Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How About that Jared?

Last year, I did a post about the actors on the show, and that as far as Jared had come over the seasons, Jensen was just a better actor, and that was why he was getting all the solo shows and, with "The End," actually doubling his role.

So when are we going to get the Sam-only episode?

Setting aside all the issues we have with Soulless!Sam, let's look at Jared's performance for itself. He's spent 5 seasons honing his character. He knew all of Sam's nuances, his bitchface, his eyeroll, his puppy-dog eyes and intense determination. His best performances over the years were arguably when he was someone else (my vote goes, of course, to "Born Under a Bad Sign," when he channeled Meg), but by season 5, he'd gone far beyond the nostril-flare school of acting.

And now he's been asked to change everything, except not. He's supposed to still be Sam, but without the hallmarks that make him that character. No more puppy-dog eyes, no more bitchface, at least not the way he's always done them, as natural responses to his brother or any other character. Now, Sam has to think about how he would react to something, and fake it.

I like to think of acting as happening in one of two ways: putting in on, and projecting from within. I always said Jensen projects from within. He becomes the character on the inside, so he fully embodies Dean. Jared has usually been of the other type, as if he'd put on a Sam Suit and walked around inside the character. I think this season, he's made the switch to projection.

Jared has become a new Sam, and is living him from within. His character has become so much more complex, and I think Jared hasn't just stepped up his game, but leaped a few levels. Right from the start, we knew there was something wrong. And yet, he kept us guessing. He made us hate him (or at least dislike him), even some of those of us who loved him without reservation.

So do I miss Sammy-of-the-puppy-eyes-and-exasperation? Hell, yeah, and I really don't want him to go soulless for more than another episode or two. But I applaud Jared for his amazing performance, and I'm grateful to the writers for giving us the chance to see it, even if I don't want it anymore. :)

What do you think?


Natasha A. said...

I haven't been a Sam fan, and realistically I'm still not. BUT I think he is definitely making this new Sam work. I love to hate him if that makes sense!

Unknown said...

First off, thank you for the yummy delicious shirtless Sam pic. What a great way to wake up on Hump Day *snickers*

I agree with you, Natalie. Jared has really honed his craft and is giving us a much more nuanced performance as Sam. He's worked on his eyes, especially. He projects Sammy then you see that cold emptiness slide in like a change of drivers. Makes me shiver.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Jared certainly has a thankless job this season. If he is true to the soulless Sam, he's in danger of appearing wooden - something no actor ever wants to hear, applied to himself. If he gives the audience some juicy emotions, then what's with the no soul thing?

This only proves that Jared is a brave man.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

It makes perfect sense, Natasha! I feel the same way (re: love to hate).

He projects Sammy then you see that cold emptiness slide in like a change of drivers.

Ooh, beautifully said, Melissa! And you're welcome for the picture. :)

Julia, I absolutely agree. I did a post a week or so ago about that very thing, that emotionlessness is impossible to get away with. And Sam HAS displayed emotion. I rationalize it this way: he knows what he should feel, and is able to act "normal" sometimes because of that; and because he's alive, he still has a connection to his soul, even if it's not present, which gives remnants of emotion, even if he's lost a lot of the core of it. It's very tricky!

Anonymous said...

Great write up, Nat! And I too appreciated the pics. :) I'm curious why you think Sam still has a connection to his soul? I would think if it's yanked he doesn't have any part of it.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

It's just writerly rationalization, Terri. As Julia indicated, making him totally emotionless would be dull, and it's virtually impossible to portray. And he HAS displayed emotion, even if it's something as simple as annoyance or satisfaction.

We can compare Sam to Anna. She had her light ripped out of her and became human. She didn't know where her light was, but once she got near it, she could sense that it had been there. And she retained some of what made her an angel, even without her light--angel radio, the banishing spell, etc. So that supports my theory, a theory that only serves to keep me happy about the show's presentation. :)

One other thing I don't think I mentioned here: Why is Sam different from Bobby? I have to watch "Weekend at Bobby's" again, but didn't Bobby say stuff like "Give me back my soul"? If Crowley had Bobby's soul, why wasn't he missing it the way Sam misses his?

Anonymous said...

Oooh, most excellent point about Bobby! Bobby still seemed like Bobby. Well now I'm gonna be thinking on that.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, most excellent point about Bobby! Bobby still seemed like Bobby. Well now I'm gonna be thinking on that.

Unknown said...

Terri & Natalie,
When Bobby said "gimme back my soul" he meant his future soul.
Remember that Crowley was previously the crossroads demon. Bobby sold his soul (to walk again, if I remember correctly), but he doesn't lose it until he dies. I think they said he had 10 years. So he's still in possession of it for now. Bobby wants it back for good - without the time limit. I think I remember this correctly.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You're probably right, Pamela, that Bobby's soul hadn't actually left his body (he "loaned" it to Crowley to find out the location of Death, actually--walking again was a side benefit Crowley added). But there are details that still make it confusing to me, like Bobby's physical reaction when Crowley "gave" it back to him, as if something was returning. Plus, the boy who gave his soul to Balthazar--was it just marked, or was it gone? I have to watch again. I just haven't found the time!