Rite of Passage

My daughter’s been going through a tough time lately. I really understand how she feels, because I’ve been through it myself. But there’s really no way to make it easier for her–this is just one of those rites of passage we all have to face.

Yes, my daughter’s facing the loss of her first Doctor.

This Christmas, on Doctor Who, Matt Smith will be replaced by a new actor in the iconic role. At least she knows it’s coming–when I lost my first Doctor, I knew nothing about it; I only knew that my beloved character had been replaced with a face and voice that seemed completely wrong.

They say you never forget your first Doctor. For similar reasons, they say your second Doctor is the one it’s hardest to warm up to. That was true for me, and I fear it will be true for her too. I’m sure Peter Capaldi, the upcoming incarnation of the Doctor, will be great, but it’s going to be a challenge for her to accept him.

Matt Smith was the youngest actor ever to play the Doctor, and Peter Capaldi is much older. Matt Smith brought a childlike humor to the character, while it’s speculated that Capaldi’s Doctor will be drier and darker. There’s no doubt it will be an interesting transition.

It’s just a TV show, you might be thinking. Well, the thing is, my daughter’s like me in more ways than one. She finds comfort, symbolism, and coping mechanisms in the books, films and characters that are important to her, and Doctor Who is one of her favorites. Every February, we attend a national convention, and she looks forward to it all year. For several years, I had to check her closet for Weeping Angels at night.

Regeneration–the process by which one Doctor gives way to the next–is sort of death and sort of not death. Something carries over, but not everything, and the new version has to get to know himself all over again. As a new teen, I think my daughter identifies with the concept. I wonder if, as she gets to know the new Doctor, she might identify with some of his darkness and compare it to the darkness she has to deal with on a new level now. We can hope.

One response to “Rite of Passage

  1. I’m 24 and just got into Doctor Who this past year. This will be my first “live/real time regeneration” and I am not looking forward to it. I cried during the stupid BBC america farewell to matt smith trailer, so I can’t imagine my reaction to the actual episode. The words, “He is the same man, always” does comfort me to an extent. I wish you and your daughter luck..

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