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Seasons 1 through 3:  The Golden Age of Emo!Wincest (or That Can Over There? Open it? Oh crap! Worms!)  

Song suggestion:

See this picture? Soooo many fantasies. So many. And also, unlike many online fantasies, in this one Dean tops - news at 11! 

<cough> Sorry. Distracted. <cough>

So the first episode of the first season (aka the pilot) introduces us, the viewers, to Sam and Dean Winchester. First off, hot boys! Second, hot boys roughhousing! Seriously, how many gay porn narratives start with roughhousing? Note: We’ll discuss the metaphor of “fighting” later on, just you wait. 

Now, at this point, I have to confess that I did not watch Supernatural when it originally aired because of the hot boys. I know, stupid Linda. But seriously? I was like, “Eric Brady and Dean Forester hunting ghosts in an old car? Oh, WB, why?” I was very judgy and, yes, the judginess has bitten me in the ass, so…now I’m obsessed. Thank you very much. So as I was thinking and researching this essay, to feed the obsession you see, I ran into a few issues. How to approach it? One can go season by season, episode by episode, but that’d be a little creepy, no? One could go by character…Sam, Dean. But that’s a little too simple. 

So I settled on a strategy and it’s more like a chunking mechanism based on metaphor, because metaphor is the only place where Wincest can happen because you know, incest on primetime? Yeah, not gonna happen. But it can be invited in, shall we say, like a vampire….wrong show, dammit. 

In this first part I’m gonna discuss, mostly, seasons 1-3 because I think that these seasons represent an age of innocence in Wincestdom because most of the references happen as innocuous humor or highly emotive explication (yes, I like that word, don’t judge me), which is vastly different from the violent metaphors of seasons 4 and 5 – 4, especially, but we’ll get to that. 

Okay, so back to the introduction of Sam and Dean. If you have hot guys, you have automatic sexiness, but alas, hetero-normative sex partner no. 1 (Jess, poor girl) gets herself deep-fried, extra-crispy demon style, which leaves our two heroes all alone in the world, with only each other to rely on (or fight with – wink). As the story unfolds, though, we realize being alone is not a strange position for them. Lucky Charms! Dean (of “Something Wicked”) establishes that even as a wee one he protected his little bro, fed him, and sacrificed his own pleasures for Sam (by the way, I love that this episode inserts the standard gay innuendo of Seasons 1-3 – two queens, hehehehe – and in an episode with kids). 

Another observation: many of the gay innuendo happen in episodes with kids as central characters: “Bugs,” “Something Wicked,” “Playthings,” and “Bedtime Stories.” Methinks that theme resonates with a past that perhaps is more complicated than we imagined and also invites fanfic writers the world ‘round to write the pre-Supernatural years as a land of forbidden love, part one, or as I like to call it “The Winchester Wonder Years.” And now that I’ve destroyed a TV experience for many of us (I do miss Winnie Cooper), I will just say that we have opportunities outside the story, from the get-go, to speculate on the nature of the brotherhood and boy, do we speculate <stares at LiveJournal>.

Besides the tongue in cheek innuendo that is often attached to children-centric episodes, we cannot forget that what makes this relationship ripe for the love that dare not speak its name is damage. Oh yeah, we got damage, both physical and emotional. Damage shoots through the Winchester psyche like a .44 caliber Dirty Harry bullet, leaving a wound to be healed, and who is there to stitch up those ragged edges? 

Oh yeah….  <cue the Marvin Gaye >. 

The damage is really quite extraordinary. Dean has his “need to be mommy and keep my family together” issues, which are coupled (hehe) with Sam’s “resent my daddy and want my mommy” problems. This formula makes for a family romance that only Freud would approach.  But let’s look at these characters, a part from each other, shall we? Because I have a theory…..and the theory is that Wincest is the ramification of addiction and denial. In other words, Wincest is a product of the story’s portrayal of Sam and Dean’s addictive personalities that gets picked up by fans as suppressed sexual tension and then all hell breaks loose – pun, people, pun! 

But you’re probably like, Linda H., isn’t Wincest really about the love that dare not speak its name and the hot sex in the Impala? I’m sorry, but there is no sex in my first part. I wish I could give it to you, I do. Alas, the first three seasons are really about the opportunity for sexualization. So my formula is really not about the sex, because well the sex can’t happen! They are two hot, straight lead actors who play brothers on a major-minor network that can’t trespass into HBO/Showtime areas of deviance. Sex would defile like three or four television staples in one fell swoop. Of course, it’d get ratings and letters from Citizens United as well. Hey, CW, want TV to really talk about? 

But! But! Sex is not really the point of Wincest, not really. (Notice the rhetorical move of putting the conjunction ‘but’ next to the word ‘sex’? Yeah, I’m good like that). Wincest is about reading the show through the lens of the female perspective – I say if the audience was mostly men, then it’d be a different show. First, I doubt we’d get half the innuendo we get. Second, I doubt we’d get too much crying Dean, unless a gun was involved and girls with boobies, big boobies. Finally, I doubt there’d be much fanart produced. Yes, I know, boys write fanfiction too. But come on, fan fiction, fan vidding, and fan art in general is the domain of the female fan. I have sources I can site, y’all. Don’t make me get all bibliographic on you. I will. Watch me. 

Anyway, I think the first three seasons are great character studies, especially about the brothers’ dysfunctional whatever that gets blown to bits in the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am Wincest cluster that happens in Season 4. Let me show you how…..

Sam Winchester: A Cold Turkey Solution

Sam Winchester is our damaged hero in training. Sam, oh Sam. You’ve got yourself a butt load of damage, starting from before you even had language….And that damage is so apparent in the first three seasons, but wait, what does this have to do with your brother and incestuous love? Oh I think we know, don’t we?

One wonders about the history between the two of you….four (or two – I was never quite clear on that timeline) years without contact after you hightail it to Stanford? That’s rather a strange disconnect given the closeness you share right away. And Jess? Same birthday as Dean? Dirty Blond? Smart? (Sam, I’d like to introduce you to Oedipus. Oedipus, this is Sam. – And this meeting is important, seeing as how Dean has a propensity for being maternal….).  But that’s not it at all, right? I mean Dean is a part of the past - you got it under control, right? Just walk away….cold turkey like. 

However, Sam there is a problem. During the first season you tend to treat Dean like a bad addiction, always making sure that he knows that you are going back to your “normal” life, walking away once the revenge is complete, the demon is killed. It’s like the alcoholic who claims just one more drink and then he’ll go back to being sober. Again, one wonders what exactly is encompassed in your definition of normal? And why Dean is not part of that equation? But who am I to question? We’ll just go with it. 

Side note: And good thing I was still working on this essay when Jensen’s “spectaculak” episode “The Girl Next Door” aired. This episode is awesome for its exploration of the Dean/Sam relationship and its history, even if Dean doesn’t appear in flashback. Well, he does. He’s the reason Sam chooses to not run away; I’m pretty comfortable making this assertion since both Amy and Sam were not fond of their respective parental units, parents who seemed to represent addictive personalities and stunted opportunities for the two young freaks. 

So, really, Oedipus, thy name is Sam. You see, Sam has chances to avoid his “fate.” And he does, when he goes to Stanford, but he continues to choose to go back to the Winchester family and it has to do with the soulful Dean I think. 

Let’s turn to the demon thing, or whatever psychic issue you have in the first two seasons, Sam. Now, given that the demon thing becomes an addiction in season four, one can speculate that the first two seasons were your best effort attempts at staving off some kind of hunger/temptation? How did you do this? For the love of Dean, of course; a situation which comes to a head when he goes and sells his soul for you. (Dammit, Dean, with your soulfulness and inappropriate sacrifices. This? This is not normal! But later with you.)

Once he sells his soul, well, we just have to face the inherent and incredibly dysfunctional relationship, don’t we? Poor Sam. I mean, I think you are well aware of the problems that this relationship poses. In fact, I think it is really obvious in “Born Under a Bad Sign.” How? Well Meg is up in you like a wayward gerbil (points to those who get that reference) and has all this great delicious knowledge of your inner most workings and so what does she do? Well, she goes missing, which freaks Dean the f*%k out. Nice play, Meg. Nice play. Then she goes all wounded and maybe evil, which activates Dean’s “shield the Sammy at all costs!” super-suit. Then, oh then, she goes after Jo, which is some weird Sedgwickian homoerotic triangle move that reveals a deep desire, perhaps? 

For those in the audience not familiar with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, let me get my academic geek on for a sec. She wrote a book called Epistemology of the Closet, which rocks by the way, that defines some homosocial male desire as being negotiated through a third, female party. In other words, some guys can only do it via indirect association, like say fighting over, having sex with, or generally enjoying the affection of the same girl. Sedgwick returns in the next part….be on the lookout.  But this time, with Jo, that’s what tips Dean off to Sam not being Sam….’cause really, would Sam go all dominating and sexually aggressive with a woman? That’s so not Sam…..right? 

<three episodes later>

So Sam, of the two, you get the most lip-locking – and hip-knocking – action in the first three seasons. Jess, the Provenance girl, Madison (yes!). And Sam, your sex always has a hint of deferred emotion, unless of course you are Soulless Sam…damn, he needs to come back every once in a while, really he does, if just for the sex (and don’t bitch about it, Dean – suck it up for your fellow countrywomen). 

Anyway, you Sam, are an emotional luster which is an addiction in and of itself. And there is so much to examine in that juxtaposition. At once you are what can only be described as splendidly sexual (doggy style with Madison? Which I totally think made her turn back into a werewolf. You broke her, Sam! You’re like a gangsta of sexing….I feel a Pitbull tune coming on), yet you can be supertastically shy (Provenance girl hesitance). Oh Sam, I have a feeling you tie the sex to the love, don’t you? And yet you don’t….very conflicted you are. Do you know why? I think I know! <raises hand – pick me! pick me!>

You see, I think you, Sam, have some deep seeded and conflicted issues with your brother and your own dependency on his affections. I think you ran away from his normal because it underscored how normal your abnormal was, if that makes sense. I also think you see yourself as a freak in so many ways, and that you automatically associate Dean with those feelings of being abnormal, and I further think that sense of abnormality extends beyond simple “I want another life” angst. I think, episode after episode in seasons 1-3, we see you become increasingly attached and dependent on Dean, culminating in “Mystery Spot,” where we see the complete and utter devastation of you in absence of Dean. And unlike Dean, you are not one to let go.  I think it is clear from “Faith,” “Devil’s Trap,” “In My Time of Dying,” “Time is on My Side,” among other episodes, that you have questionable moral judgment when it comes to choosing your brother over what could be considered more important ventures, say killing Azazel or not sacrificing others for your brother’s life? But I think you know this about yourself because all your other addictions are really just substitute addictions aren’t they? So what was the “original” addiction? I’ll let you ruminate on that for a bit…..

But whatever this conflict is I would like to take a moment to look at the downfall setup, and her name is Ruby! It seems pretty clear that the introduction of Ruby is a non-sexual issue. She can’t be sexualized at first, you see, because Dean’s still alive. Instead, 3rdSeasonBlond!Ruby comes in as a tomboy and sets herself up nicely as a partner in crime. She lays the groundwork for your blood addiction, Sam, but she’s awesomely surreptitious in her ingratiating process. She knows she can’t get into your pants, because you know, sex ain’t gonna come between you and Dean, especially since you are single minded in your obsession to save him. That cuts down on the sex for you too. Too bad we couldn’t meet Soulless Sam before season six. Season three sucks for the no-sex <sad Linda face>.

So, anyway, Ruby uses the nice “get Dean out of his deal” approach along with her mad skills in hunting to gain your trusties. And of course, she shows up with the phallic knife of doom that she wields as well as Dean wields his guns. (One could say she brings her own penis, but who would say that? Not me.) 

So third season Ruby, let’s break it down, has: hunting skills that JJ Evans would call “dyno-mite,” a fetish for fast food (not pie, I know, but French fries), blond hair, a leather jacket, a sarcastic sense of humor, and did I forget her favorite weapon, the phallic knife of doom?  So who does she remind us of? Hint: If she were a boy….I’ll give you extra credit…..come on, you know this. 

And she knows your weakness, Sammy. She knows your dirty little secret, like Meg knows it. And boy, when we get to 4thSeasonBrunette!Ruby, she sticks that metaphorical knife in and twists the sucker, don’t she? Because the brilliance of Ruby-cum-Lilith in “No Rest for the Wicked”? At the moment of your brother’s death, she sexualizes Ruby, turns her into a purring sex kitten as your brother lay dying….metaphor, thy name is Supernatural.  But we’ll defer to the next season to delve into that troublesome move. 

Okay, so I’m gonna call a spade, a spade. I think Sam Winchester is a little enamored with his brother, and I think Sam Winchester knows it.  And I think Sam Winchester hides all that behind an intellectual veneer that allows him to compartmentalize his desires, that allows him to be sexually aggressive and yet emotionally conflicted, which Meg takes advantage of when she takes over his meatsuit and Ruby capitalizes on as tomboy partner and then…well, then….we’ll get to the then in a bit. And this may explain why Sam is hesitant, extremely hesitant, to engage in violent physical altercations with his brother unless of course it’s play-fighting or it’s, well, it’s the culminating moment of emotional abandonment, like in “Lucifer Rising” and you may wonder why, well it’s because Sam Winchester knows that while his own metaphor may be addiction, he’s also smart enough, ‘cause of the book learning, to know that Dean’s metaphor is fighting. And that leads us to…..Dean damage or what I’d like to call “Sam was not the first one to break into multiple personalities”!
(coming up in part two, Dean Winchester: Who am I?  The Other Shoe of Course, and Seasons 4, 5, and 6)  

To read parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Forbidden Elephants series, the links are below:

Forbidden Elephants: Sex and The Single Winchester, Issue #1
Forbidden Elephants: Sex and The Single Winchester, Issue #2
Forbidden Elephants: Sex and The Single Winchester, Issue #3


# rmoats8621 2011-10-19 23:42
ROTFLMAO! Great job! :D
# Melanie 2011-10-20 08:31
Well, that's one way to look at it, I guess.

I don't suppose it matters but Dean says he's Mulder.
# fanotheboyz 2011-10-20 09:54
Wow...just Wow! I think a shower might help about now.
# Sylvie 2011-10-20 10:30
That was too good. You know, I never even thought of the boys that way until I started reading stuff on this site. I think I'm somewhat of an innocent. Boy, the wool has been ripped off of my eyes now! I was never interested in reading fanfiction before, I certainly do not want to read it now!

Thanks so much Linda, you write with a great sense of humour.
# Linda-bookdal 2011-10-20 10:48
Thanks Sylvie. I hope that you are not turned off of fanfiction, though. My observation was hyperbolic. There are many great fanfics out there, both general and "wincest"-centr ic. I am really offering an exaggerated sense of some of these things. Some, though, I do hold water.
# Marilyn 2011-10-20 19:48
Such fun. :P I love the way you wield a two-edged sword with words: one side sharp and biting and the other falling down hilarious. Thank you for brightening my day. :-)
# Linda-bookdal 2011-10-20 22:14
Thank you, Marilyn (make me blush). I'm glad it brightened your day!
# KazKriz 2011-10-22 22:12
– hot guys who love each other and make love….in an Impala, or in some fanfics, on the Impala, next to it, and I don’t even want to think of the ones that have them with the Impala –

girl, that's gold
Diana Shelton
# Diana Shelton 2012-10-29 13:34
I just found this site & I'm really enjoying your essays. Thanks!