"Hey, check it out, there's actually fans": (Dis)empowerment and (mis)representation of cult fandom in "Supernatural"

Laura E. Felschow

Abstract


As Supernatural enters season 5, its status as a cult hit is becoming more evident both in the press and within the text of the series itself. The open acknowledgment of the show's fandom within 4.18 "The Monster at the End of This Book" has altered the power relationship between the product and its fans and brought on controversy regarding the creative team's attitude toward fandom in general. To investigate this relationship between Supernatural and its devoted fans, I will first develop a working definition of the cult fan and illustrate the many ways in which Supernatural is an ideal cult text, despite not having been marketed by its producers and network as such. Having set forth this framework, I will outline the dynamic that existed between Supernatural and its cult fans prior to "The Monster at the End of This Book." I will then demonstrate how "The Monster at the End of This Book" simultaneously empowers and disempowers Supernatural's cult fans by representing them within the show's diegesis and what the consequences of these (mis)representations might be.

Keywords


Fan communities; Internet; Television

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