Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey

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My father made a startling announcement over lunch today.

“Your mother and I have decided what our esoteric summer entertainment will be this year.”

“Oh, joy! I love the annual summer esotericism,” I said, leaning forward in my seat a little. Every summer for as many, many years, my family and I have selected some random television program to check out from the library to watch on Saturday nights. We don’t have television—no cable, just a TV—so if we want to watch episodes of anything, we have to find it on DVD. A few summers ago, we watched our way through Star Trek: The Next Generation. Years ago we watched as many episodes of BBC’s Miss Marple we could get our hands on. Then there was the summer where we watched nothing but episodes of Rumpole of the Bailey, which is about as random and British as a show can get. Summers of watching esoteric (which, in case you were wondering, means “obscure”) television programs hold some of my fondest family bonding memories, because every episode would lead to a discussion about some principle of morality, or a discussion of relevant historical facts, or even a discussion of politics. We Ramblers are scatterbrained that way.

“Yes,” my father continued. “We recently discovered that there are several seasons of Dr. Who on Netflix, and we want to give it a try.”

The room spun for a moment as I tried to grapple with the implications of what my father just said. We’re all sci-fi fans in my family, and we all have a taste for British humor. But Dr. Who is more than a just show. It’s practically a cult. Just ask any of the Whovians.

Yes. The Whovians. That’s a self-proclaimed title, lest any of you think I’m being derisive. Whovians are people who have such a deep appreciation for the show that their lifestyles start to undergo certain…changes. Things like painting the kitchens a certain shade of blue, wearing bowties or suspenders, and arguing over which is better—11 or 10. Or 9. Or whatever. And they always bring bananas to parties. If you’re short on bananas, just invite a Whovian.

I know more about the show than I should for someone who only watched part of an episode before falling asleep. There’s this guy who’s a Time Lord (not sure what all that entails) who travels around in a time machine called the TARDIS (apparently that stands for something) which can assume any form but has somehow gotten stuck in the shape of a Police call box. This time lord guy goes by the name “Dr. Who” (no one knows his real first name) and travels around in his TARDIS saving the universe from impending doom. He occasionally “dies” and “regenerates,” which is a convenient way for the producers to use a different actor for every season to keep things fresh. He also goes through a long series of assistants, usually female, called “companions,” one or two of whom he marries. That part gets really confusing. Again, I don’t get it.

As far as I can figure, Dr. Who is more or less Star Trek meets Monty Python. And it’s addicting. Rumor has it that it only takes watching two episodes to get you completely hooked.

I’m sure the show is wonderful. I know the writing is good, and I know it’s incredibly quotable material.

But this could be the dawn of a new family fandom. I ‘m not sure if I’m ready for this. This could be huge. This could change our family bonding dynamic forever. Irreconcilably. We, too, might become…Whovians.

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18 responses »

  1. I smirk at you.
    I would just like to say that not all Whovians are nutcases. Not all of us interrupt the usual clamor of UU’s cafeteria with our shouts. Not all of us attack poor, unsuspecting Lokis from behind.
    Some of us are low-key Whovians. Please, come sit at our table, and chat Doctor Who with us in a calm, normal manner.
    I hope your family will have a blast!

  2. I’d have to agree with the comic strip. “You have such a wonderful journey ahead of you!” 🙂

    (But as a whovain, I just gotta say: under no circumstances is “Doctor” ever to be abbreviated.) 😛

  3. Oh, you are in for a treat! I too am a “low-key Whovian” (I believe we’ve discussed this). I can’t wait to hear what you think. 🙂

  4. Yep, I really felt the need to ramble back at you when I read this post! I live with a Whovian (our youngest son, Isaac.) Now that he is the only child left at home, we are always looking for ways to spend time together, especially since he is suddenly bereft of the sibling company he has known all his life. So, we decided to allow him to introduce us to the amazing journey that is Dr. Who. We have just started season 6.

    You know just enough ahead of time to give you a good starting point!

    Although I have to admit I am not really a sci-fi person, I can usually find something to like in most sci-fi stories. Dr. Who does not disappoint! (Side note: I am glad that Isaac has seen it all ahead of us, because he is able to weed out the episodes that he knows would make me say “that’s just silly and stupid and a waste of time!” We skip a fair number of episodes along the way since he knows which ones are necessary for the overarching plots and which are not.)

    But, overall, I have found the story is intriguing and fun. And, I predict there will be plenty of opportunities for family discussions about morality, world view, atheism, humanism, and any number of other interesting topics.

    I also predict fun family times are ahead for you all! 🙂

  5. Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, my friend! Also, do you mind if I clarify?

    no?

    are you really sure?

    Ok. He goes by “The Doctor”, if you please, not “Dr. Who.” Thanks for the wonderful post!

  6. The Dadster Ripostes:

    OK–here it is.

    The Dadster was born during the administration of Dwight David Eisenhower.

    The Dadster grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.

    Monty Python and Dr. Who were cult favorites of all my nerdy friends during those years.

    Of course, so was Major Matt Mason.

    And Johny Rocket.

    But I digress.

    Your friends who suppose themselves to be Whovians were not so much as a twinkle in the eyes of their parents, who themselves were children at best, when the Dadster first encountered the joys of sidewalk climbing and Mini Coopers and Triumph Spitfires that simply would not crank when life and limb were dangling.

    In other words, Pish-Posh!

    But I digress.

    We will enjoy the vagaries of the Tardis (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) this summer (BTW–that is a sentient space ship–think “Encounter at Far-Point!”).

    We will enjoy the progress of stories from 1963 to 1989 and then–well, what follows.

    We will likely do this while gorging ourselves on fried, grilled, and otherwise unwholesome foods of who-knows-what origin.

    And afterwards, we will enter into our collective vocabulary various phrases, clauses, and witticisms as we deem to be beneficial for our collective experience.

    And we will have a blast!

    And we will say, collectively: “This was the best vacation ever! I love our family.”

    And we will mean it, as we have every time we have ever said it!

    Love,

    The Dadster

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