LET’S TALK ABOUT PARODY VS. AFFECTIONATE PARODY
or That Time Hussie Parodied His Fans the Right Way
I want to just take a moment to talk about parody, guys - specifically, affectionate parodies of your fanbase. And how Hussie did it right, whereas another series that had snapped its fourth wall- Supernatural - did it wrong.
The person in the picture on the right is Becky. Becky was a character introduced in Supernatural at the beginning of season 5. She is a huge fan of the in-series books about the Winchesters - she writes fanfiction and runs fan pages and does all sorts of the things we associate with fandom. She’s called upon to help the Winchesters out.
Soon she comes back in an episode where the Winchesters have to attend a convention for the book series that’s about their lives; at this point she meets Chuck, the in-series author of the books, and starts dating him. By the end of the season she’s gone and we find out ‘it didn’t work out’.
Becky is the only female fan we see despite there being an episode presented as occurring at a convention (bearing in mind that the majority of Supernatural fans are female, this is pretty denigrating), so she is called on to represent all of female fandom - and she is presented as air-headed and idiotic. She is barely reliable and barely to be tolerated. She is presented as being only in everything for the sex and is a rabid Wincest fan (which not unexpectedly grosses out the characters involved, but still, did you have to do that, Kripke? Really?). When she disappears because things ‘didn’t work out’ between her and the in-series author, we can only draw the conclusion she’s meant to be illustrative of the creator’s feelings about his fandom.
Becky gave me massive second-hand embarrassment. Becky upset me despite my best efforts to like her. She wasn’t completely awful but her most prominent traits were her most obnoxious ones.
(On a side note, the entire convention episode was equally embarrassing. The male fans were almost as bad as Becky, but at least a couple of them got to save the day.)
Then we have Calliope.
Calliope is also a creation by the author to parody his fanbase. She cosplays, she spends all her free time drawing and writing and analyzing her favorite ‘characters’, she reads too much into everything. She sees herself as ugly and unlovable, but is drawn with a lovable smile and cute eyes.
She is also extremely integral to the story in ways we don’t know yet, but she isimportant. She’s not presented as incompetent, but helpful. She may turn out to be horribly wrong about everything but she was trying.
I love Calliope. She is absolutely adorable to me. She makes me feel warm and acknowledged - she is a parody and yes, Hussie is making fun of our tendency to read into every little thing and go nuts creating art and do all sorts of fun stuff like that - but I don’t feel insulted. I feel like I’ve received a nod and an amused, knowing smile.
This is the difference between parody and affectionate parody.
one makes you feel kind of terrible about who you are.
the other makes you feel pretty damn good.