I’ve always been someone that’s gotten hooked on pop culture. (When I was twelve, I told my Dad that my only goal in life was to meet the Spice Girls. Don’t judge.) Once I ventured outside of the realm of AOL into the big bad scary Internet, I found that there were many other people that shared my strange obsessions. So, even though no one in my family wanted to hear about the greatness of the Spice Girls, people on the Internet were more than happy to let me browse their fan sites and to promptly ignore mine. (True store, my first website was a Spice Girls Geocities page. It had brightly colored Comic Sans MS font and tiled picture backgrounds. It was awesome. Too bad Geocities went down permanently last year – such a sad day – or I would link to it.)
Directly after Spice Girls, my next obsession was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (My IM name was Slayer8062. In now recognize that that’s pretty creepy and that a lot of people probably didn’t get the connection that I was making.) No website that time, sadly, but I found fan forums and spoilers for the first time – and they were great. Who knew that there were thousands of other people who wanted to talk about if Angel was really evil? And so I became a TV fangirl. I trolled Geocities and the like and kept bookmarks of the best links pages. (Of course I read fanfiction, but that’s a whole post of its own.) Then I found Television Without Pity, and other semi-professional TV recap sites; it was the Internet home that I’d been searching for. Scene by scene recaps, analysis of inside jokes and winks at the fans, active forums – what more could I want? (As Slate’s Josh Levin says, “Week-to-week coverage reflects how people actually watch their favorite shows—we rehash the best lines, parse the meaning of weighty moments, and anticipate plot twists. At its best, new-school TV writing is brainy and inquisitive, thoughtful commentary borne out of a fanatical attention to detail.” No wonder I loved it.) But the time that I spent on TWOP was a guilty pleasure. It wasn’t until college that told my friends about it, only to find that many of them had been doing the same types of things. (I’ve come a long way – now I’ll publicly declare my love of Battlestar Galactica and fight you about it if you tell me it’s lame. It’s not. Kara Thrace is awesome!)
That was a long roundabout way of telling you that I’ve always been a fandom junky, but secretly. It definitely qualified as a guilty pleasure. Now Slate tells me that there’s nothing to be ashamed of and that being a TV fan is just as legitimate a pass-time as being a sports nut. Comparing TV recappers to sports commentators, Josh Levin says, “We read television recaps for the same reason we read about last night’s game. We want to relive what we’ve seen through the eyes of an expert—someone who recognizes a callback to Season 2 or spots a parallel with the 1967 Red Sox.” His piece on TV criticism, and the fan community that devours it, makes many more comparisons between TV and sports viewing. No one’s afraid to wear their team jerseys or feels the need to hide their sports knowledge. So get ready, maybe the next time I see you I’ll be wearing a Buffy or Harry Potter (my other fandom love) t-shirt.
MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a while new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.