Substack: Jensen Ackles

It’s his birthday today. You know I’ve written so much about him. I’m not done. Here’s another piece, praising his old-school brand of acting – the old-school movie star stuff – in all its subtleties and broad-ities. On my Substack, no paywall. Let’s spread the love.

Jensen Ackles: The Beauty, the Burlesque, the Schtick, and the Erotic-Muse Reality Distortion Field

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127 Responses to Substack: Jensen Ackles

  1. Lyrie says:

    YES! Happy Birthday to The Most Precise Actor.

    So, where do you prefer we comment? There’s a millisecond bit of acting I saw this past year that gave me even more respect for his craft that I want to talk about – of course, it’s way personal, and of course, even if it’s in the The Boys, we’ll end up talking about SPN.

    Where should I start rambling about eyelashes, masculinity and microexpressions, please?

  2. Carolyn Clarke says:

    So much fun going down memory lane with you and those recaps! I remember reading each one in excruciating detail whether I agreed with you or not, but I usually did. I am so curious as to what kind of actor JA is evolving into. He could so easily be the leading man type but he seems to be exploring and stretching to see what he can do. It’s fascinating also to see how he and JP have chosen different paths. Whoever compared JP and JA (them, not their characters) to Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo seems to have gotten it right. Is JP playing it safe with something that he knows how to do or is he waiting for the perfect vehicle which might never come. JA seems to be more willing to step out on the edge but so far never quite over it.

    • sheila says:

      // I am so curious as to what kind of actor JA is evolving into. //

      Me too! I’m assuming you’ve been watching The Boys? It’s interesting to see the shadings he brought to that character – and I also love he gets to use his humor. JA without the humor is just not the same actor! I love to see him stretching. I haven’t watched Big Sky – have you? I have some catching up to do.

      // Is JP playing it safe with something that he knows how to do or is he waiting for the perfect vehicle which might never come. //

      Interesting. I hadn’t thought of that. He may just want to stay close to home – Walker is filmed in Texas, yes?

      I’d love to see JA go real dark. Be on a show like Justified, or something like that. Move out of the fantasy realm. We shall see. I like the choices he’s been making so far!

      • Lyrie says:

        Carolyn, hi!

        Interesting! JP jumped into producing right away, though, and it might have kept him busier right after SPN. I agree that it’s really nice to see where they’re going.

        OMG, Jensen on Justified Primeval – the dream!!

        • sheila says:

          The eyelashes will destabilize whatever JA does and that’s a huge plus!

        • sheila says:

          Justified Primeval … How can we make this happen??

          • Lyrie says:

            Sheila, Justified Primeval is happening, it’s in the works! Should be for sometime later in 2023, I think. We just need Jensen in the cast!

          • sheila says:

            Yes I was just poring over the info about it -so psyched!

            maybe we can create a “Put jensen on Justified Primeval” tulpa?

          • Lyrie says:

            Ha ha YES!

            Sheila, my comment to the main thread is stuck in moderation purgatory: is it because I inserted links, or is it because I wrote dick? We can still say dick, here, right? (testing, testing)

          • sheila says:

            hahahahah oh is it?? dammit – I do not censor people’s language. it’s probably becuase there’s a link in the comment – let me go find it.

            The good thing about purgatory is …. BENNY.

          • Lyrie says:

            Dick, Benny… We got there fast, eh? :)

          • sheila says:

            Season 8: Purgatory > Benny > Dick.

            also Season 8: Motel > Limes in sink drain > Dog > Hot dogs and spaghetti > Orange makeup

            Make it make sense.

          • Lyrie says:

            //Season 8: Purgatory > Benny > Dick.//
            HA HA HAAAA Welcome to my brain!

            Season 7: The Mentalists > Melanie > we ship it.

            It’s just how it is. *shrug*

          • sheila says:

            ah Melanie. I still dream of Melanie.

  3. Lyrie says:

    Alright, so, Soldier Boy “Who Approved This Script?” Promo:

    This is a video I saw once and never re-watched until now, because it terrified me – and I mean: literal feeling of cold in guts, stopped breathing for a second, feeling of dread, brain taken over by “I’m in danger” – nice PTSD shit.

    Unfortunately I can’t really explain why it’s so masterful without oversharing, so for context, I grew up with a very violent father. A guy, I came to understand as an adult, who is very insecure, particularly when it comes to masculinty. Prone to violent outbursts, verbally, or physically. Entitled but from a place of deep insecurity, of feeling like people never give him the respect he is OWED.

    We’ve seen Jensen Ackles play violence in SPN, and different kinds too: Dean not dealing with the guilt of his father’s deal is not the same as Demon Dean, who’s not the same as First Blade Dean, who’s not the same as Leviathan Dean, etc. But whatever version of Dean Winchester we were seeing, it was specific AND still that guy. And oh boy, it went really dark, sometimes.

    But what he does in that very short clip triggers literal PTSD reactions in my body – which honestly, rarely happens. I’m an adult. It usually takes very specific, thankfully very rare, real life stuff for me to physically feel “I’m four years old and I might die.” That specific moment in particular, that second of his gaze floating,… … And the strain on his voice – you can hear in his yell he could very easily lose control completely… I RECOGNIZED it.

    Anyway, I could go on about more details but I ain’t no Sheila. I loved his whole performance as Soldier Boy but to me that moment really stands out. When I see people online lusting over Soldier Boy, even before I saw that clip, I couldn’t really get it – sure he’s handsome, but girl, Soldier Boy would date rape you, and maybe kill you with his dick just to see if he can feel something. To each their own I guess, but… That moment really sealed it for me. And how that man, who seems like a genuinely nice, healthy guy, can summon that kind of things, and with such precision! WITCHCRAFT!

    So glad I got to air out my daddy issues, thank you Sheila, thank you Jensen, happy birthday!

    (Next year we’ll do Mommy Never Loved Me. Just kidding. Or am I)

    • sheila says:

      ooooh I had never seen that clip, Lyrie. WOW. let me watch it again.

      Blown away. (also – I felt like he could just keep riffing, improvising -he’s so creative. He’s a character actor who looks ……. like that.).

      Okay I’ll be back. thank you so much for sharing. Need to watch again.

    • sheila says:

      You’re right – he’s very scary in that. I don’t have the same triggered response but I very much appreciate your thoughts on what it brings up , and what he is doing that’s different, that stands out. That floating gaze!!!

      he is sooooo good at the floating gaze. with Dean it was always tragic – but here? it just looks blank. scary.

      // but girl, Soldier Boy would date rape you, and maybe kill you with his dick just to see if he can feel something. //

      really good point. it’s one of the ways Dean could have turned out, let’s say. If he hadn’t had Sam to take care of. or a sense of humor.

      // how that man, who seems like a genuinely nice, healthy guy, can summon that kind of things, and with such precision! WITCHCRAFT! //

      I totally 100% agree with this. He’s like a nice happy dude who grew up in the suburbs. I mean, maybe there’s some torture we don’t know about … but either way it’s irrelevant. He is able to call up all this DARK STUFF – and yes: PRECISION. soooo important. He is never a “general” actor. It’s always specific. – it’s interesting because Dean channeled his rage – into hunting. Without hunting? Where would all that rage go?

    • sheila says:

      also … maybe because I am just so damn used to him on Supernatural – with no swears beyond “bitch” and “dick” and … “douchebag” (lol) – it’s really startling to hear him swear like he does in the clip. I swear a lot too – so I’m not squeamish about language – it’s just … hearing him seethe “motherfucker” – is … it’s almost upsetting?

      I’m happy for him, though – that he can let loose in that way whereas in SPN there were more language parameters.

  4. Lyrie says:

    //with Dean it was always tragic – but here? it just looks blank. scary.//

    And when he tries to jokes after his outburst, as if to say to the people around him “let’s keep pretending I’m cool and nothing happened” – again, SO precise, and SO true! He’s not funny, and there’s also actually no humour in him. (again, I recognize it. it’s wild.)

    // it’s one of the ways Dean could have turned out, let’s say. If he hadn’t had Sam to take care of. or a sense of humor.//

    Yeah, it really makes you wonder, what makes people turn out the way they do. How it’s sometimes seemingly small things that make a difference. How much is free will? I feel like it’s in part the sort of fluidity we’ve often talked about that saves Dean from becoming like Soldier Boy: he’s been too often in a typically female position to become a typical male predator. Maybe that’s an oversimplification, though. And that does go along with what you mentioned, too, mothering Sam.

    //and yes: PRECISION. soooo important. He is never a “general” actor. It’s always specific. //

    I really love the things he does with his voice. You could miss it, like many things he does it’s so subtle. In Big Sky, he doesn’t overdo it, but his voice is like velvet – close to Demon Dean, sometimes, but not quite. And it makes sense – I can’t wait for you to chatch up – it’s fascinating to see him play a guy who is so secure in who he is, who is open. And not open like “Here are all my wounds that I’m trying to hide but it’s actually what I lead with” Dean Winchester. Just, comfortable, even if he has his own shit, Beau Arlen’s sense of identity is never threatened. And so he’s relaxed, and so is his voice. In The Boys, there’s something really tense in his vocal cords.

    // it’s really startling to hear him swear like he does in the clip.//

    Yeah, he went from 15 years of “asshat” to “cum guzzler,” that’s a change, for sure! The power of language is always fascinating. It is definitely fun to hear him say that. Also because he’s always so proper in interviews.

    • sheila says:

      // He’s not funny, and there’s also actually no humour in him. //

      and this is always so interesting to me – or things LIKE this. This goes along with my view of talented actors being like conductors of themSELVES. It’s like THEY are an orchestra – a full orchestra – with every possible instrument present – but depending on the role, they can mute or draw forward this or that different instrument. Like: okay, not gonna need a flute for this role. It’s all percussion. Or, I need to have a tiny bit of cymbals here, and a little bit of harpsichord, but mostly I will use the cello.

      lol Like it gets that specific.

      so here is JA – a very warm man – although proper, as you say – at least publicly – and aslo funny – like we all know how funny he is – and yet he is able to completely SUBDUE that part of himself, the natural part of himself – for a role. Or his self-deprecation. Like Soldier Boy is often amusing but he has no idea he’s being funny. He has no self-deprecation. It’s a total lack. and so Jensen doesn’t use that very natural impulse in himself because it doesn’t fit.

      I am sure too that all of this is complicated by the fact that JA is so used to “playing Dean” that he won’t want to repeat himself. He’ll want to make sure the “pipes are clean” so to speak – and there isn’t any accidental spillover.

      • Lyrie says:

        //This goes along with my view of talented actors being like conductors of themSELVES. It’s like THEY are an orchestra//

        Right! And when they don’t just go broadly with the quatuor, no they make decisions about the alto, and that it’ll pizzicato. I like that metaphor a lot!

        • sheila says:

          Yes – for sure – when to quiet down, when to burst forth –

          my friend Dan Callahan – who’s writtenall these wonderful books about acting – said in one of our interviews that good acting is so much about “proportion”. If the proportions are off, you get a generalized performance – but if the proportions are perfect, you get a masterpiece. And that’s up to the actor to do. Nobody can really do that but the actor – each thing is a choice, a little bit of this, a lot of that, sprinkle in this, hold back that …

          In acting classes you’d get criticisms about how something was “one note”. all yelling. all crying. or all attitude – like being sarcastic on every line. whatever.

          I feel like JA was pretty fully formed in all this by the time he got to SPN – I didn’t notice too much amateurish generalizing in the stuff he did before. SPN is what challenged him though – and gave him enough ROOM.

    • sheila says:

      // he’s been too often in a typically female position to become a typical male predator. //

      I think this is really true. and of course SPN made so explict that Dean was damaged goods because of being so dominated by his dad. So here’s this tough guy – legit tough – not a put-on – but in certain situations he’s totally passive. or submissive. It’s required of him. Kind of a mind-fuck but I think it made him sensitive to … kids, of course, but also anyone who feels dominated and controlled.

      • Lyrie says:

        //Kind of a mind-fuck //
        Isn’t that just what we love?

        //it made him sensitive to … kids, of course, but also anyone who feels dominated and controlled.//
        Yes, whereas these are like catnip for Soldier Boy, but, to hurt them. Look at that shit, that shit, he scares me!

        //Kim Manners directed many Supernatural episodes and was partially responsible for creating the almost-insane murderously-beautiful dark shadowy look of those early seasons//

        Did I tell you about one of the most awesome dream I ever had? My dream was: My dream was being directed by Kim Manners. So all I could see was elegant circular camera movements, and extreme close ups of Mulder (it was the summer I binge watched The X Files). And in my dream I was thinking, “how lucky am I that Kim Manners is directing this.”

    • sheila says:

      I am so intrigued with what you say about Big Sky. I honestly don’t know anything about it. I’ll check it out!

      “asshat” to “cumguzzler” omg

      I did love the Ghost Facers episode where it became clear just how much those two actually swore “in real life”.

      • Lyrie says:

        I’d love to hear your thoughts about Big Sky. I really enjoyed season 1. I ended up skipping parts of season 2 after a while, until the last episode, when sheriff Beau Arlen arrives in town. :)

        I miss our SPN friends, but it was nice to celebrate JA’s birthday our way. Thanks for hosting the party, Sheila!

        • sheila says:

          when does JA come on the scene? end of season 2?

          I for sure miss SPN. I’m afraid to watch The Winchesters. I got a glimpse on Twitter of someone bitching (and rightfully so) about how Rowena shows up and is all BFFs with John and Mary which ….. in allllll the time she was on the show (and she broke the damn show) – hanging out with the Winchester brothers – not ONCE did she say “Back in the day, I hung out with your parents…”

          stuff like that REALLY bugs me so I guess I’d rather not be subjected to it.

          • Lyrie says:

            Last episode of season 2.

            And The Winchesters… It pains me to say, because Robbie Thompson has written some of my favourite episodes of TV, but it’s really not a very good show, even without comparing to SPN. And not Rowena, but the writing in general, directing, acting… In the same way that when everyone is good it elevates everyone’s work, when it’s not great, it sometimes becomes hard to pinpoint how it ended up the way it did. Last week even directing… it looked so amateurish. When you can’t help but notice the blocking and editing because it’s so bad, it’s REALLY bad. It makes me really sad, I really wanted to like it, and sometimes it takes a while for first seasons to find their pace. But yeah, no, don’t watch. It’s sad. Pretty sure Dean will make an appearance at some point and I just don’t want him to.

          • sheila says:

            Ugh. Yeah. I don’t think I can watch.

        • sheila says:

          I’m hoping for an SPN reunion along the lines of what X-files has done – 6 episodes – get the old team together -Kripke – Sera G and Raelle please – Ben Edlund – I loved how X-Files definitely included their overall arc in SOME episodes, but then others were just basically one-offs – and the one-offs sometimes were the best most entertaining ones.

          I’d so love that. It’d have to be GOOD though. I’m so burnt by seasons 12-15.

          • Lyrie says:

            Yeah, I’d love that too IF it were good, otherwise it just makes things much worse – and I have to be honest, I don’t trust them anymore. It seems like they talk about that sometimes at conventions and it just makes me scared.

            Even though I also miss them. Like, I’ll see pictures on Twitter and I’ll say out loud “Sammy, I miss you,” like a totally normal adult human person.

          • sheila says:


          • sheila says:

            and yeah I totally don’t trust them. They didn’t even seem to know why so many of us loved the show at the end. It was so alienating.

          • Lyrie says:

            It is just so fucking WEIRD to me to read on Twitter people say that the show is so much better after season 12. I understand that not everyone enjoys the same things, but… BUT!?

          • sheila says:

            do not get that at all.

            I think some people had what amounts to an abusive relationship with the show. like they so badly wanted to see their ship – or themSELVES – and they waited years and years in agony – and like … why put yourself through that?

            And so then they embrace a character like …… Ketch? Fucking KETCH? as though he’s an awesome addition and everything they’ve been waiting for? It’s like they resented the whole Sam-Dean thing – and enjoyed anything that distracted from it.

            Not everyone who liked Season 12 – but a LOT I suspect had a very troubled relationship with the show as it stood – and wanted it to be something else basically.

            But … season 12? you wanted it to be season 12? or 13? (shudders) Really???

          • Lyrie says:

            What a strange thing – I don’t watch The L Word waiting for it to become about the guys from Sons of Anarchy. If you think it’s so wrong, watch something else?

            I’ve actually started writing an episode. It starts with Dean as a vegan gay barista. I’m sure I’d make lots of friends if I published it on Tumblr or Twitter. (and by friends I mean people who would want to physically hurt me)

            I misse Ben Edlund.

          • Lyrie says:

            And yeah Ketch, the whole thing with Mary, The BMOL… I hate it all SO MUCH.
            The stories are NOT GOOD

          • sheila says:

            NOT GOOD.

            so high-tech. SPN is not supposed to be hi-tech. I can’t believe this – but I so missed people making “phone calls” by slitting some random person’s throat and murmuring incomprehensible words into the swirling blood.

            Like … don’t set up your show like that, and then give the actual Devil a cell phone.

            Cell phones existed when the show started. Sam and Dean had them. But Meg had to slit that guy’s throat to talk to the devil. This is GOOD. It’s CREATIVE. It’s GROSS. and it keeps the supernatural … supernatural.

            I think what we really saw in those later scenes were – people who were just not imaginative or creative were running things. It was baffling.

          • Lyrie says:

            So, I’m watching the latest epsiode of TW right now. And one thing that I think started in those latest seasons of SPN is that they make everything EXPLICIT, and it’s like, have you guys not heard of story and its function? That genres like horror, fantasy, etc exist to talk about those things WITHOUT talking about those things? Not only does it mean you can look at things under many different angles when you do that, but it’s also more entertaining, otherwise you leave nothing for the audience to DO? And also when you make the characters state stuff like “I need to solve my anger that comes from the trauma of my childhood and my attachement issues” it just sounds FUCKING DUMB? (I’m exaggerating, but barely)

          • sheila says:

            Ugh, yeah. Putting everything into the language also means that nothing can stretch out and fester. I think people are really uncomfortable with festering – which, of course, is appropriate. Nobody likes festering. But festering is GOOD for building long story-arcs, building tension, allowing a show to LAST. also, yeah, to allow the characters to seem like real people, not just emotional attitudes perfectly fine with saying everything out loud.

          • sheila says:

            I mean think about the long long fight Sam and Dean had in Season 9. Or even their “breakup” in Season 8 – or maybe it was 7? I get confused. I think it was 8. When Dean went and killed that creature whom Sam had a connection with from childhood? whenever that was.

            That fight was TOXIC and it felt like it went on FOREVER and it was AGONY and it was also good shit! they let it FESTER. They prolonged the agony.

            This makes an audience involved. Yes, some might be turned off and people will have strong feelings about it – but again, all of that is GOOD for good storytelling. It gets people involved, it gets people talking.

            I LOVED that. I know so many people almost rejected the show when the brothers fought – or when things came between them. and that’s fine, that’s how they engaged with the show. But I LOVED when they were at odds. I LOVED when they looked outside their little belljar for company – companions – Benny! – whoever! it always brought out their relationship – their characters – so much more.

            It was about EXPLORATION not EXPLANATION.

          • Lyrie says:

            Yes, every time they got separated, it was so good! And every time they had to face themselves, too – and that was only good because it was several episodes in the making, so it was really paying off. How long did Sam remain soulless? They could have decided to solve that quickly because it made him unlikeable, but they milked that shit. It also gave both leads some really good stuff to play – instead of solving all the issues before they become really interesting, and then keep throwing very superficial external threats instead – that we don’t care about if it doesn’t affect them deeply!

            I saw a screencap of Clap Your Hands yesterday, and I keep laughing just thinking about it. They’re both so funny in that episode. I think I know it by heart, and I have a terrible memory.
            “Okay, so let’s go with you see it and I don’t. ”
            “They were grabby incandescent douchebags, goodnight.”

          • sheila says:

            Yes! soulless sam!! It was SO upsetting – I’ll never forget watching the season the first time (binging) – I just was SO UPSET, I almost laughed at myself. I couldn’t wait for Sam to come back. and poor Dean! Jesus. Wandering around the suburban house and having missionary sex with Lisa, with holy water under the bed. Like, someone save BOTH Winchester brothers!

            “They were grabby incandescent douchebags, goodnight.”

            I just can’t. I’m laughing out loud as I type. Your punctuation there captures it – just the WAY he says “goodnight” – and how imperious he is with that sweet sexy hippie girl – and I love how she’s like “Too soon?” lol

            also yeah – Soulless Sam allows for tour de force acting – which I think JP was clearly doing. His soulless Sam was SO good – talk about being a conductor. He had to remove everything that makes him HIM – humor, listening, compassion – all those things that we recognize as JP. He had to get rid of all that. He had so much fun with it – and it seemed totally real.

            When he puts his hand on Dean’s leg in the motel room – trying to be comforting – and Dean gets all weirded out.


            The show was so FREE to pull something like that off. It was so CONFIDENT in itself to allow for that kind of humor.


            “You sit in the dark and you GRIEVE.”
            “Can’t I have sex with the hippie chick too?”

            Oh Dean.

          • sheila says:

            “It was a little … hot … naked lady … and she hit me.”

  5. Lyrie says:

    //“You sit in the dark and you GRIEVE.”//

    SHEILA, I am CRYING with laughter!!

  6. Lyrie says:

    Also, the number of times I feel like something is sketchy and I mutter to myself “those tacos taste funny to you?” (another one of my favourites)
    No wonder people think I’m bonkers

    • sheila says:

      “Do you have bigger cups?”

      • Lyrie says:

        Under his breath: “It’s like Sedona Arizona crapped in here”

        • Lyrie says:

          “Pewterrific.” [the hand gesture, the half smile]

          • sheila says:

            “Did you service Oberon?”

            The thing JP does with his brow – as he tries to comprehend the information – it’s like his brow straightens out with surprise – he looks almost deadpan. (I love that JP brow thing.) But he does this without a soul and it makes it different. Sam would have teased Dean. He would have known the story was not true, but still teased. But soulless Sam really is wondering – “did Dean go off and sexually service a fairy king? what is happening?”

          • Lyrie says:

            Yeah, really wondering about the facts, and trying hard to act appropriately but… how do you react appropriately to THAT?

            Also, I have to say, I absolutely LOVE what that actress does. OK, so she was introduced as a cray-cray lady in the beginning, and it turns out she was right all along so now she does a bit of exposition. And she pretty much delivers straight info BUT, every time she says “yes”, and JUST the yesses, she sounds like she’s completely lost touch with reality. It’s brilliant!

          • sheila says:

            Oh she is perfect. I love the whole cast of that episode – when they used to cast for character and not just a hot new person. Not everyone is hot, Supernatural. Even the hippie chick – who was gorgeous – had her own personality. and … the leprechaun? so ridiculous.

            the watchmaker. excellent.
            the guy at the UFO camper-trailer camp.
            all the townspeople talking direct to camera.

            all real people. caricatures – but real.

    • Lyrie says:

      //Wandering around the suburban house and having missionary sex with Lisa, with holy water under the bed. //
      That show was so ridiculous, in the best way. I don’t know if I’ll ever love a show that much ever again. Maybe it’s over for me.

      I’ll just sit in the dark and GRIEVE. (I’m still wiping tears)

  7. Lyrie says:

    //“It was a little … hot … naked lady … and she hit me.”//

    DEAD. And how with each word, he puts a different commentary on what he saw!!

    • sheila says:

      and JP’s reaction!! when “naked … lady” comes out his face is like ” ……What?”

      Dean is totally traumatized. dying.

  8. Carolyn clarke says:

    This is so much f’kn fun reliving 15 seasons of SPN in this AMAZING thread/stream of consciousness! Then you throw in “The Winchesters” (don’t waste your time, Sheila, you have better things to do), Justified Primeval, The Boys, and Big Sky! Thank you.

    • sheila says:

      hahaha yesterday was so fun!!

      I’m pretty booked for the next week with no room for anything outside a couple deadlines – but after that I’m gonna check out Big Sky!

    • Lyrie says:

      Carolyn, I’m so glad it was fun for you to read! i think we celebrated Jensen’s birthday in the best way.

      Now that I think of it, Oliphant and Ackles in the same show would just be too much. I’d need time off work to recover!

      Thanks again, Sheila, I fell asleep giggling, it was amazing. Let’s do this again next year, ha!

      • sheila says:

        “They were grabby incandescent douchebags, goodnight.”

        I will never be over it. lol

        • Lyrie says:

          Ha ha ha I know!! I kid you not, again because I am a very normal human, I regularly say it out loud, and giggle.

          Another one I say out loud from time to time, and it makes me laugh out loud every time, from the Frecnh Mistake, and might be my very favourite line ever “Dean, grimly.”
          There, I’m laughing again.

  9. Lyrie says:

    //Not everyone is hot, Supernatural.//

    Found my next tattoo. On my wrist, in delicate cursive, like an inspirational quote.

    • sheila says:

      hahahaha. Have you read the piece Everyone is Beautiful and No One is Horny?

    • sheila says:

      I somehow missed it when it came out last year – and it’s practically an instant classic. She totally lays out this problem – she diagnoses it, and she doesn’t mention Supernatural but I kept thinking of those later seasons where even small one-offs were gleaming generic “beautiful” people.

    • sheila says:

      I absolutely love this piece and I wish I had written it, lol. But I’m glad someone expressed it so perfectly.

      • sheila says:

        actually I’m not sure if the writer is a man or a woman. I said “she” but it could be “he”.

        • Lyrie says:

          Aaaaaaah, thanks I hadn’t hear of it, will definitely read! I don’t want to keep shitting on TW, and sadly I wish it were their main problem and it isn’t BUT it’s still one of my main qualms with it, when I yell at my screen, so I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who is PISSED about it. All those pretty, pretty people, two of them being John and Mary, who will become the parents of Hi-wanna-fuck-and-cuddle-a-little Dean and I’ll-take-you-standing-up-in-the-nearest-restroom Sam, in their 20s, facing (supposed) mortal danger, in the 70s, no less, AND NO ONE EVER FUCKS?!?!

          And I mean, maybe John and Mary are sleeping together behind the scenes, or they just kiss like when I was 13? But come on, without showing it, there are MANY ways to suggest sex – sex, horror, etc, which the parent show did masterfully – so it’s even more painful.

          I was wondering if it’s a CW thing, and a recent convo on Twitter made me realize that it might be a more generalized trend? And some of the arguments in that convo were absolutely WILD, by the way. I’m an old millenial, and the youths really made me feel how much closer I actually am to y’all grumpy Gen Xers.

          It makes me even more glad for shows like You, or for the reboot of lesbian soft porn The L Word. It makes me sound like a horn dog, and maybe I am, but come ON!

          • sheila says:

            and yeah I saw a couple of things lately that were frankly very sexy – the Hungarian film Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time – is all about longing and yearning – and there’s an incredibly hot and tormented sex scene – a love scene really – it’s very full emotionally. I was like “ahhhh finally.” Not exactly in a horndog way – but because this was a story about two adults who were trying to connect – and …. that’s one of the oldest stories in the book, and if we are going to tell stories about adults we have to tell them in adult ways. The kids can just turn it off if they don’t like it.

            This also reminds me of some of the huge fandom wars. Younger fans calling the older fanfic writers pervs for writing sick twisted sexy fanfic … it’s just ridiculous.

        • sheila says:

          // y’all grumpy Gen Xers. //


          Oh the whole “sex scene discourse” has been raging for weeks now and I’ve finally muted people who can’t let it go. The kids are so anti-sex-scene I find it alienating and weird – they seem OLD – you’re supposed to get conservative and prudish when you’re OLD (even though …. I won’t, lol) – but it’s very weird to hear these kids who aren’t just anti sex scene but anti sex. all sex is assault, any TINY age gap is problematic, and … the worst argument and when I checked out of the conversation – was that if you’re watching a movie and suddenly there’s a sex scene, you haven’t “consented” to it and so that’s a problem.

          I mean, WHAT. Turn the damn thing off if you don’t want sex scenes.

          So that has definitely filtered down into a general anxiety about sex scenes or even suggestions of sex. This isn’t true of European films, really, thank God.

          Supernatural was very messed up sexually – initially – and it was one of the draws, especially since none of it was actually SPOKEN. But even subtext is now frowned upon.

          There was a total UPROAR in the SPN fandom after the opening scene of one of the later seasons – where Sam is drugged – in a basement? – and the British-lady Woman of Letters has sex with him – or maybe it’s just in his mind? Whatever: this was sex WITHOUT CONSENT and it SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED.

          Meanwhile though – the whole SHOW in the early seasons was about things happening to them without their consent. Like, that’s the point? You open your mouth and a gigantic dick-shaped column of smoke pours into you without your consent. You have a demon living inside of you for MONTHS. You know.

          So yeah. It’s an industry-wide thing right now – and it’s just going to get worse as the anti-sex brigade – (who all consider themselves progressives – and yet they all sound like right-wing Christians) – grow up and start being the adults in charge of things. Maybe they’ll calm down? I don’t know.

  10. Lyrie says:

    // all about longing and yearning//

    My favourite! (that’s the gay part of me, ha ha)
    And what you describe, yes: because sex can be just sex, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s also about so many other things, because we’re PEOPLE. Connection, intimacy, feeling alive, …

    // if we are going to tell stories about adults we have to tell them in adult ways. The kids can just turn it off if they don’t like it.//

    See what I mean by grumpy? Ha ha, no but I’m with you. I discovered this morning that monster romance is a genre? And I was surprised for all of 2 seconds, imagined all the weird sexual stuff I had never thought about before in my life that must exist in that genre, laughed at myself for never have realized that before, shrugged, and moved on, because it’s not my thing (don’t tell me Benny is a monster) but I’m glad other people enjoy themselves. End of story.

    People are weird.

    I think I got to the whole sex scene discourse late, and by accident, and when I read “I did not CONSENT to watching it so it’s assault” I tuned it off because, wow. Woooww. And that’s what I meant by absolutely wild arguments. Yeah, the pendulum really swung waaaaay too far in the other direction.

    //Supernatural was very messed up sexually – initially – and it was one of the draws, especially since none of it was actually SPOKEN. //
    Absolutely! And it was half the fun! Those guys were sexy as fuck, and getting the girls, and constantly being threatened and assaulted, and poor Sam had some angel cum left in him – sorry, angel grace.

    //There was a total UPROAR in the SPN fandom after the opening scene of one of the later seasons – where Sam is drugged – in a basement? – and the British-lady Woman of Letters has sex with him//
    Which was maybe the only thing in that whole season that was actually both inventive and true to the show’s essence.

    //You have a demon living inside of you for MONTHS. You know.//
    That was even an actual joke in season 2, in Born Under a Bad Sign, when after being SO worried for his brother, who was violated by Meg, Dean jokes “you had a girl inside you for weeks.”
    I hate that the current climate is turning me into “you can’t say anything anymore” because I really don’t think that’s what I stand for either.

    //you’re supposed to get conservative and prudish when you’re OLD (even though …. I won’t, lol)//
    No, I suspect in a few decades they’ll have brain implants zapping them when they have impure thoughts, meanwhile you and I will be illegally breaking into server rooms to chat on your blog – by then impossible to find via normal ways to access the internet – so we can laugh our wrinkled faces off and lust over Jensen Ackles and his Impossible Crows Feet.

    And thank you for that piece (it is written by a woman), it was really excellent! I love how she put it in context, including historically, and it was delightful to read too. “inoffensively bland” is SUCH a perfect dsecription of what we’re seeing.

    And the picture of Wolverine reminded me of a comment I read on Twitter a few months ago, and now it’s all I can think about when I see those kinds of bodies: who finds men with basically dick veins on their arms attractive? Who decided that?

    • sheila says:

      // “I did not CONSENT to watching it so it’s assault” //

      Yeah. This attitude is prevalent enough that it really must be fought against. It can’t gain any more sway. I actually consider it dangerous. Even though it might be just a dumb angsty teenager or 20something who’s never had sex and spent too much time on Tumblr.

      • Lyrie says:

        Agreed, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we see this renewed rigid belief in purity at the same time as the rise of fascism. And it’s not entirely surprising but super bizarre when it comes from crowds who seem otherwise progressive.

        • sheila says:

          Yes – when progressives join hands with fundamentalists in their desire to censor/suppress – even if they want to suppress different things – it’s very dangerous. It’s groupthink and control. and neither side can seem to see that they’re doing the same thing as the hated other side. It’s very hard to maintain equilibrium. writing helps! but it’s hard to resist these two very powerful sides.

  11. Carolyn Clarke says:

    Fascinating as always, but I blame it all on the fact that when these movies were made that are based on super humans based on comic books, no one noticed that neither Batman, Superman, Thor, etc., etc., were anatomically correct.

  12. Lyrie says:

    Sheila, it was the season finale of TW, and I am so upset! And I know it’s a little ridiculous to be upset about a tv show, but… whatever. I’m so sad about where the whole mythology thing went. I knew the episode was written by Robbie Thompson before his name appeared because it felt like it was written by a professional – which sounds mean, but I’m not looking for things to criticize, it was just so THERE.

    Anyway, I’m a dumbass, and I’m all upsetti spaghettti when most people seem to be happy about it? Maybe because the people who loved the first seasons of SPN are long gone. I’ll keep coming here to revisit those glorious episodes until the end of time.

    • sheila says:

      what did they do with the mythology? I haven’t watched one episode.

      Jensen was on it last night, right? I think I saw a trailer on Insta

    • sheila says:

      // Maybe because the people who loved the first seasons of SPN are long gone. //

      Ugh, yeah. that’s kind of heartbreaking but it makes sense.

    • Lyrie says:

      In the end, these John and Mary are from a different universe. They’re different people? What kind of lazy ass writing is that? And if it’s not them why should we even care? Why would Dean care? What the fuck is that alternate universe bullshit? If it’s an alternate universe why did we need Rowena, still? And Dean showed up up with Bobby and Jack for WHAT – apart to try and get some cheap nostalgia points, because their presence actually served NOTHING in the story.
      God, Sheila, I am a n g e r

      • sheila says:

        JACK was there?

        where’s SAM?

      • sheila says:

        again with the whole AU thing – it’s so STUPID.

        It’s like they forgot the origins of the show. it would be like X-Files totally morphing into a whole other genre by the end of the series.

        who DOES that?

        and why didn’t anyone NOTICE?

      • sheila says:

        so … they’re alien beings masquerading as John and Mary?

        I can’t.

        • Lyrie says:

          So they’re John and Mary, except it’s not our reality. But everything else is pretty much the same. And their big bad? Some insect-dudes Chuck left there as a failsafe to destroy his universes. Buy hey thanks to Dean from another universe (ours, or his), they’re saved! Hurrah! Who gives a shit!? They can now have another Dean and Sam? What!?!

          • sheila says:

            I can’t even believe what I just read.

          • sheila says:

            these people read way too much sci-fi and need to read more Stephen King.

          • sheila says:

            // Who gives a shit!? They can now have another Dean and Sam? What!?! // lol

            still my favorite exchange that you and I ever had:

            Me: What IS Castiel now?
            You: Don’t know. Don’t care.

          • Lyrie says:

            Listen, I know I’m a drama queen bitch, but I had to take breaks to cry a little, and I was like “please someone make it stop. Kripke, DO SOMETHING.” lol

          • sheila says:

            I fucking hate Chuck. and I hate saying that because I loved Chuck in his initial incarnation. they ruined it by making him God. Ugh.

            Insects? Leave it to Chuck. He’s the WORST.

          • Lyrie says:

            //Me: What IS Castiel now?
            You: Don’t know. Don’t care.//

            Ha ha ha haaaa, sure sounds like me!

      • Lyrie says:

        I love Ackles, his wife, Robbie Thompson, Beaver, Calvert – John F. Showalter directed! All of them. I say that with love in my heart: they’re smart people, surely they see it’s not very good? I hope it stops here. Please.

        • sheila says:

          yes these are good creative people! it makes no sense!

        • sheila says:

          it’s got to have its fans – I wonder if anyone who is NOT a supernatural fan is tuning in?

          I wonder what it all seems like if you’ve never seen the show.

          why are they so committed to ruining this perfect show (in the early seasons). it’s like they strayed so far from the original idea they couldn’t “get back” to it if they tried – they went way too far off the path, did irreversible damage.

  13. Lyrie says:

    Sheila, I think your site is pissed that I’m criticizing TW in a post dedicated to JA, because since WEdnesday night I can’t post, I keep getting a 403 error message (I just managed to get that ONE reply yesterday before getting blocked again). At least I know the limits: I can write “dick” but not talk about TW, ha!

    Oh for fuck’s was my reaction too, to pretty much the whole thing, honestly.

    //these people read way too much sci-fi and need to read more Stephen King.//
    Yeah, pretty sure there was a Doctor Who reference, unless Thompson was drunk when he wrote that they have to “reverse the polarity” of the thing. Listen, I love Doctor Who. It’s just not the vibe!
    I don’t know, imagine Sorkin deciding after X season of the West Wing that it needs dudes on Harleys (don’t know why I keep referencing Sons of Anarchy lately, I guess I’m due for a re-watch). It’s just fucking bizarre!

    //thanks for taking one for the team.//
    Yeah, I bailed during season 13 (i think) but with this I wanted to hope. But recognizing after just a few sentences that the showrunner wrote the episode because it didn’t sound clunky all of a sudden kind of tells you what my experience has been like. And to be clear, I bought the season pass after the pilot aired. I don’t spend money on things to hate on them. I really, really wanted to like the show.

    The final straw: they finally got the right for a Led Zeppelin song. Now? For THIS!? It makes me so sad.

    //I wonder what it all seems like if you’ve never seen the show.//
    I suppose the expectations aren’t the same, so it must not be as much of a let down. But frankly, even if it weren’t in the SPN universe I’d be bummed if that was that showrunner’s show, because I’ve loved his work so much. I realize I might be too old to be the target audience, and tastes change (a little) but I’m pretty sure that at 20 I could tell when something wasn’t very good.

    • Lyrie says:

      I’m sorry Jensen! I love you! (as if he’d care lol). But I know occasionaly Jim Beaver stops by, so I’m really hoping he sticks to posts about movies. Although – I love him too, since Deadwood!

      I’m re-watching it every few years, and every time I’m awed by different things. There’s one scene where Jim Beaver delivers a monlogue, talking to a dog, while being busy doing gold-digging stuff, and holy shit, that takes some fucking mastery.

      I really prefer talking about things I love. (let’s see if your site blocks that, I guess, ha ha)

    • sheila says:

      // imagine Sorkin deciding after X season of the West Wing that it needs dudes on Harleys //

      I know! they just didn’t care. and I don’t think the CW ever really knew what SPN was trying to do anyway – and had no understanding of the genre. (Hollywood Babylon lampooning the disconnect.). Like, horror is a very specific thing – it has its own fans – and there are almost no horror genre shows – like, maybe corner the market in this smaller genre – as opposed to being just another boring YA-fantasy show, like every other damn show?

      some people love fantasy, that’s fine. I’m not one of them. I like sci-fi sometimes – but even early on, with the “special children” in Season 2 – and the sort of X-men way things were going … it was just a tiiiiiiiny bit corny, and I wasn’t really into it. You could feel the pull of the whole fantasy genre – it’s a fine line, I guess. Supernatural/horror and Supernatural/sci-fi-fantasy – but we sure could feel the difference. I mean, by the end, were there ANY scary episodes? Like … Roadkill? God, I loved Roadkill. Fantasy isn’t scary, horror IS. it was all just a mess.

    • sheila says:

      and it speaks to the actors – Jared, Jensen, Jim – the core group – that I didn’t drop away. I couldn’t. I was WAY too invested in all of them.

      • Lyrie says:

        //some people love fantasy, that’s fine. I’m not one of them. I like sci-fi sometimes//

        I don’t love all of it, but I do like fantasy. And sometimes sci-fi, when the focus is on the characters (Severance is my favourite show of the past year, I love it SO MUCH) – hell, I even love Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. even though it’s sci-fi AND superheroes, which, if there’s a genre I’m not into, that would be it.

        And yeah, when the horror is supernatural in nature, I guess it overlaps a little with fantasy – Buffy did it too. And fantasy can be scary with a bit of horror in it – Sera Gamble did it beautifully in The Magicians, I think. The last scene of the pilot still haunts me, it SO GOOD, literal goosebumps, it scared the shit out of me. And once the show progresses and you understand what the monster stood for? Equally horrifying – excellent, 10/10. But Sera Gamble IS a horror writer.

        But the thing is, those latest seasons were not horror anymore, but it was also shitty fantasy? Low stakes, incompetent characters (I can’t forgive them for that, and it’s also an issue in TW: those young hunters are not very bright, sorry), nothing has a COST – magic should have a cost, even in fantasy, otherwise what is the point?

        And yeah, not only is not horror anymore, but I can’t tell if they tried and failed or if they voluntarily destroyed what the early seasons had established. The last season opening with the monsters from season 1, lightly jogging in a suburban street, in broad daylight, cheesy makeup and all? Why don’t you just open the brothers’ mouths AND TAKE A DUMP IN THEIR FACES WHILE YOU’RE AT IT

        I guess I’m still angry about it.

        //and it speaks to the actors – Jared, Jensen, Jim – the core group – that I didn’t drop away. I couldn’t. I was WAY too invested in all of them.//

        Definitely. But it’s also why sometimes I couldn’t watch – maybe I’m an idiot but I felt angry and embarrased for them? There strings of episodes where NOTHING HAPPENS WITH SAM, who is one of the leads, and I was just fuming for Padalecki, who gave 15 years for that show with crazy hours, his family in Texas, etc‧, and he has to play “why do ears?” and “look I am breathing hard.” I can’t. Anger.

        • Lyrie says:

          The actors, and also what the writers in the early seasons had established – the inner lives of those characters – Dean’s off screen hookups, Sam’s life in college, Bobby’s past (thank you Sera Gamble for Death’s Door), Bobby and Rufus, etc. All those things that were so rich that they managed to carry over in later seasons when they were written in the most boring ways – we KNEW all of that about them, so did the actors, and so they were still – most of the time – three dimensional characters.

      • Lyrie says:

        //even early on, with the “special children” in Season 2 – and the sort of X-men way things were going … it was just a tiiiiiiiny bit corny, and I wasn’t really into it. //

        Yeah, I didn’t mind – binge-watching probably helped – but I also think they stopped it before it completely derailed everything. Same with the roadhouse, which I loved (And Ash! I will miss Ash forever!), but in the long run it would have created something that would have changed the structure of the show too much – so, of course, they ended up doing that whole “network of hunters” and Hunter Central in the bunker anyway. Hey guys, maybe if the original showrunner decided to literally burn that shit to the ground after one season, that should have told you something? No?

        But I think I also didn’t hate it because even if there were kind of superpowers, they came at a price – that’s what I mean, that isn’t there in the latest seasons with whoosh-purple-smoke-Rowena type of magic. Ava lost her fiancé, and herself. Andy had an evil twin – and although I’m laughing just typing that, the episode was actually really sad. He could have had a brother, he had a friend who could have been a girlfriend, but he lost all of that before it even began. Those powers came at a huge cost. And those characters didn’t look like models, they looked like real people (again, great casting, I love all of them). There was still something… earthy? grimy? You know, that whole look the show had in the beginning that had so much texture you could SMELL it. Everything was sweat and blood, and dirty and complicated.
        Nothing was sanitized, nondescript, tv land. AND the episode introducing Andy was Ben Edlund’s first episode on the show and it was so good. Even with that thing that they ended up scraping, season 2 is near perfection, and my favourite.

  14. Lyrie says:

    Dick, dick, dick.
    Guess I’m un-blocked.

    • sheila says:

      I think the blocking happens if you try to comment too many times in succession. that happened to me a couple of times during our more fast and furious group SPN discussions. Basically my site probably thought you were spam.

      I don’t have any language parameters set up!!

      • Lyrie says:

        I know, I was joking!
        I thought it might be something like that but yesterday was odd, because I was able to post one message, it took some time to compose the longer one, and then I couldn’t post it. Also I feel like it should have blocked me more often, maybe? Ha!

        Funny it happened to you on your own site. The intensity of SPN posts!

        • sheila says:

          that’s really weird. It might have just been a server glitch or something? I don’t understand technology!

          and yeah – I’ve been locked out of my own site before because it thinks I’m a spammer. I was like “No, it’s just that we’re talking about Route 666 and I’m making 10 comments every 10 minutes, it’s all perfectly normal.”

  15. prunesquallors says:

    Nothing to say except that this thread cracked me up. I miss reading these conversations!

    • sheila says:

      Hey!! It’s so good to hear from you – love following along with your life on Insta (hope that doesn’t sound creepy – lol – I just mean that the original group of SPN commenters here are dear to my heart!).

      I miss these conversations too – the show was just so damn fun to talk about! Especially with THIS group of commenters.

      • prunesquallors says:

        No, glad you remember me! I still check your blog pretty much every day (and often discover something super interesting).

        I’m so glad that these conversations are still happening here– I’ve had to shut my eyes to the SPN discourse everywhere else. But you guys get it.

  16. Jessie says:

    my only beef with your blog sheila is that I can’t give little love heart reactions and thumbs up to all the comments as I scroll down! It was lovely to be re-immersed in the old vibes and Lyrie – frankly I love your TW vitriol because I am still grossed out about the whole thing not in like a “haha she’s big mad about the tv” way but a “yikes, she’s big bad about the TV” way……and I didn’t even watch it :S

    • Mike Molloy says:

      Was just thinking this same thing. Would also give a heart to lots of the commenters’ contributions, including this one from Jessie

      (Just for instance, I finally watched Tar, and there is a lot of good back-and-forth on the Tar-adjacent threads)

      • sheila says:

        My blog’s design is sooooo 2008. I just can’t bear to change it. and honestly I’m afraid if I update I will lose comments (it happened the last time). I scroll way back sometimes and see comments from my dad – and just seeing it knocks me flat. i want to know they’re still there!

        Thanks Mike – always good to have people show up and leave their thoughts, whatever they might be!

    • sheila says:

      I never watched it either but even hearing a tiny bit about it was quite enough.

      Thank goodness for people like Lyrie who took one for the team and watched in order to report back on the insect beings and Dean breaking the space-time continuum.

      • Jessie says:

        Praise Lyrie! although I was sorry for those who lost their jobs, when it didn’t get picked up for season 2 truly I was grateful, for fear that the game of ‘but why did they do this particular thing? and if they had to do it, why did they do it in this particular way?’ would never end.

        I don’t mind your 2008 style blog really Sheila, I’ve just gotten used to relying on emoji reactions for 90% of my communication. It’s good to be forced back on the keys!

        Mike — thanks for the tip on the Tar threads, I’ll have to jump in once I cross it off the list.

        • Lyrie says:

          Praise me! ha ha ha

          Happy to be of service. I was literally ranting about TW to a friend yesterday, because I can’t let go and my friend is very patient. JA tweeting to “save TW” without a word of support for the writers’ strike was so tone deaf too. At some point, I’ll manage to pretend the whole thing never happened, like the sequel of Dead Like Me.

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