The long-running Doctor Who features a Time Lord called "The Doctor," who's over a thousand years old and has the ability to regenerate. And even though he travels with mortal companions, they too change after a season or three. But while The Doctor is still The Doctor, his companions are wholly new characters. They're a diverse lot of women (and sometimes men) who have little in common with each other except the desire to follow The Doctor through all of time and space, battling evil with logic, love, and varying adorable accents.
Oh, and they're usually hot, but not always.
Whovians love to argue over who are the best and worst companions, and for good reason. These are the audience's proxies. The Doctor is semi-immortal, more ingenious than any human, and filled with all the compassion and fury that comes from owning two hearts. We are not The Doctor. But we can relate to the humans he chooses as his friends and teammates in the fight against evil. That's why who you like most reveals more than your feelings on characterization and dramatic structure; it speaks to your own identity.
Clara Oswald is The Doctor's current companion, and her most notable characteristic is that she is just totes adorbs!
Oh look at you! Who's a pretty companion. You are! Yes you are. Yes you are!
What else? So little else. Unlike the other companions on this list, after two full seasons, we still don't know a lot about her, other than her being plucky and attractive. Oh wait, she makes omelets. We know that.
Clara is known as "The Impossible Girl" because The Doctor met her in several incarnations before he ever met her properly. Turns out that all those other Claras were copies of one Clara sent into The Doctors timeline to assist him. Yeah, that sounds pretty neat, but ultimately she's just a young, hot schoolteacher, and those are not characteristics that generate plot so much as wet dreams.
Look, I'm not saying I wouldn't have sex with her, I'm saying she's a bad character. Compartmentalize for a second, you cretin.
What It Says About You If Clara Is Your Favorite:
You don't like Doctor Who. Where would one point to explain why she is their favorite? Unlike the upcoming entries, where there are distinct characteristics of love, empathy, or competence, Clara is simply "plucky, cute girl." She should star in a Nickelodeon show called She's So Clara, not travel with The Doctor. And unlike the other entries, I can't tell a lot about your psychology from your love for her, beyond the fact that you relate to cute vapid stuff that sucks. If there actually is someone out there who is a fan of the show, knows all the reboot episodes, and loves Clara most of all (and not for masturbatory purposes), I encourage you to explain why in the comments. Tell us what she represents for you. After all, if being a Whovian means understanding that even The Doctor can learn from humanity, we should be able to learn from ourselves.
Before meeting The Doctor, Rose Tyler was a twenty-something shopgirl with a very promising future in being murdered by mannequins. She was bored by her work, surroundings, and her boyfriend Mickey, who as far as I'm concerned is a heck of a sweet kid. But then she met The Doctor and everything changed. She was exposed to all the wonders of time and space, and more importantly, to The Doctor's sultry "come hither" looks. In his presence, Rose tries to be better, smarter, braver, and often succeeds. Also, she's deeply in love with The Doctor, and even more surprising to me, he seems to love her.
Most awesome chick in all of time and space?
Although a fan favorite, in comparison to the most of the companions, I've never particularly liked Rose. Her arc is set up like a Cinderella story, but she is not Cinderella. She's not some oppressed diamond in the rough saved from injustice by a fairy godmother. We don't see a woman who was trying to better herself, learn more, see the world, always thwarted by family or socioeconomic pressures. (She also doesn't sing songs with talking rats, but that's less important.)
She's just a regular person, and the minute she gets a taste of The Doctor, she never looks back. She doesn't want her very nice boyfriend because, unfortunately, he's not a brilliant master of time and space. (We've all been there.) Too often, I feel that if it weren't for The Doctor, Rose would have just as easily left town with some rich businessman.
"Yes, Mickey, I know you love me, but I see someone with a better car off in the distance."
Many feel that's too hard an indictment on Rose for two reasons: 1) The Doctor is no mere rich guy -- he is a savior worthy of Rose's love and devotion, and 2) she's not some trophy girlfriend lapping up the spoils of space travel like the average, stereotypical Time Lord groupie -- she is a brave and resourceful woman. But still, I feel that is the effect of The Doctor's presence, and I don't like how he is seemingly her complete tutor, even if he is smarter than everyone on our planet. She may have earned her role as companion over time, but it always felt too much like she just won the space lottery.
Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Getty Images
And kudos to Rose, because if most people won the space lottery, they'd just buy tons of space cocaine.
What It Says About You If Rose Is Your Favorite
You are a romantic. You are not bothered by the Cinderella aspects of the story, in which a man swoops in and saves a common girl from everyday drudgery. You watch the heavens for your own TARDIS to take you away, and you like Rose because she represents the ideas of both an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things and being rewarded with an extraordinary love.
Before going into space, Martha Jones was a driven and talented medical student. In her very first encounter with The Doctor, in the episode Smith and Jones, she showed how brave and resourceful she was by not only saving humanity, but The Doctor himself. She's also incredibly hot and attracted to The Doctor, but The Doctor just doesn't like her like that. And we all know why:
The Doctor is apparently a racist moron.
Most women I have met hate Martha, and I don't get it. She seemed to be destined for greatness before she ever met The Doctor. She was smart, compassionate, hard-working and beautiful. It makes sense that The Doctor would say, "Yeah, I could use a woman like this in my battle against evil." The only reason Martha ranks in the middle of my list is because she's too perfect. She's a female Captain America, and while that makes her an effective soldier, it didn't give quite enough dimension to her character beyond the unrequited love thing. This is why even if you added a storyline about how Captain America suffers erectile dysfunction because She-Hulk keeps sending back his flowers, Wolverine would still be more interesting to most people.
What It Says About You If Martha Is Your Favorite
You might just be madly in love with Freema Agyeman, because damn, but assuming your feelings are not purely superficial, you just respect competency above all else. You're happy that in an episode like Last of the Time Lords, a disabled and aged Doctor had a badass soldier friend who could travel the world tirelessly in her quest to save it and The Doctor. You like the idea of a smart, respectable woman doing superhero stuff without having superhero powers. Maybe you're a man who dreams of being rescued by a super solider. Maybe you're a woman who dreams of needing no man to kick ass. Competency is attractive. It's why somewhere right now someone is masturbating to the thought of Madeline Albright negotiating a peace treaty.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty
Mmm, negotiate, you vixen. Negotiate!.
I'm linking Amy and Rory as one companion because they are kind of a package deal. Amy Pond is many people's favorite companion, and I'm sure it's just a complete coincidence that she looks like this:
Not a fan of redheads? She also comes in blue.
Much like Rose, Amy is a middle-class girl going nowhere in life, but the difference is that she first meets The Doctor when she is a girl, and doesn't see him again for another 12 years. All that time, people have thought she had an imaginary friend. And in a way, The Doctor is her imaginary friend come to life. If that's all she offered as a companion, she'd have little more to offer than Rose. Because like Rose, she seems to love The Doctor, and tries desperately to emulate him.
But not by wearing bow ties, even though bow ties are cool.
But that's not all Amy is, because when The Doctor meets the full-grown Amy, she has a boyfriend: male nurse Rory Williams. Although completely unfair, there is an instant stereotypical image we get from a male nurse: compassionate, not masculine, and not too smart. After all, if he were smart, the stereotypical thinking dictates, he'd be a doctor. Rory is not a doctor. And he is certainly not The Doctor. He is simply a good, ordinary man who loves Amy. That is all he wants to be.
He goes on the TARDIS not to seek his fortune, but to keep his love Amy safe. And he is one of the few people who can criticize The Doctor, illustrating how often people die in their attempts to emulate this heroic alien. And for reasons too hard to explain here, when it was required, Rory lived on as a statue for a thousand years for the sole reason of keeping Amy safe. (I said it was too hard to explain, shut up.) And Amy, unlike Rose, decides to cast her fate with her boyfriend, whom she marries and loves, even though he's just a plain ol' stupid human with a tremendous capacity for love. But that's OK, you know what they say about guys with big hearts, amirite?
Yes, they have big top hats.
What It Says About You If Amy and Rory Are Your Favorites
Some might like the love story, as I do. Some might like that Amy chooses Rory over The Doctor, also as I do (not that The Doctor was exactly courting her). But in my experience in talking with many new Doctor Who fans, it seems that many love Amy/Rory best simply because they saw them first. And indeed, that seems to be The Doctor's reason, too. At the end of Matt Smith's final episode as The Doctor, he fantasizes (incredibly stupidly) about seeing Amy one last time, because hers is the first face his face had seen. I think that's a pretty fitting parallel between the series and its influx of new viewers that year - but not a good enough parallel not to remember that The Doctor has an actual wife that he probably would have cared to see more than the sassy redhead he toted around space for two years.
Donna Noble is by far my favorite Doctor Who companion. She is angry, short-tempered, lower-middle-class, of average intelligence, and she would not be mistaken for a svelte fashion model. Yet despite all that normalcy, she is bound for greatness. She is not some sad sack unfortunate elevated to grace by The Doctor's magic. Donna already has a super power all her own: she is pure empathy. She understands suffering. She feels it. And she reminds The Doctor, whose hearts can go cold and functional after millenia of witnessed atrocities, that suffering matters.
In the episode Planet of the Ood Donna asks to hear the telepathic suffering of a slave race that only The Doctor can hear. To prepare for the role, Catherine Tate listened to Styx's "Come Sail Away" for six hours on a loop.
The dead-eyed gaze of a woman, tortured.
Although she can only bear to listen to this song of captivity for a few moments, in her human empathy, we learn that The Doctor hears this suffering all the time. Donna Noble is flawed and human and is a wonderful defender of the universe, not in emulating The Doctor but in being Donna Noble. Repeatedly, Donna's episodes are about ordinary people believing the choices they make matter. Caring matters. That the greatest evils occur in the presence of indifference. And I'm sure to that end, it's no accident that Donna's grandfather, also incredibly empathetic, is a World War II veteran. Well, I'm not sure. Russell T. Davies and I don't hang as much as we did back in the day, but I strongly suspect it's not an accident that Grandpa Donna used to battle Nazis. Tell you what: if you're Russell T. Davies or Steven Moffat, and you're reading this, just opine in the comments below. Also, please kill Clara. Thanks.
What It Says About You If Donna Is Your Favorite
First, it says you're awesome, just like me. But what it might also say is that you're the type of person that doesn't believe saviors are necessary to destroy evil. That if simply enough ordinary people care and don't give in, that change is possible.
You know being a hero is about standing up for what you know is right, because you know it's action and the empathy that matters. Even if after all those noble efforts, most people in America still only know you for those final seasons of The Office.
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