Plus, what does it really mean to ‘ship’ something and the many varied slash ships of Doctor Who.
Hi guys it’s been a while. I’ve been sitting on the sidelines watching my fellow slash experts being generally fabulous but I’m back to talk all things slash. I’m not sure where to begin, it’s not like something seriously awesome happened this past week, but it’s my job to give you the low down on all things fandom so let’s do that.
Fandom News Round-up:
Apparently Sony is going to make a movie of the 1990s cartoon Captain Planet. If you’re wondering what this has to do with slash you obviously didn’t notice the sexual tension between Kwame and Wheeler.
Veronica Mars’s boyfriend has been revealed and it’s none other than her college sweetheart Piz (Chris Lowell). Why am I so excited? Well nothing creates slash like two men going after the same woman so I can’t wait to see Piz and Logan compete while Veronica is off actually getting stuff done.
Season 2 of Catfish started last Tuesday and according to one of my fellow slash experts everyone is shipping Nev and Max.
Adelaide Kane, who plays Derek’s mysterious younger sister Cora (also fellow Aussie, represent), said that Sterek is a “ship that sails itself” (x) during a Twitter Q&A last week.
Speaking of Teen Wolf we should probably talk about that one fic where Isaac turned up at Scott’s place wearing a wet white t-shirt because he’s emotionally vulnerable and in need of a place to stay… oh wait that actually happened on last week’s episode. Excuse me while I try and fail to hold back my Scisaac tears.
This one might not be entirely slash related (though Legolas is very shippable), but if you guys haven’t seen Orlando Bloom singing “Taking the Hobbits to Isengard” then you are missing out.
We’ve Got Mail!
You have no idea how excited I was to open up The Shipping News Tumblr inbox and find a message requesting more Doctor Who ships. Although I have been rather distracted by teenage werewolves and their friends lately I am first and foremost a Doctor Who fangirl.
Arthur Darvill and Matt Smith fulfill a slash fans dream.(Source)
The best thing about the Doctor is the fact that his sexuality is ambiguous. Sure he’s got a preference for pretty young women but he’ll pretty much flirt with anyone. This makes him a pretty slashable character (although there is a large part of the fandom that sees the Doctor as asexual or at least uninterested in romance). Since the series returned in 2005 the Doctor has even kissed two of his male companions.
Then there’s Captain Jack Harkness (played by the always fabulous John Barrowman) who is described as omnisexual and will basically sleep with anyone (and I mean anyone) that’s interested (consent is important) regardless of race, sex, gender or species. Jack and the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) made to Round 2 of last year’s Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney, but personally I’m a fan of the relationship between Jack and the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston). You can see them in the .gif above. My fave Captain Jack slash ship (except Janto of course) is a little more obscure though: Jack Harkness/Mickey Smith.
Captain Cheesecake and Mickey Mouse 5eva!(Source)
Because I am a sucker for antagonistic romances I have to mention The Doctor/The Master (especially David Tennant and John Simm). Over the many years of Doctor Who, the Master has been a constant in the Doctor’s life. Their relationship is epic and their lives are constantly intertwined and of course like all good slash ships it always ends in tragedy.
Check out some general Doctor Who slash fic here. And in case you forgot we have featured a couple of Doctor Who ships before. Hannah accidentally shipped The Doctor and Rory and later rec’d a Doctor/Merlin crossover fic, Adri featured Torchwood power couple Jack/Ianto and I got a little bit creepy in anticipation of the 50th Anniversary Special by shipping the Doctor with himself. Finally because it’s something that I never knew I wanted here is an Eleventh Doctor/Abed Nadir fic.
Trope Appreciation: Screw or Die
Last week I was just hanging out casually watching Teen Wolf (actually there’s nothing casual about my Teen Wolf viewing experience but let’s pretend) when something astounding happened. The fandom was in enough of a frenzy after we found out that someone was offing virgins in Beacon Hills putting poor Stiles in a particularly vulnerable position. If this were fan fiction we all know exactly what happens next but I didn’t actually expect them to acknowledge it on the show.
Then Stiles started saying this: “You know who else is a virgin. Me. I’m a virgin okay and you know what that means?” Yes Stiles we know what that means. “It means that my lack of sexual experience is now literally a threat to my life.” Pretty sure there’s a solution to that Stiles. “Okay I need to have sex right now. Someone needs to have sex with me like today. Like someone needs to sex me right now!”
Then Danny volunteered, I had to pause the show and place my head in my hands because I am becoming increasingly convinced that Teen Wolf is not a TV Show but actually just a series of fan fiction prompts (before you all start yelling at me for not recognizing Teen Wolf’s many qualities I am just exaggerating for dramatic effect). Sure things didn’t pan out the way my fantasies do but it did give fic writers something very specific to focus on and that’s the “screw or die” trope.
What is the “screw or die” trope? Well it does what it says on the tin: one or both characters are placed in a situation where they have to have sex so that they don’t die. The reasons are almost as varied as they are ridiculous but there are a few common ideas like: sex pollen, aliens made them do it, mating or heatfic and of course virgin sacrifices. The reasoning might vary but the goal is the same… sex. The trope finds its origins, like so much of slash fandom, in Star Trek and the concept of Pon Farr (Vulcan mating time).
While this trope is super fun (and a staple of slash fan fiction) it comes with a few warnings. First off – this trope has A LOT of porn so if that’s not your thing then “screw or die” is not for you. It involves a lot of dubious consent because no matter how much they end up enjoying it the characters are manipulated or forced into engaging in sex acts (which might upset some people). It is also often connected with Alpha/Beta/Omega dynamics. If you are unsure of what that is it’s probably best to avoid it and to all you novice Teen Wolf fans out there – it is really not what you think.
Slash Soap Box
It’s pretty obvious that we here at The Shipping News love to ship but despite the fact that we’re supposedly ‘experts’ on the topic we still get a little confused. The term ‘ship’ is used in so many different ways that it can be easily misinterpreted.
A lot of the time when I say that I ship something I just mean that I find that dynamic intriguing but I’m not really interested in seeing it actually happen… then at other times I’m standing in the middle of the crossroads begging the devil to take my soul in exchange for a couple to become ‘canon’. Yet in both instances I would say that I ‘ship’ the couple in question. That makes for some pretty epic misunderstandings.
Blogging is awesome but it’s a text-based medium so it’s difficult to expresses the nuances of a single term. So how do we explain what we mean by shipping? I asked a couple of my fellow slash experts to consider this dilemma…
Catherine began by saying that “the fun of shipping is the fact that it doesn’t have a ‘pattern’ all the pairings need to fit into”. And she has a point – while all ships are relationships of some kind that’s about all they are guaranteed to have in common. There are “canon” pairings (like Nargon), there are pairings based on thinly veiled subtext (like Kirk/Spock), there are total crack pairings (J.K Rowling/Giant Squid) and seriously problematic pairings (like Stiles/Peter). Then Adri reminded me that people also ‘ship’ things like Isaac/Scarves and Dean/Pie (OTP).
So how do we interpret the term “ship” if we can never be sure what anyone means by it? Well Catherine says that she “implicitly translate[s] ‘I ship it’ with “I like to think about them together in some form or other”, and never assume a context”. And Adri suggested something similar saying the term really translates to “I like the idea of this pairing in X function, be it friendship, romance, slightly disturbing sexual partnership, or even concepts and people”.
While it’s pretty easy to tell that people aren’t serious when they say “OMG I ship Harry Potter with CAPSLOCK!” but the closer things get to canon the more complicated it becomes. We might never have a definitive answer to this question but the more I talked about it the less it bothered me. One of the best things about shipping is the flexibility. It can mean whatever you want it to mean and that makes for some rather interesting combinations.
What do you guys think? Do you have a specific idea of what it means to ship something? Or are you more flexible with your interpretation?
You know how Andy Swist designed a paper doll Derek for The Backlot… well I made one and he got lonely, so I made another one… then this happened and I’m so very sorry.
This is why we need at least two to slash.
That’s all for this week guys. Aja will be here next week and I’ll see you again in about a mouth.