Media & Entertainment Podcasts

Fansplaining is a podcast about by, for, and about fandom. It’s hosted by Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel. New episodes come out every two weeks. If you want to call us and leave a message for us to read on air, our number is 1-401-526-FANS!


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Fansplaining is a podcast about by, for, and about fandom. It’s hosted by Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel. New episodes come out every two weeks. If you want to call us and leave a message for us to read on air, our number is 1-401-526-FANS!






Episode 190: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 15

In the latest (fifteenth!) installment of “Ask Fansplaining Anything,” Flourish and Elizabeth tackle a new collection of listener letters. Topics discussed include defining “canon” in RPF fandoms, the sad fate of fandoms on Twitter, and what to do about non-fandom friends who judge your fannish activities. Plus: a query about the hypothetical legality of physically printed fanfiction in libraries, with an answer from *actual lawyer* and copyright expert Earlgreytea68.


Episode 189: “No Cultural Impact”

In Episode 189, “No Cultural Impact,” Flourish and Elizabeth look at the entertainment industry’s “fan-first” strategy for franchise-building, and the already-massive box-office success of Avatar 2: The Way of Water, part of a property that, as people continue to say on social media, no one remembers or cares about. Are fan activities, memes, or online chatter necessarily good indicators of franchise success? And when Hollywood privileges a certain idea of “fandom” in their strategic plans,...


Episode 188: The Year in Fandom 2022

Continuing an end-of-year tradition, Flourish and Elizabeth review five big fandom-related trends they followed in 2022. Topics discussed include clashing norms between fans on different platforms, the increasing precariousness of the streaming space, brands doubling down on fandom—and anti-fandom—in high-profile celebrity stories, and yes, of course, the collapse of Twitter. Plus: they read a letter from an artist in response to the previous episode on AI and fanworks.


Episode 187: Artificial Fandom Intelligence

In Episode 187, “Artificial Fandom Intelligence,” Elizabeth and Flourish respond to a listener's letter about AI tools like ChatGPT and Lensa, which are currently sparking anxiety in fandom and across the broader web. What are the realities of this technology, now and in the coming months and years? Are we looking at a future where any fan can plug in a few terms and receive a halfway-decent computer-generated piece of fanfic or fanart?


Episode 186B: Disability and Fandom: Part 2

In the second and final installment of the “Disability and Fandom” double episode, Flourish and Elizabeth get the perspectives of even more disabled fans. Featuring conversations with Lindsay Mixer and Valerie Gristch, and voicemails/letters from Soph, TallysGreatestFan, Lizard Socks, May Barros, Cora Maria, miscellanium, Bodge, Julia, and Jessica. Topics covered include depictions of disabled characters in erotic fanfiction, conflicting accessibility needs on the web, and how both music...


Episode 186A: Disability and Fandom: Part 1

In the first installment of the “Disability and Fandom” double episode, Flourish and Elizabeth get the perspectives of a wide range of disabled fans, including conversations with Rebecca Milton and Joan Miller and voicemails/letters from Dr. Paul D. C. Bones, buffer-overrun, Taylor, Wheelchairidan, Hannah, and Sandy. Topics discussed include Mad studies and depictions of disability in video games and the horror genre, how ADHD can shape fannish obsessions, and the difficulties disabled...


Episode 185: RPF Revisited

In Episode 185, “RPF Revisited,” Elizabeth and Flourish use a trio of listener letters to return to the perennially thorny topic of real person fiction. How does RPF fit into the broader fandom space in 2022? What does “canon” even mean when it comes to real people? How do fans reconcile with troubling new information about celebrities they’ve written and read about? And is RPF source material the same as fictional source material, or are there fundamental differences between the two?


Episode 184: Justin Bolger

In Episode 184, Flourish and Elizabeth talk to Justin Bolger, who previously ran Star Wars’ social media and is currently the senior brand manager for “Star Trek Fleet Command.” Topics discussed include using pop culture as social capital while moving around a lot as a child, parlaying fannish interests into a career in the entertainment industry, how the gap between knowledge and wisdom shapes fandom discussions, and what exactly it was like to helm Star Wars social during the release of...


Episode 183: Fandom and Religion

In Episode 183, “Fandom and Religion,” (one year into seminary) Flourish and (goes to church to sing songs) Elizabeth take a look at the way religion and fandom are discussed together: the surfacey comparisons, the more nuanced parallels, and the modes of thinking that shape fandom discourse. Topics discussed include the glut of simplistic articles comparing fannish and religious activities, the Jewish tradition of midrash, the implicit (and sometimes explicit) Christian themes in much of...


Episode 182: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 14

In the fourteenth installment of “Ask Fansplaining Anything,” Flourish and Elizabeth read and respond to a fresh batch of listener questions. Topics covered include fictional fandom conspiracy theories, the use—or misuse—of the AO3 collections feature, the spaces created within fandom for toxic behavior, and advice for anyone looking to move from lurking to participating.


Episode 181: The Illusions of Crowds

In Episode 181, “The Illusions of Crowds,” Elizabeth and Flourish discuss a listener letter about the ways fans convince each other of interpretations or outcomes—and what happens when creators are on a very different page. Who’s responsible for mismatched fan expectations? Should fandom hold some responsibility for wishful but ultimately misleading theories? They also respond to a follow-up letter from a fanbinder about the fanworks “gift economy,” and how its meaning has shifted in the era...


Episode 180: Happy Anniversary #7

Flourish and Elizabeth mark yet another year of the podcast with their traditional anniversary episode format: inviting the past year’s guests to share their thoughts about what’s changed in fandom, both broadly and personally. Topics discussed include making your own spaces versus giving up on fandoms entirely, bringing fresh perspectives to older source material, and the continued fracturing of both the media landscape and subsequent fannish interests.


Episode 179: Fan Labor, Fan Consumption

In Episode 179, “Fan Labor, Fan Consumption,” Flourish and Elizabeth use a listener question to discuss some of the intersections between fans and corporations. Is there an inherent tension when fanfiction communities’ “punk gift economies” are centered around properties owned by mega-conglomerates? What happens when fans performing unpaid labor for networks and studios start pushing back? And fresh off their return to San Diego Comic-Con, is it true that when it comes to fandom and...


Episode 178: Kaitlyn Tiffany

In Episode 178, Flourish and Elizabeth sit down with Kaitlyn Tiffany, an internet culture reporter at The Atlantic and the author of the book Everything I Need I Get from You: How Fangirls Created the Internet as We Know It. They talk about One Direction—the source of the book’s title and one of its central subjects—and Kaitlyn’s journey from 1D fan to covering fandom in the mainstream press, touching on ideas about writing for different audiences, personal versus collective perceptions of...


Episode 177: The Good, the Bad, and the Popular

In Episode 177, “The Good, the Bad, and the Popular,” Flourish and Elizabeth use a trio of listener letters to talk about the various factors that make fandoms spark and grow. Is there actually any relationship between the quality of the source material and the size of a fandom? Are there any reliable reasons why fandoms form in the first place? And does a show/film/book/etc being labeled “good” mean something inherently different within fandom?


Episode 176: Liang Ge

In Episode 176, Elizabeth and Flourish welcome Liang Ge, a PhD candidate studying Chinese boys’ love fiction (aka danmei) and its fans. Topics discussed include a history of danmei, ambivalence around gender and sexuality amongst its readers, and how fan culture has shifted with the huge success of several BL-adapted web series—and the subsequent crackdown from the Chinese government. They also respond to a listener letter about the recent meta episode, and (spoiler!) Flourish grows even...


Episode 175: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 13

In the latest (13th!) installment of the “Ask Fansplaining Anything” series, Flourish and Elizabeth tackle a fresh batch of letters from listeners. Questions posed include: Are author’s notes “unprofessional”? What are the distinctions between fusions and crossovers? Are some fans writing x reader fic to avoid engaging with canonical characters of color? Would it really be so hard to make a new fic archive? And what can fans do when their object of fandom likes fic…a little too much?


Episode 174: The Classification of Fandom

In Episode 174, “The Classification of Fandom,” Flourish and Elizabeth break down some of the broad categories people use to define types of fans, starting with a foundational meta that proposed distinctions between “affirmational” and “transformational” fandom. Why do we create these categories, and are they—or have they ever been—meaningful? They also welcome the first Fansplaining Fellow, Pepper Campbell, onto the podcast to introduce her upcoming research project: an ethnography of fans...


Episode 173: The Meta Episode

“The Meta Episode” isn’t an episode about episodes: Flourish and Elizabeth use a listener letter about fan meta—nonfiction writing about an object of fandom or fandom at large—as a springboard to talk about the past, present, and future of the practice. Topics discussed include the shift from mailing lists to LiveJournal to Tumblr, narrow and expansive definitions of meta, and how the lack of shared foundations across many different kinds of fans can place limits on meta writing and reading.


Episode 172: Safe Spaces

Episode 172, “Safe Spaces,” is split into two parts: first, Flourish and Elizabeth read and respond to a series of listener letters about their recent “Fandom-Tinted Glasses” conversation; then, they discuss another listener letter on younger fans’ struggles to avoid or escape “anti” or “purity culture” dynamics. In increasingly fractured—and increasingly hostile—digital spaces, is it possible to create fandom environments that allow us to truly protect ourselves?