The Shipping News: Darry O’Brylinson, Fandom Fatigue and an FTM Dean Winchester!

Happy New Year, AfterElton! Shhh, it’s totally still a New Year! Some of us still have our Christmas trees up. *cough* It’s a great and exciting moment for fandom, with shows coming back from hiatuses, Valentines’ Specials in the works, and lots of buzz in the air. Let’s hop to it! This week, we talk about the good, the bad, the problematic, the Darry O’Brylinson, and the HOLY CRAP UNDERAGE WTF.


  • AfterElton may be giving it up for The Backlot, but Vhelton lives on as “Vhot.” Worried about how to continue shipping AfterElton/VH1 after this week’s epic name change announcement? Fear not! The people—and our beloved VH1—have spoken, and Vhelton is still vHOT. We expect your fanart to evolve accordingly.

  • E Online says no to “fantasy” pairings: Having awarded its prize last year to Faberry, the beloved femslash pairing of Glee, in a face-off against Destiel, E Online made a rule change last week to its “TV’s Top Couples” poll that resulted in the explicit banning of all fandom ships—that is, anything not canon. “Only shows currently on the air or recently wrapped (Gossip Girl, Fringe) are eligible, and the duo must have had some legitimate romantic involvement in the past, not just in your head or in your fan fiction.” So, have fun figuring out what “legitimate” means, fans! (Troy and Abed totally have a legitimate romantic relationship, WHAT.) However, E is promising a different tournament for “fantasy” relationships. HEY, THERE’S NOTHING “FANTASY” ABOUT (insert ship here).

  • A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Slash: It’s been a rough week for Bandom, but it looks like pure joy may be on the horizon, with the news that everyone’s favorite don’t-call-it-emo band Fall Out Boy may be reuniting soon for a performance on Jimmy Kimmel. Rumors have long been swirling that the band has been working on a comeback, but it looks like all your Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz headcanons may be getting new material earlier than anyone realized: perhaps as soon as the next two weeks. How’s that for a Valentine’s Day present, Bandom!
  • Ugh, their arms are touching, ughhhh what is that little smile,


    Source: r-clandestin

    StumbledUpon: Accidental Pairings I Know Nothing About

    Have you ever been cruising through Tumblr and happened upon a totally new pairing you never knew existed? Today I’ll share a couple of recent totally accidental finds: a.k.a. pairings I know absolutely nothing about.

    1. Darry O’Brylinson

    Okay first off, I lied, Trobed is good, but “Darry O’Brylinson” practically BEGS to be your next OTP. I mean just imagine yourself saying this out loud: “I ship Darry O’Brylinson.”

    This glorious namesmush refers to what is apparently the EPIC LOVE between Dylan O’Brien and One Direction. I didn’t know this existed until yesterday’s episode of Fandomspotting, which is a weekly live fandom radio show discussing various fandoms and fandom issues. During yesterday’s episode, amid an epic rundown of 1D ships I didn’t know existed, Cherrybina highlighted Dylan (at 42:36) and his total fanboy love for 1D.

    Source: obsessewithteenwolf

    Really. AS IF WE NEEDED THIS KIND OF EXCITEMENT IN OUR LIVES. Like the isolated existences of “Dylan O’Brien” and “the members of One Direction” were not enough. NOOOO, now there apparently has to be all kinds of adorable chemistry between Dylan and Harry and Louis and seriously, fandom, what is this. Naturally, I promptly went looking for Dylan/Larry fic—I’m sorry, I meant I went searchin’ for Darry O’Brylinson, across the Irish hills, and I found a pot o’ gold; that is, I found not just one Dylan/Louis fic, but MORE THAN ONE! Guys. Guys! One of them is FAKE BOYFRIEND FIC. I know you know how much we here at the Shipping News love our Fake Boyfriend fic.

    Oh my god, I’m not even in either of these fandoms and I ship it. THIS JUST ISN’T FAIR.

    One day, Dylan. One day.

    2. “Nellis,” a.k.a. Nick/Ellis:

    Source: oppasprinkles

    Look at them! I have absolutely no idea who these people are but I LOVE THEM ALREADY. Apparently Nick and Ellis are popular characters from the “shooter” gaming franchise Left 4 Dead. They appear as “survivors” who are immune to the zombie virus in the second installment of the franchise, Left 4 Dead 2. Considering the game dropped in 2009, that sounds like they’re practically a power couple in gaming fandom, with an active DeviantArt community and what seems to be a thriving Tumblr presence. With the opening of Warm Bodies this week, zombies are all the rage, so let’s spotlight this ‘love in the time of zombie outbreak’ era apocalyptic OTP

    Which one is Nick and which one is Ellis? Does it matter? LOOK AT THEM SO ADORABLEEEEE.

    The one in the trucker hat (I think that’s Nick) is killing me with feelings.

    Artist: autumn-sacura

    3. Slendy/Pyramid Head

    Source: weheartit

    Really, fandom? We’re doing this? We’re doing this and it’s actually.... kinda hot, in a “shirtless he-man wrestles creepy tentacled grandfather” kinda way? Welp. Nothing says I LOVE HORROR like crossover fanwork where Slenderman, pagan god of creepypasta, gets it on with the terrifying executioner of the Silent Hill franchise, Pyramid Head. You know, actually, I kinda ship it—even if the fandom so far seems to consist primarily of people reacting to the fact that there’s PyramidHead/Slendy fic. HEY, I’M ALREADY A MEMBER!

    4. Sebastian/Ciel

    Kuroshitsuji, or Black Butler, is a popular manga/anime series that’s been crossing my dash for months, and seriously, how can you not resist something that looks this sumptuously gorgeous all the time?

    Artist: prodigybombay

    Apparently these two are demonic soulmates in love, or something, or so the fandom hath told me. There’s just one problem. Er. That dude on the left? Yeah, he’s apparently 13. JAPANESE FANDOM, WHY DO YOU ALWAYS DO THIS TO ME? The dude on the right (who’s the titular butler to the rich kid on the left) is immortal, however, so there’s tons of fanwork where the two are together later on. Does this satisfactorily circumvent ethical and moral concerns? This is a question we could ask all day of manga/anime fandom. Or Harry/Snape fandom, for that matter. But the point is: THIS IS GORGEOUS I LOVE IT.

    ...Okay, help me out, guys, for real: how do you feel about aging up underage characters so they can pursue mature adult relationships later on? Still totally creepy or the hat upon which you hang your fandom sanity? ....OR BOTH AT ONCE?

    Troy and Abed back to-gethhhhh-er!

    Finally, the long and oft-heartbreaking wait for Community Season 4 ends this week, and with it, the long, long, INSANELY LONG wait for the return of all our Trobed feels. (Trobed, greatest namesmush ever). If this week finds you interrupting your daily routine with occasional outbursts of “THANK GOD COMMUNITY IS BACK,” don’t worry—you’re not alone! Just think how relieved these guys feel now that they’re back on air at last, sharing their love with the world:

    Source: biohazardgirl

    We know how we feel:

    Artist: meganlara

    Danny v. Sterek: Highlights from the discussion

    In last week’s Shipping News, Yvonne played devil’s advocate and asked you all “how slash fans feel about increasing the importance of a canonical gay character over exploring the subtext of a slash pairing.” In the context of Teen Wolf, the idea of a “Danny vs Sterek” kind of dichotomy inevitably provoked a lot of discussion—400 notes’ worth on Tumblr, as well as lots of conversation on Twitter, and of course in our own comments as well.

    We recognized that it was a leading question with intent to generate discussion. Readers like mylittlewerewolf totally got that when they pointed out that Danny’s role serves as a foil for the argument many fans like to make that if Sterek became canon it would make strides for queer visibility. If Sterek fans are really concerned about equality, why not support Danny’s potential love interest as well?

    But the vast majority of respondents told us that they do; that to them, it’s not a “zero sum game.” As Sterek shipper Suaine said: “It’s not a matter of throwing out just enough gay to satisfy the fans. This is not a zero-sum game, and there is not some mythical quota that needs to be filled, and then there is no more room at the inn. I ship characters, no matter their fictional, canonical sexuality because I enjoy the relationship. I appreciate the pre-packaged homosexuals, but that will never be enough.”

    “If it came to CHOOSE,” mermaidmittromney added, “I would rather that Danny, as a canonically queer PoC [a minority character of color] got the narrative focus, but then again this is playing into the ‘gay quota’ frame of mind and there is absolutely no, zero, reason why there can’t be three (or more!) gay characters on Teen Wolf. The more, the merrier.”

    Personally, I’ve been arguing for years that we need more of everything: more queer characters, more POC characters, more queer relationships, more trans, poly, ace, and genderqueer characters, more of everything. But leaving aside that baseline desire—and really isn’t “visibility” still just the bare minimum of what we want from a tv show?—I think it’s interesting to see how responses might change as we move from a pairing with arguably zero current subtext, like Sterek (sorry, guys), to one with intentional and leading subtext, like Merlin/Arthur or the gents of Hawaii 5-0.

    If, say, Gwaine/Percival, or better yet, Gwaine/Arthur, had evolved into a canon ship without ever easing up on the subtext and UST (unresolved sexual tension) between Merlin and Arthur, would Merlin fandom see that as a cause for celebration because we’d finally gotten our queer pairing from this ridiculously campy show? Or would we see that as a betrayal of all the narrative subtext pointing us towards Merthur?

    Ultimately, I think I can speak for all of the slash columnists when I say we agree with mylittlewerewolf: we just want awesome queer characters doing awesome things—and genderqueer and POC, etc etc.

    Maybe then we’ll just be able to have ship wars without worrying about a lack of representation— the way fandom was meant to be. ;)

    Fandom Fatigue

    As much as we would all probably love to stay in the same fandom for all our lives, the time comes when many of us move on, to other pairings or communities, or maybe away from fandom altogether.

    What do you do when you feel yourself experiencing fandom or pairing burnout? Do you go read other fics in other pairings? Do you take a break from fandom altogether? Do you stop reading things for a while, or just focus on fanart or fanvids?

    And what causes fandom fatigue to begin with? Could it be too much drama or wank in your fandom? How about a dying fandom with not enough new material to sustain your interest? Maybe it’s just a shiny new pairing all your friends are interested in. Whatever the issue, here are the top three things to remember about fandom fatigue:

    1) It’s okay to feel burnout. Fandom is demanding and it takes up as much time as you have to give it—sometimes more than you have! If you find yourself dreading sitting down to write or draw or even putting off posting to LJ or Tumblr because it seems like too much trouble, you may be experiencing fandom burnout.

    2) You can always come back. The Internet doesn’t make everything permanent, but it does mean that most of the fandoms we love really are going to be around for a very very long time. You can take as much time as you need to breathe, enjoy RL, try new pairings, fall in love with a totally new ship. That OTP you’ve loved since you were old enough to know what shipping meant? It’s still going to be waiting for you when you come back. Maybe not right away, but it’s there.

    3) Moving on doesn’t mean you no longer love that thing you love. In a way, our relationships with our OTPs are a lot like our relationships with people. Sometimes we don’t want to let our attention wander or wane because we feel unfaithful. But that’s the glorious thing about having a collective community of fans around to create things and share those things with us. They’re always going to be creating new things, and it’s okay to fall in love with the next new thing. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed, or even that you no longer have things to say about that older pairing. It just means you are complicated, and and capable of loving many things! That’s something to celebrate. So celebrate!

    And remember, fandom is forever! You can check out any time you like, but you can never truly leave. :D

    Fic Rec: FTM!Dean Winchester in “Turn the Page

    Source: rae-maxwell

    So for this week’s fanfic recommendation I’m totally digging this Wincest fic where Dean is FtM. In “Turn the Page,” by messageredactd, Sam is a clueless dude who goes through the process of coming to understand that his sister isn’t just trying to be edgy, that this is really who Dean is. He goes through the process of switching first his thinking and then his pronouns. Plus, this fic starts with episode 1 of the series, so even if you haven’t read SPN fic in a while, this one requires no understanding of canon to enjoy.


    Dean sits the same way as the men did in the bars where they used to hustle pool. She has her knees spread wide, one booted foot up on the coffee table. She dangles the beer bottle at her crotch, slowly turning it in her fingers. Her chest is strangely flat. Sam keeps looking at it, wondering where everything could have gone.

    “Dean, I just don’t…” Sam stops and sighs. “You can be a lesbian without having to turn into a man.”

    Dean rolls her eyes and her fingers tighten on the beer bottle. She takes her foot off the coffee table and leans forward. “Okay, Sammy, this is not the part you should be freaking out about, okay? Dad is missing.”

    Sam leans forward too, echoing Dean’s pose. You can’t outman me. “And how is this different from any other time that Dad’s gone missing?”

    Dean’s eyes flick briefly to Jess, who is in the kitchenette making coffee. Her voice—which, Sam has noticed, is slightly deeper than he remembers—is measured and laden with meaning. “He’s on a hunting trip and he hasn’t been home in two weeks.”

    Read the full story here.

    That’s it for this week’s Shipping News! Next week well have a special Valentine's Day edition. Be sure and check it out.

    In the meantime, tell us what you think about Darry O’Brylinson, underage ships, fandom fatigue, and more!

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