Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Too Serious

The actual title of this post is "Are We Taking Supernatural Too Seriously, or Did the Show Just Get Too Serious?" but it was too long. :)

Before I launch into my topic, I want to clarify that "we" means all of fandom in a general sense, and doesn't mean anyone specifically. I'm amalgamating a lot of things I've read over the last several weeks, and I don't want any particular person to feel targeted.

For three seasons, I've loved Supernatural so much that watching one episode a week wasn't enough, and I've sought solidarity with fellow fans all over the Internet. The drawback is that when I adore an episode, then read several disappointed blogs about it. Man, do I deflate quickly.

This season is unique, and the complaints attack all aspects of the show. It's too dark--but it's always been billed as a weekly horror movie, and it started with the mother of an infant and a young child being burned alive on the ceiling. It's too light--how dare they match the AntiChrist with a fart joke? The mytharc is heavy, and difficult to get away from, which makes people complain that they want standalone episodes. Then we get standalone episodes, and they complain that it makes no sense to have one, don't they know there's an apocalypse going on?

What drove me to choose this topic this week was what I saw about the most recent episode, the name of which I will not type because I had the freakin' song stuck in my head for five days! My Internet trolling for Supernatural stuff is fairly limited nowadays, with about half a dozen sites and blogs on my list. I was kind of shocked to find universal displeasure with 5.06. The very same things people loved in "Mystery Spot," they hated in this episode. The combination of humor and pathos struck so many people wrong, and it baffles me.

So I wonder if we're taking the show too seriously. Have we lost touch with our overwhelming love because of that love? Most TV shows I watch are just surface enjoyment. I like them or I don't, and I don't spend a lot of time discussing them or even thinking about them afterward. Supernatural is, and always has been, different, but in sharing viewpoints, are we destroying our ability to just watch and enjoy? It seems we're always digging so deep we can't help but find dissatisfaction.

Perhaps the fault lies not with us, but with the show's writers. Maybe Kripke's taken a turn so serious it departs too far from the show's core and renders us unable to connect with the things we loved, even when they're present. But is it even possible to contemplate that? Because it's just as likely that if season 4 hadn't gone down the road it had, if they'd just continued with everything the way it was in seasons one and two, we'd have been unhappy with its lack of maturity and evolution. Few things that stay the same satisfy us for very long.

Another possibility is that our rabidity may have simply run its course. Passion, by its very nature, can only be sustained for so long.

I know there are individuals who have loved every minute of season 5, and some who have hated every minute, so my thoughts here aren't valid on that level--maybe not even on a global level. But I'm interested to hear what you all have to say. What is your temperature reading of the fandom as a whole, and how do you feel about it?


AuthorM said...

I didn't even check the author of this post before reading, and knew it was you. ;)

I don't pay attention to fandom, so I can't really make a comment. But I think that people who LOVE LOVE LOVE something so much will often feel as though they somehow own it, or are entitled to determine its course, and when disappointed will hate with as much fervor as they loved.

My tendency is to love Supernatural even when I'm not a hundred percent over the top thrilled with it. In fact, my love gives it leeway that other shows wouldn't get. It doesn't mean I can see its flaws when it has them, just that I forgive them more easily because of how much I love it.

This season hasn't blown me away like last one did, but I'm not angry or even disappointed. I'm satisfied with what they're doing so far. I still love it.

I think you make valid points, though -- when you start overanalyzing something its likely you might no longer get as much simple joy from it.


Anonymous said...

I pay no mind to fandom. And like, M, I love SPN so completely that when I am disappointed I'm able to write it off. An off episode is still so much better than most shows. As for this season, I'm really enjoying it and LOVED the last episode. The show could've stayed dark, dismal and depressing (esp. with the bros apart) but Kripke and Co. are working hard to find a balance. IMO. Always, always, always I look forward and wonder what will happen next. I don't have that kind of anticipation with any other show.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I didn't even check the author of this post before reading, and knew it was you.

LOL I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not. Like "oh, geez, this kind of stuff again." :)

But you two ARE part of fandom. Terri, you're a Supernatural Sister, and M, you post on your blog about it. "Fandom" is just those viewers who feel strongly enough about a show to talk about it publicly. It's not just the overly intense flamers on the big message boards. :) So your comments and feelings contribute to the overall "temperature" I'm kind of referring to.

I think the show is heading for a positive, satisfying place, which also enhances the ride for me, which might be why this year hasn't seemed depressing to me like it has to so many other people.

It will be interesting to watch as things go on. The fandom, I mean, not just the show. :)

char said...

I love the show, and I have been enjoying this season. The band is back together and we are off the save the world against the greatest foe. I enjoy the lighthearted episodes as much as the darker ones this is what makes this show great. I think sometimes people get too wrapped up in the little things to enjoy the whole. Just my thoughts.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

That's what I like to hear, char! :)

Thanks for weighing in!