Well, actually at Vancon, J2 Day (or at least J1 Day) started the evening before, when Jensen Ackles joined in the Saturday Night Special. I’ve written paeans to Jensen being a rockstar before (maybe even a few times), but I just can’t help it – he is just unbelievably good! He was in a wonderful mood at Vancon, rested and not having had to travel. And his family was with him, so doing the con didn’t mean being away from his daughter, which must have felt pretty utopian. It’s clear how much he enjoys singing with Louden Swain and his fellow cast and musicians too, so the combination made for a very smiley Jensen indeed.
Forgive the shallow, but I also have to say that Mr. Ackles just looked….really, how can I put it? Amazing? Effing gorgeous? When he came onstage and we got a good look at him, I heard the person sitting behind me exclaiming over and over again, “Oh shit oh shit oh shit” and someone else kept muttering “Jesusfuckingchrist he’s so goddamn I mean ohmygod” and I confess that even while I was singing along I had the impulse to just shake my head and curse too, because how does someone even look like that? (Later, in an enclave of fangirls in a post-SNS high, several people suggested he’s not actually human.) All kidding aside, let’s just say he looked really damn fine.
My phone clearly agreed, because it just kept snapping pictures. My camera was clearly a bit overcome, because it was out of focus at least half the time, but I’m cutting it a break. Entirely understandable.
Jensen sang a duet of ‘Fare Thee Well’ with Rob – which I’d been lucky enough to hear them perform for the first time at JiBcon – and one of the most appealing parts was that it wasn’t perfectly polished, but rather real and slightly rough and that just made it better. I think we all have an emotional connection to that song after its role in Season 11, and I love that Jensen joins Rob to sing it now.
Then, to the audience’s loud gasps of joy, Jensen strapped on a guitar and called Jason Manns onstage, and they and the band – and Mark Sheppard on drums – played a new arrangement of an old favorite song, Simple Man. Another song that has emotional significance because it’s been used on Supernatural. And significance to Jensen too, since it’s one of his favorites. Turns out he did some arranging for this version too! (Oh, and if you think he’s hot when singing, then multiply that by 300 when he’s playing guitar too. Just saying).
Jensen enjoyed his fellow cast’s performance from backstage and then joined in on the encore of Purple Rain.
By that time the euphoria had completely overtaken everyone – afterwards, a group of a dozen or so of us gathered in the hall just to talk about how amazing the concert was, everyone far too hyper on adrenaline to go to bed any time soon.
So Sunday I was probably tired once again, but once again was having too much fun to care. Jared and Jensen did their customary gold panel at 10 am.
Jensen: Did anybody miss the concert last night? (points to Jared)
Jared explained that he hadn’t seen his family, and that he and Gen had decided to take a nap that ended up being more like an entire night’s sleep.
Jensen: Oh that’s nice you got to spend time relaxing, I was here pouring my heart out.
We appreciate it though.
They then proceeded to amuse us for a half hour, per usual. This con was a visual treat — this time it was Jared who took my breath away. He took off his jacket and there he was in that black tee shirt and his hair wasn’t hidden under a beanie for once and he just looked absolutely gorgeous. Is there something in the air in Vancouver, or something?
I admit I was a little extra thrilled because I asked him to wear one of his campaign tee shirts so we could take some photos for the new book (and Jensen to bring one along too). I wasn’t thinking about the added bonus of Jared’s arms at the time, but woah.
Saxx got a few free seconds of very effective advertising too, which we all appreciated. Okay, enough of the shallow. For now anyway.
One of my favorite stories was about a frantic phone call from Gen at 1 am a short while ago. She was home alone with the kids while Jared was working, and suddenly the lights in the house started turning on and off all by themselves.
Jensen: We were doing something – I was in your trailer – running lines or something, and the first thing I said was ‘Get some salt!’
Jared: Do you smell Sulphur??
They have clearly been playing the Winchester brothers too long.
It was 1 am so Jared called their friend Matt in the Police Department and he raced over there (actually Jared asked Matt to go and sleep over there – you know that’s a good friend!) At 95 mph according to the app Jared and Jensen were watching his progress on. Can’t you just picture this?
So much for Gen watching Stranger Things alone.
There were some excellent show questions. Like, how are the Winchesters always able to find wifi no matter where they are?
Jared: (in mock seriousness to Jensen) Are we at liberty to tell her? (I love when they whisper)
Jensen: Sam and Dean are actually an AT&T Hot Spot.
Well, duh. A HOT spot.
Jared was asked to name Jensen’s twins, which caused a lot of laughter between the two of them.
Jared: I told him, free of charge, it’s Justice Jay so we need Kindness Kim and Liberty Larry. That way Jensen will be yelling JJ, KK, LL, get over here!
Jensen: and then LL Cool Jay is like, what’s up?
This sent them both into peals of laughter. I love Jared’s laugh – it’s like, Heh heh heh heh.
As always, they did a lot of laughing during this panel.
There were some more serious questions too. I always love show related insights. For example, a fan asked why, in the pilot episode, Dean came back to Sam’s apartment at Stanford after dropping him off.
Jensen: Brother’s intuition.
Jensen: I really did chalk that up to that connection that siblings have, that feeling that something’s wrong.
He later said that they filmed the deleted scene of Dean’s watch stopping and the radio having static, in case they needed it, but never used it. It wasn’t in the script, so the original intent was brother’s intuition.
Fan: I like your explanation better anyway.
Jensen: So do I.
It was amusing to hear Jared and Jensen talk about fanboying out over the fancy cars they posed with at Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance last month. The owner of that car was a Supernatural fan, which is how they ended up in a car that’s so rare there are only two in the entire world! I love to watch them fanboy – and we ended up getting a lot of that at this con!
For the afternoon panel, they were introduced by Rob, who (as you’ve surely noticed) had to shave his beard for the part on Criminal Minds.
Jared: Who is this? Usually there’s a guy here who has a beard…
Jensen: (grinning) He’s so handsome…
Jared: (strokes Rob’s smooth face)
Rob: (strokes Jared’s smooth hair) You look so good, just like Season 1…
Jared: (mic drop)
Then Jared decided to act out Season 1 Sam and Dean (at least I think that’s what he was doing but honestly, I’m not really sure) – all I know is that Jared ended up piggyback on Jensen, with Jensen muttering “This is where I get hurt…”
But in reality, the entire time Jensen’s expression just said “Jared on my back? Must be Tuesday.”
Nonplussed. Happens all the time. Which is clearly the case.
Briana and Kim came onstage to introduce them, and did some fabulous starstruck imitations (perhaps fueled by some real life appreciation for the handsomeness onstage with them).
That culminated in Briana taking a pratfall at their feet and then backing offstage unable to string together a coherent sentence. As you do.
Jensen: This is just like it is on set actually.
Kim: We’re actually a very well oiled machine
Jared: What do you mean by oiled?
Jensen: We don’t get this with Richard…make a note!
Kim: (delighted) Jared’s blushing!
He was, and it was adorable.
Jared and Jensen got each other coffee, set up each other’s chairs, and then Jared spun around and kicked the poor abused Misha cut out to the floor. Jensen helpfully set it back up, then turned to Jared with a mischievous look.
Jensen: He’s still standing, Jared.
Yep. One more kick to the hapless Misha cut out. Ouch.
Jared to the fans: Welcome to our crazy awesome dysfunctional family. When we say ‘dys’ we mean dis, like true dis, true dat… dis functional family…
Why so adorable, Jared?
Then it was time for more questions.
Fan: I wanted to ask about the comedic scenes…
Jared (to Jensen): I think she’s talking to you
Jensen (mock affronted): What? I’m the funny guy? Do I make you laugh? I’m the clown??
They explained that a lot of times, the humor that ends up on the show is a spur of the moment thing.
Jensen: The other day we pulled up to a locked gate with a No Trespassing sign. We were supposed to just walk around it, but our director John Showalter decided it would be a little bit of comedy if Dean actually climbed the fence and then Sam walked right around it.
I can picture that right now – I have no doubt they both have the comedic chops to pull that off and make it funny, and they have directors who have been with them long enough to know it too.
Jared: Oh, but it was the hottest day in Vancouver history and we were in suits.
Jense: Vancouver is melting…
Jared: And we’re in slacks and sweaters…
Jensen: WOOL slacks…
Jared: And we’re shooting outside and dripping in sweat…
Jared and Jensen: Oh no, no no no, not like that.
Audience: (is skeptical)
Jensen: So it wasn’t in the script, we just thought of it and did it. It might be a bit of a laugh and if not, it made me laugh. Sometimes the comedic nuances reveal themselves when we start working on a scene. The funny kinda finds itself in the show and we embrace that.
Which, in my humble opinion, is why Supernatural is often so damn funny.
On a more serious note, a fan asked what is something you’ve brought to your character and something each other have brought?
Jared: This hair.
Jensen: (deadpans) Yeah, I don’t think anyone else would have put up with that hair for ten years.
Then he got serious, and gave a wonderful answer. He went on to talk about how Sam and Dean were sort of created to be archetypes, the Luke Skywalker and Han Solo characters, but they’ve both had input and put their own stamp on those characters.
Jared: Sam would be the Luke Skywalker character, but Sam cares about people, and I hope my personality is part of the reason they wrote that in the character. And I feel like the swashbuckling, handsome, roguish hero that was Han Solo and the Joseph Campbell archetype that influenced Dean Winchester, I think Jensen has brought a vulnerability to Dean Winchester that you don’t see outside of Supernatural.
I could not agree more. I love that they are so thoughtful about their characters, that they spend time thinking about them, understanding them. And it shows, every time they add those nuances that bring Sam and Dean to life and keep them in character.
Then it was Jensen’s turn. He didn’t even joke around, just answered seriously.
Jensen: I’ll start with what Jared brings. Intelligence. Which is an interesting facet of Sam Winchester, because a lot of times, he is kind of the brooding reluctant hero, but Jared has filtered in this layer of high intelligence throughout the 12 seasons. I’m not sure I know many actors who could have layered that in so delicately.
The expression on Jared’s face as he sat there listening just warmed my heart, so much that it felt in danger of overflowing. I love how they appreciate each other, respect each other, look out for each other. How they always have each other’s backs.
Jared: (pats Jensen)
Jensen: Forget what you just heard.
Then, much like Dean Winchester, he had to diffuse the emotionality with a joke.
Jensen: I think I brought to Dean…. His ruggedly handsome good looks.
Jared: (pushes Jensen off his chair)
Jensen: And his ability to fall…
Jared: I feel like if Jensen didn’t have such a mastery of comedic elements…
Jensen: (fake blushing and looking adorably pleased) Mastery is such a strong word…
Jared: (Ignoring him to go on) I think also the comedy. Dean was rogueish, but there are a lot of cogs in this wheel. If Jensen didn’t have such a mastery of comedic elements – I’ll never say this in front of him – but if he didn’t have that ability, Supernatural would be so bogged down in being dramatic and we wouldn’t be here today in Season 12.
He’s right. But what a treat to hear them tell each other (indirectly and with a few thousand people listening in) how great they think the other is.
After all that good feeling fest, an amusing fan stepped up to the mic and said she wanted to try to prove to a friend that Jared and Jensen were not in fact perfect by asking if they had funny shaped toes.
Jensen immediately leapt up off his chair and pointed at Jared.
Jensen: No, Jared doesn’t have funny shaped toes. Because they’re not toes, they’re a second set of hands!
Jared: My second toe is longer than my pinky, and my pinky is pretty long…and you’ll see that in episode two…
Jensen puts up his hands and feet to demonstrate, but for some reason only puts up four fingers, then cracks up.
Jensen: I don’t know why I only gave you four toes!
Jared: So my toes are not really funny shaped, but a bit larger than average…
Everyone: Oh. Ahem.
Jensen and Jared exchange a look, then whisper back and forth.
Jensen: It’s good, it evens things out a little.. It’s a balance…
Score one for Jensen. They’re back to ribbing each other like the brothers they are and all is right with the world. Jared cracks up.
We also got a few kid stories.
Jensen told the story of when an older kid at school came along and ripped a toy away from Sheppie, and before Jensen could come over, JJ hauled off and punched him! And then Tom came in, apparently ready to defend them both, and Jensen finally interceded.
a) How adorable is it that JJ refers to Tom and Shep as “my boys”?
b) How adorable is it that Jensen refers to Shep as “Sheppie”?
Jared: They all have matching tattoos.
They had glowing things to say about Nina Lopez Corrado, who is currently directing another episode. From the photos that fans took while watching filming this week, you can see how much the J’s are enjoying working with Nina. They also shared that they had an idea about Dean and pie that wasn’t in the script per se that made its way in.
Jensen: There isn’t a writer on the show who has known these characters as long as we have, so they allow us to improv – to make sure it’s true to who Sam and Dean have been for twelve years. So there’s something in the first scene of episode 5, there’s some pie stuff, and just know that it came from Jared and Jensen.
Jared: We’re in good hands with Nina. For a director with only one other episode of television directing, we can’t give her enough credit. This is what Supernatural is, this is where we shine.
They both gave a heartfelt shout out to Jules, who runs the Superwiki, when she got up to the mic to ask a question. After, Jared sent her back to her seat with a playful admonishment to “get back to work, I use the superwiki at least twice a week”. What other cast and fandom have that kind of rapport and mutual respect?
There was one odd question about whose photo ops sell out more quickly, and if they’re competitive about that, to which Jensen confessed that he actually buys them all and one day will give them all to Jared (thereby deflecting the possibly awkward question).
Jensen: No, there’s no competitiveness when it comes to that kind of stuff and I think he and I are both just thrilled to be selling A picture. I think those kind of things, if you’re smart about your friendships, you leave those things alone.
Luckily they ARE smart about those kind of things. Leaving that stuff alone is a good reminder for all of us.
Then we got my favorite question of the day. A fan stepped up to the mic and had an amusing back and forth with the boys in which she deadpanned “Wooh” instead of seeming excited, which they found hysterical. (In reality, she was probably over excited, thus the odd reaction)
Fan: So, is there a celebrity out there who will leave you guys like… well, like THIS??
And then we got the Eddie Vedder story. Oh, how I love the Eddie Vedder story! Jared and Jensen (and Rob apparently) fanboy Eddie the way we all fangirl/fanboy them, which is glorious.
This time they told a fuller version of the story. They were invited to a fairly private gathering (with the likes of Adam Sandler) where Eddie sang and afterwards they had a chance to maybe meet him.
Jensen: We had no business there, but somehow we managed to find our way in. Jared is a massive Pearl Jam fan.
Jared (deadpans): Wooh.
Jensen: After the concert, and they were serving drinks, so we were imbibing, and after the concert we had an opportunity to meet him. I’m standing there talking to people and Eddie walks up and I just shut down. I’m like, play it cool. So then Jared sees this as his opportunity and he comes kinda stumbling over..
At this point, Jared jumps up and starts acting it out, as a very inebriated Jared bobs and weaves across the room and finally stumbles onto Jensen, slinging an arm around him and hanging onto him as they stare at Eddie.
Apparently things went downhill from there.
By this time, Jensen was struggling not to laugh as he remembered.
Jensen: And then it got bad. Because Jared goes, “what’re you drinkin? Can I try it?” And Eddie just goes, he hands it over… and he’s like uh, you can keep it. And that’s when I grabbed Jared and I go, headlock, right to the door, right to the car, and home we go!
Apparently before they had to make their quick exit, someone had invited Jared and Jensen to stay for some extra time with Eddie too.
Jared: Why didn’t you tell me that???
Jensen: I did tell you!!!
Shades of Bobby Singer’s accusation to Sam and Dean: You fight like an old married couple!
To say we were all doubled over in laughter at that point would be accurate. OMG Jared, I love you.
And what about Jensen?
Jensen: I’ve never had a reaction like that. If I see a famous person, I generally try to avoid them at all costs. It’s like self preservation maybe.
At last year’s convention in Rome, they were all sitting at a restaurant outside and all of a sudden Kristen Wiig walked right up to the table. She apparently knew Felicia Day. And Jensen sort of freaked out.
Jensen: I just went into shut down mode. Because I like me some Kristen Wiig. I do. And Felicia is like, this is Jensen, and I’m like “That’s what they call me…” and then I’m like, WHAT??! And Felicia just stares at me and then walks her away. From the moron.
I can’t help it, I love hearing that they can be as starstruck as we can, and as apt to say the most ridiculous thing possible at the worst time. Hehehe.
Rob Benedict jumped onstage just as they were talking about Eddie, who is also his idol. I love watching all three of them fanboy over Mr. Vedder.
And then it was time for the last question. Jared and Jensen gave her multiple microphones to talk into, and then they kept starting to talk simultaneously so that nothing ever got said.
Fans: I love it when they talk at the same time!
Then Jared said ‘Sam and Dean’ and we got double Salmon Dean! Jensen has apparently embraced it as enthusiastically as Jared now.
They said that this year Supernatural will venture into the hunters’ world a little more, not to plant a seed for a spinoff but because they’ve never really explored the network that exists out there.
Jensen: So maybe some very beloved characters will come our way. However, there are already some very beloved characters here. Wayward Daughters does have a nice ring to it.
It does indeed. Kim and Briana beamed from the side of the stage.
While nobody is sure about a spinoff, and frankly most of us just don’t want to think about the show not being on the air, Jensen recognizes that what we’re all a part of – the SPN Family – is special, and important.
Jensen: I’d like to see this go on, what this show has created, whatever it is – I’d love to see this family continue to have something from this in their life.
Then there was something in my eye.
As Jared and Jensen said goodbye, they had a special thanks for the city hosting the convention – and Supernatural.
Jensen: This is our second home and we couldn’t be more proud to call it that. It’s a wonderful place with wonderful people and we’ve been privileged to work here for 12 years.
Yep, still something in my eye.
Rob did a solo panel to close out the con, which gave fans a chance to ask him about everything from playing God to Criminal Minds to Kings of Con. And then it was time to go home.
Leaving Vancouver is always difficult, but I had more wonderful memories to take with me on the long flight home – and lots of pictures.
Stay tuned for a special guest blog on the Saturday Night Special coming up next – with @mamaprior’s amazing photos!
Big thanks to @mamaprior and @arkine13 for the photo help!
Read more of our adventures in Vancouver and on
the set of Supernatural in ‘Fangasm Supernatural
Fangirls’ available on amazon at the links here!