We are all fanatic about something. You could be a Trekkie or the biggest otaku that ever lived. As fans, we’ve had experiences with our passions that are story-worthy. We, Mandi Harris and Kendra Beltran, have endeavored to create a new series on Fandomania to celebrate just that. We decided to start off on a positive — and personal — note by sharing our own best fan experiences. We hope fellow fans will feel comfortable enough to share their own stories later on. Without further ado, we give you “Tales from the Fan Files”.
“Television, forever soul mate.” If you were to bury me tomorrow, I’d want that on my vintage TV set shaped headstone. It’s not a shocker to those that know me because it’s all I talk about and relate to. I’m as blunt as South Park, as emotional as Degrassi, and filled with as much pop culture references as Mindy Lahiri. So when asked what my best fan experience was, I had to go through years of alleyway encounters, lurking excursions, and meet and greets to pick just one. Do I go with Seth Cohen because he was my first, Michael C. Hall because he laughed after I told him to kill Deb, or do I go big? After racking my mind I’d have to go with the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Sunny had a slow start. I remember meeting Charlie Day when he was promoting season two. No one was at Jimmy Kimmel for him but little ol’ me. Fast forward a few years later and they were touring thanks to the hit that was “The Nightman Cometh.” What was just a season finale turned into an all out live production that they took on the road. Thanks to a wonderful birthday present I got to see it performed for the first time in LA. I met the cast then, but the best time was later that year when they did the full tour.
I wasn’t working and tickets for their LA date that time around were something like 50 bucks. Needless to say, I wasn’t going unless I came across a miracle. Then Playboy decided to hold a contest. All you had to do was enter, every day until it ended. I did with about 10 or so emails and won. The prize was not only two tickets and backstage passes BUT a chance to be in the live show. I ended up winning that part of the prize too and played Gladys the older lady. I was too nervous and the greatest part of that whole thing was getting to rehearse the lines with Charlie all by my lonesome — okay, the hair and wardrobe people were there but I’d like to think it was just us.
After the show I got a picture with the whole cast and the script from that night sits on my desk signed by the entire cast. Another never-going-to-forget-moment from that night was Danny DeVito telling me a story about when he was promoting Matilda. If you’re not aware… that’s one of my all-time favorite movies. I squealed a little and tried not to scream in his face about it.
So while I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of my favorite TV faces, none of them have been able to trump the night I not only met the cast if It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia but acted with them as well.
It’s always a thrill when you sort of know someone famous. It was 2004 and my friend told me that her cousin Josh was on a TV show called Lost. I figured I should check it out. What began was one of the deepest fan crushes I’ve ever had. I remembered seeing his dad while I was growing up. I played with his cousin at his grandfather’s house. We were from the same hometown and went to the same elementary. It was fandom fate. I became a huge fan of Lost. I collected magazines and such with his face on it. I even have a Sawyer action figure. I may or not may not have embarrassed my friend with my fangirl crush.
I think she and her family indulged me shamefully. At her wedding, Josh Holloway’s parents were kind enough to endure my fangirl gushing. I think one of them got into the spirit too much and even offered me his room at their family bed and breakfast. I remembered blushing horribly. It was the closest I got to meeting him. I continued to devotedly watch Lost each week. I would inquire after him via his cousin. I even got photos from a Thanksgiving dinner.
There comes a moment when the passion you throw into a fandom becomes justified. My friend had come up with her husband to visit. She had a present for me. It looked like just a sheet of computer paper at first. That is — until I turned it over.
Aloha! Thanks for watching!
I recall squealing and freaking out. I probably almost choked my friend hugging her. It was like all my fangirl love had paid off. I still hold onto hope that one day I might meet him. I mean, he is proof that folks from my hometown can go on to be Hollywood actors. Still, I have the autograph tucked away to remind me that putting a part of yourself into a fandom isn’t always wasted.