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.
I completely understand your frustration. A statement like “[It’s] a bad show” doesn’t allow for discussion and implies a judgement about, not just the show, but the people who like the show. The sweeping judgement of another’s hobby/work/choices/life lacks compassion and decency. And you are a decent and compassionate person. :) Don’t let the trolls get to you. xoxo
Aw, thanks Alex! Well put.
Damn trolls. :)
i understand, I was a little sensitive about Doctor Who this morning as well. “Victory of the Daleks” came on while I was channel-surfing with my sister and immediately we started watching it. The whole Spitfires in Space (while awesome) and the “love conquers all” ending had me squirming a little in my seat. Not squirming with “Aliens of London” embarrassment, but from plot holes and believability stretches. But I still enjoy it, just because it’s the Doctor in WW2 and he’s hanging out with Winston Churchill(!)
Sounds like that guy was just looking to stir some shit up. And we had to realize that with all this unexpected Doctor Who popularity over the past few years, it was inevitable there would be a backlash. And some people just like to spoil it for everyone else.
In other words, fuck that guy.
The beginning of Victory of the Daleks was so good! Yeah, the end didn’t live up to the promise of the start.
And yeah, it was obviously a ploy to get a rise out of someone. I didn’t respond in that comment thread. I did this instead.
Oh, and it was a chick. So yeah, nuts to her.
What is Doctor Who?
Yeah, I don’t get why people do that. If someone I like likes a show I don’t, I can discuss it with them (constructively, because I’m actually interested in why we see it differently), maybe even give it another go, or we can agree to differ. Not just slate it, like it’s a matter of objective scientific truth that the things I don’t like are rubbish.
Good defense of the best show in history.
[…] while back I wrote a post about how shitty it is when non-Doctor Who fans bag on the show I love so much. I still stand by everything I said there. It sucks when people insult something you care […]