so in love with this remake

Contributor’s spotlight: Samantha McLaren / TheMeatIsPeople

Twitter and Tumblr. I have an Etsy too.


How did you become a Fannibal?

I shamefully avoided Hannibal entirely until the end of the second season, because I’m a big horror fan and remakes of iconic horror franchises tend to be… not so fresh. Eventually I succumbed and watched and episode on the recommendation of a trusted friend, and I was hooked. I ate up the first two seasons in a matter of days, and took to Tumblr to see if anyone else loved this weird, wonderful show as much as I did. Turns out, they did. And I never looked back.

What do you love about the Hannibal fandom?

Everything. I love the creativity, and the fact that it encouraged me to pursue new creative endeavors. I love the enthusiasm, and the generosity, and the impeccable sense of humor that runs throughout. But mostly, I love that it really is like a family to me.

When I arrived in New York last year knowing no one, the community here made a place for me. I’ve made friends in this fandom that I can no longer imagine life without, and I’m doing things I never imagined I would do. It’s beautiful.

How would you like to spend a day with Will Graham?

If I were a good friend, I’d hold an intervention for him… But in reality, we’d probably sit around drinking whisky, eating ice cream, and gossiping about what Hannibal is like in bed. Maybe we’d get drunk and I’d sketch him nude, who can say?

general li mulan

okay so i LOVE mulan okay. as far as i’m concerned it’s a Perfect Movie and doesn’t need any fixing. but i was thinking today and -

- what if mulan didn’t go to war to save her father?

say her father is dead, okay, killed by the previous war. so she’s raised by her mother and grandmother, women who’s complacency and softness has been worn away by necessity. she needs to marry well, for her family’s sake, because her mother has refused the hand of every man who offered. but mulan is even more rough around the edges than before, is educated not only in books (her mother said men wouldn’t find smarts attractive and grandmother pointed out that men aren’t always around and off to school mulan went) but in the sword too, taught to her by her classmate, ping.

mulan is considered in the lower end of the upper class, coming from a family of military men and scholars and successful merchants. ping is near the top, the son or nephew of an advisor to the emperor. his family is very rich and very important, and the reason they become friends is because mulan manages to notice something about him that he’s been hiding from everyone else - he’s going blind.

not totally blind, enough to get around, but blind enough that reading is difficult and swordplay is even worse, although once he has it down he has it. ping is no fool, he’s not weak or bumbling. his eyes just don’t work. so mulan notices and confronts him about it. she promises to keep it a secret, and hey, she’ll even help him with his assignments by reading the books out loud and helping him study. but in return he must teach her the sword, must teach her about military and tactics. he agrees.

ping and mulan become very good friends and there’s some raised eyebrows about it but they are TOO far away in class for it to be inappropriate, so they make tutting sounds and disapproving faces and let it go.

then the draft happens. ping can’t go to war, he won’t survive it. not with his eyesight like it is. so mulan offers him a deal - she’ll go to war for him, in his place. in return, if she survives, he must marry her. if she dies he must take care of her family.

ping can’t make this kind of family decision on his own, so he goes to his mother and tells her everything, about the eyesight and how he’ll die if he goes and mulan’s offer. his mother says he must keep it a secret from his father, but agrees - if mulan fights in her son’s place and survives, a wedding will be arranged. either way, mulan’s family will be taken care of. ping will be sent to live with some cousins in the meanwhile.

“you’re not in love with me, are you?” ping asks, helping mulan saddle her horse in the middle of the night. she scoffs and rolls her eyes, “not even a little. but marrying you will make my family happy, and besides, you’re my best friend,” she says, smiling, “better you than some grabby old man.” he smiles and hugs her and says, “i’m not in love with you either. but don’t die out there. we have a wedding to plan.”

so mulan goes to the camp, pretending to be ping, and she’s a little bit less lost but things still go as they go. she’s educated and trained, so it’s not hard for her to pass as ping. shang is keeping a special eye on her, thinking that she’s the son of an advisor, one of his father’s friends. and he sees how easily she excels, how quick thinking and smart she is, and starts giving her more and more responsibilities. by the time they’re called out, shang considers ping ie mulan to be his right hand man, and possibly his best friend.

he’s also a little bit in love with ping, and he’s long known he’s attracted to both genders, so he watches ping laugh and smile and the crease between his eyes when he frowns and does his best to let his feelings chase away the best soldier he has. every time shang looks at ping his heart clenches and he things to himself: i wish i could have you, i wish this was a time and a place where one man could have another, i wish you were a girl, is wish i was a girl - i wish we could be together. he’s literally a step away from doodling ‘li ping’ with little hearts over his battle plans. 

so the battles happen. shang and ping lead their men together, respected and loved. they each get promoted, and promoted, and promoted. it’s been years, and it comes to a point where they’re both generals in their own right. they trust each other, care for each other. and are both secretly in love with the other.

mulan is so conflicted. because she wants this war to end and to go home and settle back into life and become ping’s wife, so she can have an easy life spent studying and learning with her family taken care of. that’s what she’d wanted. but now what she wants is shang, her best friend, her brother in arms, her fellow general. she wishes to be everything to him, aches to be the woman on his arm and in his bed, but knows it’s the one thing she can never be.

then that final battle happens. mulan’s quick thinking saves them all and ends the war - but she’s injured.

shang finds out the ping has been a girl all along. he demands explanations - so she tells him everything, that she traded places with ping to save him, to become his wife.

and the lies should sting the sharpest, but they don’t. she’s still the same person, after all. it’s that she’s promised to another man, for one second he’d thought he might have her, but no. so he agrees not to reveal her but he’s furious and furious at himself for being furious and they’re not the same now, broken and splintered and neither of them know what to do.

the war is over. they leave. mulan returns home, and thanks to her ping is now known as a respected general. she’s done her part and survived, and now she gets her reward - ping’s hand in marriage.

but she sees ping for the first time and flings herself into his arms and starts crying. she tells him everything, because he’s still her friend, her very best friend besides shang, the man whom she lied to and betrayed and loves. and ping listens and takes her by the shoulders and says - i’ll uphold our bargain, if that’s what you want. you can be my pampered wife, you’ve more than earned it. but if you want to go to shang, i won’t blame you. you deserve your happiness.

and mulan goes back and forth, but ultimately she decides she has to try. if shang rejects her she’ll return and marry ping and uphold her family honor. but if shang wants her - he’s not as high up as ping, but he’s high up enough to satisfy her family, and also she would love him and want him if he was no more than a farming peasant so it doesn’t matter much anyway.

she rides to the capitol. she finally meets ping’s father, running into him while looking for shang. “ah mulan,” says this man who was never supposed to know of her until she became his daughter-in-law, “i didn’t expect to see you here. how fortuitous. walk with me.” she does, wary, and that’s how she discovers - he and the emperor had discovered her deception a year in, but at that point she’d already proven herself too skilled and valuable to lose. he tells her that he will uphold his son and wife’s deal and gladly welcome her to his household - but that she’s earned her rank as general, and that he and the emperor have no problem with letting her keep it.

she says thank you, shocked and joyful, but that she has to talk to someone first. “ah, yes, young general li,” he says, eyes twinkling, “i do believe he’s around here somewhere.”

she has no idea how he seems to know everything, but she finally tracks down shang who’s ecstatic to see her and hates himself for it. she confesses - says she loves him, that she’s engaged to ping but willing and able to break this engagement for shang. who is dumbfounded and elated and says yes, of course, finally and forever.

and mulan accepts her rank and marries shang, and they become the literal power battle couple of the general li mulan and general li shang. ping becomes a scholar and marries a very nice young woman who loves reading and is happy to read aloud to her husband with his failing eyes.

and they all live happily ever after.

Ok so I don’t know if this is anything interesting to point out but wELL I DID SOME RANDOM CLICKING AROUND IN EPISODES AGAIN AND FOUND MORE CUTE DETAILS

before Yuuri was hit with the thought to try and remake his Yuri on Ice track it seems like he was planning to skate his FS program to either Mozart or Antonin Dvorak! 

THIS BOY READY TO GO OUT ON THE ICE WITH CLASS I LOVE HIM

At least judging by the fact that our little nugget listens to a large playlist of their tracks as he tries to figure out his program

HOWEVER I ALSO FOUND A SHOT OF TRACKS HE USUALLY ENJOYS LISTENING TO 

IT DOESN’T REALLY SAY MUCH BUT

- Happy song??? How cute is this boy?? this makes me so happy as well??

- HEAVY SONG?? are we talking the emotionally heavy or the heavy metal heavy here….. no one knows

- sO MANY FAVORITE SONGS

- is that……a track list with 90′s songs? I CAN’T READ THE JAPANESE SO I MIGHT BE COMPLETELY WRONG BUT IN ANY CASE JUST THE THOUGHT OF IT IS SO FUNNY

- DJ? Yuuri is ready to fcking party and seduce some skating legends while he’s at it 

I JUST LOVE THIS BOY SO MUCH EVERYTHING HE DOES EXCITES ME ??? 

6

In my stars I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em. Thy Fates open their hands. Let thy blood and spirit embrace them.  (William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.)

8

Earlier in my career, I used to look at other actors and maybe steal a move here or there, but as I have gotten older, I prefer releasing the idiosyncratic quality that every single person has. That is truly interesting. In the pursuit of pretending and making things seem real, what is really interesting is watching somebody on camera or on stage releasing things that only they could. That is really beautiful.

9

the live action remake is everything

ITAZURA NA KISS

READ THE MANGA

SAW THE  FIRST JAPANESE DRAMA 

SAW THE ANIME

WATCHED THE TAIWANESE DRAMA

WATCHED THE KOREAN DRAMA 

WATCHED THE JAPANESE DRAMA REMAKE

CURRENTLY WATCHING THE THAI DRAMA

JAPANESE MOVIE COMING SOON!!!!

3

Yesterday @mana-sputachu had make the mistake to let me discover this amazing Twitter. And it was pure love.

(You know, in italian the whole “who is Lance talking about?” was more simple, because of the magic of the implied subject, but when I realized it I was remaking the comic for the second time - the first time around my tablet had just killed itself and eat the whole file. Not sure why - so whatever. Too Late. Have sassy Lance.)

I have some opinions/thoughts that I’d really love to get off my chest even if other people think I’m completely wrong.

Gaston did not deserve to die, Gaston was hardly a bad person, Gaston was basically forced into being the villian of this story.

[I’m referring to the 2017 remake of BATB rather than the original animation.]

Let’s point out some difference between the 1991 Gaston and 2017 Gaston
-2017 Gaston was not a misogynist
-did not abuse Lefou
-even verbally
-Like for fucksakes, the friendship between Lefou and Gaston was so genuine. I’m frequently seeing these things around Gafou is an abusive ship, buts it’s really not? He tells Lefou ‘thank you’ says ‘you’re the best Lefou’ sincerely asks ‘how has no woman snatched you up?’, messes around with Lefou like buds (wrestling bite marks, picking him up to demonstrate strength, gets on the table and dances with him), let’s Lefou calm him down and boop his nose, and not once does he insult or hurt even when it seemed like he would (after Lefou wrapped his arms around him, or when he couldn’t spell his name, when he said ‘who needs her when you’ve got us’, etc). They’re sincerely good, close friends, but don’t worry I’m not ignoring all the shitty things Gaston did to Lefou I will get to that in a second.
-I said he’s not a misogynist, right? Cause that’s important. Big step away from the OG.
-Doesn’t insult Belle for reading
-Instead he feigns interest in the book because he knows it’s her interest
-even brings her flowers, whataguy
-Has manners (“excuse me, please let me through” going through the crowd, didn’t push everyone out of his way)
-Goes to her rescue when the town’s people are being mean (sure this is because he wanted to be the hero to seduce her, but seriously he was one of the few people who didn’t harass or bully Belle for being different)
-Doesn’t call Maurice crazy and instead offers his help to soothe the men (again, seduction, but seriously he’s still being polite and helping the underdog unlike the OG)

I’ll probably think of more things to add to this Gaston-wasnt-an-asshole list but I think this basically gets the point across that, well, Gaston wasn’t an asshole. He was immensely vain, yes, but that doesn’t mean he was a bad person.
Cus ya know who else started out incredibly vain but still managed to be the fucking prince in this story?
Yep, the Beast/Adam of course.

Time to do some comparing of the prince and the villian because spoiler alert, they basically parallel each other.

I’ll begin this part with Belle’s comment of, “No one can change THAT much, Gaston”
Ahem

LITERALLY SHUT THE FUCK UP ARE YOU SERIOUS
This line pissed me off immensely, because that’s literally Adam’s entire character arc, changing himself completely, literally and figuratively.

Like I’m sorry you wanna do a repeat of the song “Something there” aka the song where the lyrics are basically “he was an asshole brute who I hated but now he’s c h a n g e d”
Literally so pissed off at that all.

But as I was saying, Gaston basically mirrors Adam’s arc, meaning to say they’re practically the same character things going on but sorta reversed.

Like okay
-Upon first meeting Belle, the Beast locks her father then her in a tower and is a huge dick but then they bond over books and he gives her flowers and he’s nice to her.
-Upon first interacting with Belle, Gaston is nice to her, gives her flowers, tries to bond over books, but then he’s a huge dick and locks her father and then her in a cart.

Do you see what I did there? Literally the same actions, but backwards.

Let’s do some more comparing.
-They both have terrible, terrible tempers.
But you know what? The Beasts is definitely a lot worse than Gaston’s.

Let’s review how both Gaston and Adam dealt with Belle’s dinner rejection
-Beast: literally motherfucking demands she has dinner with him, bangs his paws on the door, scrEAMS at her, and then announces she can starve if she won’t eat with him
-Gaston: [not direct quotes, can’t remember exact words but basically what he says] “oh, busy?” nope “okay, then some other time?” boom that’s that. Yeah he still is persistent on winning her over even after this rejection but the man handled it a lot better then Adam (and he brought flowers for her dinner table).

I’m about to move on from Adam and start talking about how Gaston treated Lefou in a sec, but I would just really really really like to put some emphasis on the fact that both Adam and Gaston were incredibly narcissistic men. The amount of self pride and conceded they have is in the beginning is completely parallel and it leads to both of their unfortunate fates. The point in this, is Gaston is not a bad guy just because he loves himself a bit much, just as the Beast was not a bad guy for loving himself too much. Like, the way Adam turns down Agatha for being ugly seems exactly like something Gaston would do, so why does the movie end with Gaston dying while the Beast learns his lesson and gets his happily ever after?
Because, the OG Gaston was truly an asshole who deserved to die and this 2017 remake of course had to stay true to the story. Even though this Gaston really wasn’t a true villian and didn’t deserve to die – rather he deserves a redemption arc just as Adam was given – he died anyway because that’s how the story goes.

Anyway, I’ll get on with this and bring back Lefou.

Some of you have probably been reading this while thinking “But Marley [das my name], Gaston was a shitty person, he wasn’t a good friend to Lefou at all because he manipulated him, let him get punched in the face, didn’t protect him at all, and threatened to lock him up. Plus, he was only into Belle because she’s pretty.”

Alright alright alright: Lefou.
He’s an exceedingly important character as he gives us insight to Gaston’s character.
Two crucial things he reveals about Gaston … .

-Gaston has anger issues. My father has anger issues, and so do I, and we both are on meds for it. Let me say, having anger management problems and getting angry are very different things. It’s just like he having anxiety and getting nervous are very different things. I think most of you can probably relate or understand anxiety more then anger issues, so just put yourself in Gaston’s shoes with that in mind. Anyway, back to Lefou. He shows us that Gaston has anger issues when he rushes to Gaston’s aid by saying “deep breathes” and then “think about the war”. He tells us that Gaston has coping mechanisms for when he gets like this. Does it matter if Gaston has anger problems? Does it make him less of a dick? Like, seriously Marley, does this information really make up for any of the things he did? Yes, yes it does matter. It’s like when you/someone your love is having an anxiety attack, or when you fall into a depressive episode, or when a loved one acts out of PTSD [which Gaston could totally completely have], or when someone with schizophrenia or delusions starts having episodes, it’s basically exactly like whenever anyone’s mental illness starts to act up. You don’t feel like yourself and you don’t so things you would normally​ do. This is definitely the case for Gaston; he acts out of character when he gets angry like this. And that’s my second point that Lefou proves in this movie.

-Gaston is not being himself when he starts doing all that terrible shit that leads him to his demise. Lefou makes it fairly obvious that that is not how Gaston usually acts. He does this in numerous ways which I will quickly try to summarize and go through:
1) Questions Gaston. Obviously if Gaston often tied up old men to trees or in general left people to die, Lefou would have just went with it instead of going “are you sure?”
2) doesn’t immediately lie to save Gaston’s ass. Again, if Gaston frequently had Lefou lie for him, then it would have came to Lefou like second nature and he wouldn’t have hesitated.
3) Once more, questioning Gaston. The scene I’m about to refer to is when Gaston locks Belle and her father in the carriage. Lefou grabs Gaston’s arm and goes to question him again, but before he can Gaston threatens to lock him up as well. Dick move on Gastons end, no? But this isn’t something he would normally do or say to Lefou, for if it was Lefou wouldn’t have bothered speaking up because he would have known what Gaston’s reaction would be. Instead, Lefou is used to being able to talk sense into Gaston and reason with him (refer back to nose boop scene).
4) Running to Gaston’s side for protection during the fight [castle scene]. Lefou is probably used to having Gaston protect him during fights (war time) and obviously didn’t expect Gaston to throw him to the enemy. Like, yous guys heard him shriek Gaston’s name before the piano fell on him, right? He was obviously expecting Gaston to rescue him. Even after he’s trapped under the piano, he still reaches and calls out for Gaston. The way Gaston is acting is not the Gaston he knows.
5?) “I was on Gaston’s side, but we are so in a bad place right now” [however he says it you know the line I’m referring to]. Aight I think this is the one line that really captures the point I’m trying to make. Lefou has switched sides because Gaston is being a major douchebag and Lefou’s not having it. Lefou doesn’t put up with being treated like shit [MrsPotts saying he deserves better and Lefou agreeing]. So o b v i o u s l y Lefou is not used to Gaston being so cruel and angry. If Gaston treated Lefou like this all the time, then Lefou wouldn’t be by his side [because he left his side once he started acting like this]. Lefou knows how he should be treated, and how he’s being treated is not what he’s used to.
You dig what I’m saying? I’m kinda rushing through these points because I’m getting tired of this.

*deep breathe* Alright, last point, as I mentioned above, ‘Gaston only wanted Belle because she was beautiful’ Alright alright alright I’m not even going to talk about the Gaston in this point, I’m just going to talk about the huge flaw that is Beauty and the Beast.

Adam is turned into the Beast because he needs to learn to not judge people by how they look, he needs to learn that it’s what’s on the inside that matters.
Right.
So why is Belle the one that learns this lesson?
Adam falls in love with a gorgeous girl, meanwhile Belle falls in love with a hideous monster who turns into a nice dude on the inside.
Belle is the character who learned to not judge a book by its cover [cover being a monsterous beast but inside he is a gorgeous prince].
As soon as Belle walked into the castle, all the furniture was like “yooooo she could be the one, master hit her up” and instantly Adam’s like “well I need a girl to fall in love with to break my curse and she cute yeah let’s do it”. Like of course there’s more to our then this, but what I’m trying to say is Adam had already planned to try to charm Belle before he knew what kind of person he was because he was desperate to break the curse.
So he and everyone in the castle just saw her and was like “she was a girl, he was a boy, can I make it anymore obvious?”
So anyway anyway anyway, Gaston was only interested in Belle because she was beautiful and he wanted a wife, but Beast was only interested in Belle because she was beautiful and could break the spell. See the parallels again? Like, Beast later fell in love with Belle for who she was and she made him a better person, Gaston could have totally done the same thing.
And okay, there’s no proof Beast cared that Belle was beautiful or not, but yo, Disney definitely should have made Belle ugly af so when Adam met her the snob in him would have been “ew she’s ugly, next” and then Lumiere and Mrs. Potts woulda been like “boi Imma whoop yo ass if you don’t give that girl a try, I don’t care how fucked up her teeth are smfh” and then Adam would have learned the lesson that the enchantress was trying to school him about in the first place [this applies to the 1991 animated film, not directly at the 2017 btw]

Well I was trying to keep this professional and moreso eloquently written but you can tell I’m coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine gotta gotta be down because I want it all

Okay okay okay
Okay okay
Okay

I believe we’re nearing the end. I believe I’ve said all I needed to say made all the points I could [honestly definitely not because I’m constantly thinking about this and arguing with no one in my head, I have a lot to say and later I’ll be making toast and be like “anD ONE MORE THING”]

I’m very upset Gaston died because he wasn’t a terrible enough character to deserve death.

So Dear Disney, either make Gaston more of a shitty person, or bring him back to life. I’ll be waiting for an apology letter until this is done.

Of course I’m kidding.

I just have such a love and passion for Gaston and I’m truly sick of hearing people tell me that Gafou is an abusive ship and Gaston is a villian.

And if you refuse to see that Gaston wasn’t a bad guy but still believe that Adam is such a prince than you’re insanely hypocritical.

People just see what they want to see.

Also I’m terribly sorry for making this so diddly damn long, I honestly have no idea how to do the cutoff “Show more” thing, I’m on mobile. So sorry if you’re trying to rapidly scroll past all of this and it’s taking forever.

But honestly fuck you don’t scroll past my argument.

And also if you legit read all this then motherfucking congratulations to you. Like I don’t even want to read all of this shit to edit it.

Thanks for the attention. Marley OUTT
Friendship Comes First:  What (Good) Fanfiction Can Teach Us About the Romantic Subplot.

I love all forms of storytelling:  television, books, movies, you name it.  As long as it’s quality, its ripe for the picking.  

It’s so easy for me to become engrossed in the lives and psychologies of fictitious characters, to care for them as though they’re people I really know.  Which, on some metaphysical level, I suppose is true, but that’s a topic for another essay.

However, in the midst of all my possibly Asperger’s-fueled hyper-fixation and nerdery, there’s one inevitable aspect of seemingly every plot to which I will almost always role my eyes and click the fast-forward button:  the goddamned romantic subplot.

So many times have I seen the exact same variation of romantic love between fifty homogeneous couples, and each time, I failed to see the appeal:  in books, the smirking, obnoxious male love interest will woo the object of his desire through flagrant disrespect, the same toned bodies will copulate furiously on my television screens (typically at the exact same moment my parents or small siblings will walk into the room), the same vapid, flirtatious stares and generic dialogue will be exchanged. 

But where’s the basis for it?  Yes, these people are stressed to be attracted to one another to the point of obnoxiousness, but do they even like each other as individuals?  Are they even friends?  Is there any three-dimensionality to their relationship besides sizing each other up and deciding to bump uglies? 

Simply and also sadly, the answer is very rarely.  And so, it seemed to me that romance was not my cup of tea, both in the fictitious world and out of it.  Or so it seemed.  

Because it was then, at approximately seventeen, that I discovered a remarkable phenomenon that would change my life forever:  fanfiction.  

Never before had I been so enraptured in the relationships of fictional characters, and I was baffled as to why.  Yes, I’ve read a tremendous deal of fanfiction that is, in fact, book quality, but as an avid bibliophile, I was perplexed as to why I’d never been so captivated by the romantic endeavors of a published author as I was by the passion-projects of writers not much older than I was.     

After a lot of time, careful consideration, and the illuminating words of some of my fellow bloggers, however, I believe I can finally put words as to why. 


1.  Give your characters a narrative purpose (besides being The Love Interest.) 

Do you ever wonder what inspires Supernatural fans to tirelessly churn out fics about their favorite human-on-angel pairing?  I have, and this is someone who’s a proud proponent of the stuff.  

The sheer magnitude of free literature available, constantly repositing the pair in all manor of situations and walks of life, is absolutely baffling, and undeniably impressive.  Indeed, some of the best works of romantic literature – and yes, I do consider fanfiction to be a form of literature – I have ever come across were starring none other than this specific pairing:  from the infamous Twist and Shout (which I don’t recommend if you ever want to listen to Elvis Presley music, visit a beach, or feel joy ever again) to the charming Have Love, Will Travel (probably my personal favorite), some truly beautiful love stories have blossomed from a pairing that has never even been confirmed onscreen to have romantic connotations.  

Perhaps just as baffling is the other end of the spectrum:  Lisa Braeden.  Lisa, for those unfamiliar, is basically posited as the love of Dean’s life, with whom he lived for a year before being forced to give up his dream of a family life and return to full-time demon busting.  They’ve canonically kissed, had sex, shared a bed, and everything typically associated with an onscreen couple.    

Yet comparatively no fanworks exist about them.  When Lisa does appear in a fic, she is usual Castiel’s rival for Dean’s affections, or simply a hapless bystander. 

Why is this?  Well, a disillusioned observer might point to straight women’s apparent predilection towards fetishizing male homosexuality (I, for the record, am not straight myself;  I’m a proud bisexual who, thus far, has only dated women.)  I’m inclined to retort that this isn’t giving female fans nearly enough credit. 

For starters, remove all context from each relationship and examine them with a critical eye:  on the one hand, you have Castiel, Dean’s angelic savior from forty years in perdition.  Castiel is clearly fascinated with Dean, appearing in his bedroom, somewhat suggestively (advertently or otherwise) inquiring about his dreams, watching him sleep, routinely invading his personal space, and ultimately rebelling against heaven in accordance with Dean’s wishes. 

On the other hand, you have Lisa, a perfectly nice character who’s introduced as “the bendiest weekend of (Dean’s) life” and…well, that’s about it.  She’s later shown as a sort of amalgamation of Dean’s subconscious desire for a mother figure and normal life, but she, as a character, remains somewhat underdeveloped and hollow. 

You can’t expect fans to hold the two relationships to the same caliber and then cry internalized misogyny and fetishization of gay and bisexual men when they don’t.

The fact of the matter is, onscreen “friendships” are typically much more developed, much more three-dimensional, and much more ideal of what a truly epic romantic plot should be.  A character with a clear place in the narrative and three dimensional characterization all their own will almost always be more charismatic than a character who’s introduced as exclusively The Love Interest.  

This is not to say that what makes fanfiction so great is that it sexualizes or romanticizes friendship.  In fact, I’m inclined to believe it’s the other way around.  

Which brings me to my next point…

2.  Make sure your characters are friends.

It’s a romance for the ages.  A love like no other.  They’re soulmates, yin and yang, a match made in the stars.

But do they enjoy each other’s company?  Laugh at each other’s jokes?  Take part in each other’s interests?  Are they even friends?  

The sad fact of the matter is, romance and erotica are, as a whole, starved for values of friendship and camaraderie. 

This is something I realized only after my love of fanfiction took root, when I tried to return to my normal sources of adult entertainment (romance, erotica, and porn) and found them, by comparison, almost bafflingly lacking in warmth and camaraderie.  

What I think makes fanfiction so addictive is the fact that it’s built upon the established relationships of two or more characters (the Onceler and company notwithstanding) who, typically, care for one another as friends and compatriots.  

Look at some of the internet’s favorite pairings:  Dean Winchester and Castiel remain a classic.  Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers are always crowd-pleasers.  Kara Denvers and Lena Luthor are seeing a rise in popularity.  We all know Sherlock has somewhat fallen from grace, but the union of its two main characters still retains a devoted following.

This is no accident:  despite lacking onscreen confirmation, these characters have proven themselves to care for one another as more than objects of their sexual desire.  They’re friends, with relationships based in loyalty and warmth that are, unfortunately, sorely lacking in typical fictional romances.  

Once you get a taste of this brand of friendship-infused romance, in fanfiction or otherwise, it’s hard to go back.  

This isn’t just limited to quote-unquote “fanon” couples, either:  couples such as Mulder and Scully, Bones and Booth, Yuuri and Victor, and Ladybug and Chat Noir can all attribute their popularity to this strong basis in friendship, camaraderie, and mutual respect.

This is also the leading cause as to why the formerly booming 50 Shades franchise, and other arguably sexist, abusive dynamics, are struggling at the box office.  

Which reminds me… 

3.  Make sure your characters are equals. 

Unless you’re writing a Lolita-esque social commentary, it’s probably your best bet to keep your characters on fairly equal ground. 

I mean this in every sense of the word, too:  I have a difficult time getting invested in a romance when there’s a pretty blatant power imbalance, which oftentimes occurs due to the implicit sexism of the entertainment industry.

Disproportionately young actresses are assigned as love interests to much older men, such as Emma Watson’s twenty-something-year-old character lusting over a man almost twenty years her senior in Irrational Man.  

Physically mediocre or average-looking male characters are frequently pared with stunningly beautiful women who like them because they’re “nice,” fueling the existing mentality of all self-proclaimed “nice guys” who think society owes them a hot girl.

Furthermore, @popculturedetective just released an amazing video explaining the “Born Sexy Yesterday” trope, in which hopelessly naive, beautiful women are seen swooning over their more savvy male lovers.  (Found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=0thpEyEwi80)

I love Splash and the Fifth Element as much as anybody, but both films incorporate all these tropes in ample proportions, and it’s frankly ridiculous. (On the topic of Splash, however, I’m greatly looking forward to a subversion of this trope in its remake, starring Channing Tatum as the titular merman and Julianne Belle as his human love interest.) 

On the other hand, you have fanfiction.  I’ve read numerous essays professing that fanfiction is becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that same-sex relationships tend to be implicitly devoid of these sex-based imbalances, and I’m inclined to agree.  

However, I’ve read others stating that male-male pairings tend to be so popular because male characters are typically more well-developed by writers, making it perfectly understandable that fans would be more invested in a possible romance between two characters of equal multidimensionality (see point 1) than one that is sorrowfully underdeveloped.  I’m inclined to think that this theory is even more on point.   

Because look at some of the successful onscreen relationships I listed prior:  we root for Bones and Booth’s inevitable union the same way we swoon over slowburn fanfiction, delighting in Mulder and Scully’s banter and craving their interaction.  

These are, in my opinion, some examples of straight couples done right, because they’re portrayed as friends (see the previous point), and just as importantly, as equals.  

Last, but certainly not least, the male characters in both pairings are depicted as having nothing but respect for their female compatriots, depending on their intellectual know how and not being ashamed to say so. 

A more contemporary example that gets this wrong?  Well, not to offend any fans of the pairing, but Mon-El and Kara, a la Supergirl.  Mon-El was, at the beginnings of his arc, consistently disrespectful towards Kara, putting her down and insulting her in the very same episodes in which her female compatriot – Lena Luthor – is shown vocally admiring and praising her.  

Mon-El has since improved on his behavior, but the damage is done:  I still have a difficult time seeing him as a likeable character, much less a suitable love interest for my beloved Kara.   


These are just a few recommendations, based on the ways in which my somewhat obsessive love of transformative literature (i.e. good fanfiction) have helped me as a writer and helped me view the implicit problems with mainstream romance with a more discerning and critical eye.

Here, I could provide a counterpoint with the recurring problems I’ve noticed in fanfiction, or I could go into some recomendations for writing explicitly gay and lesbian relationships.  Both of these, however, are topics worthy of another essay.

Disclaimer:  I am assuming that any and all readers are trying for an enjoyable, healthy romantic subplot with equally charismatic, consenting, and likable characters.  Dysfunctionality can be just as interesting from a literary standpoint, but again, this is a topic for another essay.


There will be essays like this published at least once every other week, so be sure to follow my blog and stay tuned for future writing advice and observations! 

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vfd boys + character posters

“When we drive away in secret, you’ll be a volunteer; so don’t scream when we take you: the world is quiet here.”