NYC Tartan Week Update: Fan Woman Reports on the April 4th Outlander Season 2 Premiere Event

Written by: Teddie Potter





A good fan girl comes to embrace each and every fan-girling opportunity as both a gift and a hope.  A good fan woman should know better. Let me explain . . . 




Mission: Impossible

The Season 2 premiere of Outlander is no longer a Tartan Affair.  It’s a private affair. Cries of foul play and unfairness, and general disgruntlement run rampant through social media  The mood in the Big Apple fandom is tense. That Starz has previously graced NYC with a season 1 and a mid season premiere only compounds the expectations for a fan-attended Season 2 premiere event, but this one's by invitation-only. Laid-back fans on the Left Coast don't quite get what all the hubbub is about;  the truth is, you need to live in the NYC metro area to understand the rantings of disappointment:



  • The  fans have served as collateral PR to pave the way to the success of Outlander!  
  • Half of us never even made it into the fiasco that was the logistical mismanagement of the mid season event!  
  • That ain't right! Surely, this is not to be borne!

It’s Starz’ gig and that’s cool; I’m not an industry type and I don’t have any industry connections. But, damn! I want to go. A few days after the announcement, I receive a Facebook Message:  someone I know is going, and that someone is going to try to get me in, too. And that someone succeeds. Mission accomplished.



The First Rule of Fight Club






You know the rule.  All across the fandom, the pink elephant looms in virtual rooms. Are you in?  Are you out?  Do you know that I am in?  Do you know that I know that you are in? If asked, I am forthcoming.  If not asked, I don’t tell. The reason, fangirl, is that I was told not to say/ I don’t want to hurt your feelings/I don’t want to get your hopes up/I had nothing to do with it/I didn’t make the rules. YES. I’M GOING, ALREADY! And someone who knows someone got you a ticket, too. Tulach ard!!

Strategic Planning 

Scouts, be  prepared.   A hotel room on the Upper West Side?  That will do nicely,  for bookoo shillings.  The fiber optics are glowing and humming, or whatever it is they do when the traffic increases, and the traffic mostly concerns the proper attire for a premiere. What to wear, what to wear, WHAT TO WEAR??




Lucky e-mail confirmation-holding fan girls, this is no time to pull out your comfy jeans, because Macy's is having a SALE on party dresses.  I myself am in a LBD quandary (Little Black Dress, of course), because at Closet Teddie, there are four of them at the ready.  The big question: are the little pink heels going to work with the little black dress?



The event includes a red carpet, and who knows what else.  Fan girl pipe-dreaming can take you many, many places, and if you see my brain on a functional MRI, the excitement level makes all the lobes glow (please see Fig 1.)




Fig. 1 (My brain on Outlander crack)


Bridge and Tunnel People

I live in New Jersey, but was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. In other words, I still like to say that I am a New Yorker, even though I wasn’t holding on when riding the Outlander shuttle last week, fell, and sustained a mild concussion.  That's it--Outlander is going to kill me.  Let me just lay down for a while...


Premiere Day has arrived. My ticket-holding friend and I pack up, load up, giddy-up, tittering like two junior high school girls (the ones that hated us). No stairway, escalator, or elevator can deter two Outlander fans with rollie-bags. From the Union NJ station on New Jersey Transit, to Pennsylvania Station in NYC, roll on.


Hell. Enough with the rolling—we  take a cab to the hotel.






The Suite Life

We check in to our bastion of old-world Upper West Side in need of refurb understated elegance.  The magic continues as we are UPGRADED! For no additional shillings. True fan girl squeeeees ensue.










Squee as we get our  beauty on.  Squee to friend’s Sephora make-over appointment. (Minor squee as I do my own makeup).  Squee to wine boutiques.  And extra squees because we order room service goodies and plan a pre-premiere party for our other fortunate ticket-holding friends.

They come.  We eat.  We drink. We go.









The Set Up

I feel very fortunate.  I am amongst many many good friends, made first through the Outlander books, and now through the more recent and shiny new vibe that goes along with the screen production of the beloved Outlander stories.  We sweep past the rain-soaked fans milling about outside our designated  entrance—they have no ticket.  Some are holding signs begging for an extra. An extra?  These are by special invite only!  Dream on, umbrella girls.

At  the reception desk there are envelopes for each of us.  White envelopes, this way.  We have yellow envelopes, and are directed up a bright, wide staircase, where we meet others both known and new to us in the fandom, replete with sparkles, and cleavage, and upsweeps and once over  I discretely exchange my flats for my pink heels.
  








There is a photo booth set up with a photographer taking fun pics of our groups as well as free prints to take along or have electronically sent to you.  A Starz camera crew is there interviewing members of the fan community.  We have plenty of time to network with each other, and we eventually are encouraged to enter the balcony seating reserved for the fan community.  Some intrepid umbrella girls get in too, so everyone is smiling.






A Captive Audience?

The Red Carpet has begun.  We know this because it is being streamed live by Entertainment Tonight, and we can watch it on our iPhones and Samsungs and whatever. Because on the big screen is a continuous loop of these two images for the next 90 or so minutes:




And nothing else.  For 90 whole minutes.

There’s a gigantic screen in front of us.  Here is where a live stream of the Red Carpet might have done the trick, yet I am happy to be here.  So so happy;  however, it is quickly dawning on me that we are being kept carefully separated from any Red Carpet, or any other action whatsoever. 

Finally, the  lights go down and things get going. Chris Albrecht, president of Starz is speaking; Ron Moore and the principal cast are introduced. But I cannot see a single thing because I am in the sixth row of the balcony, and with my Outlander death wish, if I choose to be so undignified as to rush to the first row of the balcony looking down onto the orchestra happenings, I will probably sail right over the railing and end up in the lap of someone down there who possesses a white envelope, killing him/her instantly.  Besides; I can’t run downstairs in these freaking heels. 

Have I mentioned that there is a gigantic screen in front of us? Does Starz not own video cameras, so that everyone, i.e. your dolled-up devoted fans, can at least get a glimpse of the arrival of the glitterati on that giant screen? 

Who Needs a Bear Hug?



The incomparable Bear McCreary takes the stage with Raya Yarbrough and ensemble for an unexpected performance of the new hauntingly beautiful variation of “Skye Boat Song”.  It was enchanting.  I wanted to sing and sway my arms overhead.  I wanted to get out of my seat and sing with my comrades with our arms linked. I wanted to…..Oh! FFS!  

And it begins.  I am Withoutlander no more.

Episode 201 Unspoiled

Just on the off-chance that you haven’t seen the new season opener by now, you may safely proceed.  It goes down like this: Oh Tobias (character not specified) Oh Claire. Oh Roger (age of Roger not specified).  Oh the Scottish Highlands. Oh. Jamie. Oh Murtagh. Oh Jared. Ooh Lala!


Roll credits.


And when it's over, we are escorted out on a long long line; not for any cast encounters, or anything remotely close.  It was simply to gather our coats and file out. There’s a people with white envelopes party to follow.  Not only did our group not have a ticket to that, horror of fangirl horrors, we knew nothing about it. Until now, because some of my acquaintences are showing me on Facebook. A few of my friends enjoy certain connections, and I am happy for them.  Others just make me wonder how it came to be for them and not for me.
 It's official:  I am an umbrella-girl, too. 

I am deflated and mightily crabby as we find a dinner spot and I mull over the high-powered corralling of us fans, and not a little bit in shock over it all.


"Why Don’t You Sit Down And Tell Me All About It?"

In the earthly strata of the Outlander Starz universe, I know that I hover over the ozone layer while Outlander Starz is at the molten core. I know this, yet I am unsettled as all get-out and it takes me 48 or so hours to process the experience.  My feelings, in case YOU have a concussion and therefore maybe misread my tone, are that I felt like the fans were herded like well-dressed cattle into a lovely theatre, relegated to a safe and segregated distance from the expectations that my mind fabricated for the event.  I feel disappointed that I did not witness the Red Carpet happening mere yards away, no more up close and personal than on a 3” by 5” hand-held device.  I am sad that I did not get at least one eyeball on the cast.



So, I’m An Ingrate:  Waddya Gonna Do About it?  I Was at the Premiere!

The soothing balm, though, is the fabulousness that is Episode 201, with its  gripping emotions and mesmerizing performances.   The entire episode was brilliantly executed for the screen, and all Tobias Menzies fans (myself included) are smugly glowing with pride.  I was invited to a premiere, and Starz delivered.  I witnessed it all on the giant screen,  with free entry and complimentary picture souvenirs.  Best of all, I was with my wonderful friends, all of whom could not fit into this picture:










I Am (Fan)Woman

This most recent stage in my Outlander Starz rite of passage has taken me beyond the fan girling and smacked me with an awakening a reality check.  Here’s my Fan Woman plan: to count my Outlander blessings, to value my experience over my expectations, and to remain true to my friends.  


Just the one other thing: I have been told that I absolutely ROCKED the pink heels that night.

Where any of you at the premiere? How did your experience compare?  Was there ever a time when reality fell far short of your expectations?








16 comments

  1. The fact that you got ANY colored envelope speaks highly of your work here! Enjoy every bit of it. congrats!

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    1. I DID feel special, Falling. But it sure put things in perspective! Thank God Tartan Week is over--After all this, I say "good fortune is stressful". Thanks for commenting.

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  2. I could just feel your pain! I marched in the parade with the Outlander United B Group and as we approached the end, I got a brief glimpse of Sam. He got down from the bus though, and I was told he was gone and wouldn't be coming back. So back to the hotel we went, but later that evening all the folks were showing their pictures, etc. Apparently he just ran to his car. I'm so grateful to have had the experience, but still can't shake the fact that I missed out on a once in a lifetime. My husband said there will be other chances to see the cast up close, and I certainly hope he's right. Just seems so wrong that you likely spent a lot of money to go there and were left with the feeling of being used. I hope Starz will get better at this going forward.

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    Replies
    1. I love your husband's support of your fandom!

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    2. Jill, I felt somewhat used, but that was mostly because of my own expectations for the event. So it was bittersweet. And, I was right there with you marching in Group B. I only got a far away glimpse of Sam descending the bus! I wasn't upset though because it was still a glorious day.

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  3. Teddie, your room/suite is glorious. It looks like it was shot right out of the Jon Gary Steele set design brain!

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    Replies
    1. Ashley, it was a plushy like an old fashioned satin European comforter.

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  4. The SECRECY is what galls me. Just be honest about it! Some people got invites! Some did not! OBVIOUSLY they cannot invite the whole of the fandom (and thank Odin for that!!), but when you have to hide things from your friends, it makes for nothing but bad feelings. And I blame Starz for that. I still feel like they are the young'uns, trying to sit at the Big Kids table.

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    Replies
    1. Trish, there's the rub! When the giver asks you to stay mum, it adds a whole new dimension of dysfunction. How else could you handle it? Thanks for reading and responding,

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  5. In the interest of transparency, the Outlander Alliance DID post an explanation of the invitation process for this event along with an explanation that the group leaders that received them were told NOT to do any contests to give the tickets away to their members. There are many people who do work long and hard to promote the show--even in the depths of Droughtlander. It was nice that Starz recognized the work done by those that create content and buzz when there is little to report. My group (Caitrionation) did receive invitations and we did share invitations with other groups whose leadership did not receive invites, and also acknowledged some leading organizers of charity fundraisers for Caitriona Balfe's charity.

    I thought Starz was rather smart to segregate us in the balcony. I felt we were lucky to be included at all and as this was an industry event, it made sense to keep us clear of the people that Starz was trying to interest in the production. All that schmoozing is for the good of the show--to make sure that third season happens. No need to preach to the choir, in the balcony of the church of Outlander. :) I've learned to content myself with enjoying my friends and not seeking celebrity exposure. My unrealistic expectations were dashed years ago. Though some may succeed in getting a selfie of Sam or Cait--to me it is not worth it to stand in the rain with frozen toes jammed in high heels hoping to catch a glimpse. I've learned that time with my far flung friends is far more valuable. Besides, if I did successfully sneak into the After Party I'd have had the ire of the fandom come down upon me. Nobody needs that!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, April. I understood the need for discretion, but it sure posed some quandaries amongst friends. As noted, it was Starz' event, and theirs to manage. The balcony move was indeed understandable to manage the crowd. I did and still do feel fortunate to have been there! I'll need to catch up with you regarding tempering my expectations for celebrity events, as Outlander has been my first foray into a TV fandom. In the end, we always have our friends, and our experiences to share. Thanks for reading and commenting, April! See you soon.

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  6. Hey there Teddie...absolutely stellar reporting...you and your perspective are a delight and I am grateful to know you via Outlander...hope to see you again soon and looking forward to more of your writings!

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  7. Jen, thank you for reading and responding. What would you have done differently if you were Starz promoting this premiere? (Putting you to work now, Lol!)

    ReplyDelete
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