I love watching the things that I am passionate about rise and fall in popularity. I was not into Doctor Who before it was popular; I started watching it when I heard that it was becoming a thing and in that time, it has gone from a cult favorite to a full-blown international phenomenon. I am on record as butting heads with my fellow fans of the series as to what really makes it tick and the direction that it has been going in for the past few seasons. To be perfectly frank, I don’t like my fellow Whovians all that much. There is a point at which romanticism becomes its own form of cynicism, at which pretending that everything will work out all right in the end is no more than denial. If you want to help Vincent van Gogh, travel back in time to the moment where he kills himself and stop him. Telling a man in a crippling depression that after he’s dead, everyone will love him…really isn’t helping. Essentially, you’re making it all about yourself. But enough of that. I like my fellow Game of Thrones fans very much. In fact, they bring me almost as much joy as the series itself.
My problems follow me wherever I go. That makes sense, since you can’t expect to ever just escape from all your troubles. When I was in school, I was picked on for reading books about elves and dwarves and playing Dungeons & Dragons. That doesn’t happen much anymore, because all of that is in right now. I refuse to go around telling anyone that they’re not a real geek (my manager went to Phoenix ComiCon, and I guarantee you that he does not know as much about the world of sci-fi/fantasy as I do), I just think it’s odd that the byproduct of more people getting into geeky shit is that that stuff is getting watered down. Is anyone one else not at all excited for J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars movie? I’ll probably see it—hell, I even think his Star Trek movies are okay, dumb action films though they are—but I just can’t see what there is to get worked up about. One commenter on a website I frequent described Abrams’s work as, “Here [is a] thing you recognize. $11.50, please.”
To broaden my point a little, it is possible to feel lonely even when you are surrounded by people who are ostensibly like you. When I was a kid, I liked sports. My father tried to get me into golf and tennis, but I wasn’t really having it. I do like sports, at least to a degree. The image of manly men who drink beer, eat pretzels, and go golfing on weekends is a bit dated, although you still see it in plenty of commercials and romantic comedies. Perhaps this is why I’ve never been to any sort of nerdy convention. I was going to go to Gallifrey One, the biggest Doctor Who convention in the country, but that sold out in 75 minutes before any guests had been announced. Talk about having a devoted fanbase. Honestly, I think that’s kinda scary. There are folks who love Sherlock to a degree that borders on monomania. You can’t live your entire life inside one pop cultural thing, people. Okay, maybe you can, but it’s not very healthy.
The cruel irony of fandom is that the bigger the tent gets, the more it starts to feel like a hermetically sealed world. I’ve complained before about the idiocy of the Sherlock season three finale. The thinking behind that one seems to have been, “Well, he’s popular, so we brought him back.” Whatever happened to moving on when you have nothing more to say? Logically, there is no way Moriarty could have survived. (To anyone thinking of complaining that I didn’t put up a spoiler warning: I hope you get rectal cancer.) More importantly, there is no creative reason to bring him back. What could you possibly say with his character that you haven’t already said? If I were actor Andrew Scott, I would refuse to return on principle. There’s no way he isn’t getting offers to work elsewhere.
More and more, Christopher Eccleston’s reasons for leaving Doctor Who are starting to make sense. The BBC is an exclusive little club. Why did Mrs. Watson have to be played by Martin Freeman’s real-life wife? Well, because she’s the best actress for the part, obviously. Why did Sherlock’s parents have to be played by Benedict Cumberbatch’s actual parents? Because we’re all one big happy family, of course! Why did we even have to meet Sherlock’s parents in the first place, seeing as how they are not even mentioned in the original stories and seriously who fucking gives a shit? Because that will inspire fanfiction, or something. I don’t mean to be overly judgmental of fanfiction. There are those who will argue that Shakespeare was just a fanfiction writer, seeing as how he borrowed half of his plots from commedia dell’arte. But I think there is a little bit more to fanfiction than just reusing preexisting characters and storylines. It’s why I don’t read it and will never, ever write it.
When I was in college, I remember having a funny feeling when I realized that I had a regular group of friends with whom I hung out every weekend or at least every few weekends. Something about it felt almost suffocating. When I was around them, I felt more nervous than at peace, because I worried that I didn’t really have their approval. In retrospect, my fears were well-founded. I have lost touch with all but one person from that little circle. So if I’m going to make some more friends, I hope they will forgive me for taking it really, really slow. I had another friend in college who become a close confidante of mine very quickly. I haven’t heard from him in two years because he deactivated his Facebook account and changed his phone number. We’ll meet again someday. But it won’t be as friends.
My mother, as always, is not being very supportive. She basically rolled her eyes when I told her my plans not too long ago. Oh, well.