Fandom has to be one of the most confusing and anxiety filled things in life. On the one hand, it’s amazing to find something or someone you connect with and follow it through its life; in whatever form that may be. Sometimes its a tv show, sometimes its a movie franchise, a book series, a performer; whatever it is, it brings you joy and its wonderful. On the other hand, there are those moments when your fandom disappoints you or the other people within your fandom begin to make it intolerable. We all know what its like to see your favorite actor, actress, or singer get cuffed and hauled off to jail. You are now stuck between deciding to stand by their side, (they’ve been wrongfully accused!) or bow out gracefully (welp).
The greatest and worst thing about fandom isn’t even the thing you’re a fan of… it’s the people you meet along the way. In the age of social media, I am able to find people all over the world who enjoy the things I do and we can chat via twitter, Facebook, etc. I met one of my dearest friends through the Hawaii Five-0 fandom (Hi @lolacabana) and we both barely watch that show anymore, but are still good friends. We found we had so much more in common besides that 1 show and we’ve formed a forever friendship. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with journalists and script writers, even the celebrities themselves and their extended network. It’s all very positive, unless you are a “crazy” person. The flip side of the great people you meet are the awful people you meet. Those people make being a fan of something unbearable. I’ve left fandoms because of the fans. I stopped watching Hawaii Five-0 basically because the fandom became so obsessed, you couldn’t say a bad word about the show, even if it was a legitimate criticism.
Something for us all to remember, just because I criticize something, doesn’t mean I don’t love it. It means I care enough about it, that I want it to be better. I consider myself somewhat of a tv expert; I am not interested in lazily written stories, writers who can’t let go of a character, plot lines being dragged to infinity, or actors being shoved in my face with their character because “everyone really likes them”. What I want is for you to tell the story you set out to tell. Obviously ratings and box offices play a part and we want our shows to stay on air and our movie franchises to grow.
I have a deep respect for Eric Kripke and the story he told on Supernatural. He expressed in many interviews that the story he set out to tell would last 5 seasons. And it did. The show got renewed for a 6th season and he said, no the story is still ending at 5 and we will tell another story after that. If you are unfamiliar with Supernatural (really?), its the story of the Winchester Brothers; saving people, hunting things, the family business. They hunt supernatural creatures and the first 5 seasons was a story arc about stopping the apocalypse. Lucifer and Archangel Michael have a great battle to put Lucifer back in the cage in the form of human vessels. It was quite well done, with the mythology growing over the course of 5 seasons. I will always appreciate the way that story was told concisely within 5 seasons. That’s something that easily could have been dragged on for years and wasn’t. Kripke left at the end of 5 and Sera Gamble took over. Her tenure on the show is a longer post for another time, but the show as a whole has been great. So great, it’s on its 12th season and heading into its 13th. This fandom has been, for the most part, pretty great. There are some minimal arguments over things but we all can agree that Sam & Dean must be protected at all costs and we will accept nothing else!
Other shows have a reputation for fans that are just vile and disgusting to one another as well as to the creators and actors of the shows. To repeat, when you love something and feel strongly about it, you should express your opinion, but you shouldn’t berate an actress because you don’t like the way her character is written. At the end of the day, you are always welcome to abandon your fandom. Stop watching. I’ve long been a soap opera watcher (General Hospital and Bold and the Beautiful). I have reached a point where there is so much good television to watch, I can no longer justify spending an hour of my day watching garbage writing. It’s pretty awful and even the minuscule moments or episodes that feel like “oh this is great” just cannot justify the rest of the filth going on. And the ratings show, I’m not the only one who feels this way. It’s sad because there is so much potential and rich history to draw from and I can almost understand why fan wars erupt over these shows. You’re talking about something a person has watched for maybe 40 years. They’re INVESTED!
There are other shows that have these fan wars and I just want to say “its not that serious”. But it is. I get it. Particularly shows that draw from source material (looking at you Arrow). When you hear that your favorite book or comic is being adapted for tv or movies, it’s exciting. Yes! I get to see my favorite thing come to life. Sometimes its amazing and perfect (Lord of the Rings) and sometimes its a heaping pile of dog dung (The Hobbit, every Nicholas Sparks book) and sometimes its somewhere in the middle (The Marvel movies do a great job of marrying the comic expectation with their interpretation cinematically). It disappointing when something you love so much is treated so poorly and when you have long histories to draw from, you get upset. Then there are those people who have no connection to the source material and want you to shut the hell up. I hear you. But…. But…
The hard truth is being a fan is the greatest and worst thing EVER! And I love it.