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Where All Your Dreams Are Good: Why Supernatural Is My Happy Place
Bitch Jerk

I've been doing some thinking, and before I jump into my twelfth chapter of my novel, I thought I'd take a moment to get this off my chest so it doesn't distract.

This was mostly spurred on by a conversation I had with a friend that watches the show, yet I think hates it no matter what she says.

Many have heard my story of discovering Supernatural by now, so I'll be brief on that. In October of 2010, I took a much needed vacation. Since I didn't have the capital or any destination in mind, I made it into a staycation. I got up on a Monday morning, a bit bleary and not quite awake when a show came on TNT. It was hard to see with the sunlight on the TV and it was a bit dark in the show, but I found myself enthralled. That episode was season 1's Scarecrow, and I quickly backtracked and got caught up as fast as I could.

Little did I know, this little show that happened to come into my life while on a ho hum staycation would change my entire life almost overnight.

It has, over time, become my happy place. It is where I go to when I need a laugh, or when I need a good cry.

It has faults, as I know, but I'm almost glad that it's not perfect. If this show WAS perfect, I don't think I'd love it as much or feel as connected to it. Supernatural, no matter what people think of a particular episode, story arc, or season, puts it out there and TRIES. That's the biggest thing I've learned from watching this show, and it's the one thing that lingers when the dust settles. Its ability to try, to experiment through trial and error, proves to me that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, and that even when it doesn't work out, so what. Pick yourself up and try again.

I know people may scoff at that. It is a TV show, how could it do such a thing? But it resonates with me in this manner. And long after the last episode (hopefully after another season has been put on at the very least) has aired and the curtain has fallen on it, I will hang onto this more than anything else: Try. Just try. You never know what might come from it.

I like that Supernatural NEVER boxes itself in. It doesn't force itself to be pure drama or pure parody. It does BOTH.

Its dramatic episodes and story arcs rival anything else on TV in scripted dramas. Episodes like "In My Time of Dying," "On the Head of a Pin," "All Hell Breaks Loose I and II," "Swan Song," "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Faith," "Death's Door," "Hello Cruel World," and "The End," are all fine examples to me how this show can do gripping dramatic storytelling that reaches deep inside and tugs on the heartstrings. These episodes capture the human spirit and condition, give us powerful characters, and make us FEEL deeply for them. They linger long after viewing, they don't let us go, and they force us to not only examine the story itself but ourselves. THAT is great writing at its finest.

Supernatural can also poke fun at itself, its genre, its medium, and the human condition itself. Let's be honest, sometimes we humans are just damn funny, intentionally or otherwise. Episodes like "Ghostfacers," "Tall Tales," "Hollywood Babylon," "Bad Day at Black Rock," "Monster Movie," "Wishful Thinking," "The Real Ghostbusters," "Clap Your Hands If You Believe," "The French Mistake," and the latest "Plucky's Pennywhistle Magical Menagerie," all provide us with astounding imagination, bizarre scenarios that provide excellent comedy, and give us a chance to breathe. They're tongue in cheek, full of unique treats, and show us that it's okay to have a good time. A good portion of these are self reflexive and meta ficitonal, and that's always a risky move, but Supernatural typically manages to pull it off and pull it off well. After all, where else will you see a talking suicidal Teddy Bear, a Leprechaun posing as aliens, a slow dancing alien, and an evil rabbits foot? Each of these things are full of dark humor and pure imagination. They're fresh, different, and brilliant in their own ways. Supernatural has never shied away from the strange, and considering its genre and storylines, it's perhaps the best thing the show does. It NEVER takes itself too seriously.

Sometimes, they mix the two together in a brilliant cocktail that leaves us equal parts crying and laughing. "Mystery Spot," and "A Very Supernatural Christmas," probably are two prime examples of this aspect. Dean is killed hundreds of times in a single episode in "Mystery Spot," and while that synopsis should bring us tears, it brings us great laughter. All fans can point to their favorite Dean death (Mine's the one with the boys wrestling over the axe. Dean ordering, "Sam, give me the axe," and Sam's petulant little brother voice saying, "NO, you give it" followed by the splatter of blood and his soft and shocked, "Dean?" gets me EVERYTIME) And yet, as funny as this gem of a Carver episode is, it tugs at my heart when Dean dies on Wednesday and Sam is left to go on without him for six months, hunting endlessly and alone. The hug when Sam manages to get the Trickster (prior to the revelation that he is indeed Gabriel) to reverse it is beautiful and emotional. It reaffirms the strongest current this show has and has held onto throughout even the rockiest times for the Winchesters: they love each other very much and it is what will always keep them together. "A Very Supernatural Christmas," follows much of the same formula. We see the Winchesters argue over celebrating Dean's last Christmas juxtaposed with flashbacks to their childhood. It's sad to see Sam lose his innocence, discovering that they were hunters. And yet, who can forget their offkey rendition of Silent Night? Or Dean setting Sam up to look like a creeper at Santa's workshop? ("It's been Sammy's dream." "We don't accept kids over 12." "No, we just came to watch!" "Ew!" "Thanks. Thanks a lot, Dean.") They're well rounded stories that have unforgettable moments and stories.

Most of all, and many other Supernatural fans can attest to this part of the show, this show changes us. It changed me. A year and a half ago, I was working in retail without any ambitions really for something more or better. I got up, went through the motions, came home and crashed in a nap, and did it again the next day. It was just existing, not living. I started watching this show, and something shifted deep down inside of me. I started to write again. I had dallied in fanfiction in other fandoms for years, but I was always TOO afraid to touch something original, fearing I didn't have the imagination, the ability, the drive to do it. I am now NINE chapters away from completing a first draft on my first novel, and it is inspired by and for Jared Padalecki, who stars as Sam Winchester in the show. Almost overnight, as I got into this show, I felt things change. Everything fundamentally went from greys and boring to Technicolor and exciting. I started to think about what I could do, not what I thought I couldn't. This show gives me courage because IT has courage in cast, crew, writers, characters, and story. It tries and tries and tries and that's what I take from it. It is MY happy place, no matter what discussions are occurring in fandom about the state of the show or its writing or anything else. I am still working in retail, and while that's not ideal, the changes in a single year have been great.

Another reason this show is such a happy place for me is because it's a beautiful escape from my own life, too. Not many of you in the SPN Fandom know this yet, but my father has a severe chronic condition. He's been handling it fairly well the last two or so years, but it's still very much a part of my daily life. He has something called familial pancreatitis, and it causes him to have excruciating pain everyday. He has to take a legion of pills to eat his meals, he was slated at one point not to make it to 50. We got him there. He's 51. Now we're working on 55. It's scary a lot of the time to think about it. And so, I retreat into this show and escape. I have a lot of darkness in my life, and it might seem to choose this show with its own darkness, but I always see hope, even when it doesn't seem like there's much to be had. So, I thank the show for providing me this emotional outlet.

Another thing this show gives me is just how approachable those who work on it really are. Go to a Supernatural Convention and you shall understand. This video pretty much captures that spirit, shows us WHY the fans of this show are so damn loyal and support it so much:

I was lucky enough to attend my first (and will be attending another this year to finish what I started) in NJ last summer. I had the privilege of meeting Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Steven Williams, Richard Speight Jr, Matt Cohen, Kim Rhodes, Gabriel Tigerman, and so many more. The show had changed me already, but doing THIS had taken it to the next level. I bit the bullet, spent $300 extra on top of the Gold package ticket in order to sit in on the Private Q&A with Jared Padalecki. I didn't know what was going to happen, I didn't know if I was going to have the balls to tell him about my then baby novel, but you know what? He walked into the room, and even though he's 6'5" and could probably bench press me in his sleep, he set me at ease. He was sweet, gentle, kind, and a great listener once I directed him away from complaining about the current state of air travels. I opened it up, asking a question about his craft. It made his eyes light up and a thoughtful expression settle over his features, and he gave me a very through answer about saying things differently, feeling for what's natural, using different gestures, and the like. It moved me and I got bolder. So, I told him that I was a writer in the midst of my first project. I didn't even KNOW I was writing a novel until he said so. He asked me about it, and I said that I had only one person in mind for casting, HIM. That blew him away. Later, when I ended up in his autograph line, I didn't intend on bringing it up again, letting it go and be that moment. HE brought it up again and said, "Thanks for writing that novel. I really want to read it." It's stuck with me, and it's given me the drive to do what I'm doing NOW.

If that's not enough, those of us active in the fandom know that not only do things like this happen at conventions, but online as well. Jared and many of the cast and crew are on Twitter, speaking directly to US the fans. It's a treat and treasure to know that Jared sees our response, that a producer like Jim Michaels will tweet about the current episode and share videos about our beloved Impala Baby, that Guy Norman Bee, a director of the show and many other great programs will ANSWER directly to us (I have had that gift from him) and that Jim Beaver will share stories about his little girl or his thoughts on other things. They have embraced us as much as we've embraced them, and turned us into a large Family---the Supernatural Family.

Sure, things get contentious at times within it, but all in all, we receive an awful lot of joy from this show. It is my happy place, and I know it will continue to be that long after it ends.

Far Away Eyes

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Lovely post, sweetie. So sorry to hear about your father, but it's wonderful to have an outlet to deal with the stress. SPN's been that for me as well. I love your Jared story to pieces. So excited for you to finish your novel and give it to him. And I'm excited to meet you come October!

I have a few friends that I've gotten into the show; they love it but when I try to share certain aspects of fandom, they back off a bit. I find that unfortunate because I think a good chunk of my enjoyment (and frustration, true) comes from that extra level of engagement with the show and everyone involved. It really can be life-changing if you let it.

Thanks. We've been handling this situation with Dad for about a decade or so almost. He really started having issues about 2004. Many hospital visits/stays, including one during Christmas. Sometimes, like a few months ago, it gets hard. I had to rush him to the ER cause he was in so much pain. I turn to this show to cry sometimes because it's therapeutic to cry over Dean holding a dead Sammy rather than thinking of REAL death. And yeah, this show gives me that outlet to deal with this and so much other stress in my life.

I can't wait to meet you and so many of the others, too. I can understand why some of your friends are hesitant. The friend that spawned this here entry actually is the one that pushed me towards it. I got burned BAD by the X-Files fandom, so I really didn't wanna get in the midst of another flame war fest or anything. What I've gotten from fellow fans has made up for any of the silly dithering that goes on in this crazy but close knit fandom.

And now, I must go get busy if I intend to finish this silly novel. I want to say EIGHT chapters to go by the end of tomorrow.

What a wonderful post! I agree wholeheartedly! Supernatural brought me into the blogosphere and inspired me to write thousands of pages of in-depth essays exploring not only the show's characters and events, but my own beliefs and convictions. I think I would have written them even if no one read them, but they wound up pulling me into a fandom and bringing me friends from around the globe who share my love for the show. And while I don't have the time to continue doing those essays, the show's can-do spirit also provided the fuel for me to embark on the next adventure of my life: determining to break into voiceover and create a new career so I can retire from one that no longer satisfies me.

That's one heck of an effect from one fantasy television show.

I'll be watching and loving for as long as the show runs and the people who make it continue to pour their love and joy into both it and their fans. And I'll hope to finally meet you at a con someday! (And I want to read your novel ... *grin*)

I'm glad you liked it, Mary.

This all started after my friend ranted about how we got shortchanged by Friday's episode, and when I told her that we LOVED it, she was aghast. She actually went as far as to say "How did this show ever get so many fans at all?" I've learned to accept that she doesn't get it or like it, but I had to do an explanation here. This is what came out.

This show may be, on the surface, a simple TV show, but it's bigger than that. To those outside, like my friend, it's so hard to explain what it IS about this show. It seems you either get it or you don't. And when you get it, wow, look out. You'll find yourself doing things you never thought you would.

I really hope you get to come to Chicago. I'm hoping to bring two copies of my novel after binding to it. I want one copy signed by Jared. The other? That's his, signed by me. Hey, it seems a fair trade. I can order more copies for friends/family after that. Depends how much a full order for 20 copies costs. Might have more for the Family at Chicago, who knows.

It'd be neat to have even more Family at Chicago. So many are going already, it's gonna be neat to know some people this time.

I love what you wrote, Far Away Eyes. There is something...supernatural about this show Supernatural! I've seen so many creative and passionate responses to episodes over the years. It breaks my heart when folks are negative and choose to quit watching. The show is powerful--it sparks so much discussion. I appreciate the discussions. We fans are not just sitting on our asses blankly being entertained--we are engaged and alive! With all the reality shows taking over the airwaves I am so happy to have this creative 'little show that can' appear as an oasis of enjoyment on a Friday night. I wish you and your family well and I'd really love to read your book. Perhaps you can let us all know a way to order a copy! Cheers! -RG

Thanks. Hey, I know some eps are better than others, but damn it, I'll wager it's harder to find anything better on TV these days.

And considering how many people I've run into that state that this show has had a profound effect on their lives, well hell, means it has to be doing something right, even now.

When I figure out the publishing thing, I'll be sure to let people know how to get a copy. I'm hoping to get a bound copy for Jared first, as I feel it fair he get to see it first.

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