#15 – Felschow – “Cult Fandom in Supernatural”

Thankfully, I found this essay much more compelling than the other one.  I think Laura Felschow indulges in a few lazy misinterpretations of the text in order to suit her argument — that the poor widdle fans, though they have more power now then ever before, still can be turned on by…um, the people who are SPENDING THEIR LIVES MAKING A THING THESE FANS LIKE.  Sorry, I guess I’m feeling a bit cynical today, I really did like this essay, but I’ve just read so much Marxist criticism at this point that arguments like this feel a bit inconsequential.  I get what she’s saying, but nobody should be complaining here!  The producers are getting paid (in money and admiration) to create a product of their own invention, and the fans are privileged enough to be able to afford the technology that allows them to consume this product.  Now, they even have the power to occasionally influence the direction of the show! So the producers turned around a poked a little fun at them on this episode of Supernatural? All I can say is: First World Problems, guys.

Anyway, the essay was at least clearly written, with no stomach metaphors.  I find shows like Supernatural quite interesting — shows that have a low enough budget, and a timeslot with little pressure for viewership placed upon it, that the producers feel comfortable taking risks and let the show head in strange directions.  I’m not sure whether or not Supernatural‘s creators anticipated its development of a cult fanbase, but it allowed them to do some things that I don’t think you see on your average cable TV network.  “Going meta” to the extent that they do, especially when a show is already in its fourth season, it definitely a bold move, because once you go meta, as they say, you can’t go back.  Whether or not the fans were “wronged” by this move (I’d like to see Felschow’s reaction to the fan convention episode we watched, which was much more derogatory…do I detect some thinly veiled homophobia in this show’s writing?) it was clever, and enjoyable to watch for a bunch of outsiders like our class.