Supernatural Orlando Con 2022!

The Creation Supernatural convention tour returned to Orlando for the first time in a long time last month, in a new hotel with a very lovely pool and lots of palm trees. I got there just in time to catch some of David Haydn-Jones and Adam Fergus, David looking very Florida indeed. Without any context when I arrived, Adam was saying to David, “you like to go deep!” and David was agreeing. They like to joke that their panels are mostly innuendo, but I for one enjoy that thoroughly.

Someone asked who their characters were closest to on the show, and Adam said that there was a special bond between Mick and Sam – but that Mick also wanted Dean’s approval.

David said that Dean and Ketch grew close – after all, “I’ve tended Dean’s wounds…”

Kim and Briana were up next. Kim said she’d started watching Supernatural again and was up to season 4.

Kim: I forgot how much I loved the Ghostfacers!

What was the first time they met Jared and Jensen like?

Kim: The first time I saw them, they were riding mini bikes around the set playing catch with each other.

She thought oh god, they’re not going to be helpful at all when she had to do a big emotional scene after Jody lost her family, but the boys surprised her.

Kim: But when my scene started, they were both like, “what do you need?”

Briana: Jared and Jensen are amazing hosts. They’re so aware that they’re only as good as the people they work with.

Briana: I was introduced to Jensen and I just kept on walking because I saw his face and said, uh oh, that’s pretty…

Understandable.

Kim: For some reason, Jensen makes my upper lip sweat and all I hear when he’s around is mmmmmmm.

Also understandable.

Briana: Phil Sgriccia told Jensen that I was a professional comedian, so he took it as a challenge to try to make me break in the donut scene.

He failed.

Kim said that her character Jody had a special bond with Sam, because he saved her from having to shoot what had been her son.

Kim: That was the foundation of her trust in those boys. She would have died for Sam.

They both talked about how knowing the Supernatural fandom taught them that being on the ‘celebrity side of the fence, they still saw fans as loving – and that, for Kim, let her feel okay about loving Neil Gaiman as a fan herself.

The caption: weapon of choice or sex toy?

I’ve been watching too much of the boys, so my instant reaction was: both??

Friday night I had dinner in the outdoor courtyard under the palm trees and then joined a bunch of other fans in the ballroom to watch the Supernatural pilot. It was so much fun to watch it all together, everyone clapping at all the iconic moments. Damn, I love this Show.

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Back To Where It All Began – Supernatural Chicago 2022!

Chicago was the very first Supernatural convention, way back in 2007. I was there, overcome with anticipation to see both Jared and Jensen together and to be in a room full of my fellow Supernatural fans. Kathy and I, along with our friends Laura and Karen, had stalked the Creation website for weeks to get the best possible seats, and we couldn’t wait to all be together to celebrate the show that was already changing our lives.

It’s 15 years later, and so much has changed. Kathy, my partner in crime who I went to all the early cons with, and to the Supernatural set, and who I wrote the first four books with, passed away unexpectedly several months ago. Going back to Chicago, where this unlikely fifteen years and counting adventure began, without her was emotional. I felt lucky to have so many of my friends there to remind me how much love I have in my life and what incredible friends I have still here with me. I’m so grateful.

Chicago con always seems special because it’s the site of so many memories. Even though this year’s was in the convention center instead of the familiar hotel where so many cons have been held, I still stayed in that hotel so the nostalgia was real. It’s also the con where I met or became closer to some of my best fandom buds, and making new memories with them this year felt extra special.

Also Jared was back and that was something to celebrate for sure – he missed the last convention in New Jersey after his very serious car accident. He’s still on the mend, but it was wonderful to see for ourselves his smiling face and have his banter with Jensen back to normal. It felt healing to all of us, I think.

Chicago had a great line up of guests, and I caught most of their panels since I flew in at a ridiculously early hour. Free shuttle to the hotel, yay!

DJ Qualls was back for the first time in a while – I always enjoy his panels, and he’s incredibly friendly. All weekend long, every time I walked by his autograph table in the vendor room to get to my book table, he was happily chatting and selfie-taking with fans and enjoying it immensely.

DJ: Jensen is good at everything. For the dance number that we did, he had like a 15 minute head start and knew it all.

A fan asked what his craziest dream was, and DJ started to laugh.

DJ: Heh heh, no. I had one after Jared’s accident…I think I was worried about him… and it was like fan fiction…

So no, he didn’t share it!

I enjoy hearing DJ talk openly about things like gender roles and the pressures of masculinity. He said that he got hurt every single time he did some stunt work on Supernatural, but the expectation was that you just “walk it off” so he did.

Next we had what for me was a real treat – a panel with Katie Sarife and Joy Regullano, who played Marie and Maeve in the Supernatural 200th episode, Fan Fiction. It’s one of my favorite episodes and they were brilliant in the parts. I had coffee with Joy in Vancouver years ago and so enjoyed our chat – it’s linked below if you want to get to know her a little.

Joy identifies as a fangirl herself, wanting to represent fans as “smart people with a passion”, and Katie said that her ex-boyfriend was a huge Supernatural fan. He’s the reason she already knew “Carry On”, in fact.

Since they are Vancouver based actors, they knew the show – and Joy had auditioned before.

Joy: The first role I auditioned for was K Tran – which became the character of Kevin!

Both said they loved the episode and the way it ended, except that they would have loved to come back. Understandable.

What was the most fun working on Supernatural?

Joy: Well, Jared is like 6 foot 15, so it was fun being able to boss him around and like, be mean to him.  (In the show!)

She also had a scene in which she adlibbed to Jared (Sam): “Look with your eyes and not your mouth” but unfortunately it got cut. I would like to have seen Jared’s response!

Katie: I learned a cool trick from Jensen, of crossing my eyes and the moving just one of them.

(This made me cringe because Jensen has done that to me to tease me and it’s the only time I have ever run away from him lol)

They also enjoyed the comedy in the episode, right down to the “you can’t spell subtext without S-E-X.” Classic Robbie Thompson.

Joy and Katie were asked if Jared and Jensen pranked them, but they said no.

Katie: I think because we were playing teenagers, there were no pranks. Jared and Jensen were really sweet. And not creepy.

I love that everyone who ever worked on the Supernatural set has nothing but praise for the main cast.

Joy: It was like a master class in acting, watching the experienced actors just snap into character like that.

(I’ve witnessed it too, and to a non-actor it is nothing less than amazing!)

Friday also had a great trio panel of Gil McKinney, Adam Fergus and David Haydn-Jones. They joked that it was the “grumpy old men of letters panel”!  It was Pride month, and David had on his Yasssss Queen shirt given to him by a fan and some truly awesome rainbow socks.

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The Trickster Messes With Sam and Dean for the First Time in Season 2’s ‘Tall Tales’

Tall Tales is one of those episodes that felt like FUN, despite some typical Supernatural monstrous happenings and, of course, people dying. But still, FUN. It was also a great episode to showcase Sam and Dean’s relationship as brothers. For better or worse! And, of course, it introduced us to Richard Speight, Jr. as the Trickster.

The ‘Then’ segment reminds us that Sam and Dean have pranked each other in the past, as brothers do, from Nair in the hair to Dean’s hand stuck to his beer bottle, Sam and Dean taunting each other with “That’s all you got?” and “Bring it on, Baldy!”  And lots of calling each other ‘bitch’ and ‘jerk’ which at this point (rewatching the series after it has ended), just makes me tear up because we know now exactly what those words mean when the Winchesters say them to each other.

Sigh. I miss my Show.

This episode opens with a professor walking to his office building at night, encountering an attractive young woman hanging out waiting for him, inexplicably dressed in a little sundress even though it’s cold and other people have jackets on.

She shows off her legs and he doesn’t notice, and he initially does try to get her to come back during office hours. He’s reluctant to respond to her flirty advances and hero worship until she finally says okay, I should go, and turns to leave. Then he changes his tune, saying he understands what she’s feeling. He shows his true narcissist colors by saying it’s natural, since he’s “somewhat of a celeb around here”. I had to cringe on behalf of professors everywhere when he said that. Nice touch of what his latest book is about though.

He kisses her even as he says it would be wrong for him to take advantage of her, and then… her face starts to disintegrate. Because this is Supernatural. He recoils in horror.

Zombie woman: What, you don’t like me anymore?

Outside the building, a janitor played by Richard Speight, Jr. watches as the professor’s body falls from the window high above, head splattered on the stones in a pool of blood.

Of course at the time that was not newsworthy (the janitor, that is). But now, on rewatch, we all squealed because Richard has joined Supernatural! He will become an integral part of the SPNFamily over the next 15 going on forever years.

ONE WEEK LATER

Sam is researching, as a Joe Walsh song plays on the radio. He’s clearly annoyed at his brother, who’s munching on something on Sam’s bed.

Sam: Dude, you mind not eating those on MY bed?

Dean (as he stuffs more in his mouth and licks his fingers enthusiastically): No, I don’t mind.

Gifs roadtripwithmybrother

Boys. I love how Supernatural always gets it so right. They are such brothers.

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What Happens In Vegas – Creation Supernatural Con 2022!

The Creation Supernatural convention’s return to Las Vegas this month was extra emotional for me. Vegas was the last convention that happened before the pandemic became a pandemic, which means it was the last convention of the Before Times. This year, I was once again with my friends who were there with me at Vegas 2020 as we all started to wonder what the hell was happening and clung to each other bolstering our courage to fly back home after a last round of pina coladas and uncertain goodbyes. I remember hugging my friends that night, not knowing it would be a very long time before I saw them again, and then flying home as the world changed around me.

I don’t think the Before Times will ever return in the same way – the world has changed now, in so many ways – so that Vegas 2020 con will always be a symbol of how the world was pre Covid. Despite the fact that things aren’t the same, though, it felt incredibly good to be BACK. To have Jared and Jensen and Misha and everyone else who made the pilgrimage back to where we left off two years ago on stage once again. It felt healing, even if it wasn’t exactly the same – and it felt hopeful, which I desperately need right now.

I have no choice but to be extremely Covid cautious, and all my friends were incredibly lovely and considerate as we ate in our hotel rooms instead of the restaurants we usually frequent and avoided the actual casino (okay, I do that part every time I’m in Vegas…). Creation has done a great job of making the conventions themselves feel safe enough even for me, and I’m very grateful for that also. In 2020, the new book with chapters by the show’s actors and fans that I had put together to celebrate the legacy of the show, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, was not yet released. In fact, it was at the printing press as Vegas 2020 happened, with me on the phone frantically trying to coordinate some last minute changes (I see you laughing, Alana King…). I was thrilled to be able to bring the book to Vegas con this year and share the inspiring messages the actors put together about why Supernatural and the SPNFamily made such a difference to them – and will always be with us.

Vegas con, like all cons, reminded me of the good in the world – and in the fandom. My friends got there early and set up the vendor table for me, Betty working her magic on setting up those banners and convincing me to finally use Venmo and Sue getting everything so organized that we even had printed signs for the table! The con was a reunion with so many fellow fans who I hadn’t seen in way too long, so the weekend was a constant OMG it’s so good to see you fest too. Like the best shot of endorphins all weekend long – and add to that a reunion of sorts with some of my favorite people who made that little show I love so much.

Here are a few highlights from the panels that I caught – work ensured that I missed the entire first day and part of the second, unfortunately. Boo on having to work for a living.

It was wonderful to see Felicia Day again – Charlie is so many fans’ favorite character. In fact, there are multiple chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done written by fans whose lives were touched by the character of Charlie in such a positive and powerful way.  I love her sense of humor and her ability to tell a story.

Felicia: When I got the call that Charlie was going to die, I thought OMG my performance was so bad that they wrote me off the show!

She understands that many of us take issue with the way Charlie died, but she also has an enduring appreciation and gratitude for Supernatural and all it brought her.

Felicia: Charlie could have fit through that window, just saying…. But it’s all okay, because even when you’re dead on Supernatural, you’re always part of the family. I would have loved to be on more, but making television is hard and I’m not gonna second guess the people who make this show and loved this show.

She’s excited about the prequel The Winchesters as a fan of Supernatural, especially because Robbie Thompson is showrunner – and of course also created the character of Charlie. She does wish that OG Charlie could have had a story line with Cas though – that would have been fun!

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In Memory of Kathy Larsen, With Love

This is not an article that I ever wanted to write – or that I ever, in a million years, imagined myself writing. But I want to say something about the friend that I lost this week, and remember just how special Kathy Larsen was.

I met Kathy through fandom. In fact, she was one of the first people I met through fandom, shortly after I discovered that online fandom was even a thing that exists. We were part of a small listserv, passionate about some of the same rather obscure things – a movie, a band, an actor that not many people had even heard of – and fangirled each other’s writing immediately. Kathy was a brilliant writer, whether it was fiction or nonfiction. She could make you laugh, pull you into a mystery, or absolutely gut you with a tragic ending. She could explain concepts that were difficult to grasp in a way that never felt like talking down to anyone, which I’m sure her students appreciated too.

Once we found out we lived only a few hours from each other, we started driving that two hours often, especially when we fell down the rabbit hole of loving a new thing – a relatively unknown little TV show on the WB called ‘Supernatural’.

Along with two friends, we fell in love with Supernatural together, and became fascinated by the close-knit community we found in that show’s fandom. At the same time, we questioned whether it was really okay for us to be quite so far down the rabbit hole. We were professors, professionals, partners, parents. Was it really okay for us to spend so much time and energy loving a TV show? Maybe because we were both professors and accustomed to research, or maybe because we just needed to prove to ourselves that it WAS okay, Kathy and I set out to find the answer. We would write a book, we decided, that set the record straight about fans and fandom, and especially fangirls. We’d examine it from our somewhat diverse perspectives, me as a psychologist and her as an English professor. But to do that, we reasoned, we needed to dive into Supernatural fandom head first and not look back – and that’s exactly what we did.

We flew across the country on almost no notice to see Jensen Ackles on stage in Fort Worth for A Few Good Men, leaving partners and kids a bit stunned. Especially when we decided one performance was not enough. The personality differences between me and Kathy made our fangirl adventures quite a contrast, and occasionally hilarious. We met Jared Padalecki (who had flown in to see his friend in the production) in the lobby candy line. I marched right up to say hello; Kathy opted not to budge from her spot in the corner and watched from a safe distance.

We needed some margaritas after with our friend Amy.

We flew across the country again all the way to LA for the premiere of the Ackles-laden indie film Ten Inch Hero (starring both Jensen and Danneel).  I managed to tell Danneel how much I loved the film while Kathy once again watched supportively from across the room.

But in other things, Kathy was fearless. We rented a PT Cruiser, figured out how to drive it (mostly) and drove down to San Diego to experience Comic Con and the Supernatural panel for the very first time.

Kathy drove.

Driver picked the music.

Shotgun shut her cakehole (and enthusiastically sang along to the classic rock and a little Steve Carlson).

With our friend Sabrina

Comic Con was eventful. We finally met Jensen Ackles.

I cried.

Kathy watched supportively from ten yards away and then hugged me and patted me until I calmed down.

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