What It Means to Be a Fan

Before I decided to write my first blog about D&D (which, in case you are wondering, I’ll be writing about again in future posts!), I at first immediately thought the following: “I’m going to write about Buffy the Vampire Slayer!!” Okay, not the most original idea. Buffy has been written about soooo much already. There are books, blogs, and essays galore (many of which are posted on the Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association website.) Do you think that’s going to stop me from writing about it here? Obviously not.

Now,  I am far from an expert on the Whedonverse, but I definitely consider myself a fan of Joss Whedon’s work, especially Buffy. Plus I’ve even published a bit about Buffy in the past as well. (I contributed an essay to the book Fan Phenoma: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)  So yes, I’m writing about something that’s been written about before and that will be written about again – but we wouldn’t all talk and write about TV shows like Buffy if they didn’t mean so much to so many.

What’s my point to all of this? Many of you, like me, are probably a fan of something, and there may or may not be others who share your passion(s). Part of the great thing, though, about being a fan is sharing that passion with others. Plus, you never know where those passions might lead or what relationships you might develop because of them. Being a fan doesn’t need to lead to anything grandiose; it’s more about the shared experience with good friends. It’s also about making new friends. Being a fan has little, if anything, to do with actors or movie stars. It’s about the world the creator/writer of the TV show/movie/novel produced. It’s about being inspired by the awesome creativity of others so much so that you can’t wait to talk about “what just happened!” with others.

Here’s another quick example. My one good friend and I have been watching the TV show Supernatural together since its 5th season. (Season 5  was supposed to be the end of the series actually. We had no idea back then that the show would still be on air five years later. It’s become a tradition for us that our significant others realize is probably going to continue as long as the show is on air.  (Sorry guys – we love you but Sam & Dean get our attention on Tuesday nights for now!) November 11th, is actually going to be the show’s 200th episode, which is pretty impressive. My friend and I joke that when we’re old ladies, we’ll still be getting together to watch the show. And that’s really what it’s all about, it’s about being able to escape no matter what else is going on in real life. Supernatural gets that about its fans, and I think that’s one reason (the main reason?) it’s lasted so long.

We all find our methods of escape through our own unique personalized areas of interest. It doesn’t have to be a supernatural themed TV show – it can be anything. These fictional worlds allow us to stop worrying, to stop moving so fast, and to realize our everyday, seemingly simple lives, are really, each one, something quite amazing. They encourage us to be more than we might be without them; they inspire us to imagine and to dream. I’d like to think that if a magical portal to another world ever opened up, that, like Supernatural‘s Charlie Bradbury, I’d be brave enough to walk through it –  I sure hope I would at least.