Kalliel (kalliel) wrote,
Kalliel
kalliel

Fandom's Great Game

In December, my sister and I make a tradition of marathoning television. I don't watch a lot of TV, and don't have much patience for it (unless it's endless hours of Law and Order: SVU, for which I have literally endless patience). I'm an insanely monogamous fandom person and I always think, well, WHY AM I WATCHING THIS WHEN I COULD BE REWATCHING SPN? Or reading/writing fic?? XD

Anyway, this year's selection was House, MD S7. It's nothing new to me; I was extremely invested in this show until S6, when I gave up. But their current season (S8) is their last, and I figure I owe it to the characters to see them through. It was...okay. Overall, the drama was either overblown or tired and repetitive--on occasion overblown AND repetitive simultaneously!

But while I was busy being extraordinarily critical, it occurred to me that inasmuch as I was once incredibly invested in House, it has never been a fandom for me.

I've enjoyed House's dramas and fallen in love with the characters, admired the musical montages and occasionally appreciated episodic structures, but I've never wanted to talk House. I've never wanted to read fic, certainly never written any, and I've never bothered to construct a headcanon outside of what is presented. My love for House begins and ends every forty-three minutes.

This is obviously not true of SPN. If anything my love for SPN expands to fill the void of it not being in season and I love it even more in its absence. XD Every episode of SPN does not need to wow me. Every line does not need to be perfect. In fact, very little needs to breaaaaaathe absoluuuuute perfeeection in SPN, and it's rarely done my love for or my enjoyment of the show any damage. I remember seeing, like, 6x08 or something and thinking, yup, so I didn't care for that at all. And the extent to which that doesn't bother me is actually kind of amazing!

I'd chalk this sort of, what, blanket forgiveness? up to SPN never actually having been objective perfection, and House having at some point actually been close, but I don't believe that. I've seen S2 and S4 House episodes recently and they didn't strike me as super awesome!!!! either.

The real difference here is the one between a show and my Show. To be my Show, a show has to be better than the other available programming, but it also doesn't have to be as good. It can thrive on the wealth of headcanon and fandom energy and fic/art-fixes/extrapolations/interpolations and friendship and extra-fiction indulgences (eating at a skeevy diner on the Winchesters' behalf, vacationing to a con and having fun in a different city, etc.)--and so long as it continues to inspire these in me, that's all that matters. Every forty-three minutes does not have to be the Sistine Chapel. They don't even need to be the Chrysler building. But first it needs to hit that threshold for fandom liftoff. That's the barrier to entry.

I'm not saying that this isn't true of House for other people. Obviously, House has a fandom, too. The threshold is different based on taste and personal experience; but the distinction exists, wherever the line might fall for an individual. I'm not even saying that the best shows make for the best fandoms. I adore Firefly, and Six Feet Under, but I wouldn't fandom for them.

To me, this is what fandom is about:

At the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, Green was introduced to "the great game," which Sherlockians had played for decades [...] The challenge of the game was that Conan Doyle had often written the four Holmes novels and fifty-six short stories--"the Sacred Writings," as Sherlockians called them--in haste, and they were plagued with inconsistencies that made them difficult to pass off as nonfiction. How, for instance, is it possible that in one story Watson is described as having been wounded in Afghanistan in the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, though in another story he complains that the wound was in his leg? The goal was thus to resolve these paradoxes, using the same airtight logic that Holmes exhibits. Similar textual inquiries had already given birth to a related field, known as Sherlockiana--mock scholarship in which fans tried to deduce everything from how many wives Watson has (one to five) to which university Holmes attended (surely Cambridge or Oxford). As Green once conceded, quoting the founder of the Baker Street Irregulars, "Never had so much been written by so many for so few."

David Grann, The New Yorker, Dec 13, 2004 v80 i39 p058
Full Text: Mysterious Circumstances
COPYRIGHT 2004 All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of The Condé Nast Publications Inc.


"The great game" is the reason I fandom. I thrive on the gaps, the inconsistencies, the implications, because that's where we make our home in a series. Generally not for the sake of proving it non fiction like the Holmes Society, because wow, SPN, but for the sake of structural integrity!

I take great pleasure in deciding for myself why Sam would go camping in Nevada by himself, or why Dean does anything he does, where Jess went to high school, where the Winchesters get their money (as in, specifically), what brand of toothpaste they use. Why the Leviathans exist. Why nobody in the entire country noticed the imminent Apocalypse. How they can get away with leaving all these dead bodies everywhere. How ghost ships exist in salt water. As far as inconsistencies go, they're either a fault or an opportunity, and in a fandom it's generally much more fun to perceive them as the latter. (Though we don't always. XD)

That Holmes quote is incredibly accurate for me (though admittedly fails to note wild amounts of writerly projection, the merits of fandom friendship, shameless objectification, etc. that also comprise my characterization of what fandom is to me, lol). I just wanted to share it here for posterity.

I'd play this game forever. Thank you, fandom (SPN fandom and friends from others, too!), for playing, too. Y'all are kickass! Happy New Year. :)

^ Except I have about three million posts I want to make before now and 2012, so uh. Forewarning.

ETA: Also, because this post was not particularly flattering for House, I feel like I should mention that 7x19 "Last Temptation" actually was complete and utter perfection. ♥
Tags: fandom: misc., fandom: spn, i can't watch tv like a normal person, mistaking reality for spn again, salt being a spirit deterrent
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