Fandom unites people from all around the world through books, movies, podcasts, television, music, comics, and other forms of entertainment. One of the most popular types of fandom (and arguably the most prominent on the internet) is television fandom. With hundreds upon hundreds of different television shows, it’s easy to innocently start watching an episode or two, but before you know it it has snowballed into a fanfic-writing, merch-buying, binge-watching obsession. Here’s a few signs that you’re fandomed a little too hard since starting that Pilot episode…
You’re on a Binge Watch
Your bed-sheets are full of crumbs. Your friends don’t know where you’ve been for the past 5 days. Your family have given up all hope trying to lure you from the darkness that is your room. You’ve done nothing but sit on your but in front of a computer screen clicking ‘Next Episode’, and yet you’ve been through a roller-coaster of emotions. The highs, the lows, the drama, the backstabbing, the (god forbid!) death of a beloved fan favourite…. you’ve experienced it all from the comfort of your duvet. The Binge Watch has happened, and now you’re all caught up on a year and a half’s worth of episodes, you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself or your life.
You’re reading way too much fanfiction
Canon interactions just aren’t enough. Your favourite characters don’t get enough screen time. Your OTP aren’t even attracted to each-other. But SCREW the show writers, because you’ve found a loophole! All the hours you’ll spend trawling through your favourite ship tag will be worth it in the end. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll choose to ignore the slightly out-of-character way the author writes for the sake of your enjoyment. Your fingers will hurt from scrolling and you’ll go to sleep squinting. Fanfics will blur into one and you swear that the characters had just landed on Mars a few chapters ago (or was that the fic from yesterday? Why are they at Hogwarts now? Is that Percy Jackson introducing himself to Harry Styles??) You’ll regret starting that 50k fanfic that hasn’t been finished or updated since 2011 and you’ll regret it once you reach it’s not-finished-end. But after all, it’s not about the destination – it’s about the journey.
You’re spending far too much money on fan merchandise
Etsy is your new best friend. Redbubble will be responsible for all of the phone cases you use for the next 3 years. HotTopic has now become a sanction for your wardrobe redesign. Society6 has you ordering all the pillows, tapestries, mugs and home decor your heart desires. Sure, shipping is almost twice the price of what you’ve ordered and you might not make it through the awful 3-5 business days it will take for your order to arrive, let alone the agonising 4-6 weeks for international orders. Your bank account will be empty for the next month and a half. You don’t really need a fourth Doctor Who t-shirt. But at the end it will all be worth it, and you’ll have some sweet fandom gear to deck yourself out in for your next season binge – right???
You’re slipping references into everyday conversation
Now that your eyes have grown tired of reading, your bank account is empty, and your kitchen is devoid of snacks, you’ve decided to step out into the light and rejoin the land of the living and functional. Your mind is swimming with images of episodes past and faces of characters merge with those of your family members. Everything is confusing. Are you in a dream? Have you been sucked into the last episode you watched? Will Avatar Aang really stop the Fire Nation and save the world? You’re not entirely sure. Upon beginning to try and converse with those outside of the fandom, you find yourself slipping TV show references into everything you talk about. Your friends pick you up, now finally available to reconnect and leave the house, and when the car starts and the accelerator is pressed, you yell “YIP YIP!” at the top of your lungs and find quizzical, confused faces looking back at you. (Tumblr would understand! you frown in frustration.)
You spend 2 hours explaining the entire backstory of the main character and 3 seasons worth of episodes to a friend
Low and behold! A friend is actually interested in what you’ve been doing these past days. Before you give them a warning or a chance to run away screaming, you launch into explaining every single detail of the protagonist’s history, relationships, family, personality traits, star sign, career, dreams, MBTI type, gender-bent AU character, fashion sense, supernatural powers, habits, and favourite foods. And that’s just the start! Then there’s the minor characters, the villains (and boy do those take some discussion!), the cameo actors, the directors, the significance of that one reappearing mug everyone seems to drink from. Once you’ve got the characters and cast down, now comes the episode explanations. We’ll start with Season 1 Episode 1, “Pilot”…
You meet someone who shares your fandom and can’t contain your excitement
Whether you spot someone in public wearing a merch shirt, a backpack at school covered in fandom pins, someone on Facebook liking a fan page or happen to bring up the topic in conversation, meeting a fellow member of your fandom is a wonderful experience. Finally, someone you can gush about that death, your favourite ships, cliffhangers and all the character sass. Small talk turns into lengthy discussions on character development, season arcs, holiday-themed episodes and the awful hiatuses (but we don’t talk about BBC Sherlock’s. Just don’t.) Talking online about television is great and all, but a conversation that doesn’t hurt your fingers from furiously typing? Christmas has come early!
You almost die when getting a tweet from a cast member or screenwriter
You’ve hashtaged until your thumbs feel like they’ll fall off, typed until your hands get numb, spammed that tweet button until clicking becomes as subconscious as blinking. The tweet spree continues, and alas, no new notifications. Questions are answered, but none of them yours. Beads of sweat trickle down your face and the clock is counting down. Heart racing, you spasm at a notification – surely it’s a bot favouriting a tweet. Surely. With doubt heavy in your heart, you click on your replies and stare dumbfounded at the screen, notifications erupting. Tears well in your eyes as you hover over the username – YES! The verification tick is next to their profile picture! You’ve done it! Your idol has replied. One step closer to becoming the true fandom master, you screenshot hurriedly, smash your keyboard with joy, use 1000 crying emojis, and make the two-word tweet your desktop background for the next 5 years.
And most importantly: You regret nothing.