The Real Story

ABC’s Bruce Jenner – The Interview was one of the most fascinating pieces of broadcast journalism I’ve seen in quite some time.

This interview was so important for many reasons. It opened up a national dialogue. It helped explain a sensitive topic. It challenged people to be more open-minded.

Out of all that was said, there is one comment that stuck with me. Diane Sawyer asked Bruce if he regretted doing Keeping Up With The Kardashians. She said, “And all that time …”

Bruce’s response was to raise his hand. “I had the story. We had done 425 episodes, I think, over almost eight years, and the entire run I kept thinking to myself, ‘Oh my god, this whole thing.’ The one real, true story in the family was the one I was hiding and nobody knew about it.”

To me, that comment says so much.

There is an illusion of access to modern celebrities, thanks to social media, paparazzi photos, even TMZ. We feel like we genuinely *know* these people because we see them all the time. But … how much do we really see?

Sure, I see celebrities I follow on social media pop up in my newsfeed, and I could tweet them anything at any time. But that doesn’t mean I know everything about them – or even have the right to. What I see is minute portion of their day and their personality – not a full picture.

There is a point where that illusion of access goes to far. One of the saddest moments of the ABC special to me was when Bruce cancelled a medical procedure because paparazzi found about it and were waiting for him. Even for celebrities who are as (arguably) overexposed as the Jenner/Kardashian family, there is no reason that should happen.

Reality TV might invite viewers into a celebrity’s home, but that doesn’t mean we need to see the dirty laundry. I, for one, am glad that Bruce decided to tell his real, true story.

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Fandom Follies …

It’s been a rough few weeks for many fandoms …

Spencer Smith left Panic! at the Disco. (Awww!)

Nina Dobrev is leaving The Vampire Diaries. (How is TVD going to work with no Gilberts?! At least the Salvatores are still there …)

And Zayn Malik left One Direction. (*wipes tear from the corner of my eye*)

Not going to lie. That last one toyed with my boy-band-lovin’ heart. And I know I wasn’t the only one.

The morning after Malik’s announcement, it was a hot topic on my favorite morning radio show. They asked people to call in to share their #ZaynPain, and as I drove to work, I got to hear a couple of those discussions. And the whole time, I kept thinking, “Please don’t make fun of them …”

The callers were both in their teens. And both girls were pretty sad about this news. The hosts were gracious enough to let them talk through their emotions. They recognized that even though this might not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things … to 1D fans, it’s a HUGE deal.

It was interesting to watch the reactions to Malik’s decision as an older pop music fan. I easily could have been those callers when Kevin Richardson left the Backstreet Boys (dating myself!). The difference now is how quickly fandoms can come together. Within minutes of Malik’s announcement, I saw posts on several social media networks all saying variations on the same theme: If you need a place to talk, I’ll listen/We’ll get through this together/Support each other.

That, to me, is the beauty of fandoms. At some point, it stops being about Zayn or Kevin or whatever/whoever you’re a fan of and starts being about the friends you’ve made *because* you’re a fan of Zayn or Kevin or whoever/whatever you enjoy. And – together – you celebrate the successes and mourn the losses.