There I was trundling along .... possibly mildly grumpy that the actual full time teaching thing is cramping my online style somewhat but mostly just still keeping up with the watching and the reading if not the posting of tweets, FB status updates, Tumblr posts and LJ entries.
Up pops this week's episode - 8x15 "Man's Best Friend With Benefits" - great title, seen some tidbits on twitter about the subject/story line and I looked forward to it. I'm also aware that fandom has, pretty much as a general consensus, been rolling around with glee in the plethora of great writing in the last three episodes and I'm thinking that this will possibly be the week that all changes again. But I went into it with very little spoilage and a whole lot of Thank FUCK it's Thursday and I can watch my show tonight.
I gotta say I loved it. Even possibly a little more than last weeks. GASP. SHOCK. HORROR. Don't get me wrong I did really enjoy last week's but I felt that whole picturesque farm in Idaho thing was a bit of a stretch along with the Stepford family and the always striking me as suspicious, hot farm hand chick, definitely preferred this week's guest star character to last weeks. I loved the Sam and Dean interactions for the most part but certainly felt the creeping of the soap coming back, however that speech about Sam wanting to take Dean to that light at the end of the tunnel? TOP CLASS SHOW TOP CLASS! But I digress. My subject line says I probably should have left well enough alone but I just can't help myself.
Show is allowed to have clunky/lazy writing y'all. It doesn't do it all the time and it does it a darn sight less than any other show but so what if show TOLD us (instead of showing us) about familiars at the expense of Dean's intelligence? Seriously the Boat Of Consistent Depiction of Dean's Genius set sail for me at Swap Meat WHY are you all still so suprised/disappointed? The same applies with his Wha? face at the word "intimate" - except this was purely a comedy driving device which I thought worked beautifully well. Dean's entire demeanour of adorably fascinated mild scandalisation yet insatiable curiosity about how it all worked in that kind of world was very humourous.
Also I'm not sure what has got fandom's knickers in a knot over the whole familiar/bdsm/bestiality/master/slave thing?
Oh wait - show is sexist, racist, misogynistic and perpetuating the endless cycle of minority repression. Here we go with another example of show's epic race fail. I know we all take things differently but my first thoughts were if this fandom's kink memes, Big Bangs, fan generated works on all levels is any indication I would have thought the topics in this episode would have been eaten up. Where would all those University courses on gender, repression, racial identity and representation disappear to were it not for the ENTERTAINMENT world that gives us so much material to discuss, dissect and wax vitriolic about? The way I see it - you can watch in two ways - purely for the entertainment factor (both surface and in depth readings) and then purely for the social/political commentary. I admit I do both, but I do the first one so much more. Once I start pulling apart the interpretations of gender and the representations of sexuality and the portrayal of race I am no longer in 'I watch this for entertainment mode' but in the Reading for Contextuality and Critical Analysis mode. Which I do when I decide to choose an episode to show to my tenth graders - we watch it purely for entertainment first and then on second watching we start looking for the intertextual meanings, the comments on race, gender, stereotypes - who is not there, who does not have a voice etc etc. The show is as easily criticised in this respect as much as it is lauded for it's entertainment value. It generates such intense and passionate discussions, debates, arguments and discourse on so many levels that no matter how harsh the criticism it cannot be denied that it is a success purely in this aspect alone.
Sam's whole speech to Dean re the fact that Dean only trusts himself felt like little brother just having mildly verbal tantrum over Dean's pretty obvious desire to ensure that Sam survives no matter what. He told Dean last week - he can do it, and he's going to do it and come hell or high water he wants to get to the end of it, come out the other side hopefully in one piece more or less with his brother besides him. Sam KNOWS how Dean felt last week but Dean, being usual stubborn ass Dean, is still pushing the let me do it line and as a result Sam decided to go all petulant little brother and just throw some pretty reaching accusations at him (I felt this at the time Sam was saying the lines re Dean being the only one Dean trusts - since he did say "It's not that you don't trust me...") like he was pressing for a blow up or something but not hearting his words at all. That's why when at the end of that speech I didn't feel anything like the usual turmoil when the brother's fight - this wasn't a fight, this was just venting and I'm half surprised Sam didn't poke his tongue out at the end of "Are you done?" "I'm done if you are" :PPPP. I knew that car speech was on the cards at the end of this as this was just a little brotherly spat only semi more serious than the very earnest Stooge bickering at the start!
So whilst there was a line or two or clunkiness I felt this episode overall had a good story - they needed motivation for the witch to hate James just that much and they certainly found it - good acting and was beautifully shot. I certainly loved it more than a few others from this season that's for sure. But I sure do hope we get to see them in the MOLBC again soon.
Oh and by the way - The Dobermanns used were indeed GORGEOUS! But don't you think they look cuter like this?
I think if the Dobies could choose they would say yes please to this look, I'd rather you didn't slice off my ears and tails thanks :)