A Glimpse at My Love/Hate Relationship with the “Supernatural” Fandom
Well, here it is as promised, I am writing about the stuff at JIBCON 2014 and a bit of my thoughts on the Season 9 Finale. My feelings are split about the stuff that was said at JIBCON this year. Besides keeping up this site, I am a published author. I also have been performing on stages since I was about four years old. Want proof? Over to the right is a picture of me when I was a little kid at one of my first dance recitals.
Anyway, I get where the cast and crew are coming from. However, I am also a fan of the show. I have my feelings about Supernatural and the characters in it just like all the other fans out there. The show also has one of my favorite actors in it. I have been watching Misha Collins since before he was even on the show. You can ask my mother to confirm that. We have watched Girl, Interrupted several times and we watched every single episode of ER. That was one of my mother’s favorite shows. I can see the various points that the fans make as well viewing it from the aspect of a fan. My studies in philosophy have also shown me some points that we will get to later in the post. So, with that, let us get started!
Let me give you all a bit of my background in terms of the Supernatural fandom and watching the show. I have been watching the show since it started the fall of my senior year in high school. Out of all the shows that I watch on a regular basis on the telly, Supernatural is my favorite. Well, actually, it is probably a tie with Doctor Who. A more accurate statement would be that it is my favorite American show. Between the brothers, if I only get to choose one for my favorite brother, I adore Sam. I love the complexity of his character. Not that as of late Dean’s character has taken a lovely swan dive off the high dive into the middle of the Pacific Ocean in terms of complexity. The relationship between Dean and Sam reminds me of my relationship with my second oldest sister, Toni. No, I have never super glued her hand to a beer bottle, but I have been partially responsible for most of her front room being filled with balloons. Of course, I love all nine of my siblings, but I tend to spend the most time with Toni. That is probably because I help her kids with their homework and run them all over God’s green earth on my days off and even on days that I have work. My favorite character overall though and by far, despite him being is no few episodes, is Gabriel. That reaches all the way back to my time at Cottey College when I started the first drafts/short stories that became the first book in my series of novels. Of course, the Gabriel in my story has almost the exact opposite personality of Supernatural’s Gabriel. My Gabriel is sort of a crabby jerk at times. In terms of my favorite “ship”, I am not going to say until later in the post. Why? Because I do not want you all to stop reading now because you disagree with my shipping preference of one of the main characters! Seriously, some people are so finicky about that. It is a fictional show. Who cares? Does it make that much difference? Also, I do not want a shipping war to start before you all hear me out on this. Just remember that I like Sam.
Fair warning! I am going to be talking a bit about Season 9. As such, I cannot guarantee that there will not be any spoilers. There may be some, but I will do my best to not spoil the entire ending. Just so you all know.
With Season 9 came what a lot of fans would say was the very real possibility that one of the fandoms most beloved ships to finally become canon. Yes, I am talking about Destiel. The ship that seems to sail itself with his lovely first line of “I am the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition”. For those of you who have no earthly clue as to what I am even talking about when I say Destiel, that would be the pairing of Dean and Castiel. Many fans, however, seem to have been left shocked by the ending of the season finale and saddened when the ship failed to be canonized. Not gonna lie, I was left a bit emotionally frustrated by the finale the first time that I watched it. I eventually decided at a later time that what I was feeling was the desired to eat my feelings which I did not do as evidence by the lack of my comfort food in my house and difficulty of procuring such things without having to cook an entire meal. The show has amazing writers and that is the reason that fans feel so strongly about it. Damn Aristotelian catharsis of emotion! The comments made by some of the actors at JIBCON this year did not help a lot of fans with their feelings, particularly the ones regarding the Destiel ship. After having Castiel appear in Season 4, people have been in love with the pair because they have had all that time to watch them grow as characters and in their relationship, regardless of what that relationship actually is. I will admit that I have a soft spot for this paring. Why? You know, I really have no idea. At first I really was not overly fond of it and it has grown on me to the point of being my favorite of the ships that fans tend to stick together. I am not even really sure if it is that I like the ship itself or if I just like the interaction between the characters because they have such a range of interactions. I mean they go from being in fights with each other to being the best of friends. It is fun to watch, whatever it is. I do think that my like of this ship goes back to their character development more than anything else. While I do respect the show’s actors, they could have gone about it in a different way or just not answered the questions period. Not that they were by any means being mean or hateful about it, just the way things were phrased could have made it sound a bit insensitive towards the fans. They probably did not mean it that way, but after watching some of the videos after seeing people all over the place getting miffed about it I can see where some would take it as such. Since they are actors on the show and not members of the fandom per se, they probably have no idea as to how their comments would be taken by the fans and how upset some might get about it.
Now, what does me being a writer and being on stage have to do with this? A lot actually. I have been in plays, musicals, concerts, dance recitals, presented academic papers, read from my short stories and novel, ran conferences, ran huge banquets all form the stage. It can be a bit nerve wracking being in the public eye like that. I completely understand! I really do! I had no idea that people outside of where I live, or those who went to school with me, even know who I was. Well, until I had one of the Past Most Worthy Grand Matrons and a Past Most Worthy Grand Patron come up to me on separate occasions to tell me how proud they were of me for having accomplished all that I have in the less than ten years of being a member of the Order of the Eastern Star! I am only 25 at this moment. It was a shock to me. So, being recognized in that sense by the top people of an international order is something I understand. It is a lot to live up to. People think highly of you and you do not want to let them down. The same goes for my writing. I feel bad when I do not feel compelled to write for the site or work on my novels. I do not want to let you all down, but at the same time I get incredibly frustrated by people heckling me about the things I write or do not write because it makes me feel like a failure. What I write offends some people occasionally. I know I will not be able to make everyone happy. One of my friends, who is also a writer, told me once that you are not a true author until you get hate mail about something you have written. Awesome! I am apparently a true author then. I have actually received some hate emails about some of my posts. *GASP* Really‽ Yes! My first one and the one that I remember the best because to me it was so amusing was about how I spell things and my general non-usage of contractions. I answered that piece of mail in a post. You may read it here. That being said, I am only human and I make mistakes. I am nowhere near perfect and have never claimed to be. The same can be said for all the cast and crew of Supernatural. Fans seem to forget that at times. I mean as much as I adore the three in the main cast, they are not perfect. Then there is Misha… If it were a competition he has a leg up on Jared and Jensen. He loves his ridiculously quirky and cute-in-an-odd-way wife and children. He is so unnaturally generous and charitable as well as being kind to his fans that it makes me scratch my head and ask Castiel? Is that you?. You can see this post to get that reference. Regardless, they are people just like you and me. So cut them some slack. Also, for God’s sake people! Do not boycott the freakin’ show because Jensen gave his opinion on something! What are you? A two year old? Grow up! That just hacks me off like nobody’s business. Jensen can say whatever he wants to. He does have a mind of his own and he does not have to please you. Despite what some people seem to think, Jensen and the rest of the cast are not their characters. Must I say it again? They are just normal people like you and me. They go to their job and then go home to their families like everyone else. Their jobs just happen to put them into the public eye more than most people’s jobs. I get a bit miffed on their behalf when I meet people that want to act like they are their characters. Just please stop that. It is weird and borderline creepy seeing as how all three of the leads have wives and children of their own.
Okay my fellow Supernatural fans, you have made it through my rant and to the part where I step away from the side of the cast and crew and take your side. Congratulations. Pat yourselves on the back for that. I have been trained to be a bit aggressive when I argue. Alright, you caught me! So, in case you did not catch it, Destiel is not my favorite ship of the show! I only said I have a soft spot for it. Despite it not being my favorite ship of the show, I was a smidge saddened when Destiel was not canonized at the end of the finale…or was it? Make yourselves comfortable and put on your smarty-pants hats. This part of the post where I am going to analyze the heck out of some things and use my degree and book-learning to defend us all! Ready? I am…
No, I am not into LARPing. I was a member of an educational group that happened to teach people about the Vikings and their culture. Anyway, back to the post.
I think it is safe to say that if you have made it this far you are a Supernatural fan or are just interested in hearing me rant and press people’s buttons. Most people in the fandom already know about Dean’s “I love you” line that was said to Castiel in the episode “Goodbye Stranger” of Season 8. That line was replaced by the line “We’re family” because Dean apparently does not seem the type of guy to just flat out say “I love you” to anyone. Now, I will say that Jensen is correct in saying that here is no secret relationship between Dean and Castiel. They may in fact just be best friends. What I find odd about that whole scene is that they cut “I love you”, but left in the “We need you. I need you”. Excuse me? You need him? For what? He certainly does not just need him as an extra body on their hunts. I mean he does have Sam. If they both needed him to help fight just leave it at “We need you”. Why single Dean out as needing him? Let us just say that they had not switched the “I love you” out. Of course with a line like “I need you” you really do not have to for this argument. I would like to point out, and his is pulling from my Epistemology, Theory of Mind, Sociology, and Psychology classes, that best friends just do not act like the way those two act around each other at times. Generally you do not spout out “I need you” when a person/angel is beating you within an inch of your life let alone “I love you.” If said beater was your best friend you would probably be “why” or “I thought we were friend”. A wife or husband would probably say something more along the lines of “but, I love you, I don’t understand” or “stop”. If someone feels guilty about something they might confess when you beat them or give up some secret. So, was Dean feeling guilty about “loving” Castiel and felt he could not tell him? Possibly. Castiel is an angel and Dean is a lowly human. As pointed out in the show and in the Bible, those sort of relations are not exactly smiled upon. In terms of the situation surround the abandoned line, Dean probably was keeping that a secret. What makes you say that Becca? Good question! Let me give you my answer. You all are about to get a nice lovely peek at the deeper analytic part of my brain that gets all delighted when I watch intelligent, well written shows on the telly.
Even though the social norms regarding relationships in the States have been breaking down and people are more open to non-traditional relationships, the Winchester’s come from Lawrence, Kansas. That should tell you a lot right there. Kansas, and my home state of Oklahoma, make up the buckle of the Bible Belt. Even though Sam is more “religious” of the brothers, Dean is the oldest and spent more time with their parents before they died. Dean actually remembers their mother’s faith. Argue it all you want, but you cannot tell me that those situations had an influence on Dean’s beliefs about the world around him and his views on relationships. Coming face to with an angel would be enough to twist people’s beliefs around, believer or not. Castiel showing up in the Season 4 opening episode, flipped Dean’s world upside down. We see the relationship between Dean and Castiel go from Dean almost begrudgingly accepting Castiel’s help to friendship and now to whatever their relationship is. Now Castiel is an angel and must have a vessel to interact with the mortal world. Without it, he is a “multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent” as he would say. Castiel’s vessel is the man Jimmy Novak. Keep this thought in mind for a moment. It will prove useful in a moment. Now, if Dean does in fact feel something for Castiel, other than friendship, he is probably by now so confused about his feelings that he has no idea how to deal with it. He grew up being interested in females and with little faith in religion. Now he seems to have developed some sort of feelings for an “angel of the Lord” in a male body. He has probably never voiced how he feels about Castiel because he is not entirely sure about what he feels either and does not want to say something he will regret or that turns out to be the wrong feeling in the end. My religious studies tell me that angels do not have genders. The show seems to confirm this as Castiel tells him that his true form cannot be seen by most humans since he is a wavelength of some sort. Time to throw a wrench into the mix that may or may not help matters! With Castiel not actually having a gender, what does that make Dean if he actually does love him? This is where it gets a bit tricky. If Dean is attracted to Castiel based on appearance then it would make Dean bisexual since Dean still seems interested in women. If he is interested in Castiel based on something other than that I am not entirely sure what that makes him since Castiel is not male or female. Castiel has been shown to be completely capable of possessing a female vessel without Dean freaking out too much. So, this seems to point to Dean being attracted to Castiel as “itself” rather than Castiel as “him” if he is even attracted to Castiel at all. We can assume this because in Season 4 episode “The Rapture”, we find that Castiel is back and heaven and that the brothers have found his vessel Jimmy Novak. While Dean at first treats him almost the same as Castiel, it finally sinks in that this is Jimmy and not Castiel that he is with. This realization causes Dean to treat Jimmy different than how he would Castiel.
What makes me think that Castiel and Dean extremely odd for being just friends in terms of how they act? Well, when was the last time that you said, “I love you” to a friend in a pleading voice? I am being serious here. Generally people do not even say “I need you” to their friend in that voice either. Now that is not the only odd line or situation that they have been in. What exactly is this “profound bond” that Castiel is talking about? Sure, he could be talking about how he saw Dean at his worst in Hell torturing souls before raising him. That makes sense in that unless you are talking about a romantic relationship. Also, let us look at how the two just look at each other. The looks they give each other at times are a bit odd for friends. A case in point is when he is glaring at Dean and earns the response of Dean informing that the look Castiel is giving him got him laid once and then he winks at the angel. Why would Castiel continue looking at him like that? Granted Castiel is incredibly naive about some of those sorts of references, but still. Why not give a look of confusion rather than keep giving him that look? Then we have Castiel’s complete disregard for personal space when it comes to Dean. He does not seem to have this issue. I do not know about you, but I do not let my friends get all up in my business like that for absolutely no reason at all or to say hello. Not unless they want to be hit. Does this have something to do with that “profound bond” they share? Possibly, but then again this could be easily dismissed as something to do with how Castiel apparently appears out of nowhere when Dean prays to him or calls. It could just be that in order to get where Dean is he focuses on Dean and then *poof* he ends up practically right on top of him.
Let us go back to expressing emotions for a moment. Dean has no problem expressing other passion driven emotions towards the angel such as anger or aggression. This is evidenced by the “blow me, Cas” line and the “no, you’re playing ‘Sorry’” line. Now when it comes to the “blow me, Cas” line, Castiel’s expression is one of confusion like he either does not understand that reference or he understands and wonders why Dean would be saying it. However, despite being angry or irritated with Castiel, Dean appears to be willing to make up with the angel on more than one occasion.
Alright, so the finale of Season 9 had what is one of the most tearjerker moments of the series. Oddly enough, it is said by Metatron. He was talking to Castiel about his relationship with heaven and with Dean. This is how that line goes.
And the angel tablet, arguably the most powerful instrument in the history of the universe, is in pieces again and for what? Oh, that’s right, to save Dean Winchester. That was your goal, right? I mean, you draped yourself in the flag of heave, but ultimately, it was all about saving one human, right? Well guess what? He’s dead too.
Just reading it makes you want to go wow that hurts my heart a bit or poor Cas. Sorry, it gets worse. That amazingly well written piece of dialogue hurts enough without the acting behind it. Misha’s acting made me loose it a little. Well, here is the look that Castiel gives Metatron.
That look alone is very telling in terms of what Castiel is feeling. Castiel does not seem to have the problems expressing his feelings, or at least making his feelings known to his family. Uriel even knows enough to tell Dean in a dream that Castiel’s weakness is his like of Dean. We also get Castiel appearing in Dean’s dreams and the latter not freaking out about it. Dean acts completely normal about the whole thing and he knows it is a dream, but that Castiel is really there. I for one would flip my lid if that happened. Talk about creepy stalkerish behaviour watching someone sleep there Edward…I mean Castiel. Not just Uriel and Metatron know about it. Balthazar flat out tells Dean that “sorry, you have me confused with the other angel. You know, the one in the dirty trench coat who’s in love with you”. Excuse me? What was that? Castiel is in love with Dean? That is sure what it sounded like to me. Is he being serious or is he being serious? Either way, that sure is an odd thing to say to someone. It would be one thing for Castiel’s family to know about his feelings. Then there is Meg, the demon, who makes the “he was your boyfriend first” comment to Dean about Castiel. What makes her think that they were dating in the first place? How does she know about Castiel’s feelings? What I find amusing is in the Season 7 premiere Castiel flat out says he wanted power to love and then looks over at Dean. The angel even gets so frustrated and hurt by Dean that during episode 18 of Season 5, he beats Dean up because he believed that Dean said yes to Michael. In his anger he confessed to Dean “I rebelled for this‽ So that you could surrender to the? I gave everything for you! And this is what you give to me‽” Castiel also tries his best to stay on Dean’s good side at all time or get back on his good side if he gets on Dean’s bad side. Well, when you start to think about it, there is really no point in arguing Castiel’s feelings for Dean. It is Dean’s feelings that are up to debate. I really do not see the issues that Dean has with talking about feelings. So, Season 9’s finale seems to confirm Castiel’s feelings for Dean. We will just have to see how the two will interact given Dean’s current state.
To wrap things up for this long as hell post, I will leave you all with these thoughts. As fans, it is important to remember that the cast and crew are just regular people and not their characters. People read thing differently. I am a Kantian in that sense. What you perceive is your reality. The writers need to remember that the fans are not just pulling these point from nowhere a good part of the time. There are situations between Dean and Castiel that point the possibility of a romantic relationship that have been written in the show. Overall, people just need to calm down about the whole JIBCON deal. It is over, done with, gone. Let us all move on and continue to wait for the Hellatus to be over.
Until next time!