Timeline of RPF

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Fandom: RPF
Dates: 1960s - present
See also: History of Slash Fandom

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A probably incomplete listing of RPF/RPS fandoms and events per decade. When sizes are given, they are approximations of the amount of fiction written about the pairings in question, not the even-harder-to-gauge total amount of fanac (fannish activity) in the fandoms.

NOTE: This desperately needs information about Sports and other non-media RPF fandoms.

1960s

1970s

  • At this stage, there are no 'major' RPF/RPS fandoms - either public or private; however fans are writing RPF/RPS and quietly sharing small amounts of Star Trek and Starsky & Hutch,[1] circulating it underground.
  • A few RPF stories in Star Trek fandom were published. Tricorder Readings ran a contest for members to write a "meeting Leonard Nimoy" fantasy. The Archives' Log, a Star Trek clubzine published Dream House by Steve Lampen in August 1974. In the story, Shatner, Doohan and Kelley are involved in tense negotiations over whether to appear in the new Star Trek movie. They wake up on the Starship Enterprise in the year 2241. After encountering a Klingon battle cruiser, the terrified actors are more than willing to accept the roles.

Specific examples:

1980s

Specific examples:

1990s

  • Figure Skating RPF -- around since at least the 90s, the 2010 winter Olympics led to an upsurge in interest in the fandom. Works focused on Johnny Weir, Evan Lysacek, Stéphane Lambiel, and Evgeni Plushenko began to appear in larger numbers. Small
  • Duran Duran
  • 1997: Hanson -- Fan fiction about the band began to appear quite soon after their first hit. The fandom's most active years were from 1997 to 2000, with fansites and fanfic sites numbering in the thousands, and a small and dedicated fandom remains today.
  • 1999: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace creates an "all but RPS" fandom, as media (i.e., non-music fandoms) inch their way into full-bore RPS. There are a few Ewan/Liam stories, but there are many many thinly veiled AUs that now read more like RPS than like media AUs.
  • 1999: Popslash -- first truly major-sized RPF/S fandom; Six major characters, plus a host of side characters. The first fanfiction mailing lists were started in 1999;[2] the fandom's most active years were 2000 - 2003.
  • X-Files RPF

2000s

  • 2001: LoTRiPS -- pairings between all of the prettiest actors in the LOTR movies. First true media source with a correlated but separate RPS fandom. Renowned for the percentage of tinhats in the fandom. Medium
  • Eminem -- pairing the rap artist with musicians like Britney Spears, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, other rappers, LoTRiPS actors or fictional characters like Lex Luthor or Faith from Buffy. Small
  • In 2002, Fanfiction.net the then-largest and most comprehensive fan fiction online archive which initially allowed various forms of RPF, removed all Real People Fiction. It had previously had prohibited actorfic but allowed other forms of RPF.
  • Jossverse RPF -- featuring actors drawn from series created/produced by Joss Whedon including Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly; Small
  • after 2004?: Stargate: Atlantis RPS -- mostly Joe Flanigan/David Hewlett (RPS version of the major Stargate: Atlantis pairing); Small
  • 2004-5: Following some discussion on its forums[3] the Buffyverse crossover site Twisting the Hellmouth extends its ban on RPF to cover all wrestling fiction[4] (categorised as "WWE"); more than 300 stories are deleted at short notice. Subsequent revisions in 2009 allowed limited RPF "if using that specific person is required to portray a scene realistically," with various guidelines on suitable and unsuitable portrayal. The effect is to ban RPF het and slash pairings but allow e.g. portrayal of a real TV presenter interviewing a fictional character.
  • after 2005?: CWRPS/J2 -- Mostly Jensen Ackles/Jared Padalecki (RPS version of the major Supernatural pairing, and actors they've worked with, including the Smallville actors); Huge. The size of the RPS fandom is probably attributable to the fact that many fans had objections to writing slash about brothers (Supernatural - the fandom "where RPS is the moral high ground.") or wanted to write in a lighter tone than the canon of Supernatural provided. Many months there were more Jared/Jensen stories than Dean/Sam stories in the Supernatural Newsletter, but overall RPF makes up just over 20% of the fiction posted to the newsletter.[5]
  • John Barrowman/anyone -- The openly gay star of Torchwood is paired with everyone, but mostly actors from his show, or from Doctor Who of which Torchwood is a spinoff. Small
  • Between July and November 2004, political slash involving John Kerry and John Edwards began to circulate online.
  • Bandom -- members of a group of bands that interacted together, especially My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco. Medium
  • 2006: Garrettverse, a very rare example of RPF involving actors from The Sentinel
  • 2008: AI7 -- David Cook/David Archuleta; winner and runner-up for season 7 of American Idol, and other Idol contestants. Small
  • Merlin RPS -- 99% Bradley/Colin (RPS version of the major Merlin pairing); Small, still growing.
  • 2009: Star Trek Reboot RPS -- Chris Pine/Zachary Quinto (aka "Pinto") (RPS version of one of the major reboot pairings) Medium, and in one year, is already far bigger than all Star Trek: TOS RPS combined.[6]
  • 2009: AI8 -- Adam Lambert/Kris Allen; runner-up and winner for season 8 of American Idol, and other Idol contestants. Built on fans who had started to think of AI as a possible fandom the season before, and then expanded quickly when Adam Lambert came out, and was shown to be close friends with his straight competitor. Medium
  • Pundit RPS -- Various pairings drawn from news parody shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report as well as more traditional news programs. Somewhat satirical or light comedy-romantic slash stories featuring news anchors Keith Olbermann and Anderson Cooper (among others) appeared as early as 2002; this is called pundit slash or pundit RPF. Small
  • Top Gear, a popular BBC show about cars, is shown on BBC America. RPF between the hosts begins and continues into the 2010s.
  • Football RPF gets bigger, particularly during the 2010 FIFA World Cup where the Spanish NT gets the most fannish attention. footballslash garners 3,000+ members and more than 14,000 entries.

2010s

  • The winter Olympics in February 2010 brought an upsurge in Figure Skating RPF, which had been around since at least the 1990s, with many new fans drawn in by the popularity and notoriety of Johnny Weir.
  • Late 2010-2011: A-Team movie RPF between Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper develops a following.[7]
  • The Social Network and TSN Actor RPF center around the 2010 movie which is based on a 2009 book, which is based on the founders of Facebook. It tends to be a mix RPF about the real people, FPF about the characters, and RPF about the actors, including stories where the real people interact with the movie and/or actors.
  • Bandom continues, with particular upsurges when key bands release a new album (e.g. My Chemical Romance and Panic! at the Disco in 2010/2011). Some fans include their girlfriends and wives in fanworks.
  • In 2010 the boyband One Direction is formed on the reality tv show The X Factor and becomes massively popular very quickly. Lots of tinhats, lots of gifs, lots of fanfic. 1D fandom also encourages the development of smaller fandoms like Radio 1 RPF.
  • 2012: Hockey RPF, particularly focused on the NHL, enjoys an increase in popularity.
  • Late 2012: The YouTube company Rooster Teeth gains a significant RPF fandom.
  • 2013: My Chemical Romance breaks up.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 see Purple Pages
  2. See Yahoo group NSYNC_FAN_FIC, founded March 28, 1999. Last accessed January, 2010
  3. Discussion on TTH Forums - When Is A Real Person Not A Real Person? - July-August 2004
  4. Twisting the Hellmouth - Site Policy Change - Wwe Crossovers - 7th November 2005
  5. Tagging the Supernatural Newsletter – Ed 1110 posted by Black Samvara on May 6, 2009, accessed January 10, 2010
  6. LJ's pinto_fic community has over 1600 members, and 1200 stories posted as of July 2010 compared to the TOS actors equivalent, LJ's Nimoy/Shatner RPF community (aka "Shatnoy") which has less than 500 members
  7. A-Team Kink Meme - RPF Prompts on Delicious. Accessed 23 May, 2011.