Photo Source: TV Tropes

Welcome to an article series on fandom, content, and representation for the LGBTQ+ Community. We start today with Sanders Sides, and why you should get into it.

So, What Is Sanders Sides?

Photo Source: Thomas Sanders YouTube channel

Sanders Sides is a webseries you can find for free on the Thomas Sanders YouTube channel. The episodes are not labeled with numbers, but there is an official playlist on Thomas’s channel. It started in 2016 and has had 30 episodes so far, some getting up to nearly 6 million views. According to the creator, Thomas Sanders, we are nearing the end of the second season. It has had guest stars such as Tara Strong, Lilly Singh, and Leslie Odom, Jr. It has covered mental health topics such as anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and moving on from old emotional wounds. It includes a cast of fun, dynamic characters and a few pretty catchy musical numbers. It focuses on a gay man (the Thomas Sanders character) and the personified pieces of who he is, his “Sides”

What’s it About?

Sanders Sides is a show about Thomas Sanders (a character named the same as and with the same job of content creation as the creator) exploring his identity and working through problems by talking to the different parts of himself. He works with Logan, his logic; Patton, his morality and feelings; Roman, his creativity and dreams; Virgil, his anxiety; Janus, his deceit; and Remus; his intrusive thoughts and darker side of his creativity, to get through day-to-day problems like being alone on Valentine’s Day, being stuck in a creative slump, and being hung up on a breakup. He also deals with bigger moral quandaries, such as what makes a good person and where the line between self-care and selfishness lies. All of these characters are played by Thomas Sanders himself, in a frankly impressive display of nuance in acting. It is often easy to forget that all the main characters are played by the same person.

The Characters: Thomas and his Sides

Photo Source: Sanders Sides Fandom Wiki

Logan, representing logic and knowledge, as well as encompassing curiosity, motivates Thomas to take care of himself and keep himself accountable for his responsibilities, as well as reminding Thomas of the facts when he gets too wrapped up in emotions. I think we could all use a Logan in our lives sometimes! He is based on the “Teacher” character from Thomas’s Vines (now labelled Sanders Shorts after the shutdown of Vine). He was originally referred to as “Logic”, until his name was revealed, making him the first of the Sides to have a canon name.

Photo Source: TV Tropes

Patton, as morality, serves to help Thomas make decisions in a way that feels like doing the right thing. Since the right thing is often subjective, though, sometimes this is a struggle for both Thomas and Patton. He also, as Thomas’s feelings, is very excitable and peppy. In the series, it is addressed that everyone gets sad, even people like Patton. He is based on Thomas’s “Dad” character from Sanders Shorts, and he loves making puns and being goofy.

Photo Source: Sanders Sides Fandom Wiki

Roman, being creativity and dreams, pushes Thomas to be his best in all of his endeavors, in his writing, acting, singing, and his career. He can be prideful and stubborn, but what he wants is for Thomas to enjoy himself and do his best, as well as for people to like Thomas’s work. Based on the Sanders Shorts “Prince” character, he was referred to as “Princey” until his name reveal.

Source: Thomas Sanders YouTube channel

Virgil, Thomas’s anxiety, makes Thomas worry about whether or not people like him, whether or not he’s doing what he should, and a litany of other things. Obviously, he serves an important purpose, but he can be a detriment. Thomas struggles with this in the series, but I’ll leave it to you to find out how he and Virgil grow as characters (he does get his own two-parter where it all comes to a head). He is a character who was original to the series, not originating in Sanders Shorts. Thomas has disclaimed that he does suffer from heightened anxiety, but does NOT have a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

Photo Source: Sanders Sides Fandom Wiki

Janus, as deceit and lies, seems to work against Thomas. He tries to get Thomas to tell white lies, and to expose the lies Thomas is telling himself. However, he has also attempted to get Thomas to enjoy his life and take the time he needs to care for himself. Curious… Like Virgil, he is original to the series.

Photo Source: TV Tropes

Remus, the embodiment of intrusive thoughts, has only served to disturb and aggravate Thomas and the others so far. I wonder where the team is going with that. He is also original to the series. Seeing as he is the “darker” side of Thomas’s creativity, he and Roman are compared to twins.

Photo Source: TV Tropes

Thomas, himself is a goofy, creative, kind person. In recent episodes, he has gained a love interest, Nico Flores, a songwriter. Thomas loves his friends; loves singing, acting, and writing; and is pretty introspective, as suggested by the very concept of the series. Even as the focal point of the series, he is often overlooked in fan content in favor of the Sides.

Behind the Scenes

Photo Source: Thomas Sanders YouTube Channel

Sanders Sides started as a one-off video using characters from Thomas’s short videos to explain how Thomas was exploring who he is as a person. He works with his friends to create the series, and seems to have fun doing it, based on what he posts online.

Thomas also posts blooper compilations from the filming of Sanders Sides, and these are absolutely delightful, although decidedly less family-friendly than the earlier videos. The series has gotten more adult with the years, with more serious topics and some more risque jokes. The progression from family friendly, mostly lighthearted content to this new style has also driven off some fans, but it shows a growth in creation that many can appreciate.

The Fandom

The series, as a show about a gay man, made mostly by queer people, and with a central theme of mental health, has drawn mainly LGBTQ+ and mentally ill and/or neurodiverse viewers. As a result, not only is it a good series for queer people, the fandom is almost 100% friendly to them as well.

Shipping the sides is fairly common, though there is some controversy over whether or not it is alright to ship the Thomas character with them. As stated previously, though, Thomas now has a love interest in the series.

The fandom is found primarily on Tumblr, with a smaller presence on Twitter.

The production value has gone up in the last couple of years, as well as the length of the videos. In result, however, the length of time between episodes has also increased. This has made the fandom smaller, but you’ll find mostly the more dedicated fans in the community these days, and a smaller, more close-knit fandom is a big plus for many people (including yours truly).

The fandom is big on fan-created content, as most fandoms are. With the waits between episodes growing longer, though, the fan-created content is all the more important to the community. Fanfiction and fanart are the backbone of the Sanders Sides fandom, with many committed fan content creators working hard to keep the community from starving for content, so I highly suggest joining fandom spaces if you’re going to get into this webseries.

So, Long Story Short?

Sanders Sides is a great LGBTQ+-friendly show with a small, close fandom of dedicated creators and fans. If you’re looking for something that addresses mental health, queer relationships, and difficult emotions, as well as having dynamic characters with interesting relationships with each other, fun comedic moments, and a good helping of music, it may be for you.