Media Nerds Podcast

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Could I Be a Brony?

Last week, Kenton and I talked about Niche Nerds; those who love a media property so much that they celebrate it in their everyday lives, attend conventions, dress in costumes and generally obsess over everything having to do with their TV show/movie/video game of choice.

The discussion was brought on by my viewing of Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony. Here’s the trailer:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohnuyqJyEW0]

It’s a really good documentary, and if you’re interested in geek culture in any way, I highly recommend that you give it a watch. It’s on Netflix.

Watching this film made me curious. Could I be a Brony? If I had discovered this show at the right time in my life, would I have enjoyed Pony Cosplay, creating fan art for the show, or writing awesome songs about its characters? (Seriously, there’s some really great stuff out there produced in the name of the ponies!)
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPfMb50dsOk]

That song was written by The Living Tombstone and Eurobeat Brony, two guys who were featured in the documentary, and now I can’t get it out of my head.

Unfortunately, I suspect the answer would be no. I watched a few episodes of MLP: Friendship is Magic sans kids this weekend, just to see what all the fuss was about. The show is good. I mean REALLY good. As a veteran watcher of literally hundreds of children’s TV shows, I can say without a doubt that this is one of the best. The animation is great, the characters are really funny and engaging, and the content of this show teaches valuable life lessons. I really did like it a lot.

But not enough to shout it out to the world. Not enough to dress up, write fan fiction, or get into heated debates about whether Discord is really a bad guy or not (I have no frame of reference here. I don’t know what Bronies argue about, but it seems to me that they could argue about that).

To be fair, I don’t know that I love any media franchise enough to do those things for it. I love Star Trek, Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Firefly, Minecraft and yes, even My Little Pony. But I’m not the kind of fan who wears my fandom on my sleeve. I prefer to celebrate it in private, or in the company of a few good friends.

And I have nothing but incredible respect for those who have the courage to do so. I love going to conventions and seeing the cosplay. I love seeing like-minded people gather to revel in their love of a single thing. I even love to see these Winnipeg Star Trek fans from the 80s create a super cheesy cable access TV show:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4cUu9uDxSw]

Maybe I do need to put myself out there more. Maybe I should write some Star Wars fan fiction. Maybe I should dress up as Malcolm Reynolds for this year’s Central Canada Comic Con. (Listen, we’re taking baby steps here. I’ll work my way up to Drax the Destroyer just as soon as I’ve got the abs for it.)

Alright, consider this my Nerd Year’s Resolution. I’m going to get my geek on and express my love of these things more publicly. Come October, I will cosplay at CCC.

And thank you Bronies, for being yourselves no matter what. You make me be a better nerd.

– Dan

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Spoiler Alert! (Game of Thrones Edition)

So. Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones blew up the Internet.

There were several reasons for this. Without getting into spoilers (Google “Purple Wedding” if you want to know what happened) the episode contained a MAJOR event that made a lot of viewers really happy. Those people took to social media to rejoice publicly, and were met by a wave of hatred coming from the fans of the show that had yet not seen the episode, but were stupidly wandering the Twitterverse, ignorant of the threat of spoilers that lay in wait.

Bottom line: people hate having their favourite TV show spoiled on social media.

The problem with this attitude is that Twitter has become the best social media platform to complement watching live television. It is a second screen experience that allows you to connect with other fans of the show, to converse with them about what’s happened, and to make witty 140 character-long jokes about incest and beheadings (again: Google). Twitter generally enhances the TV viewing experience, and I’ve had a blast live-tweeting shows like Mad Men or Breaking Bad when I’m able to watch them live. It gives me something to do during the commercial breaks.

The operative phrase there is when I’m able to watch them live, which isn’t very often. I have kids, who like to stall at bedtime (Just one more story, Daddy!) and sometimes it’s a challenge to get to the TV right when the show is starting (Go to sleep, The Walking Dead is on!) More often or not, I’ll PVR the episode and start watching after the kids are in bed and the house has quieted down somewhat.

But you can be sure that if I delay watching the show, then I avoid all social media and outside conversation. Kinda like that time Ted was trying to avoid finding out who won the Super Bowl in HIMYM:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpQD-cHVtfY]
So many people on Twitter were angry about the GoT spoilers last night. It got a little heated at times:

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 2.39.14 PM

 

Okay, THAT conversation between two of my favourite YouTubers many not have been as nasty as others, but you could tell that @megturney was pissed initially.

And I don’t really think she had a right to be. If a show that you love is on TV and you are not able to watch it live, then it’s on you to avoid the Internet and all the spoiler risks inherent within. Twitter is there for people to express themselves publicly, and if that expression takes the form of YELLING IN JUBILATION THAT THEY FINALLY DID THAT THING THAT YOU’VE BEEN WANTING THEM TO DO SINCE PRETTY MUCH THE FIRST EPISODE (ahem) well, then so be it.

That’s not to say that you have to avoid Twitter altogether until your’re able to see the show. I understand that we’re not all able to schedule our lives around HBO’s Premium Cable Sunday Night Lineup. The whole point in owning a PVR is that you can watch what you want when you want. I would say generally that there’s about a 6-hour period after the airing of the show in which spoilers can abound. After that, if you’re Tweeting publicly about it (and not taking the conversation to DMs or @ replys) then you’re pretty much a dick. So don’t do it.

Moral of the story: avoid Twitter on Sunday nights if you don’t want Game of Thrones spoiled for you.

And all the action was indeed happening on Twitter last night. I popped over to Facebook briefly, but all I saw was everyone’s Instagram selfies from Saturday night at the bar (thanks, Facebook’s screwed up newsfeed algorithm!) there was NOTHING Game of Thrones-related there. So, if you absolutely can’t turn off the social media addiction for one night, it’s a good bet that Facebook will not reveal the intricate scheming of the Lannisters and Baratheons and spoil the whole damn episode.

But the real lesson to take away from this is: watch GoT as soon as damn possible. If not live, than that same night. Same goes for Mad Men. I can’t imagine coming in to work on Monday having not seen those shows. The Sensory Deprivator 5000 would be on in full force!

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Can’t wait till next Sunday!

– Dan