A good fan girl comes to embrace each and every fan-girling opportunity as both a gift and a hope. A good fan woman should know better. Let me explain . . .
The Season 2 premiere of Outlander is no longer a Tartan Affair. It’s a private affair. Cries of foul play and unfairness, and general disgruntlement run rampant through social media The mood in the Big Apple fandom is tense. That Starz has previously graced NYC with a season 1 and a mid season premiere only compounds the expectations for a fan-attended Season 2 premiere event, but this one’s by invitation-only. Laid-back fans on the Left Coast don’t quite get what all the hubbub is about; the truth is, you need to live in the NYC metro area to understand the rantings of disappointment:
- The fans have served as collateral PR to pave the way to the success of Outlander!
- Half of us never even made it into the fiasco that was the logistical mismanagement of the mid season event!
- That ain’t right! Surely, this is not to be borne!
It’s Starz’ gig and that’s cool; I’m not an industry type and I don’t have any industry connections. But, damn! I want to go. A few days after the announcement, I receive a Facebook Message: someone I know is going, and that someone is going to try to get me in, too. And that someone succeeds. Mission accomplished.
Scouts, be prepared. A hotel room on the Upper West Side? That will do nicely, for bookoo shillings. The fiber optics are glowing and humming, or whatever it is they do when the traffic increases, and the traffic mostly concerns the proper attire for a premiere. What to wear, what to wear, WHAT TO WEAR??
Lucky e-mail confirmation-holding fan girls, this is no time to pull out your comfy jeans, because Macy’s is having a SALE on party dresses. I myself am in a LBD quandary (Little Black Dress, of course), because at Closet Teddie, there are four of them at the ready. The big question: are the little pink heels going to work with the little black dress?
The event includes a red carpet, and who knows what else. Fan girl pipe-dreaming can take you many, many places, and if you see my brain on a functional MRI, the excitement level makes all the lobes glow (please see Fig 1.)
I live in New Jersey, but was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. In other words, I still like to say that I am a New Yorker, even though I wasn’t holding on when riding the Outlander shuttle last week, fell, and sustained a mild concussion. That’s it–Outlander is going to kill me. Let me just lay down for a while…
Premiere Day has arrived. My ticket-holding friend and I pack up, load up, giddy-up, tittering like two junior high school girls (the ones that hated us). No stairway, escalator, or elevator can deter two Outlander fans with rollie-bags. From the Union NJ station on New Jersey Transit, to Pennsylvania Station in NYC, roll on.
Hell. Enough with the rolling—we take a cab to the hotel.
We check in to our bastion of old-world Upper West Side in need of refurb understated elegance. The magic continues as we are UPGRADED! For no additional shillings. True fan girl squeeeees ensue.
Squee as we get our beauty on. Squee to friend’s Sephora make-over appointment. (Minor squee as I do my own makeup). Squee to wine boutiques. And extra squees because we order room service goodies and plan a pre-premiere party for our other fortunate ticket-holding friends.
I feel very fortunate. I am amongst many many good friends, made first through the Outlander books, and now through the more recent and shiny new vibe that goes along with the screen production of the beloved Outlander stories. We sweep past the rain-soaked fans milling about outside our designated entrance—they have no ticket. Some are holding signs begging for an extra. An extra? These are by special invite only! Dream on, umbrella girls.
At the reception desk there are envelopes for each of us. White envelopes, this way. We have yellow envelopes, and are directed up a bright, wide staircase, where we meet others both known and new to us in the fandom, replete with sparkles, and cleavage, and upsweeps and once over I discretely exchange my flats for my pink heels.
There is a photo booth set up with a photographer taking fun pics of our groups as well as free prints to take along or have electronically sent to you. A Starz camera crew is there interviewing members of the fan community. We have plenty of time to network with each other, and we eventually are encouraged to enter the balcony seating reserved for the fan community. Some intrepid umbrella girls get in too, so everyone is smiling.
Just on the off-chance that you haven’t seen the new season opener by now, you may safely proceed. It goes down like this: Oh Tobias (character not specified) Oh Claire. Oh Roger (age of Roger not specified). Oh the Scottish Highlands. Oh. Jamie. Oh Murtagh. Oh Jared. Ooh Lala!
And when it’s over, we are escorted out on a long long line; not for any cast encounters, or anything remotely close. It was simply to gather our coats and file out. There’s a people with white envelopes party to follow. Not only did our group not have a ticket to that, horror of fangirl horrors, we knew nothing about it. Until now, because some of my acquaintences are showing me on Facebook. A few of my friends enjoy certain connections, and I am happy for them. Others just make me wonder how it came to be for them and not for me. It’s official: I am an umbrella-girl, too.
I am deflated and mightily crabby as we find a dinner spot and I mull over the high-powered corralling of us fans, and not a little bit in shock over it all.
In the earthly strata of the Outlander Starz universe, I know that I hover over the ozone layer while Outlander Starz is at the molten core. I know this, yet I am unsettled as all get-out and it takes me 48 or so hours to process the experience. My feelings, in case YOU have a concussion and therefore maybe misread my tone, are that I felt like the fans were herded like well-dressed cattle into a lovely theatre, relegated to a safe and segregated distance from the expectations that my mind fabricated for the event. I feel disappointed that I did not witness the Red Carpet happening mere yards away, no more up close and personal than on a 3” by 5” hand-held device. I am sad that I did not get at least one eyeball on the cast.
The soothing balm, though, is the fabulousness that is Episode 201, with its gripping emotions and mesmerizing performances. The entire episode was brilliantly executed for the screen, and all Tobias Menzies fans (myself included) are smugly glowing with pride. I was invited to a premiere, and Starz delivered. I witnessed it all on the giant screen, with free entry and complimentary picture souvenirs. Best of all, I was with my wonderful friends, all of whom could not fit into this picture:
I Am (Fan)Woman
This most recent stage in my Outlander Starz rite of passage has taken me beyond the fan girling and smacked me with an awakening a reality check. Here’s my Fan Woman plan: to count my Outlander blessings, to value my experience over my expectations, and to remain true to my friends.
Just the one other thing: I have been told that I absolutely ROCKED the pink heels that night.
Where any of you at the premiere? How did your experience compare? Was there ever a time when reality fell far short of your expectations?