Community’s Fan Collaboration

Obviously social media affects every single part of our lives. I mean that is what this whole class is about. Every lecture and reading has told us “hey btw’s you know social media? well it’s everywhere and there is nothing you can do about it!” But more specifically this week was all about social media and its effect on fandom, and if I want to get even more specific, the reading for class on March 21st talks about social media’s effect on television fandom and fan interaction. The reading talked a lot about that one television show that everyone was crazy over about 2 years ago, Glee. (is anybody still watching it? I mean seriously that show died out as just as quickly as it started). Anyways Glee was one of the first shows to start the phenomena of #hashtagging episodes while they air. (I know it wasn’t the very first but it was the most popular show when that idea became common.) Now I see that stupid #hashtag with the name of the episode in the bottom left hand side of my screen whenever I watch a tv show. Call me bitter but I am just not a fan of the idea of social media invading all these new parts of my life. Next thing you know all restaurants will have an option for your food to come pre-instagramed. I know I am being facetious, and in all honesty, just like all humanity, I probably am just not a fan of change.

With that said the whole #hashtagging episodes craze has brought fans and creators closer together. Fans can go on and see how other fans are responding, while creators can instantly see their fans opinions on their work. But with only being able to post 140 characters twitter is very limited in these interactions, and in MOST cases the fans don’t really say much other than approval or disproval. But thanks to other social media sites I have seen many great collaborations on television shows between fans and creators.

One of these shows is on the wonderful and hilarious Community. This show was an instant cult classic and if anyone is familiar with cult classic TV shows you know the fan base is extremely passionate.  One of these passionate fans made a music video entirely out of clips from the first season of Community. The video is a romantic montage between two of the main 7 characters on the show set to the song Gravity by Sara Bareilles. I’ve included the video right down there VVVVVVVV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsBvqDwVqwc

So this video got passed around the internet from fan to fan on different social media sites like youtube, reddit, facebook, twitter, and many more. Then one day the creators of the show saw the video and loved it. They loved it so much that they remade it and put it into an actual episode of Community. In season 2 Episode 21, “Paradigms of Human Memory”, the episode is a series of flashbacks to previous memories, but each of these memories were never actually shown at any point during the show. So the creators took this fan made music video and kept the same song, theme, and meaning, but instead of using footage from previous episodes like the original video did they went with the theme of this episode and used randomly compiled footage from these characters memories that never actually happened on the show itself. Yes that is a run-on sentence that is probably very confusing to anyone other than me, but whatever this is a blog and I do what I want! (As long as I follow the guidelines that Mrs. Vickery put aside for us to follow (which I like to think that I am following (or I have at least convinced myself that I am following them (idk this is my first blog for this class))))  Anyways that video is right below this sentence. VVVVVVVVVVV

(I know it’s terribly quality, but it is really hard to find scenes from episodes on youtube due to copyright issues)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3IlLn3TTKU

That is amazing to me. I mean a fans are constantly making things that could in fact be an actual part of these TV shows but before social media the creators would never get a chance to see it! Sure there was fan fiction sites but they had such a derogatory reputation to them and creators rarely every pay them any attention. But if someone remix’s a show like the fan did with community it is much more likely to be seen by the creators and in some cases become an actual canon part of the show.

I could go on and talk about a bunch of other TV shows that I am a fan of where I have seen the rest of the fan community contribute a great deal to, (and even get their ideas and suggestions into the show) but I am already at 800 something words and have other homework to attend to. But before I leave how have you seen fans of your favorite TV shows contribute to the show itself?

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2 Responses to Community’s Fan Collaboration

  1. katgosko says:

    That episode of community has left my memory and when I saw it I did not link it to fandom. The creators of Community genuis’, they are able to please their fan base by incorporating fandom into their aired show. The creators also point out the fans ability to create the sense of a romantic relationship between two characters where one doesn’t exist within the show, like between Pierce and Abed, brilliant!
    I want to point out that I have not yet been apart of the world of Vampire Diaries, although I’ve been highly encouraged to watch it. During one of the season finale’s a vampire with my name (Katherine) entered a home without an invitation. We all know that one of the basic rules of being a vampire is that they are not physically able to enter a home without an invitation. This caused an uproar amongst all fans who turned to twitter to find answers. The writers kept hearing from fans over and over about this question, HOW COULD SHE ENTER THAT HOUSE? The writer’s kept trying to answer that question but found it difficult to fit it in. Finally, they satisfied fans by saying that the previous owners of the house had been vampires.
    With social networking, creators are paying attention to what fans want. And fans are become involved in their favorite shows.
    I feel more involved and knowledgeable about The Simpsons as I play The Simpsons :Tapped Out on my Ipad. Before the show airs, I know details of what the show will be about before many others. Of course, this gives me power over other fans.

  2. bprizer says:

    I caught on to Community within the past few months, and it quickly occurred to me how much interest the producers and creators of the show put towards the fans. The show does seem to have a cult following, and it’s usually common for cult shows to have a convergence with fandoms and comment on their fan fiction, slash, or remixes.
    Community seems to have a large presence on social media, and this was especially evident to me at the end of the last episode of season three when a title card popped up displaying the hashtag ‘sixseasonsandamovie’. At the time, the ratings for the show were below satisfaction and there were rumors of pulling the plug. The creator, Dan Harmon, thus took to social media to rally support from fans. The hashtag quickly took social media by storm. On his Twitter account, actor Joel McHale wrote, “#sixseasonsandamovie trending worldwide. Thank you everyone.” Fan websites, Tumblrs, and Facebook pages sprang overnight trying to keep Community afloat.
    While this action may not have been seen within the show, nor does it contribute to the show itself like your question asks, but the power of social media and reaching out to fans played a vital role in its resurgence.

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