At all times, I carry a wallet and phone case that are Supernatural themed. My phone lock screen and phone wallpaper are Supernatural themed. My work backpack is Supernatural related. I have a Castiel mug at work, and at home I have a Supernatural calendar, 2 necklaces, a bracelet, five posters, four professional photos, a Castiel tree topper, several knick-knacks, a tea infuser, and several specialty looseleaf teas — all Supernatural themed.
I. Love. Supernatural.
I’ve always been a sci-fi/fantasy fan. As a kid, I loved any kind of mythology or fairy tale-like story I could find. I played Super Mario RPG countless times because it had a fantasy-esque storyline.
As a teen, I read Tolkien for the first time and devoured it, reading The Silmarillion (arguably, Tolkien’s most difficult work to read) three times. I then read Chronicles of Narnia in a week.
So, it’s surprising that I didn’t get into Supernatural until just about four years ago. My intern working under me told me about the show. We shared other similar favorites, and he asked if I had ever watched Supernatural.
I couldn’t recall that I had, so he told me to check it out.
Well, as luck would have it, my wife was in a show that very month, attending rehearsals every night. After work one night, I decided to check out the first episode of Supernatural. I told myself that if it was too much spiritually I would stop. Otherwise, I’d check out the first season, at least.
One month later, and I had watched all nine seasons available on Netflix.
Yep, nine seasons in one month.
The mythology and sci-fi/fantasy aspect of the show attracted me, for sure. But honestly, it wasn’t that that drew me in.
It was Supernatural‘s exploration of male-male relationships that drew me in so powerfully.
The show’s first season follows two brothers, Sam and Dean, as they search for their missing dad. Father-son dynamics explored in the show resonated deeply with me. I related to both brothers’ struggle to find a dad they longed to see again, only to find that fatherly longing skirts over the tensions between them.
One brother does everything right but is never praised; another brother does everything wrong and is still somehow the one favored.
Over the next few seasons, we watch Sam and Dean stretch and grow their brotherly relationship. We see them fight, forgive, save each other, betray each other, and everything in between.
Then, a new character named Castiel comes onto the scene. A character who wasn’t originally supposed to last ends up becoming part of the family. The relationship between Dean and Castiel is especially poignant, to the point that it has the largest collection of fanfic written for any single friendship on TV.
Supernatural explores several other dynamics as well: surrogate fathers, surrogate sons, estranged friends, friends turned enemies, enemies turned friends.
All relationships between guys.
Honestly, I have not found another show that explores the wide range of male-male relationships like Supernatural. This is why I’m obsessed with it.
In a culture that seems to say there are only two male-male relationship options — sexual and non-sexual — it is refreshing to see a show explore the broader reality of relationships.
It is awesome to see that mistakes in relationships can be forgiven, love between men can be healthy and beneficial, romantic relationships do not exclude men from having friends, and we can heed the call to love sacrificially.
Supernatural is not for everyone. For some, the spiritual aspect may not be healthy; for others, the show’s lack of a million dollar budget may be distracting. And others still just don’t enjoy sci-fi or fantasy.
But Supernatural has been more than entertainment for me. It has been a source of learning, joy, healing, and encouragement.
Thus I will continue to be obsessed with it.
I’ll also keep collecting more Supernatural themed stuff.
Because Supernatural is everything.
Have you ever watched Supernatural? What are some other favorite shows, movies, or literature that feature gripping looks at male relationships?
Dean, it’s impressive reading how passionate you are about it. It was a post you wrote about Supernatural awhile back that got me checking it out. I never heard of it before then. And you were right about how good the two guys are and the dynamics between them, but the exorcist vibe and how cheesy some of the evil they were fighting made me pass on it eventually. The show deserves credit that in all the crazy storylines that they could keep the relationship between the brothers the main thing. I like that.
I’m not as passionate about it, but Frasier was pretty good for a sitcom, it was both funny and articulate, which is hard to find. It explored the relationships between 2 brothers and their father but they played it more for comic effect. Things weren’t handled as seriously as in Supernatural but sometimes they did and you could tell cause the laughs were gone. But you can’t sustain that intensity and seriousness long on a sitcom.
Isn’t Supernatural in its last season? That’s gotta be tough for you. More importantly, are you hosting a party to watch the final episode? We all can bring snacks.
I’ve heard about Frasier’s dynamics between the characters. I’ve seen a few episodes of it and enjoyed it. It had a lot of seasons as well if I recall.
Like I mentioned, Supernatural is not for everyone. I love it. And the announcement of next season being its last was difficult to hear. But it does mean I can get ready to have a major party to celebrate the final episode. Will begin planning now. 🙂
I’ll be waiting for my invitation :))
With every Supernatural post I read, the day nears when I dive into this show. God go before me and preserve my productivity.
In all seriousness though, I am really intrigued by all the male-male dynamics you describe in this show. How soon will I cry upon watching? That is the pivotal question…
Not sure when the tears may happen. Might depend on whether or not you watch it with me or by yourself.
Looking forward to the day you do start the journey of 300+ episodes!
I watched Supernatural for a while, maybe the first few seasons, but then it started getting really strange. My main complaint was that they turned God into a caricature. Having said that, I understand what you mean by your post. The brothers really do go through all sorts of trials and you see their relationship shift, grow, change, break and repair. The only other show I can think of that includes relationship themes like this is Stargate SG1, and maybe even Fringe (both heavy on the Sci-Fi). A few anime’s also include deep themes like this, but that’s a totally different medium
Anime is definitely a different medium. And I found their representation of God to be an interesting display of cultural theology. It’s probably highly akin to personified moralistic deism. People are like God because God is like a person – He doesn’t get involved but wants everyone to “do what is right.”
Congratulations, Dean. I’m not a Sci-fi fan, but I did Google Supernatural and clicked the images tab. I liked what I saw, but I’m not a Science fiction fan. I agree with you about the exploration of male-male relationships. If such characters were featured in a different genre, I would be definity interested.
[…] was inspired by Dean’s recent post about the show, Supernatural, and its showcasing of male relationships and brotherhood. This […]
[…] “‘Supernatural’ and the World of Male-Male Relationships” by Dean […]