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30 October 2006 @ 02:52 pm
Show, don't tell  
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This post talks about the episode of Supernatural "Simon Said" - episode 2.05. There's not really much spoilery in the post itself, because I talk about fandom's reaction to the episode rather than the episode itself, but if you've not seen it yet, you might want to avoid this for now.



SPN fandom seems to have suffered the first real split since the show started, and it's the result of reactions to the episode "Simon Said".

As with all episodes, people have been airing their subjective comments about it - either in their own journal or on community boards and forums. I've done it too, I was disappointed with the episode, I didn't feel that it worked in a cohesive manner and said so.

Now there seems to be a backlash over the way people are talking about the episode. Some people loved it, some people hated it, some people remain ambivalent about it. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion on the episode, and of course they are allowed - nay, encouraged - to voice that opinion. Freedom of speech, folks.

If people have something negative to say about a show that doesn't mean they aren't fans. As has been pointed out elsewhere, perhaps that willingness to stand back and be critical actually shows a deeper level of fandom because the critic has taken the time to consider the impact rather than the squee.

On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with the squee either. Goodness only knows I'd be a hypocrite of the highest order if I frowned at squeeing - I'm as guilty of it as anyone.

The squee around SS is centred mostly on Jensen singing. Now I already know the man has a decent voice, I've been a fan of Steve Carlson since before the Spot In The Corner CD came out and have heard JA signing backing vocals multiple times as a result. (Oh, and by the way, it is backing vocals he does - it's not 'Steve Carlson featuring Jensen Ackles'.) Singing in this episode seems to have served little purpose other than as a shout out to the fen. Which is fine and dandy, hell one of my favourite episodes of s1 is chockablock with fennish acknowledgements (Hell House), but in the earlier episode the acknowledgements were there in a post-modern 'intertextual knowingness' way (and I swear that is the accurate academic term - I believe it was coined by Frederic Jameson in his book "Postmodernism; or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism") which treated the viewer as being part of the 'joke' as it were. In SS there was simply a scene shoehorned in with no acknowledgment as to the reason.

Of course, from the point of view of the story itself, Dean's singing that particular song - which there's no way he would have done normally even if it is a little suspicious at how well he knows it - is there to signify that Jo is on his mind more than he is currently admitting. So really, singing - or probably more in character - humming is not the issue, it's the extended length of time it went on for - it was almost like the 'we have nothing else to fill the show with' song breaks that used to appear at the start of the third act in Baywatch (what? My sister watched it when I was a kid!) and the post-teaser segments of Charmed. It didn't fit with the format of SPN as it has been established and was there purely so the fen would squee.

That annoys me more than a little, because SPN fen are a smart bunch, it's one of the things I absolutely adore about this fandom - that we can go from the Dean-as-Mithras-avatar theories to the "Oooo! Priddy!" and back again - this episode (SS) doesn't recognise that. It almost reduces us to pre-adolescent girls who only watch for the "Oooo! Priddy!" factor and we are so much more than that.

I have said already that despite Edlund's reputation for unique storytelling (Smile Time anyone?) I don't believe a first time writer on the show should have been given a mythology episode and I stand by that, Ben Edlund is a damn good writer, it's a shame that his first episode of SPN is one which has caused such extreme reactions. I really hope that doesn't put him off and that he'll be back to contribute more to the show. Only, next time, that he doesn't forget that we don't need to be handheld through this show. We're smart cookies for the most part; show us - don't tell us.

 
 
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