The Shippers: Television’s Most Romance-Obsessed Fans

The Shippers: Television's Most Romance-Obsessed Fans
 Pete and Olivia on Fringe. Jack and Liz on 30 Rock. Booth and Bones on Bones. Beckett and Castle, Scully and Mulder, Buffy and Angel, Xena and Gabrielle. To kiss or not to kiss, that is the question. Sometimes a TV series stirs not only the imagination, but the heart… and the loins. The new issue of Entertainment Weekly features a cover story about the sexy love triangle on The Vampire Diaries, as well as a supplemental essay, “Just Do It,” in which Jeff Jensen discusses the culture of “shippers,” fans who are deeply invested in the romantic relationship between fictional characters. Jensen seems to think that all shippers really want is to see their favorite couples be together. But is this true? Do we actually want our One True Pairings to be together? Or is the longing the best part?

Jensen taks to Bones producer Hart Hanson, who says, “If I had listened to the shippers, Bones and Booth would have gotten together at the end of season I.” Jensen writes:

Somewhere, shippers are asking, And that would be a problem why?

But this sentiment doesn’t ring true: A shipper enjoys the longing. A slow burn heightens feelings; a gradual, steady build makes the heart flutter; hands brushing against each other send electric charges; casual glances become smoldering gazes. Foreplay makes your sensitive parts even more sensitive. And if two characters do kiss after two and a half seasons, it’s squeal-inducingly exciting because you’ve waited so long, but you wouldn’t want them move too quickly: Once you open the present, Christmas is over.

Plus, shippers like to fantasize about stuff that will never happen: same-sex sex, incest, and yes, same-sex incest. In a harsh, cruel world, you can’t always get what you want. But like Blondie sings, dreaming is free.


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