The hunter hunted: The portrayal of the fan as predator in supernatural

Cait Coker, Candace Benefiel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Of the genre shows on contemporary television, Supernatural is perhaps the most savvy in its knowledge and use of contemporary fan practices. In a number of episodes, the writers make it clear that they are fully cognizant of their fan community by establishing a self-referential dialogue and promoting active viewership among their fan base. On the other hand, some fans view the depictions of fan practices as unkind parodies of their activities. Given the depiction of some fans on the show, such as the nameless, shapeshifting film buff of “Monster Movie�? (4.5) and the socially awkward and Sam-obsessed Becky Rosen (Emily Perkins), fans view their depiction on the show with some trepidation. While the Supernatural fandom is proud of the open relationship it has with the show’s creators, the use of such plot lines reinforces both the creators’ awareness of fan practices as well as their discomfort with these activities. The characterization of Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) as a man who has fannish tendencies but denies them (“it’s a guilty pleasure,�? he says in “Changing Channels�? 5.8) and mocks them in others (in “Let It Bleed�? 6.21, he comments that while Sam and Bobby were reading H. P. Lovecraft he was “having sex. With women�?) provides the most straightforward of the writers’ surrogates. The appearance of Chuck Shurley (Rob Benedict), fictional pulp writer and prophet, as an exasperated and put-upon (and possibly literal) God-creator 1 is another instance of the writers’ reaction to fans and fan practices. This chapter articulates and examines the friction between fan activity and the creators and production staff of Supernatural as it is expressed in the show’s fictional context to demonstrate the complex relationships of fans and media producers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSupernatural, Humanity, and the Soul
Subtitle of host publicationOn the Highway to Hell and Back
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781137412560
ISBN (Print)9781137412553
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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