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September 1992


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 23 Sep 1992 15:24:23 EDT
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   Andrea also ask about my use of the term, "meta-text" in my BEAUTY AND THE
BEAST essay and whether it could be used to apply to fan's conception of stars/
characters. For those who haven't read my writing, the term, "Metatext" refers
to the mental construct which fans construct surrounding the series text which
includes not only information explicitly offered in the program narratives but
also extratextual information (interviews with stars, producers, etc.;
 novelizations; writer's guides) and inferences by fan critics, etc. I see the
as part of the collective property of fandom with much overlap between fans
in terms of their interpretation of the series, but also open to idiosyncratic
inflection by individual fans so that it generates constant debates about
interpretation. The fan meta-text is vitally concerned with issues of
characterization, since character is a primary focus of their interest in the
series narratives, especially the interplay between characters and the back
 stories of characters. There is no doubt that they also form some common
 understandings of the stars, their personalities, etc. Some fans are more
than others.
--Henry Jenkins
          The answer makes sense to me(I think). One of the reasons
          why I pose the question is that I'm finding in talking with
          Quantum Leap fans (who are quite active on the internet and
          from what I understand on Prodigy) that there understandings
          of the actors, are quite colored by the characters they
          play. I'm not saying that it is the popular fan obssession
          type of miss understanding but rather a meta-character (if I
          may use the term) understanding of who the actors are.
          Example: Scott Bakula is attributed with being very modest
          and wonderful just like his character Sam. The person that
          the fans are a fan of isn't just Scott Bakula but a
          construction that is comprised of the character and the
          actor. This understanding is mediated by the fan
          community's understanding of who both Sam the character and
          Scott the actor are. I guess what I'm getting at is that
          Quantum Leap fandom at least amongst the women I've
          interviewed is, to a certain extent, star motivated, and
          that it seems that the object that they are fans of is an
          extention of your meta-text but applied specifically to the
          actors/characters. (Am I making sense?)