Family Don’t End With Blood: A look at the role of adoptive family and extended cast within Supernatural
So, the call went out a while back for scholarly articles on Supernatural, and me (being me) I jumped at the chance to get my feet wet again in essays, articles and lit-crit about the things I love. In this case, the full cast of characters within CW’s show about two underwear models who road trip across the US in a beautiful car killing ghosts and demons.It just so happened at the time that people were on sites I read claiming that bringing Castiel on as a full member of the cast would be “ruining” the show. Full Disclosure: I am a Cas!Girl. I saw red. I saw red, then I sat down and wrote an abstract, an outline, a Writer’s CV, and I submitted it all to one of those calls for essays.
Shortly thereafter I recieved an amazing response encouraging me to put together the article. So oh yes, my dears, this is happening. This will be coming soon to print near you: if by “soon” you understand that I mean “after the season’s over, probably more like Christmas time.”
Within Supernatural, the importance of nuclear family is established and undisputed, with the focus on the Winchester brothers. However, the role of the Adoptive Family is just as pivotal to the storyline and the development of the lead characters. This article focuses on four primary demonstrations of family by the extended cast of the show: nuclear family, adoptive family, rejected biological family, and rejected claims of family by acquaintances.
Looking at the Winchesters, the article first establishes the undisputed bond between the brothers, and then examines the nonexistent relationship to Mary and John as parental figures. By discussing the flaws and redemptive stories of both parents and the basic pattern of behavior from the boys, we are able to determine what makes someone a “Winchester.”
By examining the roles of Bobby Singer, Castiel, Lisa and Ben Braeden, Amelia Richardson, Kevin Tran, Jo and Ellen Harvelle, and Charlie Bradbury, the viewers are able to determine how the family structure has extended beyond being simply the “Sam and Dean” show. Each of these characters falls into a specific family relationship with the brothers.
Looking beyond that at Samuel Campbell, the Campbell hunters, Henry Winchester, Adam Milligan, and Emma (from the “Slice Girls” episode) we see examples of non-relationship with biological family: further illustrating that family is built upon an emotional connection, rather than genetics. Each of these characters has estranged themselves from being considered family, despite being “blood.”
With examination of Becky Rosen, Garth Fitzgerald, Karen Singer, Benny Lafitte, “Tiger Mommy” Tran, Ruby, and Meg Masters, viewers are able to determine that not all acquaintances with a close connection to the boys, or a potential claim, are accepted as family. For Dean and Sam, incorporating an individual into their family unit and extending that much care and concern to them is an honor not given lightly, and cannot be demanded or forced.
To avoid stagnation and to further the concept of family being “the whole point,” the inclusion of these secondary characters builds a richer on-panel universe and offers further perspective into the lead characters. While the primary focus of Supernatural will always be Dean and Sam, the extended cast has played a significant role within the story, and their involvement should be encouraged rather than resisted.
Oh, as a sidenote on the matter. After those hateful comments, the spam to writers and producers, and the general attempt to run Castiel off of the show? Guess who’s a season regular next year.
(I may be slightly smug about this.)