Just a buncha goddamn nerds.
Nerds blocking the stairs. Nerds cramming the bars and taking up the booths. Nerds dressed up as the men from TV, clapping and cheering between the whams and slams on the show amid bouts of reciting each other nerd trivia.
But luckily the game ended and the nerds in jerseys left so the rest of us normals could watch the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary episode.
“This is like Christmas!” said a girl wearing thick glasses and a T-shirt of Matt Smith fighting zombies.
“Doctor Who,” British sci-fi show about a time-traveling, space-faring British alien in a 1960s police telephone box, celebrated its 50th anniversary Saturday.
The Chicago Nerds Social Club arranged a meetup to watch the episode, packing scarf-wearing, Chuck Taylor-donning, bow-tie-having Whovians into a Lakeview bar on a Saturday afternoon during football season.
There were women dressed as police boxes and men dressed in tweedy First Doctor waistcoats. There were T-shirts galore, full of TARDI and Tennants and cross-franchise treats like a My Little Pony dressed as “Doctor Hooves” and “Despicable Me” minions overrunning Time and Relative Dimension in Space.
This array of camp, this nerdy peacocking was packed in the side room of a magnificent sports bar decked with pennants and jerseys and a whole bunch of sports fans cosplaying as linebackers.
The run-up to the 50th anniversary special was a marathon of the previous season. In our little side room, we cheered when Clara jumped into the time stream, groaned at River’s final goodbye, howled like maniacs at the first appearance of the War Doctor.
In the main area of the bar, they cheered when their gridiron heroes slammed into the foes-for-a-day, groaned at yellow flags and tape reviews, howled like maniacs at each first down.
Then the episode was over. There was a few minutes of buildup and filler on the TV until the anniversary special itself began. The nerds in bow ties tensed. The nerds in jerseys ignored. A countdown began … 11 (natch), 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!
After the episode, the ladyfriend and I sat at the main bar, which had mysteriously cleared of sports fans some time during the show. I hadn’t noticed.
A woman wearing the sports bar uniform of short shorts and a tank top designed for a 4 year old came by to wipe down the bar.
“So how do sci-fi fans compare to sports fans?” I asked, half making conversation, half feeling guilty for chasing out the regular nerds with our brand.
“Night and day,” she said, continuing to wipe. “Night and day.”