MY FANDOMS HAVE ANNOYING CHARACTERS
By Margaret Price
Adric opened a door and entered a large meeting room. There was a podium on a small stage at the front. Folding chairs were arranged in neat rows. Adric blinked when he realized that many of the individuals in the seats were not human. Some were not even remotely human.
“Finally made it, did you?”
Adric turned as Mickey approached. “Where am I?”
“Welcome to Annoying Characters Anonymous,” Mickey said brightly.
Adric goggled. “Is this one of those support groups I keep hearing about?”
“Yeah, now you’ve got it. You’re long overdue.” Mickey took hold of Adric’s arm. “Come on, I’ll introduce you.”
Adric pulled his arm away. “No way. I’m not joining any support group!”
“You don’t have a choice,” Mickey replied. “Anyway, you really are annoying, you know.”
“Me! What about you? Even the Doctor can’t stand you!”
“Yeah, but I didn’t get killed off, did I?” Mickey pointed out. “And I started out with a really hot girlfriend.”
Suddenly their conversation was interrupted by someone screaming at the top of his voice, “WE WILL BECOME ALL POWERFUL! CRUSH THE LESSER RACES!”
Mickey reached down, pulling an electrical jack from its socket. The ranted ended the same instant. “Alright!” he demanded. “Who plugged Davros’ speaker back in?”
There was an explosion of giggles from the assembled membership.
“That’s not funny.”
“Man, he’s annoying,” Adric remarked.
“He makes a great cold drinks dispenser, though,” Mickey replied, turning to lead the way. “Come on.”
Adric threw a quick glance over at Davros, who was still ranting soundlessly in his chair. The boy shrugged and followed after Mickey. “Who else is here?” he asked.
“I’m not sure you’ll know everybody. There are annoying characters in every fandom going.” Mickey paused when they arrived at the front of the room. The lights came down just as they were climbing the stairs up to the stage.
“I take it the meeting’s starting?” Adric said quietly.
“Yeah,” Mickey said before walking up to the podium. “Hello, everyone. I’m Mickey, and I’m an annoying character from the new ‘Doctor Who’ TV series.”
“Hello, Mickey,” the group replied.
“We have a new member tonight.” Mickey held out a hand. “Say hello to Adric, a companion from the original ‘Doctor Who’ TV series.”
“Hello, Adric,” the group replied dutifully.
“I said I don’t need to be in a support group!” Adric protested. He folded his arms across his chest and turned away.
“That’s what everyone says,” a deep cultured voice said from behind him.
Adric turned back and then look up at the tall, yellowish creature looming over him. He had never seen anything quite like it, which was saying a lot when one considered all the bug-eyed monsters that have been featured on Doctor Who over the past forty years. Adric’s mouth dropped open in alarm, his eyes growing wide. He was prevented from screaming when Mickey said brightly, “Allow me to introduce our President, Jar Jar Binks from the ‘Star Wars’ movie and book series.”
“Welcome, Adric,” Jar Jar said politely, holding out a hand.
Adric continued to goggle as his hand was shaken.
“First meeting, sir,” Mickey informed quietly.
“Oh, I see,” Jar Jar said with a knowing smile. “Well, just have a seat and enjoy the meeting.”
Adric finally came out of his daze. “Wait, hold on. Aren’t you supposed to talk all…funny?”
“You mean annoying?”
“Um, er…ah…” Adric stammered.
“Why George decided to have me speak in such a manner is quite beyond me,” Jar Jar moaned. “I think he went out of his way to make my character annoying.”
Mickey pulled Adric away as Jar Jar walked up to the podium to address the meeting.
“Look, you don’t have to stay in character here,” Mickey said softly.
Adric blinked. “What?”
“I know we have to do what the writers say, but you don’t have to here. It’s just us, y’know.”
Mickey turned when Jar Jar raised his voice.
“I have a special treat tonight,” Jar Jar announced. “A former member who was once the least favorite in the Doctor Who fanbase.”
“I thought that was me,” Adric said petulantly.
“Still is,” Mickey shot back.
“Voted number one by the readers of ‘Doctor Who Magazine,’” Jar Jar went on, “I am please to introduce…the Sixth Doctor.”
The Doctor came on stage amid thunderous applause. He shook the hands of several individuals who rushed up to greet him. He then waved to the assembled characters, smiling brightly as dozens of photographs were taken.
“Doctor!” Adric rushed up to the Doctor, pulling at his arm as he came up to the podium.
The Doctor looked down in surprise. “Good Lord, Adric! Where in the cosmos did you spring from?”
“Doctor, you’ve got to get me out of here! These people are lunatics.”
“No, no,” the Doctor corrected. “They're just annoying fictional characters.”
“Get off the stage!” Jerry Seinfeld of the TV series “Seinfeld” called out. “That’s my shtick.”
“Somebody call security!” a nasally New York voice belonging to Fran Fine of the TV series “The Nanny,” called out. “Goddamn fan!boys.”
“How did I end up in the New York Jew section?” Diane Chambers of TV series “Cheers” demanded as she jumped to her feet.
“Oh, here goes Miss High-And-Mighty again,” Karen Walker of the TV series “Will & Grace” snorted indignantly.
“Everyone, please,” Jar Jar called out. “We’re annoying enough as it is without arguing amongst ourselves.”
“I’m sorry about the interruption,” the Doctor said calmly. “Adric is a former companion of mine. I’m sure he’s just nervous. Aren’t you, Adric?”
“Awww,” the crowd responded in unison.
A large purple dinosaur in a glass enclosure at the back of the room started to jump up and down, clapping his hands. “He’s such a wonderful person. We all need to just love each other,” Barney from the children’s TV series of the same name cooed happily, not that anyone could hear him, as he was in a soundproof room. Even annoying characters found him too annoying to be around. The only exceptions were Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po from the Children’s TV show “Teletubbies,” all four of whom were also locked in the room with him.
“He’s so compassionate,” Rita Repulsa from the children’s TV series “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” sighed. “I wish I could be like that.”
“I thought you were turned good?” King Friday the Thirteenth from the Children’s TV series “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood” observed in bewilderment.
“That’s the Rita Repulsa from the ‘Power Ranger in Space’ TV series,” Rita corrected.
“I order you to number yourselves so people don’t get confused,” King Friday snorted pompously.
“Everyone, please, settle down,” the Doctor called out, holding up his hands. “Just give me a moment.” He turned his back on the audience and glared down at Adric. “I’m only going to say this once. Sit down and shut up or I’ll sling you out into the vortex,” he said between clenched teeth.
“Doctor!” Adric gasped.
“I’m not going to let you ruin my big moment. Now shut up before I give you to the Daleks.”
The Doctor turned to the Daleks that had rolled up on stage. “What have we said about all that shouting?” he admonished sharply. “You’re security, not a death squad.”
The Daleks rolled back slightly. “Sorry, Doctor,” the first said meekly.
“It’s difficult breaking with forty years of established canon,” the other Dalek stated in a surprisingly quiet voice.
The Doctor nodded, giving each Dalek a pat on the doom. “Well, you just keep at it.”
The crowd gave another approving sigh.
There was a small commotion at a rear door and everyone looked up as a tall, strikingly handsome man with long curly blond hair entered pulling a smallish, dark haired man in behind him.
“No, no!” the smaller of the two bawled. “I don’t want to go! Please, my lord, don’t make me.”
“Now, Jamesie, you promised,” the taller man said patiently.
“Excuse me!” Mickey called out sharply, gaining the pair’s attention.
“Oh, dear, I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t realize we were late,” the blond man drawled in a cultured English accent. “This is James, my accountant.”
Steve Urkel from the TV series “Family Matters” was on his feet, hands on hips. “And who are you?” he attempted to demand, looking through the bottom of his glasses. The result came off as pathetic rather than intimidating, his voice sounding like fingernails on a blackboard compared to that of the newcomer.
“Oh, do sit down,” the Doctor snapped impatiently. “I already know who it is. That’s Dorian Red Gloria, Earl of Gloria also known as Eroica. He’s the central character in the ‘From Eroica With Love’ shôjo manga series.”
“Doctor, you remembered!” Eroica said delightedly.
“You’re very difficult to forget, Lord Gloria.”
“You used to call me Dorian.”
“Not another rival!” James burst into tears. “But he’s so old!”
The Doctor controlled himself with visible effort. “I’m guessing he’s the reason you’re here.”
“Yes. Sorry about that,” Eroica replied as he dragged the weeping James toward the stage. “Even our creator, Aioke-san, finds him annoying.”
The Doctor turned to Adric. “Seems you’ve got some competition.”
Adric’s eyes grew wide. “You’re not actually comparing me to that…that…”
“Well, you are about the same size,” Eroica replied, giving Adric an appraising look. “And you both have lovely black hair.”
“He does whine and sulk a lot, too,” the Doctor injected.
“Doctor, they’re…they’re...cartoon characters!”
“I beg your pardon,” Eroica said with an indignant snort. “Manga are Japanese graphic novels, not cartoons.”
“Actually, manga is the Japanese word for comics and print cartoons,” Cliff Clavin from the TV series “Cheers” corrected. “Shôjo is the designation for Japanese girl’s comics.”
“Big deal,” an effeminate looking young man with long blond hair replied. “Anybody can look that up in Wikipedia.”
Eroica whirled around. His eyes widened when he saw the young man who had spoken. “Caesar Gabriel!” he gasped. “I didn’t realize you were a member, too.”
“I’ve been here ever since you threw me over for that German,” Caesar replied petulantly.
“Oh, m’lord!” James moaned, hiding his face in his hands. “Now you’re going to take up with him again, aren’t you?”
“No, he’s been written out of the series,” Eroica said dismissively as he turned back to look at Adric again. “But he’s the right age for formula shôjo.”
“What are you?” Adric gasped, taking a step back. “Some kind of queer?”
“Of course he is, you idiot!” Hercule from the anime “Dragon Ball Z” snapped impatiently.
“That’s the point of shôjo mangas,” Relena Peacecraft from the anime “Gundam Wing” added.
“Well, how am I supposed to know?” Adric replied defensively. “I’m from a Science Fiction program.”
“I think you’re right, Doctor,” Eroica observed. “He’s perfect competition for James.”
“My lord!” James wailed even louder than before.
Jar Jar step up to the edge of the stage. “Mr. James…? Mr. James…?” Failing to get James’ attention, Jar Jar looked into audience and held up his hands. “Everyone, what do we say to Mr. James?”
The crowd replied in unison. “SHUT UP AND DON'T BE SO ANNOYING!”
“Thank you,” Jar Jar replied. Then he glared down at the accountant. “Whining, yowling and tantrums will not be tolerated. Is that understood?”
“Yes, sir,” James replied meekly.
Jar Jar gave Eroica’s flamboyant appearance an appraising look. “Are you considered an annoying character?”
Eroica threw back his mop of blond curls and grinned impishly. “Only by my love interest,” he grinned.
“Then you’ll have to wait outside.”
“Certainly.” Eroica gave a dazzling smile, blew a kiss in Adric’s direction and turned on his heel. “Oh, Dalek! Do you have tentacles under your dome?” he called as he flounced from the room.
James received a quelling look from Jar Jar and refrained from causing yet another scene. He turned and meekly took a seat.
“Now, if we could all control ourselves,” Jar Jar said firmly, glaring at James in particular, “we have a meeting to get to. Doctor…?” he said, holding out a hand. “They’re all yours.”
The Doctor stepped up to the podium again. “Thank you,” he said politely and looked over the faces of the crowd.
Suddenly the rear doors flew open with a bang and a group of men dressed in red burst into the room. “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!” one exclaimed.
“Haven’t we done this already?” the Doctor moaned. “You’re in the wrong story.”
The men in red exchanged glances. “Oh, so sorry.”
The group vanished out the doors.
The Doctor turned to Jar Jar. “I think tonight’s a bit of a lost cause.”
Jar Jar sighed heavily. “Agreed.”
“So…what now?” Adric wanted to know.
The Doctor broke into a broad smile. “We have a party!”
Someone blew a whistle and the side doors burst open. A mob of servants carrying trays of food entered. They set the food onto long tables set along the walls. A band came out onto stage and started to set up their instruments. Several people started folding up the chairs to make more room.
“Um, Doctor?” Adric asked quietly. “Is the band part of the group?”
“Good Lord, no! Even annoying characters have some standards!”
The Doctor held up a hand, snapping his fingers. Two men in uniform suddenly appeared and started to drag Adric away.
“Doctor, what’s happening?”
“You’re too young to drink,” the Doctor informed as a tray of champagne was offered to him. “You have to stay with Barney and the others, in the children’s room.”
The Doctor allowed an evil smile to pass across his face as the boy was locked into the soundproof box. “Annoying little wanker.”
Jar Jar came up to the Doctor. “Perhaps,” he said, snagging a glass of champagne from a passing tray at the same time, “we should have warned him about that.” His eyes met the Time Lord’s for a brief instant.
“Naaah,” they said in unison, clinking their glasses together.
“Are you going to lock me up?” James asked meekly.
Jar Jar looked down at the cowering figure. “Oh, I forgot about you. What say you, Doctor?”
The Doctor considered. “I say we put him in charge of the party expenses.”
“Oh! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” James squealed as he pulled out his Casio mini and vanished into the kitchen.
“I doubt we’ll see him for the rest of the night,” the Doctor said knowingly.
“Brilliant as ever,” Jar Jar remarked, saluting the Time Lord with his glass. “You’ve really learned how to handle annoying characters.”
The Doctor inclined his head. “Thank you.”
The remainder of their conversation was lost in the music as the band started to play.