Bartlet: Can I tell you what’s messed up about James Bond?
Bartlet: “Shaken, not stirred”will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it.
–The West Wing, “Stirred,” 2002.
I’ve been thinking about James Bond lately.
Our eponymous hero has never held residence longer than a moment or two in my mind, so the experience is mostly foreign; I suspect that I might’ve seen Tomorrow Never Dies in theatres because that particular title looks familiar. I can’t recall anything specific, but I can safely assume there was an intricate murder scheme, an expensive car chase, and Pierce Brosnan nonchalantly walking away while buildings and / or helicopters exploded in his swarthy, smouldering wake.
This week, though, the latest episode in Bond’s seemingly perpetual saga was released, and I saw this fantastic and decades-overdue quote floating around Twitter, taken from an interview Red Bulletin conducted with Bond’s current iteration, Daniel Craig.
Shortly thereafter, I wrote a list titled “Things I Know About Bond.” It was almost embarrassingly brief, but among the principal tenets was the fact that the secret agent been played by several different actors spanning a 50-year period.
Remind you of anyone?
I submit to you, Dear Reader, that somewhere between losing Rose* and “The End of Time,” The Doctor regenerated into every version of Agent 007 and executed the plot of all twenty-four James Bond films, plus three future ones and the 2019 holiday special.**
*Don’t think about it.
**I realize that such an endeavor would result in The Doctor far exceeding his allotted twelve regenerations, but showrunner and infuriating scriptmonger Steven Moffat has (reluctantly) offered conflicting answers regarding how many faces of the Doctors there have been and how many remain. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is now supposedly the first of a new cycle, which implies at least twelve more regenerations, and back in 2010, dialogue in one of the show’s former spin-offs suggested that the number could actually be infinite.
You will want evidence, of course.
Things I Know About Bond
—He prefers proper adornment.
Yes, it’s the coat that gets most of the attention, but Ten is a dandy in his own right. An overabundance of buttons, the matching vests, the perfectly-knotted ties. Risking the Earth in order to save it may be part of the job description, but that’s all the more reason why his dress shirts need to be fully pressed. Autons and Weeping Angels are one thing, but wrinkles are unacceptable in any universe. Naturally, his Bond regenerations would continue to abide by Ten’s example.
—He is fastidious regarding food preparation.
Bond likes his martinis “shaken, not stirred.” In “The Girl In the Fireplace,” Ten advises Rose to “always take a banana to a party.” Both display a commitment to upholding strict culinary standards.
—Where he treads, bright lights inevitably follow.
Granted, Ten usually doesn’t INTEND to affect chaos and destruction. AND YET.
—Where does he get those wonderful toys?
If memory serves, Bond has access to a seemingly endless supply of technologically-advanced gimzos and thingamadoodles. PERHAPS MI6 spent a gajillion dollars and developed weaponized deus ex machina in approximately 37 minutes, but isn’t it more likely that The Doctor simply constructed those fancy doodads from a leftover toaster or something?
—He maintains a stylish ride
Bond drives an Aston Martin. The Doctor sashays about in a phone box that can traverse time and space. No one can accuse either of lacking panache.
“But The Doctor and Bond are two very different characters!”, you say.
Are they? Time Lords have a stressful occupation. Who’s to say The Doctor hasn’t earned a forty-seven-year vacation?
And as Moffat reminds us: the first rule is that The Doctor lies.