Category Archives: on the tv

back when the show was good

Whenever I reblog a photo or gif from Supernatural season 1–5 on Tumblr, I tag it with “back when the show was good.” And, okay, so it maybe it’s a little passive-agrressive, but it’s also an honest expression of an opinion a lot of SPN fans hold but try to be polite about. Unfortunately, I think I left “polite” behind a while ago when it comes to Supernatural, and I have a lot of unpopular fandom opinions (so many that I have a tag for those too), so I figure why not own this one? Sure, it’s gotten me in some hot water with other fans on Tumblr—I’ve been told that tag is wank and I’ve been grumbled about as a malcontent (which . . . yes, that’s precisely what I am. duh?). But sometimes, very occasionally, there’s someone bubbles up out of the deep blue Tumblr depths and says, “Oh, I see that. I feel that too.” One particular anon’s heartbreak inspired me to spend a little time articulating what it means to say “back when the show was good” in hopes of easing—of maybe sharing—the burden of what it is to be an SPN fangirl who’s falling out of love with her show. What follows has been reposted from Tumblr.

bwswg_anon

Oh anon. ♥

I’m actually sorry to hear that. I’m sorry because it sounds like you share, to some degree, my disappointment and frustration. I’m sorry because it’s harder than we often feel allowed to admit when a show lets us down, when its magic begins to wear off. And that seems particularly true for a show like Supernatural.

There are folks who see no or little difference between now and then, and who openly love everything the show offers in its current form, and good for them! Sometimes I wish I could be one of them. And there are other folks who feel bitter, who stopped watching out of anger or a broken heart, or who can now only hate-watch and, okay, sometimes I am one of them. But then there are the folks mostly in between—like me, and maybe like you—who are, when you get right down to it, just sad.

“Back when the show was good” to me means back when the story and its direction were tightly controlled and the pacing kept us holding our breaths or breathless. Back when the villains were thrilling and the monsters were scary. When characterization wasn’t sacrificed for a joke, and when drama didn’t come at the expense of character development but grew out of it. “Back when the show was good” is my way of saying I’m sad the show only came into the popular spotlight only after the main story arc was over. I’m sad the writers floundered for so long in finding a new direction and sad they preyed on fandom to maintain their ratings rather just writing us a good show deserving of critical attention and worthy of our love. I’m sad that the hard truths and major themes of the original arc have been undercut and overshadowed by rehashed plot lines and character assassinations (both literal and figurative). I’m sad that I have to look for individual writers’ names to determine whether there’s a chance an upcoming episode “might not be so bad.” I’m sad that most days I just want the show to end.

I’m really, profoundly sad that what I want more than anything is for the show to find a (peaceful?) resolution and for the writers and producers to be brave enough to end it, really end it—money and the network and ratings be damned. To put us all out of our misery, whether it’s the misery of eternal shipper angst and the struggle with TPTB or the misery of pretending, of trying very hard, to love something you’re afraid to admit you’ve grown to resent.

It may not be the best version of itself, anon. It may not be what it was when we first fell in love or loved it best. But I still know I’m in it to the end. All my angry railing and ranting and wishing it were otherwise? It may not seem like it, but that’s hope. Hope that the show will do better (because I know it can—I’ve seen it) and hope it’ll get to a place where I can finally let go feeling good about how both the show and my relationship to it ended, rather than forever sad or forever bitter.

Maybe that’s naive. But maybe I’m okay with that.

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castiel: our greatest american hero*

So you know how Cas sang to that baby in 9.06 and it was charmingly terrible? Well (and maybe this is super common knowledge and that’s why I haven’t seen much of anything about it but) the song he sang is actually the theme from a charmingly not-totally-terrible TV show called The Greatest American Hero. The show aired about thirty years ago (1981–83), and its theme was so popular that an extended version of the song, under the title “Believe It or Not,” made it to #2 in the Top 40 in 1981.

Twitter informs me Rob Thompson originally had other plans for the scene:

ThompsonTwitter_gah

And, sure, “Highway to Hell” would’ve been funny, and there of course would’ve been the connection to Dean we could’ve all snickered about, but I like this choice better. A lot better. So here’s a lot of reasons why.

Obviously there are spoilers for SPN 9.6 “Heaven Can’t Wait” under the cut.  Continue reading

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dean winchester: the decider

I don’t know if you’ve noticed Dean’s alter ego as The Decider, but it’s something I think about a lot, and have been thinking about for years. Because more important than killing monsters or thwarting the apocalyptic plans, or falling accidentally, obliviously in love with angels, Dean decides. And his decisions control both the narrative and the show’s truths. Decider!Dean’s control of the show’s story arcs is a thing that’s made me repeatedly, and increasingly, angry in the past few seasons, but there are hints in early season 9, particularly 9.02 “Devil May Care,” that the show just might finally be challenging Decider!Dean to dramatic effect.

What follows is an analysis of Dean’s role as decider throughout the show, the effects of his position (good and bad), and speculation on how I hope his character is being challenged. Please note that for as much as Dean’s actions have a tendency to enrage me, I super love and appreciate Dean in lots of other ways not under examination here, and that critical analysis ≠ Dean hate. Cool. Thanks.

all the Dean meta

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supernatural potpourri

Here, have some scattered thoughts on, idk, stuff.

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Filed under characterization, on the tv, theme

hindsight is 20/20, or something

Useless retrospective Merlin meta because I am still grieving. And part of my grieving process is to do my damnedest to make sense of it all, to find the connective threads I missed the first time in hopes that it will feel like a justified end.

Shhhhh, just let me work through it.

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Filed under narratology, on the tv

free will rises

It’s back, you guys! My favorite theme reared its head again in this past week’s episode of Supernatural, so, naturally, you all get subjected to a giant meta post. Comments, questions, additions, and contradictions are always welcome.

This is about free will. It’s about Cas and Dean and free will and choices and consequences and good and evil, because those are all my favorite parts of the show. And it’s about perception because Carver stated somewhere at some point (erm, Comic-Con, maybe? really I’m just quoting this HuffPo review, which you should also read for some nice speculation about Sam, but I remember hearing it somewhere else too) that this season would be about perception—or, more specifically differences in perception—and that was really evident in 8×07. And it’s about guilt. Because this is SPN. There’s always guilt. It’s the driving force of the entire show. (Which is maybe my other favorite part. Because I am a little twisted. And Catholic. These things are not mutually exclusive.)

SO. This gets a rambly. And lonnnng.

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Filed under narratology, on the tv, theme