I’ve been listening to the latest episode of Fansplaining, with guest Emily Nussbaum, and it’s led me to sort of a revelation.
[First, an aside: Emily Nussbaum mentions in the episode that in her Buffy days she was on the Bronze. It’s no secret that that was my first fannish home. It’s so nice to hear about Bronzers in the world. I don’t know if Emily would call herself a Bronzer, but my definition is just somebody who spent time at the Bronze, so she counts.]
Since I decided to do my dissertation on the information literacy practices of cosplayers, I’ve been reconnecting with fandom. For years now, I’ve had trouble staying connected to any particular fandom specifically, and fandom itself in general, for a number of reasons:
- my fannish home being in diaspora
- burnout after a failed Save Our Show campaign
- the proliferation of social networks
- grad school
W. has repeatedly suggested that being fannish is easier in your teens and 20s when you have fewer responsibilities than it is in your 30s when you have a kid, and that’s fair. But I always feel like none of these explanations are quite enough.
Listening to Emily Nussbaum say:
"...the situation in which somebody produces an entire show and then releases it to the audience changes the way that people talk about TV when it doesn’t come out week-by-week."
…gave me a little lightbulb moment.
My primary fandoms have all been week-by-week TV fandoms: Sailor Moon when it aired as an afternoon show in the 90s, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Wonderfalls (yes, Wonderfalls!), The Inside (I’m here for Tim Minear’s most obscure work), Veronica Mars, 30 Rock, New Girl. The intensity of my participation in fandom for each of these varies, but other than a brief flirtation with Star Wars fic in high school because Sonja was doing it, and some heavy time spent reading Harry Potter fic and playing in related RPs, weekly television is my medium of choice.
And the way we talked about weekly television in the late 90s and early 2000s is how I know to talk about things as a fan: what is the significance of what just happened? What will happen next? What do we wish would happen next?
You can do all of these things after bingeing a season of Stranger Things, and I do (though mostly only with W.), but it feels different somehow.
I’m going to try and crack it. I’m going to figure it out with Glow.
Anyway, this has not gone very far, but it’s just something that I thought about and wanted to write about a little bit.