My Guilty Pleasure

We all have them. Guilty pleasures. Something that makes us feel oh so amazing and sweeps us away to another place or time or brings back feelings of nostalgia, comfort or love... or even a bit of naughtiness.

Mine is geeky.

I am a Doctor Who fan.

Now I say this when being a Doctor Who fan is actually something that's not looked at as a disease like leprosy... but it was not always this way. I became a Doctor Who fan when I was a child. Our local PBS station would show the Tom Baker episodes (they originally ran on the BBC from 1974 to 1981). My Dad used to tease me about how I had to be home and laying in the floor in front of our huge cabinet console TV at 7pm every night to see the latest episode. He'd Say "Are you watching that Doctor What again?!" and chuckle.

I was literally raised on television. My mother would often say it was the best babysitter she ever had. I even loved commercials more than tv shows when I was very little, and my favorite toys were the promo things we got like a plastic Pillsbury Doughboy that I would run and grab when he came on the screen. I'm not kidding folks, my first word was "Grrrreat!!!" from Tony the Tiger commercials. Did I mention I'm ADD LOL). I learned everything from Sesame Street and the Electric Company and Mister Rogers...

As I got older, I really loved shows I had to beg to stay up and watch like Hart to Hart. I LOVED reruns of Rockford Files, Columbo, Perry Mason and others. I think that's what started my love of mysteries... then TV started getting cheesy (moreso than before I think) and I watched stuff like Three's Company and other bad sitcoms, but then I discovered PBS was showing new and interesting things in the evening. I'd always loved watching Nova and Cosmos with Mom. We both adored Carl Sagan.

Then one evening I first saw this wonderful strange funny man in a fedora and an impossibly long scarf popping in and out of a blue police box with his companions and saving people all over the Universe and Time from monsters or themselves.

I believe it was around that time that my sister had gone to live in England with her new husband and sent me such wonderful gifts. I dreamed of this beautiful far away place called England and wished so much to go there... and this odd strange Time Lord not only hopped all over England but also all of space and time! I was hooked!

Yeah you guessed it, I was an odd child. Still am! Hah!

I watched all of the Tom Baker episodes at least 3 times each or as often as I saw them on TV. But I never really had much of a chance to watch any other incarnations of the Doctor. See the character is much like James Bond,... the character basically stays the same, but many actors have portrayed him. Tom Baker, that curly haired funny man was the 4th Doctor. I learned early on that other kids at my school did not watch Doctor Who. They were probably out doing cool things with their cool friends when it was on TV. I didn't much care, but it became lonely not being able to share my enthusiasm (OMG I would have SO LOVED the internet back then!)... so I joined the Doctor Who Fanclub and became a card carrying member (in secret of course!) I really looked forward to getting the huge newspaper type newsletters that went out once a month or so. One even had a knitting pattern for the scarf. It felt good to know there were other people in the world like me... (mostly in England... of course!)

As I grew older, the shows stopped playing on PBS and I started finding other interests. I more or less forgot about it until a few years ago. I heard that the BBC was going to give it new life... and I was already surprised at that point to learn that there had been 8 total Doctors so far. I'd seen a few episodes of the Fifth Doctor, but nothing beyond that. I was astonished and curious. In a way, I felt that no Doctor would ever truly be THE Doctor except dear old Tom Baker. I decided to give it a try though and sat down with my hubby to watch the first episode of the Ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston. Let me tell you, the New Whos were scary!

Very sci-fi-ish and all special effects and stuff. Well, obviously, it was the 2000's and technology had come a long way, but in my heart Doctor Who would always be all about being really low budget and making monsters out of bubble wrap and dryer vent hoses. It was all about using your imagination.

The New Who was just not my cuppa tea. So I turned my back on it and felt betrayed.

Then just one year later, there was a Tenth Doctor. Eccleston only played the part for a year (weird), and the new actor was David Tennant. Ok, so he was cute. Ok so he had goofy hair, cool clothes and wore Converse everywhere. Hmmm... so maybe it was getting a little closer to the Doctor I knew and loved. But I still wasn't convinced.

Then early this year, I learned that Tennant had decided his time as the Time Lord was over, and a new actor would take the reins. The youngest Doctor ever in fact. Matt Smith. He really had a completely fresh start since none of the "Companions" from the Tenth Doctor would be staying on. There was a nice clean break and lots of closure for "Ten". The new, eleventh Doctor (or Eleven as we fans like to call him), is the closest I have yet seen to encompassing LOTS of the previous Doctors. He can be assholery like One, child-like and full of wonder like Two, sexy in an odd way like Three (even though he was actually an older man, Three was HAWT!), scatterbrained and funny but so kind like Four, and then his looks and mannerisms are SO much like Five it's sometimes quite eerie. I've heard other of the classic Whos are also found in Eleven, but I haven't actually seen any of those episodes yet, so I'll take their word for it. Overall though, Matt has brought back my love for the Doctor. And he's not bad to look at either!

What prompted me to write about this guilty pleasure though was this weekend's episode on BBC. (Not BBC America - those are like 2 weeks behind the new BBC episodes!) That's my add rearing its ugly head. The episode is called Vincent and the Doctor, and is basically about Vincent Van Gogh and his mental illness, depression and sheer genius. Tony Curran, one of my favorite actors (and Scottish! Yay!) played Vincent, and the resemblance was eerie! Bill Nighy was also in this episode as the museum curator for the Van Gogh exhibit. The script was written by Richard Curtis who wrote Love Actually, Bridget Jones Diary, Pirate Radio, many Black Adder episodes as well as Mr Bean, Vicar of Dibly and tons others. These names may not mean a hill of beans to most of my readers I'm sure, but they make me SQUEE!!!

This episode had me in tears, but not just sad ones,.. it was truly so beautiful it moved me to tears. I can't even express it. If you've ever seen a piece of art or heard an opera or piece of music that moved you to tears you may understand. The talents in this show were beyond amazing. The episode itself was a piece of art.

If you enjoy Van Gogh as a painter at all, I really encourage you to watch it. But mostly, I think it's an amazing show for people who are dealing with or know someone who is dealing with ...depression. Van Gogh was a genius, but his life was cut short by suicide due to his depression. He never had anyone tell him in his lifetime that he was a good painter, yet he is the most famous and most beloved painter of all time. It's really sad to think of what pain the man was in, and this episode really goes into that. You don't need to know anything about Doctor Who or even like science fiction to enjoy it. It's just a wonderful thing to see.

Here is the trailer for the episode. It focuses on the "monster of the week" and the action part of the show, but truly it's such a small part of the story, and even it is all metaphor. Truly brilliant writing.

So, anyway, my Guilty Pleasure is Doctor Who. From the good old Fourth Doctor... the new youngest Doctor.

All the same character (a 907 year old regenerating Time Lord with a thing for being around pretty young women ;) ) and still stealing me away to another time and place and reminding me that it's still OK to daydream and be childlike every now and then.


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