The Internet stages of falling in love with Benedict Cumberbatch

There are two types of people in this world right now: those who completely embrace Benedict Cumberbatch, and those who don’t quite get it yet. If you’re part of the latter group, and find yourself scratching your head, wondering where this Cumberbatch pandemonium came from, just wait.

You might want to start preparing yourself for the oncoming onslaught of more Cumberbunnies — yeah, his groupies have a name. Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game opens in wide release this week in the United States, and there’s already Oscar buzz surrounding his performance as code-cracking Alan Turing. That’s not the only film he’ll be appearing in this holiday season; he’s also voicing a penguin in The Penguins of Madagascar, and the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. Tis the season for Cumberbatch!

Still, I understand you might be like, “him?” Yes, him. I was once a non-believer, too, if you’ll believe that. There was a time before I understood the true lure of Cumberbatch, and now I’m here to break it down for you in ten stages, from the first time you correctly pronounce his name, to that moment you go all out fan-girl.

Stage One: Wondering who this guy is and why his name is so much fun to say aloud.

Cumberbatch has been around for a while, you just might not have noticed. One of his first big roles was for a BBC made for TV movie about Stephen Hawking, titled Hawking. Then, he had a small role in Atonement opposite Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. So yeah, he looks a little bit familiar.

Stage Two: Google him, only to realize this guy has been in a lot of movies you’ve recently seen.

Oh, wait, he was the villain in Star Trek last summer! And he was in 12 Years A Slave. And August: Osage County. And War Horse. And what’s this little TV show on BBC? Something about Sherlock Holmes?

Stage Three: Watching Sherlock for the first time.

This is when you fall down the Cumberbatch hole and you might not come out again. You think, but I’ve seen Sherlock Holmes done a million times before, how can this be different? Then you watch the first Sherlock episode (which, let’s be frank, is simply a mini-Sherlock movie) and after that, you’re hooked. There’s no turning back.

Stages Four, Five and Six: Rewatching Sherlock obsessively

There are only nine Sherlock episodes, so how hard could they all be to binge on one lazy Saturday afternoon? Well, thirteen and a half hours later, you’ve watched every episode, and suddenly find yourself obsessed with everything about the show, from the writing, to the editing, to the villains, to Cumbie’s bromance with John Watson. Even though it’s thirteen and a half hours of Sherlock, it’s still not enough. You need more of a Cumberbact fix.

Stage Seven: Entering into Sherlock withdrawal, becoming obsessed with Tumblr in the process

You kind of go from 0 to 60 real fast. It can get a bit odd. It’s been noted before that Cumberbatch routinely breaks Tumblr. Like, how #TGIT fans and Pretty Little Liars fans take to Twitter, Sherlock fans take to Tumblr. Tumblr might as well ask, “Are you sure about this?” if you type CUMBERBATCH into the search bar. There’s no telling what kind of gif you are going to get.

Stage Eight: Obsessive Tumblr-ing leads you to all the absolutely wonderful super charming interviews that he’s given, which is when you realize he’s more than just a character on TV.

Really. There are so many wonderful interviews to chose from, how do you even know where to begin? Start with any of the ones where he does impersonations. Like, that one time he did the Chewbacca voice so well it startled Harrison Ford.

Stage Nine: Realizing that Cumberbatch is an all around sweetheart.

Keira Knightley stars with Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, and the two of them are old friends. She once mentioned that he “gently punched” a journalist in the arm after the journalist had said something not nice about her. There’s also the times he’s been out and snapped by the paparazzi, but following along in Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s shoes, has opted to bring attention to world events, rather than himself. He also skipped Comic-Con once to officiate a same-sex wedding for his friends.

And the time he photobombed U2 so hard at the Oscars. Not just anyone can get away with that. Cumberbatch is a genuinely cool guy.

Stage Ten: Accepting that you love him.

Acceptance is the first step towards the recovery process. Not that you’d ever want to fully recover from a love as great as this one.

(Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, herehere, and here. Necklace via Etsy.)