Student’s Corner: Vincent and the Doctor

Ashley Lanuza, contributing student writer from San Gabriel Mission High School.

by Ashley Lanuza

Starry Night

Starry Night (Gogh) ft. the TARDIS from Doctor Who Parody by “TerryLightfoot”

Though the BBC TV series “Doctor Who” is known for its silly antics and satirical story plots, there will always be a special episode or episodes that are held close to the heart by all Whovians alike. Personally, I fell in love with “Vincent and the Doctor” (Series 5, Episode 10). In this episode, the two-hearted alien (Matt Smith) goes back in time with Scottish companion Amelia Pond (Karen Gillan) to meet Post-Impressionist artist, Vincent Van Gogh (Tony Curran). Vincent, known to have painted The Starry Night, Sunflowers, Irises, and many others, also committed suicide at thirty-seven and may have suffered many physical and mental instabilities. However, his post-impressionist work continues to grow famous and can be found in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France. The Doctor Who episode touched on the painter’s reclusive and miserable life, but showing that even when people feel the worst of themselves, they are still admired by someone.
Vincent is characterized as depressed, deeply tortured and awfully lonely and is shown to not have had any care for his paintings since everyone dismissed them (fact: he only sold one painting his entire career). Still, he, the Doctor, and Amelia fight against an alien visitor that only Gogh can see. At the end of the climax, the Doctor takes Vincent to the future to the Musée. Bill Nighy acts as the museum curator, Dr. Black, who praises Vincent for his impacting and outstanding work with color, lighting, structure, and form. An eavesdropping Vincent begins to cry, and realizes the worth and value of his art and himself. It is a touching storyline that relays the message that, though we can think as lowly as we want about ourselves, we will always be loved. Someone will always be there to praise us, and love us, and remind us that we are loveable- and that we are with value. Though the time-traveling pair is unable to stop Vincent from committing suicide, the Doctor does say, remarkably, a line that reminds you that life isn’t perfect. The Eleventh Doctor tells Amelia, “The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

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