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.

Advertisements

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.

 

 

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.

State of the Robron Fandom (As I See It)

I was raised on the American soap opera. Mostly CBS soap operas. That means I grew up watching The Young and the Restless, As the World Turns, Guiding Light and The Bold and the Beautiful. I had a slight flirtation of General Hospital in college, watching for three years before taking a break never to return but I keep up. I loved and hated all the characters that ran through the television screen and into my life.  I enjoyed reading the soap magazines to hear what others were thinking about my favorite and hated storylines.

As I grew up, those magazines remained (most of the soaps did not) but added to that was social media.  It started out on message boards, moved to fanfiction.net, then LiveJournal then Twitter, Tumblr, and Achieve of Ours.  Since then soaps have changed, well the American ones at least. The ratings fell, and so did its existence.

Since then, I have moved on.  British soap operas are catching my eye. Emmerdale, in particular.  Well, Robert and Aaron are what caught my eye.  The rest of my love for the show came with time. Anyway, with that came a new fandom. An intense fandom is full of different personalities and opinions.  Full of talented and smart people A fandom that is loud and very proud of those different views and talents.  Which is great. When things are going well.  This is what I’ve seen in the Robron fandom and where I stand on it.

Echo Chamber of the Freak Out

Ah. Social media is great to meet like-minded people. Get those opinions out, so it does not sit there in your brain taking away space you need (I know that is not how the mind works, it just feels that way sometimes).  It can be a lot of fun to be part of a television fandom.  Getting other viewpoints on a scene or character.  What is even more fun? Talking speculation and spoilers….until it is not.

Social media has a tendency to make one person’s worry or anger echo.  All it takes is one popular account to get upset or overexcited, and the effect is heard from Twitter to the most primitive of message boards. The echo chamber is quite strong in the Robron fandom.  This is not a new phenomenon but can be trying when people get upset about every little thing every day.

Stop the Hate

With the echo chamber comes the echoed opinions.  Different opinions are needed.  That is what makes a fandom interesting.  However, fandom is not fun when people are attacking each other or attacking the actors or workers on a show. Why am I beating around the bush here? I have seen it more and more with Emmerdale lately.  Not on Tumblr, this is showing up on Twitter.  That echo chamber causes people to lash out more because they feel they have some backing if someone challenges them.  I have fallen into that trap before. It is not pretty especially when you look back after the anger has passed.

Spoilers and You

Spoilers are a must in the soap world.  It keeps us aware of what is coming, what to get excited about and what to prepare for. Let’s just say that on spoiler days, things get crazy. People freak, get excited or go back to their fanfiction they were reading.

Spoilers are not new. I remember waiting excitedly for my Soap Opera Digest to arrive so I could know if Michelle and Danny were getting back together that week! (Look it up, kids). It was fun to think about what would happen.  Now? It is like a battlefield. Spoilers come out from numerous sources trying to get our attention. So, they click bait, they scare, they embellish, and that gets everyone upset. It becomes less of a report of what is to come and more of a death march to freak out land.

Where I Stand

I feel like the fandom is feeling torn.  Some are offended by the current storyline. Offended enough to stop watching. Some are offended over how it got started. The fact the show will not cover consent, how quickly we went from a big high to a major low and the abuse Robert and Aaron have gone through.  People are getting letters from Leon the intern, people are arguing with each other over tiny differences of opinion and people are threatening the official social media account.

Here is where I stand. This story sucks. It does. It feels like we are in the pit after being at the highest of highs. There are pacing, writing and general lack of communication problems.  However, things aren’t that bad.  Seriously. Let me explain.

The framework of this story is classic soap.  What is interesting and changes the game are the players in the story.  Not only are they not following the standard script they are changing up the game.  Robert is growing. Not only did he have to get drunk, thought he was broken up with Aaron and have no contact with him for the cheating to happen, he immediately regretted it, told Chas and even told Aaron because he knew he should not because someone pressured him into it. Aaron still has to grow, but I see it coming with this individual story.  Rebecca…sigh…I am sorry to say was screwed over.  I cannot stand her. I do not like her. I do not have to like her. Not liking her does not make me anti-women. It does not make me a terrible person. She is a poorly written character. I can only judge her based on what we have seen from her not what we wish we seen from her as a character. That is where the fandom divides. I know what people wanted to see from her, but it’s not there. Stop pretending it is. Take her at face value. That is what the writers do. They only take her at face value to push the Robert and Aaron story forward. That is where this classic soap story goes off course. Rebecca is not a factor. Robert will not magically fall for her because she is carrying his child. She is a mistake, and that mistake has consequences that are going to stick. Like we have been told by so many people in the past year, Robert always gets away unscathed. Now, he is has been struck.  He loves Aaron with all his heart, and that will not change anytime soon.

Which brings me to the baby. The baby is not really a factor. Yes, Robert will step up and try. Why? He is not a monster. Of course, he would love his baby (until that DNA test is done we can always assume something is up) and want to take care of him or her.  Doesn’t make him love Aaron any less. There is a difference between loving a kid and loving your partner or spouse. The baby causes drama that the two of them must get through. They will falter and fall but ultimately find their way back and even stronger than ever, regardless if a child is there are not.

This brings me to some fan issues.  Everyone has the right to be angry. Everyone has the right to hate what is happening.  To take it out on other fans though, I have a problem with that. I do not agree with a lot of opinions, but I do not question those opinions. I let people have them and move on with my life.  That includes some of the options on Iain MacLeod.  I personally don’t think he is bad at all. In fact, I am thankful he has shown up.  Why? He turned Robert into a well-rounded character. He let Robert make mistakes and grow from those mistakes. He let Robert start talking about his bisexuality.  He was allowed to be there for Aaron in a way that he was not during the Kate Oates era.  I think people forget that Kate had turned Robert into a one-dimensional villain that never intended for Aaron and Robert to become something bigger than an affair.  It might seem like Iain is putting Robert and Aaron through the ringer but without him, we would not even be here right now.  Both are fantastic storytellers, but Iain is the one to bring us the biggest events that made Robron what Robron is. I believe he loves them. I really do. As someone who has heard a ton of showrunners talks about couples, I have never heard the phrase “soulmates” come out of their mouths. Iain does care. People are allowed to disagree. I just think he is going through a rough patch right now.  They will right the ship soon. I believe all of these parallels and themes popping up in the show have a reason.  We will not get answers right away, but I think this will all come to a satisfying conclusion.

As for spoilers and freak outs. Its ok to be scared for what is coming. Morale is low right now, so every little thing creates drama.  Sometimes certain Twitter accounts love the attention, so they make spoilers seem bigger than they appear.  Sometimes spoilers look one way on the page and play out a different way on screen. Shall I bring up the spoiler that Aaron will ditch Robert to hang with Adam? PLEASE. Adam wanted to hang with Robert in the end. In fact, that part of the scene was great. Sometimes it is easier to read the spoilers, shrug and wait for everything to play out on screen. It is fun to speculate (I should know) but don’t take it so far that it ruins the enjoyment of the story or show.

The last point I want to cover.  The threatening of leaving the fandom.  If you are upset by the story or show just leave for a while. No one is stopping you.  When you are emotionally ready to come back, we will be here welcoming you with open arms.  You do not have to make others leave with you.  I know if I were so upset that I tell off a Twitter account run by people outside of the show every day, I would take a break.  For my own sanity. Doesn’t mean other people have the same problems or low tolerance level.

I know it is hard and this storyline sucks, but I feel like everyone is jumping to conclusions way too easily these days. I feel like we need to let this play out. Let all the players they put on the storyboard play their parts.  It is a story. When you read a novel or watch a movie, do you get all the pieces or understand the plot right away? No. You must keep going and let the story play out. Same with Emmerdale and Robron.  Just need to keep a positive attitude, keep talking things out with fellow fans if you are frustrated and just let the story play out. Have faith. Things will get worse before it gets better but I see it getting better.

If it does not? We can all blame Leon. Freaking Leon. He ruins everything.

So, take this with a grain of salt.  I am just someone who grew up watching soaps and understand what is required of a soap to keep moving forward.  The plots do not always go to plan. Fans push back. However, sometimes fans get a surprise.  The only way we can know if this story will turn out a surprise is if we keep watching and supporting the show.  Social Media has made fan panic louder than ever, but we have each other to talk to now when things get bad. Let us use those conversations on social media to be a bit more positive and supportive and we will be ok.

Spoilers Are Ruining Everything

I’m a television fan (no way Amanda we haven’t noticed) and because I am a tv fan I have looked for my fair share of spoilers.

Ah, spoilers.

Gossip is the little tidbits that keep us interested in a television show.  Sometimes. It could stop us from watching, but that’s for another time.  The internet has made coming across spoilers easier than ever.   There are whole websites dedicated to the art of the spoilers.  They make it their job to find spoilers for fans regardless if they want to see them or not.

In the past, spoilers were hard to find.  Sometimes a brief preview of an upcoming show would appear in a magazine, talk show, or entertainment show but most audiences were in the dark about what was to come.

Did that make things better?

Take Soap Opera for instance. Other than spots on entertainment shows or the Soap Opera Digest the soap opera fan was in the dark about what was happening next.  Now, between set reports, rumors and the remaining soap magazines reporting spoilers like baseball scores. Which fan had more fun? The one riding the storyline wave as it came or the one who already swam into calming territory?

I guess it depends on the person.  Personally, I believe that spoilers might be ruining the television experience.  Spoilers tend to ruin surprises. That surprise twist that makes an episode. That storyline that has the possibility to become legendary can be reversed because a small fraction of angry fans complained enough on Twitter to change the writer’s minds.

Why can’t we, as an audience, just let the story play itself out. Let the story take us into directions we didn’t see coming.  If the story ends up being disappointing, we can move on from the show.  Being always aware of the possible twists and turns can make a story disappointing too.

So, as I write this, I plan to avoid spoilers as best I can.

Will you?

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed.

Love it or Leave it! Saved by the Bell: The College Years

download-1

Welcome back! We all have that show. The show that you adore and can quote at the drop of a hat. You love it, but you are the only one.  Everyone has one of those shows that just didn’t take off with the masses. We are left with a very limited series that you watch over and over again as they write an analysis on the internet. Probably on a blog.

Ahem…moving on.

This is what this Saturday series is about.  Taking those shows that had a very limited run and deciding if the show deserved better. After all, you may love a show, but after you analyze it, you can understand why it didn’t take off.

What are we looking at this week?

The ABC show Saved by the Bell: The College Years

Background

In 1993, the successful teen sitcom Saved by the Bell ended after four years with the main characters graduating high school and moving onto college. Executives at NBC wanting to keep the gravy train going decided to follow Zack Morris, A.C. Slater and Screech to Cal U. The first episode aired right after the last Saved by the Bell and then moved to its normal spot on Tuesday nights.

The show introduced new characters such as the Mike Rodgers (the dorm advisor), Leslie Burke (roommate), Alex Tabor (roommate) and Danielle Marks (another roommate). Danielle was written out after the pilot and replaced with Kelly Kapowski, a Saved by the Bell alum.  The primary focus started out with Zack trying to get Leslie to like him while falling back in love with Kelly. That died out after three episodes and followed the group seeking to navigate that time between being a kid and adulthood.

The show was canceled after one season and wrapped up in a television movie where Zack and Kelly get married in Vegas. Everyone attended except for Alex (who’s actress refused to appear).

http://dai.ly/xt5xj3

Pop Culture History

The series wasn’t well received. It ranked 88th and averaged a 7.8 household rating. The show was canceled and forgotten.

In the fall of 1993, the Saved by the Bell series went on with a whole new group of kids (Mr. Belding/Screech sticking around) at Bayside High.  The series had guest appearances from some of the old cast and lasted seven years.

Did it Deserve Better?

I was a big Saved by the Bell fan. I didn’t watch live. I was part of the TBS rerun generation. I think I’ve seen every episode of that series (not the new class series though) more times that I can count. That includes the movies. This show was a big part of my childhood.

That said, it got better than deserved. Saved by the Bell wasn’t designed to last as long as it did. It was being used to talk about issues in a way kids and teens could understand, which works great in high school. A universal experience.  Once you reach college, all bets are off. Being taught ‘lessons’ in a college setting is tough. You can still learn but not the same way.  Cheating in college isn’t a lesson you should be learning in college. You learn that in elementary school. The show lost that crutch of lesson learning in college because everyone’s experiences are different in a college setting. It lost its edge. Also, if I remember correctly, Zack couldn’t stop time anymore. It had to be more realistic.

Not that I don’t enjoy the show. I loved it, and I still do. I look at it as a bridge to that final movie where Zack and Kelly finally get married. It’s like a miniseries leading us to these characters’ final conclusions. I enjoyed the dorm manager backstory and trying to get an education himself.  I liked the two new roommates that kept the guys on their toes. Yeah, they were copies of Lisa and Jessie, but it worked.

A show that once started as filler on Saturdays to fulfill an education requirement had a great run. Fans of the show (myself included) should be very happy with what we got in the end. A nice filled out story with a happy ending.

What is amusing to me is the show was getting a 7.8 in the ratings. Today that would be considered gold and the show would have gotten another season. Amazing to see how things have changed since 1993 on broadcast television.

The show and movies are streaming on Hulu. Go check it out if you want to see how the original Saved by the Bell show ends. It isn’t a required but still fun to watch.

Enjoy the show, and tell me below if you like it or feel like we should leave this show in the past. Until next time, enjoy the pop culture!

Don’t Segment Me! (New-Adult Fiction)

That is a category I have just noticed as I looked for some new books to read on my Kindle. New-Adult fiction? What the hell does that mean?  Is it from people who are currently new adults? Which begs the question, when does one officially become an adult? Regardless, I clicked on the word and was presented with the standard fiction I have been reading for years or so I thought.

New-Adult fiction was coined by St. Martin’s Press in 2009. The genre is focused on that in-between period. The reader is not a kid anymore (YA) but not an adult either. People would call this the time between graduating high school and getting out of college. This genre would focus on issues that people go through in that in-between period. New relationships, college, figuring out sex and everything involved with it. An ABC news article called it, “smut fiction.” Harper Collins calls it a label for parents to know if the book will be acceptable for their child.

I’ve looked through the novels that are listed under this new category. A lot of them remind me of the books I was reading in my late teen’s early twenties. We used to call these books fiction or even worse, chick lit (I hate that term, but that is for another time).  Why the segmentation? Some think this was a marketing scheme and I can see that. Usually these themes of leaving childhood and entering that even more confusing time of adulthood was covered under fiction. Now we have this new category that has highlighted this weird time and put a special price on it. I have a problem with that. Let’s charge people more to read about a time they are currently living in.

Please, don’t segment me. I feel like after I get out of reading ‘young adult’ (which I still read from time to time) I was hoping I could just be left alone to find my way through the fiction aisles. Lost in time and space. Much like life after being a teenager. Don’t force me into a box because it helps market certain books.

I’ve noticed the category, and like a lot of publishing houses, I’m choosing to ignore it.  If your book is that great, I will find it. Sooner or later I do.

What do you think? Does this new category annoy you too or do you believe that it was needed? Tell me below!

Thanks for reading and until next time, have a great day.

We Need a Little Christmas but Not This Early

Welcome back. As I write this, Spotify is playing a Christmas song. No, I didn’t pick it. This is what happens when I hit shuffle.  Before that, another Christmas song played. Now an ad promoting shopping early for Christmas gifts just came on.

Hold on. I’m checking my calendar.

Right. Just as I thought. September. I’m still in shorts and a t-shirt. The leaves are still green and on the trees. Right.

Fa la la la la la la la la la.

I love Christmas as much as the next random person. It brings a nice warm glow as we head into the coldest and darkest nights of the season. People are a little nicer; the houses glow a little brighter, and lots of goodwill and cheer showed on television.

Yeah, I enjoy that too, after I eat turkey and then shop like an idiot the next morning.

Why are people in such a rush to start the holiday season? Especially when we have Halloween and Thanksgiving to enjoy?

I feel like this started, where I live anyway, around the time Hurricane Sandy hit.  Everyone had enough no living with no power for two weeks and extreme cold. So, Christmas became a two-month event. Since then, it has grown. The minute September hits people start thinking Christmas.

It drives me nuts.

We need separation. I want to feel that transition from summer to fall (the weather doesn’t seem to want to play along, but someday it will be cool out). I want to feel scared and enjoy some good candy in the month of October. I want to look forward to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and overeating with my family. Then we can jump into the next holiday.

Why rush. Enjoy each month as it comes. Christmas will be here soon enough.

What do you think? Are you running around humming Christmas songs already or are you just as sick of the rush? Leave a comment below.

Until Saturday, this randomly organized pop is going to bed. Have a good one.

This is Us: Over Advertised Hell

Welcome back!  The advertisements used to start near the end of the summer. It was the final warning that summer was ending and school was around the corner. Each new show would have 30 seconds (or less) to plead its case. Why we should take time out of our evenings to watch their particular show.

That was a long time ago. Now those new fall shows start advertising in May. They use social media marketing, behind the scenes videos, recognizable soap, and former teen stars. There is so much these shows do to make sure we watch.

To the point of exhaustion. That bothers me on so many levels.

I hate having a show be pushed onto me. This current fall season has a show called, This is Us. From the minute the show released its trailer the interest was intense. The powers that be knew this and went into advertising overdrive. Anywhere I looked I saw ads, interviews, twitter conversations, twitter advert cards, and YouTube ads littered across my laptop screen.  It was even more intense since I am a Young and Restless fan and one of its brighter stars is on the show. Extra promotion from all sides.

The more I see a show being pushed onto me, the less I like it. I start to think that something is wrong. Why else would NBC be pouring money into a show? I believe that it can’t be trusted. If the show is good, it should shine through its trailer. The more money pumped into the marketing machine, the less likely I am to check it out.

I like finding shows by accident. I like shows that run to a different beat. The shows with a unique premise and heart. Finding those shows are like finding a diamond in the dumpster behind the local Wendy’s. It is surprising and confusing, but you still want the rock. Same with shows that fall into your lap. I like to be surprised by a show. Not be spoiled in the thousands of advertising pieces given out from May to September.

As I write this, I had seen This is Us.  It wasn’t the best thing on earth (that is what Twitter is saying as I write this. Not kidding) but it wasn’t horrible. I’ve seen horrible. I’m giving it more time. The pilot is the foundation. I want to see the house they build on that foundation.

nbc-this-is-us-aboutimage-1920x1080-ko

Regardless, did it deserve all the promotion it got? I can understand why NBC decided to promote this show the way they did. It’s a straight up drama which is rare on television today.  I will get more into this someday. I was spoiled for a ton of plot points because I’ve seen eight different versions of the trailer, which bugged me. Hell, at least the final twist was kept quiet which is shocking considering I heard the pilot was floating around the dark side of the internet for a while now.

What do you think? Does over advertising effect how you view a show or do you not notice the advertisements and watch whatever you want. Leave a comment below!

This has been randomly organized pop. See you on Thursday.

I am Not a Social Media Mean Girl (or am I?)

Welcome back! I have been a soap opera fan since I was a little girl. I never truly appreciated the storylines and characters until I hit my 20’s and had time between classes to get obsessed with the storylines.

Even better? I had Twitter to talk to other fans in real time. No longer would I have to talk to my dog and call my grandmother to dish about the show. Yes, for a soap opera, you dish. Not talk.  Having Twitter made it easier to talk about the current storylines, the different ways they could go and my favorite characters. I especially love to talk about the characters I hated.

I would get into long conversations with people about the characters that truly drove me up a wall. Sometimes we would start to talk about the actors or actresses. Sometimes things got rough but who would notice? Twitter is a big place.

Recently, I came across an article in Soap Opera Digest that talks about a soap actress, Heather Tom, joking about being the least liked character on Bold and Beautiful only to be attacked for the joke. People talked about her acting and how she didn’t deserve her awards. She stood up for herself instead of letting the Twitter users win.

That got me thinking of all the times I’ve had conversations about actors or actresses on Twitter. I don’t think we were that mean, but more than likely these people saw a version of these tweets on their timelines. I felt my stomach clench.

I never wanted to be the mean girl. Not at this age. I’ve been the mean girl when I was nine. I didn’t like it then. Then when I got older, I became the target of mean girls and boys for many reasons. I know how it feels. Why would I do that to anyone else?

Getting caught in the moment and being sure that these people will never see my tweets is the real reason I make fun of actors and their work on Twitter. Apparently, they do sometimes see those tweets. That just makes me feel like a real idiot. When it comes to soap operas, some actors aren’t good. It is because they are learning. However, to attack an actor for something beyond their control (bad writing, bad sets, bad chemistry) is a mean girl act. Something I will admit to doing.

Maybe it is time to be more constructive with our criticism and less cruel. Let us calm the inner mean girl in all of us.

tumblr_obb031hz7o1ql5yr7o1_500

What do you think? Are you a ‘mean girl’ on Twitter or do you think it ultimately doesn’t matter when talking about actors on a television show? Comment below!