A Fandom Conundrum
How does someone who claims to support the gay community still watch Supernatural?
I’m still trying to come to terms with that.
I’ve been a fan of the show since the first episode. The cute kid from Dark Angel and Smallville (Jensen Ackles) showed up at his brother’s dorm room/apartment and said:
Hunting for monsters? Awesome.
Cute boys? Awesome.
Sweet ride? 1967 Chevy Impala, 4 door, black. Sealed the deal. I was hooked for at least another episode, and then for nine seasons.
In May 2013, at a convention (New Jersey Con), Jensen asked not to be asked any questions about his character’s (Dean’s) sexuality. This upset fans at the convention who wanted to ask relationship (ship) questions. This got even worse the following day, when a question from a bisexual female fan almost slipped through the cracks. Jensen stopped her from asking and said he would pretend he didn’t know what she wanted to ask.
There’s already an article about this situation and its backlash in the fandom. I didn’t learn about it until a year later, when someone posted the article on Facebook.
The article made me ask myself, “Does this change the way I feel about Jensen Ackles? Or Supernatural? And am I okay with people assuming that the reason I watch the show is because I’m waiting for an onscreen Destiel hookup?”
When I tell people I watch Supernatural, they roll their eyes like, “That figures. You are totally into slash,” even though very few of them know what I *actually* write. (“Um..fantasy. Yeah. It’s epic fantasy. With elves and evil blood mages. You wouldn’t like it.”)
I’m not a rabid slash-ship-fest fan. I like the show. I like the camaraderie between the brothers, Sam and Dean, as they fight monsters. I like the evolution of Sam as he progressed from an addict to the vessel of Satan to the boy without/with a soul. I like the evolution of Dean from cold-blooded killer to the vessel of the Archangel Michael to the Mark of Cain. I love how the first season was a different horror movie each week, hopping from town to town, cleaning up another haunting, monster, or demon mess. I love Dean and Sam, and the cast of supporting now-dead humans (Bobby, Ellen, and Jo), turned humans (Garth), and immortals (Cass, Crowley, Death. Who doesn’t love Death? THAT DUDE IS AWESOME).
The fans who slash and ship everyone on the show with everyone else… I get it, I do. Can I picture Cass in bed with Dean? Well, sure. Does that mean the writers of the show will? No. I’m a practical girl. Wishing and hoping doesn’t make it so, and I have better things to do, like writing my own stories.
Does Jensen’s poor handling of the convention question make me any less a Jensen Ackles fan? At first, I couldn’t look at his face without wanting to punch the television. He made that girl cry. He didn’t know how to formulate an adult answer to a question he expected enough to request that the convention not allow it. I was angry, until I realized I have no reason to be angry. He’s a good actor, and he’s just a person. He’s a person who made a bad decision to go with back-handed comedy when he should have stated the honest truth. “Who knows what Dean’s character progression will be? That’s up to the writers.”
Well, apparently, the writers think he’s a demon. Nice twist, writers.
Did I lose a little love for Jensen Ackles? I like smart men, and he didn’t answer that question as well as he could have. However, I have no reason to hold a grudge. It’s a learning experience for me, because if I’m ever at a convention where fans expect me to talk about things that may make me uncomfortable, I’m going to need good answers. I’d like to think I’d tell the truth, rather than avoiding the issue.
Does knowing Jensen Ackles was a doucheweasel to a fan make my love for the show any less? No. The show is fucking up at a high rate of speed on its own. Dean’s a demon and there’s a musical episode slated for this season. I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s “Once More with Feeling,” but a Supernatural musical? I’m skeptical. I’ll let you know how that impacts my love for the show once it airs.
Am I still going to watch the tenth season, knowing what I know? Yes. I’m still watching The Vampire Diaries, and hating every minute of it. I’m pretty sure Supernatural‘s writers will be good for a few more laughs, a few more WTFs and the occasional scare when least expected. How could I miss that?