Mar 15, 2014

On What It Means to be a Fangirl



Yesterday I watched the Veronica Mars movie. And then I rewatched it. And rewatched it. And then maybe rewatched it. Then rewatched certain make-out-lift-up-to-perfect-hipster-music scenes OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am a fangirl.

This comes as no surprise, I'm sure. In fact, I don't think I've met a single YA author who isn't a crazy-fan in one sense or another. We are consumed by stories, after all, and those epic, never-ending, hope-filled romances are our kryptonite. Nothing exemplifies this blend of longing and fear and FEELS better than Veronica Mars.

I first got into the world of Neptune when I was in college. I remember renting the DVDs from my local video store (remember those?), binge watching the series on my futon (we all had futons, shut up), and ignoring my then-boyfriend for days. I couldn't get enough of the quick wit, of the over-arching mysteries, and, of course, of Logan. Watching Logan and Veronica's story play out with all the messy feelings, the pushing and the pulling, the kissing and the fighting, was consuming. And before I knew what was happening, I was consumed. 

Veronica Mars was not the first thing I've ever fangirled over. That belongs to The Tribe, this weird, obscure show about teens in a dystopian New Zealand who live in a shopping mall after all the adults are wiped out by a mysterious virus (IT WAS AMAZING (but also kind of terrible)). Then there were the few years in high school where I fangirled out over Roswell pretty hard, to the point where I was having Liz & Max fueled dreams and canceling plans in order to read fanfiction.

Back then I was definitely the only one of my friends who had ever even heard of fanfiction. Sometimes I still am. Most of my friends (apart from the amazing online community) are not fangirls or boys. They do not understand the way something can sink into your skin, can live inside you, is all that you can think about for days and weeks and your biggest fear is that it will end and then you will never find another show or couple or book that will match this obsessive, all-encompassing feeling. For me, this is the roller-coaster test. If I see or read about a couple having A MOMENT and my stomach drops out like I'm on a roller coaster, and keeps dropping out for weeks upon weeks, I know that I have found another pure fangirl love.

I've had a bunch of them, believe me. The Tribe, Roswell, The Outlander series, The Bronze Horseman series, Battlestar Galactica, the first three seasons of Misfits. But fangirling is not the same as liking something. I like plenty of stuff. I watch/read and get invested in a lot of things. Loving to the point of obsession is much different. And I've never loved any of my fangirl obsessions as much as I love Veronica Mars.

The problem with being a fangirl is that it will break your heart. When VM was cancelled, I actually cried. I wish I was kidding. But by that point I was already losing faith. The third season was clearly a season for the network instead of the fans - changing its format to try and stay on the air, softening Logan and Veronica to the point where they were almost unrecognizable. I thought the Duncan-storyline in season 2 was as low as we could go, but I was wrong.

Clearly, I've thought about this a lot. And I still do. Because here's the thing - as a fangirl you are giving a part of yourself over to someone else - a stranger really - and asking them to care for it. I think that anyone who loves Veronica Mars as much as I do feels in some weird, completely irrational way that they have a relationship with Rob Thomas, the creator. That we are a part of the same team. That we can blame him for things and praise him for others, but that - no matter what - we are connected. It makes no sense, I know. Trust me. But does anything about being a true fangirl make sense? It is all about base emotions, and I've found that those are rarely rational.

Is this all a long-winded way for me to say that I love Veronica Mars? Well, yes. But it's more than that. Watching the movie last night (and again this morning, let's be honest) brought back all those old feelings. I felt like I was watching fanfiction come to life, and that was in no way a bad thing. For years I've been forced to live with the thought that Veronica would end up with Piz, that she and Logan would never be together, that she'd leave Neptune and never look back. I had to imagine what her future would be like, to wonder and speculate. But that's the danger of getting completely sucked into a world and a story - at some point it has to end and the only thing left is our imagination.

As a fangirl, I live in a world where there's a little part of me that believes all of these people actually exist. Or at least I like to pretend that they do, that these characters aren't just lifeless things in a book or on a screen. They're real. They're part of me. Which is why I've always chosen to believe that somewhere out there, even all these years later, Logan and Veronica are making out and solving crimes in a town called Neptune. Last night I finally got that confirmation, and it feels pretty incredible.