My favorite show has an expiration date.
This isn’t the first time this has happened—I’ve seen many shows end their runs over my 30 years—but it’s the first time that even thinking about a show ending has made me a little verklempt. We’ve known this end was coming for nearly two years now, so I’ve had plenty of time to get used to the idea, but I haven’t. I’m not ready to say goodbye.
Believe it or not, I’m talking about Glee. Yes, Glee.
Now, I’m the first to admit that Glee isn’t perfect. Far from it. There are a lot of things it has done well, but there are probably just as many that it hasn’t done so well, and some it has just plain screwed up. There have been countless words written about that, by people far more knowledgeable than me, so I’m not going to get into that debate here.
Because of Glee, my life is richer than it has ever been before, and that’s no exaggeration.
For one thing, I’m writing again.
I started watching Glee from the preview of the pilot in early 2009, but I didn’t discover the fandom until about the middle of the third season. Up until that point, I was a casual but committed watcher. I’d never even heard the word “fandom” until I joined Tumblr in early 2012. Oh, how quickly things changed. I started getting to know people in the fandom, and through them found others, and so on.
Before I knew it, I had dozens of friends across the country—and across the world—who were more than willing to obsess with me over this show, these characters, I had come to love so much. And, to my delight, a good chunk of these people were my kind of people: writers. Talented ones. Ones whose work I could read—for free—and become inspired by.
For the first few months I was in the Glee fandom, I swore I would never read fanfiction. I didn’t see the point. Then there came a point when all of my friends were talking about how mind-blowingly amazing this one particular Klaine (Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson, for those of you who don’t know) fic was, and I caved.
It was a slippery slope. I spent the next few weeks reading every single Klaine fic I could find, regardless of quality. I spent hours reading when I should have been working or sleeping or doing pretty much anything else.
In the midst of reading all of those fics, I started getting my own ideas for stories involving those boys, but, again, I swore I would never write fanfic. If I was going to write, I was going to write my own characters. Nevermind the fact that I hadn’t written creatively in several years, despite it being one of my biggest hobbies in high school and college.
I bet you can see where this is going.
I caved. Again. I wrote a tiny little ficlet (which, looking back, is kind of horrible) for a fandom challenge. I thought it would be a one-time thing.
I was writing again, and I couldn’t have been more delighted. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, mostly short little stories, but then they started getting longer. And, suddenly, smuttier, despite my previous assertions that I would never in a million years write smut.
Over time, I could tell my writing was improving. I was getting back into the groove of it, finding my voice again. I decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot again in 2013, despite failing miserably in 2012. With the help of a soulmate AU plot bunny, I somehow managed to knock out a 50,000-word story in 29 days. I have no qualms about saying I never would have done that without Glee. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to get back into writing as a hobby, but I know it wouldn’t have been so soon.
My story is not unique. I have come across dozens, probably even hundreds, of people similar to me in the Glee fandom, who had either not written in years, or who had never written, period. They found their writing voices because of Glee. Some of them have even gone on to get original work published, thanks in large part to the audience they built of people who loved their fanfiction stories and wanted to see how they would handle their own characters.
We’ll follow them anywhere, as long as we can read what they’re writing.
And for those who aren’t writing, but are drawing or painting or making videos or just simply being a friend, well… we’ll follow them, too. We’re a weird kind of chosen family, but we’re family nonetheless. We stick together.
Yes, our show is ending. Our fandom, however, is not. Sure, some people will drift off to other fandoms once Glee is over, but I’m confident that the bulk of us will still be here, talking and dreaming and writing about a bunch of singing misfits.
We’re never saying goodbye to Glee.
Misty Fritz is a 30-year-old newspaper reporter from central Illinois who loves Glee more than most people love their significant others, has five cats, and spends entirely too much time reading and writing fanfiction. You can read her incredible fanfiction .
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