Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Triumph of Intellect and Romance Over Brute Force and Cynicism

Since you're reading this blog, you probably know that late-night talk-show host Craig Ferguson -- a lifelong fan of DOCTOR WHO -- had Matt Smith as his guest November 16th, 2010.

I thought the interview itself was rather unremarkable, oddly enough -- Ferguson is so smart and funny that it's rarely possible to match him with a guest who's more interesting than he is -- but that's not what I want to write about here, anyway. The big deal for me was that everyone who spoke on air during the show made some mention of an opening segment that CBS Legal wouldn't allow them to air. This despite hours of rehearsal and an enormously enthusiastic response from the studio audience! And they repeatedly added (winking at the camera) that they "sure hoped that segment didn't find its way onto the internet."

Which of course it immediately did, thank goodness. And as you watch and listen, you can guess the legal trouble: Ferguson set words to the DOCTOR WHO theme as recorded by the band Orbital, who I imagine were not consulted about this performance of their music. Too bad, too, because (a) I think the Orbital guys would, if consulted, have thought this was hilarious and (b) I think it's good advertising for their recording -- I'd buy it after this if I hadn't already!

So with apologies to CBS and Orbital, here's the segment. If you haven't seen it before, brace yourself...

video

And here are the "lyrics" as best I can make them out:

In 1963 the BBC premiered a show about an alien
who travels through space and time to combat powers of evil
(He's a force for good in an otherwise uncertain universe)
You are correct in your summation of his character,
my profane rabbit friend!

The show has been running in Britain almost fifty years
with many different actors in the role of the Doctor
(The Doctor doesn't die he just regenerates)
The crocodile/alligator speaks the truth!

One thing is consistent, though, and this is why
the show is so beloved by geeks and nerds:
It's all about the triumph of intellect and romance
over brute force and cynicism
(Intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism...)



So here's my question. Has Craig Ferguson, in the midst of being intensely silly, defined and explained the show more eloquently and succinctly than anyone else in the last forty-seven years?

The triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.

By George, to paraphrase Henry Higgins, I think he's got it.

I plan to write more in another post about the "romance" aspect of his thesis. But for the moment, what do you think of his basic assertion? Agree? Disagree?