Sunday, 20 October 2013

"Except that bit. I don't want that bit."

So, I'm a fan of Doctor Who (Blog post about that probably coming soon, since it's just over a month to the anniversary). The Doctor is currently on his eleventh incarnation. And one will quite often come across other fans who love the show, but there will be one of the eleven Doctors that they just don't like. Not consistently though, a different one for each fan, I'm pretty sure I've come across One, Two, Six, Eight, Nine, Ten or Eleven as the one Doctor a person doesn't like.
I'm also very much into Gilbert & Sullivan (as someone once put it to me, a "Gilbert and Sullifan"). And to a perhaps even more pronounced extent I find that many serious G&S enthusiasts dislike one specific show, out of the thirteen surviving Savoy Operas written by the illustrious pair. But again it varies. For some it's Pinafore, for some it's Patience, or Ida, or Yeomen, or Utopia, or Grand Duke, but there almost always seems to be one.
I'm sure there are other similar examples.
Me? I like them all, in both cases. I have preferences, of course, though I might find it hard to pin them all down definitively; there may be aspects of some which don't appeal to me, which I have issues with. But there isn't one which I dislike as a whole.

And I can't really understand this sort of attitude. I mean, one thought which I've had before in the G&S context is "If you dislike it, why are you doing it?" It's less of a point with Doctor Who, although one does sometimes come across people who seem to watch the show only so they can then criticise it on internet forums (On the other hand, if they want to do that, it's a valid if unusual pastime). But I've had cases of doing a G&S show and hearing someone backstage talking about how the show is rubbish, at which point I just think "Well, why are you here then?" With Doctor Who, there's always a chance that things will change and go back to something you appreciate more. With Gilbert & Sullivan societies, you're a member, you'll find out what the next show is by email or whatever, so if the society's doing the one show you don't like, why not just take a few months/year off?

Back to my not understanding. What's the reason for this? Is that one instance really so different to the others that it warrants a completely opposite reaction to the rest? Because I'm not talking about people who just kind of like most but then dislike one. I'm talking about people who really love most of them, and then seem to possibly even hate that one in particular. And while there are obvious variations, I would think that the similarities were still enough that a real polar opposite reaction would be highly unlikely. So what is it?
In a lot of cases, I suspect it's just that they overstate it. That they pick out a couple of issues they have and then blow them out of proportion; possibly with the help of others who place extra significance on them criticising any element of it given their usual all-consuming love for the works. And then also if those are their issues and the rest is just OK, then they're unlikely to bring up that the rest is OK, but will talk much more about the things which stand out by dint of being less good (in their opinion). Or, in some cases, they may suffer from the terrible problem of judging relative to their expectations rather than objectively. That is, because they love all the others, they tick all the right boxes and are amazing etc, that is their standard for the works, and so when they find one instance which ticks one or two less boxes, they treat it as seriously sub-par, awful, terrible drek, etc, when in fact it appeals to them less than the others but still considerably more than the majority of similar genre works out there.

The other thing I don't get though, is why it seems fairly consistently to be just one. As I said, I have issues with various if not all of the Doctors and the G&S shows, despite loving all of them. There are always aspects I can pick out as perhaps not being quite as I would prefer it. So I find it strange that in a lot of cases of people who otherwise seem to feel similarly to me, their issues are only enough to mount up to a dislike in one instance, while the others remain in the domain of "Fantastic with a couple of minor problems."
It just feels very much like an arbitrary decision, and reminds me more than a little of about the first 15 seconds of this video:

1 comment:

  1. It amused me that the production of Pinafore with Colin Baker as SJP got really good reviews XD