Despite being addicted to Supernatural since its premiere, I wasn’t involved in the show’s online fan community until season 3. I was surprised to find just how dedicated and knowledgeable the fans are, and I’m still amazed at how much discussion takes place after every episode. Supernatural viewers are a vocal bunch, and they’re certainly not afraid to speak up when they dislike a plot twist or new character. I’m sure we all remember the great controversy known as Rubela-Gate ’07, just to name one example.
No matter what crazy demonic forces the Winchesters face, fans never seem to tire of debating whether Sam or Dean is the better character. The Sam vs. Dean debates can be rather brutal, and much virtual blood has been spilled as viewers have raged back and forth arguing the merits of the two brothers. As someone who loves both characters equally, I have to ask, can’t we all just get along?
For some reason, it seems that the Sam vs. Dean debates have intensified in season 4. This could be due to Dean’s expanded role in the Supernatural mythology, which has given Jensen Ackles more to do this year. The instant it was revealed that Dean was pulled from Hell by an angel, he’s played a big role in the show’s ongoing story arc. Meanwhile, Sam’s descent into darkness has been talked about more than it’s actually been seen, and he even spent one episode almost entirely off screen. This upset some Sammy-lovers, as did the controversial argument that he might be considered a rapist due to his supposed dalliance with Ruby.
Of course, just because Sam fans are angry doesn’t mean Dean addicts are satisfied. I’ve often heard complaints that Dean is written as being too stupid, which is an argument I’ve always found rather silly. Fans also got upset when a recent episode implied that Dean might be a dick, which forced creator Eric Kripke to release a statement explaining his intentions. The latest point of contention seems to be that Sam has been lying to his brother about various things since he returned from Hell. This has given Dean-lovers another reason to rail against Sammy, which has just added more fuel to the fire.
I think it’s fine for people to prefer one brother over the other, and I certainly encourage speaking up if a character or plot line is being written poorly. That being said, can’t we set aside the competitive nonsense? I don’t have a problem with people disliking a certain character, but if you’re a true fan of Supernatural it seems that you should at least like both Winchester brothers. If not, how can you stand to watch the show?
In my opinion, a well-written television series should present characters who are flawed. It’s a fact that humans occasionally make terrible decisions. We lie, we cheat, we veer left when we should veer right, we keep secrets, and we often make terrible mistakes. Any series that doesn’t imbue its characters with these very human foibles isn’t worth watching. The thing that makes Supernatural so great is that the Winchesters are just like us. They aren’t perfect little robots who always do the right thing, which means it’s okay to get angry at them when they do something completely stupid. Unfortunately, some fans choose to cast judgment on the characters every time a poor decision is made, which isn’t healthy for anyone.
The other reality fans need to consider is that Supernatural is a television show. Just like with any series, there are going to be times when one character is focused on more than another, and there may be episodes where your personal favorite doesn’t have a thing to do. That’s one of the things viewers have to handle with any show that lasts for multiple seasons. I’d love it if Chuck Bass could be the focal point of every Gossip Girl episode, but then it wouldn’t be the same show. I feel the folks behind Supernatural do a great job at balancing the arcs of both characters, and I’m sure neither Jensen or Jared has ever complained about not having enough screen time.
I hate for this to come off as a rant against the fans, as that’s not my intention. I’m just tired of the negativity. It’s great to debate plot twists and controversial decisions made by certain characters, but once the arguments turn nasty it only upsets people. Supernatural is an amazing series with two amazingly well-written, fully fleshed out characters at its core. If you want to argue that particular point, maybe you’re watching the wrong show.
– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of the CW)