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.
Posted by Graeme on Tuesday, March 1 at 9:18 am