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Identifying with Dean

Something I've noticed in the fandom is that a lot of people identify with Dean. Which is good, of course, you are supposed to identify with Dean...but what I mean is that a lot of people say "I'm a lot like Dean" or "Dean's a lot like me". I feel this way too, but there seems to be a fundamental difference between their reasons for this and mine.

This is best illustrated through a conversation I had about it with my little sister:

Me: "People keep saying 'Dean is a lot like me' or 'I'm a lot like Dean', and then they go on to list all of Dean's good qualities.

Susie: "Huh. Really?"

Me: "Yeah, like 'He's so devoted to his family' and 'He has a clear concept of what is right and wrong'...but, you know, I think I'm like Dean, but not because of his good points..."

Susie: "Hm."

Me: "I think I'm like Dean because we have the same faults..."

Susie: "Yeah, like how he makes jokes as a...umm..."

Me: "Using humour as a defense mechanism? And not acknowledging that he has emotions other than happiness or anger..."

Susie: "Right." *starts ticking off faults on fingers* "Humour as a defence mechanism; denies emotions; avoids emotional situations at all costs; avoids talking about things that he should really talk about; sabotages all his relationships; doesn't think anyone loves him; not to mention all his self-worth issues. OH DEAN!" :'-(

Me: "Haha!"

Susie: "At least you didn't go to hell"

Me: "Thanks, that makes me feel a lot better."

Susie: "Ha! You don't have the self-worth issues."

Me: "True. I'm freakin' awesome."
 


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( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
auriliawestlake
May. 24th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
Ya know, I'm right there with you on feeling like a female Dean, bad points and all. The only real difference between me and him is that I don't chase after hotties (hell, the last time I had anything resembling a 'date' was back in June of '05) and that I absolutely cannot play pool at all.
hells_half_acre
May. 24th, 2009 05:34 am (UTC)
Haha, yeah, I don't chase after hotties either, and I'm equal with you on the last 'date' I had.

I, however, grew up with a pool table in my basement. Actually, when Susie was around 7 or 8, she kept a chart next to the table where she recorded who she had won games against and how old they were...it was quite impressive. I've lost my touch a bit over the years though.
stephie_nhbg
May. 24th, 2009 07:34 am (UTC)
oh I feel you, I empathize with Dean's bad qualities far more often than his good, and the same goes with Sam. I've never thought I was a righteous as Dean, like ever. But a smarmy bastard who doesn't show emotions and world class saboteur of relationships? Psh, I'm like a female version, except for the copious amounts of sex. Yep, that isn't happening like ever, I haven't been on a real date in like two and a half years. rofl. :)
hells_half_acre
May. 24th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
Sam doesn't have bad qualities! LOL - joking...I just wanted to use this icon.

Yeah, it seems one of the main differences between Dean and the female-Deans is that the female-Deans don't get to enjoy the sex part. I did for a year...but that was three years ago and it's been dry as a desert since...so I don't even think it counts anymore.
nemoed
May. 24th, 2009 08:12 am (UTC)
Now apart from the fact that this exchange made me snicker in amusement, I find it interesting to hear that so many people identify themselves with Dean. I mean, he's one nice person to identify yourself with but still I was surprised to hear that. Even in the beginning I was convinced we were supposed to see events through Sam's eyes (though that changed in my opinion some time during the second season).

Anyway, perhaps I should take a better look around. The world is full of Deans and I'm missing out on their awesomeness! ;)
hells_half_acre
May. 24th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
Haha, yeah, actually I find that interesting too...because you are right. Kripke and the guys are constantly saying that Sam is like Luke Skywalker - we are supposed to identify with him, and Dean is like Han Solo, who we care about but is on the periphery...I think that changed sometime in the second season - probably around the time we find out what John told Dean before he died.

That being said, I identified with Dean from the beginning - I think it's mainly because Dean's emotions and thoughts are always expressed externally, whereas Sam keeps everything bottled up inside...so it's actually easier to get a sense of who Dean is than it is to get a sense of who Sam is. At least, that's my theory.

But you are right, the first season was mainly seen through Sam's eyes, but it didn't necessarily mean we could identify with him. (I can, but only on a "yeah, I see where your coming from" level).
nemoed
May. 24th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
Weeeeell, Sam is a whole lot more attractive then Luke if I may say so ;)
If you allow me a moment to nerd out and go SW-fan on you, I'd rather see Sam as an Anakin Skywalker sort of character. Just with brains he just uses his upstairs and downstairs brain more and more randomly in season 4 from what I've heard ;)

You got a point there about Dean being an extrovert and that making it easier to connect. Plus, Jensen is incredibly expressive. The man needs no lines at all but you always know what's going on in his head. Impressing.

With Sam I had partially a connection because I recognize a fellow bibliophile when I see one. Nevertheless, I think it was expected in the beginning that so many people would drift to the 'Dean side of things'. He's just too charismatic for his own good ;)
hells_half_acre
May. 24th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I totally agree that Sam makes a better Anakin than Luke (in concept, anyway - in my opinion the SW prequels didn't do justice to the idea of the characters (meaning: they sucked)).

Jensen really is pretty damn amazing. It'd be hard NOT to connect with Dean.

I always like it when people connect with Sam...especially lately. Just because I recognize most of my own faults in Dean, doesn't mean that I don't understand where Sam is coming from, and I kind of want to protect him from the bit of the bashing he has gotten this year...poor Sammy. But yeah, one thing I always loved about Sam was that he was a "walking encyclopedia of weirdness" (I'm a walking encyclopedia of randomness).
nemoed
May. 24th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
True. I mean despite having both Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor they still managed to suck! I was appalled ;)
Now what I was referring to with the Anakin/Sam analogy was this thing where Sam is toeing the line between good and evil. Or put differently: Power corrupts - the basic Sammy-struggle that fascinates me is: will he be corrupted or will his love for his brother save him?

I hear you. Jensen gives Dean a wit and humor and a hint of tragedy all at once and he looks pretty while doing it! Give the man an award.

Well, I haven't seen season 4 since it hasn't aired over here yet but personally I've always been drawn to the bookish types. Plus, I find that struggle for his soul very appealing. To my mind it makes a much better story if one of the heroes reaches his absolute personal low (and thus gets disillusioned about himself) and then picks himself up again. Seeing how easy it is for Sam to go dark and seeing him resist it nevertheless - that is the appeal.

...sorry for that mega-long reply ;)
hells_half_acre
May. 24th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
lol, I love your icon. :D

Never apologize for a long reply ;-)

Ah, so you watch them auf Deutsch then? I've watched some of the German episodes online...it's funny, because their German voices are higher and (dare I say) less "manly" then their real voices...which I think is pretty funny considering how people tend to view German as a real manly/strong language. I find it really fun to watch just to see the translators word choices though - I am such a language geek.

I'll be sure not to spoil you completely for Season 4.

But yeah, that's always fascinated me about the show too...will Sam go dark? Does he have a choice? He started the show as the more moral/good brother - will he ultimately be corrupted more than Dean ever could be? It's extremely interesting. Personally, I want his love for his brother to save him.

My favorite book "No Great Mischief" has this great moral - "We are all better people when we are loved" - I'd like to see that be true in Supernatural as well.

I still haven't seen the 3rd Star Wars prequel - the second one sucked so much that I couldn't bring myself to watch the third. Seriously. I was a huge SW fan, but there are limits to what I will put up with. :P
nemoed
May. 24th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
Good :)

I watch them in German when they air because I have no other choice but usually I'm grumbling my way through the episodes since I just hate the translations. That, and somehow people seem to smell whenever I want to watch an episode, so they call me on the telephone and I miss half of it anyway. So I got the dvds and watch them in English and that's just so much better. I really like Jared's indignant voice and moments later that boyish laugh. Amuses me every time. Also, Jensen can sing. Who would have thought?

I hope Dean's love will save him, too. In fact, I've always been a firm supporter of the whole 'free will' angle and up to now I still fail to see what's wrong with Sam using his powers as long as he does it responsibly.
By the way, please spoil me! There's no telling when I'll get to see season 4, so if you know where I can find episode transcripts or something like that, please let me know.

The third SW-prequel was just as good as the other ones. Anakin looked like he came straight out of a boy band. My friend and I had fun watching it, though it might not have been intended as a comedy ;)
hells_half_acre
May. 24th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
I used to disconnect my phone when I was watching a show for that reason :P

I actually don't always have access to a TV, so I download a lot of the shows from torrents...so, you could always do that. Other than that, I think Superwiki has transcripts - not sure if they have S4 transcripts up, but you could try them.

I'm also hoping for the free-will thing...and I also don't see what's wrong with Sam using his powers, as long as he uses them for good and not evil (which so far, arguably, he has - the bad things he has done, he has only done to himself).

The english really is way better than the German. When I watch the German, I can't help but wonder if they got the same voice-talents who dub Scrubs - because the voices sound more like they are suited to JD and Turk than they do to Sam and Dean. And, as much as the voice-talents try, they really can't measure up to the way Jensen and Jared use their voices to convey meanings/emotions/etc.
moonshayde
May. 24th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
You're not alone. I'm a lot like Dean for the good and the bad. I have this long rambling post about it I have started, but I've just been too...hmm, I don't know. I just haven't decided to post it yet LOL
hells_half_acre
May. 24th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
Ha, yeah, I was sitting on the idea for this one for a while (the convo with my sister happened about two/three weeks ago.)...but I was thinking too much yesterday and needed things to do other than think, so here you have it :P

Originally I was going to turn it into a long rambling post, but then I decided just to keep it short and fun. Mainly because I didn't want to delve into my psyche THAT much :P
crazytook
May. 24th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
You know, it's funny that you bring this up, I've been talking to my roommate about this lately because I think part of the polarization of the fandom comes from this identifying with the characters thing, so that people take comments about the character a little more personally. Which I guess could be said of many fandoms, but it seems especially true here. I actually find that if I identify with one of the bros, it's more likely to be Sam than Dean. I think that maybe the identification has more to do with where you are in the birth order, actually, cause I can't help but notice that you mentioned the conversation happened with your Little sister. I think that the reason it seems like so many people ID with Dean isn't because there are more oldests watching the show (or middles) than youngests, but because the show goes to a lot of lengths to make it clear that Dean is an archetype of an older sibling, that a lot of who he is goes back to that. I think that Sam is just as much of a younger sibling, but that the show doesn't spend as much time linking his traits back to that. So, if you are a youngest, you might still ID with Dean, because you can still find qualities there that you embody, and maybe you don't see as much of YOU in Sam. But if you're an oldest, I think you will most definitely ID with Dean.

Of course this is just a crack pot theory,as I really don't know where in the birth order ppl are online. I'd be curious to know who you're little sis IDs with.

As for the good traits/bad traits, I think that depends on how secure you are in yourself to be able to assess that. Maybe there are a lot of insecure ppl online? Hehehe, JK. :)
thanks for sharing your thoughts!
-crazytook
hells_half_acre
May. 24th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
You might be on to something there. It's true that I'm a big sister. I have older siblings too though. My little sister is six years younger than me as well, and my parents were absent a lot due to various reasons...so part of me identifying with Dean is that I know what it's like to have a large role in raising your younger sibling.

And yeah, I think identifying with one boy over the other is probably what leads to the polarization (ie: taking comments about the boys personally)...but I think another reason for the polarization is just current culture in the States (and other places, but I notice it most in the State). There seems to be this trend of "you are either with us or against us" or "if you like Dean, you are a deangirl and must defend him always and believe that Dean can do know wrong...and Sam is a douche" haha (I'm exaggerating, but you get what I mean, right?)

I mainly just find it funny when people go on about how amazing Dean or Sam is like he can do no wrong...when really, as this past season has shown us, both boys can make pretty freakin' horrible mistakes.
crazytook
May. 25th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
yeah, that's a really good point about the "with us or against us" thing. I think the polarization is really a shame because I think that the show has actually done such a good job of displaying the strengths and weaknesses and how they work together better than alone. And maybe it's just the nature of a two person cast, but I really have never seen a fandom so insistent on wanting one character go off and work alone. When the brother-ness is so adorable. I don't know, maybe those are just really loud outliers. :)


And I totally agree, the boys can both make really awful mistakes. I think one of the most interesting arguments ppl have is who's fault the rift is, Sam or Dean's when it seems pretty clear to me that the rift is the fault of both parties, like any rift in a relationship.

But yeah, I do hafta wonder if birth order has anything to do with who you ID with. Because I'm the youngest, and I do tend to ID with Sam more than Dean. I totally admire Dean, but I also totally admire my older sibling. Although, I don't know what would make a person ID with the good qualities vs. the bad qualities. This is going to bother me......because I ID with Sam because I understand the simaltaneous frustration and gratitude/love towards the older sibling and less to do with any actual trait Sam has. But it seems to me that ppl tend to ID with Dean's traits. Although, I have noticed that oldests tend to use sarcasm/humor as a defense mechanism something fierce. ...I don't know! And now I'm just rambling, so I'll shut up and get back to you when I have an actual thought out opinion!
Thanks for chatting!

-crazytook
hells_half_acre
May. 25th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
I think it's just loud outliers in the fandom really...or at least, that's my hope. For the most part the people I talk to recognize that there are two people in every relationship both with strengths and weakness, good decisions and bad ones.

Another part of me wants to assume it's the teenage population of fans, and they just haven't figured out the way life works yet...but that's probably extremely unfair to teenagers. :P

And yeah, you are completely right about the rift being the fault of BOTH brothers...I really can't understand people who blame it on one of the boys over the other.

I think it comes down to Dean's traits being a bit more out in the open on the show. Sam is a very introverted guy...so sometimes I wonder if people just don't KNOW Sam very well. I've certainly been wondering that the latter half of this season, when some people were really viciously angry at Sam and some of the stuff they were claiming about him was just way off base with who I understand Sam to be. I don't know though...it's a mystery to me...and now I'm just rambling too, so don't feel bad about rambling :P
mizzykitty
May. 25th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
LOL! It's true, people do always say that. It's nice to see the flipside. Me, I know I'm not like Dean at all! heh.
hells_half_acre
May. 25th, 2009 05:41 am (UTC)
Nice! lol. We need other types of people to balance out the Deans of this world ;-)
trystan830
May. 25th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
i'm mostly Dean....humor, sarcasm, taste in music....but i haven't gone to Hell either, even though i had serious self-worth issues in high school.
hells_half_acre
May. 25th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
For some reason, I have never really had the self-worth issues. I've had the "no one loves me" issues, but it was never based on my self-worth. One could argue that in high school I had the opposite problem of being a bit of an arrogant asshole...not that it was based on anything, because I was chubby and had a bad haircut. I just thought I was an awesome person anyway. I still frickin' hated high school though.
trystan830
May. 25th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
i was the loner who got picked on.... and i guess my issue (looking back on it, of course) was that i let it happen, and didn't stand up for myself....
hells_half_acre
May. 25th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
That sucks. It's hard to stand up for yourself when you are a teenager.
trystan830
May. 25th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
yeah..... i think it was that back when i started the school in 3rd grade the kids realised they could pick on me... and i went to school with them until 12th grade.

but i went on a trip over the summer between high school and college, and knew no one, and kinda figured out who i was and came out of my shell, and that continued into college.

so now i've come to know and learn my self-worth, like who i am.... well, i did a while ago at any rate. this year is my 15th anniversary to the guy i've been best friends with for almost 20 years, so all is good now. :)
hells_half_acre
May. 25th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
Well, it's nice you were able to come out of your shell and reclaim your self-worth, and yay to having a best friend for almost 20 years :)

For me, my second year of college, I met someone who was kind enough to make me realize that I was not perfect, and that not being perfect wasn't necessarily a bad thing - it was actually a pretty good thing. We've been best friends ever since.
trystan830
May. 26th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
thanks! :)

and very cool for you too! :)
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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