When Star Trek first appeared on screen in 1966, it set the model for all sorts of shows to follow—including the theme of unrequited homoerotic relationships. The devotion of Kirk and Spock, full of longing glances and a sexless intimacy, sparked a whole new genre of queer fanfiction and, to this day, keeps fans rabid for every small moment between the two.
These days, TV is full of couples like Kirk and Spock. While these close same-sex relationships can be sweet portraits of loving friendships, they can also cross a line to be queerbating—shows create queer subtext but yank it away before getting to actual feelings, actions, or any clear understanding of the relationship.
Welcome to another edition of Pop Pedestal, a series to honor our favorite characters in pop culture. Today, I'd like to turn your attention to an oft-unsung heroine: Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie of Veronica Mars, the Manic Panic-streaked computer geek of my dreams.
I'll admit there's a lot of fanfiction that can read like sloppily edited romance novels (including my first couple of stories), and the fact that anyone can publish fanfic without having writing experience can mean readers have to wade through a lot to find the real gems. That's why, even though I enjoyed writing and reading fanfic, I was embarrassed to talk about it. Now though, looking into it, I realize that there's a lot to celebrate about fanfiction.