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!


United States


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 199: Reflecting Reality?

In Episode 199, “Reflecting Reality?” Flourish and Elizabeth tackle a trio of listener questions on the ways fanfiction does—and doesn’t—mirror our own lives. Topics discussed include changes in how queerness has been depicted over the past few decades, whether longer-running fandoms tend to produce more generic modern AUs, and the ways English as a global language of fandom shapes fic setting choices—and creates a sense of placelessness, no matter where an author lives.


Episode 198: Strikesplaining

In Episode 198, “Strikesplaining,” Elizabeth and Flourish are joined by screenwriter, executive producer, and longtime friend of the podcast Javier Grillo-Marxuach to talk about the Writers Guild of America strike. Javi breaks down how television writing, production, and compensation have changed drastically in his three decades in the industry, and how this action is connected to broader labor struggles facing workers today. They also talk about the specific ways this strike touches fandom, including how streamers’ exploitative practices affect everyone from the people making the shows to the people who want to watch them.


Episode 197: Stitch

In Episode 197, Flourish and Elizabeth welcome back Stitch, the media critic and fandom journalist who was one of their original “Race and Fandom” guests way back in 2016! Stitch discusses their career trajectory from omnivorous fan to independent blogger to writing the “Fan Service” column for Teen Vogue, where they’ve tackled everything from escapism to boys’ love fic to racism—and especially anti-Blackness—in fandom. They also talk about the specific dangers they and other Black commentators face in being vocal about these topics—and how the threats they’ve received will likely make their work unsustainable in the long term.


Episode 196: Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 16

In yet another (the sixteenth!) installment of “Ask Fansplaining Anything,” Flourish and Elizabeth discuss a fresh batch of listener questions and comments. Topics include portmanteau ship names, permissive fanart attitudes amongst video game developers, fic self-promotion etiquette, and a pair of letters about big name fans, and what exactly that term means in fandom right now.


Episode 195: Fandom Life Cycles

In Episode 195, “Fandom Life Cycles,” Elizabeth and Flourish respond to a voicemail from listener Gin/myrmidryad about their appreciation of a “closed canon”—in this case, a show ending—when it comes to fanwork creation. Some fans love this relatively stable ground; others complain that with no new material on the horizon, a fandom is “dead” or close to it. They also read a response to the previous episode on whump, and talk about idfic more broadly.


Episode 194: The Pain Fandom

In Episode 194, “The Pain Fandom,” Flourish and Elizabeth are joined by journalist Maria Temming to discuss her recent article on whump, hurt/comfort, and fandom communities centered around fictional characters in pain. Topics discussed include the history of whump and its place in modern fandom, the overlap (and divergence) between broader fandom interest in h/c and self-declared whumpers, and why the lack of “comfort” in much of our violent media means some see whump as an inherently anti-violent subgenre.


Episode 193: Ask Me About My Fanart

In Episode 193, “As Me About My Fanart,” Flourish and Elizabeth talk to longtime fanartist Fox Estacado about the business and the pleasure of fanart. Topics discussed include changes she’s observed in the practice over time, the way platforms like Etsy handle legal issues, meeting fellow fans in artists’ alleys at cons, and her mixed feelings about monetization versus the fandom gift economy.


Episode 192: Death, Mourning, and Fandom

In Episode 192, “Death, Mourning, and Fandom,” Elizabeth and Flourish talk about the complicated dynamics around death within fandom, where our connections to each other can be deep but transient. Jumping off an article Elizabeth recently wrote for WIRED on the AO3’s Fannish Next-of-Kin feature—which lets you leave your fanworks to a fellow fan if you die—they talk about the failings of other digital death policies, disconnects between peoples’ fandom personas and regular lives, the differences between losing a fandom friend and a favorite fanwork creator, and how rarely the subject of death is talked about—in fandom or more broadly.


Episode 191: Femstats February

In Episode 191, “Femstats February,” Flourish and Elizabeth welcome back Destination Toast—the Steve Martin of Fansplaining—to talk through their massive stats analysis comparing the F/F, M/F, and M/M categories on the AO3. Length, rating, frequency of certain tags and warnings: What results matched their expectations, and what results were surprising? And what do the differences between them suggest about fandom? (Prepare yourself: armchair theorizing and hot takes abound!!)


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, does that actually serve fans—or viewers in general?


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 venues and artists make concert-going difficult—if not outright impossible—for disabled fans.


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 cosplayers and con-goers face with both staff and fellow fans.


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 The Last Jedi.


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 American pop culture, and Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play.


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 of ~hustle culture~.