Fangirl Thursday: The Best Seat in the House

When you love television as much as I do, where you watch matters almost as much as what you’re watching. Everyone has their favorite place to watch their favorite shows. It can be an oversized chair in a room where friends and family gather to watch things together or a darkened bedroom where you escape with your laptop and Netflix.

Sometimes it’s a cozy couch with room for the people you love to share the shows you love. My couch has quite the reputation as a great TV-watching couch. It was where I cried when Castle walked away from Beckett to end Castle’s second season. It was where I spent a glorious few days hosting mini marathons of Parks and Recreation episodes when Heather came to Buffalo a couple of years ago. And it’s where I watch every episode of Once Upon a Time with my sister and my mom on Sunday nights.

My couch is an ideal place to watch television—it’s huge and comfortable and right in front of a big HD screen. However, it’s not my favorite place to watch television. That honor belongs to a corner of my kitchen where a small television stands next to a coffee pot and a bowl of fresh fruit.

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Fangirl Thursday: The Case for Crying

do you cry

Hi, my name is Katie, and I’m a crier.

I cry all the time. I cry when I’m sad, when I’m happy, and sometimes when I’m really angry. I cry when I’m overwhelmed, when I’m scared, and sometimes when I’m really proud of myself or someone I love—or even someone I don’t know. And I cry all the time when I watch TV, go to the movies or theater, or read a book.

I think I’m supposed to be ashamed of that. I’m supposed to think that makes me weak and that I need to try harder to keep my emotions below the surface. But that’s never been who I am. And I’m done feeling bad about that.

I was only nine when a movie made me cry for the first time not because I was scared, but because I felt so deeply. It was an animated movie about cats in Old Hollywood called Cats Don’t Dance, and I cried so hard when it looked like the main cat was going to have to give up his dancing dreams to move back to his hometown that my mother had to turn the movie off and tell me things were going to be okay.

I feel things deeply; I always have. However, we’re taught from an early age that it’s dangerous to feel things deeply. We’re taught to be afraid of intense emotions. But the intensity with which we feel things and the ways we express how we feel are some of the most important parts of our collective humanity. Our emotions—even when they’re strong and sometimes overwhelming—are part of us. And that’s not something to be afraid or ashamed of. Instead, it’s something to understand.

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Fangirl Thursday: Fan Mail Feelings

This past Monday was the deadline for letters for The Fan Mail Project, but it wasn’t the end of this project. If you still have letters you’d like to send to female characters who’ve inspired you or impacted your life in some way, you send still send them to me at I’ll still accept them for at least another few weeks as I work on the next phase of the project, so if you see this post and are wondering if you can still submit a letter, it wouldn’t hurt to send me an email and ask—chances are I’ll say yes!

Also, if at any point you decide you need to add something to or change something about your letter—maybe to reflect a change in that character’s story or your own story—please don’t hesitate to ask if you can. The editing process for books is quite long, so I’m certain there will be plenty of time for you to edit your own letters if you need to.

The next part of this process is in my hands. I’ll be putting the letters in an order that I feel ties the project together in the most cohesive way and writing some connecting essays to further explain the importance of not just the characters these letters were written to but the importance of the fans that wrote them. I want this book to be a celebration of what I believe fandom is at its very best—an uplifting marriage of the deeply personal and the inherently communal that helps those looking for a place to belong feel less alone—and I’m working on additional material for this book that honors that belief.

I promise to keep you all updated as I continue along in this process, and I ask for your patience as things continue to move along at an uncertain speed. I’m not sure how long it will take to turn your beautiful letters into a book you’ll actually be able to read and show off to the world, but I pledge to work as hard as I can to make it a reality and to keep you informed every step of the way. This summer will be spent shopping the manuscript around to potential publishers and agents, and it’s my most sincere hope that someone connects with and believes in this project the way so many of you have and takes a chance on publishing it.

Monday was a special day. It was a day filled with overwhelming gratitude and a deep sense of purpose. To all who’ve participated in this project so far and to all who are still working to finish your letters, thank you—from the bottom of my heart. The way you embraced this project with not just enthusiasm but open hearts, powerful vulnerability, and total honesty touched my heart in a way even I—with the high expectations I have for everything—didn’t see coming. Your bravery and passion are every bit as inspiring as any of the traits in any of the women you wrote about. You are shining examples of the brilliant, beautiful, and wonderfully unique people that are brought together by fandom. And I will do everything in my power to honor your trust, your belief in this project, and your incredible words by making The Fan Mail Project a reflection not just of me but of all of you who shared so much of yourself with me through your letters.

I knew when I started this project that I couldn’t do it alone—because the whole point of fandom is to connect with others and discover that we’re not alone. And while I’m about to start a part of this process that’s on my shoulders and only mine, it’s nice to know I’m still not alone.

Fangirl Thursday: Let’s Have a Love Post!

I can’t be the only one who feels like things have felt a little bleaker than normal in our little corners of fandom this TV season. Even some of the shows we turn to for escape, fun, and happiness have taken very dark turns. For a while, I was really letting the overwhelmingly sad tone of the media I’ve been consuming take its toll on me. But then I realized that just because the things I’m watching feel dark; it doesn’t mean I have to let it darken my outlook on everything. It’s even more of a reason to shine whatever light I have more brightly.

As such, I’ve decided it’s time to spread a little love and joy at the start of the holiday season. And what better way to do that than an old-fashioned LOVE POST!

If any of you are or were active on LiveJournal at some point in your fandom history, you might know what love posts are all about. If not, here’s a quick rundown of the very basic rules of the game: Make a comment on this post with your username (and things like your Twitter or your Tumblr URL if you feel like people might know you better by those identifiers). Then, sit back and let others reply, telling you how much and why they love you. Finally, share the love! Reply to your friends’ comments on this post and tell them how awesome you think they are, or finally tell that one commenter you really respect how insightful you think their thoughts are.

Love posts are a great way to make new friends and strengthen existing fandom friendships (I think I owe LJ love posts a lot for allowing Heather and I to grow as close as we are today).

I’ll kick off the comments to show you how to get things started, and I hope this post is filled with love and happiness by the end of the day. Let’s have some fun today making the world a brighter place—one virtual hug at a time.

I love you Winston

Fangirl Thursday: A Thankful Heart

I know Thanksgiving isn’t until next week for those of us living in the U.S., but posting on the holiday itself is never very convenient—even if it does always fall on a Fangirl Thursday. Besides, you shouldn’t have to limit your expressions of gratitude to one turkey-stuffed day each year. And I have far more than a week’s worth of things to be thankful for anyway.

I write the words “thank you” a lot. I write them so much that—to some—they might seem like meaningless filler or something I just say to say something. But I hope you know those words have never lost their weight for me—no matter how many times I write them. I write them so much because hardly a day goes by (and sometimes hardly a minutes goes by) without me experiencing a rush of gratitude. I mean those words with all my heart every single time I write them. Thank you.

I’ve always said that running NGN is a labor of love, and I’m thankful for both the labor and the love. I’m thankful that it is challenging and scary and exhausting sometimes to run this site. Because that’s when I know it matters—when it’s more than just some writing I do for fun. And it’s those moments that remind me to always look for the love, to look for the reasons I started NGN in the first place. And I always find those reasons. I always find that love. And I am so grateful that something I love so much and care so deeply about has become something other people love and care about, too. My writing goal is always to make people feel less alone in their intense love for the things they care about. And it turns out that’s exactly what all of you who visit NGN are doing for me.

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Fangirl Thursday: Shared Joy Is the Best Joy

Today is the kind of day that reminds me why I love being a fangirl.

If you haven’t seen my next-level fangirling on Twitter, a new Once Upon a Time sneak peek was released today that sent a good portion of the fandom into the best kind of hysterics: gif-using, all caps Tweeting, I CANNOT HANDLE THE FEELS hysterics. In a not-so-shocking development, it turns out that Killian Jones loves Emma Swan. And he wants to give up the thing that’s protected him for 300 years in order to protect her now as she fights to defeat the darkness inside her.

Cue the happy “shipper” sobs (including my own).

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Fangirl Thursday: What’s a Must-Watch For Your Halloween?

With Halloween right around the corner, it seemed fitting to have this week’s Fangirl Thursday post be an ode to all the spooky or silly (or maybe both?) movies or TV shows that you simply can’t miss during this time of year.

I will freely admit that I am not a horror movie fan. I’m the world’s biggest chicken when it comes to scary movies, so my tastes lean much closer to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown than The Exorcist. I think this is also the time to fess up to the fact that I still have yet to see Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas, two Halloween classics. (Someone please tell me where I go to turn in my nerdy girl card after admitting that.)

While I’m not one for most traditional Halloween media, I do love some staples of the season: the aforementioned It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a favorite of mine, and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I have been known to enjoy The Rocky Horror Picture Show at this time of year (especially when I was in college).

However, most of my Halloween favorites come from the world of television. I’m a sucker for any and all of the Halloweentown movies from The Disney Channel, and I’m sure one of those will be on in my house at some point this weekend. But I’m also a huge fan of Halloween episodes of TV shows—from the ones that are completely themed to the holiday (Castle’s “Demons”) to the ones that have Halloween as merely a backdrop to some of my favorite moments in TV history. (I’m looking at you, “Halloween Surprise” from Parks and Recreation.)

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Fangirl Thursday: We Can Do It!

As we approach the two-month countdown until the January 1 deadline for submissions for The Fan Mail Project (the book of letters to female characters that I’m compiling), I wanted to devote a little time on a Fangirl Thursday to thank all of the fangirls (and fanboys) who have sent in letters so far. Fangirl Thursday posts are usually places to share excitement, so it seems fitting for me to use this post to tell you that there’s nothing like the excitement I feel when I look into my inbox and see a new letter. (There’s also nothing like the tears I cry while reading almost every single beautiful letter, but that’s another story for another post…)

I’ve received letters to characters as varied as Scarlett O’Hara, Cristina Yang, Claire Underwood, and Hermione Granger. These letters are already painting such an amazing portrait of why female representation in the media matters—because, for as diverse as the characters have been, the people who’ve written letters to me so far are even more diverse. It’s been a true pleasure to read your stories, and it’s a true honor to be trusted with sharing this part of you with the world in a way that will make you proud to be involved with this project.

And if you haven’t sent in a letter yet (or you want to send in more), there’s still plenty of time to write! If you’re having trouble settling on a character to write about, here’s a shortlist of much-loved female characters still missing from Fan Mail right now:
• Lorelai/Rory/Emily Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)
• Dana Scully (The X-Files)
• Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)
• Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
• Sarah Walker (Chuck)
• Peggy Carter (Agent Carter)
• Sydney Bristow (Alias—but don’t worry, I’ll be rectifying this one myself soon)
• Arya/Sansa/Brienne/Daenerys/Cersei/etc. (Game of Thrones)
• Zoe/Inara/Kaylee/River (Firefly)
• Natasha Romanoff (Marvel comics/movies)
• Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)
• Regina/Snow/Red/Belle/etc. (Once Upon a Time) (I’ve gotten a couple of letters to Emma so far but could always use more!)

If you’re looking for inspiration, maybe that list can help you get started, but that’s by no means a comprehensive list of characters worth writing about. Choose a character whose story moves you to write—which character do you think of when you need confidence, or when you feel lonely, or when you want to believe things are going to turn out okay? Which character has been a part of your life for so long that you don’t know who you are independent of their influence? Which character helped you navigate the rough waters of high school, or college, or parenthood? That’s who you should write to. And take it from someone who knows—the letter you’re most proud of might be one you never planned to write.

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Fangirl Thursday: A Matter of Trust




Trust is always a tricky thing to earn. It’s even trickier when you’re talking about the trust between a creator and the fans of whatever it is they create. One wrong move, one misstep in how a character’s arc is handled, one bad interview—and that trust can be easily damaged, if not completely destroyed.

However, there are still those creators we trust—the ones whose beliefs about what makes good literature, films, or television align so closely to ours that we seem to nod along with every interview they give. Those are the creators we’ll follow to the ends of the Earth, trying new books, movies, or shows we might never have been interested in had we not known they were created by someone we trust.

That’s exactly what happened with me and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I don’t regularly watch a lot of comedies. I wasn’t the world’s biggest Andy Samberg fan. The idea of a comedy set in a police precinct wasn’t something I knew I’d love immediately. However, it had Mike Schur’s name attached to it. And I trust Mike Schur.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done nothing but increase the level of respect I have for and trust I have in Mike Schur. When people act surprised by the show’s diverse characters, its inherent warmth, its successful risk-taking in terms of its central romance, and its well-developed female characters, all I can do is smile and say I’m not surprised at all. This is what Mike Schur does. This is who he is. And this is why I trust him.

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Fangirl Thursday: 10 Reasons Why We’re All a Little in Love with Danny Castellano

Let’s face it: It’s hard to watch The Mindy Project and not fall a little bit in love with Danny Castellano. Is he perfect? Not at all. There are even some times when it’s hard to like him, but we still love him. Because when it counts, Danny is a man straight out of our best rom-com dreams.

Maybe it’s the complex and nuanced way his character is written. Maybe it’s the way Chris Messina brings him to life with such sincerity. Or maybe it’s the dancing. (It’s definitely the dancing.) Whatever magical combination is responsible for Danny’s charm, it’s been working on me for years, which is saying something, because after the pilot of The Mindy Project I might have ranked Danny my least favorite male character on television.

Danny was allowed to grow and evolve, and the show grew and evolved with him. The Mindy Project became a great TV rom-com when its leading lady was given a male character to play off of who’s as great as she is. In order for us to believe that Mindy could fall in love with Danny, we all had to fall in love with him, too. And the show gave us plenty of moments that helped us do exactly that.

Without further ado, here are 10 reasons why The Mindy Project made it easy for us to fall in love with Danny—starting with the most recent example. Click on each reason for more gifs to help you fall in love with him all over again.

1. He appreciates a strong woman—and he’s not afraid to say it. (4.02: “C Is For Coward”)

This entire post was inspired by the fabulous final minutes of “C Is For Coward.” When Mindy went into labor and fear started to overtake her, Danny stepped up in a major way—reminding her of her strength at a time when she was feeling weak. Danny telling Mindy she’s stronger than him was such a powerful moment because Messina made us feel that Danny believes that with his whole heart, and he loves her all the more for it. And Danny naming baby Leo after Leo the Lion because he’s strong like his mother would have been perfect enough on its own, but the adoring, awestruck look that accompanied those words just about killed me. Danny doesn’t just love Mindy; he respects her, and he respects her strength more than almost anything. And who doesn’t love a man who knows his fiancee will draw strength from being called a “stone cold bitch”?

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