Perspective from Youth

 

I can honestly say I’ve been a fan of the series since it first aired in 1987-89. I first saw the show when I was five or six (as I do the math). I remember my aunt introduced me to the show; she watched it religiously when it first aired, and I was captivated from the moment I saw it. Okay I was really captivated from the moment I saw HIM. That first episode was “Terrible Savior”. I remember the bridge scene where Vincent fell through the slats. I can’t really say what my impressions of the show were at that age. Fear was never one of them, adoration maybe, enchantment definitely. I do, however, remember going to bed that night repeating Vincent’s name in my head over and over again, afraid I would forget.  I didn’t remember watching the show much at home. My aunt taped the series though, and any time I got to visit I would end up glued to her TV watching the recorded episodes, usually back to back. I remember watching “Nor Iron Bars a Cage” and “Remember Love”. I was fascinated by that episode because I remember Mouse (who was my favorite) disappeared into a hole like the white rabbit and Vincent trying to go after him but finding a solid wall. I thought it was neat. I didn’t really pick up much on the plots of the episodes or the love story at that time. I remembered most of the action scenes, but I tuned out a lot of the conversations and ‘the boring parts’.  

 

I didn’t see the series again until I saw a commercial for the SciFi channel, and Vincent’s face flashed across the screen. It was only for a split second. Of course I recognized the series, and that half-second of clip was maddening, as I didn’t have the SciFi channel. However, I do remember sitting there waiting for that commercial to play again just for that one half-second, when I saw the face of an old friend I was certain was lost. 

 

Finally in junior high it aired on WGN. That was when I finally sunk my claws in. At first I watched it to see if I could find the episodes I remembered seeing, maybe it was nostalgia at first, but from that moment on I was hooked. I would run home every day to catch the last fifteen minutes or so of an episode, or even the last five. 3:00 in the afternoon was such an inconvenient time since it was a 45-minute trip home riding the bus, but I was completely addicted to every glimpse I could get. I started to look forward to days when I could claim illness just to watch a complete episode. 

 

What drew me to the show wasn’t its popularity, I didn’t have any friends who watched it or talked about it. It was the show itself, the world it created, and Vincent that called to me.  I was drawn to the acceptance I saw in the world below, for Vincent and all the other outcasts that were overlooked by society, yet a society within themselves, and a family. I was a quiet kid who got picked on a lot and felt invisible most of the time. The idea of being outcast, of watching from the shadows and never being let in, hit home. 

 

I remember trying to watch an episode with one of my friends and her saying, “Ew! I wouldn’t hug that thing.” I was shocked; to me Vincent had always been beautiful. He was a friend. But she didn’t see that. There went the tunnel door closing firmly in her face; I turned off the tape. I wouldn’t share my secret world with her; she wasn’t worthy of meeting Vincent, or of entering the world below.  So I watched it alone. 

 

Every episode I had a chance to tape I did. I watched one episode of third season and wasn’t able to catch any others before the series was canceled from WGN. So I searched Beauty and the Beast online to try and find another station that was playing my series, or to see if it had been moved to another time. It was only then I discovered Fandom. For the first time I realized I wasn’t alone in my love of the series. There were others out there who dreamed of tunnels and tapping and the warmth of candlelight, others who had fallen in love with the story of Vincent and Catherine and counted them as friends. Through Fandom I was able to stitch most of the lost pieces of the series together. More importantly I found acceptance in my love for a series, a love I no longer needed to hide.

 

 

 

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