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30 Days of SPN - Day 25

I’ve decided to try to stop whinging about doing this. No promises, though.

Day 25 - Something that you wish happened but didn’t
See, this is easier to answer, because it can pertain to pretty much anything. I mean, I wish Sam and Dean could have found their parents in heaven. I know The Song Remains the Same was kind of the idea of the family reunion, but I wish there’d been a way for real!Mary&John to have had time with their sons in the afterlife, just for the very sake of it. Maybe the question of where they were was laid in for S6, and likely they just didn’t want to open that can of worms within the story of the episode, and certainly they couldn’t get JDM. But I still wish it could have happened.

And, as previously noted, I really wish Henriksen could have survived and become a hunter. That would have been so full of awesomesauce I can’t even begin.

Ultimately, though, there’s an overarching note which I wish could have been maintained, and that is keeping Sam’s journey in the foreground and Dean’s to remain largely in the background. It’s not that I think Sam’s is more important, but that Writers kind of went overboard in shining a spotlight on Dean (along with being forced to do more with him after they actually sent him to Hell, etc). To me, Dean’s journey works more powerfully and more evocatively in the wings, behind the main show which is Sam’s struggle.

And I think they lost sympathy for Sam because of how easy it was to sympathise with Dean, once his issues were made more obvious, and his façade made to seem more false and easily seen through. And because whatever he was given, Jensen knocked out of the park, so the imbalance of cockiness and woobiness accelerated. Once again, remember when the majority identified with Sam and didn’t like Dean because he was too arrogant? I do. Which flipped sometime early/mid S3, from what I remember. What Is was pretty pivotal in that, and then of course Dean at Sam’s deathbed in the finale. And once he admitted he was scared of Hell, forget it. No one cared he was an aggravating SOB with people skills picked up willy nilly from John’s excellent role modelling. And I miss that, damnit. Let him keep his persona more, even if we’re the only audience.

Was that complaining? I can't tell. Maybe if I stopped using "damnit".

Comments

( 6 speakses — have a speak )
bitterlimetwist
Sep. 12th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
I find this really fascinating.

"Writers kind of went overboard in shining a spotlight on Dean (along with being forced to do more with him after they actually sent him to Hell, etc). To me, Dean’s journey works more powerfully and more evocatively in the wings, behind the main show which is Sam’s struggle."

I would love to hear what you think they should have done. I'm not a writer *obviously*, so I have a lot of trouble trying to come up with alternate scenarios that I think would work better. It just is what it is.

Sometimes I think the focus being too much on Dean is just in my head. Because I have a slight bias toward Sam it sometimes feels like "oh yes, more Dean". Until I fell a little in love with Sam during season 4, I didn't really notice there was so much Dean.

"And I think they lost sympathy for Sam because of how easy it was to sympathise with Dean.."

Hmm, this I'm not sure about. Sam is a more controlled character, so it's certainly easier for them to write Dean being all woobie, and thus have the audience be more sympathetic towards him. Sam also has the darker journey, he has to make wrong choices and basically start the Apocalypse. Unless you didn't mean they made him do unsympathetic things?

"No one cared he was an aggravating SOB.."

Every time Dean does something juvenile, or acts like an ass, there is a chorus of "Why are they writing Dean like that?!" from the very few places I peek at comments.

Uh, this is long. Sorry. Basically tell me more! I like this post!
themonkeytwin
Sep. 13th, 2010 03:44 am (UTC)
I would love to hear what you think they should have done.

Ah, that's the rub, isn't it? I mean, once the story shifted, I agree, they had to follow it. I hadn't really thought about it from story structure terms, more character terms. Dean doesn't let people in on his journey if he can possibly help it, because it's not important – Sam's is the important thing (from Dean's point of view). He's really, really good at covering that he even has a journey (which is not the same thing as an arc). And he was doing a really good job, reacting to Sam's journey and concealing his own. He hated even being the object of Sam's attention in S3, and it feels like a violation that Writers decided he was too rich a seam of angst to resist strip mining and laying bare to all of us. Does that make sense? Maybe not. But the focus shifting onto Dean (again, around S3-4) is not just in your head, I promise.

they made him do unsympathetic things

Yeah – not exactly, although that probably didn't help. I more meant that by exposing Dean's soft, woobie, self-sacrificing, heroic underbelly so much, Sam's plight and character looked much less sympathetic just by contrast. Sam IS the hero of the piece; he's the one who, like Luke Skywalker, has to learn what it means to step into that role, make those choices, pay that price. Those unsympathetic things were part of that learning curve. And he DOES learn. That's where the audience empathy should lie, and therefore sympathy also.

Dean has been doing those things all along, but doesn't consider them heroic. It's just what he does. Again, he doesn't think it's about him – and within the original scope of the story, he's actually right. Which is why it's a little bit annoying that the story itself got sidetracked the way it did. But, hey, it happened. And it's still a better story by miles than most of the stuff out there.

Every time Dean does something juvenile, or acts like an ass, there is a chorus of "Why are they writing Dean like that?!"

Exactly. I should have worded it better: everyone ignored that he's an aggravating SOB. The obvious reason they were writing Dean that way is because Dean IS that way. But this perception developed that Dean was all pure, selfless, woobie hero wonderfulness. And he's not. For all his great qualities, he's also an immature ass. He's annoying. He's overbearing. He refuses to share his burdens with the people who love him. Much as he respects women, he IS also using them in the one night stands and everything. And so on. I'm not saying he doesn't think he has good reasons for all this, but he's not a saint.

Uh, this is long.

Yay!

Sorry.

Don't be. :)
bitterlimetwist
Sep. 13th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
"Writers decided he was too rich a seam of angst to resist strip mining and laying bare to all of us"

God I wish I could write like you.

"Does that make sense?"

Yes.

".. by exposing Dean's soft, woobie, self-sacrificing, heroic underbelly so much, Sam's plight and character looked much less sympathetic just by contrast."

THIS. YES. THANK YOU.

"That's where the audience empathy should lie, and therefore sympathy also."

Agreed. But lucky for me, my Sam bias is like a superpower that allows me to see this. It's sometimes very hard to see past the whole Dean is a selfless hero business. But yes, now I see your point that the writers have done the character a disservice.

This is where I would quote that entire last paragraph back to you. And then agree a million times over.

Can I tell you how much I loved everything you said in your reply? Huh, I think I just did.

I'm starting to sound like a crazy stalker. O.o
themonkeytwin
Sep. 15th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
my Sam bias is like a superpower that allows me to see this.

Ooh, good superpower! ;)

I'm starting to sound like a crazy stalker. O.o

Ah, but a self-aware crazy stalker. And that makes all the difference! :D

In which case, shall we just friend and get it over with? That way you are officially invited to come in, flop on the couch, put your feet up and hang out as long as you want, saying whatever damnfool thing that runs through your head without fear of rejection. (That's what I do.)
bitterlimetwist
Sep. 15th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
Yay! :D
themonkeytwin
Sep. 15th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
:)
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