6 Fandoms Ruined By Their Own Community


Obsession is always a fickle thing. Every time something gets a big enough following, and the community behind it begins to grow, it also grows unstable and more viable to go down in flames. This is particularly true in the world of pop culture, where the communities are based on active conversation, creation, and are continuously fed.

To clarify, let me give you an example: the Five Nights at Freddy’s community (let’s call this a “fandom”) grows and changes with every piece of news, fan art, theory, and of course every new game release; on the other hand, the wood-sculpting community hasn’t seen any action in ages, which means there is always a certain level of stability, and it will never eat itself.

I’m pretty obsessive. Whenever something strikes my interest, I like to eat it up like a starved grizzly bear. I love reading wikis, joining communities (mostly subreddits, to be frank). Sometimes, or, well, most times, this is very rewarding because I like to think that as my appreciation of pop culture grows, so do many skills I need as a creator. Sometimes, however, I become attached to a community headed straight to shit river, and more often than not it means I have to jump ship before I legit begin to hate the object I once used to love (as it’s happened before).

Let’s talk about some of these cases.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

The story behind My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and more specifically its fandom, is pretty interesting. When the show began, ran by the very talented Lauren Faust (whom we’ve loved in other shows like Foster’s Home and The Powerpuff Girls), it turned a few heads. Suddenly the show that was once only meant to be watched by five year old girls had some great writing, epic fantasy plotlines, adult-oriented jokes and references, and more. Fans of animation began to gather around it, seeing it as something novel and interesting, a funny thing to share. “Hey guys. I like My Little Pony and if you like cartoons, you should check it out!”

The community grew around season two to a pretty amazing thing. There were thousands of ‘bronies’ (a term that was once hilarious and now just denotes perviness), regular folk who just happened to like a cartoon no different to many other popular ones, gathered to discuss episodes, have theories, and share some awesome fan work, all under the mostly harmless pretense of “love and tolerate everyone”. Though it looked weird, no one there was a weirdo.

Then came the actual weirdoes.

This is a bit of a hush hush thing no one in the community likes to discuss, because obviously the concept of grown men watching My Little Pony raised several eyebrows and though there’s nothing wrong with it on principle, no one wants to admit that there are real weirdoes in the community. There’s no way to talk about it without sounding judgmental and mean, but there was a point when the community’s openness and acceptance became very popular, so millions of, uh, let's call them "peculiar" fellows, began to flock to the fandom—not because they liked the show at first, but because they knew they could be weird and no one would judge them there.

I jumped ship a while ago when the community became legit off-putting and strange and not just because of the whole clop thing (rule 34, which isn't specific to pony). The fact that the show’s fourth season was very lackluster, and that atrocity Equestria Girls exists, didn’t help. Now the fifth season is well on the way, and I couldn’t care less. Three years ago I wouldn’t mind saying I was a brony, and I did. Nowadays it’s embarrassing to be associated with the fandom. It’s a real shame.

PC Gamers

I once started drafting a whole post dedicated to this topic. This is a community that I cannot believe still exists. Many fandoms live and die through circle jerking, and that’s generally okay, but it takes a special kind of terrible to exist 100% completely based on a circle jerk.

You probably know the story. Some years ago, Yahtzee Crashaw (hilarious cynic from Zero Punctuation) made a joke about PC gaming being extremely complicated when compared to console gaming. This was a funny observation made as a criticism, and he decided to call PC gamers the master race. PC Gamers got this joke and decided to run with it, because it’s pretty funny (or, well, was).

The memes started, which depicted PC gamers as god-like superbeings capable of playing on future consoles, whereas console gamers were dirt-poor peasants who have to live on inferior platforms, never able to see the true light. It was an absurd joke, but a joke. It began to spread.

And then the insecure little shits came.

When people who didn’t really understand that the whole PC Master Race thing was made as a self-deprecating and ironic joke realized there was a way in which they could feel infinitely superior to most other gamers with the simple act of spending some money and doing some research, they found Nirvana.

Now, it’s become an embarrassing circle jerk, where there can be no article or news piece about an upcoming PS4 game’s graphics without several completely unfounded or plain untrue comments saying how PCs used to look like that in 2007. About how they can’t wait for the much superior PC version. About how it’s a shame the devs decided to bastardize their vision for the console peasants. It’s sad.

I have a high end new gaming laptop, and I absolutely love it. Not because of the graphical capabilities, but because PC has one awesome pro: the exclusive indie titles that don’t make it to consoles. It’s a perfect addition to my PS4, XB1 and Wii U.

#AllSystemsMasterRace, mother fuckers. Deal with it.

Final Fantasy

This ultra-popular J-RPG series that has been going on for almost three decades and dozens of games has always been about one thing: evolution. The fact that every new title in the main canon (and especially those outside the main canon) has very rarely repeated itself should be a pretty clear sign of this.

Which is why I’m endlessly bothered by the people who decided that Final Fantasy turned into shit after IX, eventhough the series is very consistent, despite a handful of experimental duds. I adore XIII, and I’m legit impressed by how I’ve rarely heard consistent arguments that explain why so many fans of the series hate it as much as they do (and, on the other hand, I’ve heard hundreds of valid arguments against VIII, my favorite game of all time). It’s a principle that makes XIII the bottom bitch of the series.

Nowadays, you can’t talk about any Final Fantasy after the PS1 era without hear the painful howls of a thousand fanboys talking about how it’s never been as good as VII, or never been as good as VI or IV. They talk about the glory days like those games were very flawed, many times with the exact same flaws people complain about XIII.

I remember when VIII came out, and how I went fucking crazy over it, and back then fans of the series hated it for many, many reasons—some of which, again, are valid, but most of which boiled down to “It’s not Final Fantasy”. Nowadays you talk with other fans about that game and they’ll praise it and talk about how it belonged to a golden era to the series. If history is to tell us something, the guys who are growing with XIII now will play Final Fantasy XX in 2027 and complain about it, while reminiscing about XIII as a highlight.

It’s almost as though nostalgia is a heavy factor in determining what makes a good Final Fantasy. Almost.

Doctor Who

I watched one season of this show (the numbers confuse me, but it had Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor). I hated every single thing about it. I thought the writing was atrocious, the acting terrible, the effects laughable, and just in general unwatchable. I also watched some more modern episodes later and it was even worse (I almost died during a Christmas special that involved a lady with a 19th century pistol unarming three highly trained soldiers from the future in full power armor).

But that’s fine; it’s just not my cup of tea. That being said: wow, I’m legit surprised about the enormous fandom it has. I would have never guessed that a product this poor in quality would gather such a great and faithful following.

I know the creative community is busy as fuck, and I’ve been very impressed with some of the fanwork I’ve seen (some of which has actually made me want to give the show another try).

What I cannot fucking stand is how Doctor Who fans feel the need to bring up The Doctor every time there is or there isn’t an opportunity. You can’t talk about Maguyver without a fucking Whovian talking about the Doctor and the Sonic Screwdriver (a terrible, terrible plot device, by the way). You cannot talk about Harry Potter 3 without some fucking Whovian talking about how the Doctor would’ve solved the climax in two seconds.

I don’t know how drama can exist with such boundless magic. I don’t care to find out, because I’m pretty sure it won’t make any sense anyway. I understand—or rather, have been explained by some fans—that it’s just about childish imagination and adventure, but so is Narnia or Harry Potter; I don’t see how that grants anyone license to have shit writing.

I don’t watch the show and I already have Doctor Who fatigue.

Batman

Ugh. This is one of the worst. I used to love Batman. He used to be one of my top 5 comic book characters. But then, and I I’m not sure when it happened, someone decided to make a joke about Batman being so badass that he always wins. Always. Because he’s Batman. The tautology was the joke, and everyone had a great laugh.

Of course this is demonstrably untrue (he’s lost and even died many times, sometimes to very pathetic enemies), but what sucks more is that the people who claim that Batman always wins don’t understand that they are bastardizing the character they claim to love so much.

The amount of fallacies involved in this whole circle jerk is impressive. First off, it works under the idea that what makes him a good character is winning fights, which is of course insulting to Batman. Secondly, it works under the pretense that he can win anything because he’s great at everything, which goes against the basic idea behind Batman, and what makes him so cool: he’s a human being, and not a super-powered demigod.

If you pretend that Batman is fantastic at martial arts, detective skills, problem solving, jazz singing, ballroom dancing, rock climbing, love making, being tsundere, and literally anything that could ever be useful in any situation ever, then I’m sorry but you no longer have a human being in your hands, and you just ruined the core idea behind the character you love so much. Unless Batman is 400 years old, this is either poor writing or false. And speaking about writing: you cannot use fictional media to make a point about who wins what; if Batman needed to lose to your mom, someone could write a story in which he does, and that doesn't mean your mom can beat Batman.

Batman is very smart (and newsflash: so is Superman; he’s literally superhumanly smart), strong, very well trained, and incredibly disciplined (*cough* just like Superman *cough*). Other than a pimping fucking costume, this is what he has in his favor, and that’s what makes him cool. Don’t take it any further or you’ll just compromise the character in order to plot a scheme in which he can beat Superman.

Now here’s the shitty thing: whenever you tell me Batman’s plan to defeat Superman, or Goku, or Hulk, you’re also bastardizing the character, because that means Batman’s brilliant scheme can be easily thought of by a regular joe (you)—what’s so special about him?

I hate the idea that thinking that Batman can lose to someone, and of course he can, makes him a worse character, when it’s quite the contrary. A problem I had with the first Bourne Identity movie is that it’s really hard to root for a character who always does things right and never ever fails. He’ll never be in danger. He’ll never feel human. He’ll never be relatable. Ironically, the fact that Superman has one glaring weakness in kryptonite, has made him a much more human and relatable character than the joke Batman fanboys have turned Batman into.

I take a sip, and pour one for my caped homie.

A Song of Ice & Fire

I’ve expressed my love for this book series, and more often the HBO adaptation, many times. I consider some of the books imperfect (namely four and five, which are currently being adapted into Game of Thrones’ fifth season), and I often praise the show, because I understand that the books as they exist cannot be translated without making some significant changes; not because of their scope and complexity, but because that scope and complexity isn’t necessarily a good thing, and changing it would often mean fixing it.

Do I miss many of the badass plot points and characters exclusive to the books? Absolutely. Victarion Greyjoy is one of my favorite characters. The Lady Stoneheart twist blew my shit away. The switcheroo at the Wall blew my mind. It’s all stuff I’d love to see in the show, and I don’t think it’s going to happen.

What I hate is all the fanboys who don’t actually notice that the books are far from perfect.

Let me paint you a picture of the A Song of Ice and Fire book-specific fan: a person who read the books (most of them after the show began even if they don’t admit it) and felt the warm glow of the spotlight now that the show is incredibly popular. Now, they’ve become snobs with an unwarranted superiority complex and a desperate need to explain how they got the good experience whereas everyone else is getting the dumbed down one.

Yo. Bro. No one gives a shit. People just want to enjoy an addictive show.

Oh you sure got the better experience; that must be why you seem so desperate to tell everyone. But hey, you read five mainstream books with no particularly difficult writing? Holy shit, I hope there’s room in your study for all the trophies. Open up some space in your schedule for the parades.

I wouldn’t mind it so much if it was just about them not enjoying the show, or even being disappointed by it, because that’s completely reasonable. What bothers me more is the people who think that the show is shit because Weiss and Benioff are incompetent hacks who are butchering Master Martin’s work with their incompetence because they’re such shit writers.

Yes, there have been some instances of poor writing in the show (just like in the books) but remember D & D don’t write all the episodes, only a handful. Also, newsflash, genius: it’d be much easier to adapt the books verbatim; the story is literally already written. It’s a much greater challenge to streamline the clusterfuck narrative of books four and five to turn it into an engaging TV show. For the most part they are succeeding, and that is very impressive. There aren’t many writers who could do the job as well as the Game of Thrones team has. Yes, there are many things I wish hadn’t been changed, and some that frankly baffle me, but they’re mostly understandable.

My favorite kind of book purists (other than the spoiler trolls who get indignant when called out on being assholes) are the ones who very obviously haven’t actually read the books. I love how millions of people keep repeating the same complaints over and over again. “It’s Jaime Lannister sends his regards!”, “Daario has blue hair and a forked beard!”, “Tyrion’s face is more gruesome in the books!”, blah blah blah.

Where the fuck was all this outrage when Dany had hair throughout season two? Or when Jaime had hair throughout season three? Or when Khal Drogo had a full beard? Or when Robb’s wife died? Or when hundreds of beloved characters from the show had very minor roles in the books? Oh right, you didn’t know any of these because you didn’t read the Devil-pissed books. This is what “Upvote” or “Like” systems do to discussions; they enable circle jerks, and turn good debate into shit.

Congratulations on reading the books, if you have, though. Your superiority complex still isn’t warranted. Stop making other book readers look like assholes.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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