Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dean Girls vs. Sammy Girls

The fangirl phenomena has likely been around as long as moving pictures, but it has exploded in the years since the Internet has been commonplace in homes. Now, female fans can not only dream of their favorite TV or movie hero, she also can create a fanlisting or Web site devoted to him. She can design banners and icons showcasing him to accompany her online forum posts. She can purchase a T-shirt from an online store like CafePress that proclaims her devotion. I admit it - I have Supernatural T-shirts and a pin proclaiming me to be a Sammy Girl. What is this Sammy Girl proclamation, you ask.

Perhaps as old as fangirldom is the debate over which guy in a show deserves all that adoration. And the division usually comes down to one’s preference for the bad boy versus the good boy. Spike or Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Captain Jack Sparrow or Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Henry Fitzroy or Mike Celucci in Blood Ties.

In other words, are you a Dean Girl or a Sammy Girl?

What makes a female fan gravitate toward Dean or Sam? Both have good qualities, and both have bad. I don’t think anyone will argue with the fact that they’re both smokin’ hot. It’s actually a mixture of things - physical attributes, their personalities, how they interact with those around them and each other - that cause fans to line up in their corners.

Today, let's just examine the physical attributes and personalities.

Physical Attributes

We know right from the Pilot episode which Winchester brother is going to be the bad boy and which is going to be the good boy. Visual clues tell us this as much as what the characters say. Dean has the bad-boy leather jacket, boots, and close-cropped hair that might have been inspired by his dad’s time in the Marines. Plus, who has time to mess with hair when he’s hunting things that go bump in the night?

Sam is the All-American college boy who wears newer jeans than Dean, sneakers, and loose shirts and jackets. Unlike his older brother, he has longer hair that takes a little more effort. Dean is a few inches shorter and a bit more compactly built. Sam is tall and rangy, though we find out in episodes like “Hell House” (1-17) and “Heart” (2-17) that Sammy is hiding a lot of muscles under those baggy clothes of his. (Hmm, I think my new favorite number is 17.)


For two brothers who have the same, often lonely, mission in life, these two certainly have different personalities. And fangirls love them for those differences.

Dean is cocky and likes to have fun drinking, playing poker, shooting pool, throwing darts, and putting quarters in the Magic Fingers machine. He loves women, particularly of the “hot chick” variety. We see this early on in Season 1. In the Pilot, he gives Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica, that look of male appreciation when she comes into the living room in her sleepwear, including a revealing shirt sporting a Smurf. Dean says, “I love the Smurfs” and you know he really means he likes what’s in the Smurf shirt. Even when the brothers head to St. Louis to help out one of Sam’s college friends in “Skin” (1-6), Dean can’t turn off his strong pull toward women. When Becky says to Sam, “What do you think this is, Hooters?” Dean replies under his breath, “I wish.” Even faced with his imminent demise, Dean makes a hot-chick comment: “I’m not going to die in a hospital when the nurses aren’t even hot.” (”Faith,” 1-12)

But even though Dean always comes across as the ladies’ man, he’s fun and attractive. And in “Route 666″ (1-13), we find out that Dean can indeed fall hard for a woman when he meets back up with Cassie, an old love. In fact, Cassie’s past rejection of him when he told her the truth about himself and his hunting may have contributed to him not wanting anything more than a superficial relationship with a woman now.

Sam’s relationship with women is much different. He loved Jessica a lot and it’s eventually revealed that he was going to ask her to marry him. But when he lost her, it was a long time before he could even admit an attraction toward another woman. In “Hook Man” (1-7), Lori kisses Sam but he pulls away. He’s not over Jess yet. It’s not until “Provenance” (1-19) that Sam lets go enough to admit a new attraction and kiss Sarah at the end. But because of their job, he has to leave her and anything that might have developed between them behind.

While we figure Dean is having plenty of sex and enjoying every minute of it (as his partners likely are too), Sam doesn’t have sex after Jessica until he meets Madison in “Heart” (2-17). Because this is the first time since Jessica, it’s especially heart wrenching at the end when he has to admit that there’s no cure for Madison’s lycanthropy and he has to kill her. The anguish on his face just before he walks into the room, portrayed so well by Jared Padalecki, shows that when Sam begins to give his heart to someone, he doesn’t do it by half measures. That’s very attractive to women, to be loved like that. And it makes Sam’s female fans ache for him, that once again a woman he cares a great deal about has been taken from him.

So, based on physical and personality characteristics, are you a Dean Girl or a Sammy Girl? Why?

Be sure to come back next Wednesday when I'll discuss the differences between Dean's humor and Sammy's humor.


Anonymous said...

In the Supernatural essay I've got coming out for In the Hunt, I argued that Sam was actually the bad boy since he was the family rebel while Dean not only tried to be a dutiful son but a brother who practically raised his sibling. But in dialogue, Dean is definitely more of the bad boy with smart ass, politically incorrect comments and Sam is more sensitive and sympathetic. Of course, I wrote my essay before this season, when they took Bad Dean to a whole new level, torturing souls in hell!

I adore both Winchesters and they obviously have great traits (smokin' hotness being one) but when it comes down to it, I'm a Dean girl. Which is odd, because usually I have a thing for tall guys.

They both make me laugh, but Dean actually tugs on my heartstrings more. He REMEMBERS Mary Winchester and what it was like in the days when they had a real family. In a way, it seems like he had more to lose because Sam didn't really know that. While Sam has definitely suffered and the demonic world eventually sucked him back in when Jess was killed, in college he at least had a few years of a normal life. And we saw during the episode with the djinn just how much Dean craved that. And we've seen since just how far Dean would go (literally hell and back) to protect his kid brother.

They both rock, but while Sam makes me smile (or cry, during Heart) and I wouldn't complain if he had more shirtless scenes *g* it's truly Dean who makes me swoon.

Anonymous said...

And, all intelligent character analysis aside, I mean come on, have you seen Jensen's eyes?!

AuthorM said...

I was a Dean girl from the very first minute I saw him. In fact, couldn't stand Sammy until Season Two and then I got a greater...ahem...appreciation for them.


Well, I love them BOTH (the characters) for different reasons.

I would still like to be locked in the dark basement with Dean at my side, though.


AuthorM said...

greater appreciation for HIM, not them. (Though them could refer to his muscles, I guess.LOL)

On non-physical note, I love them both for different reasons, personality-wise as well.


Norah Wilson said...

Sammy has his charms, but I'm a Dean girl all the way. I love all the bad boy stuff, but it's the episodes that let you see beyond that exterior that really cemented the Dean-girl status. The flashbacks to youth tend to break my heart (e.g., "A Very Supernatural Christmas") where Dean tries to shield the younger Sam from the reality of their father's life. And yes, the djinn episode ("What is and What Should Never Be") was another heart breaker.

And great point, Tanya, that within the family dynamic, Dean was the good guy (order taker) and Sam the rebel. Great writing, IMO.

phouse1964 said...

I am a Dean Girl all the way. Something about the "oh, Dean" moments. He is so much more broken than Sammy. And I like a wounded man.

Not than Sammy hasn't grown on me. I like a tall man and he has him humorous moments. But for some reason, I usually just want to smack him.

Trish Milburn said...

Hey, everyone. Been away from the computer today, but now I'm here to chat about Winchester goodness.

Tanya, I totally see where you're coming from about Sam being the rebel. I think there are a couple of reasons I like Sam -- I see aspects of myself in him, and I like 'em tall and lanky. :)

Trish Milburn said...

Have you seen Sam's arms? :)

Trish Milburn said...

Author M, you are not alone in your Dean girl-ness. In fact, when I was working on an essay about the boys, I interviewed several fans and found that the fangirls are overwhelmingly on Dean's side. Don't get me wrong, I love Dean too. And he has most of the best lines, but for me it's a similar situation as the Angel vs. Spike debate -- I think Spike is freaking hilarious and has fabulous lines, but I'm still an Angel girl. And while one might argue Angel is the good vs. Spike being the bad, Angel definitely had his dark/bad side. Angelus, anyone? I feel the same way about Captain Jack Sparrow vs. Will Turner -- I am totally a Will girl.

Trish Milburn said...

Welcome, phouse1964. This is your first visit, isn't it? Sorry if I've missed you before. We're trying to spread the word about our blog so we have even more people chatting and thus we have more Winchester fun. :)

I see the argument about Dean being more broken. The writers have definitely continued to build on that. Up until we found out about Dean torturing people in hell, however, I would also argue that Sam had a dark, tortured part that Dean didn't -- the fear that no matter what he really wanted, some power was going to make him turn evil and hurt/kill the people he cared about and gazillions more. That's a pretty heavy worry to live with.

Regarding Sam's humor, I think the fact that he's not humorous all the time makes when he is even funnier. Back to Angel again -- he definitely wasn't Mr. Ha-Ha, but when he did offer up some humor, it usually made me snort.

Maureen Child said...

Hey Trish....

I love both of the Winchesters. They each bring something to the show and to each other that just makes the show zing!

But, I'm a Dean girl. Have been from the beginning. And I'm not so sure he's the 'bad boy'. He never really struck me that way. As somebody here (sorry on the name thing, I suck!) said, Dean is the one who always followed orders. Who protected his family every way he could.

He stuck with dad, while Sam went off to college. Dean picked up dad's mission and carried on even when it was killing him. He gave up his soul to save his brother.

None of this sings bad boy to me. Plus, I LOVE the smart ass in him. And oh yes, as someone pointed out... those eyes??

In my latest book, BEDEVILED, there's even a little something to Jensen....The heroine's 13 year old niece......

"Eileen’s narrow shoulders slumped. “Fine. But I’ll be the only one in school tomorrow who doesn’t know what happened. Your only niece, the one who loves you, will be completely left out of the discussion about Jensen Ackles. I’ll be ostracized by my peers, but don’t let that worry you. I’ll probably get over it after years of therapy…”

Gotta love Dean........

Maureen Child said...

Oh, and just another comment! LOL

I'm soooooooo glad you guys started this blog! It's great to be able to talk about this show I love!

And for the record, I was an Angel girl, though Spike completely cracked me up and at times, broke my heart.

Trish Milburn said...

Maureen, love the snippet about Jensen Ackles. So fun! I have a YA paranormal ms which won the GH a couple of years ago that I'm hoping to sell to my publisher. The hero in it is modeled on Jared. :)

Anonymous said...

I found this blog through Megan and am very excited to read eveything! I will admit to being a little behind but I love what I have read so far!

I will agree that Sam might be more torchured but I never got "broken" from him. He's so emo and always has been . He just bugged me in S1. Maybe then, by S2, I was already wrapped up in Dean.

I can't wait to read what you guys think about tonight's episode!

Anonymous said...

I have been a Jensen fan since Days of Our Lives and I've followed him from show to show. Both guys are HOT, and I had a new appreciation for Sam after his sex scene with Ruby, but it's Dean's humor and the sparkle in his eyes that gets me every time.

Trish Milburn said...

LOL! My poor emo Sam. :)

Terri said: had a new appreciation for Sam after his sex scene with Ruby

Trish has to go fan herself at that memory. That and the one of Sam, wet from a shower, walking out in just a towel. Thunk!

Anonymous said...

What's so funny about the comments are that so many of you guys come down on the side of Dean. My friend Rachelle and I were at a conference once where we became comvinced EVERYONE, like our dear Trish, was a Sammy girl.

Maureen, LOL at that snippet! The fictional 13 yr old sounds a little like my REAL 7 yr old. (Although, he wants to be able to discuss kicking monster butt...not Jensen Ackles per se *g*)

Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic... I thought Angel and Buffy were soul mates, but I never did buy that Spike was more of a bad boy. I mean, he had no soul! And even without one, he tried to be better for her, whereas Angelus was off ripping out the throat of Giles' girlfriend or whatever. When you look at Spike's history--a poet pining for Cecily, then a vamp whose soul motivation was looking after Dru, then his budding feelings for Buffy? Nope, he was more like the sensitive Sammy in this vampire equation :-)

I liked him--some hilarious lines, some well acted pathos, some hot scenes. But she belongs with Angel.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I was Spike all the way, and I HATED HATED HATED how they ended Buffy.

*ahem* Right. Sam and Dean.

I've been a fence-sitter since the beginning, liking them ALMOST equally. The edge went to Dean, for two reasons: Sam is too much like me, and Jensen's older so early on, his maturity was more appealing to me.

But really, as the show would never work with just Dean or just Sam, neither would my love.

Since then, the differences between the brothers have shifted constantly. In "Playthings" Sam dropped the puppy-dog eyes and the patient coaxing and demanded Susan give them answers, for example.

And this season...I have to admit, I've leaned slightly more toward Sam, and when I saw the preview of "After School Special," I clicked over. Not for good, of course. I'll continue to be the Great Bouncing Fan. :)

Maureen Child said...

Hey Natalie.......

Who better to bounce between???

Tanya, LOL! Ah well, a little salt, a little monster kicking... who could resist?

MJFredrick said...

I was a Dean girl until earlier this season. The episode where Dean was haunted....can't remember the title. But Sam with yellow eyes and in a denim shirt---guh.

But I'm drawn to Dean, feel like I could relate to him better. Oldest child, taking on responsibilities. I just want him to have a happy ending more than Sam, since he's worked for it so hard.

Trish Milburn said...

I want them both to have happy endings. They've both lost a lot -- their parents, normal lives, and Sam has lost a woman he loved and another he was just beginning to care for.

MJFredrick said...

Sam doesn't seem to need a happy ending as much as Dean. I get the feeling he could find his own way, you know? Dean will have a harder time.

The dh is enjoying this episode...poor Dean.

Unknown said...

Hey guys! Love the blog. I can now fill my SPN addiction during the week!

But to comment on this. Where is all the Sammy love?!? I am a fan of both our boys, but those yummy puppy dog eyes, and sculpted Adonis muscles get me every time. Don't get me wrong, Dean is drop dead gorgeous too, I just have a stronger gravitational pull towards Sam. There is just something about his caring personality, the way he wears his heart on his sleeve, and the way he would do anything for those he loved.
Although Sam has been a touch annoying lately, but that will never make him look bad in my eyes. He is just trying to figure it out who he is. I understand.

Dean does absolutely have his moments though. His humor, and attitude make the show. I need both boys in the show to make me completely happy.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Who better to bounce between???

Oooh, yeah, baby. *fantasizes*

But Sam with yellow eyes and in a denim shirt---guh.

Yep, that was a moment along the path of my shift. :) Part of the reason I'm more Sam than Dean now (see, Ashley? You're not alone!) is that Jared has grown so much in the last three seasons, not just getting bigger and more mature, growing into his nose--but growing as an actor, too. Every time he pulls demon vomit I want to cuddle him. :)

I agree with both Mary and Trish. Both boys deserve happiness equally, both have been through horrible things and made great sacrifices, but Dean's pain seems deeper and felt longer, so more difficult to overcome.

Hey guys! Love the blog. I can now fill my SPN addiction during the week!

Hey, Ashley! Thanks for joining us!

Although Sam has been a touch annoying lately, but that will never make him look bad in my eyes.

Me, neither, though I can't say I've ever found him annoying. Okay, maybe when they keep secrets, they both annoy me. But I'm more annoyed with the writers than the characters! LOL

I need both boys in the show to make me completely happy.

Hear hear!

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

Captain Jack

I don't know why. I'm inconsistent.

Anonymous said...

I am without a doubt a huge Dean Girl. How. How could you not love him? I fell in love with the moment I saw him in the pilot episode. First of all, Dean is beyond drop dead gorgeous with those beautiful green eyes, amazing smile and delicious body. (I've been a fan of Jensen since Dark Angel and Days of our Lives) Dean is also a very complex and breathtaking character. He has a hilarious sense of humor, kicks ass and is the best big brother you could ask for, which is why Sam is so lucky to have him. Dean had to grow up at a very early age in order to take care of and raise Sam and he did in stride. He would sacrifice anything to protect Sam, John and even complete strangers because he's incredibly heroic and self-sacrificing. Now of course he has his flaws, as does everyone but it those exact flaws that makes him even more appealing and relateable. Plus he is oh so charming with those melt inducing smiles :D
I did like Sam alot in the first 3 seasons but I have totally lost all respect for him in season four. Frankly he pisses me off now and I'd love to take a swing at him. All in all, it's Dean Winchester for me all the way!

Unknown said...

Dean has nothing on Sam. I couldn't stand his whole ladies man thing in the first seasons but he started to grow on me as they revealed his devotion to family.
Sam is smart and hot beyond words. I could never say no to his puppy dog eyes. I admire his courage and devotion to those he loves as well as his desire to give himself for them and the world as we know it.
What he has gone through is twice as bad as Dean's troubles. In season 8 he was abandoned, lost everyone he cares about, spent a year in hell, been pushed around by Dean (very insensitive), and almost dies trying to save everyone. How one man can shoulder so much pain is beyond me. I'm a Sam girl, always and forever! <3

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hi, Corbyn! Thanks so much for commenting!

It's interesting to revisit this topic four years later. I agree that the writing for Dean got pretty annoying for a little while, with the insensitivity and harsh self-centeredness. He rebounded a bit, though, keeping me on the fence. They've both endured a lot, but Sam's soft center definitely calls out to me. :)

And to have broken Sammy and desperate Dean at the end of last season? Knife to the chest! :)

Unknown said...

I have been a sam girl the very moment I saw him!! I am so like him!!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

*high fives Hermespa*

Unknown said...

I've loved Sammy from S1. Dean hit me as the typically-cool-and-popular type and I couldn't get into him the way I did with Sammy. The way Sam could relate to and sympathize with both the victims and certain monsters (Lenore, Amy, etc), the way he struggled with the whole demon-blood thing, the way he tried to choose a life of his own before joining Dean again after their dad went missing...I could understand and love him all the more for those things. Maybe it's the rebel quality he has in him, maybe it's because he's more emotional. Idk but yeah. Luv him♡

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hi, Yoon! Thanks for commenting!

I agree with everything you said about Sam. :)

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Ariana Willingham likes sam dean