So what makes a television show like Supernatural popular? What creates a fandom, a following and/or dedicated sites run by fans for any form of popular culture? Fan fiction always springs from fans (stating the obvious here), but it makes me wonder why. What inspires anyone to write fiction based on an established popular fiction that already exists with its’ own canonical history. It’s not as though these writers are likely to get noticed or gain popularity or even make a living from it. Writing is hard and writing takes time but one caveat regarding fan fiction is that for good writing to work, you have to be passionate about your subject. Which obviously is in big supply if you’re already a fan of your subject matter. As a fan, passion is what drives you to watch every episode (TV), see every movie your object of interest has a role in, or play every game your favorite character appears in. That’s passion, but writing fan fiction goes beyond simple fandom. It takes time, work, effort, dedication and likely a lot of research as well, which in my opinion seems just a little bit obsessive.
I don’t have anything against writers of fan fiction, far from it. What I do have against fan fiction is when fans take the next bizarre step that veers way off the beaten track of established canon for any work of fiction. When Supernatural aired it’s 200th episdode, Fan Fiction, they covered some fan fiction that’s not canon and, in my humble opinion should never be explored or even written down. Part of this non-canonical fan fiction was mentioned in a previous episode of Supernatural, during Season 4, Episode 18 The Monster at the End of this Book, when Sam and Dean discovered a series of books called Supernatural, that somehow chronologues their lives. Dean mentions that he is “full frontal” in one book and on the fan website that Sam has found, the following conversation occcurs:
Dean: There are “Sam girls” and “Dean girls” and – what’s a “slash fan”?
Sam: As in… Sam-slash-Dean. Together.
Dean: Like, together together?
Dean: They do know we’re brothers, right?
Sam: Doesn’t seem to matter.
Dean: Oh, come on. That… That’s just sick. (he shuts the laptop in disgust)
I have to agree with Dean’s assessment on this one. Some things should just never be explored or expressed. It is a work of fiction people. Now as if that wasn’t going too far already, apparently fans have taken this non-canon fandom to an all new level of just plain wrong. As mentioned in the episode Fan Fiction, the second act of the play that (thankfully) is never shown, Dean is told that the second act explores the “subtext” of the relationships between Sam, Dean and Castiel, which is elaborated on by the director when she says that you can’t spell subtext without s-e-x.
Now I understand that fantasy s-e-x is something nearly everyone likes to explore, but in my opinion taking existing fictional characters that have no business engaging in sex with each other is just plain wrong. I don’t care how attractive, sexy or “hot” a fantasy might be, there are just some things that are best kept to yourself. I’m not against any form of sexual preference of any kind, but taking fictional characters that have no business becoming romantic interests to one another, (especially when canon has already firmly established that the basis of their relationship is the strong family bond the main characters have for each other), no one (and I don’t care who you are unless you’re the original creator of the work), has any business creating connections that don’t exist.
Fan fiction writers and other types of fans can be downright scary when you dare to dip your toe into a world of fandom you have only looked at from the outside. I’m a fan, but I’m not scary about it. A few weeks ago, I caught a tweet request from Misha Collins that I happened to be in the right place and time to respond to but within minutes of posting my @ reply, was slammed by an uber fan who felt it necessary to point out my error… which, by the way was not an error, but knowing what I know of uber fans felt it best to let it slide. I mean seriously people, it’s not as though Misha was going to respond to either of us Twitter fans so who really cares who got there first? It’s nice to think that a celebrity you admire will like what you have to say but realistically, if I was the one with over a million followers I would not ever make it a habit to respond to individual messages from people I don’t know. More than likely I would live to regret that one time of reaching out to a fan tweet only to have my Twitter account crash as a result (or some other equally unpleasant repercussion).
Bottom line, if you want to write fan fiction don’t let anything stop you. But if you do, think long and hard about writing anything that isn’t canon. If characters are related by blood, they shouldn’t be sleeping together, period. If established characters are not in any way romantically involved and are never intended to be, don’t create fictional romantic connections where they don’t exist and never will. In my honest opinion that’s just crapping all over someone else’s hard work involving character development and plot lines and in the words of my man Dean, “that’s just sick.” (And wrong).
Join me next time when I explore what truly makes Supernatural so “super.”