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Fansplaining

Fansplaining is a podcast about by, for, and about fandom. It’s hosted by Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel. New episodes come out every two weeks. If you want to call us and leave a message for us to read on air, our number is 1-401-526-FANS!

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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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.

1hr 16mins

18 Apr 2018

Rank #1

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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.

1hr 26mins

30 Oct 2019

Rank #2

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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?

1hr 5mins

20 Feb 2019

Rank #3

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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.

1hr 33mins

27 Dec 2019

Rank #4

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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?

1hr 15mins

6 Feb 2019

Rank #5

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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.

1hr 2mins

27 Jun 2018

Rank #6

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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.

58mins

17 Oct 2018

Rank #7

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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.”

1hr 19mins

18 Sep 2019

Rank #8

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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!).

1hr 17mins

16 Oct 2019

Rank #9

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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.

1hr 3mins

8 Aug 2018

Rank #10

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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.

1hr 8mins

17 Apr 2019

Rank #11

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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.

1hr 13mins

12 Jun 2019

Rank #12

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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.

58mins

30 May 2018

Rank #13

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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.

1hr 5mins

24 Jan 2018

Rank #14

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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.

1hr 10mins

29 May 2019

Rank #15

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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.

1hr 28mins

13 Dec 2018

Rank #16

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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.

1hr 6mins

5 Sep 2018

Rank #17

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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.

59mins

19 Sep 2018

Rank #18