Back in 2011, I was a television intern for Gawker Media. My day in the office consisted of watching what felt like five hours of Fox and Friends for nuggets of hateful gold in a pile of spiteful shit. If anything remotely interesting popped up, I’d pitch those clips to the writers who all more or less ignored me except for Richard Lawson.
At the time, I was very committed to the CW series Supernatural, which stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as two brothers who drive across an America that looks a lot like the countryside surrounding Vancouver, fighting ghosts, demons and other creepy crawlies. They especially like eviscerating bad spirits when they’re manifested in the bodies of women.
Supernatural came out right around when Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended, and I thought its Monster of the Week formula would fill the void. What Supernatural does not offer, if one were to actually compare it to BTVS, is girl power of any kind. Some women die on BTVS (usually heroes). All women die on Supernatural.
But did I stop watching? Hell no! The two leads are mega hot, with a delicious chemistry that has spawned thousands of NSFW fan fic for the less fantasy-sex squeamish amongst us. Before they got into all the repetitive angel and demon stuff, episodes were often well-paced with engrossing season long arcs, and I loved their visual aesthetic. I also honestly believe that if I removed everything in my life that carried some aspect of our culture’s disdain for women, I’d be shutting myself out from pop culture at large. I’d hate that.
The combination of rampant misogyny and being on a network with stricter language rules did lead to one repetitive issue on Supernatural that made me laugh/roll my eyes regularly. Every. One. Is. A. Bitch. Towards the end of my Gawker TV internship, I made a compilation of every time someone said “bitch” in just the first two seasons. It was insanely long. I edited it down, but it was still deemed too one note, and I never got to write or share a post of my own. Well, here it is, bitches:
On reflection, is this video tedious? Probably. Yet, five years later I’m posting it as a Senior Week tribute to my freshman self. Since then, I’ve kept up with the show sporadically, but I haven’t watched an episode since the horrific death of Mary Sue/programmer/adventurer/lesbian Charlie Bradbury, played by IRL nerd queen Felicia Day.
Charlie seemed like a gift to all the female fans of Supernatural (who are legion, and who will probably tweet angrily at me about this). She was smart, independent, brave, and never fell in love with either of our boys. Her episodes were often fast paced and funny, a relief from the angsty slog the show can devolve into when Sam and Dean are agonizing yet again over who should die. It’s never (permanently) them.
I had hoped that Charlie would be allowed to live, the exception to the rule and a breath of fresh feminine air on a program that’s now entering Season 12. Nope. Like all female characters on Supernatural, you’re either a good girl who dies to make the main characters feel something, or a bitch who gets ganked. R.I.P. Charlie.
P.S. Jensen Ackles follows four people on Instagram: his wife, Jared Padalecki, Supernatural co-star Misha Collins, and the Fat Jew. Congrats on expecting twins, Mr. Ackles!