No, really. Possible spoilers from Doctor Who. I’m not sure if I’ll spoil anything, but I want to make sure and say this now before I start babbling.
I took T to see The Day of the Doctor in 3D at the theater last night. For those of you who might not know, that is the 50th anniversary special for the show Doctor Who. The episode aired in a simulcast event on November 23rd, and then Fathom Events hosted it in theaters for a one-night only type of deal on November 25th. Since I wasn’t sure if I have BBC America in my basic cable plan and I wasn’t sure we would catch the premier on the 23rd, I bought tickets for T and I to watch it in the theater. I thought it would be a fun little event for the two of us.
T decided to run a fever the morning of, so I had to pick him up from school and we spent the day on the couch. Well, he did. I made myself do boring productive things like laundry and dishes and cleaning (Did you notice I left out writing? Yeah. I’m lame like that.) While he still had a mild fever by the evening, he was feeling better, so we headed off for the theater. Him in his Tenth Doctor suit and me in my TARDIS hat (I wasn’t feeling the dress this evening).
Driving to the theater, I wondered what the turnout would be like. Is there a huge population of Doctor Who fans in the Reno area? Would they be dressed up, or mostly just in regular street clothes?
As we headed from the car to the theater, I saw the first of many fezzes. We saw sonic screwdrivers and girls in TARDIS dresses. A woman had a crocheted Dalek hat and I saw Tenth Doctors, Eleventh Doctors, a few Fours, several Captain Jack Harknesses, a couple Amelia Ponds, River Songs, and fan tee-shirts galore. It was so much fun. T was excited pointing out the characters he noticed and complimenting many of them on their costumes. He got a lot of compliments as well on his classy little tie.
The line for our auditorium was long, but everyone was in good spirits. There was one girl handing out amazing Dalek cupcakes. I was the mean mother that didn’t let her son have one…because Halloween is the only appropriate time to accept candy from strangers…right? (Actually T didn’t really mind. He liked looking at them, but didn’t seem like he really cared about eating one.)
We sat in the theater, watching the slides sharing little bits of fun facts from 50 years of Doctor Who. I listened to people guess answers to the trivia questions, and laughed at the collective “Oooooohhh…” when everyone realized John Cleese was the member of Monty Python who had been in an episode of Doctor Who.
The best part of the evening (besides watching the episode) was when a boy walked into the auditorium dressed as Rory the Roman. He was the only Rory I had seen, and I immediately pointed him out to T. It seems that was about the same time that everyone else noticed him because – suddenly – people started APPLAUDING. That was the character everyone was most excited to see cosplayed that night. Rory the Roman. The Last Centurion. Rory Williams, the boy who waited. I saw people stop him afterwards to take pictures with him. That’s when I knew I wasn’t the only hopeless romantic in fictional love with the boy who loves Amelia Pond.
I am not a fan of going to the movie theater. I love movies, but I hate crowds. I feel anxious in the theater, especially when the auditorium is crowded. I surprised myself by not feeling an ounce of anxiety this evening. I had fun. I loved the spirit in the theater as everyone filed in and found seats and learned bits of trivia about the show we share a love for.
I loved how everyone cheered together at certain parts of the episode. When a few characters from the past (or future) made an appearance. When everyone recognized the guest appearance by Tom Baker (he played the Fourth Doctor). I loved how everyone laughed together when references were made to episodes past. It was the greatest group experience ever. And the only time I’ve ever really enjoyed being in a crowded movie theater.
As we left, there was a girl of about sixteen asking her male companion (boyfriend?) if they could just see it again. And again. And again.
I felt the same way.
I love being a part of the Doctor Who fandom. From what I’ve seen, they are so accepting. You see, I didn’t grow up with The Doctor as part of my life. I only started watching a few months ago. I have now seen every episode from 2005 to present, and I’ve seen several handfuls of episodes from the early years. Now that I’m caught up with current events, it’s my plan to start from the beginning (1963) and work my way through whatever Netflix and Amazon Prime have for me.
I’ve talked to people who grew up with The Doctor in their lives, those who are lifelong Doctor Who fans from long before the latest incarnation, and I haven’t found that snobbery that sometimes appears when something reaches a “cult classic” status. There isn’t much “oh, I loved it way before you did so I must love it more.” If I don’t understand a reference, or can’t name every actor that’s played The Doctor over the last 50 years, there isn’t any scoffing or eye rolling. I can still be a fan if I really only know Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith (so far).
One little boy in line (by “little” I mean he was probably 10 or so) looked T up and down and started quizzing him on The Doctor. “How many episodes have you seen?” As if he was judging how much he loved the show compared to this boy. And then, the boy held up a toy sonic screwdriver and asked, “Whose screwdriver is this?” The answer he wanted was “the Tenth Doctor”. But the answer he got was, “YOURS.” The boy’s mom and I laughed at T’s clever remark. And then his mom faux-scolded him. “Why are you quizzing him?” Because it doesn’t matter how many episodes you’ve seen, or if you can recognize a sonic screwdriver and name its own on command. What matters is the entertainment and the overwhelmingly positive message of this brilliant show. That loyalty, honesty, and integrity will always win over. And how can you go wrong with a message like that?
So, happy 50th anniversary to Doctor Who, its cast and crew over the last 5 decades, and all of the fans from all over the world who have enjoyed that mad man in a blue box. And thank you. Thank you for entertaining us, and here’s to another 50!