What Supernatural Means to Me: A Reason for Every Season
Like New Year’s Eve or milestone birthdays, the end of something as enduring as Supernatural is a time for reflection and remembrance, all of which is a bittersweet nostalgia. For my part, I thought it was fitting to consider what Supernatural has meant to me in a collection of fifteen words for fifteen season. It’s impossible, of course, to sum up precisely the impact of this show, this community, this family, in words – written or otherwise – but here is my best effort.
The #SPNFamily and all things connected therein gives a voice to so many people in so many situations around the globe, that otherwise may never have had a way to be heard or may never had spoken out. It is amazing the number of people that come together, that hear each other, that acknowledge each other and that have found the Supernatural world is a place where their own unique voice can not only ring out, but be embraced for their ideas, artistry and inventions.
There is little doubt that after fifteen years on the air and worldwide fundraising efforts in multiple areas, Supernatural and the Supernatural Family have made an impact. We have been a part of that impact: through GISHWHES/GISH, through AKF, through marathon supports, the mental health awareness projects – the list goes on. Not only have the stars involved with our show been party to raising awareness for these causes but they’ve invited us to be key players in building schools, starting charities, supporting new foundations and using the power of this massive fanbase to better the world.
Sure, we have our dark corners but by and large the SPN Family supports and raises up our members. When we share art work, writing, ideas, thoughts - it’s okay to do that, even with differing opinions (mostly!). Conventions are an amazing mix of people, including the actors who are generous with their time, their answers and their lives and fans never have to worry about being laughed at or treated badly.
This one may seem redundant, but we have a community in the Supernatural world that will outlast the show's run. We’ve all made friends, people have found relationships, and families have come together through the show. I’ve been part of The Winchester Family Business since season four in one way or another, and these guys have supported me when I was sick, when life was impossible and even now, when the world seems more like a season of Supernatural that ever before.
This is short and sweet. Supernatural has connected us universally. There is something to be said for meeting a stranger and learning that they are a Supernatural fan. There is nothing quite like that. Even though individuals may have never met, once we recognize another fan, there is an instant connection. Beyond this, Supernatural and its related projects have brought people together in all kinds of ways: GISHWHES brought teams together from all seven continents, conventions introduced husbands and wives, generations came together watching the show. That's connection.
I doubt this needs explanation, as I author an article of my own thoughts and feelings. Nevertheless – the world of Supernatural has given forum to artists and creators of every imaginable medium. Writers, painters, sculptors, video creators, drawers, sewers, designers; it is an unending list of creative minds in our community. It is awe-inspiring to see the designs and works that people produce, be they jewelry, portraits, or work made from kale (seriously, some people have a real mastery of greens).
Personal anecdote time.
When I was about 12, I was bullied very badly in school. This was before they had a term for cyberbullying or mean girls, but that’s what they would be called today. One of these girls, we’ll call her Gretchen, was partnered with me on a project and we ended up working at my house on a weekend afternoon. The ONLY thing we had in common was a show called Dark Angel.
At that time, since I had no friends in school, besides reading, one of my passions was researching shows I liked and planning how I could visit the sets and towns they were set in, and meet the actors who played the characters that I looked up to as heroes. This included shows like Buffy, Charmed, and of course, Dark Angel.
As we spoke, I mentioned to Gretchen that I would really like to visit Vancouver where Dark Angel was filmed and meet, among other cast members, Jensen Ackles.
To which she charmingly responded with:
“Do you seriously believe someone like you would ever meet someone like him?”
We didn’t speak anymore after that and I happily left Gretchen behind when I went to high school.
However, in 2016 when I went to my first Supernatural convention in 2016 and did my photo ops with Jensen Ackles (and the other cast members) – those words floated back to me.
And damn, if I don’t smile every single time I see those pictures.
The community of Supernatural inspires boldness in its members - we take big chances, we put ourselves out there in new ways, we can be loud and audacious – and all it takes is one person to make the move for the momentum to start. Be it singing karaoke or dressing up or joking with the actors or putting art out on social media for the first time. "Be Bold" has become an unspoken motto among the Supernatural family.
No matter whether you’re a Sam fan or a Dean fan, if you love Castiel or want to see less of Jack – there is a lot of love in the Supernatural community. This is never more apparent when one of our own is in need. When someone has a personal crisis, the community rallies.
The beautiful display of tealights for Jared, is just one example.
Another was in Toronto 2016 (which I can expand on because I was there), Rob Benedict was playing and the crowd held up lighted hearts, in acknowledgement of his return after his stroke in Toronto. He was moved to tears and spoke about it beautifully.
These are two examples among many, of fans taking it upon themselves to organize acts of love to reach out in support. And there are so many more.
This is another aspect that needs little explanation. Supernatural has survived on air for 15 years, through regime changes, network mergers and a writers' strike. The show has endured and so will the story of Sam and Dean, long into the future. In the years to come, the show will live on through our incredible community, as we share it with new generations. After all, on Supernatural nothing ever really ends.
For all the dark and horror, Supernatural has made me laugh as much as it made me cry – on and off the show. Whether it’s the community creations, collaborations like Hillywood, backstage antics or conventions, Supernatural is one of the best resources when you need light and laughter in your life. Supernatural will always mean fun, as much as anything else, to me.
Supernatural is full of moments of bravery, undoubtedly. But it’s not the moments onscreen that I’m talking about – it’s the moments that we have shared as a community.
Jared talking about his struggles with anxiety so openly and honestly was a moment of courage that changed things for so many people – and from it so much good was born. How many people were given the courage to speak about their own experiences, to get help, to reach out? Never mind the supports that were created from it. Courage of one person changes countless lives.
My personal experience goes back to Toronto 2016 and Rob Benedict, speaking openly about his struggles in recovering from his stroke and brain damage, relearning simply tasks and generally coming back from that. It was the first time I’d heard anyone speak so openly and honestly about it – let alone a celebrity in a public forum being so emotional.
I had been struggling with my own brain damage since 2012, due to uncontrolled seizures and resulting issues like trouble with language and memory, so this had a powerful impact on me.
The next day I had a chance to thank Rob for speaking about it as he did. I said I had brain damage and it meant a lot. Unfortunately, I was very emotional and couldn’t speak well, but Rob graciously took my hand and thanked me for sharing my story with him. It was the first time, beyond my immediate family, I’d told anyone. But I left that convention feeling renewed. All because of his courage in sharing his story.
I will never forget that as long as I live.
Nothing that endures can remain unchanged – and that is true of Supernatural too. This show has evolved over fifteen (for better or worse at times) to survive. Beyond simply the growth of our heroes from boys to men, the journey of the actors from along the same route – boys to fathers – marks an incredible passage of time as well. For those of us who have been with the show for any length of time, we have watched our own lives evolve along with Sam and Dean’s ever changing mission: we know where we were at the beginning of journey and we’ll see where we’ll be in the end. Supernatural is a time capsule for so much even as it’s captured so much change along the way.
This goes hand-in-hand with creativity, really. Supernatural has inspired so much: charity, businesses, art, literature – it really is phenomenal how much has been born from this television show. It is a well of inspiration that continues to be tapped – and who knows what treasures are yet to come.
If there is one message we’ll all take from Supernatural, I imagine it’s this:
Family don’t end with blood.
It’s an important and powerful message and a worthwhile legacy of an amazing show. Of course, Supernatural will leave so much more in its wake: incredible charities and outreach projects, a love of classic rock, a desire to own my own 1967 Impala, a need to see middle America, love for pie and a renewed desire for quippy one-liners.
So there you have it, the impact of Supernatural on one writer. What does Supernatural mean to you? Leave your messages below.