From Mav: Since Valentines Day is coming up we wanted to try a little game for one episode. We want to have an episode where we talk about the idea of “shipping” in popular media. But we don’t want to just talk about why we do it. I think that’s pretty obvious. We already talked on our Sex, Gender and Fanfic episode and the Gay Muppets episode about WHY it’s fun to add to the canon of preexisting property and why we often do it through the addition of relationships (short form, we like being part of the worlds we enjoy. We also like sex. So it’s only natural to explore sex in the comfort of worlds we enjoy). But what I’m proposing is a little game that goes beyond that. Head Canon Shipping!
It works like this. We want to know what romantic and/or sexual shipping pairs you can think of in popular media that you can reasonably theorize happen offpage/offscreen. The catch is, that it has to be viable within the narrative of the extant text. The pairing can be permanent in your mind, or just a one time thing, but the existence of your ship can’t otherwise affect the plot of the story as we know it (though it can change how you think of the story otherwise). In other words, you can argue that Frodo and Samwise have a totally romantic and sexual relationship at any point in the 1000 pages of LOTR where they’re basically just wandering around lost in the woods. But, you probably can’t viably argue that Harry and Malfoy have sex with each other after every Quidditch match (though if someone wants to try I’d certainly love to hear it).
The ship can be from any previously established media franchise that you think is popular enough that people might care: movies, novels, comics, tv shows, video games, whatever. Obviously the idea here is to talk about ships that aren’t explicitly canon. Has Spider-man had sex with Mary Jane? Well, yes, obviously he has. What we’re looking for is your argument that he totally had a one night stand with Wolverine… and when? Pairings can be heterosexual, homosexual, or pansexual, so long as they don’t contradict the otherwise established lore of the story. That is, if the story explicitly acknowledges that a character is GAY, you can’t just suddenly make them BI or STRAIGHT. But, if the there’s room in the existing narrative and you don’t violate established lore, you could probably make an argument, that a character experiments with a sexuality that they don’t normally display (I can’t say for sure that Kirk never fucked Spock). And, if the story doesn’t explicitly say because because the narrative is non-sexual or non-romantic on the page, all bets are off. Similarly, ships are not limited to pairings. If you’ve always had this theory that there’s totally a threesome between Lizzie, Darcy and Wickham that no one ever talks about in Pride & Prejudice and you can support that with an argument, then I definitely want to hear about it.
For example, in my research I found the film Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody by Axel Braun. Yes, dammit, porn parodies really do count as research for me! Shut up! Basically, Braun cast a bunch of look alike actors to shoot a remake of the original Star Wars: A New Hope in cosplay, except he throws in sex scenes wherever he could. For instance, his film ends up arguing that Luke, Leia and Han have a celebratory threesome after the destruction of the Death Star and before the medal ceremony at the end of the movie. Obviously the point of Braun’s isn’t really to “improve the Star Wars mythos” or anything like that… it porn first and foremost (it’s also actually kind of funny… it’s a parody and he changes dialogue to add a lot of jokes making fun o the original throughout). But, there’s nothing in the extant text of the Star Wars films that says that Luke, Han and Leia DIDN’T have a ménage à trois after the Yavin, and if you assume they did, it really kind of changes your outlook on (but not the events of) a lot of stuff that happens with their relationships with each other throughout Empire and Jedi. Braun presents Luke as a virgin infatuated with Leia up until that point, so this changes how we think about their kiss in Episode V as well as Han’s jealousy after that. It also explains the goofy smiles all three of them have at the end of the real Episode IV.
Of course, Braun also has a scene where Chewbacca has sex with a couple of female stormtroopers… that really doesn’t make much sense (but I guess I can’t say it DIDN’T happen). Still, I’m not posting a picture. You don’t need to see that. And yeah, I know you’re totally googling it, you sicko!
For one of mine, I’m going with Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, because I have long maintained that they totally hooked up in the magic tent during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. Yes, I believe that Hermione loves Ron and Harry loves Ginny. But I’ve always felt that under the stress of the situation, missing their significant others, lonely and sad, and on the run together for three months from Wizard Hitler who they totally know wants to kill them, two melancholy, attractive, hormonal teenagers who do have longterm affection for each other, wandering around in the woods eventually break down, turn to each other for comfort and fuck. My theory is that after Ron abandons them (chapter 15) because the horcrux has driven him made with jealousy and given him the vision of them having sex, they’re both vulnerable and crushed to the point where eventually Ron causes them to fulfill their own prophecy. I don’t think they have a continuing relationship. It’s a one night stand. In fact, I think they’re probably both devastated over it and feel a sense of betrayal that follows them for the rest of their lives. When Ron comes back to save them (chapter 19) the two, who were probably already devastated and overcome with guilt over their one time mistake, do everything they can to never never give him cause to worry about them again. They never tell him or Ginny (though for other reasons which maybe I’ll explain on the show I personally think Ginny would have ultimately been alright with it). The guilt follows them for the rest of their lives.
It doesn’t invalidate any of the rest of the story. All the other events happen exactly as depicted on the page or in the film. So this is different than J.K. Rowling and Emma Watson’s comments that in retrospect they think Hermoine should have ended up with Harry instead of Ron… but it fits within the same sort of general speculation that I think they had.
And that’s what I’m looking for. Not necessarily the full fanfic. And not even the sexy details. I want to know what stories you imagine there’s “more to,” why you think so and how it improves upon what is in the canon text?