Making TV is like making soup. Producers offer up a recipe; networks (and a growing number of on-demand streaming media companies) supply the broth; writers chop up all the ingredients; directors add the meats and vegetables, however they see fit; the veggies dance with the herbs and the meats brush up against the spices; the editor chooses how much of each thing should go into the bowl; the network tastes it and suggests “improvements”; and finally, the audience gobbles up the soup in its finished form.

Now, here’s the rub: The finished bowl of soup is the thing that counts. It doesn’t matter what the recipe promised, or how the ingredients were meant to taste, or what the herbs and spices have tasted like when mixed together in the past. What matters is the whole bowl of soup. And nobody — nobody — knows soup like the foodies of fandom.

So what you get is fandom saying, “Hey, when spinach and green beans are in my spoon together, it’s the most delicious thing I have ever tasted!” And the network saying, “You’re not even supposed to taste the spinach!” And the writers saying, “Those things got on your spoon together by accident; the green beans go with the tomatoes.” And the showrunner saying, “The spinach will be in a few more bowls of soup in the future, so just just feel lucky and don’t get weird when we don’t pair it with green beans.” And a shrinking (but still vocal) minority of soup-eaters shouting that Jesus hates when spinach and green beans mix together. And the actors smiling and waving and shrugging because the kitchen is a mean place and they’re just happy to be in a bowl of soup.

But what has been cooked cannot be uncooked!

—  Heather Hogan, Fandom Fixes (AfterEllen)
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