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Approximately 18 months ago I discovered a love for a show called Glee (yes, I was a little late out of the gate). Approximately 17 months ago I realised I wasn’t the only one.

Like anyone involved in online fandoms, I got sucked into this slightly bizarre world by the joy of connecting to people with such similar interests and inspirations as my own. Websites like Hypable are such a success because they are all about fans sharing a mutual love and affection for the TV shows, films and books we each adore.

It’s because of this foundation of common interests and goals that I am always so frustrated to see the negativity, hate, and even occasional bullying that intermittently spreads through the online Glee fandom. It’s seen both in the way some fans choose to interact with each other, as well as in how they communicate to and about the show’s cast and crew. For a television show that has always been about acceptance and joy, this seems sadly backwards.

There can be an expectation on people in the entertainment industry that because they choose to live their professional lives in the public eye, they have an obligation to share their private lives with the world as well. They don’t. The fact that so many of the Glee cast and crew choose to connect with fans over social media such as Twitter should be seen as a privilege. To (mis)quote a favourite book – “When someone shares a piece of their life, they’re giving you a gift, not granting you your due.” The least we as fans can do is remain respectful when given the opportunity to interact with them so directly.

When sitting in your lounge chair at home, computer on your lap, “Teenage Dream” blaring on your stereo, it can be easy to forget that the words on your screen are actually another person, someone with feelings that can be hurt just as easily as your own. Just because they choose to put themselves, their opinions, or their work out in the public domain does not automatically give them impenetrable thick skin or you a license to abuse and attack them. Don’t allow the anonymity the Internet offers to dissociate you from the accountability or consequences of what you write. In other words, if you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it over the Internet.

I’m not saying don’t have opinions or don’t be critical. There will always be a place for analysis and constructive criticism when it comes to shows like Glee, which continue to push the envelope on socio-political issues and their portrayal on mainstream television. But there is a difference between giving a well thought-out opinion on an important issue in the show, and simply attacking the show’s writers because you don’t like the choices they are making for characters they themselves created, or repeatedly abusing an actor because of the actions of the character they portray. I understand this all comes from a place of passion and affection for the show – but there is passion and there is just plain nastiness.

I know that for most of the Glee fandom, this doesn’t apply. Most of us are simply here to appreciate and share our thoughts on a show that offers a little escapism while continuing to inspire us and make us laugh. I just hope the rest of the fans can jump on the bandwagon. Promote the things you love, don’t bash the things you hate. It’s a hell of a lot more fun, and after all, “by its very definition, Glee is about opening yourself up to joy.”

This article was written by a Hypable user! Learn more and write your own right here.

  • http://twitter.com/fabulousjoshie Joshua Harris

    I agree. I know the show has problems. Take the parts of the show that nourishes you, but don’t choke on a bone. I couldn’t even get though the first recap of an episode by: Natalie Fisher.

  • xoxoKellyLee

    I never really thought about it the way that you put it, but I think you’re absolutely right. Glee fans should remember that all of us just love the show unconditionally and we should come together for our mutual love of the show. Well put and something we should keep in mind!

  • Bonnie

    It would be amazing if Gleeks could channel the negativity into positive energy. If you don’t like something, or don’t agree with something, that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But turn it into something positive. It’s amazing what the world could accomplish with a little redirection of energy. Thanks for the article. I 100% completely agree.

  • http://forgiveyourmind.tumblr.com/ Tariq

    Not an intentional plug, but I think this counts double-as much with the BattleShips shipping tournament. There was a lot of flack between Klaine shippers & Faberry shippers and I think it’s important to know we’re all Glee fans, no matter who’s with who.

    Also, today will be a testament to how nicely Glee & OUAT fans play together. I can see that thing turning into a war but we’re all one big fandom family so we should stay civilized when we’re voting for our favorite ship.

  • maren

    I agree 100 % with what you’re saying.I’ve been a gleek for so many years and it hurts me to see other fans writing threatful messages to the writers and creators of the show. From where i see it, and choose to analyse it, everything that is being done on the show, like break-ups and conflicts, are all a part of making the show more real and honest. And that’s why i love glee; i’m able to relate, feel an honesty and i don’t think of it as a scripted hollywood show :D

  • Bruce

    THANK YOU for saying what I’ve always said and felt–and this applies to Web use in general, not just Glee. Relentless ridicule and hatred spewed from an anonymous safe distance on the Internet is gutless and useless, while constructive criticism is rare–and by definition not a knee-jerk reaction, but something that’s been considered–and is considerate. I learned from years as an entertainment critic for daily newspapers that even-handedness is a worthwhile value. I love Glee more than any show I’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t stop me from criticizing it–constructively. And I respect other fans like me too much to rant like a spoiled brat when things on the show don’t go MY way. Ultimately, Glee is a business–it’s about making money, not pleasing everyone–but it’s also the boldest TV series, in so many ways, that I’ve ever seen, and it deserves far more credit for that boldness, rather than childish carping along the lines of “Why’d you make so-and-so do such-and-such, you horrible bastards?” Besides, for me it’s all about the music, not the “ships.” No TV series in the history of the medium has come close to delivering what Glee has delivered musically. I’d say that’s worth more than a callous brush-off. Thanks again for an eloquent essay.

  • http://twitter.com/StarkidSims Simone

    Took the words right out of my mouth!

  • Melody

    I do agree, the Glee fandom can get pretty bad, esp. when it comes to ships. And the real sad thing is that there are worse fandoms out there when it comes to stuff like this. And it’s in all parts of the fandom too- I’ve seen mean shippers of Finchel, Faberry, Klaine, Brittana, people who don’t ship anything, etc. Though honestly, the hate shown towards fellow fans is usually even worse then to the actors.

  • DrWho-Glee-HP-Fan

    You put what I’ve been thinking for quite a while into words perfectly. This applies to so many fandoms and books/movies/tv shows besides Glee. I follow several writers, directors, actors, etc. on twitter, and it hurts to see so much negativity towards these people who give us such great gifts. It is especially sad to see during Q&As, when these people are taking time out of their very busy lives to interact with fans, and many return the favor by criticizing, belittling, and judging them and their work.

  • http://www.korracast.com/ Fravit

    I agree with what you said about fans needing to understand the difference between the characters in the show and the actors who play them. But the problems with the show run deeper than any of that, in my opinion. I have no problems with the messages this show tries to send. I have problems with the show’s lack of a strong central story and unwillingness to commit to plot changes, as well inconsistent characterizations and shoehorning popular music that has no connect to what’s going on thematically. I feel like the show, at one point, had a razor sharp focus on where it was going, and took as there beautifully, using music as a tool. I now feel like the focus has been lost entirely.

  • Paige

    the first season was epically epic mixed with fantabulousness, but after that it went downhill for me. too many characters, and really, really bad writing. plus, all the ‘theme’ episodes got on my nerves. plus, what happened to all the great storylines that just ‘forgot’ about? and ‘Finchel?’ i’m not feeling it.

  • Rachel

    i agree not only glee fandoms but all fandoms are experiencing alot of unnecessary bullying it needs to stop i should be allowed to like a certain fandom without being criticize for it

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