Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Goodbye, Sarah Jane.

Earlier today, right as I was popping Portal 2 into my XBox, the news broke on Twitter that Elisabeth Sladen had died.  I immediately freaked out, then decided to wait for confirmation, which eventually came.

For those of you who don't know, Elisabeth Sladen played Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who, a character who has been a companion of two Doctors, a friend of five, and has had two of her own spin-off shows.  She started in the role in 1973 with the third Doctor, kept on with the fourth, came back for an episode with the fifth and the tenth (the first moment I appreciated David Tennant as the Doctor was when he saw Sarah Jane for the first time and his face lit up), and had the eleventh on her own show  

She was an icon.  Of feminism in the seventies, of aging brilliantly in the new century.  She bridged the gap between the old Doctor Who and the new one.  The now non-canonical Sarah Jane Smith audios are still some of my favorite Doctor Who-related adventures of all time.

It's funny, because the reaction to her death has been really strong.  I felt like someone kicked me in the chest.  A friend tweeted that she was almost crying while out shopping.  Another told me she felt like crying, and asked if it was a stupid feeling.  I said to someone that I felt silly feeling as upset as I do, and she said it's not silly at all.

And I think that's a thing that I love about Doctor Who.  If you're really in it, if you're traveling along on the adventures with this crazy man, if you go to conventions or signings, if you really love what this show is and what it stands for (if you connect in any of these ways or in your own way), it makes friends out of strangers.  It turns people into loved ones that otherwise wouldn't be.  And when they go, it hurts.

Elisabeth Sladen's death is sad.  I am sad.  I wish the best to her family and friends, to those that really knew her.  And to my fellow fans I'll just end with a quote that's been wandering around the internet today, because it's true.  And it's time to say goodbye.

"No. The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world, or a relationship... Everything has its time. And everything ends"

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