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Supernatural Fangirls

Katherine Larsen and Lynn S. Zubernis

Publication Year: 2013

Once upon a time not long ago, two responsible college professors, Lynn the psychologist and Kathy the literary scholar, fell in love with the television show Supernatural and turned their oh-so-practical lives upside down. Plunging headlong into the hidden realms of fandom, they scoured the Internet for pictures of stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki and secretly penned racy fan fiction. And then they hit the road—crisscrossing the country, racking up frequent flyer miles with alarming ease, standing in convention lines at 4 A.M.
They had white-knuckled encounters with overly zealous security guards one year and smiling invitations to the Supernatural set the next. Actors stripping in their trailers, fangirls sneaking onto film sets; drunken confessions, squeals of joy, tears of despair; wallets emptied and responsibilities left behind; intrigue and ecstasy and crushing disappointment—it’s all here.
And yet even as they reveled in their fandom, the authors were asking themselves whether it’s okay to be a fan, especially for grown women with careers and kids. “Crazystalkerchicks”—that’s what they heard from Supernatural crew members, security guards, airport immigration officials, even sometimes their fellow fans. But what Kathy and Lynn found was that most fans were very much like themselves: smart, capable women looking for something of their own that engages their brains and their libidos.
Fangasm pulls back the curtain on the secret worlds of fans and famous alike, revealing Supernatural behind the scenes and discovering just how much the cast and crew know about what the fans are up to. Anyone who’s been tempted to throw off the constraints of respectability and indulge a secret passion—or hit the road with a best friend—will want to come along.

Published by: University of Iowa Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

...Thanks to our families for their patience (and for not giving up on our sanity) throughout our five-year road trip through fandom. We couldn’t have done it without their support and the support of the rest of our SPN Family—the cast, the crew, and our fellow fangirls who’ve come along on the...

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pp. ix-xvi

...“Turn here, turn here!” “Where?” “Right there, right there, ohmygod you’re gonna miss it!” Kathy yanked the wheel of our rented PT Cruiser sharply to the right, tires screeching as we drove way too fast through the unfamiliar streets of San Diego. Lynn scowled from the passenger seat, clutching the door handle...

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One - Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

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pp. 1-18

...Long before we started writing about being fans, we simply lived it. And there was nothing intellectual or rational about it, as our 4 a.m. dash to Comic Con makes clear. What is it about being a fan that makes us, and so many others, push the boundaries of common sense to pursue the emotional...

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Two - Seeking Asylum

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pp. 19-37

...In May 2007, actor and object-of-our-affection Jensen Ackles traveled to England to appear at his fi rst fan convention, Asylum. We, unfortunately, did not follow. Instead Lynn sat glumly in Starbucks frowning into her chai, while Kathy tried to turn the disappointment into constructive discussion...

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Three - Get a (Sex) Life

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pp. 38-58

...On our first fannish excursion to Fort Worth, we were already struggling to balance our fan lives with our real-life responsibilities (mother, partner, friend, professor), torn between the first love thrill of fandom and our sometimes debilitating guilt about indulging our passion—a guilt that we suspected...

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Four - Hollywood Babylon

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pp. 59-75

...We returned from Texas filled with regret. Lynn had sampled a little bit of it while missing out on Asylum but gulped down a bitter helping when we failed to meet Ackles in Texas. All the way back to the East Coast, and for weeks after, she berated herself for choosing pancakes over Jensen on opening night and for returning home...

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Five - Fear and Loathing in Vancouver

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pp. 76-94

...We are not optimists by nature or conditioning. Kathy quietly moves through life on the assumption that nothing will work out and that complete happiness is a media construct, something that happens in films and Jane Austen novels but never in real life. Lynn is right there with her for the most part...

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Six - Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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pp. 95-115

...Our experience in Vancouver changed us. The suspicion, stigma, and shame that we’d encountered confi rmed Kathy’s desire to differentiate herself from “fangirls.” She never wanted to be looked at that way again. Even Lynn’s fannish enthusiasm was dampened. By the time we arrived at the...

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Seven - Coming Out in LA

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pp. 116-140

...“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re having a slight problem with the left engine. Someone should be here shortly to fi x it, and then we’ll get underway to Los Angeles,” our pilot informed us before takeoff. Kathy, a white-knuckle fl ier under the best of circumstances, did not take the news well. As always in these situations she imagined wrench-wielding...

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Eight - Playing the Fame Game

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pp. 141-166

...No matter how sunny it had been in LA, it was cold and dark back in the mid-Atlantic a few weeks later. Kathy was tripping the light fantastic. These were the days she lived for. The day of our phone interview with Eric Kripke, Kathy was happily driving up I-95 toward Lynn’s house, with her...

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Nine - Stuck in the Middle (with You)

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pp. 167-184

...As we moved back and forth between our identities as fans and as researchers, we began to occupy a strange middle ground, which carried with it both the thrill of being an insider and the risk of alienating the community of fans that we valued being a part of. Everyone who’s straddled the line has...

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Ten - Working for the Man

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pp. 185-202

...Conventions are a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the actors as well as a chance fi nally to meet in person the friends you’ve made online. But conventions are expensive, so the majority of fans never get a chance to go. There’s the ticket itself, and who can resist adding in a...

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Eleven - The Sweet Spot

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pp. 203-227

...For reasons that we’ll never really be sure of, Warner Brothers liked us very much that December. So much, in fact, that they offered us a set visit. Could we be on a plane and in Vancouver in a week? Was that a rhetorical question? Screw the end of the semester, forget grading fi nals, never mind...

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Twelve - The Monster at the End of This Book

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pp. 228-240

...would welcome more. We started presenting our research on fandom at academic conferences and got a positive reception from our colleagues. These people knew us as Dr. Larsen and Dr. Zubernis, an English professor and a psychologist who had some new theories about fandom and how to study it. They didn’t know us as fangirls or as fanfic writers or as women who squeed over the latest episode...


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pp. 241-246


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pp. 247-249

E-ISBN-13: 9781609382155
E-ISBN-10: 1609382153
Print-ISBN-13: 9781609381981
Print-ISBN-10: 160938198X

Page Count: 265
Illustrations: 22 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: first