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twelve . . . . . The Monster at the End of This Book We left Vancouver with the interviews that would finish our book. Supernatural Magazine liked our convention feature article and let us know it 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 of Supernatural. They didn’t know who we were on LJ or Tumblr. We quickly gained acceptance in the still-new field of fan studies. Kathy was appointed the Fan Culture area chair for the Popular Culture Association, and several publishers expressed interest in our academic books on fandom. As researchers, we felt equally accepted by Supernatural’s “creative side.” We stayed in touch with most of the actors we’d interviewed and some of the crew. We emailed back and forth with Sera Gamble and Eric Kripke, who called us “the official reporters of the fandom” and thanked us “for all you do for the show.” This should have been the happy ending for our book, but alas, that’s not quite the way the story turned out. As in any story based largely on hubris, we were heading for a fall. We had been warned, but you never really see it coming. Six weeks later, we were back in Vancouver for a very different kind of set visit. This one had been arranged months in advance and involved many forms, waivers, disclaimers, and identity verification. Two friends had bid on and won a set visit for four, the proceeds to go to charity. The two other people who were originally going to accompany them had to pull out, which the monster at the end of this book 229 left two slots open. In keeping with what we later realized was a serious inability to understand that the world of television studios works quite differently than the real world, we figured that we should take advantage of being on set again to do some more work. We emailed the editor of Supernatural Magazine, who had been so enthusiastic about our convention article, and pitched what we thought was a fabulous and mutually beneficial idea— interviewing some of the people we’d met in December: the buyer from the props department, director of photography Serge Ladouceur, and the production staff. The editor jumped at the idea, and we dutifully informed TPTB of our good news. We arrived in Vancouver thinking that everything was fine, at least as far as TPTB were concerned. In reality things were far from fine. Beloved director Kim Manners had just passed away, and the loss was still raw. We were also sharing the set visit with Entertainment Weekly reporter Alynda Wheat, who was writing what everyone hoped would be a cover story on Supernatural, finally gaining it the wider audience it so richly deserved. A studio rep had come along too, presumably to make sure that Wheat got the story she needed and the network wanted. Grief, tension, and a group of fans touring the set do not mix well. We went to work as soon as we arrived, while Julia and Alison were taken on their tour of the set. On our way to start our interviews, we ran into Clif the bodyguard and stopped to talk for a few minutes. We apologized for not sending him the photo we had taken of him in sparkly headgear last time we were on set and promised to email it to him when we got home. Lynn gave him her business card so that he would recognize the email when he got it. As we were leaving, we asked if the boys knew we were there. Clif replied rather ominously, “Oh, they know.” Something in his tone bothered us, but we tried to shrug it off. Jen took us around the production office again so that we could take more photos of fan gifts and front office paraphernalia that we missed last time. Once again, we gave out a business card to several other people we were introduced to. Normal everyday human interaction, as far as we were concerned. Dangerous subterfuge as far as TPTB was concerned. We were...

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