When Fans Go Too Far

It’s great when you find something that you love enough to become a fan of–a movie, TV show, book, band, etc. You can meet others who share your love of it, you can interact with actors, writers, artists, musicians … But is there such a thing as loving something too much?

When it comes to fandom, the answer is yes. The members of fandoms in today’s pop culture are becoming increasingly unstable and aggressive. If anything happens to the fans’ obsession that doesn’t fit with their ideal view of how that obsession should play out, the claws come out and the taunts, slurs, and threats begin. It’s a scary thing to view, and sadly it shows no sign of slowing.

Take, for example, TV shows. Seasons are reaching their end, so of course showrunners and writers are trying to amp up the drama. Favorite characters are dying, and fans are in an uproar. Producers and writers are receiving vile messages and death threats on social media. Even the actors whose characters get killed off (often because the actor has chosen to leave the show for a different opportunity) have been targets of the rabid fans.

Is this what we’ve come to? Fans throwing nasty hissy fits every time things don’t go their way? Crying, screaming, typing hate messages and Tweets? What in the Sam Hell made fandoms go so wrong?

Now, I’m a fan of several TV shows and movie franchises. Do I flip out when they kill a character? No. Death is a part of life, and unless you’re going to write a TV series where no one ever dies then characters are going to die. It happens. I don’t take it as a personal affront when a show kills off a character that I like. I may gripe if the way it was written or directed or acted was terrible, but I certainly don’t go into full-on Exorcist mode, becoming possessed by hate for the thing they once loved.

I just don’t see how someone can rationalize that kind of behavior. Is it just that social media makes us feel invincible, or is there a more disturbing reason for the downhill slide of fandom’s mental stability as a whole? I mean, how could a mentally stable person send death threats to a writer or producer or actor for just doing their job?

Fandoms need to take a serious look inside themselves and straighten out their priorities. Is it worth it blowing up Twitter and Facebook with nasty comments? Are death threats really necessary?

Wake up, fandoms. Life doesn’t always go your way, and characters die. It happens. Actors may grow tired of their current role or they may get a new, exciting opportunity to move to another show or movie franchise. Things are going to happen that you don’t like. Just chill the fuck out and get used to it now. It’s not going to stop just because you want things to stay status quo.