By Emma Buchman
The news that actor Benedict Cumberbatch became engaged hit the media like a freight train on Wednesday, Nov. 5. Cumberbatch’s engagement to award-winning theatre director, playwright, and actress Sophie Hunter was announced by his parents in a British newspaper called The Times of London, to the despair of teenaged girls and female college students everywhere.
So, why does this matter?
It matters because this event can bring out the character of many different aspect of the celebrity-“little people” relationship. Firstly, it shows the sanity of his fan base (or lack-thereof). Cumberbatch is perhaps most well-known for his starring role in the BBC series “Sherlock,” a 21st century TV adaptation of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The show, while brilliantly written and wonderfully acted out, has a major setback: the fans are batcrap crazy. As a fan of the show myself, I make it my personal goal not to be one of the crazy ones. Whenever I see news reports of private photos from the actors that have been leaked or fans being almost rude to the writers, actors, and producers, I try to put positive vibes back into the world. I Tweet the actors and post on Facebook and Tumblr; anything to show that some of us are sane and have more important things in our lives than stalking Cumberbatch.
This is why I was really worried when I heard the news of Cumberbatch’s engagement. I was worried that there would be those fans who would take it too far, who would condemn Cumberbatch for loving anyone but them and insult his poor fiancée. This sort of thing happens to a variety of celebrities, and none of them have such a large number of crazy fans. I did not want this to happen to Cumberbatch.
Surprisingly, I got my wish. While many Tweets have been “melodramatic,” in the words of gloss.com, they are not too bad. Some of them are actually pretty funny: “Benedict Cumberbatch is engaged, someone tell the nunnery I’m on my way,” is just one example. While it may be too soon to tell, it seems like the fans are taking this just as I had hoped. It gives way to the possibility that eventually fans will come to accept that it is not, in fact, the end of the world and that Cumberbatch’s fiancée is actually kind of perfect.
This engagement also shows the commitment of Cumberbatch’s fans. It will test whether or not people really appreciate him for his ability and character, or if they just like him for his looks. This engagement could mean the evolvement of his entire acting career; he will lose the superficial admirers and gain a strong base of people who genuinely like him.
In the same vein, this development could come to color his current relationship with those who are unfamiliar with his work. Try as he might to change it, Cumberbatch’s fame relies a lot on the fact that he has a large following of hormonal women and girls. Now that he is engaged, everyone will view him differently. He will still be viewed as a sex object in some respects, but he will become more appreciated for his work. His fan base will change, and those who choose not to pay attention to him because of his fan base will be more likely to pay attention to him.
The first reaction of basically everyone I knew when they heard of Cumberbatch’s engagement was, “Oh no, what’s going to happen to Emma?” They had no reason to fret, however, because I was over the moon. Cumberbatch, at the end of the day, is just a normal person. He has a career, friends, family, and a fiancée. He has hopes and dreams that do not rely solely on the wishes of his fans. He is doing what makes him happy, and for that I am grateful. I am ecstatic that he finally has the opportunity to start a family with the woman that he loves.
Plus, have you even researched his fiancée? Hunter is pretty amazing. Plus, with little babybatch on the way and Cumberbatch fulfilling his dream of becoming a father, the most loyal of fans should be nothing short of ecstatic.