That wasn’t my interpretation at all, I don’t think she was proclaimed “unfit”. I wouldn’t even say it was about the Doctor’s discomfort or implied humiliation, it was simply a humorous take on first time TARDIS travelling, which felt very real.
I think part-time companions like this give the writing a greater freedom. There’s this expectation with the main companion that they have to be amazing, they’re expected to take to it pretty quickly, and possibly to save the day at the end. There’s obviously some leeway here - characters can have doubts, they can be a bit shaken, etc. - but there are limits here. After all, you wouldn’t want them to appear weak, would you? Throwing up would probably be out of the question (covering them in Starwhale sick is fine though).
But if you think about it, it’s a perfectly normal reaction. The Doctor is a piss-poor TARDIS driver and the ride there was probably rocky. And this is a life-changing experience, for anyone at any time, never mind their age. I’m not sure how I would react, but it’ll probably be closer to Courtney’s depiction than anybody elses.
It also adds another dimension to her character - we’ve seen her rebellious, sarcastic, curious bordering on nosey. She’s perceptive, fully aware of the “disruptive influence” she poses and she’s not afraid to challenge adults, whether they are teachers or caretakers, ranging from questions to downright insults. She’s got guts and she knows it. So that display of weakness was well-earned, in a way. It doesn’t make her less awesome, just more human.
This perfectly summarizes why I love the Simpsons and hate Family Guy.
I watched that episode with my family and I could just feel how uncomfortable everyone was. Honestly, it was a really jarring, unpleasant episode.
Homer is a terrible dad. So is Peter. But Homer’s saving grace has always been that he tries—he’s bad at it and he fucks it up a lot, but he loves his family and he wants to be better than he is.
One of my favorite Homer moments is in “Diatribe of a Mad Housewife.” Tl;dr Marge writes a steamy romance novel starring herself and Ned, and when Homer finds out, he chases down Ned and, rather than attack him, asks him to teach him how to be a better husband.
There’s some part of his stupid self that wants to do better.
I never got that impression with Peter. Instead, the family has gotten more and more abusive towards Meg. It’s really unsettling for me when I started realizing that’s what happens sometimes in abusive families. Abusers sometimes single out one child to abuse, and quite often the other family members take the abuser’s side. After all, it’s easier to side with an abuser than to run the risk of becoming the target yourself.
There’s never really a point where it seems like Peter cares at all that his shitty behavior impacts his family. It actually seems to have gotten worse over the years. He expects everyone to clean up his messes because that’s always what happens; there’s really no reason for him not to be shitty.
And it’s easy to see how Meg is affected. She doesn’t have much of a character, really, because so much her screen time is devoted to being abused. The bits of character development all seem to hinge on her being this sad, neglected person who’s trying her best but never really gets any help from anyone. Quite the opposite; there have been a lot of episodes where her family sabotages any attempts to be herself.
It can be easy to forget how awful this behavior is when the only context is the show itself (frankly, everyone on Family Guy is kind of terrible). Seeing it played against the Simpsons, who are a flawed and dysfunctional but ultimately loving family, was painful to watch.