Somewhere on reddit.com yesterday, in between the various links to Obama’s infomercial or articles about Republicans jumping ship, was the heart-breaking announcement that David Tennant would be stepping down from his role on Doctor Who after 2009. I knew this day was coming, but I had hoped it was long off – say, in twenty, twenty five years. I could have handled it then. Talk about a mood killer.
Hardcore British fans may be used to their Doctor changing up every few years, but this recently converted American believes that Tennant’s Tenth Doctor embodies everything the character should be, managing to capture his boundless enthusiasm, his unflinching curiosity, and his lonely rage.
Plus, the man looks good in a pinstripe suit and a pair of Converse.
My stubborn nature declares I will accept no substitute, even though I felt much the same way after my first Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, announced his departure in 2005. ‘How could they think to replace him with the creepy guy who played Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?’ I wondered. A few months later and I was hard-pressed to remember a time when Tennant didn’t wield the sonic screwdriver.
Human beings have a tendency to cling to the familiar, to fear the other. That nature has sparked the eternal debates of Joel versus Mike, Sargeant versus York, Kirk versus Picard. It’s all a matter of exposure; I’ve had more time to get to know the Tenth Doctor, so I’ll miss him more when he’s gone. We love what we know best, regardless of quality. And by ‘we,’ I mean people in general, not unlicensed plumbers from Ohio.
Which is just one of the many things that makes this presidential election momentous. Though many pundits talk about fear of the unknown driving undecideds towards More-of-the-Same McCain, Obama is defying those odds, actually banking his candidacy on the change. And the strategy is working.
Of course, it helps when the familiar has led the country into financial ruin.
I know, politicians and T.V. characters are not the same thing – despite evidence to the contrary. They certainly share similarities. Why then was I so invigorated by the thought of a brand-new, shiny president and so disappointed by the idea of a new Doctor Who? In any other non-election year, you pretty much have to pay me to care about politics, whereas I always throw myself whole-heartedly into the lives of fictional people.
The answer is pretty simple: I love the Tenth Doctor; the same cannot be said for our current president. Even with eight years of exposure, Bush is not my familiar. My formative years were spent under Clinton – though I didn’t vote or even show the slightest interest in politics, that was the president I knew.
And George Bush is no David Tennant.
I have to admit, in much the same way that David Tennant has eclipsed Christopher Eccleston’s performance, Bush’s screw-ups have definitely outshone Clinton’s. Monica who? Let’s face it, I’m not a swing voter. I’m a Jewish atheist Californian pro-choice liberal Democrat; I’m not surprising anyone with my vote. The people defying human nature are those who once voted for Bush, but when pulled over by Republican pollsters refuse to walk the party line.
It’s easy to stick to the familiar when you actually like the familiar. There’s nothing wrong with Joel’s hosting performance on Mystery Science Theater 3000, after all, it’s mostly a question of taste. But since politics and television are not the same, and don’t follow the same rule book, it comes as a tremendous relief to me to know that people are ditching their security blankets in favor of actual security.
I think I shall take a lesson from this presidential election. Though I will miss David Tennant in the TARDIS, I’ll simply have to hope that who ever follows in his sneakers will bring the change we need.
Quote of the Day:
The Doctor: You two, we’re at the end of the universe, eh? Right at the edge of knowledge itself, and you’re busy … blogging!
Link of the Day: Speculation over David Tennant’s replacement. A female Doctor? I doubt it.