Faculty Advisor

DeHart, Monica

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Abstract

This paper explores the unique relationship that has developed between the fans and creators (encompassing writers, producers, directors, crew, and particularly actors) of the television show Supernatural. Since early in its run, fans of the show have interacted avidly with each other and the show’s creators on social media platforms, and at conventions, working together to create charities, support each other in fights against mental illness and other personal struggles, and celebrate the show and their relationship with humor and compassion. However, these interactions have also raised questions about ownership, influence, and input on the show, particularly concerning the fate of the characters and direction of the narrative. These perennial conflicts were recently aggravated to an unprecedented degree by a controversial writing decision that highlighted the disparity in the cultural and personal contexts between the creators and fans, particularly regarding their understanding of the history of queer stories in the media. In the fallout of this event, fans and creators alike have found themselves grappling with one fundamental question: Who does Supernatural belong to, and how do we share it? Thus, this paper seeks to understand the major points of resonance and dissonance between the creators and fans concerning this question and will conclude with a formative exploration into new avenues to pursue in order to protect and foster the aspects that are valued by members of both sides, and identify and weed out the aspects that consistently cause them strife.

Publisher

University of Puget Sound