Why isn't The Doctor a vegetarian?

25 August 2014

This past year I have turned into a bit of a Doctor Who nut. We started watching the reboot just before Christmas, and finished all seven seasons with a few weeks to spare before yesterday's launch of season 8. I freely acknowledge that it's not brilliant TV, it's no Game of Thrones, and most episodes have plot holes, often giant ones, but it's fun, entertaining, and, unlike Game of Thrones, rarely leaves me feeling depressed.

When I found out that yesterday's season premiere was going to be shown in cinemas, I immediately booked tickets, even though they were overpriced, because I wanted the experience of being introduced to Peter Capaldi's Doctor in cinemas. I even dressed for the occasion.

However, there is one thing that really bothers me. The Doctor has lived for over 1000 years. He always gives his enemies a chance, and is friends with all different species, and tends to reject differences between species as being relevant. He has a strong objection to causing harm, and an incredibly deontological (what you do matters more than the overall consequences) approach to ethics (Time War complexities aside). Why then, is he perfectly happy to eat roast beef, not to mention fish fingers and custard? It's true that humans (and presumably Gallifreyans) are good at cognitive dissonance, and he is probably better than most, considering his history in the Time War, but I still don't think that meat eating makes sense for his character.

Of course, The Doctor is supposed to be appealing to the everyday Brit, and I guess a vegetarian Doctor, let alone a vegan one, would probably damage that appeal somewhat. Furthermore, it probably wouldn't have occurred to the scriptwriters in the first place. That doesn't stop it from being jarring every time I see him tucking in to something he shouldn't. Furthermore, when I did a bit of digging, I discovered that the Sixth Doctor became vegetarian, and the Doctor wasn't seen to eat meat again until the reboot (source). Why couldn't that have been kept in for the reboot? They needn't have made a thing of it, just not shown the doctor sitting down and happily chowing down on animal flesh.

What do you think? Am I overanalysing an in general superficial storyline? Alternatively, what do you think of the Season 8 premiere?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic that Clara is finally going to develop some character depth, and the throwaway line "Last time I checked you weren't a vegetarian" (no context given to avoid spoilers) was particularly interesting given that I already had this post half-written last night. I also fell like I'm going to like the new doctor. Of course, the only one I didn't like on intro was Tennant, who I think ended up being my favourite.

1 comment:

  1. I did watch the first episode of Season 8 last night and that line caught me off guard. I certainly think it's right of him to call out the hypocrisy of the (lesser) human characters, but in doing so it does (in my opinion) reveal gaping flaws in his own characters.

    Ultimately, though, it's a TV show. The biting line in last nights episode was brought by the same writer (Steven Moffat) who brought us fish fingers and custard. So I can't say I'm particularly optimistic about this being a stronger theme into the future.