The warm fuzzy feelings of fandoms
Throughout May, Anythink encouraged our customers to dive deep into fandoms, explore super powers and create their own pop culture narratives in celebration of Pop It. At Anythink Wright Farms, staff joined in on the fun by proudly supporting our fandoms with some added flair on our lanyards. As I looked at the button options in our staff room I saw familiar favorites like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, but it took me a long time to choose the pin I would adorn my lanyard with for the next few weeks.
In what felt like an hour-long identity crisis, I came to the conclusion that I might not belong to a fandom. Sure, I enjoy many entities and consume quite my fair share of popular culture, but does that base enjoyment induct me into a club of followers? Does my Harry Potter purse pull me closer or does my lack of knowledge of Hogwarts history kick me out?
A coworker once told me that I lack nostalgia. I rarely view a film or television episode more than once and I am hard pressed to tell you who my favorite movie character might be. I do not reread, which is often met with a groan from everyone I know, and I do not own many treasures from my life adventures. When a post entitled "Science Says Watching the Same Movies and Shows Over and Over Again is Actually Good for You" popped up on Thought Catalog, I needed to know more.
The study referenced, "The Temporal and Focal Dynamics of Volitional Reconsumption: A Phenomenological Investigation of Repeated Hedonic Experiences", took place in 2012 and sought to explore why so many people reconsume experiences. Most of the people in my life fall into this category. My brother has seen The Devil Wears Prada at least 100 times. My husband watches The Simpsons and Venture Brothers on a loop. I have coworkers who go see the same movie in the movie theatre more than once. This has always been the mold around me that I do not fit into. The researchers found that the hedonic experience of revisiting “is known to arouse emotions, stimulate physical reactions, solicit memories and fantasies, and trigger cognitive development”.
While services like Netflix, Kanopy and Acorn allow us to revisit our favorites with ease, what is it about my own personality that goes against reconsumption? Does my need for variety and uniqueness put me at a disadvantage to my peers who are getting all these positive neural charges from watching every season of Friends on repeat? Will I never feel included in a fandom because I enjoy a variety of experiences? I hope not, but in my never ending quest to find myself, I wanted to take a dive into the few things I do revisit to see if I could discover a small insight into my psyche.
Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead – I will always watch this movie if it is on. I smile at David Duchovny as sleezeball Bruce in his slicked back hair and feel a sense of pride at the film’s denouement which features an early '90s styled fashion show of uniforms.
Pizza Shuttle in Lawrence, Kansas – The alfredo cheese pizza is my favorite food in the world and it’s also the place my now husband gave me and my friends free pizza, thus winning my heart.
Deadwood – With the anticipation of HBO’s 2019 movie taking place 10 years after the series finale, I have picked this one back up as a replacement for Game of Thrones night with my husband. I enjoyed the gripping lawlessness back in 2004 and I remain pleased with the character acting the second time around.
So, I get it. I understand the warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia. I watch Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead because it brings out some pure joy. Pizza Shuttle is delicious, but it also reminds me of a great moment in my life. I am revisiting Deadwood so I can have a new, shared experience with my husband. Maybe I was wrong to equate fandoms with total knowledge and prophetic passion. Perhaps a fandom is just about sharing something you love with other people. We reconsume and fixate over things that mean something to us. So, I chose a Game of Thrones button that day because I was Team Arya all the way (and then removed it in protest after the finale).
For those of you revisitors out there, what is it that brings you back? Are you looking for a glimpse of your past, looking for new clues in old standbys or do you just like what you like? Do you claim any fandoms or are you perhaps a little like me, just a consumer of it all?