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A while back, I decided that I wanted to make a list of Top 10 Bobby moments because Bobby Singer is awesome, and he deserves his own list.  Then I started going through all his scenes and realized that there was no earthly way for me to pick just 10 moments I loved from Bobby because every time he's on screen, he's doing something great.  So I decided that what Bobby really deserves was his own article because that would allow me to fully express how much I love the character of Bobby Singer.  So here's my first attempt at a full-length, non-list article all about my favorite salvage-yard owning hunter.

When we first meet Robert Steven Singer in "Devil's Trap," it becomes apparent very quickly that Bobby has known Sam and Dean for a long time and he clearly has a great deal of affection for them.  Even though he had a falling out with John (and really, who hadn't, it seems?) he's willing to do everything in his power to help them find their father.  It's easy when you're angry at someone to take it out on others around them when that person is not readily available, and I love Bobby for being able to put aside his anger with John and go straight into helping mode because Sam and Dean need him.

Though his time in "Devil's Trap" was fairly brief, all the major traits of his character were set up in this episode: he's very smart, especially in regards to book learning; he's a very good hunter and specializes in hunting demons; for all that, he does have a life outside of hunting; he's like family for the boys, starting off as a sort of uncle but after the loss of their father, he gradually develops into a father figure for Sam and Dean.  And just as the boys have gone through a harrowing journey in the past five years, Bobby has, too, especially this season.  So let's take a deeper look at Bobby Singer, shall we?

The Bobby-pedia

Sam: You can speak Japanese?
Bobby: [ Speaks Japanese ]
Sam: Guess so, show-off.


Bobby is better than the internet.  Seriously, is there anything the man doesn't know or can't find out?  His house is full of books, just stacks and stacks of them.  And I get the feeling that he's read every one of them, too. This incredible depth of knowledge comes in handy all the time because whenever the boys can't find something on their own, or know it's probably going to be really hard to find, they call Bobby and ask for his help.  And chances are, he already knows the answer or knows where to find the answer.

He's sort of like Sam in that he'll read and research for research's sake, absorbing everything he learns just in case it might come in handy down the road.  He's managed to learn Japanese, how to at least read Aramaic and Cuneiform, and knows Latin, of course, as any good demon hunter would.  But the best example of Bobby's random knowledge is in "All Hell Breaks Loose I" when Dean has his vision and Bobby figures out where Sam was sent based on an incredibly vague description of a bell with something engraved on it.  You just know he learned about that bell years ago and filed it away under things that might be useful in the future.  And it was!

But Bobby isn't just book smart.  He's been hunting for long enough that he's no slouch in practical matters, as well.  He's perfectly capable of working his own cases and has even been known to wear a suit to gain access to a victim or witness.  That's quite a change from his usual trucker hat and puffy vest!  Bobby is also an adept liar and has even gone so far as to install different phone lines in his house so he can provide cover for Sam and Dean, which is all kinds of awesome.  Aside from being really useful for Sam and Dean, it shows how far Bobby is willing to go to support them.  If they need him, Bobby is there.

For sheer practicality, nothing beats Bobby's use of holy water.  For all that he cares about Sam, Dean, and even Ellen, when they show up unannounced at his house and he has any suspicions at all about whether it's really them, he uses holy water as a test.  And really, in the world he inhabits, you can never be too careful.  This precaution pays off in "Born Under a Bad Sign" when Demon!Sam drinks a holy-water spiked beer and starts smoking.  You can't con a con man, Demon!Sam.

Bobby's life outside hunting

Sam: You built a panic room?
Bobby: I had a weekend off.


Hunting is an extremely important part of Bobby's life, and if you asked him who he was, what he did for a living, he'd probably answer that he was a hunter.  Well, if you knew that hunters existed, that is.  Otherwise, he may say any old thing just to appease you!

But while Bobby is undoubtedly a hunter, he has a much more stable, fixed life than the Winchesters.  He runs his own business, Singer Auto Salvage, and lives in a house on the grounds.  This is how he earns a living and is able to pay his mortgage and buy all those rare occult books he always manages to get his hands on.  It's very aboveboard for a hunter, really, considering how much he has to lie in order to get information while working cases.

Having a business like this is a huge advantage for Bobby.  For one, he's his own boss, so he can choose when he wants to work and when he wants to go out on a hunt.  But it's also advantageous in that he doesn't have to do anything illegal, like credit-card fraud, or semi-illegal, like hustling pool or poker, to earn his keep.  He never has to worry about leaving behind a paper trail because Bobby Singer is an honest, hardworking, small-business owner.  He's obviously not afraid of the police or FBI or any sort of authorities linking Bobby the hunter to Bobby the junkyard owner because he named his business after himself.  He could have used any sort of generic name like Tows R Us or what have you, but he didn't.  He compartmentalizes and likes to keep his hunting life and business life separate.

And let's talk about the panic room, shall we, for it is a thing of beauty.  It's very reminiscent of a nuclear fallout shelter but with way cooler accessories.  It's got iron-lined walls, is completely lined with salt, it has a cot and provisions, and has a ventilation fan with a devil's trap-shaped cover.  Oh, and Bo Derek.

I am curious when this weekend off was, however.  I think it had to be while Dean was in hell because surely locking him up in there while trying to find a way out of his deal would have been an option.  Just cover the room in goofer dust to keep Hellhounds at bay.  And it's a good thing Bobby did build it because it saved Sam, Dean, and him from the witnesses in "Are You There, God?", kept Anna safe in "Heaven and Hell," and Sam's been in there twice for detox.

Bobby as a father figure

Dean: This isn't your fight.
Bobby: The Hell it isn't! Family don't end with blood, boy.


Since John's death in the first episode of season 2, Bobby has really turned into an excellent father figure for the boys.  Dean himself has admitted on more than one occasion that Bobby is like a father to him, that Bobby is family, and it's understandable why he'd feel that way.  Bobby has always been there for the boys, even while their father was alive.  And while John loved his sons with all his heart, he sure had a strange way of showing it sometimes.  Bobby is pretty much the anti-John.  But just for kicks, let's take a look at some of the similarities between the two fathers that Sam and Dean have had in their lives.

 
John
Bobby
Ever-present facial hair
X
X
Got into hunting because of wife's death
X
X
Classic car
X
X
Loves Sam and Dean and would do anything for them
X
X
Is very good at hunting
X
X
Fought against demon possession to not kill Dean
X
X

And that's pretty much where the similarities end.  Admittedly, Bobby's character has been fleshed out more than John's was.  He's been in more than twice as many episodes as John.  We know more about him and have seen him interact with Sam and Dean more than John did.  And John always had his own agenda whereas with Bobby, what you see is what you get.

Comments  

Karen
# Karen 2010-03-29 09:18
Hi Ardeospina

Loved the article and what you had to say.
I don’t know how anyone could not love this character.
What a wonderful friend, mentor and lifeline he has been for Sam and Dean.
I am starting to get really fearful for Bobby and his state of mind.
Although Dean has expressed how important he is to them and has tried to give him much needed pep talks. The fact is they are not there all the time… Bobby is alone most of the time and that gives more time to dwell and for depression to set in.
And with this last experience, this will also start setting in resentment.
I can’t help think what Pamela had said to Sam when she was dying, cursing Bobby for introducing her to the Winchester. I hope Bobby is able to stay strong and be there for the brothers.
Thanks again for this wonderful article.
Julie
# Julie 2010-03-29 10:57
Thank you so mush for this wonderful article.
How could anyone who knows anything about this show not love Bobby Singer.
I think everyone should have a `Bobby` in their life, I certainly wish i did. You just know that you could totally rely on him always, even to give the advice you really dont want but do need.
Like you I loved the scene in the yard in AHBL 2 it breaks my heart when he holds Deans face in his hands every time I see it, but the scene in Lucifer Rising with the wonderful rant when he apologises for hurting princess` feelings and then tells Dean he is a better man than his father ever was is just awesome. i have never loved Bobby more than at that moment!
Yes, I too am worried about where he is at the moment but surely nothing can happen to Bobby, could they be that cruel to us? I guess going by past records, yes they could, I just desperately hope they are not.
Just a word about Jim Beaver. it takes a very special man to play such a wonderful character and that he certainly is. I would urge anyone to beg steal or borrow his book as, although it is by no means an easy read, it is absolutely inspirational. At some point everyone in their life will have to go through tragedies of their own, and the way he is able to share the lessons he learned coping with his own will prove invaluble, believe me.
elle2
# elle2 2010-03-29 12:17
I really enjoyed your insights into Bobby, especially the part where he took the time to learn about Sam and Dean individually and acto accordingly. Great analysis.

:-)
Britt
# Britt 2010-03-29 12:44
Wow, I just stumbled across this fansite today, but I'm a huge fan of Supernatural. This article has really helped me to understand more about the relationship between Bobby and the Winchester brothers and about Bobby in general. I didn't much like Bobby at first, but after watching so many of the episodes and then reading this article, I gotta say... he really is an intense and interesting character. I understand his characterizaion a bit more, now, and well... this article has changed my perspective of him.
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-03-29 17:53
Love your article, Ardeospina, thank you for sharing it!

Bobby is one of my all time favorite tv-characters. I would really, really hate if he got killed. The deaths of Ellen and Jo have been devastating enough, but Bobby getting killed ... no, no, no, that is not acceptable! Ardeospina, you described him so well, I have nothing more to add.

Jim Beaver I haven't seen in any other show besides Supernatural, but Harper's Island, and I watched that one only because of him. I certainly will catch up on Deadwood, Jim points his role in that show always out as being one of his favorites. I'll be watching every show/movie he's in, and if I get lucky also theater play. Because he's an awesome actor!
Randal
# Randal 2010-03-30 08:52
This kicked all kinds of ass, covering every facet of his strength, his importance. I have to second elle2 on the psychoanalysis bit. There's a hell of a lot going on underneath that filthy trucker cap.

I suppose I'll have to forgive you for rooting for the Steelers. 8-)

I still want to know what form the lie took in Devil's Trap. "Sure, officer, it's not *that* out-of-the-ordi nary to find a battered, broken corpse in one's home."

Can one really earn enough of a living from salvage to afford such rare books? Maybe the creepy, Central European dealers need their Yugo fixed. :D
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-03-30 19:16
Thanks for all your very kind words, everyone! It was quite a process for me to write this since it's so different than what I usually do, but it was fun, as well, and I'm glad you're liking it.

Dany, that's very sweet of you to say! And isn't Deadwood fantastic? Loved Jim in that so, so much.

Karen, I'm worried for Bobby's state of mind, too. I really hope he can tough it out, but I'm curious to see where his journey will end up, too.

Julie, I completely agree that everyone should have a Bobby in their life! How handy would that be? Maybe we can talk to someone about cloning...

Elle2, thanks! I figured the difference in relationship had to be a decision by Bobby and not just a writer's whim, right? :-)

Britt, welcome to the site, and thanks for posting! I highly recommend you poke around in the archives because we have a lot of fantastic writers here who have done some amazing work, and it's really fun to read. And I'm so touched that my article helped you understand Bobby more and come to appreciate him. Thanks so much for posting that, and I hope to see you around the site more often.

Freebird, if Show does something horrible like killing off Bobby, we'll have a crying party together because I'll be a mess. Must. Not. Happen.

Randal, thanks! I have a very high opinion of your work, so I'm really pleased that you liked some of mine! And yeah, he could really use a new trucker hat that's not so grungy. Maybe for season 6!

And don't hold it against me that I live in Pittsburgh! I grew up in Cleveland, so I'm a total Browns fan and always root for them. I will root for the Steelers when they're not playing the Browns, though, since it's kind of hard not to in this town. Still, go, Brownies first and foremost! And if you still can't forgive me for rooting for the Steelers just a little but, too bad!
;-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-03-31 10:14
Fantastic! Bobby is one of my favorite characters and you depicted him beautifully. Great article!!!

For what it’s worth, Bobby maybe down, but not out. He, above all, won't let the devils get to him. I just hope he is around after the apocalypse.

Thanks so much for the article.
Randal
# Randal 2010-03-31 13:59
Ardeospina, I don't buy your excuse. Would a Liverpool fan root for Manchester United even if he/she lived in Manchester? C'mon, English SPN fans, back me up here. :D
Julie
# Julie 2010-04-01 16:02
Randal the answer to that question is NO!!!!
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-04-01 16:27
Randal, you had to go and bring real football into it, didn't you? Fine! I'll admit it: it's much easier to root for a team that actually, you know, wins sometimes. But the Browns will be better next year... says I every year.

Also, go Arsenal!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-04-08 15:52
Ardeospina, thanks so much for this great article on our beloved Bobby. He is as awesome a character as it gets, and Jim is indeed a great, great actor to bring all those nuances across you captures so beautifully. I was happy to read this, as Bobby is one of my all-time fave guys on this show, and finally someone took to writing a piece about him. Kudos to you, and thank you again!
Hugs, Jas
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-04-08 20:19
Thanks, Jas, and you're welcome! I do love Bobby something fierce!

Hugs back!