Hype and choice

What is it that makes something fun? The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who was much hyped, drawing fans and those with just a passing interest together into anticipation of a big event. Perhaps some had rose coloured, childhood memories of the show; others may have believed that this episode was going to be as truly special as the build up made out. I suspect a fair few will have watched it just so that they didn’t feel they were missing out on something that would subsequently be discussed. The potential for disappointment was high.

And now there are those who are complaining; I do not understand why they feel so hard done by. This is a kids television show. Sure, it has a lot of fans of all ages, but it is still a kids show. Did the kids enjoy it? Mine certainly did, and I thought it was well done.

The true fans will watch it and watch it again and again, seeking out the myriad of potential meanings, the nuances, the references to plot lines from episodes past and potential for future development. They will discuss and dissect on their forums and blogs, exchanging theories and guessing at what may be to come. They will probably enjoy this subsequent activity at least as much as watching the episode itself.

When an event is hyped it can be hard to ignore but we do have that choice. I have no interest in sport so, when the Olympics came to nearby London, I took no notice. I was happy to see friend’s delight as they obtained tickets to even the obscure events just to be a part of it all. They talked of a once in a lifetime opportunity, not to be missed. I chose to miss it because I had no interest; there were some who saw this as a flaw in me, they felt I should be supporting those who had worked so hard to get there.

I can understand the benefits from such events. It is like a huge party, a chance for sharing with strangers as well as friends. It is not obligatory to take part though. I would not wish to rain on anybody’s parade but sometimes I simply do not wish to attend. Those who have worked so hard to get there will have devoted a large chunk of their lives to doing so. I question how worthwhile that is, to devote so much time and effort to a transitory achievement. Of course I can see that it is an achievement. Going for that goal is their choice, just as it is the spectator’s choice to cheer them on, and mine to let it all pass me by.

My daughter went to the cinema with friends last night to watch The Day of the Doctor. It was an excuse for an enjoyable night out. As a family we chose to get involved in the build up, following the many interviews and trailers, watching several of the shows made specially, before the main episode aired. We enjoyed being a part of this. Having such fun is good, however insignificant an event may be in the grand scheme of things.

We are each free to choose which parties we attend. I have no interest in royal weddings, anniversaries or babies. I have no interest in sport, televised competitions or reality shows. I wish the people involved no ill will, but do not wish to join in, even when their celebrations are hyped and prove popular.

When a TV show or a film franchise offers an excuse to create a virtual gathering then I may decide to join that. It is a little bit of light hearted distraction from the routine of life, nothing serious. Whether or not the episode or film itself is any good is almost irrelevant if the build up and taking part is enjoyed.

Events of substance can bring us down. The serious matters to be considered in the world around can exhaust and depress as they are so hard to influence and change. From time to time getting involved in something frivolous can be a good thing, but I will not take these things too seriously. I will not complain of disappointment if a much hyped event that I chose to take notice of does not deliver whatever it was that I expected.

I wonder what the next big thing will be and if it will capture my imagination and draw me in. It can be enjoyable to join in the excitement with those who are like minded. Fun, but not important, not obligatory.

I will not criticise this Doctor or that Doctor for not portraying the character as I may wish. The show works because each reincarnation is different, and each has it’s own loyal following. Some episodes may be stronger than others but the franchise remains popular, there are still plenty who enjoy it. Isn’t that what entertainment is all about?

To those who feel let down that Doctor Who is not as they would wish remember, you can choose not to pay attention.

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7 comments on “Hype and choice

  1. Thank you for sharing your Doctor Who experience.

    I agree with you about the hype of the Doctor Who. I made an effort to watch it last night as a celebration with my son as he is a Doctor Who expert and the 50th anniversary was the biggest event in his young life (just turned 13 this month). I watched Doctor Who last night so that I could have a conversation with him, get into his world, and I ended up asking him lots of stupid questions about Doctor Who since — about who is who and many irregularities. The problem is, now I’m getting more confused! However, it was a fantastic evening, and I was very moved by some of the speeches. I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

    I visited my family in Singapore last summer on the day of the Olympics Opening, while many of my friends ‘criticised’ me for being silly by leaving London. A lot of them grabbed the tickets (any ticket left) to see some events that they were not actually that interested — just because they wanted to be part of the Olympics experience.

    Respecting others — we should all learn that and recognise that other people may not share the same values and habits with us, or how other people may choose to spend their own time. I also got teased that I write a blog because “I have got too much time” — as if I got nothing better to do in life.

    We all know that everyone is different and we all have different taste. However, it is a shame that a lot of people do not seem to understand how to appreciate differences in life.

    • zeudytigre says:

      I take an interest in many things in order to be able to step, even a little way, into my children’s lives. Often I find that I gain a great deal from these explorations over and above being able to converse with them. I enjoyed being a part of this Doctor Who experience.

      Diversity in all things is to be celebrated. I too find it hard though when other’s criticise my choices.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂

    • zeudytigre says:

      Have just checked out your son’s blog. He has just turned 13? That is impressive. Well done both of you – I will follow him as well now.

      • I encouraged him to write as he has got a lot of views. Now he is doing very well – writing anything that interests him. He writes whenever and whatever he wants to. From a parent’s point of view, I have another ‘agenda’. I hope that blogging helps him with his literacy, help him with his communication and more importantly, finding joy in writing.

        When he was in the primary school, he received very little work, even when he was in Year 6. It was a so-called happy school. His school failed in the Ofsted inspection in almost all aspects, from leadership to teaching, without my surprise. I was pleased that blogging on WordPress came into his life half way through his Year 6, and I could see how blogging could indeed complement his formal education.

  2. Ian Shuttleworth says:

    “This is a kids television show.” There’s your nostalgia in action, right there. It hasn’t been that for, arguably, more than half its lifetime now (in terms of calendar years, not screen hours). Even the McGann movie was about repositioning the audience, and this entire phase of its existence has been fairly blatantly posited on maximum audience crossover. We can debate the whys and wherefores of that – whether the generation now running the show are trying to hang on to or re-create their own childhoods, whether they think those values can be synthesized with more adult smarts, whatever – but that’s where it is now. On a simple cost-accounting level, the BBC wouldn’t expend its biggest budgets and weightiest marketing, all that hype, on a kids’ show. It’s now the corporation’s flagship drama product, rightly or wrongly (I love it, but I say wrongly), and flagships need to be acknowledged to be weighty. And so classifying it – marginalising it – as “a kids’ show” really refers less to the show itself than to the filters and positions of the person doing the classifying.

    • zeudytigre says:

      Oh, I do not marginalise it as a kid’s show. On the contrary, I would argue that the corporation now gives this genre an importance that could not have been imagined 50 years ago. Perhaps we, as the supposed grown ups here, should be looking at why we are watching this, and trying so hard to understand the younger generation’s engagement. I would suggest that it is we who are trying to time travel 😉

      • Doctor Who strikes me as a Family show — people of all ages enjoy it and can interpret it in their own ways, and somehow Doctor Who relates to all of them. I can see how it is enjoyed in my family and it could ‘gel’ family together over Christmas.

        I used to think that it was a program for children, but the depth in some episodes (such as the 50th anniversary show) was incredible. It really challenged the viewers to think about their own existence and humanity. It was a huge topic. I was speechless!

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