Over the weekend, a dark and gruesome tale emerged from the bowels of the internet. Because the Toy Story saga was not depressing and tissue-worthy enough, a new theory about Andy's dad decided to creep up.
This theory focused on why Andy's dad was never around in any of the Toy Story films. It was originally revealed in a YouTube video posted at the end of last week. For those who missed it, here it is.
So to sum up:
- Andy's dad was a poor child who lucked into the only prototype Woody
- He got Polio
- All his toys -- except Woody and a couple others -- were burned
- He grew up, got married, had Andy Jr.
- He died suddenly of Post-polio Syndrome
None of this is true, you guys. None of it.
To everyone's relief, Andrew Stanton, who actually, you know, wrote the movie, got on Twitter and called the entire fan theory bupkis.
Oh, thank heavens. We're all very grateful to hear Andy's dad wasn't yet another complete and total tragic tale. But it brings me to something that's been bugging me for the last year or two: the rise of the "fan theories" that are taken as gospel.
You've seen them: New 'Harry Potter' Fan Theory Explains Dumbledore's Breakfast Habits in Goblet of Fire, New 'Star Wars' Fan Theory Explains Why Leia Turned Left Instead Of Right And Ran Into Vader In Cloud City.
These are not actually "theories," in the more strenuous sense of the term. In fact, as was pointed out on Twitter this weekend in light of the Andy's dad story, these are often actually someone's headcanon fanfic they dressed up with the word "theory" to make it sound like it had more gravitas.
You know, something more manly that the feminized concept of "fanfic."
And sites around the internet are falling for it. But just because we've renamed someone's headcanon to sound like it underwent some sort of fantasy-based scientific method doesn't mean anything of the kind.
As was then pointed out, fan theories are actually slightly lazier than fanfic. After all, the latter requires writing the idea up yourself.
So the next time you find yourself sucked into some article detailing yet another "fan theory" remember: It's just someone's fanfic and they got the rest of us to do the writing for them.