What Does OTP Even Mean? What You Need to Know to Understand This Funny Little Fandom Term
Oh parents of children these days! Some are just not as knowledgeable or tech-savvy as they would like to think that they are. I am involved in teaching the children at the church I go to and some of the parents think they know more about today’s culture than they actually do. You would not believe how many parents I have had come up to me and ask me about something that their child has said to them because they did not know what their child was talking about. The other day I was having a conversation with one of these said parents about the concept of “fandom” in general and it made me realize how lucky I am to have the parents that I do. I mean, my father is the one that when I was looking for my cat only to find that she was with him that he told me that she was not the cat I was looking for with a wave of his hand… Yeah, my father is a Star Wars fan. He was the one that took me to go see the all the movies. I mean that too! My father and I have seen every Star Wars movie that has been released in theatres. One of the more quirky concepts involved in “fandom”, and the most hotly debated thing about some fandoms, is that of the OTP. What the heck does that even stand for and what does that whole concept entail? Well, for you that have no idea and for the parents that really have no interest in “fandom” of any sort yet want to know what your children are talking about, allow me to explain.
OTP is an acronym for the phrase “One True Paring”. In fandoms it relates to the idea of two characters in a relationship or “shipping” as it is frequently called. Some fans have cute and quirky names for the OTPs or “ships” that are in their fandom and some of them are widely know. Supernatural, for example, has the “ship” of Destiel. No, that is not the name of a character. What Destiel refers to is the “shipping” of the characters of Dean and Castiel. The other main “ship” of the show is that of Wincest, the incestuous pairing of the brothers Dean and Sam Winchester. Yeah, I think it is really odd too. However, a “ship” that is near and dear to my heart, and my real first OTP that I ever had in any fandom that I claim is that of Rose Tyler and the Ninth Doctor from Doctor Who. Yes, I do love David Tennant, but I really love the story between Rose and the Ninth Doctor. Some fans become really defensive about their OTPs to the point of it causing argument within the fandom. Crazy, I know, but it is true. The two “ships” that I mentioned above from Supernatural are some of the most widely debated OTPs of pretty much any fandom. That is something that comes with that particular fandom being as big as it is. The Doctor Who fandom is a lot more calm about defending their “ships”, but I have never seen such hotly debated things in any fandom than any of the “ships” for Supernatural. I love the show, do not get me wrong, but sometimes the fandom worries me a bit.
The thing that strikes me as being amusing about “fandom” concepts is that it seems silly to use most of the terms outside of a fandom. Let me show you just how silly it sounds. Say I was talking to a friend of mine about a couple of my other friends that live in a different state and I told my friend I was talking to “OMG! Andrew and Rosemary are my OTP for sure. I ship them so much! They are absolutely adorable together!” My friend would probably think I was a bit insane. It sounds a bit odd to use that terminology when talking about people in real life.