What I Think Happens In Doctor Who (I Don’t Watch It).

Well, this one’s going to get me kicked off the internet: I’ve never seen Doctor Who. That is probably the most incendiary thing I’ll ever write here, at least until I get around to penning I’m Just Not That Into Mr. Darcy, And Other Jane Austen Opinions Nobody Asked For, or Macarons: Not That Delicious. As in What I Think Happens In Game Of Thrones (I Don’t Watch It), I haven’t abstained from this show because I think it’s bad. I haven’t watched it because:

  • I’m not sure where to start. One of the things I think I know about Doctor Who is that it’s been on forever and there have been a bunch of different Doctors Who. If I start at the wrong place, am I doomed to hate it?
  • A lot of people I know are fans. So if I don’t like it, I will take it to the grave.
  • Also, I always feel bad when I don’t like a show, even though I realize that David Tennant and co. won’t be crushed if Molly From The Internet isn’t a fan.
  • I reflexively stay away from anything with aliens. I watched a lot of Unsolved Mysteries as a kid and was terrified that I could be scooped up at any moment. [There was an admittedly half-assed abduction attempt around this time, and I just now realized I probably had a misplaced fear of humans scooping me up at any moment? Who knows.]

I’m sure I will watch a few episodes at some point. But before I do, I want to get down what I THINK happens in the show so I can laugh at it later … and you can all laugh at it now.

  • If you aren’t from North America, it looks like normal tv from a regular channel. If you are from North America, it looks like cable access or maybe Wishbone episodes from the late 90s.

    To be clear, “like Wishbone” is never an insult.

  • Doctor Who is an alien who can look like anything, but who always chooses to look like a British man.
  • He has a sidekick, who he calls a “companion” like he’s Aunt March and somebody has to read him the Gospel Of Luke at Plumfield.
  • The companion could also technically be anyone, but in practice is always a young, attractive British woman.
  • For a while his companion is that one blonde girl who’s like British Tyra Collette.

    Plus maybe some Burberry.

  • He has a mission. Helping people, probably? Sounds fake.
  • When Doctors Who quit, they just get a new one and they’re like “no, it’s still the same guy inside, but he’s an alien who turned into a different attractive but not hunky-attractive, wry but not smarmy British man, don’t worry.” And nobody does.
  • They always meet up at an old-fashioned red phone booth.
  • No. I think blue.. Police booth? I can picture it.

    I wouldn’t let myself Google Image it until I had written the whole post, because I was afraid of accidentally finding something out.

  • Like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

    “Actually, no.” – my image search results.

  • I haven’t been to England for 8 years, but I definitely saw a billion red phone booths and zero police booths, so I’m not sure how incognito that is.
  • I think sometimes there’s time travel. Why am I not watching this again?
  • The spaceship is called Tardis and no, I have no clue what that means. Tennant And Regular Dudes In Space?
  • There’s sometimes a big Christmas episode. But I bet it airs on Boxing Day. I just bet.
  • I’m almost positive at some point there are dinosaurs.
  • The special effects are reminiscent of Space Cases or Halloweentown.

    Exhibit A.

    Exhibit B.

  • It’s not America, so sometimes they let unattractive people be on the show if they’re good at acting.
  • It’s not America, so adult characters have parents who are actually 55+.
  • I bet at some point they tried to do a social issue tie-in episode and it sucked.
  • The series, though generally good, has a few episodes that are just notoriously, horribly bad.
  • Is his companion called Poppy one time?
  • He’s not a doctor. Not a medical doctor, anyway.
  • The companion has to make up a series of increasingly implausible lies so her loved ones don’t find out.
  • They don’t fall in love every time.
  • But even when they’re not technically “in love” they totally are.
  • Wait. Maybe every once in a while the sidekick/companion is a dude, like Robin to his Batman.
  • The show has been on FOREVER. Like since the 1960s or ’70s, I think? But it took a break for a while and nobody watches the early years.
  • Also, the Doctor was not so attractive until the more recent reboots.
  • They must have catch phrases.

    There’s a chance I’m thinking of Full House.

  • There’s something like a Dilek.
  • I know that isn’t the word exactly, but that IS the name of a girl who was friends with one of my college roommates, and it is something like that.
  • Anyway. I have no clue what the Dilek is but the phrase my brain keeps going to is “bad guy spaceship.” I don’t think that’s right, though. It might be more like a friendly alien.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch is not in Doctor Who. Tom Hiddleston is not in Doctor Who. Eddie Redmayne is not in Doctor Who. However, there’s a near-1:1 ratio of people who like this show and who like those guys. Which is why I always feel like they were in it.

Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Call The Midwife

First things first. The show is called “Call the Midwife,” and the promotional images feature nuns on bicycles. This probably sounds great if you’re into the whole tea-and-twee thing, but I promise there’s a broader appeal to it if that’s not your thing. I’d venture to say if you like Downton Abbey, Grey’s Anatomy, or Orange Is The New Black, you should give Call The Midwife a try.

This show follows Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine – and narrated in the present day by Vanessa Redgrave), a young midwife working in East London in the late 1950s. Jenny lives at a nursing convent, so her colleagues are a mix of old nuns and young nurses. The East End was super-poor at the time, and super-fertile as well, apparently. So, what does this all have to do with Downton, Grey’s, and OITNB?

Downton Abbey

Let’s start with the obvious. These shows are both set in England in the past. The thing is, although the late 50s is usually considered a pretty modern era, the East End was still struggling to recuperate from World War II, and the area had a lot more in common with Downton in the teens and 20s than modern London.

Then, there’s the class thing. Jenny’s from somewhere in the comfortable classes, and she has good intentions to help out in the East End. Like plenty of well-intentioned 22-year-olds before her, though, she can’t help but feel a little judgmental towards some of the less-privileged folks she meets. You can see her journey from sympathy to empathy as the seasons progress. Then there’s Chummy, a nurse from the upper-upper class who seems to only make positive assumptions about everyone she meets. There’s also plenty of screen time given to the patients from the East End, and not all of them are exactly fawning over the upper-class nurses. The nuns, of course, are sort of in a class all to themselves. If you want to see how the upstairs-downstairs thing would play out 40 years down the line – say, when Ethel’s and Mary’s children are adults – you should probably watch this.

Grey’s Anatomy

… or E.R… or Chicago Hope… In many ways, Call The Midwife is a historical medical drama. There’s none of the mystery of House, because – surprise! – all of the patients are pregnant. Nevertheless, Call The Midwife follows a different patient or two each episode. Of course, sometimes a more compelling patient will show up again later on.

I should mention that childbirth is really not my thing, but you don’t see any of the gory details. If you think medical problems and procedures are interesting, but can’t stomach too much blood and guts, this is a good bet.

Sometimes, Call The Midwife reads as a love letter to the NHS. It kind of feels like that kid in fourth grade who would brag about having an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and you’d be like “you don’t really have to brag about it, I was already jealous of you.” But don’t mind me, I just have a high-deductible plan and am bitter about it.

Orange Is The New Black

I’m sure there’s some sort of analogy there between nuns and prisoners, but that’s not exactly what I mean. I mean, there’s this great, diverse group of characters, and you get to learn about every one. Everyone – nuns, nurses, or  disadvantaged patient – is presented on equal footing. You don’t get the full backstory of every character, but between the writers and the actors, everyone does such a wonderful job of presenting each character as a full, complex person.

If you want to watch Call the Midwife, act fast. Season One is on Netflix, but season 2 is only streaming on PBS through September 3. It watches fast, though, because there are only 15 episodes in all. Both seasons (series, they call them in the UK, because they’re just a bunch of cuties) are available on DVD, so hopefully season 2 will make it to Netflix soon.