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Our Story Begins: How Doctor Who Brings Our Family Together

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Our Story Begins:
 Our Story Begins: How Doctor
Who Brings Our Family Together 

It actually started with a haircut. My son, Sam, sat there talking to the nice woman cutting his hair and bemoaned his sad state of affairs:

“It’s going to be in theaters. In 3-D!!! But my Dad isn’t going to take us.”

“It” is a simulcast of a British television program that is going to be in theaters while the whole world watches. Normally, I’d ignore this, maybe even chastise the 3 kids still living under my roof for asking me to shell out money to see something you’d see free on television.  But it turns out this silly British science fiction program has brought us together.

 

Day of the Doctor, courtesy BBC America.

Day of the Doctor, courtesy BBC America.

 

By the time you read this the world – weelllll, most the world, well…lots of it – will have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the British television program Doctor Who.  

That’s right, I admitted to it; the 43-year-old with the 10-year-old inside him is telling you that I’m a not-so-closeted Whovian.

But I’m not here to extol that my articles are “bigger on the inside” or that some days I’m bluer than a TARDIS.  No, this is about what the program does in my household.

Most days I am on my feet, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, real life taking precedence. But Saturday evenings, for an hour, that stops. We all relate to the program. I began watching it when I was a kid, probably the age of my twin boys right now. I even had a Doctor Who scarf (if you watched, you know!).

So in 2005, when the program came back on the air, we all started watching; my kids, even my sci-fi hating wife! Why?

Because of the madman in the blue box. At the end of the day this man, this Doctor, wasn’t muscle-bound. He didn’t fire a gun. He’s armed with a screwdriver, a brain, and a companion. Nothing sexual, nothing particularly violent, but certainly emotional. This man, played by 12 different people, makes being brilliant . . . well . . . brilliant. My kids think about science after watching. My boys look up Einstein’s theories and postulate about time slowing down the closer you get to the speed of light. Every year the BBC has Doctor Who at the symphony and they watch it! Classical music! One entire episode made them love the paintings of Van Gogh. I dressed up as Doctor #4 over Halloween and they were excited!

Doctor Who, however confusing to the uninitiated . . . makes . . . you . . . THINK! (He gasps in horror hiding behind the couch)

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In a world where we have pop stars who are better known for riding a wrecking ball naked than singing . . .  a strong woman staring down evil aliens is far sexier. We take too much time making “stars” of people who make sex tapes. In contrast, the BBC hired Neil Gaiman who wrote Coraline  and The Graveyard Book . . . and my kids looked up those books and read them. When Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ names came up my kids were desperate to watch their version of Sherlock . .  . and then read the original Conan-Doyle books! And I swear, if you watch the final scenes of The Doctor’s Wife without a tear in your eye . . . you’re made of stone.

So in spite of my initial protestations I won’t apologize that the 4 of us will see The Day of the Doctor in the theaters in 3D. No . . . I’ll sit  – just like them – and wonder if I could ever come just close enough to being as brilliant as the madman flying in a blue box that’s bigger on the inside.

What about you? Do you have something that brings your family together? Do you watch something that makes you think or sparks your kids’ creativity?

Dave Manoucheri

Dave Manoucheri is a writer, journalist and musician based in Sacramento, California. A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins is a chronicle of their life after the loss of his wife, Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.

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