Supernatural isn’t a perfect show, but then again, nothing is ever perfect and if it were, would we as a viewing audience still tune in? The Walking Dead is massively flawed, but sometimes I get the impression that people tune in just to try to parse out what they might have done differently as writers/ producers or even actors. Back to Supernatural, and to shows that do well, specifically within a certain demographic: What do shows such as Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Once Upon a Time and even the original series of Star Trek all have in common? Well, they are or were all wildly popular and successful, especially among women ages 18-35, though still appealed to the “target demographic” of straight (ostensibly white, cis-gendered) men of the same or even broader ages.
(image from one of the many Star Trek novelty t shirts in our collection)
Science Fiction and to some extent, fantasy has always been a man’s world. The writers are men, the show’s producers are men, the showrunners and the majority of the lead actors and characters are all usually male. But so many of the fans are female, and straight females who are either tuning in with hopes of seeing two men in an intimate relationship with each other, or creating works of fan-fiction, better known as “Slash” in which their own fantastical, sexy projections and/ or interpretations of characters and events can finally manifest. (Star Trek T Shirt “Shoot that Thing!” because Kirk/ Spock was the original Slash.)
Family doesn’t end with blood.
The CW’s hit show “Supernatural” has been on the air for almost 10 years and just been renewed for its 11th season. What started as that other show about sexy people hunting monsters on what was then still the WB network, has turned into a flagship for its parent company and a rallying cry for a huge fandom that explores themes of what it means to be human, what it means to be a family and what it means to fight evil, within as well as literal things that go bump in the night.
During its first season, the tag line for Supernatural’s promos was “Scary just got sexy”, and it was described (not unjustly) as “The X-Files meets the Hardy Boys.” (X-Files image from one of our many novelty t shirts) But now, the line is changed firmly to “Join the Hunt.” Still, perhaps it might be better encapsulated with a line from one of the show’s own characters: Jim Beaver’s beloved portrayal of Bobby Singer (a gruff father figure named as a joke by the crew after one of the show’s head writers and executive producers) told the two main characters, brothers Sam (Jared Padaleki) and Dean (Jenson Ackles), that “Family don’t end with blood, boy!” and that has made a world of difference for people on social media, for youths exiled due to being LGBTQ, for fans and strangers to the show alike.
Let me expound upon this esoteric concept known as a protagonist. You see in order for an audience to enjoy a movie they need to connect to a character. This is usually the main one but sometimes can be a supporting character. Generally this identifiable character is a good guy who people like, although some great films can be about a bad guy who people sympathize with or who goes through some kind of a change (known to we film professionals as a “character arc”). Once in a while it is a really bad guy but he is that special kind of bad that is actually very cool, or that we hate but like to see bad stuff happen to. Typically when we identify with this character we imagine ourselves in his or her shoes and kind of wish we could be that cool.
Without this connection we honestly don’t care about the characters and therefore don’t give a crap about the drama they are experiencing. The main character of this film, Jim Bennett, is a turd of the highest order. A spoiled little rich kid who has a talent for writing he refuses to use for some idealistic reason. He is a professor who ends up sleeping with one of his students while owing gangsters hundreds of thousands of dollars. He has three major problems: diarrhea of the mouth, a crippling gambling addiction, and is fricking stupid.
That is really why I couldn’t identify with him in the end. Like all rich 1st world people he has the solution to his problems handed to him over and over again and yet keeps on doing the stupidest thing possible (image courtesy of our many novelty t shirts). His mother gives him $260,000 to pay off his gambling debts and he blows it all in Vegas. Someone else lends him the dough and he gambles it again. You can’t put yourself in the shoes of a character you don’t respect and I don’t respect characters who keep sticking their fingers in light sockets while being rich little bastards.
The story. It pretty much picks up with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in the hands of revolutionaries while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is being held in the capital. The rebels are led by President Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymore Hoffman) with help from security heavy Boggs (Mahershala Ali. He was in the 4400. I thought he looked familiar. The image I pulled from one of our novelty t shirts). They want her to be their spokesperson but Katniss wants nothing to do with it until she sees Peeta on the TV pitching how great President Snow is or something (Snow is Donald Sutherland and is great). She agrees to help them as long as they rescue Peeta. She goes out into battle and gets filmed bitching about how evil the Capital is (no argument here) while up to her knees in the burnt corpses of her former friends and neighbors. Show proves how evil he is by bombing a hospital and then the revolutionary base. A team is sent in to rescue Peeta and when he gets back they find the bad guys messed with his mind.
You know when you add it up that’s not a lot of events for 123 minutes. They really were stretching this out into two epics. At least they aren’t calling it the Hunger Games Saga. So do I recommend you see it? If you saw the first two (or read the books) absolutely. If you didn’t you will be lost without a paddle. Very little will make sense starting with who is this chick and why is she cool with going into battle against modern soldiers armed with a bow and arrow. This film does not stand alone well. Honestly my recommendation means very little for movies like this because either you are inclined to go or not. There is no middle ground for someone who saw the first two films but is on the fence for this one. I will say if you are dating someone who is into the Hunger Games it is well worth your time. She will love it and if you watch the first two on streaming (or just skim the Wikipedia story synapses) you will probably develop a connection or something like that with her. Let me know what that is like. Bathroom break? Go when Haymitch is telling Katniss about the Peeta rescue. That’s when I went.
Thanks for reading. I have Dumb and Dumber To to do tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook (and in real life please. I have serious self esteem issues), etc. Talk to you soon.
The Infamous Dave Inman
It is well known that most everything cool in this world was first shown in a science fiction movie or TV show. In fact most of our coolest stuff now was first in Star Trek (cell phones, tablets, self aware computers, green dancing slave girls). I used to do some writing for another blog that specialized in technology that comes from science fiction (got shut down unfortunately).
One of the cooler inventions from science fiction (for me) was always the hoverboard from Back to the Future, which ironically in the movie was readily available in the far off year of 2015 (this image is from a novelty t shirt in our Back to the Future collection). Talk about an awesome way to get around. Of course really without direction control the vectors will have you on your ass every time (statics was one class I actually aced. I am the vector king). However I always wanted to have one.
Now a company right here in the Bay Area has officially invented a working Hoverboard! I couldn’t be more excited. It works on magnets and needs a metal floor but still a lot of half pipes are metal these days. Check out this amazing article about Tony Hawk riding a real hoverboard! Awesome!
From what I understand the board was more invented to help move ocean containers and the like but still the possibilities are huge. It’s only a matter of time before kids are shattering bones with these things.
Now all we need is for some company to get working on my real Back to the Future dream flying cars. Enough with all this traffic not to mention bridge tolls. I’d like to see someone look into that time machine thing too but as a fan of the Butterfly Effect I don’t think it’s a good idea. Also it’s impossible because inertia is a bitch. Think about it.
the Infamous Dave Inman
Sorry I have not posted more recently, but I spent all Memorial Day weekend working at a gaming convention, selling shirts. Our best seller was probably this Steam Punk shirt from our novelty t shirt section.
Anyway, I am about to impart one of the most important rules I ever learned regarding talking to girls at a party, event, or bar: the Two Minute rule. This was taught to me by an old friend of mine who, in spite of being super skinny and weird looking (think a flesh colored Kermit the Frog) used to draw women in like you wouldn’t believe.
Rather than just toss the rule out there, let me set the context. There is a huge mistake guys in general and nerd guys in particular make (I used to make it incessantly) and that is, we get to a party, start talking to a girl, and up talking to her exclusively all night long without actually getting her phone number. This works mainly because most (yes, I am sure any women reading this out there are exceptions to this generalization. Don’t hate spam me) women enjoy (and some crave) attention from guys. They will therefore happily talk to you all night long, boring you with stories about their cat(s) and some lame friend of theirs. However, remember that whole “familiarity breeds contempt” concept. By the end of the night she more or less has satisfied her modest desire to be paid attention too by you and is ready to move on to the guy who has been blowing her off all night. Also, truth be told, most bars and parties are pretty damned boring so listening to you is slightly more stimulating than doing nothing, and most women are too polite to really blow you off (typically they will go to the restroom and sneak out the back if you really are locked on).
Thus we come to the Two Minute rule. If you start talking to a women in any kind of public setting (party, bus stop, concert, etc) and, after two minutes of your best wit and wisdom, are not getting a positive response, look her in the eye, tell her “Nice to meet you” and move on.
Incidentally, a “positive response” is not her answering your questions but rather actually engaging in a conversation, asking you questions and initiating new subjects.
This works on many, many levels. The first is the fact that there is more than one (cuttle) fish in the sea, or even at whatever thing you are attending. If you spend all night talking to some chick who blows you off you might be missing the entirely cool, hot, and compatible chick 20 feet away.
The second level is, you have to adopt an attitude that your time is valuable. If you spend two hours listening to some girl bitch about her job then you have proven to her your time is worthless. You have other things you could be doing, including talking to other women, and can’t spend all night listening to random crap.
Finally, at some point you are going to run out of funny, cool things to say and the conversation will falter. You don’t want to fire off all your ammo the first time you meet her. Save some for the first date.
Now, I have had guys ask me what if she is actually into me but I didn’t actually pick up on it? The magic part is, if she actually liked you and you blew her off she will like you even more, and will resurface in your face later on. At that point you should definitely engage here and go for the number.
Next post will be on actually getting the number from her at the end of your witty flirting. That’s it for today.
So I am headed to a lame Warhammer Tournament today and tomorrow. My friend asked me to come play ringer, but to be honest I am kind of hoping for an even number so I can bow out. If there are more than 6 players I will be surprised. I think this Failboat t shirt is appropriate from the novelty t shirt section.
My new Skaven build is based around the idea of having enough players at a tournament to avoid the tough lists. This is pretty hard to do with less than 40 or so players, so I am going to bring the Red Steamroller. In fact, I have so little respect for this tournament (except for the friend of mine who is being the head judge) that I am adding Flamers to the list, making it far worse than normal. To hell with sports and composition.
Anyway, this is a good excuse to avoid the huge pile of new shirts that need to be uploaded and reviewed. If I get sat out I will come home and work on them. Otherwise it will be a long Monday.