All this wild winter weather sure is conducive to extended snugly sessions of movies and TV series, eh? The kind that see you disappear into a room well-groomed and ready to entertain even the wealthiest of dowitzers one minute only to emerge, five box sets and as many days later, looking distinctly like Tom Hanks in his more desperate moments in Cast Away.
Enshrined in our cosy homes while a wicked wind blows wild cold outside, a good TV series feels a warm hug from a close friend. Characters and their plights seep into our consciousness over a binging multi-hour watchfest, forming strong bonds with a viewer that begin to verge on, and then completely surpass, the weird, sometimes reaching a disturbing point where it wouldn’t feel out of place to dress in black after the death of a completely fictional character. This shut-in viewing experience helps fan the phenomena of Fervent-Fandom you see in people when you admit you haven’t seen their favourite show.
Let’s face it, we’re all super busy and important – and handsome, don’t forget handsome – all whiling away in super-busy-and-important jobs (those lattes won’t froth themselves) so we simply don’t have the time to keep up with every cultural zeitgeist that flickers through the ether of entertainment. Case in point, there are still people who haven’t seen Star Wars, and I speak not of your Miss Havisham disconnected-from-the-world types; I’m talking about engaged peeps who actually want to see it but just haven’t got round to it. Admission to such a seemingly shared cultural oversight is when the Fervent-Fandom kicks in.
Fervent-Fandom is not just reserved for uber-geeks and the sun-shy; normal people like you and I can succumb. Nor indeed is it restricted to TV shows and films. People can fly into a full blown spack-out upon learning that you’ve never heard a note of The White Stripes (and all power to you). But your day will come. Pick your favourite show or piece of music or whatever; something that surely every right-thinking consumer of art has gorged upon – watched and re-watched to the point where they know every character’s birthday and favourite colour – a show that if you portend to be a lover of good stuff you simply must have watched. We all have at least one. Mine, amongst others, is The Wire.
A time will come where you will learn – perhaps through an overheard snatch of conversation at a party you have no right to listen in on – that someone hasn’t seen said show and suddenly, without warning, you will be unwittingly propelled into a paroxysm of praise and enter a trance where you espouse a show’s greatness with a flow of frothing fandom peppered with the occasional shocked disgust that the unsuspecting recipient of this tirade hasn’t seen the show. Despite not hailing from America, and regardless of age, for some reason said tirades always seem to start with an impassioned, “DUDE!”
“DUDE! You haven’t seen The Wire*? Seriously, you haven’t seen it? Awwww, dude, you haven’t lived! It’s like The Best Show in the History of Shows that have been showed, it’s like got a thousand brilliant characters and they all interlink over five seasons – like, seriously, you’ve never heard of this show? – and every series is based on a different subset of society and it weaves it expertly into this macrocosmic overview of society in general and it’s set in Baltimore but it could be a metaphor for any city and – you sure you haven’t seen it? – and frickin’, frickin’ Omar, man! Dude, seriously, dude…”
At this point your cheeks have billowed into an angry bubbling red, you have started frothing from the mouth and are slowly descending to the ground for want of oxygen, “McNulty” being the last word whispered from your lips before you pass out.
Our desire to energetically rend the clothes from our bodies, smear the name of our beloved show on our chests in a fluid of choice, and bawl its name to the moon is all in the questionable spirit of sharing that binds us together, and I guess I’m lucky I can hide my Fervent-Fandom behind a spectacularly low-paying job.
ALLAN “DUDE, SERIOUSLY? SKO
*You even pronounce the name of the show as if it’s in important italics. What a plum.