In season 1 of Supernatural, technology was a whole lot different for the boys. Sam mocks Dean for having cassette tapes instead of CDs and now CDs are old news. The only social media that is mentioned is MySpace, which is now defunct. They go from using flip phones, to blackberries, to smart phones, so connecting to places like Hell is now a whole lot easier than hacking someone’s neck open for the bowl of blood required to “make a call.” At first, Sam and Dean had to get up close and personal to talk to monsters, demons, and eventually angels. Then in later seasons, good guys and bad guys had each other in their contacts.
But technology was a whole lot different for fans back then, too. In 2005, the show was on just one network and the story was doled out just once a week. Streaming was basically non-existent. There was no Twitter or Instagram or Zoom. At first, if we wanted more than just Sam and Dean, we were “forced” to physically meet with the actors who played them...and for this reason, I think the Supernatural fandom is really lucky to have started coalescing when it did.
Every end-of-series interview has talked about two things: The fact that Supernatural has been on for a long time AND how it has a dedicated fandom. But few have looked at how these two things have worked hand-in-hand to make the Supernatural fandom so unique. Interviewers have thrown out theories, but this level of devotion did not just happen “by magic.” Was it J2M’s beauty and talent that drew us in like moths to a flame? I don’t think so. There are plenty of beautiful and talented people on shows who don’t amass such a devoted following. Is it their habit of being good leaders/organizing their sets using inclusion and fairness? Maybe...but there are many fine directors who do those things on plenty of other sets across the entertainment industry. I think Jensen was on to something when he mentioned in one interview how important conventions have been to the SPNFamily. Face-to-face is our fandom’s superpower.
So a small group of actors legitimately cares about their fans. How did this happen? I think it’s ‘cause we were honest. We were grateful. We were brave. And since we were (mostly) able to keep it together when we interacted with them, J2M could keep their guard down.
Penny (left) and her friend Keri at New Jersey Con, Sept. 2017
Then they listened. We trusted them with our appreciation and our stories. Then they trusted us. They are totally outnumbered at these conventions--and yes they have handlers/people walking with them--but they keep coming back to check in. None of this can happen during an online interaction.
In the last episode of season 14, Jack makes it so people can’t lie...and all Hell breaks loose. Chuck explains that lying keeps the peace, and that may be true, but it does not lead to a sense of trust. Interacting online sometimes creates more opportunities to be untruthful. It’s easier to manipulate another person when you only use technology to communicate. It’s harder to be dishonest when you are face-to-face with someone. So it stands to reason that J2M, perhaps unique to many famous people, have very little to hide.
Daniela with the Supernatural Cast at Jus In Bello convention 2019
But there is one more thing we can take away from all this uniqueness. J2M are powerful people with far more interesting things to do than attend conventions. They have plenty of money and other pressing obligations. But they sometimes choose to hang out with “us.”
Penny and Keri at "Scoobynatural" Promo Event, Hollywood, CA, March 2018
Since we know that we matter to people like that, we can go on in life with our heads held a little higher...and without J2M holding our hands. (Cue the cheesy, triumphant, CW background music.) Even though our opportunities to interact with them will be reduced by life, we will always have the benefit of being part of the fandom that followed them around for a time, and feel proud that we made that choice. The good choice. The right choice. The smart choice. The SPNFamily is not only unique--it’s a precious resource. Let’s not squander our brilliance.
Thank you to @SpnWinsync for finding Amberdreams' Supernatural con video included in this article.
JIB Photo from Amberdreams YouTube Video (watch?v=KotkhjZ9GU8)
Formatting and editing by Nightsky.
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