A Little Fandom Fun – Dudes Who Have Crushes On The Supernatural Cast

It has been nine months since Supernatural ended, and a lot of that nine months has been contentious to say the least in the Supernatural fandom. Maybe that’s why in the past week, everyone fell in love with Chance Terry’s TikTok account bursting with his amusing and simultaneously heartwarming declarations of man crushes on the Supernatural cast.

First it was Jeffrey Dean Morgan, then Jared Padalecki, closely followed by Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins.

Not only did fans love the videos, so did the actors. Morgan proclaimed having a man crush right back, Padalecki responded #TruthBomb and Ackles left a message of appreciation. It was Misha’s birthday and he was at a convention, but I’m sure he’ll appreciate his too.

What’s so happy making about Chance’s little videos is that they’re full of heartfelt affection for the guys at the same time as they are often hilarious. In an era where toxic masculinity seems to rule the internet most days, Chance (and his equally appreciative girlfriend) are a breath of fresh air. It’s all for fun, but when he says he’d like to ‘put a finger on it’ everyone watching gets it.

 

Chance and his man crush declarations did something that’s too rare these days in the Supernatural fandom (and often in any fandom) – brought everyone together to agree on something. Mostly anyway. (If you read enough comments on the internet, it’s impossible to hang onto any of your sense of well being).  Chance seemed pleasantly surprised and nearly overwhelmed with the Supernatural fandom’s enthusiasm, and in turn fans welcomed him as part of the SPN Family. Not sure if he realizes there’s a door to get in, but good luck finding the one to get out!

The popularity of Chance’s TikTok videos reminded me of another amusing man-crush-on-a-Supernatural-actor video from a while ago – the Elf Pirate’s ‘Sex With Jensen Ackles’ video. It made the rounds in the fandom when it came out, to some people’s delight and others’ consternation and probably others’ what the hell is this? It made me laugh, and it’s undeniably catchy too. Similar to Chance’s videos, though taking it to the next level for sure (a Winchester sandwich with an angel on top, anyone?), the Elf Pirate’s video also does some of that same challenging of norms using comedy.

Several people put it on my timeline yesterday again and reminded me of it, so I thought I’d share a little conversation I had with the Elf Pirate about that video.

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The Music of Supernatural – Composer Jay Gruska on Scoring the Emotional Series Finale and More

I have long said that the music of Supernatural has had a significant impact on the show – making it memorable and especially giving it the emotional resonance that it had for all fifteen seasons. That’s not something that every genre “horror show” can say, and I’m not sure any can say it with as much pride as Supernatural. The music added so much to the emotional impact of the series finale, so I was excited to talk to composer Jay Gruska about scoring that episode and the emotional episode ‘Despair’, as well as his fifteen years working on my favorite show.

As with many of the  people working on SPN (and another thing that made it so unique and wonderful), the same two composers worked on the show for its entire run – Christopher Lennertz (now working with Eric Kripke on ‘The Boys’) and Jay Gruska. I’ve talked to Jay several times over the course of the show – he contributed to ‘Supernatural Psychology’ for the chapter on music in the show – so I know how insightful he is about how music is used on the show. Chris and Jay tend to alternate episodes, so Jay scored all the even numbered episodes of Season 15, including the final episode, ‘Carry On’, and episode 15.18, Castiel’s goodbye episode, ‘Despair’.

The week before we spoke, I had done a Supernatural music panel at the Southwest Popular Culture Association conference with two friends and colleagues devoted to the most recognizable musical theme in the show, ‘Americana’, which Jay composed. We had invited him to do the panel with us, but he was unable to make it due to a family party. Luckily he and I were able to coordinate our schedules for a phone chat afterwards though.

Jay: That’s amazing about the panel, and kinda flattering and sweet. I’m so bummed that I missed it, I would have loved to share my experience from my end.

Lynn: I don’t think that many composers get an entire panel devoted to one single piece of music at an academic conference – but that’s how important ‘Americana’ is to Supernatural fans.

The Emotional Rollercoaster of ‘Carry On’

Lynn: I know you read my review of the series finale so you know that I loved the barn scene even though it was incredibly painful to watch, but it was such a masterful scene. I was talking to Jensen about it recently and said that he and Jared killed it, and also that the music makes it so much more emotional. That whole piece, the piano then the strings, and then the most familiar part of Americana in the middle…

Jay: Right. As you know more than anyone, I try my best to not use Americana just at the drop of a hat. I try to really respond to when a scene is asking for it. I’ve probably made a misstep or two along the way as far as some fans are concerned – I used it once with Jack, but boy, I heard from people right away like hey, he’s not family! And I was like well yes he is to me! But don’t mess with the Supernatural fandom.

Lynn:  So true. We’re passionate, that’s for sure. And some people would definitely agree with that and some wouldn’t.

Jay: But let’s start with those performances (Jensen and Jared). Because I’m gonna be crude right now and say that without performances like that, which don’t come along often, if there’s a scene where someone is not pulling it off? You’re basically polishing a turd with the music.

Lynn: lol

Jay: My job and particularly that scene, which I count as in the top two or three if not the most emotional, well acted, just hearts-on-their-sleeves as actors and as humans moments in the whole run of the show…

Lynn: I agree!

It’s okay, Dean, you can go now.

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Celebrating Radio Company Vol 2 – Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles Part 2!

We left off in Part I of our look back at the history of Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles’ friendship and musical collaboration somewhere around 2009. We saw Steve play a few times in between – once at a con in New Jersey, if I’m remembering correctly, where I actually took a picture for a change!

In 2011, Jensen and Steve did a little jam session that was one of the highlights of the Nashville convention. Jensen was still clearly nervous about playing and singing in front of people (but not as nervous as he was for his first jam with Jason Manns). Here are a few of my recollections about that first ‘public’ performance of Steve and Jensen:

Steve shared more backstory to how the two friends ended up playing together, and even doing some recording. Whenever they were both in town they’d get together at Steve’s house and the guitars would come out. Apparently wherever Steve is living, something gets turned into a makeshift studio – when Jensen and Steve lived together, it was the hall closet, wired up and soundproofed with foam, and probably looking very …. Interesting. In Steve’s place before that, it was the garden shed, similarly outfitted but alas, sans air conditioning. Steve would lure friends out to record there and they’d emerge sweat-soaked and bedraggled, asking plaintively, “was that okay?” (And hoping it was so they could come out of the garden shed!)

Photos Lizz Sisson

I remember they played a really haunting version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” full of emotion – if I heard that one now it would be even more emotional, post Supernatural finale. They also played the first song that Jensen had learned to play, “If I Had a Million”, which they actually recorded at one time with Steve on mandolin, but there’s some backstory there so they swear no one will ever hear it.

Steve and Jensen also played “Bad Company,” one of my favorite songs. Jensen said that the crew had asked The Impalas (the cast and crew band) to learn that one because it was so perfect for the show – “I was born, six gun in my hand…”   He should totally sing that again one day.

Stage It

I also remember that Jensen asked the fans to excuse the mistakes. And then didn’t make any.

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Osric Chau Works Out and Catches Us Up on ‘Get Ripped Get Tipped’

Kicking off the book birthday month for both Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll be Peace When You Are Done  by catching up with some of the contributors who wrote chapters in those books. First up, one of our favorite people, Supernatural’s own Kevin Tran, Osric Chau! Osric wrote a candid and personal chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood about his experience on the show and with the fandom and what it meant to play a character like Kevin. Osric (and Kevin) returned for an emotional goodbye in Season 15, but he has all sorts of other exciting projects that have been keeping him busy.

Photo Karen Cooke

Most recently, filmmaker and comedian Milton Ng welcomed Osric as a guest on his YouTube show ‘Get Ripped, Get Tipped’ and caught up with everything he’s been up to.  This is the only show I know that does its interviews while both the host and the guest are working out – the entire time! I’m tired just watching, but also impressed. (Video link following article)

I asked Milton how he got the idea for such an unusual show, and why he thought of Osric as a guest.

Milton: I made the workout show after doing planks and having a friend call me — trying to maintain a conversation was super hard but I found it hilarious. Flash forward a year later, Get Ripped, Get Tipped!

Osric came on the show because I asked him as a friend lol. We met way back in 2013 in an acting/directing workshop, then I directed him in a 2014 short film, “Next Like”. Knowing he was so busy with setting up restaurants while still auditioning and starring in shows, he was a machine — knew we had to get him on the show as a guest, knowing he could bring a lot of aspiring actors value.

They had a great discussion about all kinds of things, so check out the video below – here are a few tidbits. Also I’m very impressed at how articulate Osric is while doing all kinds of contortions!

He has a bunch of short films and features in the works, including one that’s coming out soon on Shudder that’s a horror film about an Air BnB reviewer (which honestly does sound scary…) and a new one he’s about to start called “Good News”.  Osric has learned a lot from undertaking all aspects of filmmaking – he’s been actor, writer and producer, and is about to try his hand at director. What has he learned?

Osric: Filmmaking is a collaborative process, and understanding all the roles helps – writer, camera operator, producer, actor, sound, etc – you have to learn how to collaborate with a team.

In his chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood, Osric writes about his widespread interests. When he was on Supernatural, it was very on and off, he said — he would do the thing and then when his episode was done, he’d focus on the next thing.

That hasn’t changed, because he’s involved in multiple things now too – including a restaurant he recently opened in Vancouver, with a second one opening soon.

Osric: You sow as many seeds as you can and hope for one thing to grow.

That has certainly happened for Osric.

At his new restaurant under construction

The films that he’s worked on have all been something he was drawn to, Osric says.

Osric: A good story, a captivating character, something I want to tell.

That was certainly true on Supernatural and in his recent film ‘Empty By Design’, so I have no doubt that will be the case with his new projects too. And if you’re in Vancouver, check out some of Osric’s restaurant food!

In the meantime, enjoy this entertaining (and kind of adorable) video workout and interview combo!

Get Ripped Get Tipped!

— Lynn

You can find Family Don’t End With Blood

at the links on the home page here or at

Peacewhenyouaredone.com

“Hannibal For Dinner” – A Chat With The Editors of A New Book on the Controversial TV Series

I got to know fellow academic and fan Nicholas Yanes when he interviewed me about Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, and the process of putting those books together with the Supernatural actors. We share an appreciation of that show, so I was excited to hear that Nick and colleague Kyle Moody have just published a new book on another fan favorite television series – Bryan Fuller’s “Hannibal.”  I had a chance to ask Nick and Kyle a few questions about the book and the series and its creator, at a time when Bryan Fuller is being discussed quite a bit in fandom at large.

Here’s some information from the press release description of the book Hannibal For Dinner: Essays on America’s Favorite Cannibal on Television

Bryan Fuller’s and NBC’s Hannibal only lasted for three seasons, yet it became a critical darling and grew a ravenous fanbase that remains active five years after the show ended. Hannibal is the very definition of a cult show, one that only grew in stature after its unfortunate cancellation. Even when placed in context with Thomas Harris’s popular novel and Academy Award-winning film series, Hannibal stood out as a singularly artistic experience. When it arrived back on Netflix in the United States in 2020, it shot into the Top Ten and immediately sparked discussion of a possible cast reunion and new seasons. Fortunately, academics had already spent years writing scholarship linking Hannibal to changes in television production, mythological interpretation, food culture, and pop psychology, and now there is an edited collection that combines academic and insider production perspectives. In the wake of the show’s return to popularity through Netflix streaming, Hannibal for Dinner includes interviews with writers and producers of the show as well as academic essays that explore the Hannibal franchise – “its evolution, creatively bold risks, mythology, a culture of killers, and how to be an entertaining host when having friends over for dinner. (Well, the last one is a joke for the Fannibals.)”

I like a book that isn’t afraid to include some in-jokes!

Based on the character from the novels and films, Fuller’s version of Hannibal has been called “unique, weird, beautiful and grim.” The show follows the evolving relationship between FBI investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).  USA Today covered this new book and called the show a darkly comedic horror thriller that some viewers have also interpreted as a twisted love story, saying the show is “all over the place in the best way possible” with grotesque imagery that is simultaneously visually appealing. They also called it visionary story telling at its finest, lauding the show’s ability to find beauty in the macabre, with some of the most depraved scenes also awe-inspiring spectacles.

The show is controversial because of its unique ability to combine the grotesque and the beautiful and for the relationship between Will and Hannibal that USA Today recognized as the love story at the heart of the show. It’s the kind of morally complicated relationship that fans love to “ship” and to explore in fanworks. Add to that a “tragic, ambiguous and beautiful” finale and you have the ingredients for a passionate fandom – and some controversial ships.

Series creator Bryan Fuller has been vocal in pushing back against the show’s fans being shamed for their shipping preferences or for expressing creativity in their fanfiction, fanart, etc. In a twitter back and forth with some who took issue with certain fanworks and attacked the fan creators, Fuller responded with a now viral tweet:

I’m not disgusted by Art. I’m disgusted by cruelty. I’m disgusted by hate. I’m disgusted by those who would shame others for expressing themselves creatively.

I asked editors Nicholas Yanes and Kyle Moody about that twitter exchange and other aspects of the controversial show, and how those are addressed in the new book.

Can you talk a little bit about Fuller’s attitude toward fanworks, and how that has influenced the fandom and the way ‘Fannibals’ interact?

 Yanes: In the chapter “Empathy for the Audience” by Nicole Wild, which is one of the many great chapters in Hannibal for Dinner, Wild discusses how the actors and creators of Hannibal often appreciated fanworks. The people behind Hannibal enjoying fanworks has been documented widely. This mindset helped create the Fannibal community we have today. The reason being that it was not fanworks versus the show; instead, it was fanworks being seen as an extension of the show.

Far too often, the companies that own entertainment IPs aggressively crack down on fanworks. For example, Star Trek fanworks have been the targets of several legal actions; the most recent one being Axanar  – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prelude_to_Axanar#Lawsuit

With Fuller’s approach to Hannibal’s fan community, Fannibal fanworks are not seen as competition but as another form of ‘engagement.’ After all, for a group of people to take the time to write, read, and share fan fiction [and] erotica, then they are going to take the time to watch a show and encourage others to watch it as well.

 Is Fuller’s attitude a reflection of themes in the show itself, explicitly pushing boundaries of what is “okay” to depict even in fiction?

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