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05 August 2006 @ 12:07 pm
Emotional Attachment in Fandom and Hypersensitivity  
I'm going to talk a little bit about my emotional attachment and how it differs between a show/movie/book and fandom.

Despite my rants on character or plot points that I occasionally fall into in the SG-1 fandom, I started to distance myelf from the show a couple of years ago. When I get into a show or movie or book, whatever, I throw myself into it. When I was into X-Files, I was hypersensitive to all the changes, the parts of story that I thought took away from the show, and poor plot arcs, etc. I have had the same feelings about Star Wars and the prequels, and the choice in their EU book series. However, with X-Files and Star Wars, I've had the chance to put some distance between myself the shows/movies. Time gives you a different perspective. And I am sure the same will happen with SG-1 as time passes and Smallville.

But it's already started to happen with me with Stargate and Smallville. At times it makes me sad and at times it makes me feel like I'm entering a "healthier" place.

The more I am "into" a show, the more sensitive I am to details. I used to get irate and hot-headed about things I didn't agree with. It used to sour my whole mood. But I can't do that anymore. If it's a choice between my enjoyment or being in a complete funk because I take everything personally, I will choice the former.

That doesn't mean I wiping clean poor writing and bad acting. I am not condoning series problems I see in the shows that I watch. I still don't agree with choices made on X-Files, on SG-1, Smallville, and in Star Wars. I'm just saying I can't get my hackles up over a tv show, a movie, or a book anymore. Especially in the cases I've listed above. I'll either enjoy it or I won't. And if I don't enjoy it anymore, I'll just stop watching like I did with The X-Files.

With SG-1, as far as I am concerned, the show pretty much ended for me at the end of season 8. (In fact, I think I am in a minority that don't even want Sam or Daniel shipped off to Atlantis -- I like my original team together. Whenever SG-1 ends, I don't think they should spin-off with Sam, Daniel, or Teal'c. Guest spots? Okay. But I just let the original team -- Jack, Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c rest in peace as the team we saw by the end of Season 8. Yes, I am the minority.) But I'm still watching the show for enjoyment and because I do still have some emotional investment with the characters. The SG-1 characters still speak to me, some on a nostalgic level, some by their own merit. (This is something I can't say for SGA but that's a diffrent story.) The same goes for Smallville. I still have this love of the characters, even if some of the plot and character arcs are disagreeable with me.

This is my way of distancing and keeping tv as something that is fun and enjoyable, not something that gives me stress. I am not saying that my way is the right away. It just works for me.

So, I can stil continue to watch my shows, enjoy them, but walk away without a feeling of doom and gloom (most of them time). The fandom? Now that is a different story.

I find that the majority of my emotional investment is in the fandom. I get bent out of shape more over stuff that happens in the fandom versus what happens on the show. And if you have noticed, most of my rants are in the fandom -- in particular SG-1 -- not for the show.

Is it possible to have more investment in a fandom than a show? Oh yeah. For me, the beauty of a show can be found in its fandom, though so can its darkest flaws. I enjoy meeting people who watch the show, who read and write fanfic, and who enjoy art. We take what we love about our shows and then translate that into our fandom. Sure, there are horrible things that happen within the fandom, whatever show you watch. Character wars, ship wars, whatever. It's in SG-1, Smallville, X-Files, and Star Wars. But within the fandom, we have the power to tease out what we like, tease out what we dislike, and build our own happy place.

That doesn't mean we're ignoring the bad stuff in a show. It doesn't mean we're blind. It doesn't mean we're tossing out canon either. It doesn't mean anything of the sort. It's just a different view on the show and fandom. Maybe even a coping mechanism ;)

I'm not saying anyone should not rant and vent. I'm just stating what is working for me. For me, the way I can keep enjoying a show is to distance myself from it, leave the hypersensitivity behind, and find my little spot in the fandom. It stays fun for me this way. Other things work for other people. And that is cool, too.

Just sharing how I treat tv and fandom these days ;)
cyren_2132cyren_2132 on August 5th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
Very healthy view, and I think exactly what I was trying to say in the big post I just did.

I agree with you about season 8 being it. For me, that's where all my desire to fic and vid the show ends, but I still love to watch it because I love the characters/actors.
Working for the Mandroid: Familymoonshayde on August 5th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
It's healthy for me. Works for me. Might not work for everyone, but then again everyone's different. That is why I'm not saying that my view is the right way to go at all. In the end, we do what we have to do :)

I thought Season 8 was a nice place to end. It felt right. Team goes fishing. People could see ship if they wanted. Jaffa are free. Goa'uld are defeated but not in a nice clean way. It felt right.

Mind you, I like Cameron and all. I think he would have made for a great spin-off though.

So, I just keep watching because I still like the characters and actors. Of course, they aren't as solid as they used to be, so many year ago. This is a common fault in all long running shows (imo). But I haven't switched off yet, and that is all that matters to me at this point. In terms of enjoyment, I should say.
cyren_2132cyren_2132 on August 5th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
I just noticed your icon. It looks very much like my Sim!Daniel...but better.
Cousin Mokixayeidemon on August 5th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC)
I agree with this entire post. This is the point I was trying to get across in that crappy MSPaint comic I did, but you've explained the general sentiment far more eloquently than I could.

One of the things I've learned about fandom (and people in general) is that folks need to stop taking themselves so seriously. Sure, there are things that should be taken seriously (bills, bathing, feeding oneself, taking whatever meds you've been prescribed, obeying traffic laws, etc), but when you get to the point where you can't see how ridiculous you're being or how ridiculous fandom is acting, it's time for you to take a step back. Unfortunately, many fans don't realize this until they've been behaving like idiots for awhile. I'll admit that I was one of these people. :(

It's important to learn how to laugh at yourself. I think that's a lesson that can apply to life both inside and outside of fandom. Life's too short to spend a good chunk of it pissed off over a TV show.
Working for the Mandroid: Flower (Janet)moonshayde on August 5th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
Oh your comic! I meant to comment on that. By the time I reached the end of the SG-1 one, I was in stiches. It was so funny but so true. It just really cpatured things in a straightforward and honest way that it left a smile on my face.

Unfortunately, many fans don't realize this until they've been behaving like idiots for awhile. I'll admit that I was one of these people. :(

*raises hand* I was one of them myself.

Yes, I know what you mean. Mind you, this is how I deal with fannish things these days. Some people are in it for the hard-edged debates. Others are in it for the squee. Yet others are in it for attention or whatnot. Other just like the eyecandy. Nothing says any of those approaches are any less valid. I'm good friends with some people that are more comfortable in taking the show seriously or at least what happens deep within the fandom. I have no issue with that. We all do this for different reasons :)

But when it gets to the point when you are so mired in hate and displeasure, I think you have to make a conscious decision -- either stop watching the show or find a different way to enjoy it. For me, I wasn't willing to give up on SG-1 yet, so I just scaled back and focused on different things. But for me with X-Files, the right choice was to stop watching. For SGA, I just laugh my head off, but I don't make it my mission to go to SGA places and attack the show. So, we all have different ways of handling it.

I think it's mostly that I'm tired. I don't have the energy to get so intense about tv these days. I'm saving that for my writing.

Gategrrl: Bhuddist Rock in Nepalgategrrl on August 6th, 2006 01:03 am (UTC)
but when you get to the point where you can't see how ridiculous you're being or how ridiculous fandom is acting, it's time for you to take a step back. Unfortunately, many fans don't realize this until they've been behaving like idiots for awhile. I'll admit that I was one of these people. :(

I'll raise my hand, too. I've been in the process of slowly backing out of fandom (well, Stargate fandom, anyhow) for a while - or at least to the point where I don't let it affect my emotional well-being or day-to-day real life. And it's a real eye-opener, too, when you see fans who are *really* in deep into it, any fandom, and you have to go, "Whoa, it's ONLY A TELEVISON SHOW, DAMMIT!" and say (in a really tiny inner voice, "omg, am *I* acting that way?").

I won't say it's a problem, really, but since I've met so many great people (Moonshayde amongst them) in SG fandom in particular, it makes it harder to back-off from the PMS inducing wilder topics attached to fandom. And then fandom itself becomes the sex/religion/politics/alcohol subject you're not supposed to talk about for fear of falling back into old obnoxious habits. Yeah. It IS like being an alcoholic. *sighs*
Working for the Mandroid: Wondermoonshayde on August 6th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC)
It can be a little embarassing. I look at some of the stuff that goes on and I think, oh man. I did this. I did all the stuff I hate.

And it's funny. I'm using SG-1 as the fandom example, but like I mentioned it's not just SG-1 that does it. I've seen it in X-Files and Smallville. I've seen some issues in Star Wars. And I never was hardcore into any of those fandoms. I'm sure it's happened in others, too.

It's so easy to take everything personally when you are so wrapped up in fandom and so are your friends. People you're friends with suddenly become enemies and so many hurtful things can be said and done. Or you find you're on the opposite side of the latest cause and realize just how similiar it was to the last big fandom hot button. It's funny just how similar the factions are; it's just the details that are different. Doesn't even matter the fandom. It's the same politics everywhere.

Over a TV show!

It's really a balancing act, I think. I've met some fabulous people through SG-1. You and so many people on my flist. Even through some of my other loves. And it's so nice to be able to talk and debate about things with people that tend to know what you're talking about, even if you don't see eye to eye.

But when it's affecting your daily life? No. You have to draw the line somewhere. My line is that I don't leave the fandom completely -- I'll stick with the friends I've met, maybe write when I have the time, and talk about it when I can. But I'm not going to get involved in the factions, the debates, and the wars that happen. I can still be in the fandom by defining it the way I choose but at the same time no my limits. Fandom becomes what I define it to be, nothing more, nothing less.

And let me tell you, that is a freeing experience.
telepresencetelepresence on August 5th, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
My "super crazy hardcore" fandom was Buffy, and after that was over I knew I had to take a big step back and chill out. When arguments over a TV show strain friendships and cause periods of depression, you've got a problem.
Gategrrl: Striped Shellsgategrrl on August 6th, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)
Sometimes I feel about fandom the same exact way your little icon child looks! (that is so adorable!)
telepresencetelepresence on August 6th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
Heh, that's me at about 2 1/2. So cranky!
ridin' the star mile: wash & dinos!stargazercmc on August 6th, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
My view is that fandom tends to have the same stages as falling in love -- at first there's a passion and fire for what you're seeing. You hit all the online spots. You read fanfic. You get involved in discussions on fine details and you strongly state your opinions on things whether it's in agreement or debate.

Then you fall into the stage where it's a steady love. You're faithful, well-versed and it's a part of your everyday life one way or another.

Things mature, and then one of two things happens: you continue on and the fandom is a part of your life from here on out, or maybe you fall out of love. And maybe another fandom sweeps in and the cycle starts anew.

I think when it comes to fandom, I'm definitely polyamorous. Some I've kept, and some I've dropped, but when I was in that fire stage, I loved them all so much. And then there are some shows I've watched with consistency but not that fire. Even if I dabble with them, I don't really consider myself to be a part of that particular fandom.

Interesting topic.
betacandy: daniel jack dickin' aroundbetacandy on August 6th, 2006 06:53 am (UTC)
ITA with you, especially about letting the original team rest. That's a lot of what put me off S9.

I've definitely been guilty of getting way too into a fandom. It's sad at first when you back off, but sometimes the only other option is to keep going until you crash and burn, and then end up hating it and everyone you met from it.