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post-"Sam, Interrupted" musing

(mildest of spoilers for SPN 5.11)

So I was reading all these different things online, like reviews of the latest SPN episode and opinions about Eliot's reaction to Sophie's actions in The First David Job on Leverage, and I found myself not agreeing with everything that was said. In some cases the disagreement was quite strong, but didn't bring the conviction that it'd be worth my time (or that it was the appropriate place) to argue the case. And then I realized, that's what my lj is for.

I always boggle when people complain about sloppy writing on SPN. As far as I can see, they are essentially complaining that SPN is being SPN. I love this show, it hooked me early and hard – Dean's first honest conversation with Sam in the pilot, in fact, grabbed me by the figurative nuts and is only just beginning to loosen its hold a little. But tight and well-researched writing it is not. Nor ever was.

I think that might actually be part of what we love about it, really; SPN tells the story it wants to tell and to hell with any real-world peculiarity, logic, straightforward logistics, story loose-ends, or anything else that's going to get in the way. Mental asylums don't work like that? Psychiatrists would never say/do that? They basically just helped themselves to a free run of a secure facility, up to and including a completely unspecified escape? Well ... yeah. That's not what they're interested in. And a lot of the time ignoring that stuff allows them to get up momentum and tell some pretty awesome stories. This is definitely a show which has embraced its place on the fun train, albeit a far darker-lit, moody, manic carriage.

Which sucks when you have some passing familiarity with any such real-world details they mangle in order to let them tell their story. Or when you are sensitive to how particular things are portrayed, or have an agenda, undoubtedly worthy, which they inadvertently trash along the way. Or at least it sucks if those are more important to you than seeing what story they are actually telling.

Granted, those sorts of things can jar you pretty badly out of their story, but that's the thing: it's their story. It really, really is. And they can tell it any way they choose to. And you are free to stop watching if it is causing blood-pressure issues.

The story they're telling is not any one of the following things: a mythology treatise; an ethical philosophy dissertation; a theological studies course; an eschatological survey; a documentary of state-run health and correctional services; a psychology journal; a physics textbook; a women's studies manifesto; a race relations analysis; or a family dysfunction case study.

It's about two brothers who love each other and what that means in excessively stressful circumstances. And, speaking for myself, that's what I want to see, what I tune in each week and rewatch more than is healthy to see. Everything else is there to serve that story, and if it doesn't, they toss it and make up something that does.

Could they do it better? Maybe. Probably, sometimes. What I do know is I don't know what external factors are impacting how the story comes out, be it budget, time, availability, or studio oversight. What I do know is that in spite of the clunks and bumps and sloppiness – or maybe sometimes because of them – they are telling an incredibly compelling story, that's kept me vitally interested for five years' worth of show. They keep exploring the next thing, they never coast in terms of the relationship between the brothers, and they totally lucked out in getting two actors who could sustain that and make us believe it, and a supporting crew and cast who are clearly extraordinary.

So. Lj engaged for rantage as appropriate.

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January 2016
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