Sometimes the fandom life is cruel.
That is ultimately the fundamental lesson here, as fangirls wail, celebrities sleep calmly in hotels, and the angsty teens lie unclaimed in the rubble that once was real life.
Sometimes the characters fall and will not stop. Sometimes the writers turn evil and will not write. Sometimes the producers rise and smack the storyline like a fist. Sometimes the producers delay and split the story. And sometimes, the emotions rattle and heave and split in two.
Sometimes the fandom life is cruel.
And always, when it is, we do the same thing. We dig ourselves out. We weep and mourn, we recover and memorialize the fallen, we rebuild our hopes. And we go on. This is the price of being a fangirl. And also, arguably, the noblest fandoms.
Sometimes the fandom life is cruel, and you have no choice but to accept that as part of the bargain called fangirling. And when it is your turn to deal with it, you try.
But what if it’s always your turn?
Surely some hopeless, tear-streaked fangirl can be forgiven for thinking it is always her turn this evening, two minutes after the most angsty fandom in the world saw its episode airing delayed by the strongest force it has ever known, an evil producing monster. Surely, the rest of us watching from afar, experiencing tragedy and devastation from the comfort of desk chairs and living room couches, are tempted to believe the same thing.
Bad enough, fangirls are wretchedly poor. Bad enough they have a history of emotional instability and weakness, of being ignored by the major powers when it is not being exploited by them. Bad enough, all that, yet at the end of the day, those are disasters authored by the producers hands, by producers greed, producers corruption, producers economic predation.
Sometimes, though, you have to wonder if the producers themselves are not conspiring against these feisty little fangirls.
After 1995, when A&E’s Pride and Prejudice was aired, after 2005, when Doctor Who was revived and swept away over 500 fangirls, after 2006 when the mercy of Robin Hood helped over 2,000 souls, after 2010, when Sherlock aired only three episodes and Downton Abbey made a stir, followed by Merlin’s newfound fame which captured even more, after the double whammy of Spies of War and Bates Motel in 2013 gathered many more fangirls and destroyed social lives, through all that, comes this lifestyle – and an emotional toll psychologists cannot begin to even imagine. Perhaps as many as millions, they were saying on Wednesday.
Sometimes the fandom life is cruel. To crawl onto the couch, scanning for new episodes on Netflix, charting when shows are available, running from real life issues, is to understand this in a primal, personal way. It is to view a show that begins, “Long ago, in the time of dragons…” It is to create clever tumblr posts, donate your small funds, volunteer material and time and to fear, even in the waiting, that these gestures are small against the reality, inconsequential against the ache of a people whose turn to fall never seems to end.
But what else are you going to do? As the playwright put it, your voice is too small to talk with producers. Even less have we the ability to answer the question that burns the moment: Why are the most vulnerable repeatedly assessed the highest price?
We are hamstrung by our own obsessions, so we can only do what we always do, only send money and hope. And watch, staggered by the courage it takes, as fangirls do what fangirls always do, the thing at which they have become so terribly practiced.
Dig out. Weep and mourn. Memorialize the fallen. Rebuild. Go on. And show the world once againa stubborn insistence on living, despite all the cruelties of the fandom life.
Fare thee well!!