But, I was thinking about fandom earlier this week when I posted boosting the signal to help spread the word about a couple of communities that had been created to help the flood victims in Australia and Brazil. It's amazing to be part of a group of people -- who are, by and large, mostly strangers with the exception of a virtual connection and a few of us who have had the chance to actually connect in real life -- who go so far out of their way to come together and help people.
I was talking about this on a Dean-centric forum I mostly lurk at, and wanted to share some thoughts over here with whoever might wander by. I know that, yes, this fandom has its extremists on either side of the Sam v Dean arena, but from my point of view, our enjoyment of this show levels the playing field. There will always be a "vs" clause among us, or those of us who may or may not be dissatisfied with the writing and/or storyline, or those who may or may not object to how something (like a MotW or a religious aspect) is portrayed. But if you look at it as SPN fans vs Any Other CURRENT Show's fans, again from my point of view, we're rather unique.
It's okay if you think I'm nuts. Or that I'm not exactly saying anything new. This is mostly just musing anyway. *grins*
I've never really been involved in a fandom before, so I don't really know how other fandoms behave. For example, I've been told that the Angel fandom was/is quite passionate and while I loved that show (and, essentially, all things Whedon) I am not part of that fandom, so I've missed all of that. (ETA: I stand corrected in my use of tense with fandoms in general. Just wanted to say that this post isn't intended to alienate any other fandom or suggest that just because shows are no longer airing new episodes that their fandoms aren't still going strong.)
It just feels like this fandom is extraordinarily driven by a passion for our show. Again, without having much to compare it to, I'm just spouting opinion, so feel free to ignore or disagree.
I've been watching our show since day one, season one and part of this fandom roughly since the start of season two, and have seen us do a lot of pretty fantastic things together, leading me to think about what it is about this show (beyond teh pretteh) that creates such a chaotic unity of support.
Then I read Jim Beaver's status on Facebook on Saturday that Mitch was sick, Jensen was getting sickish, and Jim himself had that warning tickle that sick was coming. I knew there was a con in San Francisco this weekend and it really hit me how much these guys -- all of them, really, but especially the boys -- go out of their way to connect to us.
They see their fans, face-to-face, "among the people," if you will, on a staggeringly consistent basis. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't know of any other CW/WB-type show that has their main stars -- whom the whole show essentially rides on -- appearing at multiple conventions throughout the year while they're filming episodes. All over the world, too.
And the mainstream shows -- the ones that have enjoyed such success on the major networks -- don't really do this at all, let alone to such an intense degree.
I think it's given fans a sense of 'knowing' these guys...connecting to them and relating to them and seeing them beyond their character. And that connection has created loyalty. I mean, even those who aren't really even enjoying S6 are (for the most part) still watching, still discussing, and/or still hopeful about where the show might take their favorite character.
The familiarity generated by con appearances bothered me a little bit at my first convention (I've only been to two -- both in Chicago). I didn't really like to think about who they were outside of their characters. I like the escape. I don't not care about Jensen, but I'd rather leave Jensen to his life and think about Dean. For it's Dean who draws me in.
As one poster over on the other site helped me articulate, however, hearing the actors speak about their craft helps us look at the show and the characters from a different perspective. And whether you're a SamGirl, DeanGirl, or BiBro, hearing how they bring the character you gravitate toward to life through their performance can really enhance the way you see that character. That thought process helped me balance my "Dean's my hero, not Jensen...even though Jensen brings Dean to life" conundrum.
Does that make sense...or just make me sound looney? *laugh*
The point I'm attempting to come to is it really hit me recently that for the past several years, we've been priveledged to be part of a perfect storm of entertainment and community and it has to do in large part to two guys (and their supporting cast and crew) who are willing to put themselves out there, wear themselves out, expose themselves to sickness and travel and all the hang-ups that come with it....for us.
Of course, the cynic in me could also say, "Yes, but they get paid for it," and "Yes, but it also further's their career," and "Yes, but they get virtually no advertising so excitment for the show really has to be a grass roots campaign of sorts."
And while all that is true, it doesn't make the fact that they do it for us as well any less true. Their job, for which they get paid, is to entertain us by telling a good story. And I think the overtime they put in to bring the story to us far exceeds any compensation they get for it.
I don't really know why I'm rambling about all of this except that it's been a long hiatus, I'm missing contact, and I feeling lucky to be part of this chaos, in whatever small role I play, for however long it lasts.