I don’t mind if you don’t like Doctor Who. Really. It may be my favorite show; I may have watched it since I was a wee bairn; I may spend a lot of time and energy on it–interacting with the fan community; and it may have been the vehicle which brought me to meet some of the most wonderful people I know–not the least of whom is my amazing and wonderful Doctor Who-loving boyfriend, but truly, I am okay with it if you don’t like the show.
What I’m *not* okay with, is you bagging on the show in a way that makes me feel like less of a person for expending so much time, energy, and love on it. I get that people have different tastes. That’s cool. I’m sure that every single thing that every person on Earth likes isn’t the cuppa tea for at least one other person. (Except maybe kittens–can we all agree on kittens? No? Oh. Well then.) This is a good thing. It’s great that we don’t all agree on everything. How boring would that be?
It’s the way in which we disagree that sometimes gets me down. I woke up this morning to find a rather long comment thread on a friend’s facebook wall which started with this statement: “Doctor Who is a bad show.” Oof. I will admit it. Reading that made me feel a bit like someone had knocked the wind out of me. Not because this person doesn’t like Doctor Who–plenty of my friends aren’t fans, and some actively dislike it. What rankled was the way this person expressed it. Not “I don’t like this show,” but it’s “bad.” Now to me, saying a show is bad is completely different from not liking it.
There are lots of bad shows out there–shows that appeal to the lowest, basest instincts in human beings, shows that are executed poorly, and shows that simply don’t try–and guess what? I quite like a bunch of those. So for me, bad and good are different from enjoy and don’t enjoy. (Though “good and bad” do sometimes get fuzzy ’cause even bad shows have some good aspects, and lord knows, there are LOTS of bad parts of good shows. And then it’s sometimes unclear just where to draw the line between good and bad…but I’m digressing.)
Doctor Who happens to fall into the enjoy category for me–in part because it *is* a good show. From the excellent writing to the well-developed characters to the strong moral compass the show evinces (and instills in young viewers) to the…well the *heart* that Doctor Who clearly has. (No, I’m not speaking literally, or I’d’ve said “hearts” of course.) The reams of content this show has inspired, as well as the huge (and I mean HUGE) and active fan community (how many Doctor Who podcasts are there now? 85? 100?), not to mention the scads of accolades and scores of awards it’s racked up over the decades all speak to the fact that this is a quality show.
I know it sounds like I’m getting all defensive and leaping to protect something that can stand on its own, and yep. I am. That’s because I felt wounded by the rancor that continued to dribble throughout that online conversation. Maybe that’s silly, and maybe that’s something I need to work on within myself. (Ok, clearly it is.) But I feel like these days, bagging on someone’s favorite show is the equivalent of ripping on someone’s family. It’s just not cool. Especially when it’s in a manner that’s blatantly worded to create animosity and get a reaction (which I am totally playing into, I realize that). Does the world really need more pain and negativity? (Can’t we all just get along?)
I’m all for a healthy dialogue covering what you dislike about the show. Or even if you just state you don’t like it and that’s that. But for the love of Philo Farnsworth, please don’t try to make me feel like a jerk for loving what I love and doing what I do.