Ohhhh, I almost missed a train wreck on the internet.

Supernatural season nine started a few weeks ago. It's airing on Tuesdays now. I dunno who capped it, so I dunno in what time zone it was 11:35p when this happened, but sometime that evening, someone named Chad Kennedy tweeted this, evidently in a response to an @mention:
I would love to link you to the original, but the account has since been closed, for reasons that will become abundantly clear in a moment.

The fanbase, as you would expect, immediately exploded. Someone with an IQ asked the obvious question, which was 'does this dude actually have anything to do with the show?'


This is as far as I got before I had to go out and do actual work for a while. I dunno who Guy Norman Bee is; the internet tells me he is indeed on the show. People who do have some idea evidently accept his word on Mr. Kennedy up there. This answer, to be honest, actually tweaked my antennae a bit -- he vouches for Kennedy's ID, but not for the content of his tweet (or for his authority to make that kind of call), and this being Twitter, I honestly couldn't tell whether the 'big fan' comment was sincere or accompanied by an eye-roll and the international gesture for jerking off. Tweeting gives me no reference outside of the actual words; I compensate mainly by assuming the best of everybody until forced to change my mind.

Filtering out all the comments that were merely asshole complaining -- and there were a lot of them, both pro and con -- tumblr makes the following shockingly reasonable points:
  1. That comment has an unfortunate whiff of, "Some of my best friends are [adjective]!" about it. Even if that is literally what you mean to say, phrasing it that way is going to make a lot of people extremely angry with you.
  2. Artists intend a lot of things when they start that change by the end. You didn't intend for Castiel to last longer than a few episodes, either. It's a pretty bad strategic move to make sweeping announcements like that about an episodic series that has no planned end point.
  3. If this is not where the story is meant to be heading, you are in deep trouble. If you have managed to write Cas and Dean into what is, at minimum, an emotionally intimate relationship for years on end while attempting to convey some other message entirely, then your writers are irredeemably shitty at their jobs, and need to be replaced.
  4. It is also basically the opposite of what the fanbase has been hearing from other people involved with the show. They're all pretty candid, if also wiseass, when people ask for the intent behind things that are not spoilery. I don't know what happened in the beginning, but the most discouraging I've heard any of them be about Dean/Cas recently is "up to interpretation, no further comment". 
  5. So, if you intend to enforce this, you should probably tell them that. Particularly Jensen Ackles, whose portrayal of Dean, aside from doing an awful lot of staring at Castiel, also has a distinct tendency to roll with it when other guys flirt with him, and a suspiciously avid interest in Dr. Sexy, M.D.
  6. Your target audience here is pretty much the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer crowd. Remember that one? It had lesbians in. Real ones, not poorly-written ratings stunts that were forgotten about three weeks later. Everybody loved that. They got loads of positive press. Gay people and their allies have disposable income, too, you know.
The backpedaling began a few nanoseconds after the commentary did. 
I would guess that, at this point, he suddenly became aware that he had inadvertently started a tempest in a teapot. I've seen some of the @replies scattered around on tumblr; I'm sure a lot of them were downright troglodytic, but more than a few were people who politely let him know that this was contradicting other things they'd heard, or pointed out that this was going to make a lot of people rather angry. 

A few people asked the peanut gallery if anyone knew why someone that they'd never heard of before was suddenly making this announcement after all this had been going on for nearly five years. It's not like the internet has not gotten its panties in a twist over someone potentially writing a non-ratings-stunt, non-marginalized, three-dimensional queer romance into the shows that, you know, queer people watch. (I've done the research -- they do, in fact, own TVs, and get the same cable service as straight people. Who knew?) All was made clear by this:


Which pretty much answers the question of why he thought it was a good idea to tweet that in the first place, whether or not it's accurate. One of the reasons Supernatural is so big on places like tumblr is that they are notorious for actually listening to the fanbase, and one of the easiest ways to tell them things has been via internet. This is the exact reason Misha Collins still has a job there -- he was handed his amended contract while season 4 was still in production, between the first few episodes being transmitted and the last few episodes being shot, because the fans got hold of the production team that quickly, and the production team listens that much.

I always wind up watching these kinds of turning-point train wrecks. I suppose it's because I keep hoping that someone will end up doing something good -- probably accidentally. 

[Edit: He's back on Twitter with a different display name, and it looks like people are behaving civilly. Surprisingly, the main tumblr development since yesterday is a lot of people going 'god I hope no one was mean to him, that doesn't help anyone'. I took a quick shufty through his stream and it looks like most of what he does is answer continuity questions -- as of late, people are asking him about the Reapers and how they got hold of Cas when the angels couldn't. Someone else on the show stops in and gets a joking promise of 'no notes on your next outline!' for being nice. He isn't writing the scripts; he's soliciting them and making sure they all fit together and don't contradict anything else they've done.

In that case, it's possible that "not our intent" was just a poor phrasing of "not in our series bible", which is the master document of various details used as reference for continuity. If the series bible doesn't say 'btw dean digs guys', then it's not on the character references they hand out to writers, and it's not something continuity checks would take into account. It likely doesn't say that he doesn't, either; he definitely does like the ladies, and heteronormativity being what it is, most people probably assume that means he's straight. Typically, there's an awful lot of stuff that's not in a series bible; the information would be taken mostly off of scripts, and in many cases would not include details of blocking or body language decided upon by the actors and director during filming. They work off of text and not subtext, mainly because that makes it way easier to retcon things later if a better story idea suddenly comes to you.

That also makes it not a statement of blanket policy for the future, but a statement about canon as it currently stands. Furthermore, that's his personal Twitter account, and carries an explicit disclaimer that he doesn't speak for WB -- the online characterization of Kennedy as a "WB executive" may be true, but it's only relevant in that he has access to insider information, not necessarily that he has any influence over what kind of storylines get pitched. If someone were to pitch a "DEAN LURVES CAS!" story arc and they were to decide to do it, it would also be his job to edit and check continuity on that

In short: Dude just has no idea about Twitter or online fandoms, or that the internet is a giant hornet's nest. There's a chance, albeit a small one, that the kerplosion has alerted them all to the fact that 90% of tumblr would quit work, turn off their phones, and barricade the door if necessary, in order to watch absolutely anything that involved Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles making out on screen.]

[Edit to the edit: Most of his replies are gone, but you can more or less reconstruct how the convo went from other people's responses. If anyone sent him any serious vitriol, they deleted it themselves, something which rude douchewaffles are not usually smart enough to do. At least one person went academic on him. Someone else echoes something I've seen a lot on tumblr, which is basically 'thanks for the past eight seasons and good luck, but if you're not going to payoff a long-running plot thread like that, I won't be watching anymore'. 

I am intensely curious as to what the actual cast thinks of all this, but unfortunately, they're probably not in any position to talk about it. Maybe a decade from now, when they've all gone on to other projects, someone will ask and we'll get their perspective on things. And Kennedy does sound like a reasonable guy, going by the rest of his feed, so I hold out a tiny sliver of hope that the hullabaloo will make him or someone else with his job think twice before automatically ruling out a queer romance as a plot point.]

Comments