Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Shipping News Special: It’s Hys-STEREK-cal!

Those of you inside the Teen Wolf fandom might be wondering… are we actually going to talk about this? Generally I shy away from confrontation whenever possible but this time the answer is yes, we are going to talk about this. For those of you are that are not part of the pack, the Teen Wolf fandom has been experiencing a little bit of what I like to call hiatus hysteria (or in this case hys-sterek-a).

First things first, let’s talk about the new additions to Beacon Hills. In the last Shipping News I talked about the casting announcements that included a couple of very cute Alpha twins. This was good news anyway but when MTV announced that these two hotties would be given a very specific task the fandom went crazy with speculation.

It will be revealed very quickly that Ethan and Aiden (who are among the show's new characters) have each been given separate targets among Scott's friends. And their mission may not necessarily be to harm, but to seduce. (x)

The thing is, Scott doesn’t really have that many friends so we can’t really be blamed for thinking that Stiles is one of the targets of this seductive plan. I know the Sterek fans are probably going to shoot me for this but I have to say I am shipping Stiles/Alpha twins so so so very much. Please tell me that people have written some fic about this already. If you know of any please share it with the class.

What’s that, no I am not avoiding the issue; I’m just trying to butter you up with images of a Stiles/Alpha twin threesome… don’t lie it’s totally working, isn’t it?

After the Alpha Twins drama (not to mention the race issue regarding the casting of Kali, which is not really relevant to ‘shipping’ but is relevant to the fandom drama as a whole) there was another casting that had Teen Wolf fans in a tiff, well not all of them, mainly it was just the Sterek fans.  That Haley Webb has reportedly been cast as a possible love interest for everyone’s favourite sourwolf.

Naturally this news nudged the Sterek fandom into crazy town (we were on the cusp anyway) and I have one thing to say about that – don’t be that guy! Don’t do it. This is what gives slash fans a bad name. Every time a show with a popular slash pairing tries to introduce a female character as a possible love interest, the fandom kicks up a massive stink and just makes things super uncomfortable for everyone involved (I’m looking at you Supernatural fandom circa 2006-2007).

Generally I have a problem with any character that is introduced as a ‘love interest’ because they are usually two-dimensional characters with absolutely no narrative worth what so ever.  Now if this poor girl ends falling into that trap then I am prepared to dislike her but mainly I will be incredibly disappointed with the powers-that-be because so far Teen Wolf has done such a good job of defying my expectations and breaking stereotypes. Remember that Allison, Lydia and Erica all started their lives as ‘love interests’ of a sort and they became so much more. Let’s see what they do with her before we start hating her (at the moment the only reason you have for not liking her is that she is getting in the way of your ship – which is totally not cool – I guarantee you that Sterek is no more or less likely to happen due to the introduction of this character).

I also feel the need to point out something that should be super obvious – Derek needs to get laid. Like really bad. Possibly more than anyone has ever needed to get laid before. Too clarify, when I say that Derek needs to get laid, I mean he needs to get laid by someone that isn’t a 16 year old virgin with almost as many issues as him, because Derek is just not emotionally equipped to deal with that shit at the moment. Plus she is hot, and if Derek looks that good when he’s writhing on the floor in pain imagine what he will look like… I’m just going to stop myself there and leave the rest up to your imagination.

Right, so these things all happened and of course, Jeff Davis twitter was bombarded with reactions (both positive and negative)… and well I guess it was too much for him because he tweeted this cryptic gem.

This caused much confusion within the fandom, because they didn’t know what to freak out about. Did this mean that Jeff was going to delete his twitter account? But more importantly, how was Dylan going to wear his hair for the next season of Teen Wolf?

Jeff, I have to say, that was a good move – you do get us after all? Because as mad as we get, we are easily distracted by shiny things, so speculation and discussion of Stiles hair show soon took precedence over all the other issues. If you’re wondering why the length of someone’s hair is causing so much controversy then you are obviously not watching Teen Wolf, but I will refer back to this post for further information.

The fandom continued along – still in a bit of hysteria but things calmed down a little until Jeff Davis actually deleted his twitter after one final tweet. That’s when the shit genuinely hit the fan.

Jeff Davis sudden exit from public social networking sites presented an awful lot of questions, which aren’t going to be answered because now we have no way of asking the man himself. Unless he is as narcissistic as the rest of us and in googling himself accidently came across this blog, in which case, Jeff if you want to leave a comment to clear things up that would awesome.

In all honesty it doesn’t really matter why Jeff deleted his account – he probably realized that there are twice as many episodes of Teen Wolf this year and Twitter is incredible distracting. Whatever it was, it’s none of our business. Sure it might have been because of the harassment he received but if you’re going to be in the public eye there are always going to be people that feel the need to yell at you for no logical reason – or for logical reasons. In my experience the Internet is generally used so that people can yell at others without getting punched, so I'm sure he's used to it.

I’m just freaking out because I will have nothing to write about anymore – Shipping News posts have increasingly become Jeff Davis Twitter appreciation posts. (Not to mention I’m having a bit of a guilt fest because I said that Jeff should stop tweeting because it was too distracting – oh what I wouldn’t give for a sarcasm button). Also he was a pretty avid tweeter, I hope he’s got something to help with the withdrawals when they start happening. Is there a tweeters anonymous?

Anyway, turns out that the Teen Wolf fandom is not willing to let sleeping dogs lie –it must be someone’s fault that Jeff deleted his Twitter and they are determined to blame each other until the guilty party steps forward… which is a completely healthy response. Before I go on further I am going to repeat that it doesn’t really matter why Jeff Davis deleted his Twitter and placing blame on certain parts of the fandom is not going to help anyone. Basically calm the fuck down.

Right so Jeff’s deletion of his Twitter happened to coincide with the completion of the Cookies for Sterek campaign… a bunch of highly motivated fans ordered and sent cookies to the Teen Wolf cast and crew to show their support for the show and specifically the ship Sterek.

Personally I think the whole campaign is really sweet, it shows that fandom can be passionate and enthusiastic but they don’t have to be rude about it and really who doesn’t like being given cookies? The people involved in the campaign have made it clear that they love the show Teen Wolf in all it’s glory (not just for the Sterek) and besides it’s perfectly okay to prefer a certain couple or character… most of us do.

Turns out other members of the Teen Wolf fandom do not agree with me – they believe that the campaign and the excessive discussion of Sterek is grossly inappropriate. Some people seem to think that sending them food is particularly awful but I’m pretty sure everyone loves cookies. While I think that everyone has a right an opinion, I’m not sure that this attitude is particularly healthy.

Throughout the history of slash fandom there has been a tendency to treat it like a dirty little secret and those of you that have been around for a while might remember that it actually was. There were (and sometimes still are) serious real world consequences for engaging with this fandom (marriages ruined, jobs lost). And while we might not be able to talk about slash with our grandmother we have reached the point where we should not be ashamed to talk about it with the cast and crew.

The thing is, writers and actors should not be upset by the fact that we care about a certain character or couple, that’s kind of what they want. They want to create characters that get we emotionally attached to and therefore they can’t fault the passion that comes with that attachment.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking about Sterek (or any slash couple for that matter), it’s something we care about so we want to know more about it. And as long as you’re being respectful (as you should be in any interaction with anyone) then there is no reason why an actor or writer or anyone involved with the show would be offended by it.

Of course Sterek was not the only aspect of the fandom blamed for this situation – there was also the fact that Jeff received a lot of negative responses to the casting of Kali (see here). While I think that there are legitimate concerns regarding racial representation, it’s important to remember that Jeff Davis isn’t god. Sure I joke and insinuate that, Jeff Davis as head-writer, is the be all end all as far as Teen Wolf goes but that’s just not true. Television production is a collective effort, there are casting directors and producers that all have a say in these matters – not to mention that Teen Wolf is not created in a vacuum they have to adhere to the expectations of the network, the distributors and of course advertisers.

There is nothing wrong with asking questions about race or sexuality, they are reasonable questions – although I will reiterate the point about respect. There is also no problem with wanting Sterek to become canon or liking their relationship more than any other. That’s just personal preference. 

Problems happen when desires become expectations with a sense of entitlement or when people feel the need to blame one-person every time they don’t get exactly what they want. Seriously blaming people never helps anyone and the only thing you’re entitled to as a fan is that the powers-that-be do their best with the available resources; an expectation that Teen Wolf usually fulfills. (Come on, it’s a teen show on MTV and is still awesome – what else do you guys want?)

This is a lesson for Sterek fans as well – just because it’s the most popular ship and everyone acknowledges it and talks about it and stuff does not mean that it’s going to become canon. Don’t get all cranky and cry queerbaiting when it doesn’t happen. This is not your show and I’m pretty sure it’s still going to be awesome whether or not Stiles and Derek get it on.

The moral of this story is that everyone needs to stop blaming everyone else. Calm down so we can get back to the real issue at hand, which is did we ever find out about Stiles hair? I know Tyler Hoechlin posted this pick…

… and Dylan’s hair is long but there is still time to cut it before Monday. Dammit Jeff, I thought we were going to settle this once and for all! I guess we will have to wait until shooting officially begins.

UPDATE - The long hair stays! (x)

Well that’s the end of that rant – I promise the next Shipping News everything will be back to my usual brand of crazy. Oh and don’t forget to tell me your thoughts and feelings about this whole kerfuffle in the comments.