|Type:||fan writer, archivist|
|URL:||arfies at LiveJournal|
Arfies at FanFiction.Net
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In response to a call for fans' "fandom journeys", Arfies wrote in 2006:
My obessession with "Bewitched" was indirectly an offshoot from being a Beatlemaniac since I was 8 and in 4th grade, which, in turn, got me fascinated in all that is the 1960s. A chat with my friend Emily in 7th grade (also a huge Beatles fan) got me interested in "The Monkees," which was showing on a local non-cable channel at the time of summer 2000 (I was one of the few who didn't have cable, which irked me to no end) as part of the Screen Gems Network. SGN rotated their shows, so when they replaced "The Monkees" with "Charlie's Angels," I was quite ticked off and quit watching. Sometime during the summer when I was actually getting up in the morning (a rare feat), I saw my younger brother and sister watching "I Dream of Jeannie," a show I had liked when I watched it at my grandparents' house on Nick at Nite (they had cable). SGN had rotated to that.
Well, the appeal of it was sort of lost to me by then (and I kept thinking, "Aren't there any SMART blondes on TV?!"), but I watched it anyway because it was '60s-y. Once I got up even earlier and managed to catch the end of a "Bewitched" episode that aired right before it (all I remember is "How now brown HORSE!"- later I found it was "Samantha, the Bard.") I found it funny, clever, romantic (the earlier episodes, anyway), and lo and behold, Samantha was actually INTELLIGENT!
I watched it more and more, and I got out books from the library about the show ("Bewitched Forever" by Herbie J. Pilato, "The Bewitched Cookbook" by the late Kasey Rogers and Mark Wood), visited any website I could find about it (www.bewitched.net and Vic's Bewitched Page, mostly), and tried to catch snippets of whatever I could on TV and from random book passages about the history of TV. I even set the VCR when school started so I could tape it. Sometimes during the hell that was my middle school experience (I was bullied, my previous friends had left me, and I was beset with depression and depersonalization disorder), watching an episode of "Bewitched" at the end of the day was the only thing I had to look forward to. For some reason, it always cheered me up, whether it was Samantha's kindness, Darrin's funny faces, Endora's sly bitchiness, or Tabitha's ability to get rid of any problem she had just by twitching her nose with her finger.
I know it sounds pathetic, but honestly, I have learned so many things from being a fan of this show, directly or indirectly. Of course, there are the usual biographies of the actors and crew, the social commentaries written about it, production, and the like. But through those, I've watched movies I might never seen this early in my life that are part of the cultural heritage, such as "Citizen Kane" (Agnes Moorehead was in it) or "Inherit the Wind" (Dick York was in it). Then I researched those movies, the actors in them, the historical contexts, watched additional movies, etc., etc. The whole thing snowballed until I became very good at trivia and everything "vintage," which landed me in the tryouts for "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire...")
Just because I felt like doing a song that eventually became "Witch Doctor Bombay," I learned about sound editing. Because I wanted to make a font that resembled the opening credits of "Bewitched," I learned fontmaking (and through that, have had something I made at age 15 end up in a Nicole Kidman movie... without my permission, but still, unbelievable.) Because I wanted to make a website about Bewitched fan fiction as well as write some, I learned HTML (and how to properly format a script). Because I enjoyed the background music used in the show, I wanted to find out if I could interview the songwriters and learn more about them. (It worked, incredibly, and they turned out to be world-renowned composers. And they talked to little ol' me!) Craaaaazy. The list goes on and on.
There are some degrees of obsession that I don't "get," such as listing every single episode Samantha wore a certain dress in (http://www.harpiesbizarre.com/frock.htm) or the like, since you don't really learn much from that. However, seemingly ridiculous things like "What paintings did the Stephens have on their wall?" (http://www.harpiesbizarre.com/art.htm) or "What was meant by that pop culture reference?" (http://www.harpiesbizarre.com/reversereferences.htm) leads to some fascinating history that gets me interested in other things. It's sort of like a treasure hunt with a good sense of humor, since I'm fully aware of how silly it is. :p But educational.
I know people make fun of fandoms (and goodness knows I do for the ones I don't "get," like Star Trek), but really, everyone's obsessed with SOMETHING. If it takes over your life and distracts you from truly important things, like, you know, feeding your kids, it's obviously unhealthy. However, if it makes you happy and leads as a "springboard" to other things and new people, being in a fandom can be an invaluable experience.