Supernatural occupies an interesting space in queer culture, internet history, and fandom. Produced in 2005, it continued for 15 years, boasting 15 long seasons. The show centers around two brothers and an angel, (Sam and Dean Winchester and Castiel, respectively) who fight against supernatural entities, expanding in later seasons to incorporate richer, more complex storylines.
“The ultimate Camp statement: it’s good because it’s awful” (Sontag, 13).
It was clear that Supernatural was never intended to be a queer show nor was it intended to garner such a large audience of teenage fans. It also likely never intended to be camp; however, the show embodies it. The characters are so stereotypical that it is often painful. Dean is a hypermasculine, stereotypical “bad boy.” He is a ladies’ man, slightly misogynistic, and really, really likes beer and pie. The plotlines are awful, the CGI is low-budget, and the show cannot go two episodes without Dean having sex with a “perfect” woman.
It is so awful that you cannot stop watching. Dean and Castiel are incredibly homoerotic, but the show took itself too seriously to allow anything to bloom. There are moments of intense queer pining followed by GUNS, BEER, AND SEX!!! It is both frustrating and laughable, but at its core, it is campy, playing with gender and sexuality without really talking about it.
“In naive, or pure, Camp, the essential element is seriousness, a seriousness that fails” (Sontag, 7).
With likely heavy influence from fan spaces, the directors, after baiting a relationship for years, finally allowed Dean and Castiel to have a moment. Castiel admits he loves Dean, with tears in his eyes, and then is promptly sent to hell. More specifically, he is promptly sent to Super Hell. Talk about Burying Your Gays.
Supernatural is a product of its time, but it is also a timeline of queer attitudes during the 2000s. The representation is lacking, but it also goes beyond the screen. The campy, over-the-top nature of Supernatural allowed for an online community to bloom around the show. One cannot understand Supernatural without understanding the space it has (and continues) to take up online, in queer media, and in its own campiness.