Arts, Featured Column, Column

Choosing Sides: The Frustrating Reality of Fandoms and Favorites in Entertainment

On Monday, Feb. 1 at approximately 10:40 p.m., a horrific series of events transpired on planet Earth. Raging fires and major flooding decimated human civilization, the world’s 8.7 million species suddenly ceased to exist, and our entire life-sustaining space rock was not simply tipped off of its axis, but hurled violently into the depths of a vast and unforgiving universe.

Well, at least that’s what I assumed must have happened due to the depressing series of snapchats I received that night from a high school friend of mine. Just seconds before my friend sent me the first somber selfie, Boston University defenseman Doyle Somerby took advantage of an empty net to secure a 3-1 Beanpot victory for the Terriers at TD Garden. If this article’s apocalyptic premise didn’t make it abundantly clear already, the aforementioned friend goes to Northeastern.

As GPA-paranoid students by day and bloodthirsty sports fans by night, we BC undergrads sure know a thing or two about competitive rivalries, be they academic or athletic in nature. Together, we comprise a flock of Eagles who gleefully gloats about how it “Sucks to BU” whenever the chance arises.  When it comes to the savage support of our alma mater, we are certainly not alone. Just ask a group of BU students which B-line school would win in a fierce battle to the death, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone backing BC.

As individuals, it’s the same story. Who hasn’t secretly sneered at our best friend when she scores higher than us on a medieval history midterm? We’re constantly consumed with who’s best, what’s best, and how we could become the best (if we’re not already). Despite this mindset making for some messy situations and needless anxiety at times, I think the whole competition thing is kind of fun.

Maybe it’s the over-the-top arts enthusiast in me (it is), but I like to think that the same exists in the entertainment world—and to an even larger extent, really. More often than not, people identify themselves with the Hogwarts house they think they belong in, the rock group they’re most loyal to, or even their favorite member within a single band. I’ve actually had a guy proudly introduce himself to me as “the Ringo Starr of [his] friend group.” If that’s not a foolproof pickup line sure to get all the girls swooning, boys, then I don’t know what is.

Fandoms exist at all levels within entertainment—from dueling film franchises to music genres to even specific songs within a single Bruce Springsteen album (quick, which is better: “Born to Run” or “Thunder Road?”). Even late-night TV forces us to choose channels wisely, pitting Jimmy against Jimmy at the same time every night.

Star Wars or Star Trek? Dumbledore or Gandalf? Graduation or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? Vampires or Werewolves (okay, I don’t get the hype surrounding that one either). The Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh! debacle is easy, though. Any franchise with a crime-fighting turtle called ‘Squirtle’ wins the fantasy anime card game throne, no question.

The frustrating thing about entertainment rivalries, however, is that there is no definitive way to decide who’s best. Hockey has indisputable bits of data to it—team records, player stats, all of those good things. For instance, you could like Peyton Manning and his annoying Nationwide commercials all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s got one ring to Brady’s four.

Based entirely on opinion and personal preference, entertainment is different. There exist no numbers to crunch that can determine the superiority of 30 Rock over Parks and Rec or one Powerpuff Girl over the other. I could claim that Michael Buble is the worst cover artist plaguing our generation today, but dammit, I just can’t prove it.

Sure, I’d like to give those who claim Kevin Michael Richardson’s cartoon Joker is superior to Heath Ledger’s realistic one a swift right hook to the face and ask them if they kiss their mother with that mouth. Unfortunately, my argument would have no fact-based leg to stand on.

In the Boston area alone, BU claims it’s best, while Harvard rolls its Ivy League eyes. Northeastern might make a strong case for its swanky fitness center, but we Eagles know that what sweltering Plex heat doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (MIT doesn’t trouble itself with any of this petty competition, because it’s too busy building robots who run faster than cheetahs and solve world peace in its spare time, thank you very much).

If my going off on a tangent has taught us anything here, I think it’s this: much like award season is a catalyst for tumult and tension in the entertainment industry, the annual Beanpot tournament causes major rifts among Boston’s finest academic institutions. The only difference is that The Academy’s decisions regarding superiority have no math or factual evidence to back them up, whereas hockey games do.

In conclusion, according to mathematical proof and hockey statistics, BC is better than Harvard.

Featured Image By Associated Press

February 3, 2016