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October 8, 2015

In Defense of: Obsessive internet fanboys

by Jay Black, posted Dec 15th 2006 10:05AM
So this is what that guy who left 81 comments looks like!I spent about 15 minutes last night reading a ridiculously detailed summary of the 8(!?) separate timelines that spring into and out of existence throughout the course of the three Back To The Future movies. It just so happened that during my study of "timeline 1985(a)" that my wife happened into my office to ask me what I was up to. When I told her, she sorta sadly shook her head and left muttering something about me "having no life."

Okay, I admit, trolling Wikipedia for the latest breakdown of a 19-year-old movie franchise ain't exactly what Henry David Thoreau meant when he spoke about "sucking the marrow out of life", but there's at least one person in the world who has even less of a life than I do: the guy who wrote the friggin' article in the first place.

And you know what? Thank God for that guy...
The internet has created a lot of great things that we can all agree are great -- awesome blogs like this one, online shopping, and a literal avalanche of pornography. I would like to humbly suggest one more member to the pantheon of internet greatness: the obsessive internet fanboy.

Before the internet, geeky collectors of kitsch and useless information were relegated to underground freak status and this was detrimental to us all. For instance, let's say it's 20 years ago and for or some reason (drugs) you got a hankering for some information about the appropriately named 1983 TV show Manimal (about a man who could turn into animals). Where could you go? There's a chance that one of your neighbors might be a closet Manimal freak with a room full of pictures, videotapes, and quite possibly the head of Michael D. Roberts (who played Manimal's sassy friend Ty), but the odds are slim. Even slimmer are the odds that if you actually had a neighbor like that, he would be willing or socially able to tell you about his Manimal love. You, my mildly-interested-in-Manimal friend, would be out of luck.

Enter the internet! By providing obsessive fanboys with a comfortable interface (a not-judgmental-about-your too-tight-Wolverine-t-shirt computer keyboard) the internet gives fanboys the opportunity to finally share with the world all the hundreds of thousands of bits of useless information they've been collecting.

And we're the beneficiaries! Interested in Manimal? Thanks anonymous web-geek!

How about 600 screencaps from Alf? Right here.

Any questions about the kid who played the human brother to Vickie the robot in Small Wonder? Have fun!

Web 2.0 (a buzzword that I don't understand but thought would look good in this column) has allowed for even greater precision in the sifting of fanboy knowledge. JumpTheShark, IMDB, and especially Wikipedia have taken all this amazing, fetishist knowledge and made it possible for casual geeks and nostalgic normal people to quickly find whatever they're looking for.

Having worked for TV Squad these last few weeks, I've come to appreciate the online presence of obsessive fan boys. No matter how stupid the question -- what color is Bart's favorite hat (red) or how many doors does Maxwell Smart walk through during the credit sequence (7) -- I am never more than a few keywords away from finding an answer. They might still live in their mother's basement or own a Trapper Keeper covered in Happy Days stickers, but they are the guardians of pop ephemera and we all rely on them from time to time.

And they don't even charge for the service! Indeed, the only price that we have to pay for all this is the occasional silly flame-war. So what if TV sites have to deal with having their comments pages filled with a few hardcore fans arguing over which female lead on Knight Rider was better (it was Bonnie). So what if the prevailing fanboy winds sometimes declare certain shows great or sucky without actually having seen them. So what if forty years from now, the sons and daughters of today's fanboys will clog Web 4.0 with the same stupid statements about the 59th season of The Simpsons that their parents use today (the show sucks now, it was better before, blah blah blah). It's a minor vig on the ever-growing mountain of uselessness they contribute to every day.

Of course the Internet is also good at helping to distribute actual knowledge, but it already gets enough credit for that. I think it's about time we stood up and saluted the unsung hero of the internet: the obsessive fanboy!'

I will now open the comments up for all the obsessive fanboys to tell me how wrong I am about... well, everything.

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I think that the Internet has been helpful in finding rare things. Back then, some people were very, very private about their obsessions. But the outlet is more wider now. As my "obsessive Internet fanboy" approach? It's more about why some '80s/90s pop groups broke up, like Johnny Hates Jazz. Why some of those same groups or solo artists in the '80s couldn't handle unexpected fame. And what are they doing now. And some underrated artists of the '80s/90s that were good, but couldn't sell the 8 million to 10 million of the big time stars. No, I'm not someone who lives in my parents' basement doing this--I have a full time job and am active in my community and church. I'm not as crazy as some people about some particular scene from a movie or TV show. It's hard to believe that short lived shows that lasted one season has more blogs on it on the Internet than shows that lasted 10 to 20 years on the networks. Sometimes, it's all in the writing of the shows.

February 16 2007 at 3:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Go buy your wife flowers and spend some time with her! I agree all the obsession is fun, but trust me, it pales compared to human companionship!

Promote a little balance if you would. Maybe compare flirting styles of various media models and which ones really work?

Someone had to say it.


December 17 2006 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

WOW !!
You hit the nail on the hizzle ! My girlfriends obsession with Columbo has just developed into a on line project, ( www.columbo.me.uk ) , and before you ask i dont see the addiction to a man in a rain mac smoking cigars, but she loves it, she can name every character every episode, spot any hiccups and is demented and insance, but i support her, (cue me writing website) and love her to bits, but without her and the millions of others Columbo would be dead to the world in 20 years, instead she keeps it alive (WEB 1.0 !) and will remain to do so ... GODAMMIT !! :) Peace

December 17 2006 at 8:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wanted to add as well that the latest season (18) of the simpsons is pretty darn good and made my laugh out loud a ouple of times. (as well as my girlfriend... yes I have one)

December 17 2006 at 8:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Worst internet post... EVER.

The Simpsons went through some weak seasons, yes, but the show is experiencing an upswing.

I hate myself...

December 16 2006 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"a literal avalanche of pornography"

That's the way I want to go.

December 16 2006 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SciFi Ranter Girl

This is an awesome article. Manimal... lol!

December 16 2006 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And hey you even got on Slashdot, now THATS nerdy/geeky which ties perfectly into this.

December 16 2006 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oops--make that DrFunBags.

December 16 2006 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about us dweebs, DrFunStuff?

December 16 2006 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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