It's not easy enjoying pop culture. Some fans spend all their mental and spiritual energy on a particular movie, book, TV show, or comic. Of course most people don't care about minor or even major changes to things they like. But other people (real fans) freak out. Here are some of the most ridiculous reasons and reactions of fans who went nuts over a change to the pop culture they love too, too much.
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8. No Organic Web Shooters
In 2000, fans of the amazing Spider-Man got some wicked news. After spending close to twenty years in development hell, the long simmering Spider-Man movie was finally going into production. After a few false starts with a several production companies and a failed bid by James Cameron, everyone's favorite web slinger was now in the hands of Evil Dead genius Sam Raimi, had a huge budget, and looked like it was going to be one of the biggest superhero movies ever. As the movie's cast fell into place and bits and pieces of the story were revealed, there was a growing sense of excitement and anticipation. Comic book nerds around the world circled May 2nd, 2002 on their calendars and sat in their basements trying to not jizz at the thought of Peter Parker whipping through the Manhattan skyline on a huge screen. It was going to be awesome!
And then, something horrible happened. Among the rumors and bits of info that were trickling out about the film was a disturbing bit of information. Spider-Man was going to have organic web shooters! For those who don't know, comic book Spider-Man actually invented the webbing he uses to swing from building to building and he shoots it from two machines that he wears on his wrists under his costume. For whatever reason, the filmmakers decided to simplify things and just have the web be a part of him.
Hardcore Spider-Fans were understandably furious! That the movie producers would have the gall to change one tiny aspect of a remarkably faithful adaptation was unthinkable. Fans flocked to the internet to raise their voices in protest. Some dudes even started a website called "no-organic-webshooters.com" to organize their fanboy rage into concrete action. They huffed and puffed, got mainstream media attention, and begged the studio to reconsider. Of course, they didn't. Sony kept the organic web shooters and released a film that totally betrayed the idea of Spider-Man. For their hubris, they were punished by having their mockery be the first movie in history to make $100 million in a weekend. See! You should have listened to that one guy with the website.
7. Jonas Brothers Fans vs. The Washington Post
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Unless you're a girl under the age of 16 or a really creepy guy in his forties with a dirty van, you probably don't know much about the Jonas Brothers. Sure, you're probably vaguely aware that there are three dudes who sing crappy songs and are brothers, and have the last name Jonas. But that's basically it, right? Oh, who are we kidding? Everyone loves Nick, Joe, and Kevin! They're awesome singers, they're super cute, and they're totally into, like, God and junk. Anyway, some teenage girls are apparently quite fond of the three singers and apparently enjoy reading about them. In their rabid lust for Jonas Brothers-related material, several of them did something very few people of their generation will ever try in their lifetimes. They opened a newspaper. And not just any paper, but the Washington Post, the Woodward-and-Bernstein, screw-you-Nixon Washington Post. In the August 12th, 2008 edition of the paper, cultural critic J. Freedom du Lac wrote a mostly upbeat piece about the band's massive level of fame among the preteen set. He interviewed the boys, talked to some fans, and briefly described their ascent to pop stardom. But he made one mistake.
He had the temerity to suggest one Jonas Brother was a little more boring than the other two. Mr. du Lac described the brothers as "Nick Jonas (15; the cute one), Joe Jonas (nearly 19; the hot one), and Kevin Jonas (20; the other one)," a tongue-in-cheek reference to the oldest brother's perceived deficits in the dreamy department. Suddenly, every single thirteen-year-old girl in America was calling for his head. The nest morning his inbox was filled with bubblegum-flavored rage. Thousands of Kevin fans from around the world sent him e-mails criticizing his diss of their favorite Jonas. "How could you disrespect him?" they cried. "Don't you realize he's the reason the band exists?" they lamented. Once the dust had settled and the hatemail subsided, du Lac learned an incredibly valuable journalistic lesson: don't f**k with a 16-year-old girl's fantasies. They will tear you apart.
6. Fans Threaten Murder Over Torchwood Death
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Hot on the heels of its successful relaunch of the cult classic Doctor Who, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) created a spin-off featuring a popular character called Captain Jack. Torchwood, as it was called, was a sexy, sci-fi thriller that quickly found an audience devoted to its tales of Captain Jack and his crew of sexy alien investigators who solved sexy problems and generally made the world a safer and sexier place. In Wales, for some reason. Filled with all the monsters, aliens, and gadgets of Doctor Who plus a whole lot more screwing and swearing, the show was a huge hit in Britain and around the world. Fans invested in the characters, bought the mythology, and sat back and enjoyed the sexiness. Riding a wave of popularity, Torchwood decided to do things a little differently for its third season. Instead of a regular run of weekly episodes, the show ran a miniseries of five episodes over five nights. The critics loved it, the fans loved it, and everything was right in the world.
And then, episode four aired. In the episode, a much loved secondary character called Ianto Jones was killed off. Most normal, non-crazy fans of the show were shocked and started a letter writing campaign and raised some money for charity trying to get their favorite character back. Other fans went absolutely apes**t crazy. Furious that someone had made a dramatic choice they disagreed with, they accused the creator of the show, Russel T. Davies, of having "contempt" for them and viewing them as "disposable." If this was all they said, it would still be incredibly stupid. But some fans advocated a slightly different approach. On a website, one impassioned fan promised to, "murder [the show's creators] in a horrific way. In an incredible horrific and painful way. They will never be able to walk again or move any part of their body. They will be a vegetable." Another fan was so outraged he almost forgot how to speak English; "I kill you, if you no bring him back!" Davies, well used to the sometimes rabid nature of fandom, told the nut jobs to grow up, and "read poetry if they can't handle drama." Just don't tell them that Lenore dies in The Raven. Edgar Allen Poe's Twitter account will never know what hit it.
5. Fan Outraged That One Fictional Character Will Marry Another Fictional Character, Decides To Sell A Valuable Asset In Protest
Source: Archie Comics
In the world of comics, Archie is an anomaly. A leftover from the time when comics didn't have to just be about dudes in capes, Archie Comics quietly chugs along, telling cornball stories about teenage love. For almost 60 years, Clueless Archie, gluttonous closet-case Jughead, functionally retarded Moose, and the rest of gang at Riverdale High have been loving, learning, and getting involved in all manner of hilarious hijinks. The characters get a make-over every now and then to keep up with the times (in the seventies they were into disco, in the eighties Reggie was a cokehead, etc.) but the basic premise never changes. It's a comic about a redheaded loser who inexplicably has to choose between sexy, rich brunette Veronica and a sexy blonde Betty, who's an awesome cook and genial doormat. This eternal love triangle provides the drama, the comedy, and the ridiculous wish fulfillment that Archie fans have grown to love. But what if it all changed?
Last year, it did. After six decades of being a lowdown, no good, two-timing cheater, Archie finally nutted up and popped the question. But here's the kicker! He asked Veronica, the rich bitch! When the news hit the mainstream media people across the globe had only one reaction - "They still make Archie?" Fans, on the other hand, were pissed. No one could believe that Archie didn't choose Betty. Although he didn't ask to be a hero, one fan emerged as a voice for the countless readers who couldn't understand why Archie choose the rich, sexy Veronica over poor, Christian Betty. That man was comic shop owner Dave Luebke. Offended by a comic book character's wedding plans, Luebke did the only thing he could. He put his mint condition copy of Archie #1 up for sale. Despite his lifelong love of the characters, he claimed to "outraged" on behalf of Betty. He had to stand up for her and defend her honor! The fact that the comic was now probably worth more than it had ever been due to the publicity was incidental. Luebke eventually sold the comic for almost $40,000, Archie married Veronica, then he married Betty, then everything went back to normal and they were in high school again. At least we assumed that's what happened. Who gives a s**t? It's Archie, for Christ's sake.
4. Twilight Fans Furious That A Studio Changes The Actor For One Role, Vow To See The Film In Record Numbers Anyway, But With A Big Chip On Their Shoulders
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For millions of readers around the world, the Twilight series of books has graciously held their hands as they make the difficult transition from Harry Potter to whatever the hell the next crappy book series is. The appeal of the books is so powerful that some fans call them "twicrack." And these vampire junkies need their fix! They rushed to the stores whenever a book was released, they bought all the t-shirts and bumper stickers, and when the first movie adaptation Twilight was released, they flocked to theaters to drink it all in and raved about what they saw. Robert Pattinson was an wicked Edward! That one girl who played the main girl was great! And the guy who took his shirt off all the time? Totally Hot! Hollywood had gotten it right for once! Then the second film, Twilight: New Moon came out, and it was even better! What else could a person wrapped up in an impossible, unrealistic fantasy world ask for?
And then the bombshell dropped. Rachelle Lefevre, the actress who portrayed Victoria (we couldn't be bothered looking up anything about the character, but it's Twilight; she's either a tortured vampire or some chick who's in love with a tortured vampire) announced on her Twitter page that she would not be returning for the third film Twilight: Forbidden Thirst, or whatever the hell it's called. Twihards (yes, they call themselves that) put down their bon-bons, threw on their "Edward, bite me!" t-shirts, and sprung to action. They wrote letters and started petitions, and did all the other stuff that everyone else who gets way too pissed off over a creative or business decision does. They railed against the studio for being "stupid," and "unfair." They couldn't believe that someone had the nerve to change one small aspect of the story they enjoy. This, despite the fact that fan campaigns almost never work. The Studio didn't change their minds and the "outraged" fans admitted they'd still go and see the movie anyway.
3. What Do You Mean I Have To Wait Eight More Months For The Next Harry Potter Movie?!? Don't You Realize I Have Nothing Else In My Life?
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Before they gorge their imaginations on a sexy 120-year-old vampire in the Twilight series, fans of fantasy fiction were all about Harry. People all over the world had fallen in love with a little magic boy and his little magic adventures. They watched as he grew up from a bespectacled nerdy young boy to a bespectacled nerdy young man. They cheered at his victories and they cried at his tragedies. They followed all of his adventures with diligence and care. And somewhere along the line, they inexplicably felt entitled to determine how and when the character would next appear. After faithfully consuming seven books and five movie adaptations, fans felt they deserved to have a say in the release date of the sixth movie, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. Originally scheduled to be released in November 2008, the movie was delayed until July 17th, 2009. Warner Brothers, the studio that made the film, was quite open about the reasons. They thought it would make more money in the summer.
Once again, fans went bananas. But not the good kind of bananas. And can you blame them, really? People who base their lives on the release schedules of popular movies are understandably going to be upset when they have to wait an extra eight months to see a film that they already took the week off work to camp out and wait for. The boards at muggle.net were fuming. One fan called Ocean moaned he was, "totally disgusted at [Warner Bros.'] decision. I'm totally convinced that the decision was motivated by money and only money." Yeah! How dare a company do something based on how much money it will make them! What are they trying to do? Run a business?
Some fans turned to Facebook to share their pain. The group "The Delay of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Has Ruined My Life" had over 5,000 members crying about having to wait a couple months to see their little wizard buddy. 52,896 people (30 more people than the population of Springfield, Oregon) signed an Internet petition to keep the original date. Funnily enough, several thousand people still signed the petition after the movie had already been released on the second date. Now that's useless dedication to a useless cause!
2. Let's All Send a Hollywood Studio A Whole Bunch Of One Kind Of Food That's Tangentially Related To That One TV Show We Like
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Every fall TV season, geeks (and everyone else for that matter) are faced with one of the most vexing of all pop culture dilemmas: to fall in love or not fall in love with a new show. Do you take a chance and invest the time and mental energy getting to know the characters, backstory, and mythology of a new show? If the show's a hit, then you can proudly claim you were there from day one, ahead of the trend curve. But if it tanks, you're left with nothing but tears, unresolved character arcs, loose plot threads, and an extra hour on Monday nights. For those brave, tragic souls who take the plunge of faith every year, nothing stings more than the dreaded word "canceled."
Most fans cry a little, let it go, and hope for next year. But some just can't let go. They start letter campaigns, internet petitions, and in a fairly recent trend, send the producers tons of some kind of food that's related to the show in a desperate bid to save them the trouble of finding something else to watch. This actually worked a couple times. Most notably with Tabasco sauce for the teen sci-fi drama Roswell, and nuts for Skeet Ulrich's post-apocalyptic sitcom Jericho. But then everybody who was a fan of any marginally successful TV show thought they'd do it, too. Unfortunately, it almost never worked after the first couple times. Millions of Mars Bars didn't save Veronica Mars, countless bags of sunflower seeds didn't save The 4400, bags of Sour Patch Kids couldn't save Kyle XY, and all the Rice-a-Roni in San Francisco didn't save Journeymen. The lesson is clear: Only fall in love with shows that will become hits. Or failing that, don't invest your personal sense of well-being and happiness on a f***ing TV show.
1. Spider-Man's One More Day, Same Old Freakout
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In the middle of Marvel Comics' Civil War crossover comic, Spider-Man went and did a silly thing. For a whole bunch of reasons that are only important to people who are interested in the political ins and outs of the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man decided to reveal his secret identity to the world. Once the crossover was over and Spider-Man's family had been repeatedly attacked by all the villains who could now look him up in the phone book, the eggheads over at Marvel realized they'd kind of painted themselves into a corner. So, like any good comic company, they just got out their pencils and wrote a cheapy little fix. Spider-Man made a deal with Mephisto - the Archdemon of Cheapy Little Fixes in the Marvel Universe to restore the status quo. Marvel decided to retcon Spider-Man's unmasking and at the same time erase his marriage so he'd be a swinging single like he used to. And by swinging, we mean having lots of different sexual partners, not flying through the city on artificial spider web, although he did still do that, too. The idea was that a married, tied-down Spider-Man just wasn't sustainable in a superhero comic. Eventually they'd have to show him getting fat, losing his hair, and sitting in a comfy chair staring at a giant TV, and wondering what happened to his life. Since Spider-Man isn't a horror comic, things had to change, dude!
Well, this ruffled the wrong kind of feathers. Nerd feathers. Fans and critics (fans with blogs) sprung to action, writing hyperbolic diatribe after hyperbolic diatribe calling the storyline "utterly ridiculous" and accusing Marvel of giving the character a "raw deal." Comic fans, who are usually happy to swallow the most ridiculous contrivances in their comics (first and foremost being the idea that grown men would fly around in tights fighting crime) had had enough. This was their character! They had spent years following his adventures! They had a right to see him portrayed the way they wanted to see him portrayed! Marvel, the company that actually owns the character, disagreed. They stuck with the change, canceled all of Spider-Man's mainstream universe titles except for one, and Spidey forged on in a new, unmarried direction. Comic book fans continued to howl and complain across message boards and comic shops the world over. What they didn't do, however, was stop buying Spider-Man comics. The new, bachelor Spider-Man is still Marvel's top character, sells tons of merchandise, and is due for a new film series.
When will uberfans ever learn? With great fandom comes absolutely zero responsibility. Let it go already!