How my husband got me into the 'Doctor Who' fandom
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I can remember the specific moment I became a Whovian: my husband, Nathaniel, was watching Doctor Who and I’d had every intention of ignoring it completely. I was 33, I had no interest in getting into another show because we all know how that’s just a huge commitment, and everything about this looked thoroughly unappealing to me. I didn’t object to British television or sci-fi, but Doctor Who seemed nonsensical and confusing. I decided to just read my book instead and mind my own business. He made it about five minutes into “Silence in the Library” before I asked him who that man was and what was going on. That was it for me. It was all over. I had found the Doctor.
I’d had dalliances with nerdery in the past. My favorite book as a child (and now, if I’m being honest) was A Wrinkle in Time. I’d seen The Return of the King in the theater three times. Weird Al Yankovic was my childhood hero. I’d been the kid in school who was the bookworm, who got teased for using big words, who got a little too enthusiastic about her obsessions. But I was always very specific about what genres I would venture into and never proudly wore the “nerd” badge. I wouldn’t say I was a snob, but…okay, maybe I was a snob. But an unintentional one.
This Doctor Who thing was the beginning of my nerd awakening and I dove in head first. The Tenth Doctor became my Doctor and David Tennant became everything. I fell in love with River Song, Captain Jack Harkness, Donna Noble. They left me in tears with almost every episode. Donna’s strength, River’s bravery, Jack’s dashing heroics, and the Doctor’s total imperfect perfection just wrecked me. I was on a mission to watch every episode of New Who and then work my way through all of the Classic Who episodes I could find. The obsession was fully on.
That wasn’t my only foray into geekdom. I stumbled upon another of my husband’s favorite shows, Mystery Science Theater 3000. Manos: The Hands of Fate introduced me to Joel and the Bots, Tom Servo and Crow. I’d never laughed so hard in my life. And then Nathaniel mentioned that there was another little show he loved called Firefly. (I would like to take this moment to say that the injustice of that show being limited to one season and a movie is one that offends me to this day.) I even realized I actually love superhero movies, even if I am rooting for the villain sometimes. (I’m looking at you, Loki.)
One thing lead to another. As I discovered new things I loved, Nathaniel and I found more things to enjoy together. My earlier, snooty resistance to things like those big-budget comic book movies gave way to a shared enthusiasm and willingness to love things unabashedly and loudly. We watched Doctor Who and got weepy together at almost every episode. We went to our town’s Cosmic Con and watched wonderfully bad sci-fi movies being shown on the big screen. We happily made conversations with strangers who happened to wear shirts that said “Don’t Blink” or who could argue the merits of Mike versus Joel. Nathaniel gave me a replica of the Fourth Doctor’s scarf for our fifth wedding anniversary. We found more in common with one another and really lovely new ways to relate as a couple.
My horizons expanded and I discovered an immensely satisfying and wonderful way to live. I realized that my fellow nerds were the greatest people to know, that there were people out there who didn’t see enthusiasm as something to hide. When you’re at a sci-fi convention, you don’t have to dial it down. Fandoms welcome you in with open arms and they can’t wait to give you the full tour of the place. They invite you in, make you some tea, and bring out all of the accoutrements you’ll need to get familiar with your new obsession. And what’s really beautiful is the renaissance geek and nerd culture is having right now. It’s everywhere: The Big Bang Theory, really finely crafted comic book movies, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a hero to one and all. As one of the greatest television nerds of recent history, Ben Wyatt, said, “You know, ‘nerd culture’ is mainstream now. So, when you use the word ‘nerd’ derogatorily, it means you’re the one that’s out of the zeitgeist.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to break out my Cones of Dunshire and hit up the local tabletop gaming place.
Amber Copeland is a married crazy cat lady who enjoys the internet too much and plans vacations based on what restaurants are available. She is very tall for her height.