Fandoms are the lifeblood of celebrity status. The power of social media can boost a lesser-known celebrity into stardom overnight. Time and time again, celebrities star in a Netflix original role that puts them into the entertainment arena, such as Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline in the quarantine favorite “Outer Banks.” The notoriety of a show such as “Stranger Things” puts actors in the prime spotlight, introducing the world to amazing talent. This summer with the release of the fourth season of “Stranger Things,” one British actor in particular stole the hearts of many with his enthralling performance as the warm-hearted metalhead D&D geek, Eddie Munson.
Joseph Quinn, a lesser-known actor from the United Kingdom, provided the established “Stranger Things” fans with a new character to adore, seamlessly fitting into the already tight-knit cast. His filmography is mainly characterized by guest roles in British television, smaller indie films and theater. “Stranger Things” is his claim to mainstream fame.
Quinn’s portrayal of Eddie Munson redefined the role of outcast, bringing to life a kindred soul that contrasts with the long hair, leather jacket and band-patched jean vest that his character superficially expresses to the audience. Usually, the rebel leader of the “outcasts” and “freaks” (in this case, the Dungeons and Dragons group “The Hellfire Club”) is partial to shocking the system with a brooding bad boy personality. However, Quinn brings a unique spin to the archetype. Underneath the tough exterior, lies a caring leader that takes “little sheepies” like Dustin Henderson and Mike Wheeler into the D&D family. He is a person striving for connection and love while simultaneously being unapologetically himself.
An underlying theme of the show that resonates with so many people is the use of tossed-away characters, who are misunderstood by mainstream society, coming together to form a found family. Joseph Quinn is the perfect actor to fulfill this role. Coming into an established show is a harrowing task, and proving yourself to be worthy of a star-studded series is not easy, but Quinn does it well. He brings his own goofy personality into the character while expressing a vulnerability that makes fans swoon.
His rise to fame can be attributed to the immense power of the Internet and social media which catapults individuals into the spotlight. Numerous TikTok accounts and videos have been made to praise this actor not only for his looks but also for his charming and sincere personality. His consistent attendance at fan expos and meet and greets reveals his gratefulness to his growing fanbase. His interactions with fans shown through videos, pictures and personal accounts verify the wholesomeness of this British actor.
Interviews are also essential to an actor’s image and with the excess of press of the “Stranger Things” release, fans have been able to learn more about this new star. Countless videos on YouTube show his sincere and humble nature. An article published by the website Fortress told the story of Quinn getting visibly emotional listening to a fan’s heartfelt admiration for the Munson character. He doesn’t just appreciate his growing fanbase, he is genuinely and wholeheartedly fervent in his admiration of his fans.
The power of fans is remarkable; however, sometimes it can be disconcerting. A majority of Quinn fans find his presence to fill a hole in their heart, as they admire his work and provide him with legitimate support and encouragement. But, with the common saying, there are two sides to every story, some fans display immature and shocking behavior. Leaked private information and verbal attacks are only two examples of the many cases.
Our society seems to perceive celebrities as something outside of our realm. We put them on a pedestal and think we can treat them as superior. Not to disregard the talent and immense effort that actors put in, but they are people. Joseph Quinn has created a wonderful acting career, but he is a person just like everyone else. Some people can’t separate the persona from the person. There have been tweets from fans, obsessing over who he’s with: “Who is that girl?!” and “Are they dating?!” insulting his precious costar, Grace Van Dien.
They don’t see Joseph Quinn as a real person with the right to privacy and freedom to live his life how he sees fit, just like many other celebrities he is an infatuation, a fantasy for some.
2022 isn’t over yet, but it’s certain that Joseph Quinn has made his mark and has taken over the entertainment sphere. He is the newest example of celebrity stardom and all that it entails. However, while we marvel at the fresh star introduced by this season’s “Stranger Things,” we must remember what’s most important: We must respect all celebrities, not just Joseph Quinn as they are real people with rights, feelings and personal lives.
Put yourself in his shoes. Would you want your every move to be recorded, documented, and scrutinized? Would you want to be in the spotlight like Joseph Quinn? Fame is a fickle thing, always toeing the line between alluring and suffocating. This is something we have to remember as we interact with entertainers, they are people too.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment