Five or six years ago, I was standing in line at Wizard World Philly (as you do), wearing my Supernatural tee shirt (as you do), and another fangirl also waiting in line commented on it. We struck up a conversation, bonded as Supernatural fans, and soon realized we had a lot in common, including a fascination with fandom and the sociology and psychology of being a fangirl. Fast forward several years later, and Hansi Oppenheimer shared with me an exciting idea for her next film project – a documentary about fangirls. Would I want to collaborate with her?
You bet I would! That film became Squee! The Fangirl Documentary. We filmed segments all over the country, including at San Diego Comic Con. It was my first foray into being a producer as well as a co-writer, and I will never not be in awe of all that producers have to juggle again! We’re so proud to say that the documentary garnered all sorts of awards from film fests all over the world and, equally important, the reception from fans was overwhelmingly positive. We wanted to celebrate fandom and combat shame, and fans told us that the film did just that, with the help of some celebrity contributors too.
I’ve been a fan of the Hillywood Show since I discovered their parody videos with their first Supernatural video several years ago. Hannah and Hilly Hindi, the sisters behind The Hillywood Show, were kind enough to chat with me about that video and to also contribute some insights to the documentary film on fandom I co-wrote, Squee! I’ve been eagerly awaiting their second Supernatural parody with high expectations, but the reality surpassed them when it was released last week – Supernatural Parody 2 is a loving tribute to the show, its amazing cast, and its incredible fandom. As I took some notes on why I was enjoying it so much, I realized it’s because once again, they totally got it right – even for someone like me, who adores Supernatural and has written five books on the show and the fandom!
I was at the Supernatural convention in Denver last weekend, and there was quite a bit of talk about the new parody, which both fans and Supernatural stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles had high praise for. Jensen in particular was impressed with the production value and the professionalism of the set and the shoot, and especially with the realistic proton packs that he and Jared got to wear – they sometimes had to take them off between takes because Jared kept bumping into the door and other things. Jensen seemed excited that the blasters really worked too, which I think means they were having a lot of fun playing with them! I shared those reactions with Hannah and Hilly when we chatted.
Hilly: He did keep bumping into the door, we can confirm that one. Hannah: I just know that Jared really likes to push buttons!
Hilly: The pack, though, really was the coolest toy. They were like the real deal, so it’s the ultimate toy and Jared was like, yes! I could just see his eyes light up.
[There’s a great moment on the behind the scenes feature where Osric shows Jensen how to pull out his blaster, and he does. Then Jared pulls out his, with significantly more flourish, and Osric grins and whispers to the camera.
Osric: The gentle giant…
Jared makes the blaster light up and then asks, with his eyes all hopefully lit up, “do you want this on?”
Hilly: No, cuz that means you’re killing us…]
I laughed out loud at that.
Hilly: We haven’t been able to talk about it or hear from them since the shoot. They asked, “When can we mention it?” I told them you can’t until the video is out. So, weeks down the road now, it’s really cool to hear them talk about it.
Lynn: They definitely enjoyed it. So, after thinking about this a bit, I’ve identified ten things you got very right. I’m gonna go through them one by one, and you can comment, okay?
Number 1. One of the things that makes your parodies so brilliant and so loved by fans is that you really GET the show you’re parodying, maybe Supernatural more than even the other shows you’ve parodied. You were able to reproduce the show itself with the level of detail that fandom relishes – the kitchen set from Changing Channels, the library in the Men of Letters bunker, the proton packs with Dean’s little army man and the Colt and Sam’s with Ruby’s knife. Some of the scenes looked so eerily similar, like that iconic moment when Dean fires the Colt and kills Azazel in slow motion. How do you decide what scenes and what details to include and how much detail to put into it? It must take so much time!
What a treat it was to DRIVE to a convention instead of fly! One of my university colleagues who also watches the Show came with me to Secaucus NJ (which the guests mostly called See-Cock-Us…) to help out in the vendor’s room to sell our Supernatural books. It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the convention center cons, but the vendor’s “room” was just a portion of the giant floor, so I got to meet lots of people who had read the books and stopped by to say they really related to them as a fan of the Show (or stopped by to say “What? Books on Supernatural fandom? Misha wrote a chapter?”)
It was wonderful to meet so many of you and to hear what you liked about ‘Fangasm’ and ‘Fan Phenomena Supernatural’!
“Right there, right there, ohmygod you’re gonna miss it!”
Kathy yanked the wheel of our rented PT Cruiser sharply to the right, tires screeching as we drove way too fast through the unfamiliar streets of San Diego. Lynn scowled from the passenger seat, clutching the door handle as the car barely held the turn. In the back seat, Sabrina wisely stayed silent, hoping we’d make it to our destination in one piece.
At 4 am, the massive glass and concrete convention center up ahead was still a dark outline against the sky. We lurched into a spot in the deserted underground parking garage. Easy! We were feeling confident that we’d be first in line as we hurried up three flights of stairs and onto the darkened sidewalk, repeating our mantra of “please let us be the first ones here, please let us be the first ones here.” It was too early for the trolley, too early for the traffic and crowds that would soon clog the streets. We threaded our way through the previous day’s debris – discarded flyers for new television shows, promo cards in the shape of coffins, souvenir buttons, colorful miniposters for upcoming films. Geek garbage.
Our instincts told us that three women in an unfamiliar city at 4 am should be careful, but we silenced the pesky little voice of reason. If we’d had good judgment, we wouldn’t have been in California at all. None of us had the excess money or time to fly 3000 miles across the country, and we knew we were going to pay for it in all sorts of ways. But not right now.
“We did it,” Sabrina whispered to Kathy. Even Lynn –never a morning person let alone a 4 am person – started to smile. Then we turned the corner. Our self congratulatory grins faded. There was already a line.
Welcome to Comic Con
–from Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls
That’s the beginning of ‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’. Our story – our wild and crazy roadtrip through fandom – started at Comic Con. Last week, I returned again to the place it all began. Because there’s nothing like Comic Con. It’s insane and hectic and at times so crowded that you can’t see more than a foot in front of you (or anything other than the back of the very tall man in the Darth Vader costume who’s walking in front of you).
Like everyone else in the Supernatural fandom (and cast), I loved The Hillywood Show’s brilliant parody of our beloved Show – mostly because they got it so very right. It’s not that easy to create a parody of a show with a passionate fandom; as fans, we notice everything. Get it wrong, and we’ll call you out on it in a microsecond. But get it right, and we’ll shower you with gratitude. I couldn’t wait to talk to the Hillywood girls, Hannah and Hilly Hindi, to find out how they managed to do just that.
Lynn: I’m so excited to talk to you, I absolutely loved the Supernatural parody! I’ve been a fan of this Show for nine years and this is one of the best things EVER. Congrats!
Hilly: Ohmygod, thank you, that’s a lot coming from you!
Lynn: Pretty sure I’ve watched it about a million times. I notice that many of your parodies are of shows or films that are fan favorites, like Lord of the Rings or The Walking Dead or Doctor Who – or of course Supernatural. Do you pick things that you know have passionate fan bases, or do you pick things that you are fans of yourself?