holy shit jesus chRIST im so overwhelmingly sick of this piece just be DONE DAMN YOU
ok so in all seriousness, it’s a redraw of this piece from about 3 years ago. i’m very pleased with how this turned out! i managed to get the sort of mood i’d originally intended, and it’s a hell of a lot smoother than the original
…but seriously oh my God those back bricks Murdered Me never again
Hi! Sorry to bother you with a bit of a dumb question...but I've been seeing the phrase "the story became the story" a lot in the past few weeks on my dash, and I never understood what exactly it means? I think it was mostly on some other blog but I can't seem to find it. Just very confused ^^'
DEAN You remember when we were kids that spring in upstate New York? Dad was on a rugaru hunt. We, uh – we crashed at the, uh … the bungalow colony with the ping-pong table?
SAM Yeah. Uh, y-you disappeared. Dad came back. You were gone. He shipped me off to Bobby’s for a couple months and went and … found you. You were lost on a hunt or something.
DEAN THAT’S what we told you. (as if Sam’s story refreshed his memory) Right.
SAM I’m sorry? That’s what you told me?
DEAN Truth is, uh… I lost the food money that Dad left for us in a card game. I knew you’d get hungry, so … I tried taking the five-finger discount at the local market and got busted. I wasn’t on a hunt. They sent me to a boys’ home.
SAM A boys’ home, like a … reform school?
DEAN Yeah, more or less. It was a farm, and the guy who ran it – Sonny – he, uh, you know, he looked after me.
SAM Hey, Dean … I mean, why didn’t you just tell me you went to a boys’ home?
DEAN I don’t know. Uh, it was Dad’s idea. And then it just – you know, the story became the story. I was 16.
I copied most of the exchange (that’s the end of the scene, with Dean using that last line to end the argument) because I think context is sort of important… Basically a lot of meta writers since this episode have picked up on it as a really important phrase to explain a lot of things all round the show, where people have been holding onto ideas and stories which helped but really aren’t that great long term for their development and all.
This one exchange summarises the entire point of this episode before you even get into it, and basically anything where they were holding onto an idea for safety or denial out of their childhood. Most John Winchester focused episodes have an element of it, this is just the most overt (I think it’s the key episode really for all Carver/Dabb era John-related stuff) so it gives us this great line to explain everything.
Now Mary’s back it’s even more critical because it’s basically explaining everything where there’s difficulty communicating, and Mary was still in the “story” up until Toni told her to her face that there was a different truth to the one she’s been clinging to. (I just scrolled past this great gifset with some side by sides)
Essentially the entire story of Mary to Sam and Dean has been, well, a story. She has a whole history of being their tragic saintly mother, they never got to knew through anything but hazy memories and stories. Ever since then her image has been challenged, I mean, like, in 1x09 she apologises to Sam for what happened/will happen (not that she remembers this now) - but at the time it showed there was maybe something more to what Mary knew. Still, going back in time and meeting her, whatever we learn that she’s a hunter etc never changes who she IS to Dean and then Sam - they both look at her like she’s a flawless angel and permanently with tears ready to fall just to be in the same room as her.
As much as John stuff has stories that became the story - the things they say to explain how bad it was to themselves, that they can focus on him being a great hunter, a hero who sacrificed himself for them, who had his noble tragic quest to avenge Mary, doesn’t really cover that he neglected them and raised them poorly, messed up, with too many expectations and dangerously. Which again is a theme since season 1 - if nothing else shows it clearly, then 1x18 with John sending Dean to clean up his mess with the striga… Which John blamed Dean for despite him being a kid, it was his fault for messing up the hunt not John’s for expecting this tiny child to protect his brother with a shotgun from a terrible monster. And I’ve never been certain he wasn’t using them as bait if he had left them alone in the same town as the monster knowing its pattern was to feed on kids.
So they have their stories about John - stuff where Dean accepts the blame or things where they can kid themselves it wasn’t all as bad as that, because they DID love him and he loved them and all that stuff is apparently what family does for each other - all the selling their souls etc.
Of course then it turns out Mary was the one who started it not John, which is the narrative asking us to question her, to allow her to be more human, as messed up as them, etc.
But actually having her back is difficult to get over the image, so for them the hurdle with Mary has been seeing past the story that became the story, that she is miserable and human and messed up as well (hence all the drama she’s put them through so far)… And they’re struggling with the image of John, where the story became the story and they haven’t exactly conquered that yet EITHER so asking them to be upfront and comfortable discussing it with Mary? She’s been folded into their perception of John and though they very very gently poked at the idea to start with, she was making essentially the same error as Henry Winchester:
HENRY You’re also Winchesters. As long as we’re alive, there’s always hope. [DEAN and SAM look at each other.] I didn’t know my son as a man, but having met you two… [HENRY takes DEAN’s hand with his right hand and holds out his left hand to SAM] …I know I would have been proud of him.
He ALSO read all of John’s journal and was horrified by what had happened to him, but for his own sanity drew a nicer picture of John as a hero and a good man (because, on a cosmic level, he was and his actions were good and he saved people and sold his soul for Dean and didn’t even break in Hell when Dean did, like, what a great guy). Mary as a character with a full season long arc has a chance to learn more and get past that same introduction to what she missed while skipping ahead in the story to what to both Henry and her is essentially after the story ended, and to understand what’s underneath the story - that this upbringing by a crusading hero was not exactly a story of great parenting when it came to her sons. And even the only thing she doesn’t know yet after Toni’s attempt to tell her a version of the truth to upset her is that cupids connected her and John, and that her whole story THERE is also a half-truth because unlike the story Dean told her in 12x01 about how she met John, there is no cute love story - there’s manipulation from Heaven and in the end the same love that made her make that deal wasn’t all her fault because it came from a cupid’s arrow not just from her own heart. And it all “had” to happen because of the apocalypse.
Anyway, that’s the sort of thematic thread that has been running through the entire show but since 9x07 had really easy words to put to it to mean anything where this messed up family has constructed an easier truth over its darkness.
(I have to say as I just watched 10x05 last, I really hated the Winchester Family Story as presented there with them all singing Carry On Wayward Son, and I think it was meant to be fake because Adam was there and they had to ask who he was… But the whole take away from the episode even for the actual Sam and Dean was a very very glossy idea of what they do and how their family is. Works great as a 1 off episode completely in isolation to actually celebrate the show and fandom as we love it, but in context 2 episodes after demon!Dean was laying into Sam about how they were raised and the real dark heart of their family, before trying to kill him…. it’s so fake, and watching those 2 episodes side by side like I did, without the werewolf melodrama in the middle… It’s so obviously a “the story became the story” to smooth over the whole demon!Dean incident so they can function for most of the rest of season 10… If you need another example of seeing it in action :D)
F for Fake: A study of Orson Welles’ film noses - Part 4: The 1970s & 1980s
From Orson Welles’ Sketchbook - 1955
Following on from Orson’s 1940s noses (here), 1950s noses (here), and 1960s noses (here) with the running total at real 22 : 31 fake, we slide irrevocably into the final stages of Orson’s career, the 1970s and 1980s.
Ok, the 1960s were hard work, folks, but they look like a shining beacon of greatness compared to what comes after. Don’t get me wrong, Orson is always always great, and there are some wonderful moments, but they’re few and far between. But it’s ok, because it funded F for Fake, and gave him hope, and hey, he worked with the Muppets.
I’m very sad to bring this to a close, because it’s the most ridiculous thing I think I’ve ever dedicated my time and research to, but I’ll be glad to get back to my favourite Orsons, be it Mike O’Hara, or Macbeth, or Rochester, or Harry Lime, or Orson in his very own skin, and - praise the baby cheeses - own nose.
The Kremlin Letter [d: John Huston, 1970]
Orson begins the decade as he doesn’t mean to go on: Russian, clean shaven (and dark haired), and working for a great director (who has, in this case, made a rare tedious film).
Catch-22 [d: Mike Nichols, 1970]
Character: Colonel Dreedle
real nose, real hair, real face, not-real military rank
Waterloo [d: Sergei Bondachuk, 1970]
Character: Louis XVIII
Another historical epic, another short cameo, another ever-so-slightly fake nose, as well as some light stagecraft with the makeup.
Malpertuis [d: Harry Kümel, 1971]
It’s a Belgian fantasy-horror film with Orson playing one of many mythical Greek characters, what’s not to love. Featuring Orson’s most OTT stagecraft of the decade.
A Safe Place [d: Henry Jaglom, 1971]
EVERYTHING IS REAL INCLUDING THE MAGIC. Orson at his most wonderfully benevolently uncle-ish.