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Anatomy of a Shipper

By Courtney Enlow | Miscellaneous | May 3, 2011 | Comments ()


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The time has come for me to admit something dark. Something that may alter your very opinion of me, and this time it has nothing to do with the triple-digit play counts of over 70 Backstreet Boys songs on my iPod.

No, friends. This admission is...well, it's better, actually. I am a shipper.

As a wee young nerd girl in the early days of my first fandom, I found myself deeply hurt when Buffy and Angel broke up. And mad. "Who the fuck is this Riley clownshoe? Angel loves CORGODDAMNDELIA? I hate everything." That adolescent love-focus (I blame Disney, but I also blame the show Wings because I really liked that show [shut up - you think you're better than me?!] at a fairly young age and that show was a "will they"/"won't they" goldmine) has spoiled me for all future television programming because even though I appreciate the shows who laugh in the face of your preconceived notions of sitcom relationships (Community and NewsRadio come to mind) dammit if part of me (a big part) doesn't want Jeff and Britta boning forever or for Lisa to have chosen Dave over Johnny Johnson--even though I know the whole point is that they didn't and that's what makes these shows different and special.

Often, I even don't care if it goes against the very fabric of the character to fall in love. And you are talking to someone who was overcome with the need to Dark Willow flay Russell T. Davies after all that Rose Tyler bullshit. (The ship urge may be fickle and complex.) That lack of care--unless it involves Billie Piper, apparently--may explain my present, and perhaps strongest ship: Barney Stinson and Robin Scherbatsky.

It began with the Season 1 episode "Zip, Zip Zip" in which Barney and Robin share their first solo hangout, smoking cigars, drinking scotch and playing laser tag. After that, a very strange (and, full disclosure, embarrassing) desire took over. I needed these two together. I was involved. Invested. I was part of this relationship now, and, dammit, they needed to get together.

Part of shipdom, the biggest part, involves justification and validation. "Yes, these two want to be single and enjoy their single lives and not settle down and have kids, but they could do all that together, right?" And then a single glance becomes just enough to get you through the next season of Robin wasting time with Ted. (Seriously, ask the 80,000 people who watched this video long before the show actually got them together.)

After a while, I got my shipper way. I got the kiss, the first hookup, Barney staring longingly at Robin as he realized he loved her, an entire season of his clandestine wanting, another kiss, then the two were actually a couple, and the relationship was written into the goddamn ground like Martha Jones and they broke up after half a season.

It was televised nether floppiness. And I was unsatisfied.

So I ship on, convinced that How I Met Your Mother's hinted upcoming wedding is theirs (if it's not, I have an out-clause theory saying it's one of their weddings and the other one The Graduates it and stops it) and generally obsessing over every shared scene.

It might be sad. But I can't help it. If you can, by all means. Prescribe.

With that, let's take a look back at some of the finest ships who ever sailed.

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So, come on, people. Check your cool cred at the fucking comment door. Who do you ship? Also, seriously, fuck Rose Tyler.

Follow Courtney Enlow on Twitter.



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