Remember when the A-line bob hairstyle popular in 2001? For some it was simply a fashion trend, while for others it was a pop culture phenomenon: The Rachel Green hairstyle simply called “The Rachel." I was only six at the time, the extent of my hairstyling knowledge was being forced to have a tight spiral perm without hair gel, and I had no knowledge of Friends, but I remember some of the older girls at school talking about the Rachel Green hairstyle. Apparently, it was a big deal.
Todd (2011) suggests that fans of television shows tend to recreate the experience of the show through viewer interpretation and meaning: “As fans engage in television texts, they reproduce the original broadcast: applying their own perspectives to enhance the program’s social image and making meaning out of their own experience” (pg. 3).
The Rachel isn’t the only way fans try to reproduce their favorite television show. There are hundreds, even thousands, of fandoms in the world where fans are constantly reproducing their experience with their shows. As I suggested in my previous post, fandoms have a stigma attached to them since people correlate fandoms with nerds and geeks. But these stereotyped groups aren't the only fans, as we see with The Rachel hairstyle.
Through these fandoms, viewers and fans are able to find communities with shared interests as well as purchase memorabilia from their show or take on characteristics from their favorite character. There are many positive outcomes of fandoms, but how much is too much? How far is too far?
Is it wrong to spend thousands of dollars on Harry Potter memorabilia? Is it wrong to have posters of Ed Sheeran covering someone’s bedroom walls instead of wallpaper? Is it wrong to buy expensive comic books and action figures? Or to style one's hair like you favorite character?
The media has become such a part of our daily lives that fan reproductions of their favorite shows is everywhere, because, “Audiences recognize their own lives in the experiences of familiar television
In previous readings authors talked about television as an addiction, much like drugs. But can fandoms be a good addiction, and this is the side that I am usually on, in the sense that communities are built and social interaction can be a result. However, this addiction can become the equivalent of substance abuse in terms of time and money wasted on watching television and memorabilia, giving up social activities to spend time watching television, thinking about cutting watching time but never acting on this thought, etc.
What do you think are the positives and negatives of fandoms or fan bases?
How much reproduction of a show is too much?
What do you think are the challenges of fandoms and fan bases, and how do we overcome them?