I jotted down a few ideas about how this song relates to spn at the moment right after the episode, when I was tired and my thoughts were sporadic and jumbled, so I’m going to try and organise them now:
As Metatron himself points out, the most infamous thing about
Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” is that supposedly absolutely NONE of the situations described by the lyrics actually fit the definition of irony, despite Alanis’ apparent claim that what she is singing about is ‘ironic.’
BUT there is a case to be made that THAT ITSELF is what is ironic about the song - a song titled “Ironic” that does not describe irony, oh isn’t it ironic?
PLUS, irony itself is a tricky concept, different people have different ideas of what it means, on what does and doesn’t classify as irony/ironic, not to mention there are a LOT of different TYPES of irony some of which mean radically different things.
So it seems to me that referencing the song in the context of spn highlights the confusions and conflicts the characters are having over how to define or label things (ie. attitudes, behaviours, other people, themselves)
Cas, for instance, considers himself an ‘angel (of the lord).’ Others, such as Metatron in Book of the Damned and the dying angel in Stairway to Heaven, believe that he does not fit the definition of angel anymore (if he ever did).
What I find of most interest at the moment, however, is how this relates to the ongoing confusion in the show (and the fandom) about what constitutes LETTING GO or MOVING ON or GIVING UP
Here is a quick list of a few recent moments in the show which can, and have, been argued as examples of those three concepts, either by characters in the show or by the fandom or both:
- Sam not hunting, looking for Kevin or trying to get Dean and Cas back after the S07 finale
- Sam being willing to sacrifice himself in Sacrifice
- Sam accepting his death in I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here
- Dean wanting to stop looking for a cure to the Mark
- Dean wanting to burn the Book of the Damned
- Cas not looking for a cure to his grace problem
I’m sure there are others, but those were the biggies that came to mind.
Those are all examples of LETTING GO, MOVING ON or GIVING UP
Which is which… well, that’s the question.
And I think “Ironic” is commenting on that as well. Because the key aspect of the chorus is how it is framed AS a question - isn’t it ironic? don’tcha think? Which is not so much claiming that everything being sung about IS ironic, but making the issue a topic of debate, encouraging the listener to form their own opinion on what is and isn’t ironic and if they think any part of the song fits that description.
Just as spn is leaving its narrative open to our interpretation, leaving us to think about how we label/define its characters and their actions/behaviours/choices
AND ALSO, perhaps, having “Ironic” referenced in the show implies that the way things are labelled/defined/understood sometimes varies depending on the context or on the personal thoughts of those involved. One of the lyrics of the song reads like this: “isn’t it ironic…don’t you think? A little too ironic…and, yeah, I really do think…” Offering a personal opinion on the topic - the singer (perhaps Alanis herself) notes that THEY consider what is being sung AS ironic. Does that make what is being sung about objectively ironic? No, not necessarily. But it does, perhaps, make it at least TRUE TO THE SINGER.
Which could relate to our boys in the show.
Cas, again for instance, may not be considered as fitting enough of the definition of ‘angel’ for Metatron and others, but if HE HIMSELF identifies as ‘angel’ then is it not, perhaps, TRUE FOR CAS that he IS an ‘angel’?
Or Dean not wanting to use the Book of the Damned to save himself - Sam, perhaps, considers that as Dean ‘giving up’ on himself, but if Dean himself considers it as LETTING GO of and MOVING ON from a destructive pattern of using dangerous and costly methods to cheat death, is it therefore TRUE FOR DEAN that he IS letting go and moving on as opposed to giving up?
And are such personal truths as these ‘real’ enough that others should accept them as true, even if they personally don’t consider them such?
Personal truths/interpretations CAN be flawed, after all. People can be mistaken, esp. when we are talking about defining abstract concepts (eg. emotions, emotional states, perhaps sexuality and so on), which includes the concept of letting go etc. I think. People can misunderstand their feelings, or their ability to comprehend their thoughts/feelings may become compromised (eg. hence why consenting to sex while drugged is not considered ‘true’ consent). Ergo - do others sometimes have the right to overrule someone else’s ‘truth’ for that someone else’s good, because they recognise that said ‘truth’ is NOT true, and if so where do you draw the line for that? when is it okay to disregard someone’s claim of what is true and when isn’t it?
THOSE are the issues/questions the show is exploring, partly though the use of
Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic
…don’tcha think? ;p