Thursday, May 10, 2007
On what, you ask? Crystal Meth? Heroin? No, thank you very much. I am hooked on something far more insidious, something infinitely more vile and pathetic.
Reading fan fiction. Specifically, M*A*S*H fan fiction.
Oh, I've read plenty of Romero-inspired
zombie fan fiction. I've read Tron fan fiction, Star Trek fan fiction, etc. But I always come back to M*A*S*H fan fiction. Why? Simple. It's easily the worst of the lot. I mean, zombie fan fiction is a close second. It's really, really bad, with every writer seemingly contractually-obligated to use the words "putrid", "shambling" and "undead horde." But M*A*S*H fan fiction occupys an unassailable perch in the pantheon of terrible things. First of all, it doesn't lend itself to continuation at all (see: "After M*A*S*H"). The series ended, everyone went home. Furthermore, the series lasted forever, and with 11 thirty-some episode seasons under its belt, certainly exhausted all viable storylines, and in fact even repeated many tropes over and over to increasingly tepid effect.
But my favorite thing about MASH fan fiction is this: No matter who the writer, no matter what website you find it at, approximately 93% of the stories are about Hawkeye banging Hot Lips. Some are set during series continuity, but the majority have them seeking each other out and acting on their long-simmering desires and doing the rumpy-pumpy after the Koren conflict ended.
I read one story recently that had Hawkeye married to Nurse Kelly and living an idyllic life in Crabapple Cove, Maine (the story went to great pains to explain that Nurse Kelly had discovered exercise and slimmed down considerably). As I was reading it I thought "Odd...this one isn't about Hawkeye banging Hot Lips." Then, later in the story, Hot Lips came for a visit, accompanied by a tow-headed young boy. Turns out the boy was Hawkeye's son, as he and Hot Lips had screwed after all. Bravo! A masterstroke! It's not often that an experienced reader like myself can be blindsided by an unforseen plot point, but this writer did just that.
Another fascinating aspect of M*A*S*H fan fiction is that it is completely devoid of wit. I myself find the early episodes amusing, and it's strange to read stories about the characters that have no jokes in them. Instead, they are constantly having breakdowns, health problems and just reflecting on life after the war, with very few quips or double entendres in sight. Kinda like the last 3 seasons of the show, actually.
I'd post a link to a site, but I can't really do that in good conscience. This stuff is awful, and yet every couple of months I find myself digging around and reading more. I wouldn't wish this unscratchable itch on anyone.