Confession time. This has been a strange year in my life, and I often wonder if I've become batshit crazy. I've loved TV shows before, heck I've even been part of online communities praising said TV shows, but I wasn't prepared for what happened when Supernatural came into my life. I wasn't prepared for that moment when I fell in love with this under the radar show about two hot brothers traveling cross country fighting evil, in a cool car, on a crappy network no one ever heard of. I had no idea I would be sucked into a phenomenon that went far beyond an hour of my life each Thursday.
I was so blown away by this show after spending weeks catching up on DVDs, I wrote an homage about how much I loved it. Why I never heard of Supernatural before season three. Then someone came along who actually wanted to publish this story. The article became so wildly popular that I ended up becoming a regular voice on this fandom. Now people actually want to read what I write each week. That's something I never to this day take for granted and appreciate having in my life. It's also something I never expected happening in a million years.
In the time since then, I've gotten to know many fans, and delved deeper into the rabid (in a good way) fandom behind this cult hit. I found a deeply loyal and die hard bunch whose borders went far beyond the US. There are no borders actually, for I've heard from fans in every corner of the globe. I never realized that a fandom could take love of a show and do so much, like find clever ways to promote the show that went far beyond anything a network PR department could pay for. How they could raise money for charitable causes in the name of the show, and create photobook projects, fanfics, fanart, fanvids, icons, picspams"¦Everything I've seen has been nothing short of amazing.
I've met so many wonderful people and share daily correspondences with fans all over the world. To read about how passionate a fan is in Romania is every bit as thrilling as raving about the week's episode in my morning Taekwondo class. I've spent countless hours on the forums debating this and that, even sharing my obscure knowledge about how screwed up the network is, breaking down ratings statistics in all sorts of twisted ways (yes, the inner geek took over), and debating over the make and model of the classic car spotted in various episodes. That Pinto was time-warped I tell you!
I never considered going to a fan convention before, having laughed at all the Trekkies out there for years. In four months time though, I went to two Supernatural ones. I even gushed like a fan girl at them, something I never imagined could happen to me. I still smile when I think about it. I even started my own fan website, putting in with delight the hours it takes to create clips and screenshots for the articles on the site, just because words can only be enhanced by the pretty.
I never knew a TV show could affect me so much. I also never knew what could happen by getting too much of a good thing.
Lately the fandom has been more taxing than supportive. Too much enthusiasm becomes overwhelming. I've deflected tons of attacks from both Sam and Dean fans over my commentaries, claiming I've unfairly favored one over the other. All out wars have broken out in the comments sections of my articles. I get frequent messages expressing outrage over what this person in the fandom did or what that blogger said about the show or Jared and Jensen, along with the hundreds of supporting condemnations, and I wonder how people find this uplifting. I find it aggravating.
I'm constantly solicited on a daily basis now to "donate" or "buy this" in support of the show, which near impossible for someone like myself who's on a rigid budget. I love mentioning a cause in the blog here and there, but those are my limits. There are also so many polls out there now I can't imagine why the Winchesters need to win all these. Does that actually lead to better ratings? Diversions are fun, but when it turns into a part-time job, not so much. The overreactions to this spoiler and that teaser is getting plain ridiculous, and shows a strange lack of trust for a show that rarely lets us down. Finally, as much as I want to promote and share the love about this show, reading the constant plugs for interviews and the latest projects of every single actor that's ever appeared on the show is becoming overkill. Some efforts are worthwhile, others are just going too far.
I'm ready to admit it now, I have a life outside of this show. I can't keep up with it all. So, in confessing my weariness, what kind of fan does this make me? An ungrateful one? A jaded one? A heartless one? Someone who should have my membership revoked? Someone who doesn't deserve the readership I get?
No matter what, I'm a loyal fan. I'm just one that's straying from "batshit" territory by going back to the basics. I went back and asked myself, how did I fall in love? Easy. I was won over in two minutes by two brothers, a moment of family angst, and a classic car. Why do I keep coming back each week? Two brothers, moments of family angst, and a classic car. Sure, the writing is some of the best I've seen in television, the chemistry between the lead actors is second to none, the sets are memorable, and the directing will leave its legacy long after the show is done, but once I strip it down to the bare basics, I'm left with those three little things. That is my pure joy. That is the spirit I choose to promote.
I'll continue to eagerly wait for the new episode each Thursday, with no expectations other than to trust the creative minds to "share the vision." I'm dying to see the finished result after the hours of endless debate in the writer's room, the long production meetings hammering out every detail, and episode shoots into ungodly hours of the morning. I'm honored to analyze the finished work with objectivity, and admire in awe how this small yet compelling piece fits to this gigantic puzzle that's been years in the making. I appreciate every week, even in reruns, how all this has been done for me and a few million others like me. When I look at the show this way, I truly feel special.
It's so easy to get caught in the madness. It's so easy to troll the boards, fan groups, emails, and Facebook/MySpace/Twitter communities constantly just to get that frequent fix. Fandoms are good. Bonding with those that share your love is good. Using your spark of creativity to honor your favorite show? Good. Analyzing character development and story plotting like we would at a book of the month club? Good (unless fan wars break out). Taking everything in the fandom and twisting it so much that you lose sight of the basics? Not good.
Now it's time for all of you to confess. What sucked you in the moment you saw the show? Is that still the same thing that brings you back every week? Will that ever change? There's no right or wrong answer, for the best part here is as fans, we're all among family. Even us batshit ones.
What kind of fan are you?