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Weâ€™ve got two main characters?! We have Life-Threatening Plots and Soul-Crushing Angst? You know what that meansâ€¦.I think someoneâ€™s falling in loveâ€¦. (AKA the Chris Carter Conundrum, if you please)
So I have this theory about television romances. First, they are freaking addictive! Addictive like store bought cotton candy â€“ you know, the plastic canister with the heavenly blue/pink cloud of sugar love that makes the world a better place, if just for the few moments it takes you to scarf it down? Yum. Anyway, besides my desire for dinner, Iâ€™m pretty sure that Sam and Dean meet the criteria for a romantic couple, in the tradition of Mulder/Scully, because epic romance requires a few key factorsâ€¦â€¦
And I do call this the â€œChris Carter Conundrumâ€ for a reason. Now, for the older ones in my audience (me included), I could call this the â€œMoonlighting Melee,â€ but to keep it semi-current Iâ€™ll stick with Mulder/Scully as the referents. Carter, like Kripke, had a â€œginormously awesome idea for a five year story arcâ€ that would be like â€œthe best thing everâ€ and would involve â€œstrange creatures and mysterious conspiraciesâ€ that would â€œROCK YOUR WORLD!!!â€ Of course, apocalyptic plots need strong characters, and the boohoo moment for the â€œROCK YOUR WORLD!!!â€ story is that it tends to fade into the background and become the white noise against the â€œEPIC LOVE STORY!!!!â€
So you see, Mulder and Scully are, to my mind, the perfect frames for understanding how to move Dean and Sam as brother/partners into the no manâ€™s land (or all manâ€™s land) of partner/partner <wink, wink>. Why, you may ask? Well, let me show you in ten handy tips.
1. Storyline starts out with by introducing main hero character who is the centerpiece of catastrophic childhood trauma. (Mulder â€“ abducted sister; Sam â€“ dead mother)
2. Storyline immediately introduces partner who provides foil for heroâ€™s most important value; partner also has â€œwant to be like my daddyâ€ issues. (Scullyâ€™s science to Mulderâ€™s para-science; Deanâ€™s hunter lifestyle to Samâ€™s normal lifestyle; Scully and the Admiral; Dean and the Hunter)
3. Storyline hints that partner may, at first, have loyalties to others besides hero, but quickly partners pledge loyalty to each other. (Scully â€“ spy for FBI; Dean â€“ Daddyâ€™s little soldier)
4. Storyline reveals hero has more intricate connection to plotline. (Mulder â€“ family involved in alien stuff; Sam â€“ demonic, perhaps; psychic, definitely)
5. Storyline of heroâ€™s journey endangers and puts partner in jeopardy; in fact, partner becomes pawn to control heroâ€™s emotional state. (Scully â€“ abduction, cancer, pregnancy, general danger; Dean â€“ soul selling, multiple dying, angel conspiring)
6. Storyline emerges as a world-altering/world-ending epic where two partners, hero and partner, must battle together with only a few others to assist. (M/S â€“ Lone Gunmen, Mr. X, various informants; D/S â€“ Bobby, Rufus <sad Linda>, Chuck, Castiel â€“ Question: Why must they always kill Steven Williams? Why?! - I love you, Steven.)
7. Storyline focuses gradually on the two central characters and the importance of their relationship/bond as the most important weapon to beat the enemy, causing this relationship to take on epic proportions. (M/S â€“ Every season cliffhanger; D/S â€“ Every season cliffhanger)
8. Storyline introduces characters that threaten core relationship, usually intimating but not explicitly stating that sexual jealousy is present. Character interruptus, as I like to call it, almost always results in being deceiving-character-of-evil-who-works-for-the-enemy. (XF-Diana Fowley, SPN-Ruby)
9. Storyline resists, on epic levels, to bend to outside push for romantic turn between characters, instead dropping morsels of heavenly gaps of silence that can be filled in by the fan fic writers aching to start punching those keys. <Linda remembers her first fanfics. Oh, WordPerfect 5.0, how I miss you and your blue screen of inspiration.> Anyway, where are these moments? (M/S â€“â€œOne Breath,â€ â€œPaper Hearts,â€ â€œPusher,â€ I can go all day on M/S, people. D/S â€“ â€œAHBL, I and II,â€ â€œCroatoan,â€ â€œPlaythings,â€ â€œFaith,â€ â€œMystery Spot,â€ I can go all day on D/S, people)
10. After original five year plot line completes itself, either in part or totally, the remaining plotlines are attempts to (1) tie up loose ends that dangle precariously and/or (2) explore and explicate core relationship, both within the show and by going meta. (M/S â€“ â€œField Trip,â€ â€œall things,â€ â€œHollywood AD,â€ a kid named William?!, D/S â€“ Soulless Sam, God Help Us-â€œThe French Mistake,â€ â€œHello, Cruel Worldâ€)
So you know what this means? I can finally construct a math problem that explains Wincest! I am Sheldon-Cooper-level happy, yâ€™all!
The SAT Word Problem Guide to Wincest (or the Chris Carter Conundrum as Slash Math):
1. You have two Damaged Characters (Samâ€™s Cracked and Deanâ€™s Broken)
2. who are played by two Fairly Attractive (read here: hotter than the sun on proton steroids) Lead Actors (hello, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki? Come on! Thatâ€™s just frigging unfair to make them television brothersâ€¦.just unfair),
3. and they sacrifice a lot for each other in a world on the edge of the end times (If Loving You is Wrong, Thenâ€¦â€¦),
4. all the while really only interacting with each other and leaving a lot of their histories unexamined (Living in the Great Land of No One Understands Me but You - Why do they always assume weâ€™re gay? Or better yet, should you really look at your brother that way, Samâ€¦and I think you had a thing with Brady, Samâ€¦..),
5. which often puts them in danger of dying, and for Supernatural, being dead (Death Scenes Oâ€™ Love â€“ Classic Soap Technique â€“ Jensen, if youâ€™re reading this, you understand my meaningâ€¦.Love always proclaims itself in the hour of death, Days of Our Lives-style, right? - Side note: Eric and Austin, Jensenâ€¦it wouldâ€™ve been soooo hot and we couldâ€™ve called it some Lord of the Rings sounding portmanteau like â€œEritin.â€ Think about it.),
6. but besides the dying and death, there is also the problem of other potential mates who invade the relationship and unsurprisingly, reveal the weaknesses in the original equation (Sexual Jealousy, or The Replacements â€“ Two brothers, a siren, a demon, and an angel walk into a barâ€¦ wink, wink),
7. which brings all the tension to the forefront, forcing the characters to address in some way the dependency and betrayal that total and complete love demands (Unresolved is Unresolved until itâ€™s Resolvedâ€¦..with the Great Phallic Knife of Love!),
8. and this is settled, of course, so that our two main damaged characters can be together forever and ever (Off the Cliff like Thelma and Louise! - Otherwise known as â€œYou know Dean and Sam are gonna die togetherâ€¦.and then live happily ever after in Heaven, like an ethereal curtainficâ€),
9. a prescribed ending which allows the show to reflect on how its five year plot plan turned into an epic romance between two people (Take it Outside, Boys â€“ or Meta, Meta, Meta! Nom, Nom, Nom!).
10. Solve for x, if y is a predominantly female fandom.
Now, you can all see my genius! I can link Mulder to Sam and Scully to Dean. Come on! To quote darkhaired!Ruby â€“ â€œIâ€™m awesome!â€
But Iâ€™m so not finishedâ€¦I have seasons to explicate.
Hereâ€™s a story of two lovely brothersâ€¦..
I don't suppose it matters but Dean says he's Mulder.
Thanks so much Linda, you write with a great sense of humour.
girl, that's gold