An Excuse to Talk about MARVEL’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D While Trying to Explain My Lack of Social Skills



Ah yes, I finally get to talk about my current no.1 obsession: the TV show MARVEL’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m just going to go ahead and mention that this post may contain spoilers for the most current S.H.I.E.L.D episodes because I like to keep pretty up-to date on them and I would hate to ruin the excitement and nervous anticipation of fans waiting for another installment like I have been over these many weeks.

For about 5 or 6 months now I have been developing into a very huge MARVEL comic book fan and enthusiast, but I’ve not been able to share my love with other comic book fans. It’s not just being a failure to connect to the comic book world but I first realised I struggled to get along with other fans when I joined a Stargate online fan message board. Before I was into the MCU I was and still am a very huge fan of the Stargate franchise.

I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge about Stargate so it’s never hard for me to talk about the facts from the Stargate Universe (not to be confused with Stargate: Universe) but when it came to discussing the episodes in depth is when I started to realise I focused on different parts of the show than those around me. Basically other fans were talking about the show as if it was real and getting quite worked up about it too. To them the characters were free to make decisions and their actions were not solely at the hands of some very creative writers, and as someone who wants to become a writer I saw it the other way. At times I would praise the writers for creating such a thrilling episode with mystery and intrigue and drop hints throughout the series so we the audience could try to work out what was going to happen on our own – take note, Alphas.

But I just did not connect with the fans. I found them emotional and almost delusional for not getting that it’s just a show.

fitzquote13One of my favourite characters (Agent Fitz) and one of my favourite moments on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

After seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the S.H.I.E.L.D episodes that linked with it I became so passionate about the show that I wanted to connect to other fans. There were the odd trolls who would nit-pick certain parts of the episode they didn’t like or whatever news that came out about future episodes or they would basically just say the show should be cancelled because commenting on the official Facebook page of the show you hate is just such a good way to spend your precious time, right? Those people are easy to ignore, though some people just can’t help but give them a piece of their mind.

Then people yet again started to talk about the characters as if they were real and the story was real and I just felt uncomfortable again. These people were just empathising so much more with the characters than me, which isn’t exactly a bad thing. When I watch the show I can be moved in the same way as they are. I know that after Agent Phil Coulson was brought back to life by regenerative DNA of a blue alien that he is kind of a broken man and that he didn’t want the cellist to know he was alive because it took so long for her to get over him, though a few other fans did reveal some of the finer details for me. Fitz big speech in ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ when standing up to Garrett while crying was touching but again it was very hard for me to understand why. I needed other people to explain to me what it meant to them. It even took some time for me to empathise with Skye who was looking for her parents but then it turned out they were dead and she was being protected by S.H.I.E.L.D because she was an 0-8-4 (meaning an object of unknown origin – she could have special powers) and some bad people were out there looking for her. Most likely Hydra, because unless you’ve been living under a rock or are kind of you know popular, you know they had been infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D for 70 years and since Captain America helped take them down S.H.I.E.L.D is now seen as a terrorist organization, so they are still kind of in power.

You can see why I filed this under ‘autism’ now can’t you? I even feel my above descriptions of some of the series’ plot is coming out a bit stale. Could it be anxiety? Perhaps. I have lots of that. Is it a bad time to mention that I’m writing this while hearing Agent Phil Coulson’s voice in my head, kind of reading out the post to me? It’s something else I do to help me write. It’s common on the autistic spectrum. I’ll stop talking about it now.

It may take me some time to feel emotions toward the characters but I do feel them and when I watch the show I am taken into the fantasy of it all, but for some reason when I talk about it to other people I can only regurgitate the facts of the show, you know, recite the story in a very technical way (my psychologist said I explained everything in a technical way too) and then when I tried to explain the emotions of a character  I would start to sound less intelligent than I am. When I talk about the neuronal processes in the brain or recite any law of physics or even share a theory I have about black holes I can just articulate it so much better that I sound like I’m smarter than I am. But when it comes to explaining how something can move me emotionally, well I just I, well I, I just feel dumb.

There would have been a time where I thought it was better to think more logically and not worry so much about emotions. After all, emotions are distracting, confusing and exhausting things. They get it the way of our reasoning skills and all my achievements have been a cause of my logical problem solving skills. They create unnecessary social drama and keep us stuck in our rumination, so we remain longer in distress whereas if we ignored them we would reach a solution faster and not be as emotionally affected by our reactions as we usually are. I have a bit of a mood disorder too so my emotions are usually explosive. I am like a real life Vulcan when I suppress them and focus mainly on logical solutions.

But I’m starting to think that maybe it is better to get stuck in the fantasy of a show. It’s strange, in any social situation, usually offline, I will just want to talk about anything related to MARVEL comics and my most recent successful conversation (yeah, I count them) was when I rather drunkenly gave a very long and spoilerish run down of the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and how they linked up with S.H.I.E.L.D episodes from episode 14 and up, to someone who probably had no idea what I was talking about. And when I get really into show or story, especially if it’s related to science fiction, the line between the real world and fantasy becomes a bit blurred. I just don’t understand why I can’t go into that mindset when I talk to other fans.

So, now I’m trying to feel deeper emotions from the characters in S.H.I.E.L.D so I can get a better understanding of how other fans of the show empathise with them and maybe I could have longer and more in depth discussions with them without thinking ‘this person realises that’s just a TV show right? Whatever happened in it was how the writers wanted it to happen.’ No, I must silence those thoughts. There are times for logical thought and times to be more emotional. It’s not really that fun being a robot. I’ve met others who take things more literally than me. They have told me that they literally have no visual imagination and I can make movies up in my head and I would hate to live without that. Likewise, the more empathetic among us would hate to live without feeling such deep emotions for their fellow man, or woman.

I’m planning to go to Free Comic Book Day and experience the comic book fandom that I’ve been missing out on because I hardly know anyone well enough to go to these events. And yes crowds are a problem but we must fight through uncomfortable or even scary situations so we don’t miss out on opportunities to make new friends or have new and enjoyable experiences.

I’m really excited about this next episode of S.H.I.E.L.D by the way. I think Skye is going to be taken to Hydra and we get a see Maria Hill again. And I’m just so excited I can’t even speculate properly.