And now, Scary-Crayon and Strange Cousin Susan present... Sarah Jane Smith Fashionista Fever! -- Part Four and a Half A: The usual suspects are all here... / and even they can't help this time by: Mickey

In Part 4.5 A of Sarah Jane Smith Fashionista Fever!, we'll spotlight the beloved BBC "Doctor Who" specials: those short and sweet one-shots that (in all but one case, anyway) proved to be just enough to tide the audience over until the program resumed full force. But first, let us hark back to previous installments of SJSFF! and recall how leather boots, polka dots, and the Andy Pandy overalls practically guaranteed a certain level of fashionista distraction... if not a complete catatonic state or exuberant-but-stinging hand-clapping in response to the fun they injected into the lovely Miss Smith's ensembles.

It's not my feet. Maybe it's that nasty scarf?I like, rilly, rilly hope that's not your hand, like, on my ass, Doctor.Are you fucking kidding me? You are, aren't you? You can't be serious!

Fun, funner, funnest!

That said, my fellow fashionista fans, I am grieved to report that two of these three traditionally wonderful wardrobe ingredients have turned to the dark side, where they stand along side such long-time residents as certain not-missed-at-all sweater vests, pith helmets masquerading as Easter bonnets, and bathing suits.

The pride I have in this outfit... whoa. It's overwhelming!No, I am *not* taking you on safari, young lady!Do you want your pickles? D'ya mind if I take them?

Terrible, terribler, terriblest!

Sarah Jane looks round for the wardrobe mistress responsible for this ensemble and she's madder than hell.While there's thankfully -- one hopes -- not much that can be done to trample the magic of a pair of leather boots, the same simply cannot be said about Andy Pandy overalls and polka dots. Therefore, for reducing those delightful elements to the following habilimental horrors, I submit that "The Five Doctors", "Dimensions in Time", and "Downtime" are all guilty of high crimes against the fashionista nation. This virtual hall is where said crimes will be exposed in full... in my charmingly obsessive and obsessively charming fangirl style, of course. Everyone needs a mission in life, yes?

Let's examine these specials beneath the fashionista microscope in chronological order, then. Our first slide contains "The Five Doctors," Sarah's not-so-triumphant reunion with her adoring pup (as well as her adoring public), in which we find that our heroine has fallen so far from fashionista nirvana that it fairly boggles the mind. Seriously, what's with that odd, translucent pink mack? I'm afraid this odd rainy day accessory is beyond comprehension, especially when one recalls the radiance of the bright yellow mac that Sarah Jane donned in "The Sontaran Experiment" years earlier. I won't even discuss that purse or the doily collar.

As the layers are peeled away, we find an outfit that's remarkably reminiscent of "The Android Invasion"'s nautically inspired garb. Except for the skinny black tie (like, so 80s nu-wave), the sweater vest (yes, I've made my peace with the sweater vest, but only just), and the pants that have morphed into a skirt, this pink atrocity is pretty much exactly the same as its predecessor. But it's not. You know?

And the boo... I can barely ask the question without my poor heart breaking. What the fuck is up with those grey slouch boots? This skirt ensemble terribly frumpy outfit absolutely could have saved itself with those old standbys -- your friends and mine -- the knee-high black leather boots. This is not an exaggeration Sarah Jane recruits her Doctor to help in the search for the wardrobe mistressborne of my love for those boots... no, no... make that my love for Sarah Jane in those boots.

Despite the almost complete and total fail of this outfit, two things keep it from achieving a big fat zero. The first and least important is that when seen next to Tegan's vomit-inspired attire, our Sarah Jane's pink nauticallia is actually okay, if only by a smidge.

The more important bit to point out in the name of all things fashionista fu-ish is what almost eradicates all negativity and replaces it with a sense of total triumph: the gloves. Yes, the gloves that are strung through her shirt sleeves! This is Sarah-liciousness kicked in the ass and attaining a fashionista apex because it's both wicked awesome and totally unexpected -- the latter because Sarah Jane is at least in the later years of her early 30s here, not a small lass of three! The first time I subjected myself to "The Five Doctors," I was as immune to Sarah Jane as I was (and still am) to true adulthood. Upon viewing the special again for this article, however, those darling gloves jumped out at me as surely as if they were a wee cricket named Jiminy.

"Dimensions in Time," our next exhibit in this special session, is very easily the most terriblest entry on the fashionista scorecard. If Sarah Jane's slouch boots broke my heart, the return of the venerable Andy Pandy overalls made me call my doctor for a prescription of horse tranquilizers... just so I could endure the pain of seeing them like this. Here, Sarah Jane turns not only on her adoring public, but also on herself by donning possibly one of the most well-loved outfits worn by any companion. Naturally, I'm always rooting for Sarah's inclusion in any and all Who-related efforts (and I'm still waiting for classic Sarah Jane Smith action figures from Character Options... what kind of fangirl would I be if I weren't?), but this cuts me to the quick more than any bathing suit and cheap sunglasses ever could. Again, I do not exaggerate one iota.

 Why would I lie about my contract stipulating the Andy Pandy outfit, Doc? Hunh?I'm really not in the mood to dithcuth Andy Pandy with you, Tharah.

The. Andy. Pandy. overalls. are. so. not. cute. here.

In this incarnation -- and the beret notwithstanding -- the adored red and white coveralls just don't spell fun and funkiness or convey a devil-may-care attitude towards fashion. No, this is just depressing, pure and simple... even desperate. It's sort of like the desperation oozing from the 70-year-old woman at the townie bar, decked out in her Daisy Dukes and eff-me stilettos... and don't forget the belly shirt cut down to her navel... which happens to be pierced. You're so much better than this, Sarah Jane Smith.

The bad taste "Dimensions in Time" left in my mouth -- at least where Sarah Jane is concerned -- created a mixture of trepidation and relief for "Downtime," the direct-to-video release that finds Sarah Jane and the Brigadier reunited. Hooray! Hip-hip-hooray! I love the Brig, almost as much as I love Sarah Jane. Almost... but I digress from the topic at hand. Although not nearly as heartbreaking as the Andy Pandy redux, this is heartbreaking in its own way. What is so heartbreaking, you ask? The willfully poor use of polka dots.

Dammit, why didn't I let sleeping Yetis lie? I've never learned, have I?Umm, no, I'm not particularly fond of your outfit, Miss Smith.You brought it on yourself, Miss Smith... are you even listening to me?

Simply put, this is a polka dot disaster of the highest magnitude. Polka dots on a sundress in the Arctic are fun; polka dots on yet another maritime inspired bib are not. Compounding the tragedy is the realization that this style of bib (or collar, if you prefer) must be quite tired by this point, as once again it's reminiscent of outfits previously seen in "The Android Invasion" and "The Time Warrior." In keeping with those similarities, seafaring and far too wide are precisely the descriptions that kept running through my head when I watched "Downtime"... among quite a few other things that have nothing to do with fashion in the least.

(Among those extra-fashionista considerations was my total delight over the one bright spot in "Downtime" besides Sarah Jane and the Brig's reunion. As Sarah Jane walked with the Brigadier following their adventure with Victoria Watling and the Yetis, she mentioned the dress she'd worn in "Pyramids of Mars" and how the Doctor told her it had belonged to Victoria. She then repeated her wiseass response about how she hoped Albert hadn't worn it! That's right, move along, pay no attention to the squeeing fangirl...)

Lest you think I've glossed over the colors of this outfit, fear not. When used in the same piece of clothing, black and white don't necessarily double their go-with-anything status -- and especially not with khaki. Or camel. Or taupe, for that matter. Black with those colors? Grand. White with those colors? Splendid. But not black and white. And especially not on a collar that had to be inspired by some seaworthy musical of yore...

And with that, this short BBC Doctor Who specials-inspired installment of Fashionista Fever! comes to its ultimately depressing end. But have no fear! In the next report, we'll find Sarah Jane totally back on her fashionista track as I examine our enterprising Earth girl's run-in with the Doctor in "School Reunion", Sarah Jane's first truly worthy appearance since "The Hand of Fear". Later, as a pivotal member of the Doctor's Children of Time in "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End", Sarah Jane further restored my fashionista faith. And I haven't even contemplated the finer points of "The Sarah Jane Adventures" yet! If nothing else, just knowing that there will be plenty of leather boots to go around should renew your confidence in Sarah Jane's ability to dress herself -- and quiet any lingering doubts concerning your ability to endure future installments of Sarah Jane Smith Fashionista Fever! Horse tranquilizers will not be necessary.

-- Mickey --

You've come this far, so why stop now? Continue on to the next installment of Sarah Jane Smith Fashionista Fever! -- or revisit any of the previous episodes!

| Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four |
| Part Four and a Half A | Part Four and a Half B |

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