Queer Representation and Visibility in Doctor WhoThe Fat One and The Thin One

The Fat One and The Thin One are minor characters who appeared in the series six episode A Good Man Goes To War. They are two, of many, Anglican Marines stationed on the Demon’s Run base, charged with guarding Amy and Melody Pond. It is revealed to the audience that they are married shortly after their introduction, during an exchange with another Marine, Lorna Bucket

Thin One: Hello. I’m the Thin One. This is my husband. He’s the Fat One.
Lorna: Don’t you have names?
Fat One: We’re the Thin Fat Gay married Anglican Marines. Why would we need names as well?

Though they are only minor characters I have chosen to include them in this series because much of what is problematic about their portrayal helps shed light on the  bigger problems the show has had with GSM representation since Moffat has taken over as showrunner. 

Firstly their sexual orientations are sensationalised for a cheap laugh. I mean, let’s be clear, if these two had been a man and a women the fact that they were fat, thin, married, Anglican marines would not have been a joke. This isn’t the only time sexual orientations are used for a punchline. It is something which happens over and over again, with Madame Vastra and Jenny, Canton, River and Captain Jack during his first appearance. 

This choice to constantly play GSM character’s sexual orientations for laughs is grossly offensive and a complete double standard that, as I’ve mentioned before, facilitates the othering of GSM folk and reinforces attitudes and opinions which are used to justify all kinds of oppressive behavior. 

Furthermore, with regards to these two specifically, the implication that their sexual orientations would be enough to differentiate them from every other marine on that base makes no sense. The Battle of Demon’s Run takes place in the 52nd century, a time where same-gender and inter-species relationship are, supposedly, commonplace. 

To top it all off, shortly after the above exchange, The Fat One is taken to the Headless Monks headquaters where he believes he is going to participate in a conversion tutorial, but is actually murdered. 

Whilst Moffat appears to want to improve the representation of GSM folk in Doctor Who he continuously turns these characters orientations into jokes. The Fat One and The Thin One encapsulate this tendency in a very revealing way. Whilst some people may be of the opinion that their presence, as visible gay characters, is valuable in and of itself, I personally feel that characters like The Fat One and The Thin One are far more harmful than they are helpful. Rather than have more characters such as these two, It’d be far better to see a return to GSM characters whose orientations are normalised and not reduced to one-liners and comedic relief. 

Queer Representation and Visibility in Doctor WhoThe Fat One and The Thin One

The Fat One and The Thin One are minor characters who appeared in the series six episode A Good Man Goes To War. They are two, of many, Anglican Marines stationed on the Demon’s Run base, charged with guarding Amy and Melody Pond. It is revealed to the audience that they are married shortly after their introduction, during an exchange with another Marine, Lorna Bucket

Thin One: Hello. I’m the Thin One. This is my husband. He’s the Fat One.
Lorna: Don’t you have names?
Fat One: We’re the Thin Fat Gay married Anglican Marines. Why would we need names as well?

Though they are only minor characters I have chosen to include them in this series because much of what is problematic about their portrayal helps shed light on the  bigger problems the show has had with GSM representation since Moffat has taken over as showrunner. 

Firstly their sexual orientations are sensationalised for a cheap laugh. I mean, let’s be clear, if these two had been a man and a women the fact that they were fat, thin, married, Anglican marines would not have been a joke. This isn’t the only time sexual orientations are used for a punchline. It is something which happens over and over again, with Madame Vastra and Jenny, Canton, River and Captain Jack during his first appearance. 

This choice to constantly play GSM character’s sexual orientations for laughs is grossly offensive and a complete double standard that, as I’ve mentioned before, facilitates the othering of GSM folk and reinforces attitudes and opinions which are used to justify all kinds of oppressive behavior. 

Furthermore, with regards to these two specifically, the implication that their sexual orientations would be enough to differentiate them from every other marine on that base makes no sense. The Battle of Demon’s Run takes place in the 52nd century, a time where same-gender and inter-species relationship are, supposedly, commonplace. 

To top it all off, shortly after the above exchange, The Fat One is taken to the Headless Monks headquaters where he believes he is going to participate in a conversion tutorial, but is actually murdered. 

Whilst Moffat appears to want to improve the representation of GSM folk in Doctor Who he continuously turns these characters orientations into jokes. The Fat One and The Thin One encapsulate this tendency in a very revealing way. Whilst some people may be of the opinion that their presence, as visible gay characters, is valuable in and of itself, I personally feel that characters like The Fat One and The Thin One are far more harmful than they are helpful. Rather than have more characters such as these two, It’d be far better to see a return to GSM characters whose orientations are normalised and not reduced to one-liners and comedic relief. 

Posted on 17 June 2012
Tags: #Queer Representation and Visibility in Doctor Who  #a good man goes to war  #The Fat One  #The Thin One  
  1. hatssherlockhappiness reblogged this from feministwhoniverse
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  4. retrogradewaters reblogged this from calliatra and added:
    I was worried about these two as soon as they appeared, and I was right. Not because the characters were harmful (being...
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  19. ineedanewusername reblogged this from interndana and added:
    I think you might need to get a sense of humor, not to mention how almost every time he does involve a GSM character...
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  21. hoechbeard reblogged this from aimsme and added:
    Can I just ask a question? Since when are gay people constantly serious and never self-deprecating? Most gay people I...
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  27. courtneygeek reblogged this from sucharodthing and added:
    I don’t know I just saw it as a cute quirky couple being a cute quirky couple and I really didn’t see much of an issue...
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