Out of the Woods?

 

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Hello. How is everyone doing today? I fully intended to write up a Devils Advocate about the new spoilers and have some fun, but I wanted to expand on my thoughts that I brought up yesterday in my Live But Organized Review (3/1/2018).  It is less about the show itself and more about fandom and where we all stand now. I know. This is exciting. So exciting. Sarcasm aside I think it’s important to realize one thing when it comes to Emmerdale and the fandom.

You’re out of the woods. You’re out of the dark. You’re out of the night. Step into the sun, step into the light.

In the Dark

This past year has been hard for us Robert, Aaron, and Robron fans. Everything that our favorite characters and pairing were worried about happened and to extremes.  Then the fallout brought a lot of hand-wringing and upsetting thoughts. Things were dark. Whenever we thought we saw some light something would happen to pull us back in.  Some stuck around and just pushed through with dark sarcasm and copious amounts of fluffy fanfiction. Some tried to analyze each scene and create theories to take their minds off of the darkness and think of some lighter fare.  Some complained about everything to feel better. Then some just left. In case you are wondering, I did all those things except leave. I threatened to others in private conversations and once on Twitter after a really crappy spoiler explosion that ruined three whole episodes in advance.  However, I always stuck around to write my thoughts, no matter how angry I got at fandom and the show.

During that time spoilers were being leaked left and right. A lot of personal speculation was showing up and making people think it was fact. There were actual confirmed spoilers that caused total dread to the fandom.  The build-up to seeing these spoilers caused people to just go into as I call it, Total Negative Mode or TNM. Don’t get me wrong. I lived in TNM land. Anytime someone would tweet or message me I felt my stomach clench. Almost like, ‘what happened now?’ type of feeling. Then I’d read the spoiler and try and be positive about it and even try to write a few theories or ideas up to make it seem better. I was usually punched hard and left with my tail between my legs only to do it again next week.

Into the Light

It wasn’t fun. Most of 2017 for Aaron, Robert and Robron fans wasn’t a good time. However, in the early part of 2018, something seemed to be changing. The spoilers didn’t feel dark anymore. Tweets and articles weren’t avoiding the idea of a better future for the characters.  Something was changing, and that change led us to some very exciting two weeks. We all know what I’m talking about. It was a great two weeks. Valentines Day. Seb watching. Clubbing. Awkward dancing. Revelations. Big speeches.  Kisses and a hopeful future.  It was a good time my friends.

Let me repeat that out of fangirl speak. We not only got Aaron taking control and putting his feelings first, but we got Robert trying to officially move on with the help of friends during a night out. We got the two of them talking through a lot of issues fans had been discussing at great lengths. We finally got a good idea of how Aaron is feeling about these issues. We got a lot of great content and even better? We got a funny, sweet and romantic reunion that continued into the next episode with the rings going back where they belong. Thank god. We had Robert talk to Liv and work out some of their issues. We had the Dingles being ok with this new development (some think it was too easy and yes, I agree, but if the show didn’t have all the plot set up for them, I bet the Dingles would have been a bigger problem).  There was a lot of development and happiness. We had reached the light. The end of the hell plot tunnel. We are back to Robert and Aaron being married and living together, but they are stronger than ever.

So. The hell plot is over. Now what? Well, we move onto new stories. New plots. New connections. Exciting new possibilities. So, the spoilers start back up again like they do every week. We get our spoilers thrown at us like meat to the wolves. We gobble it all up and try to decide how to feel afterwards. Myself? I was full and happy about what could be coming.  Everyone is in a good place, and it would take a lot to take them down too far. However, after looking around? People were in misery. Some upset at the idea of Robert and Aaron not getting their honeymoon period. Some upset about the drama coming back so soon. Some even upset over ideas that haven’t even been confirmed or been realized on screen.

Now What?

What is going on? Our characters are here. They are happy. They have each other. Why are some stuck in TNM land?  Why are they miserable again? That is what I was thinking about as I quickly looked through my dash and twitter page.

This is what this whole piece has been about. What I’ve been leading to this whole time. It’s time to leave TNM and become more positive about what could be coming. I know. Easier said than done. We have, for so long, been thinking the worst of the plot.  That is how we survived watching our favorite characters. We went negative and stayed there. It’s time to break that habit.

The show told us (along with very specific interviews from Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley) that the hardships for their relationship are being put to rest. The internal fighting is calming down. They are very much in love and very much sticking with each other. It’s the external now. It’s the world versus Robert and Aaron. Team Robron vs. the world. We have a lot to be excited about. What sinister person from Aarons past is coming? Who will win the next round of Joe vs. Robert? When will we see the family taking Seb for a walk around the village? (Ok, that one is more for me, but a girl can dream.).

It’s time to think positive. It’s time to create fun theories. It’s time to let go of the past and try to move forward. I believe in not giving energy to people or situations that don’t deserve it. Same goes for fictional characters and plots as well. Time to move on and think of the good going on in the show and the possible good in the future.

Why?

You’re out of the woods. You’re out of the dark. You’re out of the night. Step into the sun, step into the light.

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Originally posted by startlivingconsciously

I know it won’t happen overnight and might take some of the new plots to take hold before people start thinking of some good. What do you think? Do you think its time to think positive or do you enjoy staying in ‘TNM’ land?  Tell me below, send me a message on my Tumblr (@AmanaJ718) or yell at me using your mind. Ok, scratch that last part but please jump on into the conversation. Until next time, see you around Emmerdale!

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Playing Devil’s Advocate: Reunion Edition (Part Five)

 

That’s right! Another devil’s advocate before one of the most anticipated weeks in fandom.  This is a different type of devil’s advocate though. This is going to be a fun devil’s advocate. With the all the social media countdowns, pictures, offhand comments and general fan merriment it has been a fun time to be in the Emmerdale fandom. If you are a Robron, Vanity or Coira fan at least. It is not a great month for the antis. You had a whole year my dears. It is our turn now.

With that said, I will be looking at two popular speculations about the reunion and arguing if it could happen or not.  The third one is more personal and doesn’t have Robert or Aaron involved. Don’t forget to read to the end. I give my opinion on where I fall in all speculation and what I hope to see in the future.

So, let’s crack on!

Speculation #1: Aaron Gets the DJ to Play their song in the club to get Roberts attention. (The Big Gesture)

I feel this speculation is on the nose and doesn’t need explanation.

Why This Will Happen

Aaron knows he must make a big gesture to counteract all the harm he has started this week. To do that Aaron would have to do something to get Robert’s attention. Playing their song in a crowd, Aarons own version of ‘Going in there and saying it loud.’  It might not even be with the DJ; it could be Aaron jumping on the mike or even walking up to ‘Aaron Dingle Lite Mike’ and causing a scene just like Robert did with Alex the first time he saw them together. Aaron will have to pull out the big guns to get Robert’s attention to even talk to him.

Why This Won’t Happen

Aaron is not the romantic type. He is romantic in small ways. Keeping a watch. Wanting the Vegas coin engraved.  Taking Roberts underwear to prison. He is a quiet romantic. Big gestures, even in this scenario would not be on Aarons radar. Aaron is quiet. He will try and get Robert on his own. Talk to him. Try and convince him in his own way. Maybe wear the watch. Bring the watch with him. Maybe he has been holding onto their wedding picture on his phone. It is the simple, quiet things that make Aaron a romantic.

Speculation #2:  This is all on Aaron now.

Since Aaron has been the one sending mixed messages, trying to kiss Robert, pushing Robert away, doing what he does on their wedding anniversary, the getting back together part has to be on Aaron.

Why This Will Happen

Robert has been in the forefront for the past year. He has been grasping and trying to get Aaron back only to realize that at Christmas, he needed to let him go and just learn to be friends. Robert has taken off his ring and moved on. He is confident that they don’t have a chance and that he will have to learn to be his friend. Now that Aaron has confused Robert, it is up to him to do the work to get Robert back into the fold. Aaron has to put in the work to convince Robert that he loves him and wants him back. Robert did his part and now it’s up to Aaron to do his.

Why This Won’t Happen

No matter what, Robert and Aaron follow a pattern. Aaron will only go so far before Robert takes over and runs them both to the finish line. They both might have grown up and changed a lot in the past year, but sometimes certain things never change. Aaron will only go so far before Robert figures things out on his on and pushes them both to the finish line. That finish line being a couple again. I noticed it sounded dirtier than indeed. Finish line equals being a couple again. Unless you want it to sound dirty, go right ahead!

Speculation #3: Ross and Victoria find comfort in each other.

Victoria is stressed out. She lost Adam, is taking care of Rebecca and is just in a holding pattern.  Ross is upset because his life has been turned upside down since the acid attack.  Both were already dancing around each other, and soon they will confide in each other. Make each other feel a bit better. Become proper friends (Ross finally makes friends with a woman first), and then they develop into something more.

Why This Could Happen

The show was chemistry testing them and have passed what I call, “The Joey Principle” aka their real-life relationship doesn’t affect the chemistry on screen between their characters.  It has been a long time since Ross and Victoria have been in a relationship that would have to be built up over time.  It would be different for the characters (working through pervious issues, figuring out new issues and going forward) and they can comfort each other. Keep the Barton/Sugden line going after all. (Much to Robert’s horror).

Why This Couldn’t Happen

They have been tested before, and nothing came of it. The show might have used them as a way to talk about Adam and giving more of a point of view to Victoria as they slowly focused back on Adam. Those two always seem like ships in the night. Always passing but never connecting.  Ross might still be connected to Debbie. Victoria might be stuck in White Drama land for a bit longer. Those two might just never cross.

Final Thoughts

I have seen so much speculation for the reunion and beyond. It makes me happy to see so many happy about the future after spending the last year in pain, fighting with each other and sadness.  This is the kind of speculation that I adore. Happy and fluffy speculation is good for the soul. Yes, we might be building up hopes a little too high, but I feel like its ok to do that right now. The episodes were written by Maxine, and she never disappoints.

So, here is where I stand on Robert and Aaron reunion and beyond.  I think it’s up to Aaron to make Robert realize that he does love him, want him and need him.  After the past week and a half that will take a lot for Robert to think Aaron even cares about him.  Robert felt something shift with that Valentines Day and tried to get Aaron to talk about it.  All the hope curded the minute Aaron played a few mind games with him. Aaron didn’t do it on purpose, but he did it, and now Robert is going to push away a lot easier than before. It is up to Aaron to get Robert back into the fold. However, once Robert is back and believes Aaron wants, loves, and needs him again, Robert should be meeting Aaron halfway. They both got to meet in the middle this time around.  Be better than the last run of their relationship. Well, try and be better for a soap couple. Be each other’s best friends and push forward together. Become that family with Liv and Seb that we all wanted to see before (I know Seb is still a point of contention for some).  Aaron and Robert have come back to each other (its been a year) and they will never look back.

As for Victoria and Ross. I’m such a huge fan of this possible couple. That’s why I threw them in there at the end. Get the conversation going about them.  I feel like they were testing them out earlier in the year to see how they would play and they got some attention. I’d love it if they both became friends and supported each other. It would be a breath of fresh air for Victoria and give Ross someone else to play against. Debbie and Ross are played out. Time to give Ross and Victoria someone new to play with. I say, viva Roctoria! (I know for a fact that one person just shuttered reading that ship name. Sorry Justine!).

 

I sincerely think this week will have high highs and low lows. It will address many issues left over and give us a new starting point for Robert and Aaron. Also, give us a better place to start with Vanessa and Charity as well.  What do you think? What are your speculations? Share with me below or visit me on Tumblr @AmandaJ718! Don’t forget to check out some of the other devil’s advocates I have written in the past. It is good for a laugh or two. Until next time, I will see you around in Emmerdale!

Devil’s Advocate – The Two Main Theories

Devils Advocate: Part Two (More Devil. Less Advocate.)

Emmerdale: Playing Devil’s Advocate (Once. Twice. Three Times the Devil!)

Playing Devils Advocate: Four Times the Devil!

Emmerdale: Playing Devil’s Advocate (Once. Twice. Three Times the Devil!)

Your Lazy Hazy Black Friday Television Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again. When we quietly open our wallets and our arms for the Holiday season. For American’s it is the start of that season. In fact, our biggest shopping day of the year is just around the corner.

Black Friday.

I’m one of those nuts that are running around a target looking at things I don’t need. Don’t be like me. Sleep off that turkey and pie. Shop online. In your bathrobe. While you watch us crazy on the television fight over a television we don’t need.

Where to start though. If you are reading this blog, you must be a television fan. So, to help you out, here are television shows I think you out there would like or want to buy for others.

I know. You can thank me later for introducing you to some awesome television.

Let’s crack on!

Hotel

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What it is?

Set in The St. Gregory Hotel in San Francisco it follows the lives of the general manager and his staff as they interact with the guests of the week while dealing with their own problems.  It is an anthology show that boasts guest stars such as Julia Duffy, Marion Ross, Elizabeth Taylor and Estelle Getty (Yes…Sophia herself).  The show created by Aaron Spelling and was considered the serious version of The Love Boat. It covers infidelity, spousal abuse and AIDS awareness.  It ran for five years and seemed to be lost to the sands of time. Until it was put back on DVD a few years ago for fans and new fans to enjoy.

Why You Should Buy It

I binge watched this two summers ago and enjoyed every minute of it.  The different stories brought in by the guests of the hotel made it a fun experience, but the heart of the show was the main cast especially the characters Victoria Cabot, Peter McDermott, Billy Griffin (JUSTICE FOR BILLY) and Christine Francis. These characters are what drove the heart of the show and made me want to come back for more.

You shippers out there, you will love the chemistry between Peter and Christine. They are the big relationship of the show and you will love watching them get closer. Even better? Christine is a woman who stands on her own two feet and is a great foil for Peter and his hidden past.  Not only will you love the couple, you will love the individual characters too.

Victoria Cabot (owner of the St. Gregory) is the queen, and Billy Griffin was an awesome character with a fascinating history that was never fully explored, but he is worth watching out for as well. These characters not only worm their way into your heart you can enjoy a different story each week with seasoned speculator actors.  Highly recommend it.  Worth the buy.

You’re The Worst

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What it is?

This show was created by Stephen Falk for FX in 2014 and covers the lives of four toxic people as they navigate their lives in Los Angeles. The show has four seasons that have already aired and their fifth will sadly be their last. Since 2015 the show has aired on the sister network of FX, FXX.

Why You Should Buy It

This ongoing series is the most human thing on television.  These characters (Jimmy, Gretchen, Lindsay and Edgar) and their faults are what keep me coming back for more.  Even though some of the situations are crazy but it’s how the characters react to these situations is what makes it funny and sometimes sad.

The main couple, Gretchen and Jimmy, are both so flawed you will want to knock their heads around but as the seasons go on you get to see them for more than the self-deprecating actions.  The best episodes relate to Sunday Funday and the episodes that focus on one character at a time. The character study episodes are amazing, and everyone deserves to see them.

Scarecrow and Mrs. King

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What it is?

Scarecrow and Mrs. King was a series that ran on CBS from 1983 to 1987. For four years viewers followed Amanda King as she figured her way around the world of secret agents (never spies) with her partner Lee Stenson (Scarecrow).  The show has Billy and Francene to help her out as she tries to hide her life form her mother and two young children. The show was a huge hit in its time but stopped short by Kate Jackson (Amanda King) breast cancer diagnosis.

Why You Should Buy It

This show is a personal favorite of mine and for good reason. There are secret missions, funny moments, scary moments, big eighties hair and some good old fashion cold war stories. See? Some things never change, do they? One could say it’s a lot like Chuck. It has a woman (Amanda) who is finding herself in a weird place. Divorced with two children and looking for a job. She wants to find her own way and finds that in a world she never expected. Not only does she find her calling but finds her best friend in the process. Lee is a great character who has a very dark past that comes up in exciting ways.  He has faults just like Amanda and they work together to overcome them.

Much like the other choices, the shipping is quite good in this series. Amanda and Lee are the driving force of the show and have the strongest chemistry.  They are the classic eighties couple but with an edge. They are great individually and together. I won’t give anything away but their relationship never stays stagnant for long. The plots are oddly enough still timely and you can find yourself getting lost in what happens on the show and what could have been.

Soap

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What it is?

Soap is an ABC show that aired from 1977 to 1981.  It was designed to mock the super popular daytime soap opera drama.  It follows the two sisters and their families, Jessica Tate and Mary Campbell. One was rich, and the other was middle class. It focused on all those tropes we all know and love with a dark twist to them.  The show was abruptly canceled and was left on some major cliffhangers. Which fits perfectly, doesn’t it? For a soap?

Why You Should Buy It

This show isn’t talked about enough. It was ahead of its time and wasn’t really given a chance. It covers all those famous soap opera tropes but doesn’t let it run the show.  It has its own unique voice that makes each episode a lot of fun. The storylines are insane and so unbelievable but like with daytime soaps, you stick around to see what happens next.

It’s a show that predicted what was to dominate the television landscape. The big soapy drama driven eighties nighttime soap. The only difference? Those shows don’t have Billy Crystal.

There are a few ideas to get you started on your holiday shopping journey.  Stick around because next time I will be giving ideas for the hard to shop for Soap Opera fan. If anyone out there needs any help with their holiday shopping and needs a guide, leave a comment or shoot over a suggestion on my twitter @AmandaJ718. Until next time, shop smart. Not hard.

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Fandom and Other Six Letter Words

I have lots of thoughts and feelings I need to get out. Again. I always have thoughts and feelings. My thoughts and feelings don’t ruin your thoughts and feelings, but I’m just adding my thoughts and feelings to the pile.Can I get one more section of ‘Thoughts and Feelings’ into that paragraph? No. I’m done with that lame joke.

First, this is mostly about today’s episode and my reaction to certain reactions. Do these reactions step on anyone else’s? NO. Have a problem with them? Shoot me over some mail, and we can talk. Don’t like what I have to say? Unfollow me. Easy. No harm no foul. I’ll live. Ok, now we can begin.

Robert/Little SJ

Robert wanting to be a good father isn’t evil. Robert wanting to love his son is not evil. Robert wanting SJ to be protected isn’t evil. Robert isn’t going to hate the child anymore. He is here and tangible.  He knows that this child isn’t the problem. A child shouldn’t be blamed for the parent’s sins. I love seeing Robert so open and happy with his son. It’s ok. He is allowed to love him. Doesn’t mean he loves Aaron any less. Doesn’t mean he is ready to love Rebecca either. He is playing nice because he wants to be near his son. How dare he? Stop the hate and look at the situation clearly. Its all about SJ for Robert. That’s all it is about now. That is who he feels he has left. Who he can love since he thinks he can never love Aaron openly again (in his mind anyway).

No. Robert didn’t put down the Dingles. The Dingles aren’t normal. No family is normal on this show. To act like The Dingles are angels now is ridiculous and people are just looking for reasons to hate Robert. It’s getting old, and I refuse to acknowledge that type of hatred past this post. Its stupid and my energy on that topic ends here.

Aaron

Aaron’s pain isn’t the focus for a reason. We know what he is feeling. We don’t need to be reminded of it every show the baby is on. Ok? It’s not the Aarondale or Robrondale. It’s not Robertdale. It’s Emmerdale. Everyone has to get some equal time here. Also, Aaron’s scenes were perfect today. Why? It shows a thawing. It shows the reunion road is now open for Robert and Aaron to walk down together. Let me explain.

Aaron sees the baby with them and smiles sadly. However, he says congratulations to Robert and no one else. That is what mattered in the scene. Not Victoria. Not Rebecca. Not Tracy.  It was about Robert and Aaron and Baby SJ. It was a continuation of Fridays scene. Robert stepped up and is being the dad Aaron knows he can be.

Which leads us to the comment Aaron makes to Chas. “If Robert can step us so can Cain.” Which says to me that Aaron is thinking about Robert. He is thinking about how Robert is putting the child first over his schemes. He is stepping up. The crack in the frozen heart of Aaron Dingle is here. This is the beginning of healing for him and Robert together.  If I wasn’t clear before, Robert can love Aaron and Little SJ. Love isn’t finite.

I read it as positive because guess what people. We are entering a new phase of the story. Robert and Aaron are going to talk. They are going to thaw out. It is going to get better. Embrace the possibility of a positive future. It’s lovely.

The Whites

Way too much energy spent on the Whites. No, The Whites aren’t victims. They are getting their just deserts finally. Since the Whites arrived, they have been a thorn in the side of Emmerdale residents in little ways. All that little karma adds up in the end on a soap opera. This is their karma coming to get them.

Also, something to remember. Robert is full-blown, “I love SJ” while the Whites are more concerned about money now. Worried about themselves and the business going forward. Sure, people can worry about that, but they have a new baby in the house. Most would be focusing on that little bundle of joy but not The Whites. That coldness peeks through again. They are cold, money hungry and will be each other’s downfalls. Robert just helped that move along mostly with Lachlan.

They are everything Robert doesn’t want to be anymore. That was Robert when he was fully separated from Aaron. That was Robert before he met his match in Aaron. SJ and Aaron made Robert realize that he can’t live life like that…like The Whites are. The Whites are a cautionary tale. If SJ can’t make the Whites change their ways, nothing will.

Personal Anger

I’m personally creeped out by people wishing for Robert and SJ to die. I’m also getting creeped out by people who act like Aaron is a baby who lets things happen to him when he is a full-grown man who makes his own decisions in life. In reality, Aaron removed himself from the situation and went and got himself on a better track. Now he is coming back into the fold. He is ready to come back into this story. Anyway, yes, these people are fictional and no one wouldn’t wish for the death of a child in real life but…doesn’t make it any less creepy. This is a personal opinion. Feel free to disagree.

The hate around here is choking me. Everyone can get angry and hate things. I hate things too, but I talk it out with someone, and I move on.  Some people just harp and the cycle of negativity never ends. Break the cycle. I beg the fandom to break the cycle. At least out in the open. Its so hard to be excited when someone is always there to act like the doom and gloom police.

Also, for the people who send death threats to me and others in the fandom. You are terrible human beings. Stop it. That is building bad karma that will bite you in the ass very soon. I’d love for those people to say what they have written to my face. Bet you they can’t do it. It’s pathetic and needs to stop before something goes wrong.  I’ve seen it happen in other fandoms. You will threaten the wrong person, and someone will get hurt. Knock it off. Stay in your own lanes and we all will stay in ours. Don’t like an opinion. Learn to ignore it and move on. Talk it out. Do anything but send someone as sick as a death threat.

Well, I feel better. I have ‘anon’ shut off because if someone wants to talk to me, they can say it to my face with their names attached. Whew, I feel better now. Now I should go do something productive. Take a shower. Get my life together. Watch a Christmas movie. Walk away for awhile. Thanks for reading. Have a great night.

Spoiler Culture and ITV Soap Operas: Has it Gone Too Far?

As I sit here, writing this out, I am frustrated. Beyond frustrated with the Robron Fandom and Emmerdale fandom in general.  Some might be surprised at this statement. Others might be nodding along with me.  Fandom is a polarizing culture that isn’t for the faint of heart. Sure, it sounds like a broad stroke especially when I haven’t met everyone in fandom but based on my experiences, the Robron fandom is not for the faint of heart. It is full of different ages, sexes, sexual orientations and opinions that should make it a diverse and exciting.  It is interesting until something comes up that divides the fandom. Then it becomes a battlefield of hurt feelings and angry people.

There are two ways this happens. I will be talking about the one no one seems to talk about out loud. Spoilers. Ah, spoilers. We can’t live with them and can’t live without them.  However, lately, especially with Emmerdale, I can live without them.  According to a Slate article, “ the word spoiler was most often used in reference to the King James Bible, where it means destroyer…” (Brogan, 2015).  Oddly enough, that is what it feels like whenever a spoiler drops in the Emmerdale fandom.

Usually, it happens on twitter and sets the Emmerdale world on fire. Sometimes it turns out to be true, a half-truth, some information is missing or is completely wrong (usually from Digital Spy Message Boards). Either way, I cannot escape it. People DM me wanting my opinion, which I’m fine with but usually before I can form an opinion or even deal with it myself.  I feel trapped into giving an opinion. Usually, I go the outraged route because I don’t have time to think things through. Then, a few hours later, I’m feeling a lot better about the spoilers. That seems to be a huge problem. Initial reactions make things seem worse than they are. Instead of taking things with a grain of salt, the fandom rather light their tiki torches and burn down ITV Studios.

I don’t work that way.

I might be on my own though. There is an actual study from 2011 that found that people like to be spoiled. The test subjects were given spoilers about a story and then were told to read the story. They found that people still enjoyed the story even though they were spoiled.  The study found, “…that plots are just excuses for great storytelling. It doesn’t matter that you know the course of a narrative because a story that’s compelling will always be compelling…” (Percival, 2011).

Does that apply to soap operas and their spoilers? I think it doesn’t. The spoiler culture seems to be a toxic place especially when it comes to Emmerdale.

Spoiler Culture and Soap Operas

I looked for spoiler culture and soap operas and didn’t come across any articles but came across a ton of opinions of spoiler culture that relate mostly to movies and nighttime dramas. Some thought it was in a person’s right to not be spoiled while others claimed there were time limits involved. Some even cried out that spoilers are just part of life and that we should all just get used to it.

With a soap opera that changes. Not only are there no real breaks but there are over twenty people on the cast list. Filming is quick, and the writing is even quicker.  The rules of spoiler’s change.  Just like twists on the show the spoilers come out just as quickly and furiously.  The spoilers aren’t after the fact but before causing a dilemma. Does one spoil oneself for a future episode or does someone stay in the dark? One should have the option to choose, but it never seems to happen. Spoilers run rampant and will find its way onto one’s Twitter or Tumblr feed.

The spoiler culture in soaps is hard to run from once you join the fandom. It becomes a way of life which makes things rough.  Especially when people are reacting so violently towards certain stories. Taking everything at face value making the show hard to watch or even feels hard to enjoy when something goes right on the show. (for instance, Nell’s twist was a lot of fun to watch, but Twitter complaining about it just drove some of that enthusiasm into the ground).  Fandom becomes a slave to spoilers, and that turns the fandom into an unhappy place. Even worse? Some people get upset if you aren’t upset enough about what is happening, not taking into account that people have different viewpoints on different storylines.

I have a personal theory that soaps and their twists were ruined by the internet. On the one hand, the internet brought soap fans together to talk about the show and speculate about future storylines.  It was fun to talk to someone with a different point of view than you. Then, on the other hand, people fall into groupthink, things are leaked way too early, and people take spoilers to an extreme. It makes it less fun to watch.

Lately, Emmerdale has been leaking like a sieve. Magazines had/have heavy duty sources, and people are sneaking onto the set and getting big important chunks of dialogue on camera for the whole internet to watch.  People who have access to spoilers have been spoiling whole months’ worth of story while interjecting their own opinions which confuses the average twitter user who comes across this phenomenon. Then the ‘spoilers’ that come out of message boards that end up being crap but stay in the fandom vernacular until the episode airs. Same with the Tumblr anons that share real and fake information pending on what is happening within the fandom.

This spoiler culture that has been created is toxic and can drive a person up a wall if they pay attention long enough.

I know I spent a long time talking about how toxic is can get but there is always a silver lining to this. Spoilers can be a good thing especially if one needs to prepare for a certain event or choice a character makes. Sometimes that time to prepare can make an episode easier to watch. Spoilers can be a good thing. A positive event that can bring a fandom together (a wedding, a reunion or a truth coming to light) having that spoiler helps raise the spirits of fandom that things are starting change.

While I currently find it hard to enjoy spoilers, there is a good side to spoilers and what they provide for fandom.

You Don’t Have to Read Them!

Now, I bet you are thinking. You can always ignore them. Unfollow. Move on with your life. However, it’s not that easy. It still shows up on Tumblr in questions on other people’s blogs or even my own. Twitter yells and repeats it even when you mute the person spreading the spoiler. It will find a way to get to me, and it became more of a nuisance than a helpful look at the future of the upcoming weeks.

I want the choice to be spoiled in this fandom. I like when people come to me with a choice to be spoiled. It has happened many times, and I am forever grateful for that choice. Then the choice to be spoiled is in my hands and mine alone. That is how it should be, but I know it never will.

What Now?

All I can do now is grow a thicker skin against the fandom freak outs that send me over the edge. All I can do is take each spoiler at face value and wait for the episode to air before making any true judgments. Understand how other people feel without sacrificing my own thoughts and opinions on a storyline.  One doesn’t always have to play nice. Spoilers can be helpful and give us some idea of what to prepare for but sometimes spoilers are toxic, and some people need to step back from the freakout and just watch the show. Hope for a better turn in the storyline or a better outlook for their favorite character. Sometimes, it’s easier to walk away from the computer till one is ready to come back. No one will judge. We all, including the show, will still be around.

What do you think? Spoilers ruining your fun or do you enjoy knowing what is coming on Emmerdale? Tell me below or tweet me @AmandaJ718! Until next time, enjoy your time watching Emmerdale and don’t worry about the future too much. Sometimes a fan just has to go with the flow.

Confusing Rebecca White

Photo Credit and Beta Reader: Justine @BeauitfulHusbands and @klainedestined.

Rebecca White is a confusing character.  If one were to watch her first scene and compare it to her last scene, it is like watching two different characters. Normally, this would be ok. That means the character has developed and changed with time. However, that is not Rebecca’s case. She has developed many different personalities. Currently, she is rocking the victim look. Now, there has to be a reason for these drastic changes.  People have talked about it but haven’t come to an exact conclusion.  So, I decided to take a whack at it. I broke down her time on the show, all the changes I’ve noticed and what could be the reason for these changes.

I don’t like Rebecca White.  I might never like her, but that doesn’t negate how problematic her arc and characterization has been on Emmerdale. It’s important to remember this as we go forward.

So, let’s go!

Rebecca Whites Timeline (In Three Parts) 

The Beginning – Helicopter Plans

Rebecca White enters the scene in a helicopter (something the town fears after that terror) and finds her way to her family, The Whites. Robert calls her in help get her family admits that they set Andy up for the shooting.  She starts off helping but slowly it becomes evident she wants to know if she is an heir to the White fortune and she wants Robert Sugden back.  Robert tries to keep her sweet and on plan when she starts enjoying her time with her family.  Then she keeps pushing before after the second kiss Robert tells Aaron what has been going on. After Rebecca finds out she is a White, she decides to start protecting her family (especially after Andy’s name is cleared).  Once Robert pushes her away declaring Aaron as the one he wants is when she wants her revenge. Trying to embarrass Aaron in the pub, who knows all, she is unsuccessful and leaves.

Rebeca is presented as someone who has traveled the world. She was raised with money and went to, the best schools. Wearing the latest styles (in large hats), she was someone who has done and seen a lot.  She is flirty, young and headstrong.

 

Roberts and Aarons Separated – The Incident

A few weeks after Aaron tells Rebecca off, the three are now friends. Rebecca is listening to Aaron and his issues with Gordon, helping Robert out with plans for Aaron and even helps out Liv after Robert is left alone after Aaron goes to prison. During this time, something shifts. Her flirting gets heavy and seems to want, a different Robert. Robert keeps pushing her away but trying to keep her as a friend.  After a nasty fight with Aaron in prison, Robert, who is drunk, sleeps a sober Rebecca. After he pushes her away, she gets angry and throws their past in his face, especially after she finds out she is pregnant the same time Aaron comes home.

Rebecca is well on the soap vixen road.  She appears to get everyone into a false sense of security through friendship while wanting to steal Robert away from Aaron and his family.  Then she gets what she wants from the incident only to be pushed away.  From that point on she becomes the victim of Roberts ‘user’ ways.  She starts to hate him.

 

Pregnancy and Beyond

Rebecca finally tells Chrissie about the pregnancy and decides that she wants to do this on her own. She doesn’t want or need Roberts help.  When Robert says he doesn’t want the baby, she gets angry and lets Ross shake Robert down. Then changes her mind. Then gets angry when Robert thanks her for not keeping the baby and decided to keep from him that she was pregnant.  So, to a shocked pub and Robert and Aaron, Chrissie tells everyone that she is pregnant.  She doesn’t want to be in the way of Robert and Aarons relationship but still tells Aaron to break up and run from Robert. After Robert decides to not to be in the baby’s life he keeps his distance but doesn’t. Rebecca stays with Victoria, decides she wants Robert on the birth certificate, wants money to help with the baby and shows him the scan.  Soon, Robert and Aaron fall apart, and she gleefully talks about it with Debbie and Victoria at the pub.  Happily, she accepts Robert wanting to help with Home Farm and be in the baby’s life, acting like everything will be fine because the baby has both parents around.

Her personality changes from happy to sad during one episode.  She needs Roberts help at every turn but dismisses him the minute her father gives her attention.  She seems happy to see Robert and Aaron fall apart but then hoped that the three of them could have raised the child together. She even wanted the two to be together but still told Aaron to run for the hills in the same episode. She just invites herself into Roberts life and thinks she should right to do that. It’s confusing and makes the character hard to follow.

 

Confusion as Big as Rebecca’s Hats: Personal Thoughts 

See the confusion? How did this happen?  Here are some of my thoughts.

Audience Reaction

Rebecca, in my opinion, was brought in to stir up the White Family, Robert, and Robron. A classic soap vixen, which is fine. I love a great soap vixen.  From my memories and some research, people were mixed on her but didn’t see a real reason to get too upset. She seemed to be heading down that vixen road and have so interesting conflict with her family when it all seemed to stop, right around November and Aarons pub fight. Something happened that made everything confusing. Her character varied from episode to episode. The storyline seemed to stop and go depending on what was happening to Robert and Aaron. The family storyline appears to slow too. Only coming up in weird moments.

So, with that, the general audience seemed to fall from mixed emotions to hatred. Predictability, the Robron fandom turned on her (I know there are fans of the character in the Robron fandom as well). The audience seems to be having a hard time relating to someone who keeps changing personalities from episode to episode. It also doesn’t help that she was a factor in the breakup of a very popular couple. When that happens, the character needs to be developed and handled with care. Rebecca? Was not handled with care. She was thrown at us with no instruction or warning, and now she is a mess.

Writing

Usually, soap writers can keep a steady characterization when reading for a soap. Especially the writers for Emmerdale. However, when it comes to Rebecca, that steadiness goes out the window. I can tell when certain writers are writing for her. There is a set that writes her as a saint; there are set that write her with an edge and then a set that writes her like she is a blank wall.  There is no continuity there which is odd for a show like Emmerdale. That is a problem. There is a miscommunication happening there that is ruining her character.

(Ok…it happens for a few characters. I know two writers who hate Robert and it shows.)

 

Script Changes

In the same vein as the writers, there has been talk of the story changing and rewrites happening (some even think the story changed after the second Robert/Rebecca kiss).  This hasn’t been confirmed anywhere, but that could explain the confusion with the character.  When changing the direction of a story, it could mess with the characters motivation and direction in a show.  That might explain why the writers are all writing her differently.

 

Chemistry with Cast

Again, this is subjective. Personally, I never saw a connection there between Rebecca or Robert. I saw a small spark between Chrissie and Rebecca but its thin and flickers easily.  Not having chemistry with the people, you work with the sell the character and the relationships, plot points are hard to sell, and then things become confusing.It happens on every show, but usually, people don’t keep the character around.

 

Acting/Directing

Again, another subjective topic. I don’t want to step on toes but my own opinion? I’m not a fan of Emily Heads acting. It feels forced. Sometimes it seems like she is overthinking a scene and sometimes it feels like she doesn’t care. Again, personal opinion. However, that might be affecting how people see the character. Relate to the character.Much like the writers, different directors could be the reason why people are confused by her.

 

I hate Rebecca White. I can’t stand her. She isn’t a character that was written correctly. She was designed to shake things up with one of Emmerdale’s big couples. It needed a strong actress, writing, and direction. However, we have this mess. A polarizing character that has caused nothing but confusion, anger, and fighting among the fans and even media.  Hopefully, as we go into those Fall months we finally get some answers or a reason for Rebecca’s confusing behavior.

What do you think? Do you find Rebecca confusing or do you see a method to the madness? Tell me below or tweet me @AmandaJ718.  Until my next piece, see you around Emmerdale.

 

 

Aaron and Robert: Good for Each Other?

The boys are in hell. Broken by their current situations and missing each other it hurts us, the viewers as well.  In this time off the fandom has more time to analyze Aaron and Robert and where they stand with each other. The questions I’ve seen come up on Tumblr and Twitter are:

Is Aaron better off without Robert?

Is Aaron happier without Robert?

Is Robert worthy of Aaron?

Will Robert always be a villain?

I’ve seen many answers, and I had to add my two cents to the pile of pennies. I analyze both Aaron and Robert’s lives before they met and who they are as people.  Then my own personal feelings on the biggest question of all.

Should Aaron and Robert be together?

Aaron Dingle

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Aaron has never had an easy life.  Born to Chas Dingle and Gordon Livesy in 1992 and being left to live with his father and stepmother.  As he grows up he and Chas didn’t have the best relationship. He regularly clashed with her whenever he visited. Chas felt guilty she left Aaron behind while Aaron felt angry that his mother didn’t seem to want him.  Aaron comes back in 2008, Chas learning Aaron is a drug dealer for the McFarlane’s and kicked out of Gordons house after hitting Sandra, his stepmother.  The Dingles get him out of the problem and Gordon won’t take him back. He ends up moving to Emmerdale for good. After getting into numerous scrapes, stealing and selling animal drugs from Paddy and stealing a van and setting Belle up for it, Lisa gets him a job as a mechanic. He dated two girls, Victoria and Holly, only to have his true feelings revealed when he kisses Adam.  Scared to death Adam would reveal his secret he convinces him it was nothing.  He meets Jackson and flirts with the idea of kissing him almost being caught by Paddy and Marlon. Jackson tries to touch Aarons arm and he punches him. Aaron tries to commit suicide once his secret is out being saved by Adam and Cain. He goes out with Jackson who moves the relationship too fast and ends up having to help him with his decision to kill himself, good and sweet Ed is next who he runs off with and abandons in France and then he is home for good after finding that going on the run doesn’t work. We learn later that Gordon had been raping Aaron as a child which explains his moods but doesn’t excuse his actions.  He is guarded and doesn’t have time for more than one-night stands, until Robert Sugden appears in his life.

Aaron is a Dingle through and through. He is someone who hits first and asks questions later.  Anytime Aaron doesn’t want to deal with his emotions. The audience tends to excuse Aarons choices in life because of how his father raped him, and Chas left him behind. Which, can be detrimental to his character.  The walls around his heart were built by Gordon, Chas and the people who have let him down for good. Aaron doesn’t trust easily even when the people he loves shows they love him. He doesn’t take to flaws well even though he is full of them.  He is grumpy and keeps to himself, not daring himself to love at all.

Robert Sugden

Robert_Sugden_2014

Robert never had an easy life.  Born to Pat and Jack Sugden in 1986 he lost his mother at four months old leaving him to be raised by Jack and his grandmother Annie Sugden.  As time went on Jack met and married Sarah, the woman who would become his mother figure. He then got a little sister named Victoria. He made a friend in Andy and got him adopted by his family.  That is when it started. Like the first pancake, he was pushed aside for the new brother by Jack. After Andy kills Sarah in a barn fire (the one person who was always on his side and loved him like her own), Andy and Robert become friendly enemies.  Between fighting for Jacks attention, Katie’s attention and ultimately who belongs in the village.  Robert dated/slept with a lot of women (sometimes drunk) which included Nicola, Charity, and Sadie.  We found out later that there was more going on there. Robert interested in the family farm hand, kissing him and getting caught by Jack. Getting beaten for this Robert has hidden that side away.  Until his return in 2014 when the man who put up a wall of charm and revenge comes home and meets Aaron Dingle.

Robert is a legacy. Born to the Sugdens, the fans who were there from his birth have seen him grow up in front of their eyes.  They feel a connection to him as they watched him grow up in Emmerdale.  He was open and wide eyed until Andy came about and things started to change. He was fighting for the approval of his dad, the one person in his life that has been there always. The one he thought would protect him. Instead, Jack hit him, belittled him and ultimately sent him away from the village. So, it is no wonder that when he comes home, he is bitterly charming towards the family left behind. In his time away, surviving on his own, his heart had a wall around it, a wall built by Jack. He still had that wide-eyed child in there, but it was drowned out by all the trauma his time in Emmerdale and beyond inflicted on him.

Should They Be Together?

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Robert and Aaron have daddy issues. Fathers who didn’t do their jobs of protecting their sons and raising them to be the best people they can be.  Not giving them a real chance at leading a semi-normal life in the slightest.  They both have/had mothers who loved them but left them in different ways. Aaron and Robert both hid who they truly were (Gay and Bi) and tried to over compensate for that through drinking, fighting and causing general mayhem. Aaron uses his fists to get out of problems. Robert uses his mind.  Both had first experiences that tainted their views of living a gay and bi lifestyle in the future. They both get into trouble easily, especially when protecting their own.

They even each other out. Where one fails, the other picks up the slack. They are both highly aware of what is it is like to be left behind. That pain that comes from the heart when one is left behind used and abused and kicked out of the family way too soon.  They both have a lot of love to share but don’t know how to share it. They can’t stay away from each other for long because they are like magnets.  They know and understand each other’s good and bad sides and still want to love each other with all their heart.

So. Should they be together after all?

They are good for each other. They are. They both have similar demons that need to be handled, and they will handle them once they learn to communicate with each other.  Learn that Aaron uses his fists when he is scared and doesn’t know his way out. Robert uses his mind and alcohol when he is scared and doesn’t know a way out. They are each other’s families.  Yes, they have their blood (The Dingles/The Sugdens), but those families have failed them.  They want to create a family with each other. A family of their love and the arrival of Liv strengthen that feeling between them.

Aaron and Robert understand each other in a way that other people cannot. Sometimes all they have to do is look at each other and they know what is going on in their mind.  They know each other’s triggers.  They figured them out quickly over the course of the affair.  This is something that would be harder to convey to someone who hasn’t been through a rough life. They just get each other in a way that no one else could. Rebecca thinks she knows Robert. She knows the Robert with the walls. Aaron not only knew Robert with the walls, but he knew how to take those walls down with one conversation.  He sees all of Roberts sides and not just the charming, revenge minded, and sarcastic one either. Robert knows Aarons walls and knew how deep and intense those walls are; one would say they are still coming down.  Robert knew Aaron was hurting himself before everything came out about Gordon because Aaron couldn’t fight his way out of his emotions. So, he fought himself by running obsessively and hurting himself.  Robert was the only one to see Aaron and what he was going through.  These two can read each other like a book, even with the walls way up.

Robert and Aaron are more similar than different. They will have huge highs and scary lows, but that doesn’t make them wrong for each other. Not in the slightest.

That makes them a classic super couple. A couple we can get behind and root for regardless of what happens to them in the future.

Conclusion

People question if Aaron and Robert should be together. Looking at their histories and how they balance each other out, of course, they should be together. Aaron isn’t happier without Robert. Robert is worthy of Aarons love. Aaron is worthy of Roberts. They just don’t realize they are worthy of each other. So, fans out there should stay true and support this couple while they are at their lowest of lows because soon, they will be building to the highest of highs. I know I want to be there when it happens, will you?

Tell me what you think below or tweet me @AmandaJ718. Until next time, keep reminding yourself it isn’t a competition and Robron are worth supporting after all.

Participatory Culture and You: Does A Fandom Ruin a Show or Character?

Fandom.

It is an entertaining, reassuring, annoying, downright scary part of loving a piece of art. Yes, this art does include television shows. I’m convinced we are seeing a manifestation of Andy Warhol’s art in reality shows. That is for another essay though.

Anyway….

Fans are there to celebrate the highs and the lows.  You develop friendships that go beyond just talking about the show. You find your creative center. You can overanalyze and criticize the show and not be considered ‘weird’ for doing so.  You can swap theories and inside jokes. Fandom becomes this community of sorts. A place to stop by when the real world is getting too rough.

It’s another version of the ‘third place.’

That is a lot of fun. Until it’s not.

Which leads me to the question that has been populating my fandom riddled brain.

Does Fandom Ruin the Enjoyment of a Show/Character?

This reminds me of an academic writer named, Henry Jenkins and his theory of participatory culture.  I used to read him in graduate school and I loved what he found out.  In case you are wondering what participatory culture is, “…an opposite concept to consumer culture — in other words a culture in which private individuals do not act as consumers only, but also as contributors or producers.” (Jenkins).  It is the way we went from being passive in how we enjoyed our art to be more active producers. It depends on where we affiliate ourselves (Tumblr/twitter/message boards), how we express ourselves (fan videos/fanfiction/Meta-analysis), how we work together to solve problems tasks (special events that are by the fans for the fans), and how we shape what we see while enjoying our art (reviews/podcasts).

It’s how we contribute in our participatory cultures that have us enjoying the art on a deeper level. That includes a few more ideas that came out of studying participatory culture. Jenkins came up with a phrase called, textual poachers from his 1992 book, Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. Textual poachers are:

How fans construct their own culture by appropriating and remixing—”poaching”—content from mass culture. Through this “poaching”, the fans carried out such creative cultural activities as rethinking personal identity issues such as gender and sexuality; writing stories to shift focus onto a media “story world’s” secondary characters; producing content to expand of the timelines of a story world; or filling in missing scenes in the story world’s official narratives order to better satisfy the fan community. (Jenkins; 1992)

Whew. That was just me nerding out (Look Ma, that graduate degree came in handy) but what does this all mean towards my question? What shows have some of the strongest and largest fanbases that stretch generations and have recently turned to the internet to join forces with others?

If you guess soap operas, you are right!

Soap Operas have fans that have grown through the years through the generations that watch.  This is very true for two soaps I love, Emmerdale and The Young and the Restless. One from the United Kingdom and another from America. Two different worlds, same participatory culture, and textual poaching.

I’m going to compare these two soaps I enjoy. Emmerdale and The Young and the Restless.

Emmerdale Fandom (As I See It)

Emmerdale has a powerful fandom. The fans are protective and opinioned which makes for a fun time.  Not kidding. Having so many different feelings and views gives you more to talk and think about. There are more people to talk to about theories, favorite characters and even how we feel about certain writers.  The fanfiction and fanart are heavily available for any character you want (even the characters who are long gone). The meta is outstanding and people knowing the histories of every family is aplenty. You can always ask a question and get an answer.

People are taking the art in front of them and putting their own spin on it, poaching it if you will.

With that said, poaching the material and making it our own is when things get messy. Head canons become fact for people. Shipping outside the norm becomes a sore spot for the fandom. Some even think the poaching goes too far. Some want to participate but feel left out of the well-established groups already formed. Some even take those discussions we have and take it too far letting opinions upset or get them.

How people shape and view the characters or a storyline on the soap can affect how others see a storyline or character.  While you think, ‘I’m not that easily swayed’ you would be surprised how strong group think gets while everyone is in their little online worlds.  Fractured fanbases make it hard to participate in this fandom and still be respected for the contribution. It comes in waves and right now, we are surfing on a fractured wave.

For instance, I’m heavily involved with the Robron fandom. The current storyline and split have caused a fracture that always happens when a soap couple ends things. Except, this time, there seems to be a war going on. In fact, I found that I’m starting to hate Aaron when I know I don’t hate him. Not for a minute. However, being constantly shouted down for pointing out faults, not understanding someone’s head canon or letting troll take over the fandom space makes the character harder to love. Which, for the lack of a better word, sucks. I think I can argue that a lot of people feel that way.

The Young and the Restless Fandom (As I See It)

The Young and the Restless. The fandom has a smaller social media presence but still as loud and opinioned as the Emmerdale fans. One could argue there is less textual poaching in this fandom. There isn’t as many theories or meta.  There is participation through reviewing and using social media to talk about the soap.  People know their character histories and are well-versed on showrunners and producers. Less on the writers.

With that said, things can be angry fast.  Usually around the showrunner. The biggest drama isn’t always who should be paired with who but who is running the show and if they are doing a good enough job.  That starts the showrunner wars.  We are in the middle of another changeover, and the fans are arguing over who should be picked next. It is less about what is happening on screen (it’s there) but what happens off screen that effects the fandom and how they participate within the fandom.

The ship wars are never bad. The storylines are usually mocked and tolerated. It is the fighting about behind the scenes drama that does me in.  I really don’t want to care about the showrunner. I don’t care who is running the writers room. I just want to see my favorite characters every day at noon dealing with the craziest of problems. I want to see who gets thrown down a volcano not who said what to whoever in the dressing room last week.

What was the Point of That?

What was the point of comparing the two fandoms and shows? There are two different fandom and two distinct ways they participate in their shows.  Emmerdale is intense about what is happening on screen while The Young and the Restless is passionate about the behind the scenes that what happens on screen.

Which brings me back to the original question. I’ll remind you. Does fandom change how you feel about a show/character?

I believe it depends on how intense the fandom can be.  Emmerdale has an active, intense young fandom out there. Opinions are shared and misheard, and people take those meta/fanfiction/gifs and love or hate them.  Fights happen easier and the longer you stay in that world participating, the easier it can get to feel like what others feel like (group think sneaks in again as well as wanting to agree, so you don’t have to fight with someone anymore). It makes it hard to enjoy a character or show on your own terms.

The Young and the Restless has an older fandom that tends to stick to discussing or reviewing the show than getting deep into the meta/fanfictions/gif making.  They don’t textual poach but there is a culture of participation that can affect how you see things but easier to walk away from seeing as things never get that intense over what is happening on screen.

So, yes, I think a fandom can ruin a show or character, but only if you stay too long and stay unhappy.  Meaning, this can all be fixed by walking away for a while. Watching the show and its characters on your own terms. Get a better footing before jumping back into that culture of participation and the groups that form.  It is easier to do that with The Young and the Restless seeing as it isn’t as intense and the participation is small (I have walked away too. For a year and it was the best decision. I can watch the show with clearer eyes now).

Emmerdale is harder to walk away from. The show itself has been one of best things I stumbled upon in a long time. It’s a different look at how soap operas could be running, and the fans are passionate and lots of fun. That fun can turn on you fast though when a story doesn’t go the way the fanbase wants, and their poaching of the material doesn’t help lessen the blow. People arguing can get old and hard to ignore. Like I said, I should walk away but I can’t. I’m too rooted here now. I have met many smart, talented and fun people in this fandom.  I love the fanfiction. I love the gifs. I love the jokes and I love how people try to make the best of a bad situation. Even though things are rough and people are getting more and more cynical, I see hope there. A positive that is on the horizon. It’s just rough to see it for long right now.

So, how do I fix this feeling? Tell me below or Tweet/Tumblr me @AmandaJ718. I’m very interested in getting opinions on this. Until next time, I’ll see you around in Overthinking World. It lives next to Denial World and Theory Land (THEORIES DON’T GET A WORLD?).  If you got that reference, you get a cookie and a trip to St. Olaf. Enjoy.

Emmerdale, Social Media and Fans: Oh My!

Social Media and Soaps

We use social media for everything.  Every type of brand and every kind of media uses social media to talk to their fans.  As a fan, I enjoy having that open channel to talk to others about my favorite products, television shows, and books.  It has its ups and downs, but it isn’t going away anytime soon.  Obviously.

Soaps use social media to get fans talking about what they like, what they don’t like and everything in-between.  As an American, I know how the American soaps run their twitter accounts.  It is a completely different experience than how British soaps run their social media.  For instance, ITV and Emmerdale.  After taking a long time looking at their main social media, I noticed while the network knows how to use certain social media channels it struggles with some others.

I look at how ITV’s Emmerdale uses social media and what works and what doesn’t.

Read on if you want to hear more!

How Emmerdale Uses Social Media

Emmerdale has a Twitter, Instagram and Facebook page.  They use Twitter to talk to viewers, Instagram to show off behind the scenes or spoiler pictures and the Facebook is the original place for discussion of the episodes.

Twitter seems to be their newest venture.  They seem to mostly use it during live episodes and on the weekends to ask questions about characters and where we stand on certain storylines (that either ends up being interesting to read through or a firestorm).

Instagram is used to show behind the scenes photos, future and past character profiles and different parts of the village to start conversations.

Facebook is their original social media page.  They have focused episode recaps, polls, questions and spoilers for the week ahead.

If there is a big event coming (such as SSW), all the account start to work together to promote it.

My Opinion?

 

Twitter Emmerdale

Oh, look! It’s Robert and Aaron! *cries in a corner*

 

Seeing as I must infer a lot about corporate strategy and how ITV structures their corporation, I must say that Twitter seems to be the shows weak spot for me.

I assume there is a small group of people (possibly floating interns named LEON) that runs the Emmerdale and Coronation Street accounts.  I assume this because I haven’t seen a press release where ITV announcing they are using an agency to run the social media. For soaps, it seems to be in-house and through the marketing department.  Like most organizations, ITV farmed out their social media work to an advertising agency, Something’ Else. I assume this because in the Social Media Compliance Manual (it will be linked below) all content and all consent for fourth wall breaking must go through the marketing department head before posting.

With that said and inferred, Twitter seems to be the hardest to keep up with for the small team.  Which is understandable.  Twitter is a rough social media channel to use.  Not only do you have to keep the account updated, keep a consistent tone, one has to answer angry/happy/questioning fans, and start a dialogue about the different issues being addressed on the show.  This can be rough with a soap this popular and this wide-reaching.  The fans are dedicated and excitable which can lead to unwanted conversations and angry responses. I’m assuming different people are running the account day to day, the conversations can go different ways.  That ends up confusing people and causing unneeded anger.

This is because of tone issues and lack of consistency.

I think if they kept up one tone on twitter people could connect better to the account.  I find it uneven especially when it’s time for the episode to air. You can tell they set up the content cards in advance to match the episode.  It becomes cold and emotionless. You can tell a program such as Hootsuite is being used.  Sometimes after the episode is over someone comes on to talk to the fans.  Sometimes it can be fun or can be a disaster. Something to note, I can sometimes pick out when it is different people. This might be in my head, but I see it.  There is someone on the team that is full of puns, one likes to use slang words, and there is one that likes to use gifs as reactions. I can pin point each person’s voice. That’s not good unless it’s been established that there are multiple people on the account. They would usually notate who it is talking when that happens. This account doesn’t.

This leads me to the other problem with their twitter account.

Consistency.  Social media needs consistency, especially in tone and content.  This is where a social media calendar comes into play (which I think they don’t have set up for Twitter content).  Fans enjoy a good surprise or two, or usually, they thrive on social media when there is consistency. One expects to see a new episode of their favorite television show at its scheduled time, right? Well, that applies to social media as well.  People come to expect certain features or content to appear at its scheduled time.  The Emmerdale Twitter account is muddled, and it throws anything up whenever they feel like it.  The only time the account shows consistency is when the show is on, and that is scheduled.  The content cards come up when they should be trying to start a conversation that the channel never replies too.  That happens for the 30 or 60 minutes the show is on, but after that, the account goes back into chaos.

Same applies to the “Wish Wednesdays” and “Unlock Content” series.  The joke online when “Wish Wednesdays” show up is it must be award season! The “Unlock Content” series can randomly appear and disappear depending on what is happening on the show.  Either do it every day or pick one day and make it “Quick Spoilers” day.  People would be more excited about it if they knew it was appearing.  Also, “Wish Wednesdays” can only show up around awards season, that is fine, but the show needs to stop randomly bringing it up when fans are upset.  It doesn’t seem to work.

Twitter is a rough social media channel to run.  It takes a lot of trial and error and creative thinking to keep fans interested.  That might be too much for the small group of floating social media managers to accomplish.  That isn’t their fault.  A lot of networks, like ITV, still don’t understand the power of social media and how fans today are savvy enough to know when something isn’t working.

 

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I enjoy their Facebook and Instagram account (for the sake of this writing I’m leaving out the YouTube page because that is another entry altogether).

The Facebook page is run well. It is clean. I see consistency, and something fans can count on to talk about the show.  Their Facebook page is easier to monitor or use their “Take Down Policy” (another policy that applies to all their social media but only put into full practice by the Facebook account). When I go there, I expect to see the episode round up and the comments from the general audience.  It isn’t exciting, but it is clean and isn’t muddled in its messages.

The Instagram page gives fans a fun inside look into the show and the actors that bring our favorite characters to life.  You can see the break between weeks easily because the show uses a piece of the village to signal a new week.  Which is smart.  I noticed it likes to use its “Unlock Content” series here, but it isn’t overused.  I enjoy it for its simplicity, and the fans are generally quieter there. I believe people are there for the cute pictures rather than to argue about storylines or characters.  It is easier to create content for that social media channel than the others.

Conclusion

Why did I actually look at Emmerdale’s social media? I am someone who uses social media to keep up with this wonderful, maddening, crazy show.  As an American, I’m usually left behind on a lot of information, so I rely on social media to keep me informed.  This includes all the official Emmerdale accounts.  I have noticed their shortcomings when it gets harder to keep up.  I am also a big fat nerd about social media and how a dated form of storytelling (soap operas) keeps up with the times.  I can see Emmerdale is beloved and I think their social media should reflect that.  They will get the Twitter account right. It will just take some time.

UPDATE (11/18/2017)

Recently, the storyliners did a Q&A on Instagram.  Here is what they did wrong this time:

1) Wrong platform. What they should have done was ask for questions on Instagram and then filmed a video of the storyliners answering them. If they wanted it to be purely text, they should have done it on twitter or even set up a reddit for this type of Q&A.  (The reddit choice might not be for them though)

2) They should have put stipulations on the questions. As someone who writes I would have loved to see more about story structure, how the process works and if they ever had to do any quick rewrites and how does that work? While that is in there, the Q&A is muddled with plot questions or angry, crazy Robron fans that make us all look so bad. *eek*

3) I wrote about their social media management and how it feels all wrong. I see it again, and I am dying to see how they plan this out and if there is a team. If its one person like I’ve been told, oh it shows. Social media for this type of medium needs a team. b

After all these months the social media is still messy. There seems to be no strategy involved.  I think, looking in from the outside knowing very limited information, the person running the social media/digital is overwhelmed. This is why people need teams. At least three other people to figure out strategy, building the schedule and making sure execution is flawless. I know most companies refuse or don’t understand how social works or its importance in this type of industry. ITV is trying, but they are doing it all wrong.

Links

http://www.itv.com/competitions/sites/competitions/files/Documents/ITV_Social_Media_Guidelines_June2017.pdf

http://www.somethinelse.com/projects/social-media-itvs-biggest-shows/