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  3. Monday, 11 May 2015
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On Saturday May 9th, myself, Nightsky, Bookal, and Far Away Eyes attended a Supernatural academic conference at DePaul University. The keynote speaker was Co-Executive Producer Robbie Thompson. The conference was a huge success and we'll have full reports on the whole event coming within the next few weeks, very likely after the season finale since that's been a distraction.

I will share one very important thing that came from the event. Robbie admitted that when he heard that Charlie was getting killed off, he was against the idea. He was told about it while working on episode 18. He was told to make changes to the script, like changing Jacob's name to Styne because they were going to be the Frankensteins (he was skeptical about that choice) and they were killing Charlie. He scheduled a meeting with Bob Singer and Jeremy Carver and made a very passionate pitch them on why killing Charlie was a bad idea. He offered an alternative suggestion. His feedback was appreciated but they went the other way anyway. He felt like he should say something because he didn't say anything when they killed off Bobby and felt like he should of. When it comes to season planning though, he has zero say. It all comes from Bob Singer and Jeremy Carver.

A long, stray discussion broke out from this on our Promotional Photos thread from 10.22. I'm moving those here. If anyone has any questions for me on everything Robbie said at the conference, or about the conference in general, just let me know! I had a really great time and I'm glad we all were a part of it.

Thanks!
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Tried to catch the tweets from the SPN DePaul event but, between that and Asylum 14, I was getting whiplash. Did pick up bits and pieces, particularly from RT's panel, and it explained a lot about the umm.... decision making process for Supernatural. Good to know that at least the writers don't live in an isolation chamber like the show runners. In any event, I look forward to the reports on this after the season is over.
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From Lala2:

I guess on some level I'm one of the viewers who are drifting away . . . .


San, I am right there w/you. I have no investment in the show anymore. Dean could stab Sam in the head, and I don't think I would care. Dean could cry over Sam's dead body, and I would not be moved. It's sad really b/c SPN used to be my favorite show. There was a time when I didn't even want anyone to speak to me when a new episode was airing, but now, I find myself holding conversations w/people or flipping the channel. I'm just waiting to see how this season pans out, and then I think I'll be done w/the show. My one friend who was as devoted to SPN as I was gave up last season. She told me she wasn't watching this year, and she hasn't. I wasn't in that place last year but now I am. I really don't expect to watch next year. Carver's run has been very disappointing, and I can't see it improving.
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From SanSummer1:

I guess on some level I'm one of the viewers who are drifting away since I'm behind on watching the episodes this season. I hope to catch up by the time the finale airs but there was a time when I could not wait to see a new episode of Supernatural and all the different hiatuses were painful. Not anymore.

What is also coming out of the conference is that TPTB are clueless about what damage they are doing. Like we haven't known THAT since the week we learned that 'Sam hit a dog, but we aren't going to tell you any more than that'. (Aside: RT wants to write THAT backstory, I don't want him within screaming distance of telling that story. Like I didn't want him writing the episode where Charlies death could be blamed on Sam).

I understand where you're coming from. I've been avoiding reading reviews and reactions to episodes that I haven't seen but I saw some things about 10.18 Book of the Damned (written by Robbie Thompson) that made me so mad that I thought if that's really how the possession issue was handled, I don't think I can bring myself to start watching the show again. To me, Supernatural would have jumped the shark. I looked at the transcript of that episode and it didn't make me less upset but I decided to try to reserve my judgement before seeing the episode myself because transcripts don't always give an accurate impression of scenes due to acting choices, directing, music, and other elements. But to me the issue was so crucial that I actually skipped ahead to watch Book of the Damned because I thought that I probably wouldn't be able to enjoy the previous episodes if in the back of my head I had to worry about whether the writers ruined Sam as a character just a few episodes later.

Thankfully, the scenes played out differently on-screen mainly due to Jared's acting and I also give credit to Felicia Day, I felt that Charlie sympathized with Sam and wasn't as obnoxious as the words on the paper made her out to be. But Thompson came very close to crossing the line...
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From E:

I sympathize for people wanting representation, I do, but this sucks. What is also coming out of the conference is that TPTB are clueless about what damage they are doing. Like we haven't known THAT since the week we learned that 'Sam hit a dog, but we aren't going to tell you any more than that'

I'd really love to know more on this if you have any additional information. Who was it that said TPTB are clueless about the damage? I'm very curious where this information is coming from...the boys are very consistent and loyal and tow the company line like the pros they are, but they MUST be aware.. they must be, how could they not? I think the Sam fans tend to be less vocal and I think that has translated into TPTB thinking he has fewer fans. Maybe a campaign is in order.. show TPTB that ignoring and continually bashing one of the main leads is killing the show to the tune of 600,000.
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From eilf:

I agree with you the writers should take their respective headcanons and ....

I could cry. There is an academic conference going on where there is a chance to talk to the MOST problematic writer BY FAR when it comes to misrepresenting Sam (Robbie Thompson (because annoyingly he is a good enough writer to get away with it, others are so unsubtle that you actually can just point out the problem and everyone has to notice)) ....and because of the episode this week it is all about Charlie ... someone who has been on the show 5/6 times and is NOT an integrated character into the world. She just isn't, you can like her or not but that won't make her any more or less believable as a denizen of the SPN world - where it takes a lifetime to get good enough to be a hunter and she learned it all in a month from reading the Carver Edlund books - until she forgot it all again at an opportune moment ...

I sympathize for people wanting representation, I do, but this sucks. What is also coming out of the conference is that TPTB are clueless about what damage they are doing. Like we haven't known THAT since the week we learned that 'Sam hit a dog, but we aren't going to tell you any more than that'. (Aside: RT wants to write THAT backstory, I don't want him within screaming distance of telling that story. Like I didn't want him writing the episode where Charlies death could be blamed on Sam).

Anyway the damage to Sam is just not being mentioned.

Well I think that the 600000 viewers the show has lost (where they SHOULD be making gains due to Netflix and word of mouth) are predominantly Samgirls who have realized that the show is never intending to give them the entertainment or story values that other characters get and have just drifted away. (also the stories this season ahve been weak and contradictory and make no sense from week to week)

I see that next weeks episode will continue the endless endless grind on Sam, and the viewers will continue to drift away and the cry will be 'this falloff in viewers happened because you killed Charlie'.

No.
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From SanSummer1:

That is so wrong on so many levels.

But yes, very evident on the show. Adam Glass for one has his own headcanon regarding what kind of childhood Dean (and Sam) had.

Back in the day, I didn't care who wrote what episode. In fact, I preferred not to know because I liked to think that it didn't matter who was writing the characters because Sam and Dean existed as fully formed characters. So all of the writers were writing Sam and Dean in-character and any references to past events were real canon. That is something I can't rely upon anymore.

ETA

They need Kripke badly. He should make them the show Bible and say this is canon, this is the characterization of Sam and this is the characterization of Dean and this is how they grew up, write according to this and don't waste everyone's time debating about your headcanons or trying to sneak them in the episodes.
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From eilf:

Hmpf, today in 'tell us stuff we don't already know':

Robbie Thompson: Writing staff at SPN doesn't all see eye to eye. We all have our own headcanons." #SPNDePaul
Fangasm ‏@FangasmSPN
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From Gwen:

So, maybe, we might have got backstory to what Sam was going through and doing after Dean went to Purgatory?? Perhaps got some insight into the emotional mess he must have been in??? And it was dropped??? (Sorry for all the ragey ?????s.) I very much hope a transcript turns up sometime soon, to get all this clarified one way or another. I would have given almost anything to have seen Sam's story between Dean disappearing and Sam hitting that dog shown onscreen.

And the writers all have their own headcanons?!

Okay...so I'm going to go look at the Muddy J2 pics upthread now...try to find my happy place...
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From SanSummer1:

What were RT's alternatives?

I don't think it's been reported? Just that Robbie told:

Q: women’s portrayal on the show: how do you get into different mindsets for characters like Charlie?

A: I was writing 18 and 20, and was told that I needed to change 18 to Steyn because they were going to be the Frankenstein family and they killed Charlie. What? You don’t get a vote as a writer. Respecting my contract while being honest about a terrible decision: I made a passionate case to not do that. You’re there to help as a writer, so you can’t just say no. You have to provide a fix. I had meetings with them, emails. At one point Singer said “All right, counselor.”

Link
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From samandean10:

What were RT's alternatives? And are you upset because they killed off Charlie, or because of how they did it?
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From Cheryl42:

For me personally I am upset with what they did to Charlie. There were other ways to go. The way the story was set up I can see where Sam is going to blame himself (and I am sure a portion of fans will blame Sam too) but Charlie made those decisions that got her killed so I don't think Sam was written as having crossed a line. Having said that I feel that everyone has issues with the show and they are legitimate. For me slaughtering Charlie just went too far.
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Here are two pictures that we need for this site both of which I stole (borrowed) from Tippi on the TV
http://41.media.tumblr.com/05582c4c938fe598b8e54707aa4a3268/tumblr_inline_no3qmdJCqb1scfcbp_500.jpg and also http://40.media.tumblr.com/ffc2bf087572002652a25ee6ab1e881d/tumblr_inline_no2cr5COyb1scfcbp_500.jpg
Though actually that second one is redundant now...
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From samanddean10:

Color me shocked as hell. And praying that his sentiments reflect something that actually occurs in the last episode. Were his statements in response to particular questions? Wow, that really does make me happy that Jensen said that. Maybe he too thinks Sam has been getting shafted.
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From eilf:

In the interest of possibly cheering us up because maybe things could improve ... here are the words of someone very closely involved with the show. It isn't clear if they are hinting that this is going to be understood in canon but it makes me feel better that at least HE gets it (I don't know that these are direct quotes):

- Sam and Dean’s issues stem from Dean’s problems.

- Dean needs to open up and ask Sam for help because he’s super messed up.

- Dean shutting up and asking Sam for help would fix their bond.

Also in other 'Making liars out of us after way too freaking long going the other way' news, the latest Fangasm blog post (the third Vancon one) could really not be called biased at all.

Fair's fair, when people are doing things that might help us feel less ill-treated by the show / reviewers we should give them kudoes for making the effort! :)

ETA: the Vancon post is not the latest one, my bad...
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From AlyCat22:

I find it sad that this is how you guys all view Sam, let alone Dean. I dont see Sam this way at all. I also dont get the tit-for-tat regarding Dean or Sams actions, right or wrong. Neither can claim the moral high ground. They have both cosmically screwed up for the same and different reasons depending. It doesnt make one better than the other. I dont get that from the show. Right now Sam is massively screwing up for all the right and wrong reasons and there will be ramifications and consequences from it, but Dean also messed up and is facing the ramifications and consequences because of his mistakes. Im tired of the constant one brother is better than the other depending on whose spouting it on a particular day. All these naysayers and promisers of dropping the show as of Season 11, why not give them a chance to actually wrap up the season before you carry out your threats. Is Supernatural the same show as it used to be in earlier years? No. Its different. It had to change obviously as the years have gone by. I still love the show. Im thankful for all the hours of pleasure it has given me over the years. Im thankful for the iconic characters Jensen and Jared have given us. The show is not perfect *cough Season 7 cough* but theres nothing else like it and its all because of the chemistry between those two loveable goofballs. I would rather have Supernatural warts and all than no Supernatural at all.
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From samanddean10:

Jensen is a good-looking guy and he seems like a great person, (although I think both of those apply to Jared as well), but he must have some amazing pheromones that he gives off. I read somewhere (forget where) some person waxing rhapsodic over meeting Jensen and she said it was like "looking at the sun." And I stopped reading the SPN reviews at one site because every single review featured numerous references to how hot and handsome and amazing and sexy Jensen is. I like to keep my own ogling of the Js mostly to myself, not being a teenager anymore, although admittedly I do enjoy many of the pics posted here lately! But the physical appeal of the Js is neither the reason I love SPN, nor something that needs to be mentioned ad nauseam when I'm giving my thoughts on an episode. Unless of course it's the soulless Sam pull-ups episode.
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From SanSummer1:

(Note from Alice - This comment was reported, but I'm going to allow it on this Discussion page because it did spark a whole new discussion that got lots of comments. It's hard for me to identify what to edit).

It is so fucking sad. These writers (edited) clearly want to be like him, Dean is the coolest, a badass, gets all the women, he is the most self-sacrificing and the most selfless character ever and the world's most awesome protective big brother and all the other characters connect with Dean but Sam gets to be none of those things, the best he can do is to be the object of Dean's devotion but even that is used to highlight Dean (he loves Sam so much!) whereas Sam is made out to be ungrateful, selfish and so on.
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From eilf:

Actually it seems like if we changed 'Sam' to 'Dean (who I have a crush on)'s brother' that would cover most of the writers, all of the reviewers and a fair proportion of the fandom (since that is what they are being educated to see).

It would also show what we are supposed to be taking away from each episode. Those of us who see Sam as a protagonist in the story (as he was seasons 1-6ish) are the ones who are wrong nowadays, it is why the story doesn't make any sense to us and why Sam does not interact with the other characters of the world except in Dean's presence. Sam has emphatically NOT been a protagonist this season (or the second half of last season), but he has been a whipping boy for most of that time.
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From SanSummer1:

That's a lot to take in.

I wanted to know more about Sam "imploding", what made him think that Dean was dead but simultaneously decide not to look for Dean or Kevin etc.

But in that scenario, Sam DID look for Dean so why wouldn't he have told Dean that when Dean was clearly hurt by the idea that Sam didn't look for him first.

They’d never tell each other but we’d know.

That does seem like an attempt to try to correct past mistakes in the characterization of Sam but I'd rather see them try to make Sam's actions after Dean went to Purgatory seem more in-character by adding to the existing story i.e. losing his brother led to Sam's whole world imploding and he just ran etc.

I'd like to know exactly how much of that account was editorialized. Like is Thompson's line of thinking similar to "Sam hit a fucking dog and shacked up with a married bitchy vet and he didn't even bother to look for Dean and left Kevin for dead."
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From Eilf:

I saw the tweets about that. He said about 'hitting the fucking dog" and he waxed lyrical about Dean and the gun in Purgatory - or at least that is the stuff that got retweeted (I really do think that Supernatural's Samgirls have, for the most part, given up and moved on).

But I didn't see that there was any comment about WHAT the story for Sam would have been. It was why I was saying in a different post I didn't want him to write it - he is entirely capable of sending Sam on holidays in Hawaii after having invented an Earth to Purgatory magic mirror, that showed him Dean was still alive, that he could watch and grade Dean's skill at killing Purgatory monsters while Sam lounged around drinking margaritas (and Adam Glass would have had all that PLUS him needing rescuing while on holiday in Hawaii, thus necessitating Dean, having rescued himself, having to fly to save his hapless infant brother; poor Dean!). (Jenny Klien would have had Dean in Purgatory having sex with pretty monsters a la Captain Kirk).

OK, but to get back to the potential story ...

If he did actually have the scenario you outline Percy - and would have a sympathetic take on it - which would after all be the canon compliant thing to do (!) instead of the heartbreaking fuck-up of a storyline that we actually got - I would be ok with it. But I don't know for sure that he did say that bit.

Do they have margaritas in Hawaii?
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From E:

So, basically the assassination of Sam can be directly traced back to the show runner. Even RT, not the best Sam writer in the world had stuff planned for Sam in season 8 that showed what he was going through, what he did while Dean was missing which was SOMETHING and not nothing which is what we got. So, Carver is a straight guy with a man crush on Dean just like all the other writers. This is just as bad as them cutting the convo about how Benny did in fact drink people topside thus justifying Sam's suspicion in him. What is Carver's problem?!??!
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From Cheryl42:

Fangasm has someone there and they are posting RT's panel. He did say something to that affect. But in the post I saw it looked like he would have liked that scene considering the fan backlash. Hard to say if it was pitched or not. At least by the comments posted. Maybe there will be videos.
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From Percysowner:

Someone I follow on Tumblr is at this convention. This was one pitch (probably by RT, but the quote isn't exact)

One rejected pitch: Fluff and Fold: Before the Bunker: Sam & Dean doing laundry and arguing about who has to watch the dryer b/c they don’t like others handling their clothes. They watch the dryer and they’re flashing back to what happened after Dean was sent to Purgatory—Dean’s POV (very dark) and what Sam was doing before he hit that fucking dog. Dean’s story: It was the story of how Dean used every single bullet in the gun he had when he arrived in Purgatory. (!) Sam’s story: Everything Sam did to find his brother before he hit that fucking dog. He met a hunter who kept telling him it was over. He’s following a dead-end lead and then he hits the dog. Dean uses the last bullet and gets that tomahawk thing. They’d never tell each other but we’d know.


I am livid that this didn't get made. It skewed the entire view of Sam for the last three seasons. I have no idea why Carver shot it down, but I just want to scream!
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