Doctor Who Blog

The Late Late Costume Show

I was at the same convention as him, but I didn’t get to see the Nerdist‘s Chris Hardwick when he taped a segment at the Gallifrey One convention in LA the weekend before last for The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. The closest I came was being in an autograph session that was put into lockdown while they filmed Chris and Bridger being chased by a Dalek in the hallway outside.

They aired the finished segment on last night’s show…

I want to stress that it’s a very funny, affectionate sketch. I really want to stress that as it wasn’t mean-spirited in the slightest (I say this as a victim of the butchery that was CBC’s segment on Doctor Who fans on The Hour in 2005—another rant for another time.) But…

Here’s the thing. Every time I tell people I went to LA to a Doctor Who convention, this is precisely what people think it was: people dressed up in costume, pretending they’re characters from the telly. And that certainly did happen and it was awesome, especially the people in the Movellan costumes and the true-to-TV Quark. (Also, as a heterosexual male, I wasn’t particularly complaining about the proliferation of Amy Ponds around this year). And it’s not that I don’t appreciate costuming (and I would never disparage it—especially as I spent the better part of a decade directing my fannish energies to other avenues like producing a fanzine. Plus… Movellans, Quarks and a proliferation of Amy Ponds)

But my Gallifrey One wasn’t that. It never is. Not in the slightest.

My experience of Gallifrey, as it is of any Doctor Who con I attend, is mostly spent hanging out with non-costumed fans and friends and talking, bantering, drinking, listening to guests and talking about Doctor Who. A lot. Usually starting around 9am and ending at 3am the following day. (OK, not always—jet lag got in the way this year). I have never worn a Doctor Who costume to such an event (OK, I brought my Doctor Who scarf once to use as a prop). But I go to cons, and I love Gallifrey particularly for this, because it is a place where I can speak to fellow geeks and be understood.

I’m far from alone. I would say the majority of con-goers are people like me. The only difference is we rarely, almost never, get filmed on the TV news, on Late Night shows, on anything. Because ordinary looking people being enthusiastic and just hanging out for a weekend to talk about their favourite TV show is, frankly, kind of boring to film. It’s always about the people in costumes, who are spectacularly televisual (of course they are—it’s why we watched the characters they’re dressed up as on TV in the first place!) And so the distortion about what a convention actually is just gets fed and grows.

I honestly don’t know why this bugs me. It’s not like Chris Hardwick was coming to the LAX Marriott to film a documentary for PBS. It was a skit for a late night show (one of the best ones going, too—Craig’s comments last night on Charlie Sheen were so true). And it was deeply affectionate for the subject matter, on a show that is hugely supportive to Doctor Who.  Plus, I was really pleased to see Shaun Lyon—a superstar of a convention organizer—get some on-camera love.

I guess when it comes down to it I’m tired of having to explain to people I don’t go to LA every February to dress up as Amy Pond. Well, except for that one time.

7 Comments...

“Freaks” make good teevee.  Nobody want to watch
people sitting around talking.  That’s why nobody talks on late night talk shows.  It’s more show than talk…heaven forbid they ever have a real interview or talk with any of their guests.

Roll the clip….

Posted by Rod  on  03/01  at  04:58 PM

Aww, I was just happy to see we weren’t made to look foolish. As a convention-goer who doesn’t wear a costume either, I do actually find the cosplayers fascinating and take loads of photos of them, so I understand. That’s a fannish thing to do as well!

Posted by anon  on  03/01  at  11:01 PM

Although I have faith in Ferguson and I think he does a great job, otherwise is seems whenever a “genre” show is mentioned on a mainstream US drama series, it’s almost always in the context that whoever is talking about it is a geek, and some “cooler” character always cuts it down. It happened just last week with Criminal Minds when a character mentioned Doctor Who and another character (played, ironically, by the actress who played the Orion Slave Girl in the last Star Trek movie) brushed him off as a geek. The Big Bang Theory might be an affectionate show, but it still reinforces the stereotype. And the CSI sci-fi convention episode, while it did give the trope a bit of a kick by having one of the show’s “hot chicks” be revealed as a costume-wearing con-goer, still succeeded in painting most convention-goers as nuts.

The funny part, of course, is many of the people who cut down sci-fi conventions and fandom think nothing of wearing their favorite hockey team’s jersey to an NHL game. Really entrenched fans can cite episode titles and when so-and-so joined the cast of Doctor Who. Soccer fans can tell you who scored the winning goal during a Manchester United vs. whatever game on June 3, 1953. What’s the difference, I ask???

Posted by Alex  on  03/02  at  10:01 AM

“I guess when it comes down to it I’m tired of having to explain to people I don’t go to LA every February to dress up as Amy Pond. Well, except for that one time.”

Am I the only person who is desperately trying to get a picture of Graeme in a Kissogram/Policewoman’s outfit out of their head now?

Posted by Kari  on  03/05  at  12:10 PM

The advantages and disadvantages of manned and alien amplitude missions are vast. While manned missions can aftereffect in the abrasion or afterlife of humans
non fault accident claims

Posted by accident claims  on  04/27  at  09:39 PM

A funny thing seems to happen in youth soccer. At some point we forget about basic development and start focusing on being competitive.Unfortunately soccer dvds this often happens too early and the results are irreversible and often permanent.

Posted by mannyescu  on  10/24  at  04:17 AM

Is anyone monitoring this blog? The last two responses appear to be spam.

Posted by Alex  on  10/24  at  04:39 AM

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