Journal

As most of you know, I’m a little on the obsessive side, particularly when it comes to Supernatural. So, it shouldn’t be a really huge surprise that I’ve spent waaaay too much time thinking about this idea and this show. (Have to do something when I’m not writing!)

That being said, my only examples are from my own family (which I describe below), so I’m interested to hear your take on things as well! (By the way, there are spoilers through Season 5 but no Season 6 stuff in this blog post, just so you know.) And if you’re not a Supernatural fan, please feel free to skip this entry. You’re not going to miss anything Alona and Will related, I promise! πŸ™‚

I’m a relative newcomer to the Supernatural fandom, but it doesn’t take long to see that people are very passionate about the show in general and also, usually, about one brother over the other.

To be clear, I’m not talking about which Winchester is more attractive–frankly, they’re both hot enough to cause corneal damage if you look at them for too long. πŸ™‚ It’s not even always about who you agree with in whatever argument they’re currently having. I can often understand where my non-preferred Winchester is coming from, even as I hate what he’s saying/doing. I can also see it when my preferred Winchester is f*cking up big time, but it doesn’t change how I feel about him.

I believe brother preference is, at its core, about sympathy/empathy for that character rather than right or wrong or even logic. When the brothers are lashing out at each other, whether with words or fists or both (like when Dean uses John’s words on Sam, “If you walk out that door, don’t ever come back.” ACK!), who does your heart break for? Who do you want to hug and say, “It’ll be okay?”

That’s what I’m interested in. Both are flawed people–hell, that’s probably one of the reasons we love them so much. They are so broken and we want to fix them, or help them as they try to fix whatever is wrong themselves. One is not more broken than the other. They are just broken in different ways.

But we still make our choice. We ally ourselves with Sam or Dean, in a manner, I think, that has nothing to do with whether they’re right or wrong or even if we, in that given situation, would make the same choice.

Why? My pet theory is that it has something to do with birth order (whether you’re the oldest, youngest, middle or only child). Which makes sense to me as this show is way more about family than it is about vampires, werewolves, and wendigos. But I don’t think it’s birth order operating in the way one might expect. (A quick summary from Wikipedia on the theory behind birth order for those who aren’t familiar.)

I’ll explain, but first, a little background…

I started contemplating all of this because of conversations with my younger sister, who incidentally is the one who introduced me to Supernatural. As with anything–books, tv, movies–we view the Winchester family through the lens of our own life experience. I’m the oldest of three. I have a brother who is almost four years younger, and my sister is thirteen years younger than I am.

The key relationship in this case is the one I have with my sister. People who meet one of us first and then the other are shocked at how similar we are, even with the huge age gap. There are physical similarities, of course–our parents can’t tell us apart on the phone–but I’m told it’s more in mannerisms, how we express ourselves, and even our opinions. We finish each other’s sentences or say things at the same time ALL the time. She chose the same college I did, even the same major. NOT because I did those things, but just because we are very much alike. This is a little surprising to most people, even our parents, given that she was only four when I left for college.

But when she was little, she was often left in my care (hello, thirteen year old in the family is cheap labor–free babysitting). I changed diapers, gave baths, fed her jars of Gerber baby food, and put her to bed. I taught her how to tie her shoes, and I’m the one who witnessed her first steps (she was trying to reach me as I was dancing around the room to a Paula Abdul video–yes, it was 1989.)

I didn’t mind being responsible for her. It was fun to teach her stuff, usually the things she wasn’t supposed to know. She could identify Madonna and Janet Jackson on the radio (again, 1989!) when she was, like, two. Most kids were listening to Barney tapes. In another classic example, she asked my mom what a prostitute was, after I’d watched Pretty Woman (my favorite movie at the time) with her in the room. I’d thought she was too young to understand. (And yes, I got in trouble, but it was funny to see my mom try to answer that one.)

Christmas circa 1990:
christmas-1990
christmas-1990-2

As she got older, though, I figured out I had to back off on being responsible for her or she was going to hate me. She already had parents; she needed a sister. So, instead of asking her about whether she’d gotten her homework done, I asked if there were any cute boys in her class. πŸ™‚

Now, as a college senior, she is a completely awesome person, one of my best friends, and someone I am proud to know.

Thanksgiving 2010:
susan-and-me

I promise, I’m bringing this back around to Supernatural right now…

When I finally got into Supernatural (this is one where she beat me to the punch in being a fan), we started talking about it. It became very clear, almost instantly, that despite our similarities in so many other areas, we were on opposite sides of the Winchester fence. πŸ™‚ And, like so many other fans, we are fiercely loyal to our brother of choice and unable to understand WHY the other doesn’t agree.

And I think it surprised us both. Not simply because we don’t agree–that can and does happen, though not often (we are both Ryan Atwood girls all the way, for example)–but more because of WHICH brother we each prefer.

I’m the oldest with the youngest left in my care. I’m not the rebel. I’m the one trying to keep the parents happy, if I can. Who does that sound like?

Yeah…except I’m 100% in Sam Winchester’s court, every single time.

And my sister? The youngest, the one who is, in my opinion, braver than me, more likely to strike out on her own? She favors Dean. All the way.

This completely befuddled us, until I started really thinking about it.

I like Dean. I do. He’s funny, sarcastic, and painfully aware of his responsibilities to his family and the world. That being said, I find myself angry with his character. A LOT.

Have you ever had to watch someone make mistakes you’ve made? I can see Dean driving Sam away. I cringe when he’s yelling at Sam for one of his many instances of poor judgment. Dean’s often so focused on that parental-like, “I’m responsible for you” aspect that he can’t see Sam as a person, as someone who is trying so hard with impossible standards as his guide.

My sister, on the other hand, is completely exasperated by Sam’s stupid mistakes. And she doesn’t blame Dean in the least for getting angry with him, even when Sam’s intentions are good.

So, I wonder then if I identify with Dean too much to be comfortable with him. I wonder if oldest children see their own flaws (as they perceive them) in Dean and youngest see theirs in Sam.

In other words, the role we play in our own family affects how we relate to this fictional one. Perhaps we judge the brother in our role more harshly because we have been there. I can’t be on Dean’s side because, gah, I’ve made those mistakes or similar ones. I want him to be smarter or better than me. With Sam, I don’t have that issue. I can view him with sympathy and without that same kind of prejudice.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments. Tell me your Winchester of choice and whether you’re a oldest, youngest, middle or only. (For the record, I’m guessing only children will resemble oldests in their brother choice. Not sure about middles.)

And yes, I know. I think about this way too much. πŸ™‚


14 comments to “Obsessing on Supernatural: As Promised, My Theory on Winchester Preference”

  1. Nikki
    Comment
    1
    · January 31st, 2011 at 1:01 am · Link

    First off, I think it’s kind of incredible that you gave this that much thought.

    Secondly, I’m a Dean girl, all the way. Sam drives me crazy. I don’t watch the show all the time (like my mom and brother) but I’ve seen enough to know that Sam pisses me off.

    In my family, I’m a middle child (#2 of 4), but psychologically speaking, I’m the youngest. There are 3 years between me and my older brother, then 6 years between me and my younger brother, so it looks like this:
    Older bro (25)
    Me (22)
    Younger bro (16)
    Youngest bro (14)

    We’re basically two sets of oldest and youngest children.

    So in some ways, I guess your theory doesn’t really fit with me, but in other ways it does. My older brother was always responsible for me, but once my younger bros were born, we both felt responsible for them. I’m sure the fact that I’m the only girl also plays in somehow because my maternal instinct kicked in when I was 6 and I decided my brother was mine to take care of.

    Since then, I’ve always been the responsible one, the one looking out for everyone and the one who is more than angry when my younger brother’s screw up.



  2. katie71483
    Comment
    2
    · January 31st, 2011 at 1:34 am · Link

    I wrote a guest blog post about why I’m a Dean girl on popculturecurmudgeon.com. You can read all about it here. (and not in a creepy, fan-fic kind of way, lol.)

    Btw, I’m 34 and have a younger brother, 32.



    • Stacey Kade
      Comment
      2.1
      · January 31st, 2011 at 2:11 pm · Link

      @Katie, Heart makes me cry at the end for the same reason. It’s hard to watch someone you love suffer and in that case, it’s Dean watching Sam forced to do something that he knows goes against who Sam is. And he really would have preferred to do it himself rather than to watch Sammy go through that. I’m a mess at the end of that episode!

      The Kids are All Right is another of my Dean-related favorites. You’re right, so vulnerable in that one.

      I have to say, one thing I have admitted to my sister is that my preference for Sam might not hold up in real life. In other words, all that emotional sensitivity and crying might not work for me if I had to actually, you know, live with it. LOL Stop freaking crying all the time!

      Dean is far more practical and focused on getting things done and that is more my speed in real life.



  3. A Rick
    Comment
    3
    · January 31st, 2011 at 3:17 am · Link

    It is weird because I am not sure which brother I like more, I often switch between the two. I don’t know if this has to do with being a middle child or what, but I can see where both are coming from. I can see the mistakes they make and I get mad at both of them for things they do.

    I have an older brother and a younger sister and have learned from my brother’s mistakes and I try to protect my sister from making mistakes. I am often the one to be the mediator in arguments and I can see both sides and help people work it out (I have been called motherly since an early age, lol). So I can’t say that I necessarily always pull for one brother because I can see both sides and can sympathize with both and sometimes I want to smack both.

    Anyway I loved the post because lets face it I am obsessed with the show and I love reading people’s theories!



  4. Jen
    Comment
    4
    · January 31st, 2011 at 3:38 pm · Link

    I hosted Katie’s post about why she is a Dean girl.

    I am also a Dean girl and an only child.

    I find Sam so exasperating. He is so easily led down his path to predestined ruin, and it is so obvious. (Demon blood? Really, Sam? In what world is that a good idea?)

    That said, I’m still open to a guest post from a Sam girl who can explain why she loves Sam, so anyone who wants to volunteer is welcome. πŸ™‚ Email me at jennifercrodland@gmail.com.



  5. kayla vogeltanz
    Comment
    5
    · January 31st, 2011 at 11:21 pm · Link

    I loved G&G,, but um I was looking around and can’t find out when thesecond book is coming out, could you enlighten me on the date?



    • Stacey Kade
      Comment
      5.1
      · February 1st, 2011 at 12:22 am · Link

      Hi Kayla! Sorry about that. I need to update my site! πŸ™‚ Queen of the Dead is coming out on June 7, 2011. Glad you enjoyed G&G! πŸ™‚



  6. Julie
    Comment
    6
    · February 4th, 2011 at 6:04 pm · Link

    I absololutley loved G&G FABULOUS cant wait for the second book, and i just love how you wrote the whole book it was so cute πŸ˜‰



    • Stacey Kade
      Comment
      6.1
      · February 4th, 2011 at 6:45 pm · Link

      Thanks, Julie! Queen of the Dead is just a few short months away. πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy it just as much!



  7. Kaitlyn
    Comment
    7
    · March 3rd, 2011 at 10:46 pm · Link

    This is quite late, but I just found your blog and was reading through this post. I don’t think I really fit with your theory – I’m the oldest and 100% a Dean girl. I do like Sam, but a lot of times he drives me crazy, and for some strange reason I really empathize with Dean.

    That being said – I think my situation is slightly different because while I have two younger sisters, I never felt like I had to “parent” them. Perhaps I don’t identify too closely with Dean – just close enough that I can empathize with him, because I find myself on his side almost all the time.



    • Stacey Kade
      Comment
      7.1
      · March 3rd, 2011 at 11:05 pm · Link

      Yep, I think we’ve figured out my theory pretty much only works for me, lol. So many fans of Dean, oldest, youngest and everyone in between! πŸ™‚



  8. Rachelle Hayes
    Comment
    8
    · March 14th, 2011 at 11:53 am · Link

    Dean is FREAKING AMAZING!!!! HAWTNESS PERSONIFIED! just sayin’.

    Sam gets on my nerves.

    I’m a middle child, my older sis is 25 and my youngest sis is 16 and I’m… 17! Me and my youngest sis are both gaga over Jensen Ackles, and my older sis doesn’t watch the show.



  9. Kiva
    Comment
    9
    · May 10th, 2011 at 11:17 pm · Link

    I LOVE Supernatural. Just saying. And although I’m the oldest (by 6 years) I’m definately a Dean Girl. No doubts. And I think it’s because of my similarities with him that I like him so much. I can relate to a stubborn rebellious younger sibling. Sam just irritates the hell outta me. He seems kinda selfish. Half the time he’s complaining that this isn’t what he wants to do, isn’t how he wants to do it. HATE THAT. Dean puts his family first and I can respect that.
    Oddly enough my sister likes Sam more. Figures. Shes more like him anyway.



  10. Zoe
    Comment
    10
    · August 15th, 2011 at 5:08 pm · Link

    Hey there! First off, I just want to say that Supernatural is an awesome show! Anyway, I can totally see where you’re coming from with the age thing. My big sister and I watch the show together, and she’s a Dean girl, and I adore Sam! Of course, both are extremely hot, and you can’t help but feel, like, connected to them somehow. Watching six seasons will do that to you. πŸ™‚




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