WARNING: If you normally come to this blog for intellectual or spiritual discussions, news of my novel, or thoughtful reviews of books and movies, you may want to skip this post. It gets quite silly.
Are you still here? Right, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
It may look like a lot of fun, but being an obsessive, crazy fangirl is a lot of work. And if one is a sensitive soul and/or has particular moral boundaries about what enters ones mind, one must work even harder when choosing the exact media of her favorite writer/actor/singer/etc. to enjoy.
I don’t recall the precise times when my friend Kara began to establish what became our “Rules on British Actors,” but they have evolved and are well integrated into our lifestyles and conversations. Allow me to share them with you now.
Side note: These rules may not apply to people whose personal convictions differ from ours. Your mileage may vary. Unlike governments everywhere, we do not demand complete obedience.
Rule # 1: The Benedict Cumberbatch Rule
Do not watch a movie, TV episode, or miniseries for no other reason other than one actor you like is in it. You may end up mentally scarred or, at the very least, bored.
This is named the “Benedict Cumberbatch Rule” because, several years ago, before Sherlock came out, Kara and I watched a miniseries that he was in, and we were alternately bored, confused, and traumatized. Later, she sought out, and watched without me, some other series that he was in. I have forgotten the name of it, and I have never seen it, but apparently her experience was enough to solidify the rule.
I have also broken this rule, countless times. I broke it a lot when finding old Fredric March movies on YouTube, but mostly that resulted in time wasted on a boring film of poor technical quality. Sometimes disobeying the rule has a good outcome—like watching the BBC America Robin Hood series only because Richard Armitage was in it, only to discover that it was delightfully cheesy and entertaining anyway. Still, though, it is a dangerous road to walk. You may not like what you find there.
(The solution, by the way, is to make sure there are other actors in it whose performances you enjoy, or if the movie is recommended by another person, or if you are genuinely interested in the plot. I covered all three of these bases when I decided to watch Midnight in Paris, and I was not disappointed, even though Tom Hiddleston was only in it for five minutes.)
Rule #2: The David Tennant Rule
Don’t actively seek out details about your favorite celebrity’s personal life.
This rule came about after Kara was traumatized by information she dug up on David Tennant and his wonderful weirdness (and by “dug up” I mean “came across in a Google search” lest you think she is a completely unhinged creeper). Again, details escape me, but she was not happy with the results. I have my own experiences in this—again with Fredric March—rumor has it he was less than faithful to his wife, and that made me incredibly sad.
We kept to these two rules for a while, BUT!!!
I have come up with two more.
. . .
Don’t look for fanfic. Just don’t do it.
This may sound incredibly hypocritical of me, given that I have already confessed to my fanfic roots, but the truth is that there is a lot of crap out there. For every well-done fic, there are thousands that are terrible, and not even the fun kind of terrible. This is named after the A&E “Horatio Hornblower” series, by the way, because of the bafflingly vast amount of Horatio/Archie slashfic out there. Even if you just want a cool spinoff adventure or a serious sequel, a search for Horatio Hornblower fanfiction could very well cause you to want to burn your eyes out and use brain bleach.
Rule #4: The Josh Groban/Tom Hiddleston Rule
Never, ever say “Well, I like this guy’s work, but I’ll never become one of those crazy fans.”
This isn’t so much a trauma-prevention rule as it is simply a “stop being a dirty hypocrite” rule. Up until now, the rules have applied to both me and Kara. But this one is just based on my experience, because I don’t actually know how Kara’s mind works in these matters. It’s named after Josh Groban because he’s the earliest example I can think of, and Tom Hiddleston because his example actually made me aware of my problem.
It’s very difficult for me to be a casual fan of anything, but it has been known to happen (Doctor Who, for example). Usually, though, I go through a cycle of crazy obsession, then it fades until the thing I am a fan of becomes simply part of my regular rotation of Things That I Like. I don’t ever stop liking whatever it is, I just don’t get as insufferably crazy about it as I was at first.
Sometimes, though, it goes in reverse. I’ll mildly like something, and think “Yes, I enjoy that thing, but I’m not one of those people. You know, the crazy, obsessive people.” And then something will happen and I will, in fact, turn into those people. I started enjoying Josh Groban’s music later in college, and it took a few years before I was … sigh … following him on Twitter. The first time I saw The Avengers, I honestly thought, “Well, that was fun. I don’t know if it will hold up to a second viewing, though.” A few weeks later, a second viewing flipped my fangirl switch (probably because I saw it with Katie, and pretty much whenever we’re together it just opens up a Pandora’s Box of crazy—and it is hilarious), and that led to a third and fourth viewing, and then I joined Tumblr so I could have easier access to gifs and interviews of Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth and yes, I am deeply, deeply ashamed. But oh, the fun we have.
. . .
Perhaps these rules will help you in your movie-viewing and celebrity-obsessing endeavors, if you have such things.
Do remember: Like all good rules, these were made to be broken. Constantly.