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WTF, Supernatural fandom?
15 have spoken ♥ :: Speak to me?
xparrot From: xparrot Date: October 6th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahh, agree with you totally on the episode itself - we watched it, loved it generally, went back and checked the screenwriter to figure out what the hell happened to the plot, and went, 'ah, we should've guessed!' John Shiban really needs a few lessons in show-not-tell. (not to mention tying storylines together. Umm, there were all these kids who had lost their parents, violently, their fault - and the brothers never so much as talk to one on the phone? err. Please take a course in Screenwriting 101, John-boy...) The MotW was about as random as Bugs...he does do the brother stuff so well, though. Also, did JP get acting lessons or what? I'm detecting marked improvement, and since he did not get a haircut (whyyyyy, Jared? why?) it can't be that I was distracted by the sexy (now, with JA, I can't judge his acting, because I have so much trouble seeing past the light reflecting off his luminescent orbs ^^)

As far as the BotW went. Well. The thing is, I pretty much need to be classed in the 'hated on principle, the moment I heard about the spoilers' category. It's not that I hate women, or hate female characters (I mean, good lord, Nico Robin. Says it all there.) It's that I hate how female chars are used. I hate that they say 'well, we're going to introduce this woman to be a love interest for Dean," rather than say "We're going to introduce this new hunter with a tragic backstory who has things in common with Dean. Oh, and it's a she and they might get together later, who knows?" I hate that female chars so often are either Love Interest or Sex Symbol first, and everything else later. That even when they're written as decently interesting chars, they're women first and foremost and we can't forget that.

That's not to say that there aren't (a lot) of fen who will have the jealousy reaction, who can't stand other girls touching their boys. But I think there's other reasons for the blanket hatred of female chars that goes beyond that...and yes, I agree it's not fair to the girl chars all the time; but it's not fair to our sex that the only time they'd think of bringing one of us into the picture is for eye candy or Relationships. (Which SPN doesn't do all the time - see Asylum chick or the Benders cop; but they are pretty blatant if gentle with the BotWing...) And that's not true for all shows, but it has been true for so many shows for so long that I can't really blame those fen who go premptively defensive.

In practice? Didn't hate the chickie in this ep; she mostly served as a foil to show just how off his game Dean was. They went very easy on the relationship potential, which was a wise choice; if they'd tried the hard sell with the romance I would've been a lot more put off. I think some people were worried Twoo Wuv was going to be used as a comfort mechanism to help Dean get over John's death, but that's obviously not the route they're going, so, okay with that. The actress was so generic skinny blond I can't comment - she wasn't my favorite BotW (Sam's chickadee I thought was prettier and had more personality, but then she also had a lot more lines, so can't judge, really...) and I've got little interest in seeing her again (though I wouldn't mind seeing more of her mum) but nope, no hatred. Except perhaps on principle ^_^

And you knew all this already, but I figgered someone should play devil's advocate here, and since Ol' Yellow Eyes is off...doing target practice or whatever...I stepped in ^^

In conclusion - YES WHERE THE HECK IS THE HUG? Oh, poor, poor Sam, needed one so badly there, and Dean just couldn't, and, and...oh, Dean...!

(also, have you been getting my emails? or have I been getting yours? just switched to gmail so am paranoid I'm losing messages, haven't got any from you in a while and I miss you. come baaaack to Kyoto! you know you wanna! there's enough closet space & cookies for you & your boy both! *snuggle*)
ex_naye320 From: ex_naye320 Date: October 7th, 2006 10:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Reply the first

I know you're sane, neechan. ♥ And it's good you're playing devil's advocate, because that give me a reason to get this off my chest. And I need it off my chest!

Because, see, the promblem here is - again - that the reactions I see have very little to do with writing and how a character is presented, and everything to do with the character herself! There's so much hate out there, and what I find isn't exactly indicating that the majority of fangirls are thinking about it your way. To sum it up, I give you the following reaction, garnered from one of the many threads I've picked through:

*writes "Property of the Fangirls" on Dean's forehead*

Yeah. Like that. See? That is what's pissing me off. It's even worse than how the writers are presenting the charcters, because so many other things fans just forgive instantly, but a female? A female gets these insane reactions.

If the reaction she garnered was a discussion on the topics you brought up - on why are female characters seemingly always written as female first, and character second? Why must a character be introduced as a "love interest" simply because she's female? Why the hell are we not seeing any female hunters, why can't they just write characters with the same depth no matter what their gender? (I think Supernatural is doing pretty well in terms of BotWs, but looking at how often women need rescuing or relationships, compared to how the men just need their Hunt - that gets to me, in the end.) But, again - when Jo is discussed, it's not in terms of how she's presented, it's how they hate the character, how much they dislike the actress, how they hate anything and everything about her. And that leaves me feeling vaguely sick to my stomach, because with that much hate, you could write frickin' Buffy (or Ivanova, or Nico Robin), have ZERO romantic interest, and people would still hate her if Dean as much as looked at her. I mean, people are hating on Ellen too, because she might stick around. Because she might have had an affair with John. And while I was only mildly impressed by Jo, I really liked Ellen.

And when the threads full of hate are all from before Jo is even introduced? Um. Now fandom is scaring me again. Again - if it was couched in terms of "why must the writers present us with a female character in this way?" it would be easier for me to swallow (still think it's stupid to get that worked up about something we haven't seen anything of yet, but that's just me), but it's all about how some "stupid whiney chick" can't be right for Dean, and how she's an evil whore for stealing precious screen time from the boys. I found one example here - someone linked to transcripts from Jo's blog, posted before the episode aired. That's what I came to read, and then I saw the comments and - the kind of rage I saw there is ususally accompanied by frothing at the mouth, possibly after having been bitten by wild dogs. I'd just read the diary/blog entries thinking that maybe they should have worked a bit harder on making some of the stuff sound like it was written by a kid, but that a lot of it was what I can imagine I would've written if I was growing up like she did, and that Jo sounded pretty cool... It wasn't a literary masterpiece, but I don't see where people are getting the "snot-nosed brat who deserves to be beaten" reaction from. Except from this one fact - they don't want any female character to stick around, with the possible exception of Missouri, because there there's no chance of one of the boys hooking up with her. As far as I can see, it's maybe 10% "uh, I don't think they're handling this character very well", and the rest is "BITCH TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF DEAN!".
xparrot From: xparrot Date: October 8th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Reply the first

But, again - when Jo is discussed, it's not in terms of how she's presented, it's how they hate the character, how much they dislike the actress, how they hate anything and everything about her.

I realized I didn't address this point exactly (or if I did I forget ^^;;) Fangirls don't always discuss things in terms of how a char is presented, any more than we write off all plot holes as writer errors - we tend to attempt to justify them in canon, to preserve the fictional reality of the series, and fangirls hating on a char are doing the same thing. I don't think that's necessarily a less relevant way to criticize a text; if anything, inspiring emotional rather than intellectual reaction is ultimately a compliment to a work of fiction...

Hating on the actress is straying toward wack-job territory, but I usually see that kind of thing in the younger end of the fan pool, and kids are more prone to confuse reality and fiction. Most adult fen, though they might carry the hate, limit it to the char; they might decry an actor's abilities, but I've rarely seen them wish actual harm on someone just for playing a disliked char...
ex_naye320 From: ex_naye320 Date: October 8th, 2006 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Reply the first

You know, you have a really good point there! I hadn't actually thought of it that way, being too busy running away screaming... But it makes sense. And as long as it's just manifested as that kind of thing, I'll... do my best to deal, I guess.

What I still can't stand is the "hate-clubs". I remember there was one for David Duchovny's wife - she was an actress or a model or something, and again with the creepy scary fandom which was not just the kids. But. Hating in moderation I can at least kind of understand, if not agree with.
ex_naye320 From: ex_naye320 Date: October 7th, 2006 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Reply the second

(LJ character limit totally pwned my reply...)

The worst part of this is that I can't really say how I feel about the new characters, because I'm afraid of not liking them - afraid that the massive negativity all over has somehow bored straight into my brain, and left me unable to think for myself. I want to like them. I'm just... agh. Okay, so here's my take on it - the writers are trying. They really are. They just - the fuck, guys, why is it so hard to just present us with a real female hunter? It's not like you've been afraid of clichés before! That's just annoying as hell - they present us with two pretty cool female characters, but then make them not-hunters. WHY?

Other than that - I like the idea of the Roadhouse. I'm puzzled as to why Sam and Dean (especially Dean!) didn't know about it before. Really puzzled. It makes no sense, except that they can't know about it for the plot of this episode to work, and that it would possible be weirder if we'd never seen it/heard it mentioned before. But a place like that... it makes sense that it exists. The hunters network, we knew that, and they have websites. That they should have a place they can come and hang out and share information and a moment together with other people who know - of course they should have a place like that. And anyone running it would be a great source of information, because people always talk in bars. It's a really neat way to get a supporting cast in, and I've been wanting a supporting cast for ages. Best way to get both an outsiders POV and more worry and such in. And - Sam and Dean are going to go up against things they can't deal with themselves. Last season they called their dad - they're going to need someone to contact for backup. When they get back on the demon's trail, Bobby alone wouldn't be enough to help them, Caleb and Pastor Jim are dead... They're going to need help, and now they have somewhere they can get it. This is a Very Good Thing in my opinion.

As for the episode itself - oh, John Shiban. He's so good with the characters, and so bad with everything else. ^^;; I'm almost impressed with his enthusiasm in just doing what he thinks will be cool, and complete disregard for anything even vaguely like coherency. The number of "why"s I had about this episode would take way longer too explore than I feel it's worth, so I'll just shut up about that, and hope someone gives the poor writer a clue for next time. (I caught his name when I was watching the opening, which definitely helped me through the rest of the episode with a minimum of WTF-ing, because - it's Shiban. It's just what he does.)

Yes! I think Jared has been getting acting lessons, to be honest. He was really, really good in this episode. He's getting much better with the little things, and that scene at the end - wow. Both of them - wow. But - Dean. Ow. It's more than John's death, it's John's death and what John told him and - maybe survivor's guilt? I don't know. It seemed to be more than just grief, though the fact that the boy doesn't seem to know how to grieve is just... Oh, Dean.

Speaking of Jared - his hair! Did you see the promo for next week's ep? It's out of his face! :D Not cut, but out of his face! Whee~!
xparrot From: xparrot Date: October 7th, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Reply the second

I will give you the deserved reply tomorrow, gotta go to bed now - just have time to say OH GODS YESSSSS to Jared's 'do in that preview!

(and yeah, what's getting to Dean is more than what Sam knows, it's gotta have something to do with what John said...what was it?!?! aargh wanna kno~~w!!!)
xparrot From: xparrot Date: October 8th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Reply the second

and now the less shallow and much (much) longer reply!

(again, devil's advocate on some of this, I do know where you're coming from, I just think the fangirls - no matter how bonkers they can get - have a point...)

All I said about female characters and how poorly we women have been done by in the media, I didn't expect that to be directly reflected in the SPN fangirl reactions. Most fen don't put that much thought into it! But the blind hatred that is ravaged on such chars I think is partly a result of it. There's enormous prejudice against female chars, and sadly enough, that prejudice isn't undeserved. As you said, SPN does better than a lot of shows - but they're not the best by far, and there are so many shows that have screwed up les femmes before that fen are somewhat justified in being suspicious from the start. Fen aren't accustomed to seeing females as characters; they're used to them being pinup bimbos who come in and screw up beloved relationships. And pretty much any femme char is "guilty until proven innocent" (unless they're like Missouri and totally, completely out of both the relationship and the pinup game.) Which is wrong, which means that chars like Ivanova and Robin and River Tam have a lot of prejudice to overcome, much more than their male counterparts - it's women's lib all over again; the girls have to rock twice as hard to be half as popular. But it's not entirely unjustified.

That's part of it. The other part - a lot of this backlash in SPN and TS and other fandoms as - it's jealousy, yes, but it's not all the unreasonable jealousy of girls who actually think they have a chance with "Dean." It's the jealousy we had as smarmers, when the new chicks appeared and interfered with our boys, taking time away from the relationships we were most interested in seeing (while boring us to tears with romance, when that was totally not why we were watching the show). A love interest is a threat to two relationships: To the relationships in the show, distracting from the closeness between brothers/friends/partners/whoever. And also to the relationship between fangirl and char. Okay, we can't any of us make out with Dean for real. But we know him intimately, we've watched his evolution as a char, we got to know him over time, and there is something frustrating about a random girl who appears holding the key to his heart, without any effort, just because it was so written.

--no, that's not what happened here in SPN. But some of the spoilers J-chan had fed me implied that was what it was going to be like, which I suspect helped generate so much pre-debut hate.

This reaction actually isn't limited to female chars. I've seen hate reactions to new male love interests who threaten het romances (or yaoi romance, for that matter, tho' BL rarely brings in new interests except to be tension-provoking rivals) - there's less hate, I think, for a male char who interferes with gen female relationships (mainly because gen female relationships are far less common in fandom, though it does happen - people didn't like Logan on Gilmore Girls because he put Lorelai and Rory at odds). Female chars get the brunt of such reactions, because usually it's the women who are introduced to be love interests. Which leads back to what I was aruging before, that the fundamental problem is this idea that the main reason to add a girl to a story is to get the romance going. It's an idea the fangirls understand as well as TPTB - and until it's been laid to rest, all new femme chars are going to have to face this kind of prejudice.
xparrot From: xparrot Date: October 8th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Reply the second

[LJ's limit pwned me, too! geesh!)

Anyway. As far as SPN goes - liked Ellen, didn't really care for Jo but whatever (I didn't like her punching out Dean - seemed like a cheap shot; Dean wouldn't hit a girl. Unless he knew she were possessed. :P), and am...torn, about a femme hunter (which Jo was supposed to be, in the script spoilers J saw, so...don't know what happened there? except she totally didn't look like a hunter so good choice there.)
A female hunter would be awesome, but...am worried about how SPN would do it. There's so many ways and cliches to screw up a char like that...(I know what I want...you have to see Numb3rs, there's a v. cool woman on the team, their profiler. She's a little older than the main boys, so not a love interest, very very competent but not a superhero, has family/father issues mostly hidden and is generally great at being a woman who's also one of the boys. A hunter basically in Megan's mold would be awesome.)

Really, I'm not even theoretically opposed to Dean or Sam gettinig into a relationship. I'd just be more entertained if it were a gradually evolving, developing thing, and if it were based on friendship and loyalty first rather than sex (I mean, with Dean's kind of char, that's the best kind of relationship, the woman he doesn't hit on, never even notices until the day he realizes he's in love...) I want the kind of relationship like...oh...Princess Tutu, in which I don't even know if it's going to happen but eventually are pushed to the point that I'm dying to see it.

...I just realized that my major opposition to love interest chicks isn't even the demotion of woman from chars to romance toys. It's that it takes out the mystery, and that's...one of the few ways to get my unromantic ass involved in a love story. And yeah, I should've realized that before, but...

--and this reply has gotten way too long and far too nonsensical, so I'll just post, and hope you can, as you so often do, make sense of it (you're so very good at unraveling the inanities of my thoughts! ^^)
ex_naye320 From: ex_naye320 Date: October 8th, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Reply the second

Anyway. As far as SPN goes - liked Ellen, didn't really care for Jo but whatever (I didn't like her punching out Dean - seemed like a cheap shot; Dean wouldn't hit a girl. Unless he knew she were possessed. :P)

Um - what, why? I was so down with her punching him there! He'd just broken into her place (let's ignore the "why didn't they just answer the door" for now...), and grabbed her rifle while giving her a lecture starting with "You know, miss...". It wasn't just the right thing to do because he was a potential danger to her and her mother, standing there with her gun - it was also extremely satisfying to see that she didn't have to listen to Dean's lecture to be able to take care of herself. Again, remember - she didn't know anything about Dean at that point, except that he was apparently quite handy with lockpicks, and nothing about his not hitting girls (do we know he doesn't hit girls who threaten him at gunpoint?). I was all "yay!" at the punch. :D

and am...torn, about a femme hunter (which Jo was supposed to be, in the script spoilers J saw, so...don't know what happened there? except she totally didn't look like a hunter so good choice there.)

Someone posted a comparison script/final here. It is interesting reading...

(On a "fandom scares me" sidenote - looking for that post, this icon jumped at me. Nice, huh? )

And - yeah, that's what I said, about cliches... A female hunter could go just as wrong as no female hunter. Except then we'd have a female hunter, and I would know there out there, and that would make me happy. They need to write more female characters like the sheriff from Benders, because she was awesome, and would make a great hunter! ...so, yeah. I think I'd like to see them try, at least. Because then they'll have tried. Maybe we should make them watch lots of B5 first? Or even Numbers - that profiler sounds awesome!

And your musings on romance and us - well, romance and you, but I'm agreeing with every single thing you wrote? Now that's really COOL. I'd never actually reasoned things out that far before! That that's why I think I don't like romance, but can still love romance if it's like... Princess Tutu. ♥ Or can even want to see characters like Mulder and Scully or Sumire and Aoshima together, because they'd be right for each other, but one's not introduced to the other as a "romantic interest" and I need to go re-watch B5 right now. ^^;;

Thank you so much for taking the time to post all this! ♥

...any thoughts on how John might be back now that they've burned his body? It sort of blew a hole in my theory/hopeful rambling from last ep. ^^;;
xparrot From: xparrot Date: October 9th, 2006 10:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Reply the second

Ahh, I better explain myself before I get mistaken as a crazy antifeminist or something ^^;; It wasn't Jo's punching of Dean that got me, so much as the writing of it...it seems cliche to me, having the girl punch out the guy, and then the guy is left with no recourse but to grin and take it. I'm just thinking if it had been a guy who'd punched Dean, then they would have had a scuffle after. As it is, did Jo apologize? Maybe she did, I can't remember...it's just. I dunno. If a guy punched out Dean in the same circumstances? I don't think I'd be rooting for him.
...I'm doing a lousy job of this explanation thing ^^;; I agree it makes perfect sense for her character to do such a thing, and she was in the right since it was her place - it just seemed like the writer set it up to make a 'oh look strong girl! strong blonde girl! not sexist!' point...(where as if she'd been truly competent she wouldn't have needed Dean's lecture because she would've stayed out of range of him grabbing the gun anyway :P)(...actually, I think that's what kind of gets me, is this sort of double standard of girls who are strong enough to punch out guys, but don't have to take punches back, and it's not their fault they're in a society where reciprocal violence is unacceptable but it fundamentally makes me uncomfortable, because the strength they're showing is maybe just illusionary. Like, Dean probably could kick her ass, but he never would, and it's not fair to either of them. For that matter if a guy punched out Dean like that it would probably come across as more threatening than humorous...)(um, I am just getting myself confused here. Will figure it out later and get back to you, how about? ^^;;;)

Heh. The icon's just dumb fun, far as I see. Not to say that there isn't real hate out there (well, as much 'real' as can be when it's on a fictional char) but stupid rhymes/wordplay tend to inspire even those who are lukewarm about an issue (or else I just have a more charitable view of humanity. possibly undeserved.)

I'd never really reasoned out the thing about romance myself! But it does make sense...most of the het couples I've fanned on recently have been like that, the unexpected ones. And pretty much all slash is like that by definition...(this is why I love having discussions with you, we always figure out the neatest things ^^)

and speaking of figuring out...hmm, yes, buring John. Well. The demon might be able to fake a body? He can take over Death, for pity's sake, what is beyond the limits of his power? Just wondering...(especially with Dean's craziness, if it's got to do with John's whisper...if he knew his father wasn't actually dead, but couldn't tell his brother, and couldn't get him back...that would cause the kind of psycho rage he's bottling up. Of course so would losing his father to save his life, so, umm, yeah, no idea...!)
ex_naye320 From: ex_naye320 Date: October 8th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Reply the second

Whee, long reply! ♥ So much fun to read!

I think that, because I had no spoilers whatsoever, I'm coming at this from a slightly different angle than most (?) other fans. Especially if Jo was introduced to a lot of people who hadn't seen anything of her as "Dean's love interest". That would've ticked me off too, for the exact reasons you manage to pinpoint! I'm not interested in Dean + FC, I'm interested in the Winchester brother dynamics, and the dynamics they have with people they know and love, or know and distrust, and... Not with their dynamics with the random BotW.

But because I hadn't heard the rumours, before I was introduced to Jo before the idea of her as "love interest" was planted in my brain, it was much easier to... stay sane?

By the way, how much do you remember of TS's Cassie? Because - like I said, now that was some serious hate! Of course, as far as I can remember she was literally trying to drive the boys apart in that show. She wanted them to compete for her. From what I can remember she had no character, was all Pretty Girl With An Attitude - but the attitude was just there for show, there was no depth to it, no depth to her. And the fans hated her so much she was actually written out of the show. Then Megan (I think that was her name?) showed up, and either because she was actually much better written, or because the fans knew that they'd been heard, she turned out to be quite popular in the fandom. Not that anyone started writing pairing fic with her, but she was included in the same way Simon, Rafe and Brown were.

Damn. It really isn't that hard to write a good female character... Why do they keep failing at it?
xparrot From: xparrot Date: October 9th, 2006 10:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Reply the second

Cassie was the redhead in a few eps, right? I think I joined the fandom after she had already aired, so most of the hatred had bled away with her departure. But she was annoying, as I recall, and the eps with her didn't have as much Jim & Blair stuffs, so I can see the fangirl point. And Megan got some guff at first if I recall, but once she wasn't paired with anyone, it settled, and she was accepted and even embraced as part of the team. Same thing happened in Invisible Man fandom, they introduced a new femme char in second season and while she felt the hate at first, it turned into...um...lukewarm apathy later, when she wasn't paired with anyone (understandable; the char wasn't half bad, but the actress was from Baywatch and acted like it...)

So, yeah, I think most of the hate directed at Jo is because she was introduced via spoilers as Dean Love Interest. I wonder what would've happened if they'd said, "We're adding some recurring characters, including a couple women who do X" and denied any allegations of pairing. Might've gone better, and they might've even been able to bring much of fandom around to the pairing. (I mean, what if X-files had been pitched as a show about two agents who fall in love? I bet a bunch of us wouldn't have ever tuned in. As it happened, they wrote them as characters strongly bonded but not romantically attracted to one another, and the final result was that the majority of the fandom was desperate to see them get it on...)
15 have spoken ♥ :: Speak to me?