December 5, 2013

The Anyion: Traveling back to childish obsession

I hadn’t fangirled over a TV character in a while.

Whizzing in and out of my housemates’ conversations in the lobby of my dorm, I felt like dancing, like I could run and run and run outside and into the rain and down 60th Street until I got all of the excitement out of my system. Being so eager to share my newfound love for a fictional character that I almost barrel people over? Doesn’t happen often.

I skipped toward the railing and yelled to the people down below, “It’s a beautiful night. You know why? I met a madman with a box!”

I usually don’t lose my shit over a TV show, partially because I hardly watch any. I don’t have TV at home, at least not cable or satellite or Netflix or whatever little boxy thing people use to watch shows nowadays. I have a TV…with seven channels, roughly half of which are in Spanish. Nonetheless, I don’t completely deprive myself the opportunity to become a vegetable in front of the TV, but I indulge mostly in the summertime over shows featuring Benedict Cumberbatch.

This is part of the reason I had never watched Doctor Who. I thought Sherlock was enough to fulfill my dose of beautiful cheekbones (that sounds super creepy if you haven’t seen Benedict’s cheekbones in Sherlock. But if you have…well, then you know). I was wrong.

Last Saturday night, a friend of mine suggested we Netflix it up instead of going out somewhere. I agreed, and the next thing I knew the Doctor was traveling through time and space and straight into my heart. Doctor Who is frightening, stimulating, thought provoking, clever, and oh-so painfully beautiful.

On an intellectual level, Doctor Who is made of lighter stuff than Sherlock. It’s geekier and perhaps more accessible. The graphics are often terrible, sometimes the scenarios are cheesy or contain obvious plot holes. But that doesn’t matter, because of the Doctor. He’s more than perfect. To paraphrase a character in the show, it’s impossible not to want to impress the Doctor, to want to be like the Doctor, and to get some of his attention for at least a second. He could be the perfect friend, lover, father, companion…anything you need him to be, if you could just reach him or be brave enough, smart enough, or special enough so he would just pay attention to you.

This kind of intense loyalty a fictional character inspires is only accessible through one’s imagination. Imagination—in its fanatical, borderline-childish, and brilliant form—is hard to come by in college. Our obsessions usually quiet down after middle school and early–high school’s fixations with boy bands and fantasy books. Those unadulterated, jump-up-and-down-squealing moments are replaced by opinions that involve complicated E-words like “esoteric” and “existentialist.”

Until I watched Doctor Who, I had almost forgotten what it felt like to want to be a part of something truly impossible. Losing my mind in that lobby, adrenaline in my veins, I wasn’t crazy or on drugs. I was experiencing the rush that comes with rediscovering the glory of uncomplicated, childish obsession.

That’s the best part about the Doctor. He is a madman with a box, and he makes me into a madman, too. Except he is a madman with a time-traveling box, and I’m just a madwoman peering into a box with a screen, feeling the irrational, uncontainable desire to be a part of a universe that doesn’t exist and to become even madder.

Anya Marchenko is the blogger behind The Anyion. She is a first-year in the College.