Bad Fans Or Misunderstood Fans? Kelsey Moore
What makes someone a "bad” fan? Is it because they should feel some kind of shame in watching a particular movie or television show? This is something that can be paired with the phrase “guilty pleasure”, but it has a much harsher feel to it. I believe that everyone has a particular character in a novel, TV show, movie, or play that they are attached to because of the relatability between them in some way. Even the darkest character in a show captures the attention of viewers because he/she has a piece of human emotion that can grasped, and there are times when the audience gains sympathy for that character once their past is revealed.
For an example of a character who is loved despite his dark actions, one can look at Dexter Morgan—loving father, devoted brother, forensic specialist, and serial killer. What makes fans of Dexter love the title character is the fact that he only goes after other serial killers in order to protect the innocent and provide them with revenge, and he has a tragic childhood past that makes the audience feel human compassion towards him. If Dexter were just a killer who went around murdering random people, it can be argued that he would be hated by a majority of watchers. I think the fact that Dexter murders people is what causes those who may have never seen the show to label its fans as “bad”. What those who are against shows like Dexter fail to realize is the fact that there are redeeming qualities to the main character, and they simply look past the human psychology that takes place. Though it feels strange to say that Dexter is a “good” serial killer, there are many who look at him as a good guy because he rids the world of people who would prey on the innocent. There are of course other shows who have characters that we would hate just by looking at their actions (Don Draper of Madmen or Walter from Breaking Bad), but by getting to examine their situation we can feel sympathetic towards them because of their human struggles.
In the end, I would never call someone a “bad” fan for liking a particular show because there may be a larger point behind it that I’m missing. I think that the people who enjoy these particular shows are misunderstood fans due to the fact that there are people who just look at the program with a narrow viewpoint. This is digressing a little, but to say that someone is a bad reader because he/she prefers to read manga (Japanese comic books) over traditional books comes off as being snarky and totally snobbish; to say that someone is a bad sports fan because they prefer hockey over football is just as dumb; and to say that someone’s a bad eater because they prefer one type over another is equally as stupid. Every person is different, and so the shows we love will vary. It is when people only look at a program from one point of view that the term “bad fan” comes about and casts negativity over everything, and that is something that needs to stop.