Hi, I’m Penny. I had a super-fun conversation with a "non-fan" friend about Supernatural and thought it might be super-fun to share with you. How does one even being to explain Supernatural?
A Very Supernatural Conversation
Non-fan: So I want to know about Supernatural.
Fan: Really? Now?
Non: Yeah. You’ve watched it for a while, right?
Fan: Yeah. But why do you want to know about it now?
Non: I keep seeing on all these Hollywood news links that the series is ending and it seems like a big deal.
Fan: Yeah, it pretty much is. 14+ years is a long time for a show to be on. Especially one that has not changed actors that much.
Non: So what’s the story? Just get me caught up for this season.
Fan: Uh...well...there’s these two brothers...
Non: I got that. “Two brothers hunt things that go bump in the night.” That has been going on for 14 years?
Fan: Well not JUST that. The brothers are friends with an angel, a couple of demons, a bunch of other hunters, a witch, some British dudes, and also Chuck.
Non: Who’s Chuck?
Fan: God. But he’s not their friend anymore.
Non: Why not?
Fan: Turns out he’s super manipulative.
Non: Huh. So they kill bad things but make friends with some of them? It sounds hippy-dippy.
Fan: It’s not. It’s pretty dark. And violent. And sometimes sad. But also really funny.
Non: How can it be all those things?
Fan: I’m not sure. But I'll at least give you the premise. It all started with a yellow-eyed demon who was building an army. He had like 20 kids that he made deals with their parents saying “On their 6 month birthday, I’m gonna do something and you can’t stop me. If you do, there’ll be a price to pay.” So the mom of the two brothers is one of these parents. When she tries to intervene, she gets burned on the ceiling and the whole house explodes, but not before Dad, 4 year old Dean, and 6 month old Sam escape the house.
Then dad wants revenge and drags the boys along, all over the country, trying to track the yellow-eyed demon. So they basically grow up going from school to school while dad hunts this demon.
Non: Does he find it?
Fan: Well, I still want you to watch it so I don’t feel like telling you EVERYTHING.
Non: Oh. OK. So are the brothers messed up?
Fan: Not really. Just really focused on helping people and nothing can really stand in their way.
Non: Not even God?
Fan: You mean Chuck? Maybe. We don’t know yet. That’s this season’s cliff-hanger. But it’s almost like he’s is a little less intimidating ‘cause we know so much about him.
Non: Who is “we”?
Fan: The people who watch the show. The “fans.” But there are fans of the show and fans of the actors on the show.
Non: Which are you?
Fan: I like both. Maybe you can watch an episode. I have a few on my tablet. “Changing Channels” is a good one. But I have to tell you about Castiel.
Non: Who’s that?
Fan: He’s their friend who’s an angel. He’s really loyal. He used to be loyal to Chuck, but then he realized that Chuck was just out to help himself instead of people. That’s what Sam and Dean do. Help people.
Non: And they are the brothers on the show?
Fan: Yes, but they are also Jared and Jensen, the actors.
Non: Jared and Jensen? That sounds confusing.
Fan: It sorta is, so some people just refer to them as J2, which I think started as a fanfic thing.
Fan: I am not prepared to go there. Do you have any adult beverages?
Non: Sure! Wine or beer?
Fan: Either. I am just really surprised you are interested all of a sudden.
Non: I just don’t want to miss out. So who do you like? Is it like Twilight where you have to pick a favorite?
Fan: Some people pick, but they are really different, so I don’t see how.
Non: The characters or the actors are different?
Fan: Both. The character Sam is smart and Dean is more “act now, talk later.”
Non: And what are the actors like? Besides hot.
Fan: Yeah that doesn’t hurt.
Non: Is the character who is smart also smart in real life?
Non: And is the actor who plays the other brother also impulsive?
Non: So who do you like?
Fan: Both. I can’t pick ‘cause they are a team. They both have a lot of influence on...oh...wait...bad choice of words.
Fan: WAY too long a story. I could send you a link of a convention that would explain it, though.
Non: I still can't believe there are conventions. You went to one, right?
Fan: Yep. So fun!!
Non: It all seems sorta cultish.
Fan: I can see why you would think that. But there are people who started watching the show as 15 year olds and now they are married with kids. It’s more like a big dysfunctional family.
Non: With kids named Sam or Dean?
Fan: Yep. Or pets. And kids named Jared or Jensen. Or Cas.
Non: Cas is the angel friend?
Fan: Yeah. He is one of the strays the brothers have picked up. I think that is another reason the show has been so successful. Both Sam and Dean and Jared and Jensen accept people who are a little different.
Non: Is the actor who plays the angel also a little different in real life?
Non: How do you know all this?
Fan: I’ve watched all the convention footage on YouTube. The behind the scenes stories are hilarious!
Non: Are you sure they aren’t just making all that stuff up?
Fan: Most of the stories are also documented by the people who work on the show. The hair and make-up people, the camera operators, the stunt people, other actors...It’s legit.
Non: Documented how?
Fan: Some fans follow the show people on Twitter and stuff.
Fan: It’s fun to have the insider info. And the gag reels are hysterical! But be careful. They can be addicting.
Non: Don’t worry. I’m not THAT interested.
Fan: Oh. You will be.
Non: Did you just quote Yoda?
Non: Now I need an adult beverage. And I still don’t get why you like the show so much. The plot does not seem that interesting.
Fan: Well, I guess I mostly like the show because of the actors.
Non: But there are lots of shows with hot actors!
Fan: Yeah, but it’s different. t’s more than they started on the show when they were in their 20’s and now they are basically 40. Yes, it feels like we have watched them grow up, but they are really good people, too.
Non: I still don’t see how you KNOW that. They are ACTORS!
Fan: But they are not always acting. They seem genuine. And they are clearly dedicated to the show and their fans. And working together.
Non: They must be. 15 years is a long time to be up in someone’s grill.
Fan: And they are friends outside the show.
Non: Are they a couple?
Fan: No. Though some would like them to be. Hence the fanfic and shipping.
Non: And I don’t want to know about that, right?
Fan: I doubt it.
Non: OK. So they are nice, good looking, successful, and have lots of fans. They sound like typical Hollywood actors.
Fan: They’re not. They live in Texas and work in Canada. And they have families - 3 kids each.
Non: THAT sounds sorta boring. No controversies? No dish?
Fan: Some. But nothing too crazy.
Non: I still don’t get it.
Fan: They also get to know the fans at conventions.
Fan: Mostly photo-ops and meet-and-greets.
Non: People pay to take pictures and talk to them?
Fan: Yep. Totally worth it.
Fan: Might seem like that from the outside, but not if you’re a fan.
Non: Did you pay to meet them?
Fan: Sorta. I paid to stand in line and have them sign something I brought to the convention. I was so nervous! Isn’t there someone you would be intimidated to meet?
Non: Yeah, I guess.
Fan: I found that episode. Wanna watch it?
Actual comments made by my non-fan friend as she watched “Changing Channels”:
This is not the normal start, right?
Who is Sam? Are you sure?
They are not FBI, are they?
Where does this take place really?
Is this really happening?
Is there God in this one?
How old are they?
I’m sort of entertained.
Where’s the dad now?
Do they have weapons?
They are totally parodying “Grey’s”!
Is Ruby the one he was sucking the blood from?
Is that Castiel?
Is that Dean? His face!! I love him.
What’s more powerful than a trickster?
Is there a monster hierarchy?
I bet the out-takes are funny.
Fan: So I should tell you this: This episode is from season 5, which was originally supposed to be the last season. The creator of the show left, but the fans would not let the show die. During the last episode of season 5, there is supposed to be a battle between Lucifer who is an arch-angel and his brother Michael.
Non: What’s an arch-angel?
Fan: In the show, an arch-angel is a direct descendant of Chuck. But Michael is also a real angel in the Bible. I think it’s cool how they use the Bible and other actual, real lore to create these scenarios.
Non: So in the show, is Lucifer Satan?
Non: Lucifer is separate from Satan?
Fan: No...I guess Lucifer is Satan. But there is also a King of Hell that’s not Lucifer. So when Lucifer is not around, the brothers also battle him.
Non: Is Lucifer above or below the King of Hell?
Fan: Above. But he keeps disappearing. I think that’s ‘cause the actor who plays Lucifer does a lot of other projects and it’s hard for Supernatural to pin him down.
Non: He’s cute! Who is he?
Fan: Mark Pellagrino. I’ll show you more recent Mark...after “Changing Channels.”
Non: So the trickster is an arch-angel?
Fan: Sorta. He is Gabriel, also a direct descendant of Chuck.
Non: And he can’t go across the fire?
Fan: No ‘cause the brothers are using holy oil to make that ring.
Non: Is Gabriel bad?
Fan: No. He’s non-committal.
Non: Could Michael get out of that fire?
Fan: No. Lucifer could not get out of that fire, either. But the fire doesn’t last forever. When the oil’s gone the fire goes out.
Non: And Castiel is just a plain angel?
Fan: Yes. He is in the body of a person. Angels can inhabit people with permission, but demons can jump into anyone and do whatever. This person agreed to house Castiel permanently. Cas has been alive for millennia, but he only jumped into this vessel like a year earlier at this point. But he can touch somebody and heal them if they get shot or maimed or whatever.
Fan: ‘Cause he’s an angel and he can do that.
Non: Can all angels do that?
Fan: And later they meet angels who heal people for money. And Cas loses his grace at one point so he becomes human and learns some stuff and then he gets his grace back again...blah, blah, blah...anyway. It’s just that they’ve had so long to tell this story...which is so unusual anymore.
Non: It’s like Grey’s Anatomy that goes on forever, but it’s stupid now...but I’m committed.
Fan: Well, Supernatural is stupid now sometimes too, but it’s the lure of the actors who play the roles...most fans don’t want the show to stop. We’re committed to more than just the show, basically.
Fan: Let’s watch that Lucifer compilation.
Non: What season is this?
Non: (Lucifer puts his arm through a random hunter in apocalypse world and kills him.) Eeew! ...Is that the actor who’s hard to pin down?
Fan: Yes. And that is the Winchester mom. She came back in season 12.
Non: Is Lucifer bad?
Non: Why is he saving her?
Fan: Because he thinks he can trade her for his son.
Non: Lucifer has a son?!
Fan: Yes. By this time, Lucifer has had sex with a human and that made a nephilim.
Non: Oh, for fuck’s sake.
Fan: I know!! The nephilim is part human, part arch-angel, and Castiel is the adopted father of the nephilim. Lucifer is trying to get in the brothers’ good graces so he can have access to his son.
Non: Because he loves him, or because he wants to turn him into something he can use?
Fan: The second thing.
Non: How does he end up having sex with a woman? He just falls in love?
Fan: No. He jumps into the body of the President of the United States and then the President has sex with his aide...
Non: Of course he does!
Fan: The aide gets pregnant with the nephilim and wants to keep it.
Non: What does it look like? The nephilim?
Fan: It...he’s cute!
Non: It looks like a human? Does she know what it is?
Fan: Yes. And she dies in labor.
Non: Of course she does. And Castiel just happens to be there to adopt him?
Fan: Well, while everyone is trying to corral the aide and convince her not to have the baby, he is the one that finds her first. There is a moment where the nephilim chooses Castiel to be his protector.
Non: So he imprints on Castiel before he’s even born.
Fan: Yes. Then Cas believes the nephilim will be good and not follow in Lucifer’s footsteps.
Non: Is he right?
Fan: At first yes, but then no. Last season, Jack, the nephilim, has a bad moment and kills the Winchester mom.
Non: The Winchester mom who was already dead but came back again?
Fan: Yes! And Lucifer thought if he gave the brother’s their mother back, they would give him his son. But they were in different dimensions at the time.
Non: Of course. Now this next clip does NOT have the first Lucifer. Did he jump into Castiel’s body?
Non: I was right?
Non: And now in this next clip he’s in a brother?
Fan: Yes. That’s Sam. Sam eventually says yes to Lucifer.
Non: What? Why?
Fan: Because the brothers think they can trick Lucifer.
Non: (Laughs when Cas says “ass-butt.”)
Fan: And that’s Michael...who is a stand-in. There was a step-brother.
Non: What?! My head hurts. (Sharp in-take of breath as Lucifer snaps his fingers and explodes Castiel.) Now Dean is just hanging out with Lucifer?
Fan: He’s trying to communicate with Sam.
(Soon-to-Be) Fan: I just love him.
Fan: You love who? Dean?
(Soon-to-Be) Fan: I just picked “Top 10 Funniest Dean Moments” to watch.
Fan: Ha!! “It’s never too late to join the hunt!”
(Soon-to-Be) Fan: Whatever.
Fan: This has been awesome...”Bitch…”
(Soon-to-Be) Fan: Whatever!!
Fan: No! You’re supposed to say “Jer…”. Never mind.
*The End* (or the beginning?)
I hope you enjoyed my narration of initiating an unsuspecting innocent into the #SPNFamily! The second half of this conversation is almost word for word what was shared between me and my friend Tammi on November 13, 2019. The first half is based on an article called “Chuck Help Us” which I also wrote. Feel free to forward the links of either to people in your life you’d like support from in the coming months. It might help them understand our show’s importance in the “big picture” a little better. Let’s take care of each other! - Penny
Have you had similar conversations with your non-Supernatural friends? How do you explain our immersion in such a complex story that's unfolded over 15 years? Were you surprised by any of the "soon to be fan" Tammi's reactions above? Share your comments below!