When Fandom Backfires

Fandom can be an amazing, wonderful thing. Thinking of a few weeks ago, when the Bones fandom donated money to the San Jose Sharks’ charities in memory of Diana as well as the true, real, 3-D friendships I’ve formed…yeah, it can be pretty wonderful.

It can also be mean, petty, and spiteful, and over the past few days, that side has been out in spades.

Here are some things which are true of me:

  •  I don’t have to try to see multiple points of view. I see them whether I want to, or not. This doesn’t mean I automatically agree with them (the truth often seems like it’s somewhere in the middle of two opposing points of view to me) but they’re just there.
  • Because I can see those other points of view so clearly, I try very hard to respect those people who have them. When I write, I try to always make it clear that I’m aware I could be wrong, or that it’s only my opinion I’m sharing. I probably fail sometimes, but I try. 
  •  I also try, always, to remember that there are human beings on the other end of what I write. I know I fail at this, at times, when my love of the absurd, the ridiculous, and the snark get the best of me, but I do try.

So why am I telling you this, assuming that anyone is reading?

Because it’s been a bad few days in the fandom for me. I was attacked for not agreeing with someone (yes, I’m sure the other person sees it differently, but that’s really very much what it came down to. It went from there, and, not at all to my surprise, no one ‘won’.)

And then I popped onto Twitter this morning to see a long stream of bitter, nasty, spiteful Tweets by Bones fans about Almost Human.  Some of the comments were by people I don’t really expect different of, in that I’ve never seen them say anything nice to another person, and seldom not even about Bones. Others were by people who I assume believe themselves to be nice people.

And yet…nasty, bitter, spiteful, hateful comments full of rage, self-righteousness, and the desperate hope that the show will fail. It should be noted that none of them were by people who had actually watched the show.

There were two new shows that I was looking forward to this season. The first was Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and the second was Almost Human. I’m still watching Shield, and still enjoying it in a half-hearted way, but it’s not really hooked me, yet. I can’t quite put my finger on why that is, but I’m not ready to give up yet, so I’m still watching. Based on the past, it will eventually either hook me completely, or it will be added to the list of things I record in the hopes that I’ll ‘get around to them someday.’

But Almost Human? That has hooked me – ironically, for many of the same reasons I love Bones. Is it perfect? No. Is it for everyone? No. (See? There’s the POV thing. I don’t like sitcoms, so it seems only fair to acknowledge that something I love won’t work for everyone.)

I’m not perfect. I know there are people who don’t like me, and that’s fair, as there are plenty of people online who’ve not impressed me much, either. But you know what? I have never, ever, wanted a show to fail. Never. Not shows I used to watch and/or love and no longer do, not shows I wouldn’t watch if you paid me.

There’s a show that a lot of people I know would like to see fail, but you know, I really don’t. Why? Because I’m friends with this woman on Twitter who loves it. She loves it just as much as I love Bones. She’s a nice woman, who’s never said anything mean to anyone, and it’s her show.

A website did a poll a few years ago asking people what show they thought should be canceled, and I couldn’t even vote in it, because I kept thinking, ‘every one of those shows has people who love it.’ I couldn’t do it.

I don’t like the majority of sitcoms that are out there. I can’t tell you how much they irritate me. (Yes, even that one, that half my feed gushes about.) But I don’t want it to fail. I wouldn’t want it to fail even if it meant saving ‘my’ show. I’m just not wired that way. It’s the same with Sleepy Hollow, The Following, and Glee.

And yet my Twitter feed this morning was full of people wanting just that for a show I’m enjoying, very much, simply because they’re angry at a business decision Fox made. (Spiteful and immature, much?)

Do you know what the result was of this?

For the first time since season six, I had a sour taste in my mouth for Bones. That’s right. Not Almost Human, which I was presumably supposed to be joining in the rage fest over, but Bones.

I’ll get over it, by Friday. I know myself and my love for the show that much. And if the hate-fest continues, I’ll probably purge my Twitter feed, and I’m already on a bit of break from the fandom in other ways this week, because I won’t let other people wreck something I love. I didn’t when people lost their minds over Hannah, I won’t now.

But it does make me wonder if there are others out there like me, who are so tired of the nastiness that it’s having rather the opposite effect than is presumably intended. I hope not, for Bones’ sake.

You’d think a fandom would be good for a show, wouldn’t you?

12 thoughts on “When Fandom Backfires

    • Much of the fan response really doesn’t make any sense, at all. I think the Friday move is an experiment on the network’s part, that they have something in their heads which constitutes success/failure in that respect, and that that doesn’t have much to do with how other shows do on other nights of the week.

  1. I appreciate your points but I wanted AH to fail because of the idiotic FOX promotional campaign. It was utterly ridiculous and over-the-top.

    You know sometimes it’s a good thing to just step away from TV for a while… It is not the be-all and end-all of existence!

      • I was tired last night when I posted and did not phrase my response properly. Here is what I meant: I am just a TV viewer and as such I am not invested in the success or failure of any network or any show (other than the ones currently enjoy).

        I might have given AH a try but the relentless promotion made me not want to watch it, so I didn’t. Whether it succeeds or fails is inconsequential to me.

  2. I think you need to purge your twitter feed. When someone I used to enjoy interacting with starts constantly saying things I strongly disagree with or just starts demonstrating that they don’t have anything nice to say about anything, they’re gone from my timeline. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life, nobody does. I’m glad I seem to be following mostly rational, nice Bones fans that don’t make me want to rip my hair out. I didn’t see any negativity towards AH on my twitter feed either.
    I don’t wish cancellation on any show, even if I personally do.not.get.it. Cancellation means a lot of people are out of a job and a lot of fans will be unhappy. I don’t like it when people wish cancellation on “my show”, so I don’t wish it for anyone. Am I upset at how Bones has been treated lately? I can’t say I’m happy, especially about the lack of promotion and the schedule mess about the Friday move. I’m not ecstatic about that move either, but I can take my fan blinders off and understand it’s a business decision, since it’s the FOX network, not the BONES network. There’s not much I can do about it, other than to continue watching the show for as long as I have it. I also know that if it’s not AH, it’ll be something else. FOX was determined to move Bones to Friday and use their Monday timeslot for anything new. I can also say that this whole thing has left me a little less interested in AH, not that I ever was all that interested since sci fi shows aren’t normally my thing anyway.

    • Yeah, I’ll probably do a purge soon. I last really purged it in S6, when the hate toward HH became unbearable. Since there, there’s been a few I’ve unfollowed, but mostly I follow even the unlikable people because they sometimes catch things I’ve missed. I’ve got a list of people I follow who are sane and who I actually enjoy.

      In terms of AH, I’m really not confused about the fact that it’s not for everyone. A lot of people don’t like scifi, and I get that. But that point you made about, if it weren’t AH, it would be something else? Yeah, that. At one point yesterday, seeing the people who were being really ugly about AH while rhapsodizing about other Fox shows they love, I thought, ‘what on earth would you do if they’d moved that show into the Monday 8PM slot?’ The mean part of me thought it would be funny to see, actually.

      I’m still not convinced Fox promo’d AH more than they have other stuff, though I know it feels that way to Bones fans. I asked a few people who watch Fox but not Bones and their take was that while it was a lot of promotion, it wasn’t more than what The Following got last year. One guy friend said that drove him nuts because they kept blasting it everywhere while not really telling anyone what it was about, so he couldn’t get a handle on whether it might be something he was interested in.

      The whole thing makes me wish they’d flipped SH, and that AH had premiered in Sept after Bones, and SH was just now starting. But that’s selfish, because then it would SH getting the hate, and they don’t deserve it any more than AH does.

      And either way, the results for Bones would be the same. *sigh*

  3. Well said. Look, I love Bones. I don’t like it being moved to Fridays because that’s not a night that I usually watch television – I have other stuff going on that night of the week. I’m not, however, throwing the equivalent of a twitterverse hissy fit and hoping that my complaining and wishing ill on a new show is going to change the outcome of a network scheduling change. Some of these people need to unknot their panties and just be thankful that Bones still has a slot on the network roster and did relatively well in that Friday night “death slot.” I did a little purging on my twitter feed this last week…

    • Agreed. And yeah, I’ll be purging mine when I have time. I get why people are upset about the move, and I get that not everyone would like AH or watch it, anyway. I just think wanting other people – strangers, many of whom might be decent people – to be unhappy just because you’re angry at someone else, isn’t much of a way to live.

  4. I am a relative newbie to the Bones fandom and I joined Twitter, etc so that I could engage in happy thoughts about the show with others who were also predisposed to think about the show morning, noon, and night lol
    Call me naive, but I have been quite surprised about the negativity from so many who call themselves fans. Its one thing to express dissatisfaction with a story line, or a character’s dialogue, or even a timeslot move. But when even this newbie knows just from your screen name that what you are about to post will be twinged in negativity before I’ve even read it, it’s a problem.

  5. Pingback: Tis the Season of Cancellations | Lunatic Worlds

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