The reading on Andrejevic (2008)’s Television Without Pity piqued my interest due to the fact that I go on that website occasionally to look at the reception and fans opinions on my favorite TV shows. What I gathered from this reading, was about the discussion of how much fandoms of shows who state their opinions online become a part of the writing process for show runners and producers.
The reading also discusses the importance of listening to the audience when it comes to television. Whether it has to do with the characters’ relationships’ storylines and development. Which makes sense because, at the end of the day, the goal is to entertain the viewers and to keep them wanting more. It is interesting that Andrejevic (2008), brings up Television without Pity (TWoP) which is a forum I used to lurk on because I do enjoy reading about people’s views and opinions on my favorite episode and seeing what I agree or disagree with.
In this digital age I think that it is a smart way for producers and writers to connect with the fans of their shows and understand what they want. However, in some instances this has lead to ‘fans’ turning into cyber bullies and throwing tantrums toward the producers on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. When fans of certain TV shows want a couple together for various reasons such as: “they look good together”, “chemistry” “passion” etc, also known as ‘shipping’ and the producers don’t listen to them, some fans take it to the extremes and send death threats to the creators of the show who are genuinely trying to make good TV. When the producers give in, this leads to ‘fan service’, where the rest of the show's plot is gone and all of a sudden, the central focus is all about the fictional TV couple. Why I brought up this example is because quite a few shows have suffered from this, where the story is gone, it’s all about the ‘fan favorite’ couple and none of the other characters or their development matter anymore. One example I can think of is the CW hit show Arrow, where two people get together due to fans wanting them to be paired up, even though this does not happen in the comics and then another key character in the comics is killed off. Most people have shown absolute anger and disdain for this move by the writers of the show, claiming how horrible it is to appease to just one certain fandom and completely mess up the show's storyline.
Thus, listening to online fandoms might lead to a loss of direction in terms of the show’s plot. Sometimes the loudest fans are not necessarily the biggest fan base. I do believe that there is definitely a balance and well-established TV writers and showrunners know when to listen to the audience and take note of what they should add into their storyline. Although, TWoP is still an active forum, there are now other places such as Twitter and Facebook where TV producers go to for information and opinions. Audience engagement most certainly is important as Andrejevic (2008)’s reading has stated but just like anything and everything, there definitely should be a balance on what show runners are taking in and disregarding, in order to produce good quality TV.