5 Reason’s Why Supernatural is the Gayest Show on Television (That’s Still Stuck in the Closet)
To start with, I’m not delusional. I’m fully aware that the studio and execs have settled into a comfortable pattern with Supernatural, and especially considering it’s heavily mixed demographic (interestingly, it was ranked a favorite among republicans and democrats in 2016) they’re unlikely to rock the ship with a canonically queer relationship between two of it’s main characters.
However, it’s important to understand exactly how much queerness is bubbling beneath the thick surface layer of “no homo:” from the orgies of male-on-male eyesex to the inspiration for most of its main characters, Supernatural is queer to its very core.
Here are five (blaring but stubbornly unacknowledged) reasons why:
1. Dean’s gratuitously bisexual inspiration.
Whenever someone claims a queer interpretation of Dean is baseless, I’m always happy to direct them straight to his flamingly bisexual source: Dean Moriarty, his namesake and direct inspiration, a la the novel On the Road.
Admittedly, I read On the Road and didn’t particularly enjoy it, as I found it to be a somewhat masturbatory reassertion of masculinity for its narrator, Sal Paradise. Sal idolizes and fixates the charismatic Dean and his promiscuous lifestyle, openly having sex with and impregnating multiple women, and is all around a heterosexual power figure…right up until the point at which Dean propositions a male prostitute.
Though he’s never shown doing anything gratuitous with male characters (since the book was published in the 1960s, it wouldn’t have been legal to) it’s clear that Dean is very much bisexual, not ashamed of it, and in terms of personality, very similar to Dean. There are a few key differences (Dean Moriarty, for example, legitimately gives zero fucks about anything, whereas Dean Winchester is secretly a little ball of anxiety with the weight of the world on his shoulders) but it’s clear where Eric Kripke got his inspiration from.
Moreover, Dean Moriarty was in turn based off of the real life bisexual counterculturist Neal Cassady, who among other things had a twenty-year sexual relationship with a male poet. Here, he is pictured in a Denver mugshot:
So next time someone tells you the homoerotic subtext of Supernatural exists only in the imagination of rabid fangirls, remember that Dean is the direct descendant of two ragingly bisexual icons.
2. Castiel (or at least his wardrobe) was also based off of a bisexual character.
For a show so aggressively devoted to a “no homo” interpretation, it has a real propensity to drawing inspiration from queer characters: everyone’s favorite baby in a trench coat, for example, was modeled after the demon-busting John Constantine from the Hellblazer comics. Yup, another bisexual.
Though in true assbutt fashion, his love of men is censored in movie and TV adaptions, Constantine unabashedly swings both ways in paper form – a.k.a. where Kripke found inspiration for Castiel’s look. Here, we see him platonically receiving a man-hug from one of his bros:
So I’m not saying the fact that two out of three main characters are modeled after canonically queer figures could have anything to do with Supernatural’s gratuitous queer subtext, but y’know. It might.
3. Cas himself is sexually complex (and literally cannot be straight.)
Dean has made reference to the fact that he “doesn’t swing that way” (ironically, both of which times he was literally in the midst of blatantly flirting with men.)
Cas, however, has no such reservations: he’s never indicated, vocally or otherwise, a preference towards either gender, so much as outright declaring that he doesn’t give a damn.
He reacts to male and female flirtation much the same way: just try and tell me his suspicious glower and Mick wasn’t similar to Mandy the waitress (and try and tell me they both weren’t acting like they’d like to eat him for dinner.)
Moreover, the only time we’ve seen him ever achieve some kind of intimacy with female characters is when they’re literally throwing themselves at him. Hey, he’s an aesthetically pleasing fellow – or rather, an aesthetically pleasing something.
Which brings me to my next point that he isn’t really a fellow at all: Cas not only gives zero fucks about sexual orientation, he also gives zero fucks about gender. Sure, he’ll spend seven years in the same ill-fitting trench coat, but he’ll also rock a petticoat like nobody’s business.
I’ve discovered that the writer for “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets,” Steve Yockey, is a gay man, which honestly makes it all the more perfect: not only does it establish the Orlando-esque flexibility (or nonexistence) of Cas’s gender, but it eliminates the possibility of his straightness.
And I want Destiel to be canon as much as anybody, but am I opposed to Cas being a genderfluid lesbian? No. No, I am not.
4. Dean can textually be interpreted as bisexual (and probably should be.)
For anyone who questions whether Dean not being straight as an arrow, I’m happy to point out some very canon things that happened on the show:
And yes, when feeling threatened, he’s professed not to swing that way. But you know how many queer people I know who have at one point felt compelled to lie about our sexual orientation? Every single one. And I live in the bluest of blue states – Dean was raised in Bible Belt America and spends most of his time in the Southwest. Not to mention the fact that he was raised during the heat of the AIDS academic.
In other words, he has every logical reason to be wary at the prospect of coming out of the closet, or even acknowledging same sex attraction at all.
Moreover it’s been canonically established that Dean has a habit of lying about himself to protect his image of masculinity: according to Dean, he doesn’t do shorts, chick flicks, cucumber water, skinny jeans and sunglasses, and Taylor Swift music. You know how many of those things he loves? All of them.
Finally, not every member of the cast or crew might agree (though I know for a fact that some of them do) but their interpretations do not effect textuality. And Dean can textually be interpreted as bisexual.
5. Dean and Cas make a better couple than any of their love interests.
I’m going to state something I feel is obvious: Cas and Dean have more buildup, tension, chemistry, emotional connection, and romantic history than literally any of their other interests.
Take Lisa, for example: she’s Dean’s longest lasting introduced as female partner, and she’s introduced as the “bendiest weekend of his life.”
Furthermore, I’d argue that sexual attraction notwithstanding, Dean was never romantically in love with Lisa. To him, she epitomizes his desire for a mother figure, a home, and his lost childhood, as is best demonstrated in his fantasy from “Dream a Little Dream of Me:” Lisa isn’t a seductive or romantic figure here – she’s a maternal one.
Though since Dean has never had a long lasting relationship (or, to my belief, been completely in love with a girl) it’s easy to see how he’d misinterpret these feelings as romantic love.
Then we have Cas, who’s introduced by pulling Dean from the depths of hell, who makes most one-on-one scenes with Dean look like a soft core porno, and who recently (canonically!) declared his love for Dean.
I don’t dislike Lisa, but it’s easy to see which of the two relationships is more three-dimensional, more original, and more worthy of screentime.
My main goal in life is to write a popular show with that one gay character and all the other straights. Then make two very heterosexual people of the same gender have very much gay interactions seasons after seasons. The queerbaiting on fleek. With much eye sex and innuendos and quotes like ‘he goes i go’ or ‘i need you’ and ‘we come as a pack’. And then MAKE THEIR SEXUALITY FLUID AND MAKE THEM BE TOGETHER BECAUSE THEY ARE OBVIOUSLY IN LOVE OKAY?!,!
jesse and cesar were amazing characters who worked to influence overarching themes and others’ character development AND they are a canon queer couple who DID NOT DIE and thats AMAZING.
i found myself a lil bit disappointed (at first) about their physicality, or rather the lack thereof. they never rly SHOWED any indication of their relationship that was undeniably romantic other than words, and i was worried that the writers were doing that thing where theyre like ‘ok this bro is gay but we dont want him to LOOK gay or BE gay with ANOTHER gay well just SAY he is and be on our way and not have to put any thought into this representation or risk making homophobes uncomfortable.’
thats what i thought AT FIRST.
then I looked at what kind of physicality they DID show:
shoulder touches. brief, comforting, lil squeeze for love. look familiar?
well if jesse and cesar are an example of how they characterize romantic male/male relationships then sign me the fuck up
I can’t be the only one who finds it pretty funny that just a few years ago Tumblr was everything Superwholock and obviously queerbaiting m/m ships and now Tumblr has pretty much been invaded by sapphics and now everything is Carmilla and Wynona Earp and Supergirl
Dear spn writers, I swear to chuck. you better NOT be pulling a damn season 4 Sherlock with all the “ I-could-almost-taste-it- Destiel..” In other words, please just make it happen. Or stop killing us slowly. Thank you.
So I was inspired tonight to write a post that’s actually been on my mind for some time now. And it has to do with a specifically visual element of Dean’s queer-coding that I’ve honestly never seen anyone do any analysis on. (Which is quite surprising to me actually, given how much meta exist on this topic more generally)
So, basically my thesis is that particularly from S.4 on, there has been a repeated gag which is almost exclusively reserved for Dean, and which strongly mirrors a particular gay porn trope - the (holy water) facial. Please beware, under the cut there are explicit gay porn scene GIFs. You have been warned.
Me- Dean Winchester appeared to me one night, wearing his bi flannel and riding atop a sparkly unicorn. He looked down on me, threw some confetti in my face, and then exclaimed “you’re bisexual as hell. Welcome to the club”. I stared in wonder as he turned away and rode off into the night, trailing a bisexual pride flag behind him.
me: *giggling to myself while watching destiel smut on phone* friend: can I borrow your phone? me: *carefully close everything and feel proud I succeeded* friend: *opens lockscreen, freaks out, hands it back and leaves* me: OH GOD I FORGOT WHAT MY WALLPAPER WAS
So, @bluestar86 is finally back on tumblr *throwsconfetti*, but she didn’t spent her tumblr hiatus doing nothing but binge watched How to get away with murder instead (good choice) and was pleased to learn about the show’s diversity & queer representation. And I hope you don’t mind that I quote you here, but it is actually what this post is about (yes, I have a point)
All this show has lead me to
believe is that it is SO NOT HARD to show REAL bisexual characters on
mainstream television, OR to show REAL INTIMACY between gay men on TV and not
make a big fucking deal out of it. Jesus, this show made me kinda PISSED OFF at
Supernatural really because while they’re still keeping Dean Winchester firmly
in the fucking closet HTGAWM just laid it all on the table in the first season.
Urgh. I hate Bob Singer.
I know, I know, I can’t really compare the two… except I
fucking can and will. Because we are not comparing SPN to a show on Netflix or
HBO here, we are comparing it to fucking ABC during primetime and frankly, the
CW needs to up its game and SPN needs to grow some balls.[x]
And I mainly agree with this, except… this isn’t a CW problem. It is a Supernatural problem. Because if we look at the shows the CW is currently airing there are actually a lot queer characters. Mind you, I’m not catched up on any show (CW or not) currently except Spn, so my data here is not up to date and I don’t watch all these shows, so I just name the characters I know off who are queer (and recurring characters). So if I miss out on some feel free to add.
2005: Supernatural: Charlie Bradbury, introduced in s7, came out in her first episode
2009: The Vampire Diaries: Luke in s5 and s6; Nora & Mary-Louise in s7, all queer from the start, I probably forgot some
2012: Arrow: Sara, came out as bisexual in s2; Curtis in s4 and s5, queer from the start
2013: The Originals: Joshua since s1, Aiden since s2, both queer from the start
2014: The 100: Clarke, main character, came out as bisexual in s2
2014: The Flash
2014: Jane the Virgin
2015: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
2016: Legends of Tomorrow: Sara, since it is a spin off from Arrow she is queer from the start
2015: Supergirl: Alex, main character, came out in s2 (when the show moved from CBS to the CW)
2017: Riverdale: Kevin, queer from the start
As you can see, the network doesn’t have a problem with queer characters. And some of them aren’t random side-characters, but main characters. And not all have been introduced as queer from the start but some had their coming out later in the show. With some, like Clarke in The 100, there wasn’t much buzz about it, as in Clarke was always bisexual, the audience just didn’t know until s2. Others, as Alex in Supergirl, had a beautiful coming-out-story.
So where does this leave Supernatural? I added the time the show started airing, and as you can see Supernatural is the oldest. They are even older than the network they are airing on (the first season was on the WB). The second oldest show, TVD, just ended this year. And as you can see they added queer characters pretty late to the show (s6, s7). (I might forgot about some though…. there had been a lot of characters on this show in 8 years… I think Caroline’s dad was gay from the start though) That is to say that of course newer shows of course start out more progressive and diverse than Spn did back in 2005. There aren’t many shows that even make it to season 12, so in some ways it feels like Spn is a show out of time. That isn’t to say they are completely stuck in their old ways. I think they try to be more diverse, to add more poc-characters, more female characters, more queer characters etc. But still, if Spn would be a new(er) show I think they would have created some chraracters quite different from the start.
And that’s another thing: changing a character after almost 12 years. Of course I don’t think if the show would confirm Dean as bisexual and/or we get canon Destiel the character/the show would change at all. Dean would be still Dean after all. Yet some would scream OOC. And there has been a great discussion about the very nature of OOC characters on @k-vichan blog (which you can read here). The John example there applies to Dean/Destiel as well. If you already interpret Dean as bi/Destiel as a thing, making it canon wouldn’t surprise you. But if you don’t, it most definitely would. Revealing a characer is queer in s2 is different than doing it in s12. Because we can argue that in early seasons we still learn who this character is (and that is so great about HTGAWM, s3 and I still don’t know who Annelise is). But after a decade we all have a very good idea who Dean is. And it is different than subverting for example Mary, because she wasn’t a rel character before s12 (@elizabethrobertajones wrote some great meta about this). This isn’t meant as an excuse though, but just might be a reason why Spn is so hesitant in revealing Dean as bi. Then of course doing it now/that late in the show would be great because how many times does something like this happen? Seeing a character in his thirties/almost forties having his coming out. Because those things aren’t limited to age. And this season is all about subverting how the show was before/past seasons. And Dean is realy tired of lying lately. Plus of course all the great Destiel content we already this season.
So yeah, my point is: this is not about the CW. It is about Supernatural. But with Dabb as a showrunner and the current direction of the show (which I am a great fan of) I remain hopefull.