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.