Sunday, March 30, 2014

Talking Teen Wolf: The Frustrating Life of a Teen Wolf Fan

At the moment my Tumblr inbox is full of people asking the same thing: “yo Undie, how come you can stay positive about Teen Wolf after all the shit?” And well I’m not really sure how to answer that. I mean at some stage during almost every Teen Wolf episode my head falls into my hands as I question why I am invested in this stupid show. But at the same time, I actually kind of love it. 

Okay there is no denying it; Teen Wolf is an incredibly frustrating show to watch. Seriously it drops plots almost as quickly as it forgets about characters. I guess the writers are easily distracted by shiny things (or in this case slo-mo fight sequences) so they often ignore stuff that they really shouldn’t ignore. They just have a lot of ideas, and they want to use ALL OF THEM… at the same time.

I kind of understand the impulse to TRY EVERYTHING and the show is trying to appeal to a generation of people that are used to absorbing information at an alarming rate. The Teen Wolf plot is basically the narrative equivalent of falling into a Wikipedia hole (you know when you start somewhere relevant and keep clicking links until somehow you end up on reading about the industrial farming in Istanbul).

So if you’re watching Teen Wolf expecting them to follow through on anything, then you are probably going to be sorely disappointed. That plot point was like 10 clicks ago – it’s not even relevant to what’s happening anymore. Let it go, Teen Wolf has. It might not be the most stratifying form of storytelling but it’s entertaining as hell and oddly fascinating to engage with.

This kind of story telling is even more frustrating for fandom because we’re all about the details and like an elephant, FANDOM NEVER FORGETS. Fandom picks up on every single forgotten plot point, and on Teen Wolf there are A LOT of them.  Teen Wolf is happy to click on the first interesting link they come across whereas fandom wants to read the whole article before they even start to think about where to go next. 

Fandom is fantastic – because they take the time to figure out answers to ALL the unanswered questions. But while I was watching 3B I came to the conclusion that if you expect Teen Wolf to answer any of those questions it’s only going to end in tears. Teen Wolf is basically a very pretty, and enjoyable, highlights reel. Fandom has to figure out the rest. Teen Wolf is a really long and highly stylized, trailer, and fandom is the actual movie.

Teen Wolf is a GREAT music video with witty dialogue and talented performers. As soon as you stop expecting it to be something more it’s pretty easy to stay positive about it because it’s uber fun. It’s junk food, not fine dining and that’s okay. In fact it’s awesome. Because you know what? I love junk food. It’s perfect for a hangover or for when you’re having a bad day. It makes you feel but it doesn’t involve a lot of thinking. In fact the less thinking you do the more you’ll enjoy it.  

Sure it’s not going to fill you up but that’s what fandom is for. If you want something a little more substantial the check out the fan fiction or the meta or just chat to fellow fans. Just don’t expect canon to fill in any of the holes because Teen Wolf doesn’t look backwards (unless they are doing terrible flashback episodes) so they don’t notice the littering of holes they have left behind.

Ultimately I love these characters, I love this cast and I love this fandom. Teen Wolf the actual show is a nice compliment to those things because it means I get to see the characters and the cast. It gives the fandom something to talk about and like I said it’s pretty damn enjoyable as long as you don’t expect it to be something it’s not.

The reason I can stay positive about Teen Wolf is because I am positively in love with it but I don’t mind admitting that it’s not perfect.