Pros Fanfic Angst Viewed As a Five-Star Thai Menu

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Title: Pros Fanfic Angst Viewed as a Five-Star Thai Menu
Creator: Alexfandra
Date(s): mid-1990s
Medium: essay
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links: At the The Professionals Circuit Archive At Gwyneth's site and here
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Pros Fanfic Angst Viewed As a Five-Star Thai Menu was written by Alexfandra (then Alex MacKenzie) for Virgule-L, a slash mailing list community in the mid- to late-1990s. It posits that all Professionals fanfic can be categorized from high angst (five stars) to low angst (one star), much like the menu in a Thai-food restaurant. While it is centered on The Professionals, it can be easily translated to many other fandoms. It is hosted currently at the The Professionals Circuit Archive and at the essays portion of the website for Gwyneth Rhys.

The Text

In a humorous vein one day, I had an urge to create examples of "high angst" compared with "low angst" in Pros fanfic. Here's what I came up with:

One star:

Bland. Mild anxiety over whether Doyle bought the right size curtains to go on the curtain rods. Occasionally aspires to angst by introducing some slightly greater anxiety over whether Doyle will punch Bodie when Bodie tells him that those tight jeans are really sexy. No actual punching occurs. More mild anxiety over whether Bodie is using enough lube. Possibly some mild pain, which Doyle may express a certain amount of mild anguish over, which will pass quickly. The reader's teeth are more likely to clench over the vague depiction of orgasm ("he reached completion and fell into a boneless sprawl") than the level of angst. Can you say "Christmas story"?

Two stars:

Tastier, but not spicy enough. Doyle will punch Bodie, but Bodie will quickly forgive him while Doyle will immediately feel great pangs of guilt. One or two brief "he stormed out of the flat" scenes, which do not result in ten-year separations, since the stormer will immediately be chased down by the stormee, to be reconciled stormily but without further bloodletting. Doyle gets to f**k Bodie this time, and nobody cares if it hurts a little.

Three stars:

The perfect level of spiciness. Moderate-to-Deep misunderstandings lead to much emotional gut-wrenching on both sides. Six month-to-two- year separations allowed. Much getting together, fighting, and running off to give birds another whack before jealously getting back together again. Hurt/comfort of the "almost died" variety, with great pangs of guilt at the hospital bed, and declarations of the "can't live without you" variety. Occasional rape of the "forced to do it by bad guys" variety. Doyle won't let Bodie f**k him because of child abuse memories, but they work it out.

Four stars:

Over-spiced. Requires lots of wine to get down. Everybody punches everybody, ten-year separations are common, and when someone gets hurt and nearly dies, the other one avoids the hospital and often runs away to Africa. Bodie torments Doyle by calling him a queer and Doyle torments Bodie by calling him a sadistic ex-merc bastard. Partner rape, without mitigating bad guys. Drug use, prostitution, imprisonment, psychotic breakdowns. Vile manipulations by Cowley to tear the Lads asunder, which actually succeed. Unhappy endings galore, and so many misunderstandings in the bedroom that they'd be better off f**king at a shrink's office.

Five stars:

Impossible to swallow. Everybody hates everybody else. Nobody has sex without complete and utter torment. After being rejected as a raging poofter by Doyle and having been violently kicked out of Doyle's flat, Bodie goes to the nearest gay bar and hauls half a dozen guys into the bathroom, screws them all, and then gets plastered, drives his car off a road, is found by terrorists, kidnapped, tortured, raped, and left for dead, found by Cowley, taken to a remote cabin for sexual healing by same, is riddled with self-disgust and loathing, tries to kill himself but accidentally shoots Cowley instead, goes back to Doyle's flat, finds Doyle with Murphy, and ties them both up and bonks them both senseless before hightailing it for Africa never to return.

And then everybody in the story dies.

Bon appetit!