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SPN 6: Both good and original....

... but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good.
– Samuel Johnson (attributed)

Hooookay. Season 6.

Lemme say a few things upfront: I didn't hate it. And as far as hand-over wobbles go, both story-arc- and management-wise, it could have been worse. A lot worse. It's still Show, individual episodes were still brilliant, the finales were strong and they did a good job of tying a lot of stuff up, and I'm (cautiously) hopeful for next season.

Between graduating grad school (sort of – I still have a class to finish off, which is weird to me, but hey I walked across the stage in the silly gown and cap and stringy things and everything, so whatevs), moving, painting, and all the rest of the craziness, I haven't been saying much about this season as it unfolded, apart from some inelegant ranting on bitterlimetwist's journal. Also, it became pretty damn clear to me early on that I had about zero handle on what the story and the season was trying to be, so commenting on it either way became little more than reactionary floundering, and that doesn't help anyone. Plus, I wanted to give Show and all those involved the benefit of the doubt, and that doesn't really happen when I'm just ranting about the lumps and bumps I didn't like on its way to re-establishing its story footing; that process tends to be rough and ready and not particularly dignified, and it's not fair to criticise until you see the finished product.

So, okay, reaction and thinky and some quite ranty stuff:


I like what they did with Cas, ultimately. Or at least I accept it. Yes, someone's been cribbing from Buffy S6 – and yes, the "family" shtick got a little too spackle-happy toward the end, and instead of the relationship between Dean (and Sam and Bobby, but apparently who cares about them?) and Cas being strained and twisted and then (ideally, story-wise) shattered being compelling and nuanced and thoughtfully played out, it was all you're like my brother and the dying for one another Thing is a Meaningful Thing, right? – but it's a serviceable set-up for the next Big Bad. Not, you know, inspired, but serviceable. I just really, really hope this isn't going to turn into another Save Him Or Kill Him Quest for Dean, because Enough Already.

Speaking of enough already, the story/character retreads. Guys. Stop it. Please. Unless you genuinely have no new stories to tell, or something – in which case, ask us. We have lots of ideas. Sure, the what-might-have-been question is an interesting one every now and then, but to build a season on it is ... unfortunate. To say the least. It sends a very strong message that you don't know what else to do.

To recap: a deal is made by Someone Else and Sammy is supernaturally dicked over. Sammy actually comes back wrong, instead of just the suggestion of it. Dean has to Save Sammy. That out of the way shelved for now, Cas is speeding along the ends-justifies-means track, and for some reason is Like A Brother, and so now Dean has to Stop Or Save him. And be betrayed by him, because that's Deanyweany's lot in life. Oh, but in case Cas-as-Sam is too straight-up, Cas-is-also-Dean, trying to find Deadbeat Dad and then trying to find his disillusioned way and fight the fight without him. I mean, honestly, why even have SamnDean at all? Cas can be the whole story. Hurrah. Except, of course, we've. Already. Done. This. For FIVE FREAKING SEASONS. With brothers who I actually care about. Who actually grew up and past this. I'm ready for a new story nao. – I'm ready for their story nao. Not the same one, the next one.

Yes. "Family is Hell" is the vision statement for Show. But, here's a hint, guys: not every main-character relationship depicted onscreen HAS to be a familial one for that vision to hold and be expressed. In fact, it's more interesting when there's some variety in these relationships beyond father-son and brotherly. Friends and allies of the boys are both significant and INTERESTING relationships – just look at Balthazar. Just look at Gabriel. They can, repeat, CAN sustain betrayal and redemption plotlines. If you're going to have a Brotherly relationship emerge, then let it emerge – if it's not there (which it wasn't), don't force it just because you semi-accidentally put the real Brother relationship on ice for half a season because you have no idea what to do with it when there's no Conflict and Angst and Woe, nor any idea what to do without a Brother storyline.

Also, family-is-Hell relationships do not all have to follow the same trajectory. The Lisa and Ben thread, for example, was perfect in this regard. Actually new and interesting, and forcing Dean to deal with a new and interesting dilema ... dropped within three episodes.

I'm not even touching the Mommy Issues/Daddy Issues do-si-do. At this point, that just feels tacky.

... So, anyhow, Dean managed to emerge relatively intact, where WhatIf!Cas went super-powered darkside. Good. Fine. Whatever. Just make the redemption arc (and, sue me, I'm assuming that's what this will be – although I'm also really, really hoping it WON'T be – if this does turn out to be the same old Sammy!Cas thing, I want Dean to kill the dude DED. Mostly because I'm having to sit through it again, and that gets my hate-on going) something different. Somehow.

And as far as "different" goes, I also don't care how much jazz hands mythology clues you give us. IDEAS ≠ STORY. Stop shaking your ass hands at me and hoping I won't notice.

Oh, and, hey, remember when the journey, fight, and consequences for BOTH brothers were important? Remember when Sam was an actual character? Who had some kind of self determination – who did things and had drives and made decisions and suffered the consequences? Who had an entire character arc and earned IMMENSE character growth and story capital by the time we got to the end? I know he's been incapacitated and out of commission for the entire season (and that in itself should be a major bells-and-whistles neon warning sign), but I WANT HIM BACK. Please stop pissing away all the incredible story potential you built up over five years. Or, if you won't, at least let him deal with the consequences of his Dissociative Identity integration front-and-centre. For me, the single most off-putting thing they could do at this point is not incorporate that substantially – and I mean substantially – into the beginning of S7.

Look, I'm granting that none of this is easy. Sera Gamble inherited a fairly tough gig, one which I personally don't think she was suited to, through no real fault of her own. And by "tough gig" I mean there was no pre-planned storyline to provide structure and momentum, and there was the shake-up of the balance of creative input and final say, which is two huge changes at once. By "don't think she was suited to", I mean that whatever her story instincts are (and I don't have that much hope in that department, but Kripke was also weak there, so it's not an insoluble problem), her perspective on Show is a disadvantage.

This is just me and the sense I get, nothing especially concrete I can point to, and I want to say right off that clearly I don't know everything that's gone on and I'm speaking from a largely speculative position, but to me she has always given off a very proprietary vibe with Show. I mean, initially it was Sam – remember when Sam "belonged" to Sera and Dean "belonged" to Ben, somewhere around S3 or 4? – but that appears to have transferred to Show, along with the apparent perception that Show is actually about Dean. (It's not.) She comes off as ... well, as a super-empowered fangirl. Which is fine, even very valuable, to have on staff, but not running the thing.

Arguably, Kripke's greatest strength was that he never took Show too seriously. He could detach enough to make a good call from what was being pitched to him, and not be threatened at the idea of taking risks with it. In fact, you got the sense that a lot of the fun for him was taking risks with this weird little freak-story-that-could, taking it places just to see what would happen, and not going back to old ground unless it was justified and called-for by the story. Whereas Sera is way too invested in the whole thing, on too many personal and professional levels, to easily take real risks with it. I mean, I can't say for sure, but I'd point to that as being one of the main reasons this season was just a reheat (with some extra seasoning) of everything we've already seen. That, and I also get the sense she's somewhat dissatisfied with what Kripke did with it the first time around, and wanted to do it HER way this time. And while The French Mistake was funny as hell, well ... I'll bet this shiny nickle that those jokes about the new showrunner were a lot closer to home than, er, not. I don't really blame her, as such. I suspect that she's doing the best she can ... the problem is, that's not an entirely comforting thought.

That's the condensed version of my thoughts as I watched the season unfold. I'm really, really, really hoping that a lot of the kinks have worked themselves out from the hand-over and the balance is returning. Maybe they're all getting the hang of things, or maybe needed voices are asserting themselves more. That can't be seen for sure until a good way into next season at the earliest, although the bumped-up re-ensouling was a promising sign. I mean, the initial decision to desoul Sam was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad one, but having done it, I applaud the recognition that it didn't work and the quick fix, and I understand the severe slip-and-slide delamination of plotline speeds that happened as a consequence. I'm less understanding of Dean's brother-buttons being transferred to Cas to push, in part because Sam wasn't doing anything – here's an idea, everyone, let's not have Dean in brother-related agony for half a season or so, hm? Or is that just too risky? – but anyhow.

Bottom line: S6 was something of a less-than-the-sum-of-its-parts non-event for me, but as I said, I'm willing to give them a burn season to find their feet again. This was it. If they don't start making their way forward next season, I don't think they're going to. I'll still watch, because the individual brilliance of the parts still shines brighter than anything else I've seen on tv. It'll still be Show; it'll just be Show in the fading glory of its twilight (no pun intended) years. And you know what? I've had five exceptional seasons, which I had no reason to expect. I can live with that. And be damn grateful to have seen and known what I had. And I got all you guys out of the deal, which I can be damn grateful to know what I have. So, yeah. Bring on S7. And meantime, I'm not going anywhere.

Comments

( 19 speakses — have a speak )
bitterlimetwist
May. 22nd, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
Tomorrow, comments about Show. Tonight, just hearty congratulations. &Hearts
themonkeytwin
May. 22nd, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you. ❤

*anticipates comments about Show*

:)
bitterlimetwist
May. 22nd, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
YES to your entire post. So much Yes.

"Oh, and, hey, remember when the journey, fight, and consequences for BOTH brothers were important? Remember when Sam was an actual character?"

Where to even begin. Do you remember when I was defending soulless Sam, and saying that it HAD to mean something? And that if it didn't I'd be right there with you, raising my middle finger to this storyline? Uh, yeah. *waves middle finger in the direction of the writers* They just used him as a prop for Dean and Cas. First he's there as some sort of mirror to Dean, so that Dean can see he's not family material after all. Then, he's used to illustrate Cas's hubris. Which isn't much of a surprise I suppose since the entire season was about Dean, and then toward the end Dean and Cas, but it's still mighty annoying. Oh wait, he was also a prop to show us what a soul is. *sigh*

When I saw a post saying a regular would be coming back next season in a recurring role instead, for a minute I actually thought it was Jared. I thought it was possible that the three episodes leading up to the finale that didn't include Sam were a test run for a season with Sam in the recurring role. That's how lopsided the story has been.

"...Show, along with the apparent perception that Show is actually about Dean. (It's not.)"

Seriously, WTF happened? I still think exec producers have just as much power as showrunners, so I'm blaming everyone - Gamble, Singer and Kripke. And to think, there was so much moaning in fandom that she would turn the show into a Sam-fest. No really, WTF happened?

"For me, the single most off-putting thing they could do at this point is not incorporate that substantially – and I mean substantially – into the beginning of S7."

A wish list is a dangerous thing. Because I'm still in the angry-ranty stage, I feel like if the entire next season isn't about Sam - the way this season was about Dean - I'm going to be really pissed. But I know a wish like that will never come true, so better just to have vague hopes that the writers remember there are TWO Winchesters. Still, until these last few episodes, I hadn't realised how Dean-centric the whole thing was. Okay, that's not entirely true. But Sam not having a soul meant we had to come in on Dean's pov, so that made sense. It was only when they pushed the Dean & Cas front and center, and we were back to only Dean that I realised they hadn't done a single damn thing with Sam's character all season. And they almost had me forgive the whole thing when they focused part of the finale on Sam, but then he disappeared again, and it turned out those 20 minutes were Sam's entire arc.

"The Lisa and Ben thread, for example, was perfect in this regard. Actually new and interesting, and forcing Dean to deal with a new and interesting dilemma ... dropped within three episodes."

Yes. This was interesting, and I would have liked more of it. Or maybe the episodes dealing with it were just too far apart to get a real feel for it. *shrug* It didn't help that that kid is a terrible actor, and I would have hated seeing more of him. So conflicted.

Ugh, I hate being a whiny fangirl. Because I still liked this season, damnit! I thought it was great in so many ways. But it's just so easy to start complaining about the stuff that bugged me.

I feel like I need to rewatch the whole thing, and just will myself to focus on the parts I liked. *looks at 6.12* So much potential there. *sigh*
themonkeytwin
May. 23rd, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
They just used him as a prop for Dean and Cas.
... And to think, there was so much moaning in fandom that she would turn the show into a Sam-fest. No really, WTF happened?


I know! Omigosh. WHAT HAPPENED???? I just ... this is why so much hinges on how they deal with Sam next season. I keep circling around this, because the ONLY explanation for it that I can think of is that they thought the soulless thing was a BRILLIANT plot for Sam – like they (*cough*SERA*cough*) were still lusting for all the "wasted" opportunity for darkside!Sam from the previous arc, and this was their way of going back and wallowing in that without negating everything he'd achieved and overcome as a character. BUT THAT'S THE PROBLEM – WITHOUT HIS SOUL IT'S NOT SAM (darkside or otherwise) AND NONE OF IT MATTERS. (Sorry, got carried away there for a moment.) ALSO DID I MENTION IT'S NOT SAM?

And then those who actually care about the story and the characters are all IT DOESN'T WORK and they're all ... well, crap, I guess we just faff around and try to figure something else out, then? Also, how does the writer who refers to Show as the epic love story of Sam and Dean completely drop the ball on their relationship? No matter what's going on, the relationship is what grounds EVERYTHING. How do you miss that? How is the first question you ask yourself when writing and REwriting the arcs not What's happening between the brothers because of this? As opposed to Uh, we had this relationship arc planned out, but it didn't work and we scrapped it, so now there's ... nothing going on, I guess?

And that's another thing – they shifted (not too far, but enough) to the characters servicing the plot rather than the plot growing out of the characters and relationships. They forced too much, and ignored the character-driven stuff FAR too much –

And they almost had me forgive the whole thing when they focused part of the finale on Sam, but then he disappeared again, and it turned out those 20 minutes were Sam's entire arc.

– like THIS. I KNOW. I was so happy to begin with, and then I was all, where'd Sam go? and then it became ... WAT. D:D:D:D:D: How do you even ... unless they decided that they wanted to devote more time to it than they could figure out how to fit into the finale, and therefore set it up for next season to explore PROPERLY.... But then WHY DIDN'T YOU FIGURE OUT A WAY TO WEAVE THAT INTO THE BACK HALF OF THE SEASON WHEN SAM HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO???? So much fail.

So the way they start off dealing with Sam next season's going to tell us whether they actually care about him as a character at all. Whether they even KNOW who he is and what to do with him – or, better yet, what HE wants to do. Because that might be, I don't know, IMPORTANT?

And I say this as someone who loves Dean – I'm bored of him. He needs Sam and Sam needs him. If it's just The Woobie!Dean Show, I am NOT INTERESTED, no matter how much I love his character. I tell you, this is doing more than anything ever could to push me toward Samgirlism. Although I remain staunchly in my original position, which is being a Brothersgirl. And I think part of my crazy ranting is I never thought that Brothers wouldn't be at the heart and core of Show; I've seen the rants of others when Show screws around with something they considered core to the story. I may have even felt superior there now and then. Little did I guess that Brothers COULD be screwed up, and the main basis of my hope is they look back at the mess of this season and feedback from people involved who understand and get back to that. I just ... *sigh*

/rant
bitterlimetwist
May. 23rd, 2011 04:26 pm (UTC)
"the ONLY explanation for it that I can think of is that they thought the soulless thing was a BRILLIANT plot for Sam"

You're more generous than I am, because so far that plot has been completely in service of Dean, and even if the writers were blinded by their own brilliance there's no way to even see it as having anything to do with Sam. 'Cause as you say, IT'S NOT SAM. And for the life of me I can't imagine what they'll do with it next season. My bet is they'll do NOTHING. I think they just don't know wtf to do with him now that his major story arc is over, so they figured - "Hey, we have nothing for Sam to do, but let's give Jared something to do anyway." So Jared gets to ACT, and I enjoyed the hell out of that, but do you know what I would have liked as well? A freakin' story for Sam.

"this is why so much hinges on how they deal with Sam next season."

Exactly. I mean, I don't really want it to be ALL about Sam, but they have to remember he, you know, EXISTS. Before, even if it was just Sam, or just Dean onscreen, the other one always felt present. It was always so much about the two of them. And okay, the characters have grown past that, but when Sam's onscreen it still feels like it's SamnDean, but when Dean's onscreen it's about Dean/Lisa or Dean/Bobby or Dean/Cas, because Sam doesn't have relationships with these characters, so it becomes ALL ABOUT DEAN. And yes I'm including Bobby in there, because the show has really made a point of stressing Bobby's relationship to Dean, to the point where when Sam was talking to Bobby on the phone back in 5.20 I didn't believe it at all, and just recognized it as a necessary plot point. And, while giving a few nods to the idea that Sam means something to Cas, they make sure to undermine the whole thing by making it ALL ABOUT DEAN at every turn, which makes Sam's "I would die for him" line infuriating.

"they shifted (not too far, but enough) to the characters servicing the plot rather than the plot growing out of the characters and relationships."

I was actually coming back here to say this very thing. That's why the back half of the season felt so aimless to me. Sure, SamnDean were being all SamnDean-y, and I enjoyed the angst-free time I spent with them, but it felt like they were just being moved around to service some story other than their own. Really, Balthazar showing up and flinging them into an alternate reality and then saying they were just being used as a distraction perfectly sums up how large parts of the season felt.

"how does the writer who refers to Show as the epic love story of Sam and Dean completely drop the ball on their relationship?"

I KNOW. RIGHT?! RIGHT?! WTF?! *cough* Sorry, got a little worked up there.

"I was so happy to begin with, and then I was all, where'd Sam go? and then it became ... WAT. D:D:D:D:D:"

When that episode started, and it was all Sam, I felt like I was watching a different show. A DIFFERENT SHOW. Like, oh yeah, didn't this character use to be on Supernatural? And as soon as he got his hell memories back I knew we wouldn't see him again until the very end, and ta da, exactly what happened.

"and therefore set it up for next season to explore PROPERLY"

That's the dream I'll be clinging to this summer. *sigh* But, I just don't trust the writers anymore because -

"WHY DIDN'T YOU FIGURE OUT A WAY TO WEAVE THAT INTO THE BACK HALF OF THE SEASON WHEN SAM HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO???? So much fail."

- THIS.

themonkeytwin
May. 25th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
And for the life of me I can't imagine what they'll do with it next season.

Heh. I cordially invite you to join me on the Sit&Wait Bus, if you feel you have the equanimity. It's not terribly comfortable or fast moving, but at least it's not crowded.

It was always so much about the two of them. And okay, the characters have grown past that

Right. They have – and maybe part of this is us still wanting that dynamic. It's not wrong to have them move on, not be so codependent, but it is pretty poor to not have anything going on at all between them.

SamnDean were being all SamnDean-y, and I enjoyed the angst-free time I spent with them, but it felt like they were just being moved around to service some story other than their own.

I agree, although as I think about it more, that might have been bound to happen too. Not that I think they handled it well, because they didn't really, but the past five years it HAS been the SamnDean story in universe. Now that story is over and they are de facto not the center of the universe's story anymore. So things did have to shift to where they're caught up in a story not their own, just as for the last five years everyone else has been caught up in THEIR story. But then there are ways of telling that story that still keeps THEIR story at the center of our screens.

... I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't think all this Fail (from our perspective) was deliberate, some of it just a matter of unwise storytelling choices made under quite some pressure (our fandom isn't exactly the easiest to handle at the best of times). So, yeah, I'm being generous where I can be to acknowledge the difficulty of the situation. But I'm not stepping off on calling them BAD choices. That said, it hasn't been a complete disaster and hopefully they're all learning from them, how to make better ones.

When that episode started, and it was all Sam, I felt like I was watching a different show. A DIFFERENT SHOW.

And you know, this struck me too. The past finales, even when the brothers were APART for almost the entirety of the two episodes (S4, for example), the finales were still all about Brothers. This time around, they had a Dean finale and a Sam finale (with the Cas and Crowley thing being the season finale). Their stakes in the finales really had nothing to do with one another. And, again – maybe that's something that has to shift as a result of it being a different story now. And ... well, that's also on my wait and see list, to see if they can start treating that change well while keeping the brother's relationship intact. Depending on how they deal with it, it could be eventually read as a good depiction of the wobbles of the brothers themselves coming to terms with being more independent of one another. Not that I think that was necessarily intended (because if it were, where are the anvils?), but it's still in the fabric of the story as reflecting the journey of the storytellers with these characters. If that makes sense?
bitterlimetwist
May. 25th, 2011 11:31 pm (UTC)
"I cordially invite you to join me on the Sit&Wait Bus"

Accepted. But I'd really like to be on the S7-is-going-to-be-awesome Bus (which is probably also rather roomy.)

"maybe part of this is us still wanting that dynamic. It's not wrong to have them move on, not be so codependent"

I'm more than happy that they've moved on from that. All their issues were wrapped up in season 5, so I would've been pretty disappointed if they'd just thrown that out to keep the angst going. That was one of the reasons I thought they went with soulless Sam, because that way they could keep some of the angst and desperation, without un-doing everything the characters had achieved. Hey, throw in your idea about them desperately wanting a dark!Sam, and voila, there's the reason we got soulless Sam.

"but it is pretty poor to not have anything going on at all between them."

Yes it is. Oh well, next season. Next season will be awesome! (I'm practicing.)

"So things did have to shift to where they're caught up in a story not their own, just as for the last five years everyone else has been caught up in THEIR story."

Oh I like this a lot. I'm going to think of it this way from now on.

"But then there are ways of telling that story that still keeps THEIR story at the center of our screens."

I think the writers consider Cas part of Team Winchester. So in making him the center of the story, they thought it was still about the brothers. The problem with that, for us anyway, is that we don't think of him that way. But as I've mentioned, a lot I know, they also made it very much about Cas and Dean, when it should have been about Cas and Dean and Sam. Really, change that one little detail, and I would've had a completely different reaction.

"And you know, this struck me too."

I didn't mention this before, but I'm glad that someone with a different perspective saw this too. I don't want to become someone with such a bias that all I care about is X. So it's nice to know I haven't reached that stage!

"This time around, they had a Dean finale and a Sam finale"

And I really liked that. My issue was more that it was four fairly Dean-centric episodes in a row. It was a cumulative effect. I let the first one go; then the second; by the third I was kinda ranty, and then we landed on the most Dean-centric one of all. And I even almost forgave that, because I'm powerless against Dean's epic pain - when Show hurts Dean, Show hurts me.

"it could be eventually read as a good depiction of the wobbles of the brothers themselves coming to terms with being more independent of one another ... it's still in the fabric of the story as reflecting the journey of the storytellers with these characters. If that makes sense?

Yes, it makes sense. And I really like that idea, and maybe that IS what they intend, because, as I have to keep reminding myself, the season is part of a larger arc, and maybe it's too early to judge.

"Not that I think that was necessarily intended (because if it were, where are the anvils?)"

LOL. Show was going for subtlety.
themonkeytwin
Jun. 2nd, 2011 05:40 am (UTC)
that way they could keep some of the angst and desperation, without un-doing everything the characters had achieved.

Right. Because we HAVE to have angst. *headdesk* How about we try ... not? Just for a little while? It's not as if there weren't enough fodder for it with making Dean leave his family, Bobby's deal, and Cas going bad.... OH AND SAM GETTING OUT OF THE CAGE AND DEALING WITH LETTING LUCIFER IN.

when it should have been about Cas and Dean and Sam. Really, change that one little detail, and I would've had a completely different reaction.

Exactly. Since when does Dean's relationships constitute the whole of family on Show?... But now I feel like I'm getting back on a merry-go-round. Will ... resist ... repetitive ... snark.... :/

And I really like that idea, and maybe that IS what they intend

Well, I like the idea too, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't intended. Again, :/

LOL. Show was going for subtlety.

Heh.

Edited at 2011-06-02 05:41 am (UTC)
bitterlimetwist
May. 23rd, 2011 04:30 pm (UTC)
Hee! This comment was so long it had to be broken in two. \o/

"And I say this as someone who loves Dean – I'm bored of him. He needs Sam and Sam needs him. If it's just The Woobie!Dean Show, I am NOT INTERESTED, no matter how much I love his character. I tell you, this is doing more than anything ever could to push me toward Samgirlism."

I'd say join us over here on the dark side, but it's just such a frustrating place to be at the moment. Okay, yes, I love Sam a teensy bit more than I love Dean, but that still means I love Dean A LOT, and to me it's ALWAYS about Sam AND Dean. Show was about SamnDean and how much they were wrapped up in each other, and where the hell has that gone? As I said, whatever Sam was doing onscreen Dean always felt present, because so much of what motivated Sam was Dean, and vice versa. But the more Show pushed Dean to the front, the more I started to pull toward Sam. (Also, the fucking Deangirls just drove me nuts. I think they may have turned me into a Samgirl more than anything.)

"And I think part of my crazy ranting is I never thought that Brothers wouldn't be at the heart and core of Show. I've seen the rants of others when Show screws around with something they considered core to the story. I may have even felt superior there now and then."

Heh. See, this is why I always acknowledge I'm being crazy entitled whiny fangirl when I rant. Because I used to read rants like this, and think "The story belongs to the writers, and just because they're doing X and you don't like it, you whine like a child." But yeah, right now I feel like bitching because I'm kind of stunned at how the brothers got pushed aside (mostly in the form of Sam being offscreen for three and a half episodes.) You can't have SamnDean if Sam isn't THERE.

But y'know, Show is still Show. I can't quit you and all that. And when I calm down, I'm totally going to write a post about all the stuff I liked this season. Which was a lot, as you know, since you had to suffer through a lot of my omgflaily-ness. I was really hoping by the end of the year you would come around to my side. I'm really kind of shocked it ended up with me coming 'round to your side. They had me right up until 6.18 and then ... *sigh*

themonkeytwin
May. 25th, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
Hee! This comment was so long it had to be broken in two. \o/

\o/

Also, the fucking Deangirls just drove me nuts. I think they may have turned me into a Samgirl more than anything.

Both sides certainly have their ... quirks. :/ I try to stay away from it all, really. People get invested in Show, and the characters, for different reasons, but some of those reasons get people REALLY invested. And sometimes there's just no point in engaging that kind of thing. *shrug* I'm pretty happy where I am. I once described my, uh, "girlism" as: if I ever ran into the Winchesters, I would have a beer with Dean, give Sam a humungous hug, and flirt shamelessly with John. (That's assuming I'm not about to be eaten by something, in which case I will run, and/or do what they advise.)

The story belongs to the writers

Which has always been my attitude, too. Or tried to be. Even now, for me, it's been a kind of open-mouthed disbelief at what they're choosing to do with the story, rather than saying they don't have a right to do it. But you know what? Show itself is still a very strong and flexible construct, and they haven't demolished the brothers, and if I were going to put money on any crew of a show being able to pull it out of the fire, it'd be this lot. S6 may go down as my least favourite season, but it wasn't *terrible* – it was still better than any other show I watch – and it doesn't mean I don't think they can still do a lot with what they've got.

So ... in conclusion, I'm really looking forward to your positive post. Let's celebrate this thing, because, damnit, it's still Show and it's still ours and if it IS going to go down in flames let's make it a hunter's funeral and do it properly. *raises some Johnny Walker Blue*

(also, love the icon! ❤)
bitterlimetwist
May. 25th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
"Both sides certainly have their ... quirks. :/ I try to stay away from it all, really."

Yeah, I'm very sorry I wrote that. :( I'm usually not that rude. (I hope!) Before I realised how toxic fandom could be, I read all kinds of stuff and, well, that was a mistake. But I don't like bashing from either side. Why the hate when there's so much to love?

"I would have a beer with Dean, give Sam a humongous hug, and flirt shamelessly with John"

If only we were all so sensible. I'd flirt with all of them, because I'm just that easy. ;)

"if I were going to put money on any crew of a show being able to pull it out of the fire, it'd be this lot"

Well, I still consider early S3 the low point, so it's not like there isn't a precedent.

"I'm really looking forward to your positive post. Let's celebrate this thing, because, damnit, it's still Show and it's still ours"

Ah, well good thing you said so, because I thought maybe I should hold off until later, like August, seeing as how we've both been so negative. I figured you might want a break from talking about it. But hell yeah let's celebrate it, and then you can tell me which parts you thought were brilliant (I'm using your word there.) It IS still Show. \o/

(also, love the icon! ❤)

It's like the icon-maker read my mind. ;D
themonkeytwin
May. 27th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm very sorry I wrote that. :( I'm usually not that rude. (I hope!)

No worries; I didn't find it rude. I know exactly what you mean. Which is why I try to stay away from it! Way back, I started out lurking the IMDb boards, and they're entertaining as hell, but also completely crazy and the quality of interaction is LOW. I'm happy where I washed up :)

Well, I still consider early S3 the low point, so it's not like there isn't a precedent.

Interesting. I know a lot of people feel that way, but I've always been okay with it. What didn't you like about it?
bitterlimetwist
May. 29th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
"What didn't you like about it?"

First, I should clarify that I do like Bad Day at Black Rock, although I find it a bit broad. I don't know, the Sam and Dean stuff is good, but it's trapped inside such boring stories it's a slog to get through. More than that, it just feels *off* somehow, as if suddenly the show were written by a completely new set of people who didn't quite get what made it tick. I mean, okay take BDABR, I feel like Sam and Dean are acting just ever so slightly out of character for the sake of the comedy. The whole season feels that way to me, although the episodes improve from 3.07 on. I actually really disliked almost the whole season the first time around, so much so that had the show been canceled I wouldn't have cared. Shocking! :) I've come around to it of course, but I still never get the urge to rewatch the earlier episodes.

What do you like about it, if you don't mind my asking?
themonkeytwin
Jun. 2nd, 2011 05:31 am (UTC)
it's trapped inside such boring stories it's a slog to get through.

I can see that would make things more difficult; I didn't mind the stories. They dug at the next layer of stuff that we hadn't really seen before, moved beyond the Roadhouse aspect of the hunting world, and, well, I actually really liked the fairy tale stuff and Lisa and Ben didn't annoy me and I really liked the conversation between Dean and the demon in Sin City. I even enjoyed Red Sky, and have never quite managed to pinpoint what everyone found so awful about it, except that it was the first time we ever really saw the brothers got the best of by a human opponent. Me, I liked that. I even found Dean's reaction to Bela shooting Sam in character, so. *shrug*

More than that, it just feels *off* somehow.... I feel like Sam and Dean are acting just ever so slightly out of character for the sake of the comedy.

See, that was kind of *genius* to me. Because everything WAS off, along with Sam and especially Dean, and I felt like the season tonally reflected that really well. If it hadn't been for losing six episodes toward the end I think it would have been much more apparent, but I assumed that the season started out unnaturally bright and flippant as a reflection of Dean's mood – he'd brought Sammy back, he'd killed YED and he'd seen his father escape from Hell. That's probably the best he's ever felt in his life. And he had a WHOLE YEAR before his deal came due. Of course he was euphoric, and in denial, and Show, which is skewed to his perspective, was the same way.

And then, as the season progressed and the deal came due, I assumed they would steadily darken the tone until it became nigh-unbearable and we were totally, completely with Sam making the decision to use his powers to save Dean because we'd become just as desperate as he was. Rewatching the season you can see remnants of that, especially in the front half where the episodes progress as intended, but all the meat was in those back six episodes. Without them it all just doesn't work as well and we have to just have Jared sell Sam's desperation in not enough screen time.

So, yeah. I enjoyed the mental time off we got with Dean's denial, I appreciated the lightness of it and could let the darkenss simmer below the surface because I was as much in need of a break as Dean was. It was eating triple bacon cheeseburgers and, er, so on, because damnit, we'd earned it! And I appreciated the storytelling that would ratchet up the tension simply in the tonal transition, rather than relying on a countdown or something, even if ultimately they weren't able to pull it off through no fault of their own. And I liked the new facets of the hunting world they introduced. And that's what I liked about it. :)
bitterlimetwist
Jun. 2nd, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
"I even enjoyed Red Sky, and have never quite managed to pinpoint what everyone found so awful about it."

I don't hate Red Sky, but I'm pretty sure what everyone hated (and it's what I find least enjoyable about the ep.) is the old lady hitting on Sam. It kind of smacks of laughing at women once they're of a certain age. Although I wouldn't have found it funny if it had been an old man groping Bella, so there you go. Mileage and all that.

"Because everything WAS off, along with Sam and especially Dean, and I felt like the season tonally reflected that really well."

This is exactly why I came around to it; thematically it's very strong.

"And that's what I liked about it. :)"

Interesting! I'm going to keep all this in mind if I ever get the urge to rewatch.
themonkeytwin
Jun. 3rd, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes. Spn's version of the "cougar". I didn't find that as funny as the writers obviously did, and I can see why some people would be outraged by it, but I didn't mind it much myself. I don't expect everyone to see it my way, but for me, it wasn't a problem.

On the lesser issue, the whole if-it-had-been-Bela reversal, I didn't find it objectionable because Sam was not being victimized by anyone (except Dean). He was perfectly capable of extricating himself from the situation if he needed to – which is why if it were reversed, and it were Bela and an old lech, and she was as capable as Sam (which I think she is), then I wouldn't find it a problem at all. Also potentially funny, depending on how it was played. It's the imbalance of power and victim thing that makes that not funny – and the imbalance of power was between Dean and Sam, as it's always been until S5. And, let's face it, that is played for laughs at least as much as it's a source of drama.

As for the indignity of laughing at old women, Gert (it was Gert, wasn't it?) is not the only example of elderly women in Show, and there's a range and there ARE old women like that. She's not representative of old women as a group, she's a character, and thus I don't think Show was making fun of old women. In particular, she's a character who was a mark of Bela's. Bela chooses her marks well; given the option, of course she's going to go for marks who are led by their impulses and desires, because they're the easiest to manipulate.

And on a more meta level, I liked that Gert was just old enough and uninhibited enough to do what we'd all do if we thought we could get away with it. For some people, being old is all about getting away with doing whatever they feel like. So why not cop a feel of the gorgeous young guy who's too polite to stop you? Not admirable, perhaps, but certainly showing that Gert was a distinct character and not just a demographic puppet. Old male characters are allowed to be complex and flawed and sometimes ridiculous, so why not old female characters? I am totally okay with that.
bitterlimetwist
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
All this talk about Red Sky meant that I had to go watch it, and I was surprised by how little there actually was of Gert groping Sam. It's one of those tricks of the mind, where the part you liked the least is the part you remember the best. And when she grabbed his ass, and told him he was firm all over? I laughed. So I'm full of shit. Also, I really like this -

"So why not cop a feel of the gorgeous young guy who's too polite to stop you? Not admirable, perhaps, but certainly showing that Gert was a distinct character and not just a demographic puppet."

This is what happens when you talk about an episode you haven't seen in a while. Now that I've seen it, I can say that I really liked it (and the Sam and Dean stuff - oh kill me now, it was so good). Rewatching it reminded me why I love S3: It's S4 minus the angels. It's ALL there - Sam willing to do anything to achieve the goal; Sam going behind Dean's back; Sam trusting Ruby; Sam acting like Dean; Sam and Dean fighting. Because of the strike they obviously only had time to tie up Dean's deal, but not enough time to show us Sam choosing to use his powers, so the whole thing got carried over to S4. Only in S4 Sam ends up with less audience sympathy because he isn't selling his soul to save Dean, he's selling his soul partly for revenge; and he isn't just working with Ruby, but having sex with her and drinking her blood. I mean, they really made his choices so much worse - but I like that. And omigosh I will shut up now.
themonkeytwin
Jun. 17th, 2011 04:26 am (UTC)
Hey, sorry, got distracted by this last class thing. Blech.

Yay for redeeming episodes! That's one of the best things about meta, is that both your own and others', is how it brings out things you never saw before and can make you appreciate genuinely good-quality things much more.

I mean, they really made his choices so much worse - but I like that.

Oh, me too, and I love what you point out about the shift in timing (and thus motive) for his selling his soul. I hadn't really thought about that before. I mean, ALL the most sympathetic aspects of that occurred inter-season – and we had to learn about them all all at once when he told Dean, rather than take each agonizing step with him. Gah! *hugs Sammy*
bitterlimetwist
Jun. 19th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
"That's one of the best things about meta, is that both your own and others', is how it brings out things you never saw before and can make you appreciate genuinely good-quality things much more."

That's why I'm obsessed with meta. But in a totally healthy way, of course. *shifty eyes*

"the shift in timing (and thus motive) for his selling his soul."

We lost episodes because of the strike, but gained a more complex and interesting story. Win, I'd say.

"ALL the most sympathetic aspects of that occurred inter-season – and we had to learn about them all all at once when he told Dean, rather than take each agonizing step with him."

I never had a problem with that, although I've just recently come across a fair number who do. So much of S4 was Sam struggling to decide what he should do, so that was inherently sympathetic to me. 4.09, for me, was about showing his devastation after Dean's death, and how Ruby got him to trust her.
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