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Stop me if you've heard this old classic:
Knock, knock. Who's there? Doctor. Doctor who?
Yes. Now, get used to me.
HAHAHAHAHA NOOOOOOOO. What the FUCK is this, BBC?! Some sort of trick? A scheme? Why would you tear us apart this way?
Oh, wait...you didn't. You told us flat out, from the very beginning, a tale of a Time Lord. One who doesn't get emotionally attached. One who will eventually leave us, yet continue on forever. One who will be heart-wrenchingly attractive one season and then turn into your annoying 14-year-old cousin the next (get over it, Matt Smith New-Whovians).
We know the Doctor regenerates; we expect it. But it's happened 10 times, and we still can't get used to it. What are these feelings you’re feeling? Why are you stomping your feet over a fictional character like a five-year-old? Because THERE'S NO POINT IN BEING GROWN-UP IF YOU CAN'T BE CHILDISH SOMETIMES.
Below, explained. What to expect when you’re expecting a new Doctor Who (from someone who's been through 4 regenerations):
MY Doctor can't possibly be leaving. This can't be happening to me.
Sorry, dudes. You thought he was the man that never would, but he has to. And it's not just happening to you, it's happening to everyone, but probably you the hardest. You swear this next Doctor will never blow your socks off, no matter how hard he tries.
Remember when Peter Davison strolled in, with his high-class country club attire and had, heaven forbid, CELERY on his lapel?! CELERY? You didn't touch jelly babies for weeks, months even. Or when Paul McGann waltzed in, FOR ONE TELEVISED APPEARANCE, looking like Anne Rice's description of The Vampire Lestat with curled bangs (he later, conveniently, made an appearance in Queen of the Damned)? Lest we forget poor David Tennant. This dude does whatever dance the Scottish do over Christopher Eccleston's ONE season when we finally got the Doctor and Rose to kiss?! The kiss that killed. Ohhhh, bad wolf! Bad Wolf, indeed.
It IS happening...
Why me? Who is to blame for this Who?
I most definitely WON'T blame the actor playing the current Doctor, because he couldn't possibly want to leave ME and MY expensive cable subscription. He knows me. He can see inside my heart. You heard Ten. He didn't want to go. He said it fighting back tears after a series of emotional, far-away goodbyes and lots of stumbling around. He didn't want to go. Matt Smith can't possibly want to, either. This is a conspiracy, and everyone in my way better watch out, because I'm about to go Master-crazy up in this shit.
I'll do anything to keep our current Doctor.
You watch every episode repeatedly. Play Netflix on a constant stream from seasons 5 on, don a fez, a bowtie, a Stetson, start saying everything is "cool." You eat fish fingers in custard, follow every current cast member and writer on Twitter and send Matt Smith a personal letter (on personalized psychic paper) stating that you will give him all of your current savings and IRAs and 401Ks and CDs - the music kind. You'll cash in your TARDIS refrigerator and cookie jar, both of which - and you know this one - are bigger on the inside, so you'll probably get a lot for them. You'll do ANYTHING if he stays. Surely, this seems logical and has proven to be effective in all of a zillion healthy ultimatum cases.
Why go on? What use is life, if I can't be with this Doctor forever?
So your incessant fandom didn't work, the BBC has accidentally deleted all of your illegally downloaded episodes, and you were blindsighted with a restraining order. Ho-hum. There's no bright side; there can't possibly be one ever again. Or...is there? There was Rose Tyler! She suffered a severe heartbreak and was rewarded with the likes of David Tennant as the 10th! And poor Amelia Pond. Sure, she endured lots of therapy and every single person around her thought she was crazy for most of her life, but eventually she got over it. And we will, too...right? Ugh, probably NOT. #ihateeverything
UUUGGGHHH I GUESS I'LL WATCH PETER CAPALDI.
(Sorry for the spoiler, River Song.)
The truth is, we've done this 1-11 times. It will never be easy (especially now that we feel like we fell asleep with a strapping young lad and woke up a quirky older man), and we will always complain, because change is hard, different, and out of our control. But... isn't that exciting? Isn't that why we watch, even surrounded by family members on Christmas who we are completely ignoring because Doctor Who is the only real gift we'll ever be given, unless one day we could be swept away in the TARDIS with the Doctor as the companion, and that would be pretty cool?
The Fourth Doctor was right -- if we knew everything that was going to happen, where would the fun be? This shit is FUN, and we will continue to watch, continue to be affected, and continue to fall in love with every incarnation of this brilliant, fantastic Time Lord-- even if he (or SHE, for the last time, BBC!!!) were played by Garfield (the lasagna-eating Ginger, not the late President). He makes us cry, laugh, and think we Americans have a perfect British accent. The man who may not be perfect, but wasn't lying when he said...
One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.
And if all else fails, run for your life.
Nikki Pierce (@nikkinikkp) is an actor, writer, and dancer/choreographer currently living in Chicago. She regularly performs at several storytelling and comedy shows around the city and, if interested, you can properly stalk the rest of her work at nikki-pierce.com or nikki-pierce.tumblr.com.