Doctor Who 2016 Christmas Special
“The Return of Doctor Mysterio” Posted by Kim
I’m a young Whovian. (I’ll be six this December!) I had no idea the show existed during the year of one David Tennant Special every few months. I was too busy bingeing the show during the 9 and a half months between “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe” and “Asylum of the Daleks” to realize that existing fans had been without the show for so long. I really had no idea what it was like to wait SO LONG for new Who until this year break between “The Husbands of River Song” and “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” and let me speak for all of us when I say it SUCKED. (Could no Who be one of the reasons 2016 ended up being a dumpster fire? Discuss.) So I curled up on Christmas evening to watch Doctor Who and was overwhelmed with a desire to just hug my television. PETER CAPALDI I MISSED YOU SO MUCH NEVER LEAVE ME AGAIN.
Will “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” go down as the Best Christmas Special in Whovian History? No. (My shipper trash self will always go for “Last Christmas” and “The Christmas Invasion” first.) But it was a fun take on a superhero story, filled with charming performances and snappy dialogue, AND no one died, which is all we can ask for from a Christmas Special, really. It also serves as a lovely coda for Series 9 and last year’s special “The Husbands of River Song” while also setting up the Doctor’s emotional state going into Series 10. (Here’s a hint: he’s desperately lonely, but at the same time, he’s afraid to commit to a new Human companion because he’s still reeling from the loss of Clara and River.)
One of the themes that Series 9 explored was the concept of the Doctor coming face to face with the repercussions of his actions in regards to the people he’s encountered and left. We saw the disastrous results of an encounter with the Doctor in Ashildr/Lady Me; we get the opposite in the story of Grant, a young comic book nerd who saves the Doctor from plummeting to his death on a Christmas Eve in New York City. (Never mind that whole plot thread about the TARDIS never being able to go back to New York after the events of “The Angels Take Manhattan”. It’s Christmas, no one care about continuity.) The Doctor is setting up a trap on Grant’s roof (Why? Details, schmetails! Look at how cute Peter Capaldi is with this kid! Look at how they are bonding over superheroes!) and enlists his new pal to help him finish it.
The Doctor hands Grant a red gemstone as he attempts to explain to Grant exactly WHAT he is doing (“It’s a time distortion equalizer thingy.” Okay, so maybe he’s trying to fix what happened in “Angels Take Manhattan”?). The gemstone is the final element to get it to work but unfortunately Grant mistook it for medicine to help his Christmas Cold, so he swallowed it. (In his defense, I’m sucking on a Halls right now and it looks just like the gemstone did.) Because this is a superhero origin story, naturally this is no ordinary gemstone. No, it’s an intuitive gemstone. “It knows what you want and it draws energy from the nearest star to make it happen.” What does meek little Grant want most in the whole world? To be a superhero. Grant’s chest glows red and he zooms off the building, the Doctor clutching at his heels. Hey, it’s better than a bite from a radioactive spider. The Doctor makes Grant promise that he won’t use his newly found powers but we all know how THAT will turn out. I mean…if you could fly, wouldn’t YOU? Exactly.
What goes down for the rest of the episode is lovely homage to Superman (The Christopher Reeve films, naturally. AKA the only ones that exist). Grant lives a double life as a glasses-wearing mild-mannered Nanny and the confident protector of New York City, The Ghost. (Grant also proves his knowledge of comics because he completely covers his face as The Ghost, unlike Superman, who only uses glasses to differentiate himself from his Alt-Ego Clark Kent.) We have a feisty Lois Lane heroine in Lucy Fletcher Lombard, Grant’s employer and unrequited childhood love. There are shady alien bad guys, Harmony Shoal, who are a bunch of brains in blue liquid trying to stage a fake alien takeover so they can take over the bodies of world leaders. (Also, they exist solely to show how much the special effects on Doctor Who have improved since the days of the Slitheen.) There are hijinks, there’s screwball romance, and there’s heroism. Grant (with the Doctor’s help) saves New York City AND gets the girl, who loves him, just as he is. The end.
So why am I even doing an episode recap if I found the plot so basic? Because despite the fluff, I think “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” is an incredibly important episode for the Doctor as a character. The Doctor needed a WIN, y’all. Think about it. The Doctor spent four and a half billion years in his own personal hell, mourning Clara, grieving her, and torturing himself trying to find a way to save her. And he STILL lost her in the end. He lost her physically and he lost every memory of the woman who helped shaped this regeneration into the man he is today. (*Dark Kermit Meme* He totally remembers her though, which makes it worse.) Sure, “The Husbands of River Song” was a wacky good time adventure but how did it END? It ended with The Doctor spending a 24-year-long night with someone he loved, only to send her off to her imminent death in the library. I may never buy into the great love story of the Doctor and River Song (nope, can’t do it) but I will NEVER deny the fact that he loved her, wholeheartedly. So he lost her too. All the Doctor has done lately is LOSE and it’s heartbreaking.
Grief is not an easy process and it’s not something that anyone can put on any sort of time-table. You can be fine one day and the next day it can sweep over you and leave you incapacitated. The Doctor in “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” is a portrait of grief. Sure, he’s there with his sarcastic remarks and his heroic acts of defending the earth, but it’s almost like his heart isn’t fully in it. He’s trying to put one foot in front of the other, telling himself that he’s “fine” (Okay, Scully.) when he’s not. The cracks in the facade show whenever the concept of time comes up or whenever Nardole tries to push him into talking about his feelings. He pushes through and carries on as normally as possible because that’s the only thing he knows how to do.
Once again, the Whovians descended on Ronkonkoma, New York this November for a weekend of discussion, parties, and bumping into hallway Daleks. LI Who is a convention we never miss, and its fourth edition was one for the books. We still owe you a recap of the experience, including a couple of HOF-led panels. But first, we bring you our conversations with three notable members of the Doctor Who family. We had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Peter Davison, Jemma Redgrave, and Nicholas Briggs in the LI Who press room. And though we of course discussed the show, our interviews also touched on musical theater, glitter makeup, and how to tell a British crew member from an American one. (Hint: they react when you yell “Exterminate” at them.) We hope you enjoy our conversations as much we did. –Sage
Peter Davison – The Fifth Doctor
Photo by Jen Clapp
Sage: So I have my DVR set and I was in London last year and I saw you in Gypsy with Imelda Staunton…
Peter: Oh, really? (leans into the microphone) Yes, it airs tonight at 9 o’clock on PBS.
Sage: We were saying they should have done a screening party for us and you could have done live commentary. But it was so joyous and wonderful and you were fabulous, so I just wanted to hear a little bit about that experience and working with her.
Peter: It was great. The production was originally done at Chichester and when it came to the West End, they re-cast the part of Herbie, fortunately for me. I went off and I watched the black and white film version, which although it’s good, it gives you no clue as to how great of a musical it is. I thought “Oh this would be a good thing to do.” I didn’t realize what a great PART it was until I did it. I’d not worked with Imelda before and it was a slightly intimidating experience because she was so amazing all at once. She was very supportive and we got on really well and it was wonderful to do. I used to just sit in admiration of her and her energy.
Sage: I had no idea she had that voice. No idea!
Peter: She trained, she told me, she trained for a year before she started so her voice would be up for it. From my point of view, Gypsy is a play, a really good one when you take out the songs. The story is so well written. It was such a great acting opportunity. It worked really well and audiences seemed to love it. And all these famous people came to see the show! I would meet them after, they would usually just be asking me the way to Imelda’s dressing room. Meryl Streep! “Can you tell me where Imelda is?” She had no idea who I was! But THEN she said something rather nice about me and my performance, so I was happy. Put it on my tombstone.
Sage: As you should, if you got a compliment from Meryl. That’s such a great part too. In musicals, you have the romantic lead or you’ve got the character role. Herbie is just such a KIND person who is in over his head. It’s such a rare kind of part to see.
Peter: I had such trouble with the title! I was working with a publisher, who shall remain nameless, before the one who eventually published it, who didn’t like the title and just wanted to have a picture of me standing outside the TARDIS on the cover. They named it on their own. I gave them the title and they changed it and advertised it on Amazon with a completely different title. I was a bit cross about that! I wanted to have the subtitle be “An Actor Despairs,” which is a play on the Stanislavski book An Actor Prepares. They didn’t like that, they said people might think it’s a miserable book. Eventually we decided to part company and we went with a publisher who just said “Call it whatever you want!”
Kim: Titles are important! I look at that title and I would pick it up. Is There Life Outside the Box is enough of a nod to Doctor Who…
Peter: I think for Doctor Who fans maybe there’s not quite ENOUGH about Doctor Who in there. I thought it was enough; it covers everything, conventions and events like this. But I didn’t want to make it just about Doctor Who, I’ve done other things as well, so I tried to give it equal space.
Sage: When did you start to get the idea “Hey, I would really love to write this down.”?
Peter: A friend of mine who had formerly written a radio series actually came to me and said “Why don’t we do your autobiography?” Meaning, “Why don’t I ghost write your autobiography?” He had done it before and he was very good at it. Because I knew him, I felt I was able to say “I would love for you to act as a go-between the publishers, but I would like to do it myself.” So he said fine and that’s what I did. I started with the book exactly where I said I started, which was the year I began to do Gypsy. I was about to fly to Australia, so that’s why there’s a kind of diary thing that goes through the book. I finally finished it last April.
Kim: And it just came out in October, yes?
Peter: Yes. You know, I’m really glad I did it. Because I tried to not make up stuff. I think sometimes actors tend to embellish.
Sage: Did you have to check in with people? Say, “Am I remembering this correctly?”
Peter: Yes! And sometimes their memories were different from mine and we would have to ask other parties. But quite often my memory was better than theirs! I was very gratified by that. I’m pretty sure it’s all pretty accurate.
Kim: And then going to David to write the foreword…
Peter: Yeah, well how could he get out of that? (Laughs) It was so easy for him! I wrote a highly fake foreword for him, which was based kind of on The Fiveish Doctors and the character I had for him there. So it was basically David complaining that he had been forced into writing the damn thing. But when he sent me his actual foreword, it was so much better that I just dropped the fake one completely. I wanted to put them both in!
I don’t have any grey hairs yet, so I’m marking the aging process by how tired I get when someone even MENTIONS Comic Con. Some people’s bodies show evidence of long-term damage from playing sports or running a marathon. I want to know about the long-term effects of standing on a cement floor in a pair of Toms for five hours straight.
But New York Comic Con is a tentpole event of our year and endure, we must. Once again, we headed back to the Javits for four full days of fandom fun. (I usually say “nights” too, but we left the after-parties to the kids this year. Your grandmas had to go home to watch their shows.) As ever, NYCC was a learning experience. And we’re here to pass those lessons along to you. –Sage
1. Tapping in Is the Way of the Future
The principle difference between New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic Con is the fact that they clear their mainstage hall between each panel. (Would that SDCC could figure out a way to clear Hall H between panels, honestly.) For the past two years, NYCC has had a wristband system for their mainstage panels, where each panel had a chute in the queue hall and you would have to pick one to wait in until 10 AM, at which time harried volunteers would then put wristbands on impatient nerds one by one until the panel was capped out. Then, if you wanted to do another panel, you would go into that chute to get another wristband if that panel had not capped out. This system worked because it FORCED you to prioritize your mainstage panels but at the same time it was a sloooooooow process and human error was a big factor. (Notoriously last year, the volunteers gave out wristbands for the Jessica Jones panel to the standby line first, cutting off people who had gotten there much earlier.)
When in line, read fan fic.
For NYCC 2016, a new system was implemented. Instead of wristbands, volunteers tapped the RFID chip on the badges, which registered your spot on the panel. Then, when it came time to load people in for panels, you would have to tap your badge to gain admittance into the room. I had some doubts about how this system would work at first, but let me tell you…it worked BEAUTIFULLY. First of all, they started tapping our badges almost as soon as the initial rush got settled into the chutes, allowing the crowds to either go get in the line for the show floor or another mainstage line. Second, you got an email confirmation from the system as soon as your badge was tapped, leaving no room for doubt that you would indeed be attending that panel. Third, it allowed the NYCC app to give constant updates on the status of each panel and whether or not they had capped. (For example, we got buzzed that the Iron Fist panel had capped before we even made it into the queue hall on Saturday morning.) Fourth, it slowed the crush of humanity and the race for good seats when they were loading everyone into the room for the panels because every single person had to have their badge tapped. It was all dignified and organized and dare I say CALM which was refreshing as hell. Well done, NYCC. Four for you.
I also have to give a bonus shout-out to the staff of NYCC for choosing to allow the crowd to be loaded into the Javits Center on Sunday morning MUCH earlier than normal due to inclement weather. A little kindness goes a LONG way, especially on the last day of a long weekend. Snaps. –Kim
2. “Native Stories” Are Maybe Not Ethan Hawke’s Area of Expertise
Our first panel was our most problematic one. Well. Nice to get it out of the way.
For Reality Bites/Before trilogy/Dead Poets reasons, we checked out the panel Ethan Hawke was speaking on, along with artist Greg Ruth. They were talking about a black-and-white graphic novel they collaborated on called Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars. The panel was titled “Native Stories.” Guess how many Native people were sitting on the dais. Goose egg.
I haven’t read this book. And both Ruth and Hawke seemed to be passionate about presenting a quintessentially American story from a history that’s shamefully ignored. I won’t make a judgment about who can tell whose stories, though I have many, MANY thoughts about it. What I want to talk about is the collaborators’ responses to serious and frankly obvious questions about strapping on the ol’ cultural blinders. Moderator Abraham Reisman from Vulture introduced the elephant in the room, asking if Ruth and Hawke ever had any qualms about being two white men writing and framing a Native American narrative.
“AS A WHITE GUY…”
You guys. The mental and verbal gymnastics that these men did. It was almost inspiring. Tone-deaf and drowning in privilege, but inspiring. The answer pinged back and forth between Ruth and Hawke and lasted for nearly ten minutes. The conclusion Hawke came to was this: “We’ve given ourselves a harder time for this than anyone.” OH OKAY. Great news, y’all. An artist accused himself of cultural appropriation; thought about it long and hard; and then found himself not guilty. The justice of it all. The ability of white cis straight men to forgive themselves while outside criticism ricochets off them like bullets off Luke friggin’ Cage is truly amazing.
Oh, Hawke mentioned that he’d given the galleys of the book to two of his castmates on The Magnificent Seven: Martin Sensmeier, who grew up in a Tlingit community in Alaska, and Jonathan Joss, who was born in Texas and has Comanche and Apache blood. He told the audience that the actors “and their entire families” had a LOT of feedback for him. And he didn’t volunteer the nature of that feedback, so I’m guessing it wasn’t positive.
That conversation came about when an audience member asked the panelists if they’d spoken with any indigenous people while working on the book. Hawke went on and on about how “inviting too many” people into the creative process “dilutes” it. (???????) The whole first half of the panel was all about how these two poured blood and sweat into this book in their selfless effort to tell this story accurately, but a couple of notes from an ACTUAL Apache would have derailed the whole exercise? And how is handing over a finished copy to the only native folks in your immediate vicinity so they can tell you how great it is comparable to responsible cultural storytelling? I hope they recorded this and reviewed the game tapes of this one later, because GEEZ. –Sage
3. Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, and Alex Kingston Like Each Other A Whole Lot
NYCC 2016 was overflowing in riches when it came to Doctor Who. (About time, really. This is our fourth year going and other than a Big Finish panel in 2013 and a Q&A with Arthur Darvill in 2014, Doctor Who has been incredibly absent from NYCC.) Not only did we get a panel with the current TARDIS team (more on that later), we got a nostalgia panel with Matt Smith (The Eleventh Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald, queen of our hearts), and Alex Kingston (River Song). We have had the pleasure of seeing Alex and Jenna on panels at other conventions but we’ve never had the pleasure hearing Matt Smith talk about his time in the TARDIS in person. All three of these cupcakes are great on their own but putting them together on one panel? That is something special, friends. It was such a delight to see the genuine affection they have for each other and the way they played off of each other. That hour FLEW by. –Kim
Want a lesson on how tabloid reporting works? Matt quipped that he was on a panel with his wife and his girlfriend and MINUTES later there was an article on Radio Times proclaiming “Matt Smith calls Clara The Doctor’s Girlfriend!!” (They even pulled one of our tweets as proof of this statement, thanks guys!) Never mind that Matt totally said it tongue in cheek.
Jenna is fresh off the success of Victoria and Matt made no bones about fawning over his former co-star? “You’re getting a Christmas Special? Bloody Hell!” HE’S SO PROUD OF HER.
Matt also has done the math for the character he plays in Netflix’s The Crown and Jenna’s Victoria. “Great-great-great-son-in-law. So TECHNICALLY we could get it on.” Okay, we’re all agreed that everyone was a little bit in love with Jenna, yes? Yes. Moving on.
There was a LOT of discussion about Arthur Darvill’s role on Legends of Tomorrow. “To me, he’s always Silly Old Rory with his strange face,” Matt quipped when asked if Arthur was better at playing a Time Lord-esque character than him. Alex added to the brain melting Whovian family tree by factoring in HER role as Sara Lance’s mother on Arrow. “My daughter on Arrow is now on Legends with my father. Technically, Rip is Sara’s grandfather?” THAT MAKES SHIPPING THEM PROBLEMATIC, WHOOPS.
Not seen in any of these pictures: Alex’s IMPRESSIVE statement ring.
Alex prefers Capaldi’s TARDIS to Matt’s. I also think she said this to rile Matt up because he was notoriously jealous that she went back to Doctor Who because he’s more than a little possessive of River as Eleven’s person. She also said that Ten’s TARDIS “felt a little like being inside a pumpkin.”
Jenna originally auditioned for Mels. “They were never going to cast me as Karen Gillan’s best friend because I’m just too short for her!”
Matt was asked when he would be following Karen and David’s lead by joining a Marvel franchise. “My question is…when will they ask me?” SOON PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
As tends to be the norm on panels like these, there was a lot of love for Billie Piper and Rose Tyler. Matt picked her as the companion he would have liked to have worked with (“She’s my friend and I like her.”) and Alex told a story of getting smashed with Bills at a bar after they did a convention together. Add that tidbit to the tales John Hurt told of drinking with Billie while they were filming the 50th and you have the person WE most want to party with from the Doctor Who family.
“It was amazing…I shit my pants though.” – Matt getting real about shooting the TARDIS arriving in Trafalgar Square for the 50th Anniversary.
Matt commented that some of his favorite scenes he filmed with Jenna were the more domestic scenes between Clara and Eleven. He specifically pointed out the scene in “The Bells of St. John” where Eleven set out a platter of Jammy Dodgers for a sleeping Clara which OUCH. Clara and the Doctor is SO REAL.
Drinking often proved the only way to battle the cold Welsh weather…or so Alex claimed when Matt called them out for drinking red wine all while filming “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone.”
Alex is in complete favor of River Song joining forces with Torchwood if the reboot happens. YES PLEASE OH MY GOD.
“He’s like a jazz musician. But in space.” – Matt perfectly summing up his interpretation of The Doctor.
“I quite like that one with The Devil.” – Matt picking his favorite RTD episode and proving that his taste is exquisite because “The Satan Pit” is FLAWLESS. Fight us.
The moderator dared to suggest that Clara was a bad teacher because she missed so much time on her adventures with The Doctor. Jenna shut that shit down IMMEDIATELY, reminding him that Clara’s agreement with The Doctor involved taking her back to the moment she left so she WOULDN’T miss anything in her normal life. Queen.
“Doctor Who, at its core, is a show about love. In all forms. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.” – Alex Kingston, gloriously shutting down all the Noromo Whovians.
When the panel was asked if anyone ever broke anything on set, both ladies turned and pointed at Matt. “I am Matt and I am clumsy,” he said ruefully. The Drunken Giraffe is a real thing, y’all.
Jenna: “I broke the TARDIS on my first day. It was awful.” Matt: “You just broke my heart.” WHY IS HE LIKE THIS?
Alex hopped to Matt’s defense when one fan accused him of leaving the show too soon. “Do you KNOW how hard they work the Doctors?” Then she recounted Capaldi’s exhausting schedule while they were filming “The Husbands of River Song” and it made me want to take a nap.
“That’s one of my great regrets. That I didn’t get a full season with Jenna.” He also called her “Coleman” at one point, really we’re fine.
The great Ron Swanson said that awards are stupid, but they are less stupid when they go to the right people. No disrespect yet ALL the disrespect to the Emmys, but when it comes to television there are WAY shows more shows and performances than the principle awards bodies can possibly recognize. (Plus the Emmys are fucking lazy and repeatedly nominate the same people based on history and celebrity, whatever it’s fine.) The thing we love about the Feelies is that they are completely determined by YOU. We may choose the nominees but the outcome is in the hands of whatever fandom chooses to mobillize. Any of these nominees would be worthy winners. We wouldn’t pick them if we didn’t think so? So who deserves to be the Feelie champions for 2016? Read on to see who we think deserves a shot at the mantle.The rest is up to you. –Kim
Broad City Brooklyn Nine-Nine Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Jane the Virgin Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Veep
Sage: The urban adventures of Abbi and Ilana raged on in the third uproarious season of Broad City. The girls grappled with period emergencies, apartment shares websites, snooty co-ops, and clever cameos by Vanessa Williams and Tony Danza. But as ever, the best lady friendship on TV was at the heart of it all. Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s skilled and diverse (YAY) ensemble has relaxed into each other, and the continued viability of the Jake and Amy relationship proved that Mike Schur still knows how to make a ship canon without killing our buzz. The cop comedy keeps on quietly slaying with sharp, character-based humor and unexpectedly poignant moments. Veep went into this year with a new showrunner, but the best (and at this point, most true) political comedy on TV didn’t lose its momentum or its foul-mouthed edge. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is still beyond-excellent; the scripts are still sharp enough to draw blood; and the season ended with a stroke of genius game-changer.
Kim: Last year’s champ Jane the Virgindelivered another stellar season filled with heart, ridiculous melodrama, meta commentary, and telenovela antics as Jane and Petra tackled the challenges of learning to be a new mom without completely losing their sense of self. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidttook its quirky humor to new heights as Kimmy continued to take ownership over her new life while coming to terms with her traumatic past. And lastly, Crazy Ex-Girlfriendtook all the things we love in life (musical numbers, searing feminist commentary, cute boys, body positivity) and blended them into one delicious confection of a television show that EVERYONE needs to be watching.
Kim: Never one to rest on its laurels, series nine of Doctor Whotook all sorts of creative risks, from structuring the entire series into two-parters to having one episode be a 45 minute soliloquy for Peter Capaldi to having an entire episode constructed out of “found” footage. (Well, like all risks in life, you can’t win them all.) It also punched us right in the feels as we bid a devastating goodbye (or is it a see you soon?) to Clara Oswald. After a lackluster fourth season, Scandalwas revitalized by both Olivia kicking Fitz to the curb and the political intrigue of the Presidential Campaign. (Grant/Ballard 2016, y’all!) In what turned out to be its swan song, Penny Dreadfuldeftly balanced the terror of the supernatural (DRACULA) with the terror of a more human nature (misogyny, daddy issues) all while Eva Green stood in the center of the storm, giving the bravest performance on television.
Sage: A superhero show that tackles rape culture, toxic masculinity, and survivor recovery? I devoured Jessica Jonesin a two-day binge, dazzled by its bravery and neo-noir style. Anyone who tells you that Outlander is a mere bodice ripper has been misinformed. Bodices were ripped in Season 2, thank god, but the superbly-acted genre-defying series also moved effortlessly from the salons of Paris to the battlefields of Scotland to the 1960s and took its characters to the brink yet again. UnREAL had a bit of a stumble in its sophomore outing but technically the Feelies season falls such that Season 1 can also be considered. And Season 1 of UnREAL was a doozy. Anchored by two female anti-heroes (TWO. In one show. And they’re FRIENDS.), the Lifetime drama exposed the seedy underbelly of reality TV and thus, became just as addictive.
Best Actress in a Comedy
Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Ilana Glazer as Ilana Wexler, Broad City Abbi Jacobson as Abbi Abrams, Broad City Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, Jane the Virgin
Sage: I know. It feels impossible to separate the performances of our Broad City leading ladies, so much do they rely on and compliment each other. There’s trust and fun emanating from every scene, which is probably why they can collectively take it so far. But both women deserve a personal shout-out. As the more grounded of the two, no one does crushing embarrassment and millennial self-questioning like Abbi Jacobsen. And her Ilana impression in the co-op episode was a true thing of beauty. Kooky Ilana Glazer shined in a different way this season when faced for the first time with her very best kween keeping a secret from her. It was effectively disconcerting to see the worst employee Deals! Deals! Deals! ever had to take something seriously for once. And really, what is there even left to talk about when it comes to Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘s performance on Veep? She can kill a scene with a single reaction and yet she’s the ultimate team player in a devastatingly funny ensemble. JLD may have another iconic character in her past, but petty, under-qualified Selina Meyer is the role she was born to play.
Kim: Look, I know we give the Golden Globes a lot of shit when it comes to their celebrity thirst, but they know where it’s AT when it comes to recognizing new talent in television. Last year, the award went to Gina Rodriguez (who was the Feelie winner as well), who continues to deliver a LUMINOUS performance on Jane the Virgin. There’s no other word to describe Gina’s work, really. She glows and emanates pure warmth on screen and she can flip between comedy and drama in the blink of an eye. This year the Golden Globe went to Rachel Bloom, whose work on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a masterclass in comedic shamelessness. There is no length Rachel won’t go to in order to land a gag, from throwing her heavy (and glorious) boobs into a musical number to fearlessly showing the ugly sides of Rebecca’s personality. She is a GIFT and we should all treasure her. Finally, in a lesser actress’ hands, Kimmy Schmidt would be grating and overly saccharine but Ellie Kemperbrings the perfect amount of salt to the role. She may be sweet and sunny but she’s also tough as nails when it comes to getting what she wants. Females are strong as hell, y’all.
Best Actress in a Drama
Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser, Outlander Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, Doctor Who Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, Penny Dreadful Tatiana Maslany as the Leda Clones, Orphan Black Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, The People vs. OJ Simpson Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Scandal
Kim: I’ve said it once in this post already but Eva Green‘s Vanessa Ives is one of the bravest and boldest performances I’ve EVER seen on television, this year or any other year. Vanessa is broken and beaten down by the world around her, yet she stands tall in her strength and defiance and HOPE. Eva brings a raw, almost feral quality to Vanessa, with her scratchy smoker’s rasp and her giant alien eyes that have seen horrors we can’t even imagine. I don’t understand why she hasn’t been showered with awards for the past three years, it’s a travesty. There not much that can be said about Tatiana Maslany that hasn’t been said before. She infuses each of the Leda Clones with such a distinct personality, posture, and voice that you forget that it’s ONE actress. She makes it look easy, y’all, and I would hate her if I didn’t respect her so goddamn much. After several seasons of being rendered spineless by her father and Fitzgerald Grant, Olivia Pope found her backbone again, doing what she does best (being a Political Bad Ass) and Kerry Washington flourished. Anyone who was surprised by Olivia FINALLY snapping was watching the show wrong, even if the way she snapped was shocking.
Sage: Look, I don’t understand how the Emmys can sleep at night knowing that Caitrona Balfe‘s work on Outlander is going unrecognized. I won’t say she worked the hardest of any actress this year, because this list is so stacked with BEASTS. But the show asks so much of the woman playing Claire Fraser, especially this season. We saw Jamie’s bride scheme and connive among the elite in Paris; get some practice-mothering in by nurturing Mary Hawkins and Gavroche 2 (I know that’s not his name); and say goodbye to the one, true love of her life. Once to his face and once at his grave. (Or IS it?) But Cait’s shining moment came when tragedy befell the growing Fraser family. Her baby stillborn, Claire loses herself completely in grief and shock. It was primal, her clinging to the body of her child, eyes unfocused and posture tense. These aren’t just pretty faces, you guys. Life is change and change is Doctor Who. Still, it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to Jenna Coleman, who so consistently BROUGHT it as the most polarizing, headstrong, MAGNIFICENTLY messy companion the show has ever seen. I’ve said it before, and absolutely no disrespect to Matt Smith, but Peter and Jenna are magic together. Twelve and Clara’s tragic co-dependency defined this series and the petite, wide-eyed companion got to be the strong one. If any companion deserved and needed that ending, it was Clara Oswald. Sarah effing PAULSON. I wish she wasn’t shackled to American Horror Story because she’s one of our most interesting actresses. Against all odds, the OJ show worked and Sarah turned in a desperately human performance as bullied DA Marcia Clark. I’ll never be over how she played Clark’s bafflement at the relevancy of her haircut to a double murder case or her sweet and sexy chemistry with Chris Darden. (What HAPPENED there, you guys? I need to know.) And Jessica Jones succeeded on the back of the flawless casting and compelling performance of Krysten Ritter. Who else would you get to play a whiskey-swilling, leather-jacket-wearing defender of women? Jessica may wear her damage on her sleeve, but she also allows it to motivate her. Krysten nailed the show’s moments of dark comedy (“I can’t get her to wear a dress for the life of me.” “I’ll wear one to your funeral.”), but also beautifully expressed Jessica’s sarcastic and tender friendship with Trish and her determination to move through her fear to bring Kilgrave down. And if we had some kind of stunt Feelie, rest assured she’d get it for those headboard-breaking sex scenes with Mike Colter’s Luke Cage.
Best Actor in a Comedy
Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Billy Eichner as Billy Epstein, Difficult People Santino Fontana as Greg Serrano, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Vincent Rodriguez III as Josh Chan, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Sage: I feel a kinship with actors who’ve made their name in part by being LOUD, and that thought includes the delightfully shrill Billy Eichner. The comedian finally gets to scale it back and be a true lead in Hulu’s Difficult People aka the life of every struggling, cynical New York artist that I know. We’re coming out hard as Team Greg on Head Over Feels, because we do love an emotionally constipated boy with a nice singing voice. But really, actual Disney prince Santino Fontana deserves the credit for selling Greg’s crippling fear of inadequacy and his good, good heart. The dude is a mess, but name me one other guy who could sweep you off your feet while bragging (in song) about giving you a UTI? Andy Samberg‘s Jake Peralta is still THE unproblematic fave. Professionally, Jake is actually one of Brooklyn’s finest, but Andy makes sure the audience knows that deep down, Jake is playing one career-long game of Cops and Robbers.
Kim: While Tituss Burgess is Emmy nominated as a Supporting Actor for his work in Kimmy Schmidt, we at Head Over Feels feel that he merits a leading actor nomination. Titus Andromedon remained a hurricane of ego and melodrama in season two but he ALSO fell in love in the sweetest and most unexpected way and it was delightful to see how it threw him for a loop. It’s no easy task to play the dream guy that the heroine is willing to overhaul her life for (just ask Felicity‘s Scott Speedman) but Vincent Rodriguez III brings such a sweetness to Josh Chan that you completely buy Rebecca being the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend who gave everything up for him. I may hold my own shipping beliefs but you can’t deny Josh’s simple goodness (and cluelessness) as he fights the undeniable pull he has towards Rebecca. The fact that Vincent looks like the lost member of the Backstreet Boys is just a bonus.
If you’re even a casual reader of this website, you’ll know that we are Boy Band Trash to our very core. Our love for cute boys singing catchy pop songs is in our blood, in our DNA, in the very marrow of our bones. This week for Fan Vid Friday, as we watch the telenovela known as the “One Direction Hiatus” (*insert WE WERE ON A BREAK gif here*) we thought we’d take it back to one of our enduring loves: the Backstreet Boys. In this trying time, we thank them for being past their days of drama and simply providing us with tunes that will never fail to bring a smile to our faces. KTBSPA. — Kim
Rose and Nine – “The One”
Sage: Unless the Backstreet Boys’ next album (WHERE IS IT) includes a song about flying the TARDIS with the parking brake on, “The One” will always reign as the band’s most Doctor Who-ish track. “I guess you were lost when I met you.” That could be the Doctor talking about any of his companions OR strike that reverse it: any of his companions talking about HIM.
Kim: This is about Rose and Nine though, OMG. She’ll be the one who will make all his sorrows undone. She’ll be the light when he feels like there’s nowhere to run. *cries forever*
Fox Mulder – “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely”
Sage: You guys remember when Dana Scully got abducted and Fox Mulder LOST HIS DAMN MIND?
Kim: Sometimes you find a song and a story arc that fit so perfectly you want to set yourself on fire. This is one of those times. TELL ME WHY CAN’T I BE WHERE YOU ARE?
Jamie and Claire – “Drowning”
Sage: We’re talking Jamie and Claire, so it might go without saying that this Backstreet fan vid is not safe for work. Unless you work as that guy in Love Actually, the second AD who gets to deliver directions to the body doubles. Related: I picture that guy behind the scenes shouting commands at the Outlander actors. (“We need to know when we’re gonna see, um, the nipples? And when we’re not.”)
Kim: “Every time I breathe I take you in and my heart beats again. Baby, I can’t help it. Keep me drowning in your love.” = “Does it ever stop? The wanting you?” This song is so Jamie and Claire it HURTS. Maybe she’s a drifter…maybe not. Also note to the Outlander showrunners: MORE SEX IN SEASON THREE PLEASE. For serious, if I don’t get a 45 minute sex scene when they are reunited, I’m burning Utica to the ground.
Jim and Pam – “Helpless When She Smiles”
Sage: Jim Halpert has the heart of the most sincere boy band love ballad. He lives in that world, so this is not a stretch. Kudos for including the post-Jinx “Hi,” which still gives me the butterflies.
Kim: If “Helpless When She Smiles” doesn’t describe the schmoopy heart eyes Jim Halpert sports every time he looks at Pam, then I know nothing. Also John Krasinski’s stupid face can get right the fuck off this planet and LET ME LIVE.
Harry Potter – “Larger Than Life”
Sage: The series did take place circa the late ’90s, so head canon accepted that there were a few copies of Millennium strewn around every house common room.
Kim: The vidder gets REAL clever with clips and lyrics in this and I love it. I love the Ron/Hermione at the Yule Ball to “Can’t you see? Can’t you see?” And the dueling during the instrumental break! Glorious.
Welcome folks, to the Miranda Administration. Like everyone else who cares about ART and AMERICA, we are the trash of the thing. Hamilton is the cultural gift that keeps on giving, even as it takes and it takes and it takes – mostly, my money. The themes of the show are so universal, the hero’s journey and downfall so familiar, that all it takes is a little imagination to apply Hamilton tracks to other fandoms. The great work is hardly finished though. Where are all my Parks and Recreation tributes? What about a Doctor video to “Wait for It”? If editors are creating mash-ups like they’re running out of time, it’s only because there’s too much left to be done. Here are some of our favorites so far. –Sage
Team Cap – “Right Hand Man”
Kim: Bucky is Steve’s right hand man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know we’re going Avengers-heavy in these posts this summer but how can we NOT when there is so much good stuff out there?
Sage: “Are these the men with which I am to defend America?” – Steve, all through Civil War. I also screamed in delight when T’Challa comes flying at Bucky at “INCOMINGGGG.” I miss T’Challa.
Rey and Luke – “History Has Its Eyes On You”
Kim: I have GOOSEBUMPS. “Let me tell you what I wish I’d known, when I was young and dreamed of glory. You have no control, who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” This is SUCH a passing of the torch song and that’s exactly what is happening in the Star Wars universe right now. Are we sure Lin didn’t WRITE Hamilton as a low-key ode to Star Wars?
Sage: Lin is IN Star Wars, sooooo…I don’t think we can rule it out.
Disney Princesses – “The Schuyler Sisters”
Kim: BELLE IS ANGELICA SCHUYLER THOUGH. Of course she is.
Sage: But The Muses as the chorus, though. And Gaston pulling up on Belle while Burr pulls up on Angelica. I bet Burr also used antlers in all of his decorating. Isn’t that what everyone did in the 18th century?
Jon Snow – “Alexander Hamilton”
Kim: This IS Jon Snow’s arc though. There’s a million things he hasn’t done, just you wait. Game of Thrones lost me during season 5 but I’ve heard so many great things about season six that I’m thinking of going back. Once I have like 5 extra hours in every day, that is.
Sage: I also quit this show – mid-season 4 for me – but I’m low-key invested enough in Jon Snow’s rise to glory to read spoilers every week. He’s got the bastard/orphan thing down. OR DOES HE.
Whouffaldi – “That Would Be Enough”
Kim: BYE. *jumps off a cliff*
Sage: This is like Whouffaldi baby-fic set to music, and I hate you forever for finding this, Kim.
The Bartlet Administration – “History Has Its Eyes On You”
Kim: We watched selected episodes of The West Wing for a good portion of our day on July 4th and now I am feeling a series rewatch coming. Thus far, this is the ONLY fan video of The West Wing and Hamilton and that needs to CHANGE. CAN YOU IMAGINE THE OPTIONS? A Josh and Donna video to “Helpless”? A CJ Cregg video to “Satisfied”? An ode to Bartlet set to “One Last Time”? I AM EMO.
Sage: I’ve spent most of the last 24 hours thinking about this, and Josh Lyman is the spiritual love child of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Hear me out, don’t touch that dial: “Death doesn’t discriminate” = his personality is shaped by survivor’s guilt. But he’s as balls-to-the-wall, bull-in-a-china-shop, act-first-ask-questions-later as A. Ham. Also, “He doesn’t hold a grudge, that’s what he pays me for” is so Hamilton/Washington that it should just be added to the score.
Welcome to Fan Vid Friday, our weekly present to you to keep you entertained during those last hours in the office before your summer weekend. Last week, I pondered in our Avengers Post as to whether or not we could fill an entire post with videos to Mulan‘s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”. Whoops, we doggone gone and done it. This song is perfect for any sort of sprawling ensemble epic, as you will soon see. And let’s be real, who DOESN’T love the gusto with which Donny Osmond sings this? If you don’t finish this post ready to take on the Huns (what ever the Huns may be to you), then you did it wrong.
The Disney Men
Sage: Yassss, starting off TOO strong. Disney princesses get a lot of love, and rightfully so. But let’s give it up one time for all those Disney leading men who ruined for real boys. Real boys who never ONCE started singing me a love duet of which I intuitively knew the other part.
Kim: Aladdin, ruining my life since 1992. What can I say? I’m a sucker for those diamonds in the rough. Also there’s not NEARLY enough Prince Eric in this video. And finally, I have a new appreciation for Shang’s collarbones and it’s just really confusing being attracted to animated characters, okay?
Sage: Well, there’s no shortage of footage of Sherlock yelling at people, so that’s good. Also, since Molly is playing Mulan and Sherlock is Shang, this video is also honorary Sherlolly.
Kim: I love how this video is basically Sherlock telling everyone to GET ON HIS LEVEL. Also got to love the on the nose comparison of the Huns to the villains from “The Blind Banker”. (Undoubtedly the weakest episode of the series, yes? Yes.)
Sage: “Tranquil as a forest” = Spock. “But on fire within.” = Kirk. What makes this song so adaptable for fan videos is that the definition of masculinity (or heroism in general) is really the dealer’s choice. And the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise have all those bases covered, from intellect to brute strength to selfless leadership.
Kim: I love the use of Captain Pike in this video. He really was the shepherd of this crew of misfits as they grew towards becoming a united crew. What made Star Trek work SO WELL was that it was essentially a coming of age story for characters that we already knew. It was familiar but different all at the same time. The casting is spot on, with Chris Pine’s rogueish charm and Zach Quinto’s even-keeled intensity leading the way. I am SO READY for Star Trek: Beyond even if that is a dumb name.
PS I am still so hot for Karl Urban after AwesomeCon.
X-Men: First Class
Sage: Okay, the layers in this, because Charles wants his students to embrace their powers but also cherish their humanity. Be a MAN.
Kim: I don’t know if I will EVER be over the Cherik scene where Erik moves the satellite dish and they both CRY. This video COULD have used more Fassy, TBH. He’s so perfect, especially in First Class.
The Lord of the Rings
Sage: I’m honestly surprised some Kiwi producer hasn’t tried to peddle a LOTR musical over here. 10/10 WOULD SEE.
Kim: There was some sort of ridiculous LOTR musical in Canada and London in 2006 (thanks Wikipedia) but it never came to America because it was three and a half hours long and had a cast of 65. ANYWAY. I’m emotional over this video. I love these movies, I love the cast, I love the characters and their relationships, I LOVE IT. It is a MASTERPIECE and I need to watch it RIGHT NOW.
Also PERFECT use of Eowyn’s arc in this vid. SHE IS NO MAN.
Sage: I have a problem with people telling me to be embarrassed about things that aren’t a source of personal shame. That problem being…I can’t. And it’s one of the great joys of being in my 30s.
I’ve been reading fic since I was 14, and never have I ever felt bad about myself while I was doing it. I used to be much quieter about it; it was something I shared with a select few friends if and only if I was sure they wouldn’t take the piss during morning announcements or something. I’m now more open about my preference for “original works based on existing media franchises” for two reasons: 1) I don’t care (I don’t caaaaaaare), and 2) I’ve seen how fan works of all kinds are used as ammunition in an ongoing attempt to erase the power and validity of certain fandom demographics.
And that was the impetus for this post, really. Last week, entertainment media collectively decided to canonize Eric Richardson, who is the author of a WIP fic based on Beyonce’s (perfect, groundbreaking, world-saving) visual album Lemonade. Vulture calls him “a fabulous human.” EW wrote a similarly worshipful profile. Meanwhile, talk show hosts are out here forcing James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender to read Cherik fic to each other and showing Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman explicit Johnlock fan art to provoke what they hope will be an amusingly horrified reaction. I’m so confused…did Richardson single-handedly validate the fanfic industry, or is he just excused from the regular mockery because he doesn’t fit the perceived author profile? (Female, dorky, sexless, sad.)
So we asked some of our readers and friends to send us their fanfic testimonials, whether they create or just consume. How did they discover their community? What do they get out of fic that they don’t get out of canon? And how do they feel about the fact that one of their main sources of joy and creativity is considered in many spheres to be taboo, or at least a very low form of expression?
Keep on reading for those brilliant reflections, but first, you’ll have to hear from us. Sorry. Co-editor privileges.
Like I was saying above, fic has been a part of my life since my family’s first dial-up internet connection. I’ve gone through intense phases, and I’m the kind of reader who sticks primarily with one pairing at a time. (No, not all fic is romantic or sexual, but like…I’m not here to fuck around, you know?) I love the democracy of fanfiction. Hop on any major archive and marvel at how many thousands of stories and millions of words are right there for the taking – stories that writers have spilled blood, sweat, and tears over. Those are free. Fans create for other fans, and then the portal is open. Writing itself can be a solitary activity, but less so here. Scenario: A reader sends a writer a prompt. The writer writes it. Hundreds of new readers read, comment, and form a fandom AROUND the fan work. Some of those readers create moodboards, gifsets, playlist, and trailers to go with that story that just made its way onto their favorites list. And that happens over and over again, until I can’t remember what a real book looks like.
There’s something equally comfortable and thrilling about starting a brand new story when you’re already intimately familiar with most of the characters. When I find something I love, I want to stay in it forever. But I also want to look at it from every angle, to have someone show me what would happen if these people were actually astronauts or baristas or reality show contestants or spies or a different gender. Which brings me to the elephant in the room: NC-17 fanfiction, or as the kids call it: “smut.” This post isn’t exclusively about the fic that would make your 1st grade teacher blush (though maybe she’s written a few of them, YOU don’t know), but the stories that come with an adult content warning are worth talking about, specifically. The ridicule that women especially get for reading or writing the sexy bits is born out of confusion and fear. There’s this whole underground UNIVERSE of literary exploration of sexuality happening where girls are largely in charge. And that scares the shit out of some people. People who liked it better when they could pigeonhole an entire gender into what they are and are not “into.” WE ARE COMPLEX. GET ON OUR LEVEL.
Discovering AO3 for the first time.
Kim: I was 19 when I fell in love with The X-Files. The movie had come out that summer and the show had just hit syndication and in typical fashion, I fell hard and fast for Mulder and Scully and all their sexual tension. I spent hours on the internet, devouring everything I could about my newest obsession. I don’t even know how it happened but I stumbled upon The Gossamer Archive and it was like a whole new world opened to me. People wrote FICTION about Mulder and Scully?! Fiction where they kissed?! Fiction where they had all sorts of sex?! WHY HAD NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS BEFORE?!
What I love the most about fan fiction is that it fills in those in-between character moments that just can’t be squeezed into a 42-minute episode of television. Want to know just what Mulder and Scully got each other for Christmas in “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”? There are literally hundreds of stories that will tell you. (My favorite is one where Mulder got Scully a star because OF COURSE.) Is your OTP taking their sweet-ass time getting together on the actual show? Pick a pairing and I guarantee there are fics a-plenty waiting for you on AO3. Hell, fanfic is how I SURVIVED seasons 4 and 5 of Bones where Booth and Brennan were so painfully and obviously in love with each other yet too afraid to actually DO anything about it. People who read and write fan fiction are my type of fans. They are the fans who love things so deeply and passionately that they can’t help but go deeper and explore characters from every possible angle. Some of my dearest friends (many of whom contributed to this post) are women that I initially connected with BECAUSE of their fan fiction. I fangirled their Jeff and Annie fics from afar and then started talking to them on Twitter. 5 years later, we’re all friends IRL and planning vacations together. All because I desperately needed to read stories where Jeff Winger and Annie Edison fell in love.
Despite the wonderful trove of stories and authors, some prejudices within fanfic-dom exist. People get real prickly when it comes to “Real Person Fiction” or RPF. For some people it is one thing to read original stories about someone else’s characters but it’s an entirely different thing to read stories about actual celebrities or specific co-stars or band mates. That’s CREEPY, detractors say. They are real people, not characters. Me? I’m of the mind of why the hell not? Sure, Harry Styles may be an actual person (well…the bit is debatable. Someone that pure could only possibly be an alien.) but we don’t actually KNOW him. Harry Styles is as mythical a character to me as Fox Mulder. Hell, his own team has spent YEARS crafting narratives for him and his bandmates to sell them to the masses. (A POX on the marketing executive who coined Harry as “adorably slow”. HOW VERY DARE YOU.) At least fan fictions tend to show his character more respect than the people actually managing his image.
So yes, my iPad is full of Larry fics and I’ve lost countless hours of sleep reading stories where those boys fall in love over and over again. Why do I do it? Because it makes me happy. It’s for ME. I’m not going to go up to Harry and Louis and shove a copy of Escapade in their hands (though let’s be real, you know they own a copy) because that’s not why it exists. Fan fiction exists for just that: FANS. It’s a way for fans to explore the things they love and it’s a way for authors to hone their writing skills. I’ve had fanfics reduce me to tears and I’ve had fanfics bring a smile to my face when I’ve had a shitty day. It enriches my fandom and it enriches my life in the best way.
PS Have I mentioned the Larry fic where Harry is a cowboy and Louis is the paralegal trying to get him to sell his land? You’ll never cry so hard over a cow being born, mark my words.
Taylah: English is my second language, so I started writing Doctor Who fanfiction as a means of improving my English writing. I thought if I used characters that I was already acquainted with, it would be easier for me to write situations around them. When I look back at it, it wasn’t really good, but I had a small following and good feedback, so I continued writing for other fandoms (Glee, Community, Pushing Daisies, Gossip Girl, etc.) Eventually I gave up on writing but I have never stopped reading. I consider it a great way to explore your creativity, to improve your language skills, to test how open your mind is (and to know your limits, which is always good) and to be critical of the fiction we consume.
There is a lot more to it than mockery and parody, even though that is also great. Listen, I have read as much crackfic as anyone. I love the absurdity of it. I enjoy bad fic for what it is, and I would never tell someone “this was so terrible it made me laugh until I cried” (unless it was intentionally bad), but it is not a representation of all fanfic writers. Some of everyone’s favorite book authors, male or female, have written fanfic at some point in their lives, even long before the internet provided a platform to post it. There is a lot of good writing in fanfiction, and though I wouldn’t like the media to focus on it (because fanfic, good or bad, should belong in fandom and it is always awkward when someone decides to tell public figures about it), I wouldn’t like media to portray fic as just a joke. It doesn’t seem fair.