An Open Letter to The Blacklist Fan Community
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens writes in the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities as he paints a picture of life in England and France. The year is late 1775, and Jarvis Lorry travels from London to Paris on a secret mission for his employer, Tellson’s Bank. Joining him on his journey is Lucie Manette, a 17-year-old woman who is stunned to learn that her father, Doctor Alexandre Manette, is alive and has recently been released after having been secretly imprisoned in Paris for 18 years.
Does this sound familiar to any of you? An orphaned child learning about her parental lineage taken under the wing of a man on a secret mission that we all want unveiled. Unfortunately for The Blacklist fandom the opening line of this story applies to all of us this very day. Over three and half years, fans around the world have been asking questions about Raymond “Red” Reddington, Elizabeth Keen, Tom Keen, and the rest of the crew. But with that statement, already half of the fandom, or City #1 if you will, is rolling their eyes because I said two words. Tom Keen. City #2 is also rolling their eyes back at city #1 and here in lies our dilemma.
Every week my co-host, Aaron Peterson and I put out a fan podcast called “The Blacklist Exposed.” We take a light-hearted look at the most recent episode, dissect it at the character level, and try to understand how the motives and stories tie into the overall mythos of The Blacklist. Some would call this type of analysis a critic review, others would call it fanaticism. Whatever it is, WE do it because WE love to do it. We love talking about the show, talking to other people that love the show, and in the end rejoice in the experience of how a broken world full of criminals and terrorism can unite around a singular topic and share in a common bond, our humanity and relationships with each other.
Which is why it is saddening today to have to write this open letter to all of The Blacklist Fandom. We are spectators. We sit down to watch The Blacklist (whenever it airs in your country) to escape the real world, to pretend all of our troubles are gone and immerse ourselves into the experience of The Blacklist. Every week people from writers to directors to editors to craft services people, from makeup and location scouts to executive producers and actors work tirelessly to put out 40+ minutes of content only to have to go back and grind it out all over again. Yes we cheer every time Liz rolls her eyes at Red, we hang on every word that Red dishes out in his stories, jump for joy when Dembe shoots bad guys and melt inside every time we see some #Aramdorable event. Every single one of the people that made those events happen for us to enjoy are just that, people. Our brothers and sisters in humanity and deserve our respect just as each of you deserve respect from one another.
I love The Blacklist, I enjoy the ability to talk to my friends – yes my friends in the fandom about the show. I enjoy conversations with the cast and crew on twitter, and over email. I was blessed to have the opportunity to visit the room and talk with Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath to help promote season four. But what I cannot stand for, and will not stand for any longer is the hate that goes on via social media toward each other, toward the writers, and toward the powers that be themselves, my friends. It is a TV show. The beautiful thing about media is that it has an on and an off button. If you don’t like the show turn it off. If a character doesn’t fit your morals or way of life turn it off. Turning off the show is like casting a vote in an election, something that our country has forgotten is a privilege to have. The spinoff has not taken away from the main show. In fact, it has given a renewed depth to the main show over these past few episodes of season four. The characters are as deep and as interesting as ever and if you spent more time watching the show instead of chastising it maybe you would see it too.
Instead some of you continue to hide behind the social word, fake accounts, and waste energy spreading rumors, lies, and hate. I am here to say once and for all, STOP THE MADNESS. If you want to share your viewpoints on The Blacklist, Redemption, Tom Keen, or the powers that be then start a podcast, write a blog, put your NAME on it loud and proud like Aaron and I do at the start of every podcast episode. We have been displeased with the direction of the show a few times and have openly stated it on the podcast, but we are providing feedback, not hate and disgust for something none of us have control over. The powers that be and the writers have a story to tell, their story. It is their creation and we are blessed to have the privilege to come along for the ride. If you want a seat on the bus come watch with us. If you are mad about the show not going your way, hop off the bus and find your own ride.
Most people that know me in the fandom will call me the ‘MomTheory’ champion. It is a crazy off the wall theory I know, but until it is proven otherwise I will stick with it. But if it turns out the Red is just some crazy brother’s uncle twice removed on his step-sister’s side, will I fire off a bunch of angry tweets and Facebook posts to Jon Bokenkamp and company, NO. They told their story and whatever the ending is it will be a shock to all of us good or bad, and in the end I just hope we can still be friends when it is over to keep talking about and reliving all the fun we had over the many seasons. In closing I hope whether you are a Tom Keen fan, a Shipper, a Daddygater, a member of Keen2 or Team Mommy you will come together to enjoy this great show we all love and have passion for. I truly want us all to be there when it concludes in one piece stronger as a united Blacklist fandom. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done to leave this with you the fans of The Blacklist with this wish. For those that are no longer fans of The Blacklist, I hear Westworld is a great show.
Creator and Co-Host
The Blacklist Exposed Podcast