Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Will the real geek please stand up?

Like I said in my last post, I’m participating in a “Cult TV” Fandom Panel for a class up at the U of U. (ENGL 2070).
I’m really excited to do this, but also nervous that we’re about to be fed to the wolves. I don’t think that will happen because the instructor is a Browncoat, but you never know.
So yesterday, we were forwarded a couple of pages of questions from the class to contemplate, so I thought that I would address some of the questions here.

What makes Serenity/Firefly fans different from other popular TV fans?
We’re freaking awesome! That’s what makes us different… Duh! No, really, I became aware of the awesomeness of the Browncoats when I drove down to Vegas for the Serenity prescreening. I was expecting a group of typical comic book geeks but what I found were intelligent folk from every nationality and age group you could name. Their commonality? They like shows that don’t suck.

Would you discuss the show only within the fan community or also with people who didn’t have a prior interest?
I would discuss this show in a car or in a bar, in a house or with a mouse, I would talk it here or there, I would talk it anywhere…

Do you force other people to watch Firefly to recruit more Browncoats?
We don’t use the Force… that’s a totally different show… dummy!

What drew you to your fandom?
My little sister… Damn you, Mei Mei!

Fans—are they crazy?
Fan… is just short for Fanatic. Yes… crazy is a good word.

Could fandom resurrect the Firefly series, or any canceled show?
Sadly… no. I think that the Browncoats did do a bit of the impossible by getting the BDM (Big Damn Movie), but I’m afraid that Firefly has seen it’s day in the sun.

What is it about TV that makes you involve yourself in fandom?
It’s not just Television. It’s GOOD television. Television is just another form of story telling, just like reading a book, or listening to the radio, or going to the theater. If the show has a bad story, or (in Firefly’s case) is to intelligent for the brain dead American public, that show is going to go away because the medium is driven by viewership. You become a fan when you find a story that moves you in a positive way. It’s simply that.

Why do you think it is worthwhile to spend so much time talking about your TV show?
Why do you find it worthwhile to discuss books? Come on… just two different forms of entertainment.

Why do fans always dress up for conventions?
This… just so happens to be the question I’ve been mulling over for the last few weeks.
And my conclusion is this… we don’t ALWAYS dress up for conventions. Many do, but not all. And as for those who do choose to dress up… so what!
Ask yourself this… are you a fan of a sports team? And if so, have you ever gone to a sporting event wearing a replica jersey? Painted your face? Donned a Cheese Head or foam finger? What makes that cool or acceptable?
Wearing… say… a Starfleet uniform to Comicon is no different from wearing a sports team jersey to a game. The only difference is the stigma that society has placed upon them.
Wearing a team jersey, painting your face the team colors, chanting, and yelling “Charge” when the sounder sounds… as dorky as all that is… is acceptable to the majority in society, while wearing a Starfleet uniform, walking around a convention center, meeting some of the actors, artists, & writers of your favorite shows, books, & comics, and such… is somehow… outside of societies accepted norms. Who made up these rules?
Probably the Jocks…

Why do TV companies quit airing shows even when they have millions of devoted fans?
Ratings, ratings, ratings.

How does your fandom mix with the rest of your life? Is it the driving factor? Is it like a side hobby?
This is a good one. Firefly affects all parts of my habits, language, what I buy, what we name the goldfish. The nice thing about being a browncoat is that you can fly under the radar. Not a lot of people know about the show, so it’s easy to wear a BlueSun shirt or some such and most people think that it’s just some corporate tee shirt… really only another browncoat will understand the message.

Do you find yourself becoming a “die-hard” fan of only one type of genre or is it possible to be a fan (on the level of “fandom”) of different types of television shows?
I love SciFi… I love To Kill a Mockingbird… I love Bogart films… I’m currently watching a lot of Scrubs and MASH reruns. I’m a person… I have many interests.

What is it, do you suppose, that causes Joss Whedon to attract fandom groups? Buffy, Dr Horrible, Firefly, Angel all have huge fan bases that aren’t necessarily the same people. What is it about Joss that causes this?
The guy’s freakin’ awesome! I don’t know. I like Buffy, Firefly, Dr. Horrible… but I think that Angel needed to be staked long before he ever got his own show. It has to do more with the character than it does the writer.

How much time per week do you spend participating in fandom activities?
3.14 seconds per week… hey that’s the same as PI… I wonder if that means anything.

So there you go…
I’ll let you know how it went.

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