I should get it out of the way that I’m a casual SPN watcher. By which I mean I used to see it on tumblr, then I caught TNT reruns, and it was only last season that I started watching it as it aired (or on DVR). So I fully admit I don’t have the decade of dedication behind me that others of the SPN Family do, and perhaps that’s why I wasn’t moved to the tears by the milestone meta episode.
But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t moved, period.
Supernatural, despite all its fun with monsters, religion, and brotherly love/angst, does not have a great track record from a feminist perspective. Translation: Sam and Dean are great and all, but women in this show get the shaft in characterization. Or they get a shaft through the gut.
Plus, SPN’s meta episodes can be hit (“The French Mistake”) or miss (“Hunter Heroici”) on their own, but adding a semi-musical twist to the mix and titling the episode “Fan Fiction”? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. So here’s the low-down.
- Chicks, chicks, and more chicks! The episode takes place at an all-girls high school, making the cast of the episode overwhelmingly female. Aside from Dean and Sam, there’s one named male character in the episode, and he’s only a cameo at the very end.
- It wasn’t “Once More With Feeling”: Buffy comparions were inevitable. SPN made the smart choice by not trying to be Buffy. All the singing in “Fan Fiction” occurs in reality – Sam and Dean investigate a drama teacher’s disappearance and stumble upon (to their horror) a musical adaptation of the Supernatural Books/Winchester Gospels. The real Sam and Dean don’t sing, only the teenage girls playing fictionalized versions of them do.
- Representation: Marie, Maeve, Siobhan, Maggie, and Kristen are very different ladies.
- Marie’s the big fangirl and the writer/director of the musical. Aside from her vehement subtextual shipping choices, she’s a pretty good person, with brains and bravery to boot.
- Maeve: The big boss for the technical side of the production, Maeve really takes charge when Marie has to sub for the Sam role.
- Maggie: She fights with Marie over the non-canonical elements of the show, representing a different type of fan. She’s later kidnapped but holds her own while helping Sam take down the villain.
- Siobhan and Kristen: Healthy, well-adjusted teenage lesbians! Or bisexuals. We don’t know the rest of their dating histories for certain.
- THE SAMULET IS BACK: Sort of. Marie gives Dean a prop version of the amulet from Sam he threw away back in S5. This rectifies a years-long pain for the fans who view the amulet as a symbol of the brothers’ bond.
- Theatre Jokes FTW: Andrew “Floyd” Webber, Oklahoma, RENT, Wicked, Godspell, Sam’s techie past!
- Destiel: Dean’s reaction is priceless. And Sam’s a multi-shipper wondering why no one pairs him with Cas.
- Agree to Disagree: Dean is vehemently opposed to Supernatural as a musical from the get-go, but he softens a bit when they realize the only way to stop the villain Calliope is to the let the show happen. He gives a rousing curtain call speech, quotes a musical, and says that it’s okay for the girls to have a different version of Supernatural that they love.
- Perhaps greatest of all, THE FANDOM SONG IS CANON:
- Misha?: Misha Collins as Cas was sorely missed, although play!Cas has an adorable Disney princess-like song called “I’ll Just Wait Here Then”. (It’s also free to download)
- Shippy Subtext: Wincest was brought up a second time, to Dean’s disgust. I know there are Wincest shippers and they have just as much a right to ship what they want, but the episode’s simultaneous mocking of a pairing and glorification of incest just rubs me the wrong way.
- Mouthpiece Muse: Calliope, the baddie behind everything wasn’t all that important to the of the episode, which was as a “love letter to the fans”. But her reasoning for targeting the musical came off a little too Writers-tooting-their-own-horn. “It isn’t some meandering piece of genre dreck. It’s epic.” Someone hit this chick with The Odyssey, please.
- Diversity: While watching I was willing to overlook it, but the majority of the girls seem Caucasian. Only Maeve and Principal Salazar rep other ethnic backgrounds, and the latter only gets one scene.
- The Second Act: It’s never shown, only hinted at, but Act II is apparently an amalgamation of fic ideas from robots and tentacles in space to rule63!Dean.
- The Music: Most fans seem to love it by the end, but the music is sort of a rollercoaster ride of taste. First it’s terrible, then it’s cute, then it’s utterly ridiculous, then it’s actually full of deep meaning. Find it here on iTunes.
- ADAM: During “Carry On”, Maeve ends up reminding the Winchesters that their half bro is STILL IN HELL and has been for, what, five seasons?
- OH MY CHUCK: The grand cameo at the end made all fans squeal or fall off their couches with delight. Chuck Shirley, the author of the Supernatural books (whom many fans suspect is actually the M.I.A. God) spoke with a starstruck Marie about her interpretation.
Adam and Chuck both fall on the fence category because, while it’s fan-freakin’-tastic they were finally addressed after seasons of questions, we don’t know for certain if they’re signs of a bigger plot. It might just be the writers going “Yeah, we hear you” and trying to appease us. If these are only little nods for the fans that don’t eventually tie to further plots, then they’re a major disappointment.
But hey, “Fan Fiction” was cute, cheesy, and had a pretty positive outlook on teenage girls. It doesn’t erase their past screw-ups, but hopefully it’s a step in the right direction. All in all, I gotta go with God on this one:
What did you think? Let us know in the comments!