Supernatural Out of the Box

Essays on the Metatextuality of the Series

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About the Book

Supernatural is one of the most successful horror TV shows ever, providing fifteen seasons of the adventures of Dean and Sam Winchester as they hunt monsters and save the world. It has nurtured a passionate fan base, which has been far more directly integrated into the show than is typical. Wry and self-aware, Supernatural repeatedly breaks out of the televisual box to acknowledge its fans and its own fictionality.
Though there have already been several studies of Supernatural, this volume is the first to focus extensively and intensively on the show’s metafictional elements. This essay collection argues that Supernatural is not merely a horror show, but is a show about how horror works as a genre, and how fans interact with their favorite material. From exploring how the show has equated authorship with divinity, to considering its incorporation of fandom and closely reading several key episodes, the essays in this volume seek to examine the multiple layers of textuality found in Supernatural.

About the Author(s)

Lisa Macklem has been writing about Supernatural since the first season. Her main research area is in copyright law and its intersection with the entertainment and media industry and how that industry influences access to culture and users’ rights, including fans. She was recently cited in the Canadian government’s review of its Copyright Statute. She lives in London, Ontario, Canada.
Dominick Grace, a professor of English at Brescia University College, has published numerous articles on subjects ranging from medieval and early modern literature to contemporary popular culture. He lives in London, Ontario, Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Lisa Macklem and Dominick Grace
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 238
Bibliographic Info: notes, appendices, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7342-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3973-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction—Unpacking Supernatural: What’s in the Box? (Lisa Macklem and Dominick Grace) 1
Part One: “As meta as meta gets”
The Reality of Text Is Manifold: Performances of Writerliness
in Supernatural’s “The Real Ghostbusters” (Stella Castelli) 15
“I so miss being an atheist”: God, the Darkness and the Show
That Wouldn’t Die (Erin M. Giannini) 28
“There is no singing in ‘Supernatural’!” The Meta as Narrative
Device (Stephanie A. Graves) 42
Part Two: “A cruel, cruel, capricious god”
God Is Dead and the Death of the Author: Theorizing Divine
Absence in Supernatural Season Five (Kwasu David Tembo) 57
The Author, the Audience and the Almighty: Supernatural’s
Chuck Shurley as Metatextual Mirror (Eden Lee Lackner) 75
“You don’t have to be a monster. You have a choice”:
Supernatural, Free Will and the Deterministic Concept of Monstrosity
(Annika Gonnermann) 90
Part Three: “Our lives are not for public consumption”
“Where’s the pie?” Nostalgic and Apocalyptic Foodways
in Supernatural (Kelli Wilhelm) 107
A Cicatricial Romance: Metanarrative, the Textual Wound
and a Grotesque View in Supernatural (Linda Howell) 120
“I have my version and you have yours”: Folklore, Narrative
and the (Re)Telling of Supernatural (Kari Sawden) 135
Part Four: Breaking Out of the Box
“Why are you the boy who hates Christmas?” “A Very
Supernatural Christmas” as Nostalgic Holiday Special (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.) 151
Strap In for the Scariest Hour in the History of Television:
“Ghostfacers” as Parody of Paranormal Investigative Show (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.) 162
Not All Monsters Are Universal: Gothic Parody in “Monster
Movie” (Khara Lukancic) 178
Pamela Barnes as Pastiche: Supernatural’s Rock Muse
and Blind Seer (Kathleen Potts) 193
Appendix One: Episodes Cited 209
Appendix Two: Main and Major Characters 217
About the Contributors 223
Index 227