Crazy About One Direction

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Commentary
Title: Crazy About One Direction
Commentator: Daisy Asquith / Channel 4
Date(s): 15 August 2013
Medium: Film
Fandom: One Direction
External Links: Full Documentary on Vimeo
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Crazy About One Direction is a 45-minute documentary which aired on Channel 4 on 15 August 2013. The film was made by Daisy Asquith, a BAFTA-award-winning documentary maker, and produced by Mentorn Media [...] The documentary follows fans on One Directions’ 2013 UK tour and focuses on twenty-two girls in particular. Their ages range from thirteen to nineteen (Becky, at nineteen, is the oldest fan in the documentary). Interviews are conducted with these fans, predominantly in their bedrooms although footage of the girls waiting for the boys at concerts and their hotels is also included. The documentary opens with an introduction from the narrator, who outlines the three areas the documentary will examine: fans’ use of Twitter; Directioners’ loyalty to the band; and Larry Stylinson. The introduction ends with the question “What drives their obsession and why do so many girls love One Direction?”[1]

Asserted to be "the most tweeted about documentary ever on television"[2], it quickly resulted in hundreds of thousands of tweets, many including the hashtags #thisisnotus, #channel4thisisnotus[note 1] and #RIPLarryShippers.[note 2]

One Direction fans who were featured in the documentary as well as the filmmaker and Channel 4 were harassed online.[3] Many Larry shippers reported bullying following the documentary and there were unverified reports of suicides. According to the filmmaker:

In the days after the broadcast, tweets were split between hate for Larry shippers, who had supposedly embarrassed the fandom by sharing their fantasy, and hate for the producers of the documentary for broadcasting it. There were thousands of bomb threats to Channel 4, death threats to me, and invitations to Larry shippers to Go kill yourself. Following #RIPLarryShippers in real time, I watched the number of reported Larry “suicides” creep up from 4 to 12, then to 19, to 28, and then 42 in a few hours. It was a huge relief to me to discover the concept “pseuicide,” in which an online avatar dies when a Twitter or Tumblr account is deleted, often in protest.[4]

The day after it aired, band member Liam Payne replied to fans with the tweets:

We couldn't give a fuck what any documentary says there dramatised for entertainment and full of bullshit anyway we all know... [5]
Just so all of you know we love you guys and we know how dedicated you are and tbh we can't believe it that you gus spend all you time on us [6]
... How hard you work for us and see it everyday at our shows, Let's all take a step back and think about what we/you have all achieved...[7]
You should be proud [8]

The filmmaker Daisy Asquith authored a chapter in Seeing Fans in order to "conduct a reflexive postmortem on this fandom crisis of my own causing."[4] Notably, she asserts that some fan reactions may have been due to internalized shame, that she meant Crazy About One Direction to have an "affectionate humerous tone", that there was pressure from the network to place more emphasis on extreme fan behaviors, and that her choice of title ("I Heart One Direction") was changed by Channel 4 on the very last day of the edit to "Crazy About One Direction".


Notes and References

Notes

  1. #this is not us references This Is Us, the Morgan Spurlock One Direction documentary released later that same month.
  2. "SecondSync, who analyze the relationship between Twitter and television, recorded 368,000 tweets about the documentary, peaking at 6,141 tweets per minute as the program ended. The hashtags #thisisnotus and #channel4thisisnotus also generated 176,000 tweets within SecondSync’s monitoring window." (Jones, B. (2016))

References

  1. Jones, B. (2016). "I Will Throw You Off Your Ship and You Will Drown and Die": Death Threats, Intrafrandom Hate, and the Performance of Fangirling. In L. Bennett & P. Booth (Eds.), Seeing Fans: Representations of Fandom in Media and Popular Culture (Ch 5, pp. 53-65). Bloomsbury Academic & Professional.
  2. Vimeo - Crazy About One Direction, Archived version (Accessed 10 Sep 2019)
  3. Director defends Channel 4 One Direction documentary - BBC Newsbeat, Archived version (Accessed 10 Sep 2019)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Asquith, D. (2016). Crazy About One Direction: Whose Shame Is It Anyway?. In L. Bennett & P. Booth (Eds.), Seeing Fans: Representations of Fandom in Media and Popular Culture (Ch 7, pp. 79-88). Bloomsbury Academic & Professional.
  5. "We couldn't give a fuck what any documentary says there dramatised for entertainment and full of bullshit anyway we all know...", Archived version
  6. "Just so all of you know we love you guys and we know how dedicated you are and tbh we can't believe it that you gus spend all you time on us", Archived version
  7. "... How hard you work for us and see it everyday at our shows, Let's all take a step back and think about what we/you have all achieved...", Archived version
  8. "You should be proud", Archived version