I wanna be a bottle blonde I don’t know why but I feel conned I wanna be an idle teen I wish I hadn’t been so clean
- marina and the diamonds
Christopher Eccleston. Hard core shipper.
As far as I’m concerned, the first season of the Doctor Who Reboot is an absolute masterclass in how to write two characters falling in love. The Ninth Doctor and Rose gravitate toward each other not because the plot demands it, but because each character offers something the other is missing. Also, despite their age and knowledge difference, they hold very similar values and approach problem-solving in almost the exact same way. They both revel in and lean on one another, and each sees the other as the most marvelous wonder in a universe full of marvelous wonders.
Theirs is also a very sexually-charged relationship, even though there’s only a single kiss in thirteen episodes. Stolen glances, reluctant touches; a whispered “run” that sends shivers up Rose’s spine. The outstretched hand, a repeated image in the season, offers the promise of wonder and danger alike, and that is such an unspeakably sensual and erotic metaphor that it threaded the entire season with this palpable feeling of sexual awakening and power, both for Rose and the Doctor alike.
Lots of fans love the second Season, but it’s actually my least favorite of the Davies years; its biggest failing, imo, is that RTD tried to capitalize on that sexual tension by making it explicit, and turning it into the driving force behind the season-long plot-line. On the surface, it seems like a great idea: The relationship between Rose and the Doctor is the most interesting part of the story, so why not focus on it? But when you zero in on the sexual or romantic tension between two characters, you often lose sight of what the relationship was built on — that these two characters complement each other and solve problems very well together. Thus in the second season, the story became all about poking and prodding the tension between Rose and the Doctor, with the actual relationship that explained why they were together almost entirely forgotten. So you saw Ten and Rose take each other for granted, and not say things that needed to be said, and not solve problems together, simply because that’s what the plot required of them. Hence their relationship began to feel less organic. Which is only natural — when sexual or romantic tension becomes plot device, it will always feel forced.
In Season 2, the outstretched hand became an explicit promise of sex, and to love each other forever. But an outstretched that merely promises sex isn’t sexy; it’s just foreshadowing. After all, there’s nothing about sex that’s unique or special; any two humans can bang out an orgasm together. And even when the hand promises eternal love, that’s not really believable either, because how can anyone — but especially Rose and the Doctor — even make that promise in good faith? They’ve both seen the end of their Worlds, and have been the last of their species; they both know that one day everything ends, including them, including this.
But the outstretched hand that promises adventure, excitement, discovery — like in Season 1 — that is sexy, because it’s something shared between two people. It’s about two discrete individuals having a joint experience, together creating something greater than the sum of their parts. And maybe one day that story will end, as all stories must, but we live it anyway, because the experience itself is worth it. That’s a love story. And that’s the story of Rose and the Ninth Doctor.
Rose Tyler —> House Tully