Channel 4 recently aired a “documentary” entitled Crazy About One Direction. Even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve probably heard people talking about it. An overview, then, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching it; the documentary focused on the (female, teenage) fans of One Direction. It followed girls as they attempted to find members of the band in hotels, others who were waiting outside venues for hours, and asked all of them about their (there’s really no other way to describe it) obsession.
At first, it was kind of… funny. It’s pretty normal for people to laugh at teenage girls (but that’s a different rant for a different article), and this documentary was designed to illicit exactly that reaction. However, hearing about how these girls spend all of their time essentially stalking One Direction was just a bit unpleasant, particularly when it touched upon fans sending death threats.
For many viewers, this was their first exposure to the One Direction fandom. For the unaware, the intensity of the fans can be quite shocking. What this documentary did was take a few of the more zealous One Direction fans and imply that that’s what each fan is like.
The documentary had an odd segment where the girls were asked if they had boyfriends (none of them did). Do you think if a documentary was made about (predominantly male) football fans, it would ask them if they had girlfriends accompanied by a sad backing track? Did the girls in Crazy About One Direction spend more time than they should attempting to meet the band? Perhaps; but the members of One Direction are their idols. If this writer could spend every single day trying to meet J. K. Rowling without her parents disowning her then she absolutely would.
It made some fans look psychotic when, basically, they just really like One Direction. Their behaviour wasn’t much different from the behaviour of fans of Elvis in the 1950s; his female fans were also reviled for their adoration of the King of Rock. It seem that hundreds of thousands of screaming girls gives society a problem to deal with. Yes, some One Direction fans send people (usually the possible partners of the band members) death threats, and that’s obviously not really on. This documentary was predictably manipulative in the way it portrays One Direction fans as “crazy” and out of control; it’s a typical case of a few people giving the masses a bad name. It basically enabled viewers to pat themselves on the back because they’re certainly not anything like those silly teenage girls.
The documentary essentially gave everyone another opportunity to get high and mighty about One Direction. Not liking One Direction doesn’t make you an inherently better person, but it certainly felt like the documentary was designed to make you think you’re better than those girls. Most of One Direction’s fans ultimately aren’t doing any harm. Following the documentary they flooded Twitter with apologies; because Crazy About One Direction made them feel guilty about idolising the band. They launched five boys’ careers – and One Direction’s response to the documentary goes to show how much they appreciate their fans.