Review: SPN fandom (and 13.05)

I'm currently suffering a bit from fandom depression, I think. For years I've deeply loved SPN--its characters and stories have captured me and kept me far longer than any other film fandom, and for whatever reason I've been able to simply sit back and enjoy the show without having to fend off my bitter inner critic. And none of that has changed. The aspects of last season that I didn't like was I pretty easily able to shrug off, and so far this season there hasn't been anything worth mentioning that I've actively disliked.

But the fandom sniping, on the other hand--I keep getting ambushed by people I thought could be relied upon for generally positive, thinky takes on the show. And I'm so very tired of it. I haven't watched the most recent two episodes (even though I've been assured by someone trustworthy that I'll love at least one of them) simply because I've finally been beaten into ... I don't know. Apathy? Fear? Something vaguely negative. Which is ridiculous, because I've refused for ages to let other people's criticism interfere with my ability to enjoy SPN, but I guess I'm just ... tired.

Back at the beginning of the year, someone asked "why is everyone leaving the fandom?" and I told them "because the people that still like the show are being driven out by the aggressive negativity of the people who think it's gone to shit"--and they then proved my point by arguing at length that the show has indeed gone to shit. At the time I was able to mostly just laugh at the exchange, but right now I'm feeling it a little too much.

Anyway. That's why I haven't been doing the "things I love" lists for the last few episodes. I've developed sort of a Pavlovian flinch toward the show and I don't know what to do to train myself back out of it.

For what it's worth, I did like 13.05 quite a lot. I thought it was a clever way to bring back Billie (and answer the lingering question of "wait, how can Death be dead?"), and a cool visual for the realm of Death and the reapers. The monster was genuinely creepy, the guest characters were convincing, and the brotherly interactions were by turns hilarious, sweet, and heartbreaking. The episode in general was beautifully shot. If I wanted to convince someone that the show was still well worth watching, "Advanced Thanatology" would make for an excellent Exhibit A.

And I can say all that and mean it, but without feeling any of the excitement that I carried through the past 3.5 seasons (which is when I rediscovered the show).

...Sorry for being such a downer.

Man, if any of you have managed to retain your enthusiasm for the show, please share. I desperately want mine back, but it seems to have been stolen from me.
Certain things annoy me but I still love the show, especially MOW episodes and brotherly moments. I'm looking forward to being free of Crowley when I get to see the season in the UK.
Yeah, it was time for them to retire Crowley--I'm glad they let him go out on his own terms. And they've created a pretty appealing character for s13 in Jack--he's holding his own against the long-established characters pretty well.
Ugh, I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling this way. :( Especially because I know EXACTLY what you mean. And it's so hard to avoid, because while some of it is obvious and therefore easy to sidestep, I feel like some of it is... I dunno if 'casual' is the right word? Like, people being off-handedly negative in spaces that are meant to be fannish, in a way that broadcasts the impression that it should be everyone's default opinion, and that SPN's garbage-ness is objective truth. I dunno if that's a good description, but I hate it.

I haven't been around much recently, so I don't know what the pulse of fandom is right now, but I'm sure I can guess. (For what it's worth, I was apprehensive about 13x06 and 13x07 because I got a faceful of that negativity BIG TIME before I'd seen them. But while they're maybe rough around the edges [in a way I find charmingly and extremely characteristically SPN] I liked them!!)

And it's weird, because like. I've been feeling SUPER guilty about not being around more, because I value the friends I've made here and I don't wanna just like, ditch my fam. But when I resolved to watch the episodes so that I could go on LJ without getting spoiled, part of me was reflexively just like, "Ugh, I'm not looking forward to all that casual negativity." So I don't really know what to do with that! Because I firmly believe that fandom should be a way of deepening my love for something--by writing fic, by talking about it with others, by reveling in people's speculations and headcanons and imagined alternatives, etc. Fandom's great, and beautiful, and there's nothing else like it.

But at the same time? I guess when people say they love(d) SPN but fandom's what's been really transformative for them, I don't know that I necessarily agree. Obviously the real human connections I've made in fandom are deeply important to me. But I'm never gonna be that person who's like "oh, I don't really like the show anymore but I stay for the fandom."

No shade to people who feel that way, obviously. But EVERY year I've been in this fandom (since S5), there's always been a point where I've said to myself, man, I'd leave fandom well before I stopped watching this show. >.>

SPN is joy to me; it's my heart. It makes me happy, and it means the world to me. And if what fandom takes from my experience ends up being more than it gives, I'm gonna choose SPN every time.

tld;r Lots of love. <3333333

I can't offer any concrete advice, but I will note that my distance from fandom has made me feel significantly less concerned about what negative things people might be saying. Maybe that resilience will be stripped from me if I actually get my act together and come back here more, but right now I definitely have the ability to be like, "Fuck that noise! I love this show."

I also think I'm just gonna not reply to negativity. XP Usually I compulsively reply to everything, but you know what? I'm just here for what I'm interested in, and it ain't that!
This comment was pretty much everything I needed, so thank you. And yeah, the conclusion I keep coming to is that I pretty much need to just hang out here in my cozy corner and ignore the outside fannish world--no matter how many shiny gifs there are to lure me out. After all, the gifs (and art and fic and whatnot) mean nothing if I've lost my ability to enjoy the show spawning them.

And maybe as I pull myself back together a bit, I can offer a little respite here for others who have also been brought down by the free-floating negativity--part of the reason I even wrote this post is that I didn't want people to think that I'd quit on the show or anything.

(By the way, your occasional super-enthusiastic posts about SPN always make my day. ❤ )
Oh, please don't give up! Ignore all the negative people and just keep watching the messed up awesomeness that is our boys even when the writers don't do them justice...There's nuggets to be found in every episode watching Jensen and Jared act the hell out of their characters!
Oh, I won't give up. My mood's been vastly improved just reading the comments here and starting to collect screen caps from the recent episodes. The show is still beautiful, and that's something no naysayer can make me doubt--which goes a long way in helping me to shrug off the rest of the negativity.
I still love the show. In the beginning I gave up on it after year 3 and then I was drawn back in again and have been with it ever since. If people are being negative about the show then they should move on to other fandom s and not make the people still into the show feel uncomfortable. It's not fair to the loyal minions that love the show to just hang around to try to drive said minions to hate it because they lost interest.

Don't give up on what you love hon just because some trolls want you to hate it. Your opinion about the show should be the only one that counts for you.

Thanks for the pep talk! It's much appreciated. :D

And I do feel like I'm slowly making my way back to a happier place, fannishly.
I'm sorry to hear this, it's such a hard to place to be, and I can definitely understand where you're coming from and seeing negativity can certainly affect my view of an episode. While I might not like everything Show is doing all the time, I can always find things to enjoy and squee about, and I think there are plenty of people on my flist who feel the same. I don't use another platform, mainly because of all the horror stories that I hear, and I find that my corner of fandom on LJ is a happy place where I can always find people whose love for Show still burns just as bright.
Ha, yeah--I made the mistake of hanging out a bit on Tumblr for the shiny gifs, and forgot to keep my guard properly up. LJ seems to be a much more mellow place, for which I'm grateful. I'll just have to stick a bit closer to home in the future, it seems.
I'm not excited in the same way as I used to be but I still want to watch, I want the thinky thoughts, I want all the fic and art and I still love it, just more quietly.
Nothing wrong with quiet love. :)

It's just good to hear that I'm not alone in still enjoying the show.
I still love the damn thing. Yes, I complain about the bits I don't love on a weekly basis, but I hope the love still shows. I tend to stop following people who are overwhelmingly negative about it, so the complaints I end up seeing are less "ugh this show sux" and more "oh my love, why did you not do this as well as you could have?"
I'd rather focus on praising the show for the things it does well, I suppose, given how much ambient negativity there seems to be. But everyone has different ways of interacting with the things they love.
Sure, but I'm not interacting with the show. This is completely one-sided. And I do praise the parts I love. But that doesn't mean I won't also say "I'm disappointed that X was done badly." It's a television show I'm talking about, not a beloved anything I'm interacting with.
Would you prefer me to use the phrase "responding to"? Because you're completely missing my point. Which is: I'm not interested in engaging in/interacting with gripe fests. That's not worth my emotional time and energy when I have the option of doing a blanket acknowledgement of "yeah, the show messes up sometimes, because it's a) a show made on a tight time-table and relatively small budget and b) by people, and people mess up sometimes", and then focusing on instead highlighting and enjoying all the things that the show does well.

If you prefer to chew over the things that dissatisfy you about each episode, fine--I'm not saying you're wrong to do so. I'm just saying that I'm not going to, and that in the future, I will be deliberately avoiding places where other people do so. SPN is something I watch for fun. But once my inner critic is turned on, she is a ravening monster who will try to eat everything. I don't intend to feed SPN to her.
I follow an awesome podcast - Supernatural: the Crossroads, where three guys who do radio for a living discuss both the technical aspects and the story telling of each episode. They're highly critical, but never, ever negative.

I think this type of benevolent nerding out is becoming a lost art. When people start expressing their *hatred* for certain writers or actors, I feel deeply uncomfortable.

You're the only one who gets how your brain works, and if you need to stay away from people who are too critical of the show then you've got to.
Oh, I think I listened to and enjoyed a few of their podcasts but then lost the link. I'll have to look them up again.

And yeah--"benevolent" is a good word here: characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings. That's definitely what I've been feeling a distinct lack of from the online fandom in general towards the show. Sounds like it might be time to try the world of radio for a change. :D