Episode 72: Alternate Universes
In Episode 72, Flourish always knew that someday she’d hear the words written on her wrist— In Episode 72, Elizabeth is a florist. Every day Flourish walks past her flower shop and— In Episode 72, “Alternate Universes,” Elizabeth and Flourish are joined by Morgan Leigh Davies, co-host of the “Overinvested” podcast, to discuss alternate universe fanfiction. Topics covered include the relationship between canon and fanon, the “any two guys” trope, how AUs can raise or lower stakes, and the true nature of teens.
18 Apr 2018
Episode 112: Rainbow Rowell
In Episode 112, Flourish and Elizabeth talk to Rainbow Rowell, author of Fangirl, Carry On, Wayward Son, and many other novels, as well as the current run of Marvel’s Runaways comics. They dig into the fandom experiences that inspire Rainbow’s fiction, the differences (and similarities!) between fanfic and original writing, and Flourish feels the pain of being the only non-lurker in the conversation.
30 Oct 2019
Episode 94: Save Our Show (It’s A Metaphor)
In Episode 94, “Save Our Show (It’s A Metaphor),” Elizabeth and Flourish talk fan petitions—to keep a show on the air, to get a ship together, to de-canonize a piece of content, and everything in between. On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Flourish gathered perspectives from a variety of entertainment industry professionals, asking the question: Are fan petitions ever effective?
20 Feb 2019
Episode 116: The Year In Fandom 2019
In Episode 116, Elizabeth and Flourish revive their end-of-year tradition and revisit big fandom trends in 2019. What changed, what got better, and what got worse? (According to Flourish, everything got worse.) Topics covered include the premature death knell for Tumblr, myths about the “monoculture,” truths and falsehoods about “fantitlement,” the messy rise of 8,000 streaming services, and, of course, “J. K. Rowling and the Infinite Pool of Bad Opinions.” And finally, since this decade is FINALLY over, they talk about what’s changed for fans over the past ten years. Spoiler alert: everything.
27 Dec 2019
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Episode 93: User-Generated Content
In Episode 93, “User-Generated Content,” Elizabeth and Flourish tackle the thorny intersections between making stuff you love and getting paid. They start with the recent round of layoffs at BuzzFeed—including the revelation that a good portion of their traffic comes from uncompensated “community” members—and segue into a conversation about the uncompensated things fans enjoy doing, and the complicated ways that the tech, media, and entertainment industries profit off fans’ work. What is exploitative—and what is just fans having fun?
6 Feb 2019
Episode 77: The Truth About Toxic Fandom
In Episode 77, “The Truth About Toxic Fandom,” Elizabeth and Flourish examine a few widely-held conceptions about “toxic fandom,” also known as “broken” or “entitled” fandom. They explore whether these behaviors are inherent to being a fan, the culpability of both social media platforms and the producers and creators of source material, and how abusive fan behavior looks depending on the demographics of a fan community.
27 Jun 2018
Episode 85: Age and Fandom
In Episode 85, Flourish and Elizabeth talk about the ever-contentious topic of age in fandom. They start with childhood—are there aspects of childhood that are naturally fannish?—and continue on through later stages of life, including the way mainstream society pits fannishness against maturity (unless you’re a sports fan!). Topics covered include ageism, the empathy gap online, Ann M. Martin, and the glory that was the mall in the 1990s.
17 Oct 2018
Episode 109: Covering Fandom
Amidst a string of mediocre-to-bad articles about fandom in mainstream publications, Flourish demands answers from Elizabeth: How does one of these things get made? They discuss different kinds of publications, pitching, editing, differences between academic and journalistic writing, and fandom’s tall poppy syndrome. They also respond to a listener who asks whether there’s a statistical way to determine a fandom’s percentage of “filthy kinksters.”
18 Sep 2019
Episode 111: Canon, What Canon?
In Episode 111, “Canon, What Canon?” Flourish and Elizabeth discuss listener questions about the relationship between fans and the source material—including what happens when fans are more interested in fanon than canon. Topics discussed include headcanon orthodoxy, fanworks about fanworks, characterization, “death of the text,” and whether Agent Dana Scully would prefer Herbal Essences or Pantene shampoo (and none of it strawberry-scented, damnit!).
16 Oct 2019
Episode 80: Real Person Fiction
In Episode 80, “Real Person Fiction,” Elizabeth and Flourish are joined by Aja Romano, internet culture writer at Vox, to discuss RPF: writing fiction about celebrities and other real, living people. Topics covered include stigma towards RPF within fandom and in the broader culture; the many ways real people turn up in all sorts of art; and what happens when a celebrity encounters online discourse about themselves. They also discuss a listener message about one of Fansplaining’s favorite topics: fandom, capitalism, and the monetization of fanworks.
8 Aug 2018
Episode 98: The After Effect
In Episode 98, “The After Effect,” Elizabeth and Flourish talk about characterization and RPF, pegged to the release of the film After, adapted from Anna Todd’s massively popular Harry Styles fanfic. What happens when different groups of fans clash over their interpretations of a celebrity—especially when some are interested in trying to divine the “truth” about their fave, while others are primarily interested in personal fantasies? They also answer listener questions about anti culture, fanfiction, and cycles of attention online.
17 Apr 2019
Episode 102: OOC
In Episode 102, Elizabeth and Flourish talk about characterization: how fans interpret it, get attached to it, and fight about it. How do fans collectively come to an understanding of a fictional character? Does this change with textual vs visual source material? What does “OOC”—“out of character”—mean to people in different fannish spaces? They also respond to a listener letter about the history of fandom, and discuss what can be documented—and what cannot.
12 Jun 2019
Episode 75: Bad Fans
In Episode 75, “Bad Fans,” Elizabeth and Flourish discuss Emily Nussbaum’s concept of the “bad fan”: people who read against the expectations of the source material to celebrate the bad behavior of characters, from anti-heroes to villains. They then discuss a listener letter about the concept of redemption: what makes a character redeemable? Do all characters deserve to be redeemed? How does fandom grant redemption? Finally, they discuss alternate universes—yes, again.
30 May 2018
Episode 66: The Humanizing Turn
In Episode 66, “The Humanizing Turn,” Elizabeth and Flourish use a Star Wars meta that Flourish recently published as a jumping-off point to discuss tropes, characterization, and what we want from stories, in both canon and fanfiction. When do we grant stories complexity—and when do we simplify them, slotting characters into archetypes? They round out the discussion by responding to a listener question about “anti culture” and how both the methods and the content of anti-shipping have changed in recent years.
24 Jan 2018
Episode 101: Stan Culture
In Episode 101, “Stan Culture,” Flourish and Elizabeth talk with Keidra Chaney, co-founder and publisher of The Learned Fangirl, about the terms “stan,” “stanning,” and “stan culture.” They discuss the evolution of “stan” from a derogatory term to point of pride (for some), the structures of stan culture, similarities between pop music and sports fans, and the transactional nature of some stan behaviors.
29 May 2019
Episode 89: Rukmini Pande
In Episode 89, Elizabeth and Flourish welcome back Dr. Rukmini Pande, a fan studies scholar whose new book, Squee From the Margins, explores race in both the field as well as fandom at large. Topics discussed include defining the boundaries of “fandom,” how queerness and gender structure fan studies while race typically does not, closed vs open digital platforms, how fandom discussions of racism are often relegated to “crisis points,” and more.
13 Dec 2018
Episode 82: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
In Episode 82, Elizabeth and Flourish interview writer, producer, and former TV executive Javier Grillo-Marxuach about his long career both as a fan and as a member of the “powers that be.” Topics covered include some of the earliest fan/creator clashes on the web, Latinx representation in Hollywood, the legacy of Lost and the idea of “solving” a show, when it’s time to give up on a fandom, and the decision to kill Lexa on The 100—and the fallout from it.
5 Sep 2018
Episode 83: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 2
In Episode 83, “Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 2,” Flourish and Elizabeth answer a pile of listener letters from the past few months. Topics covered include responses to the recent episode on real person fiction, whether crossovers are underappreciated, why there is a culture of paying for fanart but not fanfic, what “fuck canon” really means, queer representation in fan-favorite shows, and whether fandom is rife with internalized misogyny.
19 Sep 2018