I haven’t written anything for Queer Dean Month yet, which is a crying shame. So I thought I’d talk about the tilt scan, which many have noted with regard to the famous shot in A Little Slice of Kevin, in a little more detail.
The tilt is a technique in cinematography that is instantly recognizable to most consumers of visual media whether they consciously know it or not. In a tilting shot the camera remains stationary while rotating on a vertical axis called the tilting plane. It is often used to indicate the sexiness of the female body as an object. The first gif in Google image search for a ‘sexy body’ is a tilting scan of a half-naked female body.
Dean gets Aaron’s number, and at first he’s kind of doofily nervous because he figures it’s going to be a sexting thing. and yeah, that comes up every now and then, but mostly it’s them talking about this whole thing, and how they knew. and Dean’s never had someone like this before, and in some ways, that’s more stomach-churning than the sexting ever is.
So, let’s discuss a scene from Heaven and Hell. Dean appears to be making a reference to pornographic imagery as he makes light of Anna having believed that her father wasn’t real father with “Who was? The plumber, hmm? A little snaking the pipes?”
It’s perfectly possible to interpret the line in light of mainstream pornography; a working class Schmoe entering the house of an idle middle class woman is a cliche pornographic narrative. What is interesting, however, is that Dean doesn’t mention a woman – he focuses on the male part. His mind jumps to the plumber snaking the pipes. The reference is to Anna’s mother and father, so one assumes that the pornographic scene is between a man and a woman, but Dean’s focus is on the role played by the male pornographic actor entirely, both in his role (plumber) and in his act (snaking the pipes). His euphemism for intercourse also emphasizes the phallos and its motion.
Sam responds with “Dude, you’re confusing reality with porn again”. There are two alternative interpretations for the line: that Dean has a tendency to confuse reality with porn in general – or that he just did.
Do we have any reason to think it is the latter? Did anything happen previously in the episode that would count as Dean confusing reality with porn?
It just so happens that in the same scene, just moments previously, Dean commented on Bobby Singer’s trip to the Dominican Republic saying that he hopes he’s working a case because “Otherwise, he’s at hedonism in a banana hammock and a trucker cap”. It isn’t necessarily that he’s imagining Bobby Singer in the nude so much as that he imagines men visiting the Domincan wearing nothing but banana hammocks all day long.
Interestingly, a banana hammock and trucker cap is the same combination as the plumber snaking the pipe: fetishizing of the working class and homoerotic phallic imagery:
Sam claimed that the image was seared to his brain, so his quip about Dean confusing reality with pornography may well have been in reference to this previous line of dialogue.
We know that Dean enjoys pornographic depictions of women. But we also know that he enjoys pornographic depictions of men, really quite a lot.