series nearly 10 years later. The diary is written in order of filming, not in order of episodes, which provides a unique view into what it was like to make the Netflix hit. Apparently, Carol King gave an impromptu concert that led to many tears and a few emotional breakdowns. Don’t you wish you could have been there?

What did I learn after reading this book? Lauren Graham is my spirit animal — and probably yours too!Her style is refreshing and authentic, something that is very rare in memoires, which tend to be overly edited and formal.  Some of the other topics mentioned in the book include the trials and tribulations of trying to be an actress in New York, the blunt of sexism when trying to promote her first novel, and the challenge of sitting down and writing. She speaks candidly of the jobs she auditioned for that made her cry, the jobs she took because she had to, and the struggles of being an artist.

If I had to sum up “Talking As Fast As I Can” in one essence, I would say this: Graham broke down the barrier between “celebrity” and “normal”, proving that actors and actresses are just regular, nerdy people who love the work they do, and sometimes do work they don’t love to do. Seems simple, but trust me, its a lot more complicated. You should probably read the book to truly understand.

Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany wins Emmy for Orphan Black

There were a lot of good things that came from Sunday night’s Emmy’s — but for me, the most exciting was that Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany won an award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series.

Yes! I am a part of the Clone Club fan base and I’m not afraid to shout it from the rooftop. But, more specifically, I am a huge fan of Tatiana Maslany.

Maslany plays over 10 different characters in the hit sci-fi television show Orphan Black. Her characters are all clones, but they lead unique and separate lives. They have individual looks, accents, and personalities. Maslany’s ability to make the audience actually believe she is playing different people is what makes her deserving of this award — in fact, I find it hard to believe that it has taken this long.

Not only does Orphan Black create a realistic and frightening portrayal of a world in which evolution can be hand-picked and where sentient beings are considered intellectual property, but it also deals with a number of gender-specific issues that a lot of television shows steer away from. Maslany has played a hot-tempered, single mom from London, England; an American police detective with a drug addiction; a traditional (but scary) soccer mom; a lesbian nerd and geneticist; a tortured Ukrainian assassin; and even a transgendered male. And that is just a list of SOME of the clones within the series. It seems every few episodes a new character is introduced into the plot.

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These characters not only fight to gain their independence and freedom from their creators, but they also represent strong and capable women (and men). What I love about the show is they don’t shove these gender roles, or rather the lack thereof, in your face. LGBTQ characters like clone Cosima and adopted brother Felix are simply there, existing along with everyone else, fighting for the same cause.

That may seem like a strange statement — to say that these characters are “simply existing.” But, in many television shows, writers will use LGBTQ characters as a way to introduce gay-or-lesbian-specific problems or conflicts. They stand out, becoming the quintessential and/or token “gay” or “lesbian” personas.

That is not the case in Orphan Black. If a character is gay, it’s considered a fact. That’s it. Instead of making their gender or sexual orientation a part of the plot, the show focuses on the larger storyline — keeping your family safe and implications of genetic manipulation.

And that’s how it should be.

Even Maslany, who has been nominated twice for the award, acknowledged this powerful part of her role during her acceptance speech. “I feel so lucky to be part of a show that puts women at the center,” she said amid her thank you’s.

I am overjoyed that Maslany has finally received the recognition she deserves for her role in Orphan Black. Every episode I watch, I find that I’m admiring her talents more and more. I don’t know another actress who is able to play such a variety of characters with such intensity, passion, and ability — and all within 45 minutes of television.

So, without risking spoilers, let me just say this: Maslany, congratulations on your Emmy! It is well deserved.

What if he were a she?

The media response to Leonardo Di Caprio recent appearance would have been much worse if he were a woman

Recently the trash tabloids reported that Leonardo Di Caprio was seen leaving a night club with 20 women in tow. Most of the reports pointed out how surrounding himself with vacuous faces was pathetic, but all seemed to take glee in his exploits. Imagine how much harsher the reports would be if  he  had been a she.

Take the statement below for example and replace his name with a woman the public sees as sweet and innocent – Anne Hathaway — and try to imagine the tabloid reaction.

Leonardo DiCaprio Anne Hathaway reportedly left a nightclub in Miami last night with 20 women in tow. The tone of the coverage of this mass exodus from the VIP room has been gleeful, fist pumping, and congratulatory.

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Had he been a she the tone of reporting would have been much harsher. If a woman were seen leaving a night club with 20 men in tow the narrative reporters would use would include words like, slutty, a tramp, or a woman desperate for attention. They might also throw that she was crazy, or not operating with a full deck

Why is it that we are still bogged down by these archaic social customs?

The answer is simply that the media has become little more than a microphone to broadcast our crudest and most spiteful responses to those who break with social customs. To expect more from these reporters is naïve and ignores the fact that our individual responses and standards are what should be questioned.

So the next time you read a gossip column telling you that a woman is slutty, crazy or both question the very notion of the words they have used to describe her and then shut down your computer, pick up a copy of Vagina by Naomi Wolf and read it.