I ended up in a rabbit hole entirely on accident this weekend, but it was super worth it. (Cutting on mobile won't work so sorry for this massive post.)
I used to watch "The Soup" religiously as a teenager and young adult. It was a show on E! where Joel McHale basically tore apart the worst trash TV you could think of - and in the "golden" era of reality TV, there was a TON to tear apart. My mom also watched it a lot with me (the hardest I've ever seen her laugh was at Joel McHale introducing "Ice-T and his wife, Coco-T"), and it was one of the few shows our whole family could sit down and watch without everything devolving into fighting. Then it got cancelled in 2015 for some frankly bullshit reasons (pretty soon after a renewal as well!) and basically disappeared.
For years I've wondered if this show was saved ANYWHERE at all. It's never streamed anywhere (not even when Netflix tried out The Joel McHale Show, which was basically the same thing). E! never really dropped YouTube clips for it. I thought I had some episodes on DVR recorded DVDs, but discovered when I moved a few years ago that wasn't the case. However, in an entirely random Reddit post having legit nothing to do with The Soup, a user dropped the bombshell that 99% of the show is on the Internet Archive and provided a link. That made my Friday!
NOW. One thing that I've wanted to find for a while are the episodes John Oliver was on The Soup, partially because I am sad and predictable but ALSO because across the Internet, John is credited for being on The Soup's finale and nothing else, which I KNOW from my memories to not be true. (I remember shit like this, but not how to get to my local library without an app guiding me. Siiiiiigh.) Of course there's no real episode guide for The Soup online, either, so I was on my own on this one.
In the end, I remembered enough about Ryan fucking Lochte to find one of those JO episodes in this archive, after about a day of searching. I promise that makes sense in context, and you can watch this prime piece of 2013 nonsense below.
Fair warning, some of this has aged poorly. Not enough to trigger warn, but there's definitely some mean-spirited humor about a few people's looks and polyamory. (There's also a truly ludicrous amount of jokes about Joel and/or John being gay. This is an extremely strange cultural relic and trying to explain The Soup has made me aware of just how weird it is as a show.)
(You can also access hundreds of other episodes of The Soup through this link. I am in awe of this existing at all. Finding out this archive exists gave me the same feeling that watching Ray Mona finding the goddamn Toon Makers Sailor Moon pilot did. Now to find the legendary Alexis Neiers phone call episode...)
i've been having some discourse thoughts recently and going back and forth, and I don't really have a final conclusion at the moment so I'm just writing it out to try and make sense of it. I am not intending to get into heated arguments or cause problems, I'm genuinely just trying to question thoughts and beliefs I've been holding to that i picked up from others to be certain whether or not they're solid and I want to continue in that manner because reflection, introspection, and critical thinking are good practices. and posting it because consulting and engaging with others and perspectives outside your own is helpful. so don't mind me trying to sort myself out it's a genuinely earnest attempt to properly reason it through
the crux of it is that I realized it seems hypocritical of me to say I firmly believe in shipping and letting ship, supporting fiction's right to be fucked up and unhealthy, controlling your own experiences, for people to do what they want with fiction because fiction is not reality and should be a safe space where you can explore fucked up things, agree that policing what you can and can't do with fiction is a dangerously slippery slope, and then also turn around and condemn wylinh/wylinh shippers
I don't like the ship myself, I've made numerous posts discussing why I find it harmful--the main thing being its an adult x minor ship (Alden and Della's relationship is completely different, do not bring it up here as a counterargument. you can ask me to explain further if you don't understand). But people are allowed to engage with things that would be harmful or predatory or questionable or etc. in fiction; it's fake. People have said it before, but writing about murder doesn't mean you want to commit murder and all that.
So then since its okay to ship fucked up things because this is fiction, the problem with wylinh seems to become that people ship it in the same manner they do other ships without adult/minor dynamics, not with the understanding that it's got questionable elements. That it's okay to ship fucked up things but you have to do it a certain way that I think is acceptable (you have to know its not really healthy irl), and I don't think that's a mindset I want to have? That people's shipping needs to meet a standard I set? Even if I don't like it? I'm not arbitrator I don't get to decide those kinds of things for others, I just get to decide for me
And another big argument that's been made (including by me) is that children/young teens read these books and find fandom spaces even if they're not supposed to be here, and that that exposure could normalize a harmful age dynamic. Because while Wylie and Linh may be lovely people, they're fictional and it's not reflective of how an age gap like theirs would look irl and children could end up missing red flags of predatory people in real life by thinking of it like idealized fiction. But think of the children rhetoric is one that has been often criticized as cover for more malicious intentions (such as in politics) with the convenient safe fail that if you disagree, you must not care about children.
Part of the critique of that rhetoric is also that the actions being defended don't actually help or protect children. So I'm now wondering, does trying to stop (I can't think of a better word at the moment) wylinh shippers actually achieve that goal of protecting impressionable kids from idolizing an unrealistic relationship, or does it just motivate them to hide it and not trust the people who are, to them, unjustifiably criticizing them?
Wylinh is a widely disliked ship in the fandom, and that's okay, we're all allowed our opinions including negative ones. I just feel as though I'm contradicting myself on some points and want to straighten them out for myself. I don't like Wylinh, I don't ship it, I don't engage with any Wylinh content because of the aforementioned reasons. But my personal dislike shouldn't shape fandom spaces and others' actions, and making sure people are shipping things the "right" way feels like a much more harmful slope.
And if the best course of action to align with that is to just focus on myself, not engage with what I don't like, and politely share my thoughts without forcing them on others or trying to control their actions when the opportunity arises (though maybe this isn't the best course of action, there may be others), that makes this whole post feel redundant because that's...already what I'm doing. I suppose this is just to change my internal perspective not my outward actions? My intentions?
There's no real final conclusion to this, it's just me going "hmm, I've been criticizing wylinh shippers for shipping what I think is a harmful ship, but I also believe in shipping and let ship and allowing fiction to explore harmful things and not controlling others. can these co-exist or do I have to rethink something?"
and I think the answer is I have to rethink something? and that something is criticizing people for shipping wylinh. i still maintain my critiques and dislikes of the ship, but that's a separate thing. i find it more important to maintain and respect individuals right to engage with fiction of all sorts how they want to, without control from others
there's probably a million ways to negatively misinterpret things I've said, so just know all of this is genuine reflection made in good faith. i am earnestly trying to figure it out, and if anyone has input or opinions or perspectives they'd like to share you're welcome to, provided its also in good faith.
alright cool that's all, please do not be mean to me as I try to be a better person because I know its a discourse heavy topic :)
Just post your Hecula rant you coward >:(
I am embolded by the sheer amount of Dracula/Jonathan (harker, not morris) content floating around, I think people have realized by now that I'm a disgusting degenerate who very much likes the trope of "creepy ass old man falling in 'love' with a young boy/girl under his thumb" :'D
So this is a translation of this post, which I translated because I noticed some people seem to be interested in Hecula :)
Obviously there's going to be extensive talk of grooming and abuse.
It's hilarious how I fell into this rareship hell simply because
I memed too much about everyone in CoD wanting to fuck Hector (which is true and I can prove it);
no i will never stop using this image it awakened something in me worse than the Stabbing Scene
And then yeah, everything fell apart :'D
First of all I just want to say one thing: if CoD was more famous in the fandom, many more fans would accept the idea that Dracula fucked his Generals in between genocides. C'mon man, the set up is perfect. Y'all are cowards, I tell you :P
But other than that, it is interesting to compare the differences between Isaacula and Hecula.
Isaacula is your typical villain/simp ship. Isaac adores Dracula, he's literally crazy for him, he would destroy himself for him, and Dracula is like, "okay". Personally I like the idea that Dracula is perfectly aware of how much Isaac worships him (not that Isaac even tries to hide it lol), and takes the opportunity to manipulate him just the right amount... and c'mon, if a pretty boy offered himself to you like this, what would you do, not take advantage of the situation? 👀 But he sees Isaac as he would see… I dunno, his throne? It's there, it belongs to him, no one would touch it, he doesn't have to do anything else. It's not interesting.
Hector is interesting. Hector is a prodigy in the art of Devil Forging. Hector is a skilled fighter. Hector is smart (and so is Isaac, but he's a lot more emotional so he may seem dumber). Hector, after a childhood spent believing he didn't deserve to exist, is now realizing his own worth. Cold, proud, obedient Hector, without Isaac's fanaticism but far more efficient, and just as grateful to his benefactor.
I think there is a possibility for Dracula to be attracted to Hector. And yes, the mental image of him suddenly realizing one day that the shy little boy who one day knocked on his front door has grown to be such a handsome man in a short time makes me want to bite the flesh off my arms and it drives me insane <3
Not only that, but if I really wanted to be cynical, I could also point this out:
Speaking of Leon, I can now get to the point of what I call the Bride Hector AU: Dracula, gone insane with grief over the loss of Lisa, clings to Hector tooth and nail (literally lmao) and insists on using him as a substitute for his wife.
It has been pointed out to me that, in that scene in LoI where Mathias proposes to Leon to join him in immortality, his goal may also have been to replace Elisabetha with his best friend. Mathias was clearly out of his mind with grief, and he trusted Leon, and he couldn't even comprehend that Leon maybe didn't want anything more to do with him. He just wanted company. He didn't want to experience his immortality alone.
But Leon was free to tell him to go fuck himself, rightfully so.
Hector, who is as handsome as Leon, as strong as Leon, and as dear to Dracula as Leon used to be (although in different ways, the two are not friends obv) does not have this freedom. Hector swore allegiance to Dracula, Hector became one of the strongest creatures in the world thanks to Dracula, and he still trusts the only person who granted him the right to exist.
Hector should be grateful to Dracula.
So, don't you think that kissing him isn't the least he can do to his Lord to compensate for all that he has given him? Or offering his neck? Or accepting to be brought to Lisa's old bedroom? :)
It's very, very easy for Dracula to get Hector to give him what he wants, even if Hector doesn't reciprocate Dracula's feelings at all. He doesn't need tricks or magic, he can simply exploit the loyalty of a poor boy who has no one else, and who by now is so used to being his Lord's favorite that he can't even consider disappointing him.
On the other hand, at the heart of it all there's an old man unable to move on. As a vampire, he's frozen in time, and it's very difficult for him to accept change. He became a vampire in the midst of grieving the loss of his first wife, and now he has lost his second one too? He can't do it. He can't handle the pain. He breaks. He needs someone.
And Hector just so happens to be right here, this pretty boy who can be seduced, who can help him feel less alone.
After Lisa's death, Dracula becomes... protective. Very protective. He will no longer allow anyone, not even God Himself, to take away the only light of his life. Which not only means protecting Hector from all the beasts that would dare to harm him or worse, but also making sure that the boy doesn't slip away from him. Dracula has complete control over his castle and all its residents... so Hector, love, you better be nice and don't do things that might displease your Lord :) like, for example, running back to Isaac, who meanwhile he's dying inside of jealousy :) oh, but don't worry, you're the favorite, so nothing will happen to you! But Isaac will take the fall :) so he will hate you even more, and your relationship will break down, and Hector will truly have no one left but his Lord :)
Or his husband :)
Dracula loses it more and more, he needs Lisa, he needs to feel sure that he will never be left alone again. He gets the morbid idea of marrying Hector and calling him his wife, even giving him the wedding ring that used to belong to that poor woman whom Hector might have seen as a mother figure. He can't escape. Now his Lord is his husband and Hector must behave accordingly, and if Dracula wants to be called by his first name and pet names while he fucks Hector on Lisa's bed, well, he has to do it. What can he do about it, say no? Hahahaha you're so funny <3
(A little appreciated perk is that, as a Devil Forgemaster, Hector is far tougher than a normal human, and he can conjure Fairies to heal most of his wounds. A perfect match for a ten-feet-tall cold vampire with sharp fangs and claws :) you're welcome, Hector dear <3)
Hector, needless to say, has a hard time clinging to his sanity. He doesn't want any of this. He doesn't want to be the sex toy of the person he once could have seen as a father, he doesn't want him to suck his blood so often that he's practically anemic by now (because, among other things, let's not forget that he still has to work), he doesn't want all these scars around his neck that almost form a collar he can't take off, he doesn't want Isaac to hate him and envy him for a situation he refuses to understand, he wants to be seen as Hector, as a person.
But he can't hate Dracula. Dracula isn't cruel with him, he just needs some help. Dracula did some good things too after all, and it's true that Hector can't live anywhere else, because only Dracula appreciates and accepts him. There is still a small part of Hector, the boy who was stoned by his peers and slapped by his mother, who still loves Dracula, to a certain extent.
But the more Dracula degenerates, the more the outside world doesn't seem so terrifying, compared to the madness of his Lord...
He's not Isaac. He is loyal and obedient, but he's not willing to objectify himself to this extent.
In short, I really really like this kind of dynamic, an older man seducing a younger person into a relationship of trust and dependency, until the younger person escapes and takes their life back into their own hands <3 and yes, while the idea of the older man thinking of the other as simply a warm body to fuck is appealing in its own right, I'm growing to love the alternative of him instead falling in "love", but it's a twisted, selfish, all consuming love.
tl;dr: hecula hot
And just in case, I have written 4 fanfics to explore these ideas :)
If you have a good tool, you use it, don't you?
It is forbidden to touch the Lord's belongings
Honeymoon (technically a spoiler but I long gave up on that)
Shame (the only fully SFW fic so far lmao)