Fandom: it feels like it's gotten hard lately. For example, 'Ready Player One' began its life as a bestselling novel by Ernest Cline. In their "A"-graded write-up in 2011, The AV Club said "for readers in line with Cline's obsessions, this is a guaranteed pleasure." Yet by 2018, when 'RPO' got a Steven Spielberg film adaptation, that same review site gave the movie a "B" grade with a side of savage criticism: "Like Ernest Cline's divisive geek-courting novel, the film doesn't offer much of a story or characters, instead spreading out an endless buffet of pop-culture references, flattering the preoccupations and encyclopedic recall of its target audience." Does that make any sense? Was aggressive fandom better a few years back? Or has the dark side of really liking a thing turned too dark, too often?

On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians Caitlin Gill and Riley Silverman for a range of stories about how to be the absolute best pop culture fan you can be. They'll focus on tales of fans connecting with creators, changing the shape of their favorite art, and putting themselves into it. They'll also mull the dark side of intense fandom. And with everything from 'Doctor Who' to 'Spider-Man' about to premiere new installments, they'll point to how you can be somebody who makes the world of fandom brighter.

Footnotes:

Caitlin Gill's site

"Cheaper Than Therapy" stand-up shows this week

Riley Silverman's site

"Everything Is Fine" (Seed & Spark)

6 Fan Ideas So Good They Were Adopted by the Creators (Cracked)

7 Fan Works So Good They Were Adopted By The Creators (Cracked)

How The 'GOT' Fandom Impacted The Story In Major Ways (Cracked)

What 'Ready Player One' Tells Us About Toxic Fandom (Cracked)

6 Fans Who Became Part Of The Show (Through Hilarious Fraud) (Cracked)

You'll Get a Miles Morales Spider-Man Movie, But It's Animated (Inverse)

Chicago Tribune piece on Columbo's popularity in Romania

'Star Wars' Actress Kelly Marie Tran Leaves Social Media After Months of Harassment (Variety)

Gorgeous #FanArtforRose Initiative Puts Kelly Marie Tran Front and Center (The Mary Sue)

http://jeopardy.com/watch -- see Alex Schmidt on Jeopardy! on your local station this coming Monday October 8th, 2018.

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