Why I Love the Doctor

Doctor Who

Those of you not familiar with the BBC television show might be asking, “Doctor Who ?”  Well, exactly.

I was first introduced to this show through a co-worker and was directed to watch an episode in Season 4.  My first reaction was, “Huh?”  It was campy yet serious, silly with gravitas.  I didn’t know what to make of it, so I ignored it for a while.  Then I decided to watch it again and discovered that other actors were playing the Doctor and the companion.  I thought, “Wow, this show jumped the shark for sure.”  Little did I know that this is the show’s 50th year and the Doctor has had countless companions and 11 Regenerations.  It is a story that goes on, and has basically become a staple of British culture.  I was intrigued.  Ted and I found out that all the current seasons were available for streaming on Amazon Prime and just as Henry was born, when we needed something to occupy our minds for long nursing sessions and late hours, the Doctor entered our lives.

For those of you who don’t know: the Doctor is a Time Lord who travels through time and space in a blue police box called the TARDIS, saving the universe in small ways and large while rocking some (mostly) great hair and witty banter.  Did I just lose some of you?

Well, why do I love this mad man in a box?  He is one of television’s most interesting characters: He’s mysterious and downright silly, compassionate and wrathful, dashing and nerdy.  And a Christ figure to boot, and I love me a good Christ figure.  Let me make my case for Christ (teehee) with the caveat that I am not claiming the Doctor to be a perfect approximation of Christ; no character can fit the person of Christ exactly, but I love seeing pieces of his image displayed wherever I can find them.

  1. The Doctor is God-like, able to literally be resurrected after dying (called regeneration in the show).  He transforms lives with compassion, daring, brilliance, and never in ways you would expect.
  2. He is pretty all-powerful, but he needs to be in relationship with others (called companions).  They become his friends, his heart, and sometimes his conscience.  Sometimes he needs them to keep his mercy in check.
  3. Part of what’s great about the doctor is who he chooses to surround himself with.  The companions he chooses are so very ordinary.  Rose is a 19 year-old shopgirl.  Donna is a blustery middle-aged temp who never quite made life to be what she wanted.  Amelia Pond is the lonely little girl in need of a rescuer.  He loved these companions because he saw strength in their weakness; he loved the wonders of their smallness.  Interestingly, the most successful of the bunch, Martha Jones, a self-assured medical student, was perhaps the least loved (though she was loved, but not in the romantic way she desired).  She already had a path for her life, and wanted the Doctor on her terms and not his.  Perhaps that is why she is also the only one who willingly leaves him.
  4. The Doctor has such an appreciation for all the mysteries of the universe.  For example, when he comes across a werewolf, he doesn’t run in horror, but exclaims, “How beautiful.”  I love that he sees beauty where we would only see monsters.
  5. What I love best about him, is the way he really sees into people, and that for the moment they have contact they are changed, electrified that there is hope in the world.

And that is why I love the Doctor and am eagerly awaiting my mad little Christ figure on Christmas Day.

Here are some clips of the 10th Doctor (my fave!) so you can see a bit what the show is like.  Spoilers are included, but they won’t make any sense to you if you haven’t seen the show.


My TV Ate Me

So…I haven’t posted in a while — in over a week.


Lent is over and I’m allowed to watch TV again.  So I did.  And I did.  And I did.

I watched all my saved Oprah’s.  Then I didn’t having anything else on the TiVo that I wanted to watch, so I switched to Live TV mode, switching back and forth between Glee and The Voice, neither of which I really enjoyed very much (though I do love any time Glee references Barbra, which they did that night).

And when I was through, I felt empty.  I had just spent 3 hours watching TV, not even very good TV.  I didn’t learn anything, was amused a little, but mostly kept watching merely because it was on, and I DID NOT want to turn it off.  I wanted to keep the noise going, letting my time be filled up with something easy.

Tonight, Ted and I watched all the episodes of The Office that we missed, except one.  I wanted to watch it, to keep it going, to finish the set.  Ted was done.  I’m amazed how he can just shut it off and switch to something else when I’m eager (maybe anxious) to keep it going.

So tonight has confirmed for me that I am not consuming my TV — my TV is consuming me.

After Ted and I finish all the episodes for this season, I think I’m done.  Once Oprah finishes her countdown, I’m out.  Once So You Think You Can Dance comes on the air, I’m….well, maybe I’ll go watch that at somebody’s house.

I’m sorry, TV.  But I think we need to have a little talk.  Really, it’s not you.  It’s me.

Posted in TV

I want to watch TV today

I’m sitting on the couch, staring at the blank, black screen in front of me.  I want to turn it on.

Today was a hard day for me, not because of anything that happened to me but because of where my mind keeps going.  It is going to desires and wants, not to the kingdom of God.  I’ve been fighting God today, fighting what he wants from me in my life.

And all I want is the noise.  I want pictures to flash in front of my face that will go on without my eyes consciously scanning down a page or my fingers being directed to type a sentence.  I want to watch to escape, to escape from my thoughts and from God.

But because I can’t watch TV — there is no escape.  I must be silent and wrestle with God like Jacob.  And in the morning I will have my wounds, but God will lick them clean.

List #2: TV shows I would miss

In my last post, I contemplated giving up watching TV long term.  I mentioned some shows that I would miss, but I thought of several more.  Perhaps this will help me make my decision:

  1. Project Runway
  2. So You Think You Can Dance
  3. Bones
  4. Downton Abbey (and other Masterpiece Mystery/Classic shows)
  5. 30 Rock
  6. The Oprah Winfrey Show (though her show will be gone soon)
  7. Reruns of Arrested Development, Seinfeld, and Friends

Not really that many.  Maybe I can do without them.

Lent Update: No TV…ever?

I’ve been without TV for 3 weeks now.  I’ve discovered that when TV is not an option, I just don’t miss it.  Even when Ted is away on business trips, when I would usually turn on the TV just to have another voice in the house, I find comfort in the silence of reading a book.

This discovery has caused me to have a serious conversation with Ted about giving up TV all together.  Ted really only watches TV when a Cowboy game is on, but I, in my pre-Lenten life, would come home, turn on the tube and not really do much of anything else.  With no TV, the world has opened up to me.  That conversation forced me to ask this question of myself:  is watching TV preventing me from doing something useful, purposeful, and for the glory of God?  I’m afraid to say, that the answer has been yes.

My world really has changed for the better without TV.  Because I don’t watch TV, I have time to blog.  I am no longer a consumer but a creator.  Because I don’t watch TV, I pray more often.  I have the time to think of others and what I should be doing for them.  Because I don’t watch TV, I’ve finished 6 books!  Because I don’t watch TV, I don’t look at the TiVo and see what shows “must” be watched, like an entertainment to-do list.  Because I don’t watch TV, I didn’t renew my subscription to Entertainment Weekly magazine.  Because I don’t watch TV, Ted and I are able to talk for hours on end.

Yes, there are some downsides to not watching TV: I won’t talk or even know about the latest catchphrases (“I want to go to there” will date my last TV viewing); I won’t have an easy conversation starter (I suppose I’ll have to talk about something more real — eeks!); I’ll miss some really interesting shows and good writing (If a new version of Lost ever emerges or when Downton Abbey returns to PBS); I’ll really miss watching my version of sports (So You Think You Can Dance); and I really want to know what happens to Angela and Hodgins on Bones!

But are these parts of watching TV worth it?

6 weeks of no TV is easy, but can I really go a lifetime?  I don’t know, nor do I know if I really want to cut myself off completely.  Maybe I’ll know when Easter rolls around.

Have you ever given up something for Lent that you considered giving up forever?