Doctor Whumour
Internet meme culture, Chris Chibnall’s Doctor Who, and fan mockery
in Doctor Who – New Dawn
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This chapter looks at how Doctor Who fans have made and used Internet memes to mock the programme under the stewardship of Chris Chibnall, often fondly, but sometimes cruelly. Taking her data from the Reddit group DoctorWhumour, as well as Facebook and Twitter, Brigid Cherry begins by looking at fan responses crafted in the wake of series 11’s pre-publicity, some of which were overtly negative, particularly in response to the casting of a female Doctor, but which also included affectionate mocking of the thirteenth Doctor’s costume. The chapter then goes on to analyse a range of fan memes responding to specific aspects of broadcast episodes that fans have singled out for (sometimes affectionate) mockery, including textual elements such as Jodie Whittaker’s facial expressions, and extratextual elements such as Chris Chibnall’s writing. By creating humorous, playful memes to express disappointment at what they feel are poor-quality elements of Chibnall’s Doctor Who, fans demonstrate their symbolic mastery over the programme, in some cases even positioning Chibnall as an ‘anti-auteur’. Fandom blurs into anti-fandom here, yet it is not Jodie Whittaker’s gender or performance that are typically mocked. Instead, rather than attacking the show’s widening representation, the memes studied in this chapter suggest that a backlash against the latest showrunner has been the main vehicle for fans’ negative emotions and frustrations.

Doctor Who – New Dawn

Essays on the Jodie Whittaker era

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