i love jack a lot but i don't get everyone's excitement about dean eventually adopting him. like why would you want to force him into another parental role with a kid with unstable powers JUST when he's escaping his role with sam? i'm not accusing you or anything i'm just really really frustrated at fandom's mentality
Yeah, there’s some good posts around discussing the various metaphorical and direct representations of the bad family dynamics going on here. I think it’s possible to enjoy and dislike the same thing from different angles. I LOVE Jack choosing Cas as his father and setting his personal compass by Cas. It’s perfect. But for Cas’s sake I’m genuinely skeeved out by it because of the way Jack(’s powers) latched onto him from the womb and that it is basically what I figured all along - that Jack himself is an innocent sweetie pie because he has a soul and he is therefore gifted free will and a blank slate to be what he wants and is at the very least not inherently evil…
But his powers still did something because of his increased awareness and powers in the womb that I don’t like, which is… convincing… Cas to be his guardian. Cas being forced into the dynamic is one of the metaphorical parallels to the brothers’ issues which I’ve enjoyed the meta about, because of course Cas can still love Jack and all and have meant it because I don’t think he wasn’t acting from the heart in 12x23 because have you met Cas, that was a classic example of his heart on display. And I’m actually hoping they do have a sweet dynamic when Cas gets back. But I still don’t like HOW it happened, in the exact same way I really dig sweet moments between Sam and Dean which don’t have the complicated baggage, but I can still be uncomfortable about romanticising other parts of their relationship, and critical of how Dean was forced to parent Sam…
So yeah. Anyway, I think the thing with Dean and Jack is that it’s the goal - Sam already likes Jack and wants to give him a chance. Cas has his connection to him already and it’s unlikely he’ll hate Jack on his return :P Dean is not wrong to be upset and critical based on the information he has like @k-vichan‘s post I just recently reblogged was explaining (Sam hasn’t even told him on camera that Jack said that Cas is his father which means until we get past the point of disbelief that he hasn’t said it off-camera that’s still something we might find out later from Dean’s POV to affect how he feels about him. Although I’m usually careful not to get over-attached to what hasn’t been said on camera in case the writers start assuming it’s obvious they shared it and leave an emotional gap… But this is such a big thing it might HAVE to be said on screen or else be a gap.)
Like… Obviously the emotional hook for “coming to like Jack” is something that falls on Dean to have while the others are already seeming to be clear on it. He’s the obstacle - the thing standing between Jack and a happy families thing (so it might be a long haul or Dean is just starting to warm up when things go bad either with Cas’s return or something that happens with Jack for what will be a frankly bizarre season if they don’t tease him ~going dark~ to test him at some point). It’s like a will they won’t they on Dean liking Jack :P
And I think that in this case it’s not forcing anything on Dean when he comes to NATURALLY adopt random youngins and other hapless friends (like Garth, tbh :P) but that he has to want to do it and it is something he does instinctively because he’s a nurturer and has a caring soul. Maybe because of the Sam stuff but it’s not weird when he does it to, like, Krissy or something. It’s one of his softer traits but in this case it has mytharc relevance, since Jack is, WE can tell, really sweet, but Dean is in no position to see him for what he is, which may compromise them looking after him, and even if Jack is sweet and squishy right now, he has cosmic powers and intentionally or not he’s going to be dangerous on a huge level even if it’s just for drawing attention. I think Dean coming to like him will play a big part in reconciling this whole situation just because he’s the one who instinctively doesn’t like Jack already. And that’s something where he’s messed up with grief and hasn’t seen anything to convince him Jack isn’t a problem, so it’s set up to be a bigger struggle for him.
And that probably also plays into Dean as the emotional centre of the show - that Sam is usually dealing with the plot stuff head on, while Dean is the filter we struggle with it through. I think Dean not trusting Jack is another way of drawing out uncertainty and tension about Jack in the narrative. Is Sam wrong to trust him? Is there still something hinky between Jack and Cas? Will Jack turn bad? Even if it’s seeming quite clear that Jack is not as bad as Dean thinks by far, and Sam’s made the right call here, to go with his confidence in leadership and standing up for himself arc, playing the reconciliation to Jack’s presence in their lives through Dean is giving us (or, well, the surface level read of the show, which I pay as much attention to as I can out of curiosity as a writer about stringing appearances and cheap drama out of more complex stories and I watch the episodes from the POV of “what is the show trying to tell us” before “what can I read into this”) a more drawn out exploration of who and what Jack is and the conclusion on what his character can be.
And I think that means Dean will be challenging Jack too, and always probably be more on the side of checking if he really is what he seems or second-guessing his actions etc. It will give Jack something to grow and fight against, especially since people HATE letting Dean down and Dean is the moral centre of the show when it comes to love, humanity, what is the right thing to do, the free will choice, just generally a beacon of these themes. If Jack has to win Dean’s approval, it’s going to be a complex and satisfying story and a good way of proving we can definitively trust him. Not because Sam makes bad choices or because Jack doesn’t already seem like a good guy, but just because Dean has Standards which are so high you can define and navigate the story by them. Like Cas rebelling in 4x22. Or on the flip side, 6x20.
This is all kinda wishy washy stuff for later in the season that what we already have, though, and I don’t know how thoroughly others have thought it through or if I am missing some really obvious lines of thought here myself, but I don’t think the instinctive reaction that people are wishing Dean adopts Jack is all just forcing a new child on him, or that people think Dean shouldn’t come to that choice himself, and approve of Jack for real reasons. One of the short posts out there about it that I like is a line of spec that Dean will start to like Jack after he does a Benny - does something to save or help Cas that Dean can’t deny Jack is good any more after seeing. That’s not just wishing another child to look after on Dean, that’s a complicated series of Dean recognising Jack’s potential to be good and understanding him better or now having a motivation to reach out to him.
And I do personally find it kind of creepy to be super gung ho about Jack as any of their children - Cas for the reasons I already said although I like it for Jack and would be open to Cas being cool with it :P But Sam and Dean as well because I think there’s a lot of point scoring going on with who gets to parent Jack like it’s a token or trophy for them, unlocking a whole bunch of parent headcanons and also, and I know it’s weird to say about a 1 day old baby, infantilising Jack. I think he’s already starting to get an idea of the more complex stuff and a lot of his literal born yesterday mannerisms will disappear as he gets older, since he has an adult intellect to deal with the world, so I’m very curious about his character growth.
I think it’s just a fandom thing to be eager for the main characters you care about to have fun relationships and the idea of just giving them a kid can be appealing to some people, but it kinda weirds me out. I saw a gifset of the father reveal to Sam captioned with “Sam realises he’s an uncle” and I like that a lot more because it emphasises his brother relationship to Cas, and puts Jack in that context to him. I think since Jack said Cas is his father, “parenting” just means “we are responsible for guiding this young soul” not “I will be his father” and Sam and Dean are basically his uncles, not surrogate fathers, and I’m pretty much just gonna treat it that way, personally, since it’s less skeevy to me. That’s a YMMV thing, though, so I’m not saying you can’t enjoy the dad TFW stuff, I just don’t wanna :P
(The Claire stuff was different since they didn’t have a whole bunch of responsibility over her and the episodes she was in never made it weird, and it was a side storyline… With this it’s all such high tension it sort of feels to me like I need to draw much stronger lines, especially since with all the fatherhood parallels some/all of TFW are going to be examined through being John at some point or another… There is a LOT more going on with Jack that makes it complicated and fraught :P)
So… uh… tl;dr… I have no idea if I’m even answering your original thought any more :P Idk about the wider fandom of crack posts and cracky art, but I think the meta folks I follow are not being too weird about it or will at least entertain all the posts being critical or introspective about these dynamics and I think some crack posts are just made in the spirit of fun, though it doesn’t help NOT give the impression everyone’s gaga for dad TFW and not being very considerate of the deep dark meta stuff and character angst going on… :P