Supernatural Celebrates 200th Episode With An Homage To Fan Fiction

from the cwf dept

We were just talking about fan fiction, that most sweet expression of fandom, and why the subjects of that expression shouldn’t bother freaking out over it. After all, all fan fiction really is is a love letter to the original creators. Besides, if it’s good enough for our founding fathers, it should be good enough for us. More importantly, allowing a fandom to grow and flourish through that kind of expression can literally keep a show going when it otherwise wouldn’t. Case in point: Supernatural.

If you’re not familiar with the show, Supernatural is the ridiculous story of two brothers who kill supernatural things, befriend angels and demons, and generally exhibit the acting chops of a two-day-old potato salad. It’s a fun little distraction, but it ain’t Breaking Bad as far as the critics are concerned. Oh, and by the way, it’s lasted ten seasons, twice as long as originally planned, in part because of a dedicated group of fans that have made the show the 2nd leading television subject on FanFiction.net, behind only Glee (shudder). And it seems the creators of the show know how much they owe to these fans, because they celebrated their 200th (!) episode by making it entirely an homage to fan fiction writers.

There are many things that Supernatural does well, one of which being the very idea of using meta episodes to take a trip down memory lane and even make fun of itself occasionally. And no episode was more focused on “The Road So Far” than the show’s 200th. Taking a break from the drama of the Mark of Cain and Cas’ fading grace, the hour was all about the fans, and more specifically, the fan fiction that has come after 10 years of saving people and hunting things.

Yes, the setting for the episode is on the set of an “all-girls production of Supernatural The Musical.” Yes, the cast made up of mostly men is represented by female actors, a not-so-subtle nod to the show’s demographic. The production is built around a caricature of fan fiction tropes, including everything from sexual tension between the brothers (slash-fic) and the kind of angsty dialogue that is common in fan fiction of this kind.

It’s over the top and ridiculous…and it’s exactly the kind of thing fans of the show will eat up. This is connecting with fans in a wonderful way: not only not hating on the fiction they write, but actually acknowledging it in the show. That’s how a campy little show that was planned to last five seasons is on its tenth and counting.

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Comments on “Supernatural Celebrates 200th Episode With An Homage To Fan Fiction”

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11 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And the sad thing is, I’ve no doubt that there are people out there who think like that, who see people so inspired by a song, or movie, or show, that they in turn make a picture, or story based upon that, and they see nothing more than someone violating the law by ‘using the creator’s works without permission’.

And not paying the original creator(or more often the copyright owner) for the privilege of doing so, truly a shameful act indeed. /s

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Those people who think fan fiction should be stamped on do not understand culture. The writers and producers of this show do understand culture, which is why the show is still going. Culture is a shared experience and lore within which people tell each other stories. Fan fiction keeps the fans involved with the show by keeping them involved, and therefore helps to keep it going, which helps to pay the creators of the show.

Jeffry Houser (profile) says:

I'm a fan

“If you’re not familiar with the show, Supernatural is the ridiculous story of two brothers who … generally exhibit the acting chops of a two-day-old potato salad.”

I’m a fan. I disagree with your description of their acting chops. Sure, it isn’t “Breaking Bad” but it also isn’t “Friends” or “Law and Order”.

Over the years, they have pulled off many different types of shows, from comedy to serious stuff to action. Part of that is definitely the versatility of the actors. Compared to lots of movies in the ‘horror’ genre; I’d say the acting is downright brilliant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts its cakehole.
___________________

Worth a binge-watch from the beginning. Good character development, scary stuffings, decent world building that is fairly well adhered to, charismatic actors, better than average writing, and a ’67 Impala that looks like murder on wheels with a false-floor trunk containing all manner of weaponry that needs propped up with a sawed-off shotgun…

You can do much worse.

I’m not a huge fan of their meta-episodes, but I do appreciate that they have the…bravery?…to do them in the first place.

Rainkitten (profile) says:

Came Back

I have been reading Tech Dirt off and on over the last couple years and saw an article about my favorite crazy obsession Supernatural. I was kinda shocked it was here, but even Forbes has been tuning into it’s inner fangirl over this last episode so I thought ok let’s have a read.

I found the article to be a bit dismissive and hipsterish in it’s description of the show. The real theme of the show is family. Every person that I have asked to watch this on Netflix has become a fan, make and female. The fan conventions are heavily female but the audience for the show is not as skewed as you are making it out to be.

Thompsons episode for the 200th was not thematically about fan fiction, that was a device he used to explore the themes about confronting your past and looking towards the future for our two main characters. To the contrary, he firmly drew lines between the show that is being produced and the show some of the fans have going on in their heads. He did it kindly and with great care and affection.

As a long time fan of the show I kinda found your article a bit condescending and lacking depth. It could very well be that I come from a really biased place when it comes to talking about Supernatural. I freaking love this show. There are many good reasons why this show has survived so long and none of them have to do with squealing fan girls writing fan fiction.

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