While everyone was going crazy over Avengers: Endgame being the last film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s current phase, others were signing petitions demanding a new ending to Game of Thrones season 8, and then there you were not caring 3000.
Before I am mistaken for someone who is against fandoms, let me clarify that I am not. One of the biggest obstacles that people belonging to this community that follows or likes the same entity of pop culture face is the tag of being “childish” or “mainstream”. These labels, I believe, are extremely unfair and slightly hypocritical. I, for one, am in the This Is Us fandom.
Fandoms arise because a book, movie, tv series or comic had something with which people could connect and relate. Marvel and DC comics or films gave that little 10-year-old hope, that good can defeat the evil or how superheroes exist, maybe inside all of us. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. was able to make many people laugh and happy after they had hit a low. Harry Potter series was more than just Wizardry and Witchcraft, for it was as much about courage, goodness and friendship. The memes on adults surrounded by children in movie halls for Toy Story 4 is a testament to how these are a connect with our childhood.
The most popular ones suffer because they are always seen as mainstream, people doubting them for only “trying to be cool” and accusing them of following it because “everyone is watching this nowadays”.
But when Hannah Gatsby said, “I identify as tired”, we could all relate.
Not belonging to these fandoms does not make you a bad person or a person with lesser taste, in any way.
Some people simply watch these shows or films for the mere pleasure that comes out of it. Not knowing plot lines or details is not considered to be the biggest sin for us. I will reiterate, we all have our fangirling/ fanboying elements activated by different stimuli, but our passions vary in intensity. While legendary shows went on for many years, non-fandom people tend to find starting such shows daunting. The level of commitment and energy that is involved in watching 14 seasons of Supernatural, the whole Star Wars series, 15 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy among many, many more of “this is amazing, you should watch it”: very intimidating.
On speaking to such people, I realised, these group of people are simply Legen-wait for it-LAZY. On seeing that passionate friend of yours reiterating and trying to express how amazing something is, on the inside non-fandomers feel sorry for the effort wasted. It is not the absence of awareness or even questioning of the abilities of what writers can create. But simply having full insight and realising what does not appeal to you.
Maitreyi Pandey of Kamala Nehru College, who has never watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S. commented, “So, I believe a show or an association with a fandom is a very personal thing. Though, at times, I do feel annoyed when people keep on discussing about the one show over and over again and keep on pushing you to watch it. However, I never have felt the need to join the bandwagon, because if I don’t connect to the show, no matter how good it might be, I will not watch it.”
Whether it is F.R.I.E.N.D.S. versus How I Met Your Mother, Marvel vs DC, Hunger Games vs Divergent—for these people, the debate goes on. Unless someone brings up Brooklyn Nine-Nine, in which case there is no competition.
With the good comes the evil. Similarly, this new idea of “real” fan and “fake” fan has arisen. For those who have never seen or experienced this, you have been very privileged because the level of social bashing one can receive over the smallest of errors is on an all-time high. I remember how someone I know had mistakenly written John Snow, instead of Jon Snow. A wave of social bashing hit her before she even understood where she went wrong. Similarly, despite my really enjoying GoT (Game of Thrones), this statement will always be seen with suspicion till I can name the whole family tree correctly. So, when someone says to me, “You know nothing…”, I am okay with it.
If you binge every show on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Hulu and whichever new platform has come up, or even if you simply are too lazy or uninterested, either path is okay. With these platforms having left television far behind, we can see that the quality of story lines, plot twists, character developments and other tricks up a writer’s sleeve are endless.
I can only reflect on a time when GoT was to me the best show ever made, but This Is Us changed my mind, and frankly tomorrow night Chernobyl might. Each story competing with the others, and writers, creators and directors being challenged, we can learn to appreciate where we have come from only Sciences and STEM being applauded, as now even the artistic capabilities are seen with awe. All is well till we remember that compulsion is an illusion.
So, while some people googled which house the Sorting Hat will put them in, others chose not to, does that not sound like a fandom of its own?
Feature Image Credits: Geeks on Coffee