The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week: BTS, The GRAMMYs, and That Fangirl Feeling

Every fangirl knows that feeling.

You’re watching a TV show and two characters share a look, and you know they’re going to be the next fictional couple to keep you up at night writing fanfic in your head. You’re scrolling through Tumblr, and you see a GIF of an actor, and you know that you’re going to be looking up their entire filmography on IMDb. You’re watching a movie trailer, and you know this is going to be the only movie you want to talk about for the next 6 months.

You’re watching a band perform at the GRAMMYs, and you know that you’re going to be headed down a YouTube rabbit hole of every version of that song and every staging of that choreography.

Before Sunday night, it had been a long time since I’d felt that feeling. It’s that little spark in your fangirl soul that a lifetime of bouncing from one obsession to another tells you is going to grow into a fire that’s bright and warm and all-consuming. And I’d started to genuinely worry that I’d lost the ability to feel that spark—that this year had taken away the part of me that can throw herself into a new fandom with reckless abandon, happy tears, and lots of capslock.

I feel the most like me when I’m deep in that feeling (and usually when I’m dragging other people into it with me—or enabling the ones already there), and without it, I didn’t feel like me anymore.

Who knew all it would take to bring back the best version of me was 7 guys from Korea dancing on top of a building in snazzy suits?

Hi, my name is Katie, and I’m obsessed with BTS.

I usually watch the GRAMMYs, but I’m never as devoted to them as I am to my movie and TV award shows. But this year’s show was something special. I’m not sure if I’m just starved for live music or if a lot of genuinely good music came out this last year or whatever combination of the two it was, but I loved every second of these awards. They kept me company while I finished up some really hard writing, and after I hit “Publish” on my very emotionally exhausting WandaVision post, I felt ready to enjoy the last few minutes of the show—and the performance by BTS that I knew was coming.

I’m not totally new to these guys. My friend Nikki has been fighting the good fangirl fight on their behalf for more than a year, and those of you who know (and love!) Heather like I do know that she’s been sharing their best stuff around here and at TVexamined for months. Maybe it was inevitable that I’d find my way down this rabbit hole eventually, but like I said, it felt like something inside of me was broken for a large part of this year. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to find my spark again—my bright light of fangirl enthusiasm.

But leave it to Heather to give me a great piece of advice about not just BTS but all fandoms: “You’ll find them when you need them, and there’s no need to rush or force that.”

And there I was, on Sunday night, having just finished the most raw and difficult post in the history of NGN. I didn’t know it then, but that post must have unlocked something inside of me. My heart was finally open again after months of feeling like it had closed in around itself. All I needed was something to fill that fangirl heart with joy.

And I found them.

Because I don’t live under a rock, I’d heard “Dynamite” plenty of times before and had definitely had dance parties to it in my car this summer. But I’d never seen it performed, and anyone who knows BTS knows that hearing a song and watching them perform a song are two very different experiences.

Suffice to say, I was unprepared for what I was about to experience.

My initial reaction was as follows:

Wow, that guy with the purple mic knows how to work a camera! … These dance moves are really clean! … That guy in the orange suit can MOVE … This dancing is so well done! … That jacket flip was VERY confident, and I liked it VERY much … DID THAT GUY JUST WINK?… Oh—they ALL know how to work a camera … I want to learn this choreography! … The small one’s shoulder moves are KILLING ME! … They’re having so much fun! … AM I CRYING?

And just like that, that feeling was back.

There I was, a grown-ass woman with only mic colors and suit shades to go on, but I suddenly felt like a preteen watching Backstreet Boys on TRL—giddy and bright and completely enamored with a group of guys who moved with more swag and performed with more confidence than should be humanly possible.

I’ve always been a boy band girl. It’s even been well-documented around these parts. So I’m predisposed to going “fangirl feral” when I see a group of guys dancing in unison and singing while flirting with a camera. It’s in my DNA, and no matter how old I get, it’s never going away. But the force of that feeling still managed to leave me more than a little bit breathless.

It had been too long since I’d felt that kind of immediate, instantaneous joy.

It had been too long since I’d watched a group of people clearly having the time of their lives together and somehow felt like I was having the time of my life right along with them.

It had been too long, but suddenly it was back. And it felt just as wonderful and world-changing as it always does.

In the span of a week, I went from Googling “BTS purple mic” to now knowing all their names, knowing all their roles in the group, having my own favorites (Top 2: Jimin and J-Hope), and being deeply invested in their friendships (DO NOT talk to me about Jimin and Tae or I will start crying) and their overall story as a group.

And somewhere along the way, amid the music videos and interviews and GIFs, the version of me I was so afraid I lost—the version of me that talks a mile a minute and smiles so big her face hurts and dances around her house—came back.

So much of that is because I’m not falling down this rabbit hole alone. The people who were there before NGN was even an idea—the first fandom family I found—are there with me. We get to send each other long text chains about our favorite performances, and Heather gets all of my screaming about dumplings and dance moves and boys who cannot sit in chairs, and it feels like old times.

It feels like coming home.

When you’re a fangirl, one moment can change everything.

So thanks, BTS, for giving me that moment when I was afraid one would never come my way again.

I found them when I needed them. And now I wanted to share a little extra joy for all of you who might need it too. (And yes, my three favorites are obviously the ones who cannot sit still and have to get up and dance.)

What was the best thing you saw on TV this week? (And just for fun, what was the last “rabbit hole” moment you had in a fandom?)

9 thoughts on “The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week: BTS, The GRAMMYs, and That Fangirl Feeling

  1. I am so glad you linked to the video of that performance because I live under a rock these days and had yet to watch it. Super fun, and super impressive. Prior to watching this my only exposure to BTS was through Heather’s posts, including a video of how each of the members would stop on ice, which was incredibly adorable, and I could tell from that video alone just how endearing these guys really are.

    I continue to get through TV at a glacier pace, but I am really loving what ‘Superman and Lois’ has been doing over their first few episodes. It’s a shame this show is so grossly lacking diversity, because on one hand it is giving me everything I have been begging and pleading for for years when it comes to Lois and Clark. This is a superhero show for people that don’t care about superpowers. It’s a story that examines what it’s like to be a superhero with a spouse and a family. It’s a story about a person that wants to be everything to everyone at all times and dealing with the reality that it can’t be that way. The conflict on this show feels real and genuine and is a refreshing change of pace. I absolutely adored this fight (can you love a fight? I loved this fight) between Clark and Lois in the last episode:

    Clark: babe, I am so so sorry I missed the vote.
    Lois: I know. It’s ok.
    Clark: No, it’s not. And you’re covering.
    Lois: Dont superspy on my my pulse rate or whatever you do.
    Clark: You clench your jaw when you’re mad.
    Lois: I’m not mad.
    Clark: Well you should be. I said I was going to be there and I wasn’t.
    Lois: Can we not do this right now? I am not in the mood.
    Clark: I just want to apologize and I want you to know –
    Lois: Babe, I don’t need an excuse. I know you have an excuse, you’re Superman. Ok fine I’m mad, and I know it’s irrational because I understand there were lives at stake but this was so important to me and now I’m feeling guilty for wanting you to do something you said you would do! When we first starting dating I knew what I was getting into. And I don’t get mad about you missing date nights or anniversaries or family dinners because of some idiot with a nuke, but lately with everything going on with the boys and my dad constantly in your ear, it feels like I am really far down on your list of priorities.
    Clark: is that really how you feel?
    Lois: right now in this moment that I might regret tomorrow? Yeah, I do.

    Ugh, it’s just so good. This is the kind of relationship drama I am here for. I have no idea how long this is going to last before the show dissolves like most other CW shows have, but I am enjoying it while it lasts.

    • I don’t have any attachment to either of these two as characters, but this is a very good fight. I really love the idea of a superhero show that cares about their lives outside of their work and the impact it has on them. I hope that the CW will hold off pulling a CW on the show as long as possible and you get to enjoy this while it’s here!

    • I’m so happy to share the BTS fun where I can, so I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      And every time I see a commercial or an ad online for Superman and Lois, I immediately think of you. I’m so happy that it’s giving you what you want, and from just your description and that fight, I can tell that this is exactly the kind of superhero content I have always wanted more of. Give me character-focused storytelling any day, and I hope that it keeps giving you exactly that because I know how much these characters mean to you!

  2. I have no coherent thoughts on them any more because I got so excited by this post (despite the fact that I’ve known for a couple days what you were writing about and have clearly been talking about them with you all week) but I will give a brief shout out to what a good season of Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy this has been. It’s sad and heavy because it’s talking a lot about the mental and physical tolls of the pandemic and a whole lot about systemic racism but it is doing it all SO well and I cannot wait until this season ends and I can properly write about it because I’m paranoid that writing about it before it’s over will suddenly make it do something dumb (thanks for that, The 100).

    “It feels like coming home.” That’s exactly what this is like. I think the last time I got that feeling pre-BTS was in 2017 with Leverage, if I count all things Seanan McGuire as one giant fandom because “A Killing Frost” definitely gave me that feeling last September. So it’s been a while since I’ve been properly engrossed in something that really gives me that feeling of finding a new home for my fangirl heart.

    I don’t even think I had a Moment with them. I went from watching and enjoying their 2020 MMA performance but then was perfectly content with seeing the random gifs on Twitter or Tumblr but then YouTube kept recommending things and I must have watched either Tiny Desk or Carpool Karaoke and said “I just want to figure out who they all are” because I only knew Jimin (thank you, Nikki!) and half of them having stage names on top of nicknames did not help my confusion AT ALL. So I think I gradually slid into the rabbit hole and just quietly chilled there by myself even though I had people to talk to because I was being a fandom hermit. Then realized that was dumb at some point and the last 3 months have been me gradually talking more about them until you and Leah joined in and I achieved a new level of fangirl feral.

    “But I’d never seen it performed, and anyone who knows BTS knows that hearing a song and watching them perform a song are two very different experiences.”

    This is the absolute truth. They are so good at what they do in quieter settings like MTV Unplugged or just listening to a CD. But it does not compare to watching them on stage and completely in their element. That’s taken me from enjoying songs to needing them on constant repeat because the performance has a whole life of its own. Whether it’s something with a lot of choreography, like “Dynamite”, “ON”, or “Blood, Sweat, & Tears”, or something that’s just them walking around a stage and emoting like “Magic Shop” or “Mikrokosmos”, they know how to work a stage and I am going to fall for that every single time. And then you add in off-stage dynamics and their very visible love for what they do and seeming understanding and acceptance of what their platform means and what they want to use it for. They have utterly stolen my heart and I am so thrilled you and Leah joined Nikki and I in the fandom this week.

    • In case you couldn’t tell from every capslock DM or Who does that???? text or how insanely giddy I was on Sunday, nothing in this entire trash heap of a pandemic has brought me joy like these boys—but specifically getting to share all of it with you. It’s one thing to find a fandom that you fall head-over-heels in love with, and it’s another to find one knowing your best friend is there waiting for you with all the content you could ever hope for, specifically curated to your interests and organized by tabs.

      Every video I watch and GIF I see just makes me love them more, and it’s all because they are so genuine and sincere in wanting to spread joy and help people—and I feel like that has to be why so many people seem to have found them this year (besides the obvious success of Dynamite). Their entire message is one of lifting people up and giving people a safe space to feel things and be themselves and show their true selves just like they’re doing, and in a year when so many people needed a bright light, they’ve been that.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a new spreadsheet tab to explore. 😉

  3. Yay for new hyperfixations! The early stages are truly a wonderful time and I’m so glad we’re both in this one together, as it makes it all the more fun. I have definitely done a lot of the smiling at random moments, dancing around the kitchen, laughing to the point of crying stuff over the past week and a half lol. I’m so glad you were able to find that big-feeling version of joy again ❤

    I absolutely adore seeing your initial reactions to the Grammys performance, and I love how much it shows that it basically only takes one performance for these guys to steal your heart!

    "It had been too long since I’d watched a group of people clearly having the time of their lives together and somehow felt like I was having the time of my life right along with them."
    Yes!! This is very much it. It's not just that they look like they're having a blast, it's that their energy and joy is so infectious that they manage to bring you right along with them.

    Thank you for sharing that last vid because I'm pretty sure last time I watched it I didn't even know everyone's name yet lol, so it was even more fun watching it this time around!

    As you know I first learned about BTS back when Nikki was showing us some videos last year, and while I enjoyed them a lot they ended up going on my ever-growing list of things I wanted to check out sometime in the future. I don't know if I would've gotten to them earlier if the pandemic hadn't fully kicked off in the US literally a couple weeks after that, or if they were just waiting in the back of my brain for me to need them like I do now, but I finally started properly getting into them about a week and a half ago and they've filled a fandom hole in my life that I hadn't realized how much I had missed. It's been a long time since I've been this deep into this specific kind of joy, and I'm so glad to have it back.

    I'm really looking forward to whatever they have in store next, and am so glad to have you & many of our friends around to share it with!

    • “It’s been a long time since I’ve been this deep into this specific kind of joy, and I’m so glad to have it back.” — That is EXACTLY how I feel right now, and it makes me so happy to know that you feel it too.

      I’m also completely obsessed with that Tiny Desk version of Dynamite and am thrilled you had fun watching it because it is very much my happy place right now. Between Jimin having no use for chairs, J-Hope being unable to keep himself from dancing, and Tae having no concept of space when he’s basically dancing in the camera, I lose it every time.

  4. Pingback: You Got Me, I Got You: Nine Years of NGN | Nerdy Girl Notes

  5. Pingback: Right in the Feels: “Magic Shop” by BTS | Nerdy Girl Notes

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