Handlebars

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Vid
Title: Handlebars
Creator: Seah & Margie aka flummery
Date: 2008
Format: digital vid
Length: 3:27
Music: Handlebars by Flobots
Genre: character study
Fandom: Doctor Who
Footage: Doctor Who
URL: vid announcement post on LiveJournal (archived}
streaming at http://flummery.org/
reupload at YouTube
The lyrics at this point in the vid: "I can end the planet in a holocaust."

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Handlebars is a Doctor Who fanvid by Flummery.

The vid was included in the 24/7 2010: The State of the Art in DIY Video show as a significant vid from 2007 - 2009, and was probably the most successful vid of 2008.

"I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handle bars
No handlebars.." ~ lyrics

This character study is especially notable for accurately predicting the Tenth Doctor's dark character development, months before the TV series episode "the Waters Of Mars" aired. The vid spread beyond its community and intended audience almost immediately, eventually reaching -- and being praised by -- the show's creative team.

In 2012, the vid was selected by the OTW to part of its Test Suite of Fair Use Vids, a website listing a series of vids which was submitted before the Library of Congress.[1]

Description

The lyrics underscore the Doctor's descent into darker and increasingly destructive actions: the singer progresses from riding his bike without "handlebars" to guiding "a missile by satellite" to ending "the planet in a holocaust," before returning, seemingly oblivious to the death and destruction, to riding his bike without handlebars. After all, in the singer's mind "My cause is noble, My power is pure" illustrating that in the Doctor's case the survivor of a tragedy is not necessarily the hero.

Handlebars premiered at VividCon 2008. It was one of two vids in the Premiere Vid Show that used the song. The vid played in the first half was Iron Man- Handlebars by trvscls07, featuring MCU Tony Stark, before flummery's Doctor Who vid played in the second half.

Reception

This meticulously-crafted character study of the Tenth Doctor spread beyond its community and intended audience almost immediately. The vide eventually reached the show's creative team and was praised by Doctor Who screenwriter Paul Cornell:

Final thing for the Who fans, courtesy of Tara O’Shea, this extraordinary fan video, which both shows off the editing skills and tech now in place in the field, and actually offers narrative and commentary on the current show, in a brilliant and shocking way (one of many in an increasingly intelligent artform, so I’m told, it was all jog and shuttle back in my day):[2]

As one fan noted, "Flummery completely called Ten's character development, and well over a year ago at that. The Doc has, indeed, gone completely handlebars on us."[3]

Par avion described it as "like a Perfect Storm of ... something! A fantastic vid that shows us a truth that both fans and critics of show/character can agree with, the higher visibility of vids and vidding, and a show that both presages and follows through on earlier character development in a time-frame that lets a (really perceptive) vidder beat them to the punch." She also notes that "familiarity with and discussion of the vid has been embedded in post-Water Of Mars fan discussion." [4]

Flummery did not upload to their own YouTube account until Feb 15, 2019. Two reposts, Doctor Who:handlebars (I'm the Doctor. Look me up.) in May 2009 and Doctor Who (rides his bike with no) Handlebars in December 2008 gave gained over 70,000 and 30,000 views, respectively.

Comments & Reviews

Oh, yes. This is absolutely the vid of the con for me, because it just hit how potentially terrifying the Doctor can be. This made me think of the Doctor telling Donna in "The Runaway Bride" that he doesn't need anyone (and we know that he's in that mindset again, post-"Journey's End") and this vid shows, in a very different way from "Midnight", exactly why the Doctor needs companions. "Midnight" illustrated that the Doctor needs companions for his own sake, to save him. This vid was about how the Doctor needs companions to protect the universe from him. It's a theme that gets touched on in the series, but it was amazing to see it all laid out. It was amazingly creepy and well-done.[5]
...this is all you need to know about the Doctor. And all you need to never EVER forget about him. It takes you on a ride that starts out cheeky and adorable and then oh fucking God, don't ever forget that he destroys worlds and can bring disaster with a snap of his far-too-powerful fingers.[6]
I don't know how much I need to say about how amazing this vid is. I chose it ... because I can recall the specific, mind-blowing moment where I rather enjoying the upbeat beginning of the song and all of a sudden I realized how the vid was shifting into (what I saw as) the much darker, destructive, megalomaniac quality of the Doctor's character (somewhere around the 2.10 mark). And my mind went BOOM. The last part of the vid, where there are a few lighthearted shots of the Doctor and his cheeky smile, became totally opened up for me in a different light. I recall sitting with my mouth open for several minutes after it was over, and then immediately watched it again.[7]
This is - well. This is the Doctor. End of story. This is the Doctor in every respect and every detail. The first time I watched this, I was basically clapping in glee from the very first line, and then it got better. And better. And better. And eventually it achieved such amazing levels of betterness that I still haven't entirely recovered. This vid rendered me incoherent. Permanently. I don't want to tell you how it gets better - if you've somehow missed this vid and this song, just go watch it. You will not be the sorrier. In fact, even if you have no idea who this Doctor person is (He travels through time. With friends. It's complicated.), still go watch it, because after you see this, you will most definitely know.[8]
This vid is astonishing. I know the file's kind of huge, but go watch it immediately. It starts out like the show does, mostly fun, but then starts showing the places Ten has gone. Then it gets scary. I adore every little clip of it. Quite possibly the best Doctor Who vid I've ever seen." [9]

References

  1. Test Suite, accessed November 9, 2012.
  2. Worldcon on Paul Cornell's blog, August 2008 (Accessed 25 October 2012)
  3. Comment by DameRuth at syfy forums, 16 Nov 2009. (Accessed 3 Feb 2012)
  4. comment by Par Avion in the "DIY II: Electric Bugaloo. Recs Needed!" post at the LiveJournal community vidding, 14 Dec 2009. (Accessed 3 Feb 2012)
  5. Butterfly: Premiere Show Part Two, dated August 18, 2008; WebCite for Part Two.
  6. chasarumba: VIVIDCON STENDHAL SYNDROME IN PROGRESS dated August 17, 2008; [1].
  7. nushanakt: 20 Days of Vids (Catch Up Session post, 25 Jul 2010; WebCite.
  8. thefourthvine: The One That Will Have You Looking Suspiciously at Cherry Stems Forever from 190: I'm Going to Vidding Land recs post, 5 Mar 2009. (Accessed 3 Feb 2012)
  9. a lightkeeper's log, posted December 17, 2008, accessed April 1, 2012