Fansplaining is a podcast about by, for, and about fandom. It’s hosted by Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel. New episodes come out every two weeks. If you want to call us and leave a message for us to read on air, our number is 1-401-526-FANS!
info_outline Episode 118: The Craft of Writing (Fanfiction) 01/22/2020
Episode 118: The Craft of Writing (Fanfiction) In Episode 118, “The Craft of Writing (Fanfiction),” Flourish and Elizabeth interview Betts, a fic writer and professional writing instructor, about how different writing practices can inform each other on a craft level. They discuss how fanfic utterly altered Betts’s career path, what role it plays in her classroom, the effects of changing norms around fic critique and feedback, and why many people in fandom spaces are reticent to engage with literary fiction (and why they should give it a try).
info_outline Episode 117: Fans and the Man 01/08/2020
Episode 117: Fans and the Man In Episode 117, “Fans and the Man,” Elizabeth and Flourish talk about whether fandom really has “gone corporate” in the last decade—and if so, what parts of fandom, and in what ways? Topics covered include whether fans have “sold out,” been exploited, or both; whether it’s a good thing for fandom to be intertwined with corporations; and whether “curatorial” and “transformative” are even still useful terms to define fan cultures as we enter the ’20s.
info_outline Episode 116: The Year In Fandom 2019 12/27/2019
Episode 116: The Year In Fandom 2019 In Episode 116, Elizabeth and Flourish revive their end-of-year tradition and revisit big fandom trends in 2019. What changed, what got better, and what got worse? (According to Flourish, everything got worse.) Topics covered include the premature death knell for Tumblr, myths about the “monoculture,” truths and falsehoods about “fantitlement,” the messy rise of 8,000 streaming services, and, of course, “J. K. Rowling and the Infinite Pool of Bad Opinions.” And finally, since this decade is FINALLY over, they talk about what’s changed for fans over the past ten years. Spoiler alert: everything.
info_outline Episode 115: Power Plays 12/11/2019
Episode 115: Power Plays In Episode 115, “Power Plays,” Flourish and Elizabeth discuss three listener letters that deal with the use (or misuse) different kinds of power in and adjacent to fandom. How do we navigate a social media world where creators can find—and fuel a backlash towards—negative critique? How do the amorphous structures of the fanfic world give some readers and writers more power than others? And what can you do if the person making your life miserable in a closed fandom community is also in charge of that space?
info_outline Episode 114: Live From GeekGirlCon 11/27/2019
Episode 114: Live From GeekGirlCon In Episode 114, “Live From GeekGirlCon,” Elizabeth and Flourish take the show on the road and record their first-ever live episode—from the 9th annual GeekGirlCon in Seattle, Washington. They’re joined by Kristine Hassell, the con’s director of community engagement, to talk about diversity and inclusion at geek-oriented events, especially around disability, race, and gender. How can volunteer-run organizations with tight budgets make sure that everyone feels welcome and is able to participate?
info_outline Episode 113: Waffle House Is a Reylo 11/13/2019
Episode 113: Waffle House Is a Reylo In Episode 113, Flourish and Elizabeth look at brand social media accounts’ relationships with fandom, from direct appeals to adopting the persona of a fan. When a musical, a breakfast restaurant, or a streaming service tweets about a Star Wars ship, what exactly do the people managing these accounts hope to achieve? They also answer a listener question about private vs. public fannish spaces online—and unload their feelings about Tumblr’s new group chat feature.
info_outline Episode 112: Rainbow Rowell 10/30/2019
Episode 112: Rainbow Rowell In Episode 112, Flourish and Elizabeth talk to Rainbow Rowell, author of Fangirl, Carry On, Wayward Son, and many other novels, as well as the current run of Marvel’s Runaways comics. They dig into the fandom experiences that inspire Rainbow’s fiction, the differences (and similarities!) between fanfic and original writing, and Flourish feels the pain of being the only non-lurker in the conversation.
info_outline Episode 111: Canon, What Canon? 10/16/2019
Episode 111: Canon, What Canon? In Episode 111, “Canon, What Canon?” Flourish and Elizabeth discuss listener questions about the relationship between fans and the source material—including what happens when fans are more interested in fanon than canon. Topics discussed include headcanon orthodoxy, fanworks about fanworks, characterization, “death of the text,” and whether Agent Dana Scully would prefer Herbal Essences or Pantene shampoo (and none of it strawberry-scented, damnit!).
info_outline Episode 110: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 5 10/02/2019
Episode 110: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 5 In Episode 110, “Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 5,” Elizabeth and Flourish answer a new collection of listener letters and voicemails. Topics covered include ageism, “valorizing” bad behavior in fic, multishipping, and further thoughts about the phrase “OOC,” in real life and in fiction.
info_outline Episode 109: Covering Fandom 09/18/2019
Episode 109: Covering Fandom Amidst a string of mediocre-to-bad articles about fandom in mainstream publications, Flourish demands answers from Elizabeth: How does one of these things get made? They discuss different kinds of publications, pitching, editing, differences between academic and journalistic writing, and fandom’s tall poppy syndrome. They also respond to a listener who asks whether there’s a statistical way to determine a fandom’s percentage of “filthy kinksters.”
info_outline Episode 108: #TheOAIsReal 09/04/2019
Episode 108: #TheOAIsReal In Episode 108, Flourish and Elizabeth interview Claire Kiechel, a playwright and a writer on The OA, a Netflix TV show that was recently cancelled—and the subject of a passionate fan campaign to bring it back. They discuss fandom conspiracy theories, the impact of violent stories on our emotional lives, why Hollywood is shunning original story ideas, and, most importantly, how BBA is THE BEST.
info_outline Episode 107: Happy Anniversary #4 08/21/2019
Episode 107: Happy Anniversary #4 Continuing an annual tradition, Flourish and Elizabeth celebrate their fourth anniversary with guests from the past year, who talk about changes in fandom from the global to the personal. Topics include shifting privacy norms, fanzines and other smaller-scale fan activity, stanning corporations, and that old chestnut, fan/creator interaction on social media. A note: this conversation was recorded before Tumblr was sold and AO3 won a Hugo, but still! These points hold up!
info_outline Episode 106: The Neverending Franchise 08/07/2019
Episode 106: The Neverending Franchise In Episode 106, “The Neverending Franchise,” Flourish and Elizabeth debrief after Fansplaining’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, “Don’t Dream It’s Over: What Fans Do When Long-Running Stories End.” They discuss the panelists’ takes on the topic—what happens when specific iterations of a franchise come to an end—and dig into the (sometimes radically different) perspectives of various stakeholders in entertainment franchises, including fans, writers, producers, marketers, and more.
info_outline Episode 105: Emily Nussbaum 07/24/2019
Episode 105: Emily Nussbaum In Episode 105, Flourish and Elizabeth talk to Emily Nussbaum, television critic for The New Yorker, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, and the author of I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution. The conversation focuses on the technological changes that have shaped television over the past two decades—and how those changes have altered the way we watch, discuss, and talk about it in turn. They then discuss a related listener letter on mismatched expectations between TV creators and audiences.
info_outline Episode 104: The Fourth Wall Redux 07/10/2019
Episode 104: The Fourth Wall Redux In Episode 104, Flourish and Elizabeth revisit the fannish version of the fourth wall—the barrier between fans and creators. In the first half, they look at fan/creator interaction around the new TV adaptation of Good Omens, from “death of the author” to validating fanfiction to the false dichotomy of “fan vs pro.” In the second half, they tackle the dustup around HBO’s Euphoria: Did the show go too far when they depicted Larry Stylinson fic—or when they created a Tumblr for a fictional Larry writer?
info_outline Episode 103: Slash: The Play 06/27/2019
Episode 103: Slash: The Play In Episode 103, Flourish and Elizabeth interview Leah Hennessey and Emily Allan, creators of “Slash: The Play,” which they recently performed at Joe’s Pub in New York City. Topics discussed include lurking, the appeal of “bad” writing, presenting ideas about fanfiction to people outside fandom, and the complicated interplay of irony and sincerity in fandom and in art. They also tackle the vitally important question, at length: What houses would the characters of BBC Sherlock be sorted into at Hogwarts?
info_outline Episode 102: OOC 06/12/2019
Episode 102: OOC In Episode 102, Elizabeth and Flourish talk about characterization: how fans interpret it, get attached to it, and fight about it. How do fans collectively come to an understanding of a fictional character? Does this change with textual vs visual source material? What does “OOC”—“out of character”—mean to people in different fannish spaces? They also respond to a listener letter about the history of fandom, and discuss what can be documented—and what cannot.
info_outline Episode 101: Stan Culture 05/29/2019
Episode 101: Stan Culture In Episode 101, “Stan Culture,” Flourish and Elizabeth talk with Keidra Chaney, co-founder and publisher of The Learned Fangirl, about the terms “stan,” “stanning,” and “stan culture.” They discuss the evolution of “stan” from a derogatory term to point of pride (for some), the structures of stan culture, similarities between pop music and sports fans, and the transactional nature of some stan behaviors.
info_outline Episode 100: The More You Know 05/15/2019
Episode 100: The More You Know In Episode 100, “The More You Know,” Elizabeth and Flourish celebrate the ways they’ve learned and grown in the past four years of Fansplaining, reflecting on key areas where they’ve changed their frameworks—and their minds. Topics covered include lurkers, the realities of TV production, racism in fandom, and our old friend, capitalism. Here’s to a hundred more!
info_outline Episode 99: The Shipping Answers 05/01/2019
Episode 99: The Shipping Answers In Episode 99, “The Shipping Answers,” Elizabeth and Flourish are joined by special guest and DATA PROFESSIONAL verity to analyze the 17,391 (!!!) responses to the Fansplaining Shipping Survey. How do these bazillions of people define “shipping”? Following along with verity’s interactive data visualization, they discuss topics including “active” vs. “casual” shipping, how fandom impacts shipping practices, and exactly how much people care about their ships being “endgame.”
info_outline Episode 98: The After Effect 04/17/2019
Episode 98: The After Effect In Episode 98, “The After Effect,” Elizabeth and Flourish talk about characterization and RPF, pegged to the release of the film After, adapted from Anna Todd’s massively popular Harry Styles fanfic. What happens when different groups of fans clash over their interpretations of a celebrity—especially when some are interested in trying to divine the “truth” about their fave, while others are primarily interested in personal fantasies? They also answer listener questions about anti culture, fanfiction, and cycles of attention online.
info_outline Episode 97: The Shipping Question 04/03/2019
Episode 97: The Shipping Question In Episode 97, “The Shipping Question,” Elizabeth and Flourish unveil their brand-spanking-new survey, on shipping and what we mean when we say we’re doing it. They discuss the inspiration for the survey, what’s included (and what isn’t), and their own shipping histories, practices, and preferences. They also read a trio of listener letters: on shipping and speculation, on fanfiction tastes, and a follow-up to the discussion on “creativity” vs. “originality.”
info_outline Episode 96: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 4 03/20/2019
Episode 96: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 4 In Episode 96, “Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 4,” Flourish and Elizabeth respond to a plethora of listener letters on a wide variety of topics, including genderbending, imagines, political leanings across fannish platforms, Fandom Wank, kink memes, and how to deal with a friend who has GENUINELY TERRIBLE IDEAS ABOUT FANFIC.
info_outline Episode 95: “Back to the Fans” 03/06/2019
Episode 95: “Back to the Fans” In Episode 95, “Back to the Fans,” Flourish and Elizabeth discuss director Jason Reitman’s recent comments—that the upcoming Ghostbusters film would give the franchise “back to the fans”—and contextualize them in both the morass that is online Ghostbusters discourse and the ways that people in the entertainment industry frame “fans.” They also untangle the conflation of fan entitlement, critique, and transformative works, and they answer a listener question about queerbaiting, shipping, and TV writers.
info_outline Episode 94: Save Our Show (It’s A Metaphor) 02/20/2019
Episode 94: Save Our Show (It’s A Metaphor) In Episode 94, “Save Our Show (It’s A Metaphor),” Elizabeth and Flourish talk fan petitions—to keep a show on the air, to get a ship together, to de-canonize a piece of content, and everything in between. On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Flourish gathered perspectives from a variety of entertainment industry professionals, asking the question: Are fan petitions ever effective?
info_outline Episode 93: User-Generated Content 02/06/2019
Episode 93: User-Generated Content In Episode 93, “User-Generated Content,” Elizabeth and Flourish tackle the thorny intersections between making stuff you love and getting paid. They start with the recent round of layoffs at BuzzFeed—including the revelation that a good portion of their traffic comes from uncompensated “community” members—and segue into a conversation about the uncompensated things fans enjoy doing, and the complicated ways that the tech, media, and entertainment industries profit off fans’ work. What is exploitative—and what is just fans having fun?
info_outline Episode 92: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 3 01/23/2019
Episode 92: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 3 In Episode 92, “Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 3,” Elizabeth and Flourish read and play another batch of listener letters and voicemails. Topics covered include fandom’s future platforms, TV revivals, the dehumanizing aspects of RPF, and a return to The Discourse Trilogy™, from parallels with American fundamentalist church culture to the relationship between purity discourse and happy endings.
info_outline Episode 91: Casey Fiesler 01/09/2019
Episode 91: Casey Fiesler In Episode 91, “Casey Fiesler,” Flourish and Elizabeth welcome the information science professor back onto the podcast to discuss her research, especially her study on the way transformative fandom migrates across platforms. Topics covered include feminist HCI, if you can truly get a “representative” sample of fans for a survey, privacy concerns as fandom comes under more scrutiny from researchers, and what Tumblr could have done—and still could do—better regarding the Great Porn Crackdown of 2018.
info_outline Episode 90: The Year In Fandom 2018 12/27/2018
Episode 90: The Year In Fandom 2018 In “The Year In Fandom 2018,” Elizabeth and Flourish discuss the events of the year: What trends from 2017 continued, what was less important, and did anything new begin to emerge? Tumblr fell apart; #metoo did not save us from the way systems enable abusers; K-pop more fully entered mainstream Anglophone culture; moral panics around shipping only intensified; and capitalism shaped everything in fandom, forever and ever, amen.
info_outline Episode 89: Rukmini Pande 12/13/2018
Episode 89: Rukmini Pande In Episode 89, Elizabeth and Flourish welcome back Dr. Rukmini Pande, a fan studies scholar whose new book, Squee From the Margins, explores race in both the field as well as fandom at large. Topics discussed include defining the boundaries of “fandom,” how queerness and gender structure fan studies while race typically does not, closed vs open digital platforms, how fandom discussions of racism are often relegated to “crisis points,” and more.