Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recognition Matters: A response to Supernatural's recent snub at the PCA's

I have always been a fangirl. Even before I knew there was a term for it.

I think I was eight when I first realised that the way I felt about TV shows, movies and books was different to the way other people felt. I realised that caring the way that I cared about fictional characters was considered a bit weird if not delusional. I accepted this because I have always been seen as a little bit weird so adding another item to my list of quirks wasn’t the worst thing that could happen.

But being a fan isn’t all of it because I am also a fan of something very specific; Sci-Fi and Fantasy two things that have been and still are associated with childhood.

 It’s like there is some kind of unwritten rule that one-day I will grow out of it. One day I will move on to more mature tastes and leave the world of the fantastic behind just as I leave my childhood behind. I accepted this even though my mother was an adamant Sci-Fi fan I still thought that I would not care as much when I grew up or that I would find something more appropriate to care about.

So I sat by while everyone around me told me that the television shows, movies and books I loved more than anything were not worthy of any kind of critical recognition. I thought that when I grew up I would be able to see what it was that was wrong with them, what made them so much less than other more acceptable genres.

The problem was that I grew up and the realisation never came. I still watch the same TV shows, read the same books and own the same movies. Even more than that I went back and looked at all the things I’d loved growing up and appreciated them even more. I saw all the things I didn’t pick up when I was too young to notice.

Sure some of the things I liked did not age so well and while I might watch or read them for nostalgias sake I understand that they are not exactly works of art. But the majority of them were brilliant. Not only did they transport me to a different world and give me that wonderful feeling of escape that I so crave they also had some of the best depictions of humanity I have ever seen.

There is something about Sci-Fi and Fantasy that allows it to say the things that more realistic stories can’t. The distance it creates from our world allows for an interrogation of the human condition that people would not accept if it were in a straight form drama.

I didn’t grow up to realise these stories were childish and move on, no I grew up to realise that these were some of the best creative works of our time only no one else seemed to have notice.

Of course I know there are plenty of other people who know what I know, and I understand that certain areas of the creative industries are shifting and these kinds of works are being noticed more and more. People are starting to see the things I see and that makes my heart fill with goo, but we still have a long way to come especially when it come to critical recognition.

I know that genre shows don’t win awards. It’s just something I accepted as fact. It’s the same reason Sci-Fi/Fantasy films and books don’t get recognition either. As much as I might think things are changing people still see it as a childish past time. Sure there are some that sneak through the cracks but they are more the exception that proves the rule. I had accepted this as fact. It was all right because these shows were made for the fans not the critics. In fact it even felt special too keep them secret.

Yet the more involved I get the more I realised it’s not about us. Fans love these shows and as long as they keep making them we’re happy. Awards aren’t about they fans they are about recognising the people that give as these amazing stories. The producers, directors, writers and actors. They work bloody hard to make amazing products for us. So winning awards is important to me, as a fan, because it means that these people can get an idea of how much we love what they do.

This is why awards matter, and this is why it was important for Supernatural fans to see their favourite show recognised at the People’s Choice Awards this year. It was our way of saying that even if no one else notices we appreciate everything you do for us. Isn’t that the point of these kinds of fan based polls?

The thing is I understand their way of thinking. They can only fit so many awards on the live telecast and they can only invite so many people. Naturally they are going to try to show the people that will get them the most exposure. It’s mass marketing and you can’t make everyone happy. It’s for this reason that I understand that Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy gets left out. It’s genre, it’s seen as a limited and specific audience.

What I don’t understand the choice to leave the announcement of Best Network Drama out of the live show. Especially considering the fact that Best Network Comedy was announced. The only thing I can think is that the people in charge (whether it was the PCA, CBS or the CW) thought that it would not matter to get rid of a low rating genre show like Supernatural. It’s not like anyone would notice.

Anyone who has been to the PCA’s Facebook page since the event will know that this isn’t the case. Because not only did they piss off a large amount of fans they pissed of one the most active and rabid fanbases on the Internet. One does not simply piss off Supernatural fans. They will not sit by as watch as their show is snubbed.

The fact is there is a truth in the notion that if this had happened to a non-genre show there wouldn’t be the same kind of reaction. That’s because this is all we have. This was our only chance to show the world how much this show is loved and how brilliant it really is.

When genre fans love, they love with all their heart and all they want to do is show it. When you take away the last hope of people who have nothing to loose and you are going to feel the retribution. And we really have nothing to lose. The shows viewership is made up entirely of devoted fans that aren’t going to stop watching for anything. It doesn’t get any publicity anyway so bad press isn’t exactly going to hurt. And ultimately we are so used to getting nothing that there is no way anyone is going to take away what we worked really hard to get.

This is why we need to fight for all the shows that we love that were never appreciated. Never noticed. We need to stop accepting that this is the way it is. Change is never going to happen unless we make it. Let's show them what they are missing. 

Go to the Facebook page and tell the PCA's what you think. Tell you're friends. Post it on Twitter and Tumblr. I don't care just do something because the shows, books and movies we love deserve it. 

And if you're bored comment here with your own fandom stories. 

Sorry about the rantiness. 

Lots of love,