Fandom sucks…a lot out of a fan. Got your attention? Good. Read on.
As I shoot through my Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram feed, I get a good idea of where people stand on a different character, storylines and television shows in general. Sometimes I’m with the crowd, and sometimes it becomes a battlefield out there. That is when you stay and fight for your favorite character, storyline or show or you just turn off the computer and enjoy it for what it is, a piece of entertainment.
It got me thinking though. How we all have our favorites. We all see things our way. When we take those ideas and beliefs and put them out there among other ideas, how do they fair? Does fandom help enforce and celebrate them, or do they tear them apart? Does fandom change the way we see our favorite characters, storylines, and shows?
Does fandom have that much power? Does fandom SUCK the fun out of a show? Why do we allow this to happen?
Using my own experiences in the Emmerdale fandom (so far) here is what I think happens.
How We See Our Favorites Through a Lens
I found Emmerdale through Tumblr. I’ve told this story before, but I can tell a truncated version. I saw a picture of Robert and Aaron in the forest during that very emotional scene in SSW 2016. I was drawn to the picture and wanted to know more. After some very sweet anons gave me some links to their story, I jumped in feet first. After a couple of months, I was caught up and in love with the ‘Robron story.’ Then I started watching the full episodes. Writing my thoughts and the rest is history.
Now, after getting the full picture of the Emmerdale and how everyone fits into the picture, I started developing favorites. For the sake of this entry, I will focus on Robert and Aaron. (If you want to know my favorites outside of these two, send over a message. We can talk). I love both Ryan and Danny. They are amazing actors on their own, and together they are electric. However, like anyone I grew to have a favorite between the two of them. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Robert. I find his story and his history in Emmerdale intriguing and epic in a way. Lots of ties, love, hurt feelings and confusion. Robert has so much going on I fell in love.
I fell in love with how far he has come as a character. I fell for his rough spots. When he is an asshole. When he is trying to do the right thing for the people he loves. I see that. I understand that. I relate to that on so many levels. I understand how Aaron fans feel. They are drawn to Aaron just like I’m drawn to Robert. We are the same that way.
Everyone does this. We all have our favorites. We all see our favorite characters one way. He all relate to them for different reasons. We see characters as we want to see them. We are in this bubble with them. Sooner or later the bubble must burst.
Collective Fandom’s Opinions
The collective fandom is stretched across multiple platforms, and that fandom has a tendency (like every fandom) to fall into group think, cliques and even warring factions. This is the same for the ‘Robron’ fandom. Over time I found certain people I like reading thoughts, retweeting, talking to personally and reblogging from in the fandom. I used to be all over the place, but that proved to be a bad thing. Why?
After leaving my bubble and entering the collective fandom, I expected people to not agree with me. As the storyline got more dramatic and sad, the fandom had certain viewpoints of Robert as a character versus Aaron as a character. Certain sections of fandom only think of Aaron and how much this affects him. Other sections think of Robert and the journey he is going on as the storyline unfolds. Then the people in the middle who love both equally.
It is obvious (to me) that this storyline we are in is about Robert and his journey. Aaron got his journey last year with the Gordon storyline. Now, we are on Roberts journey. His own story. This is where things get sticky. After each episode, we all have our opinions. Going on and expecting my opinions about Robert to match the collective fandom…never happens. Sometimes people continue focusing on Aaron even if he isn’t in an episode. People mocking Robert and hoping he dies (Twitter is an interesting place these days) or people acting like Robert/Aaron deserve better than Robert/Aaron. Sometimes I think people aren’t watching the same show. Sometimes when I let my real feelings out that is when the attacks happen. The bubble bursts.
I start questioning things. I start rolling my eyes at certain responses. I block people who go out of their way to harass and silence others and attack characters. I let people’s opinions effect how I see certain characters. For instance, I started low key hating Aaron because certain people I followed would blame Robert for all of Aarons problems. Then praise Aaron for throwing a wrench at Roberts’ head. How he should have hit him. I started to see how those fans saw Aaron as this fragile human being who always needs to be babied. Which made me start to look at Aaron differently. Resent how that image of Aaron didn’t fit what I saw. I love Aaron for how strong he is as a character. How he has his problems too. However, those opinions of those fans get stuck in my head, and I start hating him. I let his fans question how I see him and even start to hate him. I don’t hate him though. I think I hate his fandom self.
Then I will read a Danny interview or watch Aaron in an episode, and all that goes away. I remember why this character is great on his own and how I see him, and I love him. Then I feel stupid for letting people like that affect me.
Collective Fandom Sucks?
I always feel stupid when I let fandom opinion affect how I see a character. Mostly because I shouldn’t be giving fandom that much power. Why does fandom have this power over us? Is it because of the old psychological factors come into play? Wanting to be like everyone else. Afraid to speak up and be part of the group. Be one of the cool fandom kids?
Maybe. Sometimes I hold back giving my opinion to keep fandom peace. Sometimes I get into a mood and make sure everyone knows how I feel about something. It depends on what is happening and how upset/happy I am about a plot point. Sometimes I want to be able to enjoy an episode, but since so many people are upset, I hold back. Sometimes I hate an episode, but everyone seems excited, so I hold back. Silly but it might be old learned behavior. Come in and stay low and try to enjoy the fandom.
I keep asking this question because fandom can be a fun place. Collectively fandom can bond over a sad or happy storyline without invalidating how each other feels. I’ve seen it happen in the Emmerdale fandom. However, lately, there are a lot of people sucking the fun out of theorizing. People looking down on others for being happy about something. Deciding to passively mock others for trying to find enjoyment in a sad story. Personally, I’ve seen it happen a lot, and it makes fandom an unbearable place to be. I call those people the wet blankets or fandom police. If we don’t follow how they feel and voice an opposing opinion on their post, we are branded annoying and pushed out or ignored. Making the collective fandom cold. Why do we do this to each other? Why do we let that group think suck the fun out of enjoying a show?
I keep asking this and babbling on because I don’t have an answer. I don’t. I hate that I got sucked into a fandom that was very sweet and got me through a sad plot point just to see people start turning on each other for voicing an opposing opinion or not feeling the same way about their favorite character. It sucks the fun out of the show. Especially since we know, things are going to get better soon. No one seems to want to believe it which is a downer seeing day in and day out.
While I don’t have an answer, I do know there are ways to combat the ‘suckage of fandom.’ Finding your circles. Finding the people who are willing to look beyond their lens and analyze the show. Finding people to open your eyes to new ideas without looking down at your current ones. Finding your bubble when things get bad. Finding a fellow ‘bitch buddy’ to vent to when fandom gets too crazy. Taking time away and coming back with a clearer head. There are ways to combat the suckage of fandom. It just takes time to learn how to do this. It is something I am learning how to do as of this writing.
What do you think? Do you think fandom can suck the fun out of a show or do you think that fandom is what we make it? Sometimes we need to learn to walk away and not let it affect our thoughts about our favorites or current storylines. Tell me below. I’m very interested in how fandom feels about this. Especially the ‘Robron’ fandom since we are all going through a very polarizing storyline. Leave me a comment below or tweet me @AmandaJ718. Until my next babble, you can find me in Emmerdale.
Additional editing by Justine (@BeautifulHusbands)