Hypable Reader Opinion: Sterek – A ship that’s sailing too hard?

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9:30 am EST, November 30, 2012

If you’re a part of the Teen Wolf fandom in any way, I can guarantee that you’re familiar with the Stiles and Derek ship. Or as the cool kids call it: Sterek.

When you look at the Teen Wolf fan-fiction, art, Tumblrs, discussion posts, you’ll see that the proportions are obviously skewed, by large margins, towards the pairing.

I consider myself to be a Sterek shipper. Probably even one of the “avid” supporters. There’s a lot to be said about this pairing, and I could go on for days about why I’m a fan. I’m going to save you from the majority of my blathering though, and talk about something few have brought up.

*One pairing does not a show make.*

Remember how I said I’m a die-hard Sterek shipper? Hold on to that because it’s true. What is also true is that while I may passionately support this pairing, it doesn’t mean I disconnect from reality or my sanity to do so.

I think most of us can agree that Teen Wolf is quite a good television show. But that quality doesn’t come from a singular character or epic relationship. Having a central couple and making everything revolve around them is not how you build a rich television experience.

Now don’t mistake me, I have nothing against shipping OR favoritism. We’re all allowed to have a favorite character [Stiles] and we’re also allowed to have a pairing that we would fight to the death for [Sterek-Duh]. But what I want to warn you against is letting that passion narrow your focus enough that you lose track of the bigger picture.

I’ve been a little concerned about the level of pressure Jeff has been getting over the Sterek thing. The fandom message seems to be “STEREK OR DIE.” But I’m sorry; I just can’t casually roll with that. So this is me trying to talk about what exactly it is we’re looking for in season 3 and how to best go about getting it.

*What Sterek actually is.*

Most of us have been conditioned to think that when a ship forms, romantic attachment should be front and center. But for the most part, I don’t buy that. Apart from the fact that relationships need more than romance to produce a happy, healthy and dynamic couple, let’s remember that ships in general don’t have to have a sexual connotation.

For me, Sterek is about more than romance. So at the end of the day I will be fine if Jeff decides not to go there. Would I be a little disappointed? Yes, of course. But my enjoyment of the show does not hinge on romantic development alone. I could be equally fulfilled if the relationship between them got increasingly stronger, but stayed platonic.

I have a LOT of reasons for why I would like to see Sterek move into a romantic pairing. Not only do I think it would be interesting, fun, and dramatic, but that it would fit in perfectly with the tolerant nature of the show.

It’s been remarked on many occasions how much of a non-issue sexual orientation is in Teen Wolf. And watching Jeff spin the Sterek relationship in a similar fashion would please me to no end. Done correctly, TV shows can have a powerful and positive impact on the real world. I feel strongly that Jeff could make his own impact with this show, so seeing this pairing in a romantic context is something I believe in for more than just superficial reasons. That being said…

*We’re viewers, not participants.*

This is Jeff Davis’ show and he calls the shots.

We’re in a fortunate position here, though. The producer of our favorite show is engaged enough to listen to and think about his viewers. There are the Twitter Q&As, panel discussions, and a general sense of inclusiveness and sharing that a LOT of showrunners don’t even bother with. He’s making an effort and staying connected even when he has to endure the parts of fandom that can be cruel or unfair.

Because he’s so willing to do that, while also giving us an amazing show, the least we could do is give him the freedom to create and develop his world as he sees fit. I’ve seen some pretty popular Sterek campaigns pop up recently; boldly and sometimes aggressively pushing their pairing forward. But at this point – I think Jeff gets it. He realizes just how many people support Sterek. Which means we’ve done our job: we’ve made him aware. Now? I think the polite thing to do is to let him take the reins and do his thing.

Trust in him to write a show you want to watch – even if it isn’t the thing you’ve been hoping for.

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