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03 October 2008 @ 09:37 pm
Incest in My Canon?  
So, anyone who pays any attention at all to Supernatural canon or fandom knows that incest is part of the package deal. We get an awesome soundtrack, a kick-ass car, supernatural bad guys, and incestuous (or vaguely incestuous) heroes. It's all good. It's why we're here. (Actually, I'm mostly here because of the music and the car, but the mythology and the incest keep cropping up.)

Cut for Spoilers, Length, Sex, Squick, and ThoughtsCollapse )
the gay fresh sentiment of the road: contemplativecontemplative
(Deleted comment)
Chasechik: white maskchasingtides on October 4th, 2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
No, no I have read that. I even wrote a reaction to it here (that also slides away from incest and toward violence, so read at your own risk). I honestly think that article is what got me started on my apparent meta writing binge.

I don't think I fully articulated this in my post, but I think that Sam and Dean depend on each other for basically everything but the fulfillment of their sexual needs/desires. All of their other emotional needs are taken up by the other one. They don't have friends, they don't have lovers, they don't have a wider circle of acquaintances. (I'm kind of happy Bobby's still in the picture because he fills the parental role quite nicely.)

I think that if Bobby died and they started having sex, they would stop needing the outside world at all. And that's both deeply creepy and kind of the modern Western ideal romantic/sexual relationship.

It would be a happy ending and I doubt it would come crashing down on them because with Bobby out of the picture, who would know they are brothers?

(Feel free to be tangential about my meta. It's just here to get you thinking.)
Sharonstopwatch_plz on October 4th, 2008 09:13 am (UTC)
It is way too early in the morning for me to make any sense, but I think you raised a lot of interesting points!

I think the boys have become dependent on each other for everything other than physical love, and we haven't really seen them getting that much recently I refuse to believe Sam would be sleeping with Ruby, that's just wrong!) Spending too much time with someone can skew your view of the "outside world" too and when you interact with it as randomly as they do it probably doesn't help either.

Ooh, reminds me I was going to do a mini-meta on SPN as relating to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs! Just, y;know, because I can...

Imperialistenbrausetrinker: grief counselorssatanael on October 4th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
Whenever deep emotional relationships are shown on TV slash basically writes itself. We are not used to seeing men showing their emotions or weaknesses in the media. Unfortunately SPN gave us two extremely nice specimen and even though they are brothers on the show fandom automatically saw the sex as a natural progression. They love each other, they are even depending on each other, they are all they have left and it would be much too risky to let a civilian or anyone else into their demonic world.

In the beginning Kripke and the writers gave us some funny gay jokes because, to be honest, it is not the normal thing to travel around with your bro and to share practically everything. They share the same room, brush their teeth together, they are much more like an old couple for me but an old couple which doesn't have sex. I swear I tried reading wincest, I'm reading slash now for 10 years but it never worked for me. Maybe also because I have a brother and it's just a disgusting thought for me. It's too unrealistic to become physical love. As I said before, the writers added some jokes, then it somehow got out of hand. Manners is most probably still forwarding wincesty fics to everyone on set, Jim Beaver keeps wearing weird t-shirts and even Kripke now calls it „bromance“(which made me shriek, I can't laugh atm since I have a terrible influenza and my thoughts are completely jumbled, hooray!). In a way bromance really sums it up. SPN's appeal is Sam and Dean's relationship (I also blame the actors for it). And Kripke knows it even if he started the show with a different premise.

What works really well are the demonic possessions. Whether it was John, Sam or Samuel ... and I just realized that Dean is totally victimized here lol Don't we just love him pinned to a wall or a chair? Anyways, the only slash fics which work for me, apart from the demon ones, is J2. I just hate to admit it but sometimes I wished they would stop playing around with the wincest undertones in real life. Can they not be a little more subtle about it? They are feeding the fans and I feel so overweight and can hardly digest that they are living together or take care of each other's eyelashes ... adds also fuel to the wincest fire :P

Thank God they have added Castiel ... now Sam needs a male demon for himself.
Chasechik: Jesus loves you (not like that)chasingtides on October 5th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC)
I'm having a bit of trouble deciphering quite what you're saying, so if I get it all wrong, let me know.

It seems, to me, that you're saying that you think the slash out there is mostly because people see them being emo on screen, but the incest factor squicks you because you have a brother. So you'd prefer to read RPS or Winchester/demon.

The incest in SPN doesn't quick me as much as in some other fandoms, I suppose because I view it as entirely consensual. Neither Sam nor Dean would assault or abuse the other. They would kill themselves first. I'm not concerned about that aspect. (And yes, before you ask, I do have brother. We have in fact been mistaken for a couple on several occasions, but no, never ever ever incestuous.)

I don't think it's fairly to blame the emotional incest of Sam and Dean on the actors. The writers write them this way and the directors direct them this way. This is definitely a team effort. You can't say, "Well, the actors are affectionate so the other characters in the show make jokes about them being gay and there are incestuous overtones in their language and attitude." The actors don't write the scripts. I also feel that what happens in the show and what happens in actors' lives can and should be kept separate. Whether the actors are living together, married, or can't stand each other, we should, in my opinion, take their characters as their characters, not as the people who they present themselves as in the media.

While I have written other meta on RPS (here), I do actually have serious squick issues with demonic (or angelic) sex. As we saw in Are You There God? It's Me, Dean Winchester, the possessed are still in their bodies and can experience what happens to their bodies even though they have no agency. This means that they cannot consent to the sex that they would be experiencing should the demon/angel possessing their body choose to have sex. This makes it rape. Rape, for me, is a much bigger squick than consensual incest EVER could be. Forcing someone to have sex against their will? Deeply disturbing.

Edit: Outside of the possessed/rape issue upon which I know some disagree, Sam, should he desire to have sex with a demon, does have Ruby and we did see her in a state of undress in the premiere. Who is to say that he could not have sex with her? Why would it need to be a male demon?

Edited at 2008-10-05 02:02 am (UTC)
(no subject) - satanael on October 5th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
laisserais on October 4th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
I like your thoughts about the incest needing to mean something besides fan gratification. If that's true, it's a whole lot scarier than i thought.

I figured all of this was sort of...accidental by-product? well, i did up until mitch pileggi's awesome (and terrifying) guest spot. if it means something within the narrative, i'm almost too scared to know. somehow, making incest visible and not just subtexty good fun feels like it's a monster.

maybe it is? maybe it's correlated with their monsters, much like other MotW reflect other aspects of Sam and Dean's relationship? Maybe we're being built up for something?

I wrote a short little post about other ways that incest is canonized in this episode, if you want to check it out. All of the mirroring between Sam and Dean and their parents and grandparents is what struck me most.
Chasechik: put a gun to my headchasingtides on October 4th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
I guess the thing that gets me is that incest, in most literary forms, is shown as a Very Bad Thing. And thus it is demonstrated in In The Beginning. Samuel is fucking scary man. (And Mitch Pileggi deserves some kind of an award for such an amazing performance as Grandpa Campbell.)

And yet I don't think that Sam and Dean's emotional incest is treated in that light. (There are, of course, a few exceptions, like the Trickster's speech in Mystery Spot.) However, the way in which they depend upon each, though likely unhealthy and certainly abnormal, is structured in such a way that it endears Sam and Dean to the viewers. It is the way in which we see them as human and as vulnerable. I honestly think that (once again, with the potential exception of Bobby) you could kill a fair number of people (let's say 10) and if it meant that Sam or Dean wouldn't die and could stay by his brother's side (let's say forever), the other brother would do it. Nevermind would, they have done. That should be viewed as pretty twisted, right? Killing people? I mean, in No Rest for the Wicked, they were stacking civilian bodies like cord wood and didn't care - it meant that Dean could live. And yet, somehow, to both the viewers and the crew ("bromance"), this is somehow an endearing and wonderful trait.

Before In The Beginning, I definitely figured that the incest and gay jokes were one of those recurring and amusing things that could be fan service and could be a set in joke, or both. But after this episode, where Sam and Dean are very obviously paralleled to two couples (Samuel and Deanna in name and as paired hunters, and John and Mary in attitude and in physical position/attitude at John's death) AND we have overt incest in the form of Samuel's body that it quickly turned into Chekov's gun. The incest isn't a funny backdrop like the flamingos in Mystery Spot. It suddenly turned into something more serious and plotful.
(no subject) - laisserais on October 4th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The girl with the name from BtVSyukisherry on October 4th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
this was interesting to read. i, too, am intrigued as to where the whole incest thing is going to lead. :)
halfway out of the dark: venilia on October 4th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
I went to comment on this (in short: Word!) and accidentally metaed.
I am myth geek, here me squee like a mad, mad thing re: the bromance of Sam and Dean

Tularia - Elf Mistress: Sam&Deantularia on October 4th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
Great points. I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I'm not into the Wincest of SPN either, except as it relates to what you've written here. Even then, I'm uncomfortable with the terminology.

Also, let's not forget that this whole thing started with Daddy dearest. Because Dean grew up being the good little soldier, the one in charge of keeping Sammy safe, the one ultimately responsible for the care and welfare of his younger brother. That right there is enough to create a bond to rival the best romantic relationship. John made them codependent, so they know nowhere to turn other than to each other for everything they need, except sex.
Chasechik: you've got to be kiddingchasingtides on October 4th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
I admit that I'm a little confused by some of the fandom reaction to incest in Supernatural, some of which seems to be, "Ooh pretty!" and not deal with any of the emotional, social, legal, familial, or religious fall out of such a relationship choice. Or the lifestyle and thought process which would lead to Sam and Dean choosing to have an incestuous relationship (here I am speaking specifically of sexual incest rather than the romantic emotional incest that I do believe is already occuring in canon). I want to know *why* they would take that next step toward sexualising their romance, though - as others before me have more eloquently pointed out - the sexualising of their incest is often what leads to the 'happy ending' of the fiction.

And John is definitely partially to blame for their emotional incest. However, I doubt that John, no matter how much he wanted them to depend upon one another, wanted them to sacrifice themselves for and rely so completely upon one another. On the other hand, some characters, like Bobby, seem to take it totally in stride that Sam and Dean behave in this manner. It makes me wonder if this kind of relationship is common in the hunting community where people are so socially and functionally isolated from one another.

For example, if I had a friend - especially a younger friend whom I viewed as a niece/nephew/son/daughter - who was willing to go to such extremes for his/her sibling, I would be very concerned. If such a person was willing to kill to save his/her sibling - and kill many people - I would likely try to do something to help him/her develop a healthier relationship/lifestyle, unless I thought that he/she would view me as a threat. I don't think Bobby thinks that Sam or Dean would hurt him (though he'd be right about Sam if he did think that), but he doesn't try to interfere or even suggest that the relationship is unhealthy/dangerous/wrong/bad. He just shrugs, grabs a book, and gets on with it.
Ovaltine Jenkinsvioletlemon47 on October 5th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)
I love it when you meta. :)
Bridget McKennitt: Mebridgetmc on October 5th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)
I can't help but nod and agree with pretty much everything you wrote here. It also makes me think about the other sibling pairs that have shown up on the show, particularly Andy and his twin Ansem. I don't know about anyone else, but Ansem's complete obsession over his long lost brother, even to the point that he was happily killing off their birth mother and doctor for separating them, creeped me out. That trumps the Sam/Dean incestuous emotional relationship because the boys grew up depending on each other so whatever happens, I can understand why. Ansem only recently found out about his brother and just went crazy like that for Andy. Needed him as badly as Sam needs his brother.
zillah975 on October 5th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
I agree with you about Sam and Dean's "emotional incest", and also that they're not having actual physical sex. I also don't think that physical sex is a natural progression of their relationship -- I think it's one possible progression, but I don't think it's by any means a given. (I love me some Wincest, but I don't think for a moment that it's canonical even between the lines.) It's very possible to feel in love with someone without feeing physical desire for them.

And I'm having a really hard time seeing any more incest in the show than Sam and Dean's emotional incest. I mean, I can see where someone could, and I can believe Kripke may mean for us to see it, but I just don't. The Samuel/Mary kiss was no more incest than if she had tripped and fallen on her dead father's body and their lips had accidentally connected. She knew it wasn't her father in there, and it wasn't her father in there (or if he is, he has no agency at all, not even enough to resist), so although the body was his, incest didn't, imo, take place.

Of course, it depends entirely on how you define incest.

And while Dean says that Mary's hot, I never got the impression that he was saying he was attracted to her. My mom was hot too, but I never wanted to mack on her. My dad was hot, but not attractive to me 'cause hey, dad.

I do, however, now want lots and lots of possessed!Samuel/Dean and Mitch/Jensen porn.

Anyway, very interesting meta -- thank you for posting it!
erivarerivar on April 9th, 2009 02:19 am (UTC)
I couldn't have said it better. ^_^
arliss: clutch x2arliss on October 6th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
In answer to everything from "I'm going to disappoint everyone in fandom before I get any further and say that I don't think Sam and Dean are having crazy, mad, incestuous sex. Really, I don't." to "Now, you say, that's all very lovely, but why talk about this now?" I'd like to give a huge nod of agreement.

I have always said, they were raised in such isolated and claustrophobic circumstances, they have always been so physically (from the necessary touch of wiping food off faces and helping wash up, dealing with buttons and shoelaces to checking each other over for injury, knowing each other's bodies intimately from stitching wounds and wrapping sprains) and emotionally (having only each other as a constant, whether a constant irritant or a constant bulwark, no friendship outside the family was ever maintained long enough to be as important as the emotional constant of brother) intertwined, their relationship is incestuous enough, without ever adding in the sexual component.

I understand the entertainment value and titillation of sexual incest, and I also understand the use of Wincest as a tool to analyze and examine the relationship. But I think ultimately it's irrelevant to the actual relationship, which is closer than brothers, more complete in some ways than spouses or partners. The relationship is the love affair, the romance, either with or without a sexual component.

My main observation from ITB is that the characterisation of Azazel possessing someone was pretty spectacularly consistent between Pileggi's Samuel and Morgan's John. And both of them were intimidating Dean.

Edited at 2008-10-06 11:33 pm (UTC)
camembert [hyperion]: SPN: LOL CANON INCESTgiantlovetingle on October 9th, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was one really good meta. And now that I've read it and absorbed it, I think I'd have to agree with you, maybe they're no having hot sweaty sex, but they're definitely closer and more emotionally/romantically attached to each other than "normal" siblings.
~*UNLEASH THE KRAKEN*~someblazingstar on February 9th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
Just found this and wow, you've summed up Sam and Dean's relationship wonderfully. For all that I don't think Sam and Dean have ever been sexual with each other as far as canon is concerned - I love Wincest smut, but I certainly don't see it as "canon" - I absolutely agree that the relationship Sam and Dean have is romantic, not fraternal. I can't even imagine having the kind of relationship they have, with that kind of ferocious intensity and constant closeness, with a guy I was dating, much less my own brother. They don't just love each other, they're in love with each other. Emotional incest, absolutely.

Now, the pistol... "Sex and Violence" was the shot heard 'round fandom, Y/N?
Chasechik: the real youchasingtides on February 9th, 2009 02:25 am (UTC)
I haven't been able to decided whether that was the sound of the gun going off or just the characters picking it up, playing with it, and announcing that it's a loaded gun really loudly, making sure that the audience knew what was going on.

But, damn, the incest just keeps going this season, doesn't it?

(PS. I wrote some stuff on "Sex and Violence" over here in The Story of my (non)Existence: Bisexuals and Genre Television. It's mostly Dean-centric, but you might be interested, nonetheless.)

Edited at 2009-02-09 02:25 am (UTC)
Horusguard76: Gu'a'uld bastardhorusguard76 on March 5th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
I just finished watching 4.03 'In the beginning' and boy, did that surprise me. In more sense than one. The biggest surprise was that kiss between Mary and her possessed father. Now that's some rough material, hard on the edge of all good and holy. But then again, this show is 'unnatural', so all is game, I suppose. Additionally, what better way to get to someone than by sex/love/family? It's peoples Achilles heel in 99,9% cases.

I have to say, that in general there are time I am fine with incest and others I am not. But overall I prefer sibling relationships to parents/children because I feel that siblings are on equal grounds (no matter the age the differences) while parents are not and then there's the whole children being 'produced' by parents thing which is a total turn off for me.

In this particular show I think that the show writers can get away with this underlying theme because of the extreme life and circumstances which is shown here. For me the situation is similar to scifi shows which come with more opened mindedness than your regular shows which are usually aimed at certain groups/ages.

Personally, I see little to none romantic involvement between those two but definitely something like co-dependency. Additionally, I don't think the brothers are truly good for each other, it's more like they are each others drug to survive the next day, the next case and the next demon. but not like they are the best option in a partner for each other.

On another thought - from religion, we do know that G-d is purity. Incest is as impure as it comes - and I guess it is pretty safe to say that that is one way for the dark side to ensure that the players and champions become distracted and even catapult themselves out of the game. It's a worthwhile thought. If I were a demon and had two co-dependent brothers who are bound by demon pacts, self-sacrificing and family history so tightly together - then yes, I would push them into the incest direction. To ensure that they lose their last shred of innocence and goodness and will be literally unable to stand against me. (oh the incest conflict would rip them apart inside and probably create a chasm between them, full of resentment and hate - if the incest was a spur of the moment thing)

Since those two are so separated from 'normal' life and people, it is not hard to put them into situations where one of them might snap and it actually comes to some sex - which probably would seal the 'fall', so to speak.

I guess, we will wait and see. :)

Thank you for posting this meta and linking me - it was quite interesting to read up on how others perceive this recent development.