7 Shipping Safety Tips

I was at #TVDChicago this past weekend. I was in the room when this was said:

Ian: “Shipping is the most dangerous thing that I’ve ever seen.”

Paul: “More dangerous that guns or crack?”

Ian: “No shipping questions.”

This little exchange got many in The Vampire Diaries fandom all fired up. Many took it personally, because it hit too close to home. I am invested in the relationship between Damon and Elena and ship them as a couple. They are my OTP, but I hope that I do it in a thoughtful and respectful way. 

That being said, Ian has a point. Over time, this segment of the fandom has become more and more militant and mean spirited. I have felt that it has lost its sense of fun and is full of bad vibes. I’m often fearful of some fans jumping down my throat for making a simple tweet that isn’t inline with the mob mentality. I am past the point of caring and realize that I’m going to get hate for writing this. So here it goes. 

I’ve shipped television couples in the past, present and probably will in future. I even mention that as part of my Twitter profile, “shipping television couples since the 1900s.” Come to think of it, I may have been shipping TV couples, like Mulder/Scully and Spike/Buffy, before many of my friends and foes in the Delena fandom were even born.  
As someone who is a bit older and experienced, I’ve used this wisdom to come up with a list of shipping safety tips. If we are to believe Ian about the dangerous of this pursuit, we should use caution and do it safely and sanely. 

  1. Never ship real people. Just ship characters. Some Delena folks, are still obsessed with Nian. It’s fine to advocate for Damon and Elena, it is not fine to advocate for Ian and Nina. Let the actors live their own lives. Why should he or anyone care about what you think of his love life? You have no business to make comments in real life relationships, especially because you don’t know the whole story. Don’t be your elderly aunt that tries to push you towards your ex. Wouldn’t you hate it if people kept harping on you about a past relationship? Ian is married to someone else, so let’ shut up about it. It isn’t respectful to anyone. 
  2. Don’t let shipping get in the way of your enjoyment of the show. If you view everything with a shipping lens, especially on a show like TVD that is oriented toward romantic relationships, you’re going to have a bad time. To make things interesting people, and relationships must have ups and downs, obstacles and curve balls. Hate to break it to you, but narratively a functional, healthy relationship lacks conflict and drama. Happiness is a very boring story. I want a Delena endgame, but keeping them apart is good for the show. What made the relationship so awesome in seasons 1 through 3 is they were not together, although we desperately wanted them to be. That longing is what made the initial emotional connection. Once they got together, other tension was brought in with the sire bond, Damon’s bad behavior, and now the “sleeping beauty” curse. It keeps it dynamic and interesting. 
  3. Don’t sabotage a show because you are not getting your own way. I found it crazy that many are trying to sabotage the show after Nina left. You know, not watching live to bring the ratings down or watching pirated feeds. I’ve also known of people not using the hashtag during the show intentionally to keep it from trending. Don’t be a dumbass and ruin it for everyone else.  If you do this, you are a spoiled brat.
  4. Realize that people are much more than just a romantic partner. As a feminist, it is disturbing that so many people are obsessed with defining characters and people by his/her significant other. We are more than who we love. We are much more that who we go to bed with or want to go to bed with. There are so many aspects of a person than sex and love. People and characters, shouldn’t be reduced to that. It is a sad that some young women are so oriented in this direction. One of the “lemons out of lemonade” thing of Elena being in that coffin in we get to discover who Damon is without the interactions with her. Who he is as a friend to Bonnie, a drinking buddy to Alaric, a brother to Stefan and so on. 
  5. Be respectful of other people’s opinions. It is okay to disagree with people and let others know how you feel. Learn how to be articulate in expressing yourself and your arguments on social media. State your case, use supporting facts, and maybe you’ll find people that agree with you and others might think that you’re crazy, but that’s okay. Most people just spew hate with an entitled sense of their own opinions. It makes you look dumb, superficial and reduces Delena fans into the stereotype that Ian (and frankly I) don’t like and find destructive. 
  6. Don’t be a divider. Ship wars create factions. We all like the same show. Who cares if we like Delena or Bamon? We can watch it and love it for different reasons, but we are one group. Don’t hate on the actor if you don’t like the character. Don’t hate on the writers if you don’t get your way. It’s like Twitter is a junior high and some fandom groups are catty meangirl cliques. Let’s celebrate out similarities, not obsess about our differences. Don’t be a bitchy bully. 
  7. Be along for the ride. A long term television series is a journey. Rememberer that you as a fan or you as part of a collective fandom have little say on the content or direction on the show. You might have a delusion of power, because of this social media culture. If you think that your thoughts and storylines are better than a show, you can write fan-fiction or get into television writing and production and make your own damn show and make it the way that you want it to go. 

Keep your shipping safe, for mind, body and soul.

Television, Uncategorized

The Walking Dead and Binge Watching Brats


I know some people are going to hate this, but it needs to be said.

A-veruca-saltSaying that the fan reaction to The Walking Dead Season Finale is mixed is generous. Some fans (like me) loved the tension of not knowing who Negan’s victim was. Others were so viscerally angry about it. The not knowing pissed them off to no end. There are threats not to watch the show. Online complaints and virtual temper tantrums. This shows me that many TV viewers have no tolerance for cliffhangers. Some members of the audience remind me of Verruca in Willy Wonka, demanding to be entertained on his/her terms and on his/her timeline.

That big backlash reaction is a bit puzzling to me. Maybe I’ve been around the block enough times to know that cliffhangers are a common practice on television, especially on season finales. News flash, but this is how it rolls. People seem to forget this because we live in an on-demand culture. We want it now. Instant gratification!

I’ve been binge watching The X-Files with my Mom who hadn’t watch the series before. On a few cliffhanger seasons finales, I said something like, “back in the day, I had to wait all summer to see what happens.” And at that moment, we just had to wait for the 30-seconds for Netflix to load the next episode. Has this binging culture has made people have less patience for cliffhangers?

I also understand that this moment on The Walking Dead was hyped up for awhile. For weeks, we knew that the season would lead up to this moment and I went in fully prepared to not find out who got his/her head smashed in. If you recall, we had to wait for weeks and weeks to know if Glenn had died or escaped under that dumpster. Or not knowing how the group was going to get Terminus box car all summer long? Why is not knowing who died here surprising to anyone who has watched multiple seasons of The Walking Dead or any sort of television?  This ending shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has been paying attention.

If you don’t like the way this was handled, this may not be the show for you. Maybe you’re the type of person that should just stick to watching old TV shows. Or find entertainment that is less raw. Your behavior makes you seem like a big baby, Judith is way much more badass than you are.

screen_shot_2016-04-03_at_7.43.21_pmFrom a narrative perspective, it wasn’t stupid or gimmicky to leave it open ended.  What would knowing who died really prove? How would seeing someone’s bashed and bloody head bring you a sense of real closure? How would’ve made it better? What could we do with that information until next season? Would this give anyone time to be properly mourned or be fully eulogized? What comes next for our surviving characters is what season 7 will be about.

In this era of instant gratification, a big damn cliffhanger (for some) is maddening. People want easy answers and they want them now. There is something oddly brilliant of making people wait for answers and speculate.

Temper tantrums be damned.

Television, Uncategorized

Objectives, Subjectivity & Roasting Joffrey – Reblog


I’m teaching a course on Public Relations.  This semester, I started a blog to pass on to my students and others who are interested in PR topics.  The post below is TV related and I thought that readers of this blog might want to check it out.


One of my favorite social media promotions occurred last month.  To promote Game of Thrones, a roast of the character Joffrey Baratheon was held on December 12.

This article from Advertising Age, looks into how HBO and 360i an agency focused on digital promotions developed the campaign.  Part of it was done through social media research and the fact that Joffrey is the most hated character on TV today:

Not everyone thought the campaign was successful. Here is an article from Defamer, that thought the campaign was lacking:

The lesson here is that all campaigns are subjective.  Some people will like it and others will not.  This shows the importance of setting your own communication objectives for any campaign.  Did it do what HBO wanted it to do?  I’m not sure, but from my end, it was a fun way for fans to talk about the show at a time when new episodes were not on the air.


5 Reasons to Watch The Originals this Fall!

The-Originals-PosterThe Vampire Diaries fans are excited for the debut of  The Originals spin-off on October 3. I don’t need to sell Vampire Diaries fans on the concept, characters and overall show.

I hope my blog post below, intrigues non-TVD fans to check it out.  If you are interested, you can watch the Director’s Cut of the Pilot episode.  It was part of a Vampire Diaries episode, but was edited and expanded to focus on the Originals storyline.

Why should people that don’t watch TVD check out this new show? Here are a few reasons why.

Interesting Premise

The Mikaelson family are the first people to become vampires in Vampire Diaries lore, they are “original” vampires.  The family history is long and complex.  The parents found a way to use magic to protect their children from werewolves and thus created the vampire species. They did this because one of their children was killed by a werewolf. The father and the 5 surviving children were transformed into vampires.  Brothers Finn and Kol died in the recent past.  Klaus, Elijah and Rebeckah are the surviving children and the main characters in the Originals series.  Klaus doesn’t have the same father as the rest of the family. His father was a werewolf, thus he is a hybrid with both vamp and wolf powers.   Klaus is quick tempered and has been known to put daggers in the chests of family members and put them in coffins when he wants to get rid of them for awhile.

The series begins as Klaus wants to be the vampire king of New Orleans, but his former protégé, Marcel currently has that honor. The New Orleans area is home to many supernatural creatures and the series will include the power plays between witches, werewolves and vampires. There is also a doomed vampire/werewolf pregnancy in the mix.  I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, if you plan to watch the pilot. Check out the preview below for a bit more information.

ee0eb8d0bc4f52e8b54db5043800d5cfKlaus Outgrew TVD

The Vampire Diaries had a similar situation as they did during the third season of Buffy.  On Buffy, there was this great character, Angel and didn’t see how his story could properly evolve within the context of the show.  He spun-off into his own series and he became a better and a more fully formed character in a new setting.

The same thing happened with Klaus, his main storyline ended in Season 3, but in Season 4 he was around to cause trouble and flirt with Caroline.   He could do so much more in a show focused on him and he doesn’t have to play second fiddle to the Salvatore Brothers in regards to screen time and overall series direction.

Klaus was set up as a major “big bad,” but due to fan love and compassion for the character he softened over time.  Klaus was set up has a truly horrible menace, but  developed into a morally gray anti-hero.  This is what happened on Buffy with Spike.

On the Originals, the rules have changed and  he can start to be a ruthless badass and get some of his mojo back. Klaus can explore new sides of himself on a show focused on his family.

Flashback Potential

I’ve already seen a promotional photo floating around that will be a flashback on the series.

These characters have over 1,000 years of life to reflect on.  That is why a vampire show can be so rewarding, because we can look at past events and put them into context in the present.  In flashback, we got to see how they formed as a family. What other great secrets do these past events uncover? I can’t wait to find out.


Elijah is Awesome

For a vampire, Elijah has honor and some morals.  He isn’t a goodie-two-shoes, but he is willing to negotiate and work deals as a means to an end.  If he makes a promise, he keeps it. Although he is a badass and can rip out a still beating heart and still look like he stepped off the cover of GQ.  He’s slick, threatening, and is able to keep his cool in all situations.  Check out this video of some of his scenes on TVD and you’ll get a better picture of him.

Rebeckah’s Love Life

Rebeckah is the youngest of the living Mikaelson siblings and the only female.  On the 4th season of


TVD, she tried desperately to find a cure for vampirism.  She longs to be a normal girl with a normal life with a normal man.

Bex loves too easily and has a terrible dating track record.  She was last seen traveling the world with Matt Donovan.  Matt is a nice guy, bus boy, recent high school graduate, and quarterback.  You know it’s just gonna be a summer fling.

It is unknown how her character will move into the world of the Originals, but she will bring an interesting element to the show with her disastrous love life.


What do these images have in common? Intertextuality.


On the surface, they might look like unrelated images with no relevance to one another. If you have seen a particular episode of television, these images begin to make more sense.

This college is full allusions made in the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Welcome to the Hellmouth. I love that a single episode of television can bring these divergent elements together in a weird and quirky way. The Intertextuality of Buffy is awesome for the following reasons:

  1. It sets the time for the story. Welcome to the Hellmouth is set in 1997 California, these references make sense in this context. Like telling that out of style vampire that he looked “like DeBarge,” fit with an old school reference then, but high school students of today wouldn’t have a clue who El DeBarge is or what his fashion looked like. Also the reference to James Spader (who is gonna be in a Joss Whedon movie, Avengers 2), sets this place and time. Most High schoolers wouldn’t really be after a 50 something actor, a 35ish actor makes much more sense.
  2. It provides information about the characters. Cordy cutting down Willow’s outfit saying that she’s seen “the softer side of Sears.” Tells you that Cordelia is fashion conscious and shallow. Buffy calling talk show host and mellow singer, “the Devil,” also gives us information about her pop culture preferences. Later on, I love how the vampire characters can make references to all kinds of varied popular culture and history, since they have experienced so much.
  3. It is fun and snappy. I love when something is referenced on TV and I get the joke or acknowledge the reference. It makes the dialogue much more fun than straight exposition.

See the dialogue below, just in case you haven’t seen the episode a bunch of times:

CORDELIA: Willow! Nice dress! Good to know you’ve seen the softer side of Sears.

James Spader and John Tesh
CORDELIA: Of course, we do have to test your coolness factor. You’re from L.A., so you can skip the written, but let’s see. Vamp nail polish.
BUFFY: Um, over?
CORDELIA: So over. James Spader.
BUFFY: He needs to call me!
CORDELIA: Frappaccinos.
BUFFY: Trendy, but tasty.
CORDELIA: John Tesh.
BUFFY: The Devil.
CORDELIA: That was pretty much a gimme, but… you passed!

The British Museum
WILLOW: He was a curator at some British museum, or, or The British Museum, I’m not sure. But he knows everything, and he brought all these historical volumes and biographies, and am I the single dullest person alive?

XANDER: Well, not much goes on in a one Starbucks town like Sunnydale. You’re pretty big news.

The Watchtower
BUFFY: (holds up outfit to mirror) Hi! I’m an enormous slut! (holds up a blue floral dress) Hello! Would you like a copy of ‘The Watchtower’? (lowers the dress) I used to be so good at this.

WILLOW: No, we’re just friends. We used to go out, but we broke up.
BUFFY: How come?
WILLOW: He stole my Barbie. Oh, we were five.

BUFFY: Okay, first of all, what’s with the outfit? Live in the now, okay? You look like DeBarge!