Welcome to NBNtertainment’s newest audio series, “Superfans.” In this series, we will speak with Wildcats from all walks of life about their quirky interests, and where these passions have led them.[Scott Holmes’ “Summer Dance” plays]
Morgan Smith: Hello lovely listeners, welcome back to NBN Entertainment and happy week 7 of the quarter! I'm Morgan Smith, and today we are going to talk about superfans. There's no one right way to define or even be a superfan; it simply requires a fascination, or passion for something that makes your heart swell with joy. Frankly, I'd describe myself as a superfan of pizza bagels. But on this episode, we'll talk to a couple of Wildcats who are superfans in the traditional sense, of celebrities and art. We'll hear about chance encounters, euphoria erupting from super fandom, and the things they've gained from geeking out over their obsessions.
Morgan Smith: The first superfan I spoke with was Jeanne Paulino, a Weinberg junior from L.A. who discovered her affinity for criminals when she started watching the cult TV series Criminal Minds at the tender age of 13.
Jeanne Paulino: Matthew Gray Gubler was probably my first celebrity crush, and he’s like 30, 35, so it was a little odd. My parents were like “Why him!?” but I was just like, “He’s really dorky in the show, he’s really smart!”
Morgan Smith: Jeanne also spoke to me about an almost chance encounter she had with the cast, and why the show has been so important to her.
Jeanne Paulino: I was a senior in high school, I was outside running around my neighborhood and I saw a ton of set trucks and trailers and stuff. I thought “why are they filming in Outwater Village”, like it’s the most random place. So I just thought, “whatever, they’ll just see me in the background.” But then I turned on the TV a couple months later when I was in college, and it was a new episode of Criminal Minds, and the setting was “Outwater Village, California” and I recognized the corner that they filmed at - literally where I went running, but I didn’t go to the set because I thought it was a stupid show - but it was Criminal Minds!
Morgan Smith: So you narrowly missed the opportunity to be an extra in Criminal Minds
Jeanne Paulino: Or just to meet them! And I think it [the show] also influenced my life because I was 12 or 13 when I was watching the show and it was about people dying and serial killers and stuff so I think I became very disillusioned and a little pessimistic about the world, just thinking,, the human mind is capable of really terrible things.
[“Wayside” by Renata Zeiguer plays]
Morgan Smith: Next, I spoke with Ben Bomier, a School of Comm sophomore from Wisconsin about his first true love, the British rock band Coldplay.
Ben Bomier: My dad, when we got ITunes, my dad always had a few Coldplay songs that would show up on several of his playlists- so there were a few Coldplay songs early on that I would regularly hear growing up without really knowing in my head or putting together that “Oh! That’s a Coldplay song.” But those songs stuck with me and there were other ones I experienced, too. We had a video cassette for “Monsters Inc.” or something and on that there was a trailer for Peter Pan that had “Clocks” [by Coldplay] in the trailer so every time we’d put that in I’d hear that song. What else, I had a Guitar Hero game that had “Shiver” by Coldplay on it. So there were a few of their earlier songs that stuck with me.
Morgan Smith: But Ben credits a special day in eighth grade when everything clicked for him and his love of Coldplay.
Ben Bomier: It was before choir at school one day, and one of my friends was at the piano and started playing the riff at the start of “Clocks” on the piano, and as soon as I heard it, it was one of those things where you haven’t heard a song in a long time and it’s suddenly a blast from the past. So I heard that, and I was like, “what song is that” and she turned and said, “Oh, it’s ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay” so then I went home and looked it up and realized, “Damn, they did all these songs that I knew from my childhood and really liked but hadn’t connected until now.”
Morgan Smith: The peak of his fandom was when Ben was able to meet his musical heroes face to face, during a Coldplay concert at Soldier Field.
Ben Bomier: So Soldier Field is an open… there’s no ceiling or anything. *Laughs* So that night, leading up to the event, there was this horrible, torrential, Bibilical-level Thunderstorm.
Morgan Smith: Oh no.
Ben Bomier: So the night before we were in the Uber on the way to dinner, I’m biting my whole fingers off and just anxious as hell, because, you know, I’ve been looking forward to this for so long. This cannot get cancelled. There was a little window of time [the next day] starting at 8:30 -9 p.m. where the storm stopped and as soon as it stopped they let everyone into the stadium. It took them awhile to get everyone in their place. But there was this perfect, little window where the storm went away and they did the show. It was literally a miracle that that happened and they had that window. So they started the show, [and] they were doing the show. We get a good portion of the way through the show, and it’s starting to rain again, and it’s getting worse and worse as each song goes on, and you can start to see thunder overheard. Eventually, it gets to the point where they finish a song and Chris Martin, the lead singer, he says to everyone “Okay, we’ve got to talk to our crew people for a second, but thank you for your patience everybody!” So you see the band talking to this crew guy and he [Chris Martin] comes back and says we have to evacuate the stadium because it’s not safe, obviously, there’s a thunderstorm. He then says “We’ve never been in this situation before…. Should we do one more song? Let’s do one more song, let’s do ‘Sky Full of Stars!’” So immediately the opening track of “Sky Full of Stars” starts and they’ve got this walkway on the stage; Chris [Martin] just goes out onto the middle of the walkway, in the middle of the rain and everything, dancing his ass off for this song, he does not care that it’s raining, nobody cares that it’s raining, we’re all just giving it everything we’ve got because we know this is it, this is the last song of the show, and yeah, it sucked that that show got cut short, but that memory in particular was very special and very magical.
Morgan Smith: Well, there you have it folks. Superfandom knows no bounds: it's a lifelong, full time job. This is only part one of an NBN series about superfans on campus, so stay tuned for the second installment covering Wildcat passions. Again, I’m Morgan Smith, and thanks for tuning in to NBNntertainment.
[Reprise-Scott Holmes’ “Summer Dance”]