For almost as long as One Direction existed, there were fans who shipped the bandmates, and particularly Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.
HBO’s new breakout drama about youth, drugs, and sexuality is Euphoria, and Sunday caused quite a stir among 1D fans.
The show aired a segment about erotic fanfiction about Harry and Louis, and fans of the singers are outraged. Why?
Euphoria depicts stories of addiction, sexuality, and so much more. Exactly what you’d think about a prestige drama starring Zendaya.
It’s been attacked for including a trans actress, for its depiction of drugs, and for it’s degree of nudity. The usual prudes.
This time, however, the criticism is coming from a pecular portion of viewers and from people who’ve never even watched the show.
During a segment from Sunday’s episode, one character is revealed to be a popular fanfiction writer.
Rather than writing about fictional characters — be they in Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, or Star Trek — this character writes about real people.
This practice is known as RPF, and the real people about whom this character famously writes are Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.
As a fictional couple, the very real people Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are known as Larry Stylinson.
Euphoria did more than just mention that one character wrote fanficiton of them.
The show actually showed a short animated clip, heavily stylized, to illustrate the fanfic.
Much more engaging to viewers than just having a voiceover read part of the fic would be.
But what might have just been a cute TV moment about a creative expression of sexuality ended up causing an uproar.
"I’m? So? Confused? Who allowed Euphoria to use Harry & Louis’ names? Are lou & harry aware that this happened?" asked one fan on Twitter.
"Like they must be-it’s hbo so they probably had to like have some form of permission from lou & harry’s management or them themselves," they guessed.
The tweet continued: "But why would anyone allow that?"
Public figures are allowed to be referenced and even caricatured
"Just saw the euphoria scene of harry & louis & i’m so disgusted," tweeted another deeply scandalized 1D fan.
"Louis clearly said that the ship ruined their friendship & some prick decided to air that on tv with their real names for everyone to see," the tweet accused.
"If we’re this uncomfortable," the fan generalized. "I can’t imagine how they’re feeling."
"If euphoria really has an animated larry sex scene," tweeted another. "i am going to be LIVID that’s so disrespectful and f– GROSS."
Showrunner Sam Levinson explained to the LA Times about the process of bringing fanfiction to the screen.
"Something that I thought was a fascinating or exciting idea," he begins.
Levinson continues: "was to take this burgeoning curiosity about sexuality that’s ultimately framed through the lens of fan fiction and allow it to come to life."
"It’s sort of what Kat’s dream would be if she could see an animation of one of her stories," he explains of the animation.
Levinson adds: "That was the impetus behind it. It’s sort of allowing her wishes to come true."
In case anyone who is not familiar with how fandoms work is wondering, the show’s creators didn’t pull this idea out of thin air.
If you look at AO3 (Archive Of Our Own, created after fanfiction.net started purging stories based upon content), you can see that it’s very popular.
Explicit fics about Harry and Louis currently total 7044.
The most recent 10 of which were either added or updated in July — and it’s currently July 2.
By the time that you finish reading this article, it’s likely that the number will have grown.
And those are only the explicit-rated fics. All of the fics combined reach a total of nearly 34,000.
All that Euphoria did was bring the works of that passionate fanbase onto the small screen.
People who strongly oppose specific (relation)ships, or the very concept of shipping real people, are often called antis.
They are sometimes referred to as puriteens, a clever nod to their puritannical views and to how many of them are very young.
The truth is that, for most of history, huge chunks of famous literature and art have been "fanfiction" involving real people.
Contrary to what these folks think, it’s harmless in and of itself and it’s fairly normal (just look at reality TV fandoms).
The trick for everyday folks who "ship" real people, be they YouTubers or singers, is to just … being a grownup about it. Don’t @ them on Twitter.
That’s it. It’s that simple. The people flipping out about Euphoria need to relax.