K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick! (bop_radar) wrote,
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!
bop_radar

Introspection on my approach to viewing

I'm going to rewatch Maelstrom in a moment for meta purposes, but first some navel-gazing...


*frowns at notes* I think that cut tag covered the spoilers…

With Maelstrom, I broke with my usual habit of posting before I read anyone else’s thoughts on an episode. After my emo freak out last night, I needed reassurance, and I’ve been scurrying all over LJ. Fan reactions are really diverse, but it does seem like the vast majority of fans were spoiled for Starbuck’s death.

This has made me quite introspective about my own approach to shows I’m fannish about. I’m a pretty ‘hardcore’ spoilerphobe. I’ll avoid them at all cost and 95% of the time (99% until last night! *g*) I’m very, very glad I do, since I feel like I get a purer experience of the show that way and I have less time to form expectations that may be crushed, etc. Yes, I’m sure I do come across as ridiculously emo, but, *shrugs*, since I was tiny I’ve been living vicariously through fictional characters (in books, originally), but as I got older and more cynical analytical, it was harder and harder to feel that direct connection. The kind of connection that had me franticly rewriting the ending of Seven Little Australians to edit out the character death.

There are few instances when I feel so transported these days. Exceptional film will do it. Very exceptional music has been known to do it. Books far more rarely these days, sadly—though a few classics still retain their power. But my favourite shows still have that power over me—that hypnotic, sucked-in-and-away-despite myself feeling that leaves me aching for the characters I love. And it’s kind of like a drug, that feeling, the high you get, not immediately, but in the longer term, from walking the road with a character you know and love, only knowing as much as they know or as much as the creator has signalled so far.

The reason I find this addiction curious in myself is that I’m naturally an analytical person. Though it’s true I do combine that with sometimes excessive emotional sensitivity. The last twenty-four hours have highlighted to me the fact that this is slightly masochistic. Do we really need to ‘suffer’ to fully enjoy something? I know a lot of people would say no, but somehow I’m caught up in wanting that to some extent. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, it’s just… curious. And I haven’t really stopped to think about it before.

I was spoiled for Buffy’s death at the end of BtVS season 5. Only just. The day before the episode aired, my flatmate’s cousin (who should have known better given how much time she spent at our house watching the show!) spoiled me. It’s one of the rare occasions I’ve felt like punching someone. (In a movie of this event, you would have seen my fists clench at my side.) I’ve been annoyed about that ever since. Yes, it was still a fantastic episode and yes, I still teared up and felt somewhat emotionally transported. But I always wondered what that episode would have been like if I hadn’t known.

Perhaps I got some idea last night. Though I’m not comparing the two characters or the two deaths, because they’re incredibly different. I don’t think there’s any point to be made there; the circumstances in which I relate to both are different as well. But as far as plot twists go, major character death is the top of the pile, and experiencing that firsthand is worth a night’s sleep and the shedding of some tears to me.

For all the emo-ing I’ve done in the last twenty-four hours, I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t have had this experience. I thought it was an outstanding hour of television and it was certainly completely successful in blowing me away. The rarity of that these days alone makes this worthwhile.

I’m still left with the feeling that I’m a bit odd for enjoying both the visceral unspoiled emotional ride and the reflective analysis. I’ve had one half of that equation so far, with this episode, now it’s time to get to the other…

*dons meta cap and prepares to write*
Tags: fandom, personal
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