This past January, I wrote a piece on the troubling writings of fans regarding disability in the Supernatural fandom (Wheelchairs and Shotguns).

And I've got to say, in January I was bothered by fandom. Their language use, their concept what it meant to be disabled, their Othering of my life... It was something I talked about both publicly and in friendslocked posts on my own journal. One thing I said sums it all up pretty well: there are sometimes where I feel like reading The Secret Garden would make me feel better about being disabled than reading stuff coming from this fandom. So, when I write this meta, I'm already coming from a place of Othered discomfort.

I will start off by saying this: I love The Curious Case of Dean Winchester and found it really affirming, on a couple of levels - and not just on the disability front, although other parts have echoes there as well.

There's no magical fix. Bobby was paralyzed by the angels. He stabbed himself to save Dean and then, in order to manipulated Dean, Zachariah paralyzed him. Bobby quite literally thinks that magic might fix this problem and it doesn't work. The writers tackled a huge trope head on.

Bobby is pissed off. He's angry. He's got every right to be angry and the show recognises this. Neither Sam nor Dean tell him that he shouldn't be. Dean tells him not to be stupid, but Dean telling someone not to do something stupid is a bit like a cat saying not to chase mice. Also, being angry, knowing and accepting that you're angry is a far cry from quite literally gambling your life away.

Bobby still hunts. He has to do it differently and faces different obstacles (like stairs), but he's still a hunter. He still makes it to the graveyard. He still knows more about everything than anyone else. He still knows how to defeat a witch. He still kicks ass and takes names.

Dean is still hurting from Hell. Just as there's no magical fix for Bobby's legs, there isn't a magical fix for Dean's mental scars from Hell. They're both suffering and dealing with problems no one else in their (insular, hunting, isolationist) world has. Yet, they still support each other, even though most of the time it's through insults.

Patrick is neither good nor evil. He gives life and he takes it away. He's about as close to Fate as I think we've seen and far closer to the Trickster than any other monster of the week we've seen. He's kinder than angels and he gives Ash the life to see his granddaughter's bat mitzvah even as he took Dean's life. I enjoyed that Patrick isn't evil. Characters always have the choice whether or not to play against him and sometimes Patrick loses. He's not cheating at cards; he's just that good.

Mostly, though, I want to commend the writers of the show for doing what canon didn't - having a disabled character who is smart and independent and allowing his anger and allowing him to be as reckless as the ablebodied characters. I'd like to thank them for recognising Dean's mental distress - and the fact that he's coping somehow - and relating it to Bobby's highly visual disability. It was well-written, tasteful, and, even better, entirely in-character for the characters involved.

I've seen reactions to this episode that are pretty much in direct contrast to my delight. I originally was going to write a meta this week interpreting the Supernatural universe through Simonian heresy, but I think this is more important. It strikes very close to home for me.

I have admitted biases when it comes to this kind of episode. (I am already sympathetic with Bobby and wanted to see him kick ass, so it wasn't hard for me to get focused on Bobby in this episode. If I did not already have a disability, I don't know if I'd have the same reaction. On the other, who knows where I'd be without, all things considered?

But I've seen more than one review/reaction slamming on Bobby for his self-pity. I've seen the stairs leading to Patrick's apartment slammed on for being something that just sidelines Bobby and they should have kept the elevators working.

Let me put this really simply: No.

You got that?

It's not having a pity party if you're angry that you can't do something you've always done. Let me relate it this way - because when you degrade in this manner, it's always personal - when I was 18, I suddenly lost the ability to handwrite. As an English major and a creative writer, I was beside myself. There would have been a very deep, very real psychological problem if my reaction to this had been, "Oh, that's too bad that this thing I depend upon daily no longer works. I guess that's life and things are sunshine and unicorns." If Bobby had had that reaction, I would have been beside myself (and probably started a one-person letter writing campaign.)

His legs don't work. He's allowed to be angry. It's good that he's angry. That's what happens when something gets taken away from you - you get angry. He probably isn't going to regain use of and - as Dean told him at the end of the episode - that is okay and it doesn't make him any less of a hunter. On the other hand, it's okay that he's angry and upset and all that jazz.

As for the stairs being stupid, I can only assume that the people writing that have never been in a position where they needed to go somewhere or do something and been confounded by a staircase. They pop up in the most inconvenient places and do make lives incredibly difficult. Sam didn't need to think about - he was fully capable of taking the stairs - but Dean had trouble and Bobby couldn't use them at all. It's not a stupid plothole when it's life for some people.

I was really happy to see that they were recognising that Bobby is facing handicaps in his life that he didn't before his paralysis. That's what life with a disability means, that's why his emotions are real and valid, that's why it's called a disability. Sure, it would have been convenient for the elevator to be working, but life often isn't. I appreciated what I saw as a touch of realism.

... I'm going to stop here because my chicken is exploding and because I'm actually angry with fandom again. Finally Supernatural has good representation of disability - a good representation of a minority, a positive one - and people... aargh.
ext_6866: (Two for joy of talking)

From: [identity profile] sistermagpie.livejournal.com

Here from Heavy Meta


I hadn't read any of the other reactions you're talking about, but reading this I just wanted to say that I had the exact same reaction you did. I would have thought it was completely unbelievable if Bobby wasn't angry. I imagined it would be the definition of frustrating, the way that he suddenly has taken away an ability he's always taken for granted. It maybe sounds dismissive to just call it an inconvenience but it seems like it would be a huge inconvenience--as we see with the stairs. He's just as smart and committed as before, but not being able to move around as easily as he once did is just a big wall in front of him he'd constantly have to get around.

I don't have Bobby's experience, but even at times I've had minor situations like that, like a sprained ankle, you can be fine with it one minute and then you have to get somewhere and you're frustrated all over again. So god, I don't think it's whiny at all. Easy for the person without the problem to say it doesn't sound like that big a deal. Bobby never seemed self-pitying to me at all. He had way far to go before he got to self-pity. This was just somebody dealing with a huge change to his life and identity that would take a while. It would be ridiculous if it seemed lik Bobby was just the same now, only in a wheelchair. He'd be having his own drama going on alongside the same hunting he'd always done.

In short, go Bobby, imo.

From: [identity profile] blackcat333-99.livejournal.com


This was an interesting read. I'm thinking a little harder about my own wording when I discussed Bobby's attitude and headspace in my own review. Because I did say that I felt he was throwing a pity party. Those might have been ill-judged words. My reason for calling it that, however, was not because Bobby was angry and upset about being handicapped. But because of his suicidal "wish I had the guts to put a shotgun in my mouth" part of it. And that part is integrated with the very healthy anger and frustration side of it. I agree with you that if Bobby wasn't having problems adjusting it would be beyond a copout on the writers' part. It feels real to me, that he's not happy. And that he's allowed to complain. And I loved that Dean let him know that that part of it was okay and understandable (his agreement with Bobby that he'd be complaining all the time if it were him). It was the suicidal aspect that Dean (and I) had a problem with -- not in terms of it being an unrealistic psychological reaction, but in terms that it is a challenge Bobby's going to have to work with and overcome. My brother makes prosthetics and orthotics for people with various injuries and disabilities, including amputations, and he's said that most commonly there are two kinds of attitudes he sees from the patients he fits. Those who are pushing to move on, become indepednent, find their new normal. And those who are depressed, often to the point of wishing they were just dead instead of disabled.

Anyway, thanks for the extra food for thought on the aspect of a subject many (myself included) could maybe give a little more thought to.
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From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


Bobby expresses suicidal thoughts - which, fyi, aren't uncommon among people who've recently been told stuff like, "By the way, you'll never be able to walk again," - yet he's been living alone for months and has ready access to more ways to kill himself than I could probably imagine. Since he a) hasn't killed himself and b) has clearly been leading an active life up to and including learning how to drive again, I would say his outburst is more of an expression of anger and feeling useless than an actual risk of him putting a gun in his mouth soon. (This not to say that Dean's reaction of "WTFNO" is out of place - it's totally on the money. I just don't see Bobby doing that any time soon.)

Additionally, you are assuming that "pushing to move on" and "depressed" are two entirely separate, mutually exclusive camps. They aren't. I lead an active life and do things and obviously talk about how disability doesn't mean you can't do anything with your life. On the other hand, there are times I've literally cried myself to sleep because there are things I will never, ever be able to do, no matter how much I want to do them. For Bobby, hunting with Sam and Dean, who both have use of their legs, could very easily be a reminder of what he can never have.
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From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


Also, don't think I'm just picking on you. I'm serious when I said I've seen this a ton a places.

From: [identity profile] blackcat333-99.livejournal.com


No worries -- like I said, it is making me think a little more on the subject, and that's a good thing. I don't have a problem with being challenged with a different viewpoint or opinion when it comes from a logical and reasonable place. I have my own family history of loved ones who are currently dealing with serious health issues and how it plays into their psychological state of mind, and how connected all that can be, and it does color my own perspective a bit because I'm coming at it from a slightly angle, I guess. I tend to welcome thoughts that make me think harder. And yes, I read a few other reactions that were quite unsympathetic on fronts that made me scratch me head, so I can only imagine what else is out there in fandom.

From: [identity profile] missyjack.livejournal.com


I very much agree about how the writer's have portrayed Bobby's paralysis. They both explored his depression and despair, an struggle at adapting to how to conceive of himself in this changed state. At the same time, he has not been helpless or passive (he's obv been managing at home by himself and is able to drive). A good mix.

I like that you bring out the parallels between Dean adn Bobby too, because I do think they are both learning a different way of being, and that need others is not weakness.
ann1962: (Bobby isn't happy from Bunny_icons)

From: [personal profile] ann1962


I thought how Bobby was feeling was absolutely genuine and realistic. This post is a very good explanation of it. Thank you.

From: [identity profile] callie-828.livejournal.com


My initial reaction to the fact that people would ever think Bobby shouldn't be angry/frustrated/upset or that an out-of-order elevator is somehow unrealistic is shock. I haven't seen this reaction anywhere, but if I had, I'm sure I would've been absolutely dumbfounded. Maybe someone who is ablebodied can't understand entirely what someone with a disability goes through, but one can certainly imagine it. If someone asked me how I feel if I woke up tomorrow and my legs didn't work, the fact that I've always had working legs wouldn't change my answer in the slightest. I'd be horrified. And angry. And frustrated. And that would be before I even had to get out of bed and tackle the world without them.

On the other hand, I shouldn't be so surprised. I've worked with special needs children before, most of whom have limited mobility. And I've found that since then, I'm much more aware of my surroundings and how they would affect someone who was differently-abled. This past summer I went with a friend to a restaurant which had doors that pulled open and led into a very small vestibule, then a single door which pulled open and led into the restaurant. Inside, the tables were close together and the aisles were very tight. I turned to my friend and said "How would a person in a wheelchair get in here on their own?" And she looked at me as though I was crazy, like I had just asked a ridiculous question. We talked about it for a moment and she admitted that she wouldn't have ever had that thought.

I go through the same thing here in Paris. Recently, I told a friend of mine that this city is one of the least handicap-accesible cities I've ever been to. Automatic doors are rare. The metros are completely inaccesible, even for someone in a wheelchair who has an ablebodied person with them. Restaurants and caf├ęs are extremely tight. And I've yet to find a single accesible bathroom (I'm sure they exist somewhere, but not anywhere I've been. At my school, for example, the only bathroom is on the basement level and there is no elevator. There is also no ramp leading into the school. I find it hard to believe that no student in a wheelchair has ever attended a class in this building, but if they had, I'm not sure how they could've managed). But these are all things that none of my friends seem to notice at all. So it shouldn't surprise me that fans of Supernatural would fail to recognize what a service they did to disability in the latest episode.

I had the same thoughts you did. I loved that Dean didn't allow Bobby to think he had nothing to live for because of course he does. But I also loved that Bobby felt that way. Because he is, in fact, surrounded by a world that seems to make it impossible for him to maintain a high quality of life. And why shouldn't that frustrate him? Why shouldn't that anger him? Why shouldn't he feel like a victim sometimes? After all, isn't he? I cannot relate to him on the same scale, but I suffered a knee injury in high school that had me on crutches for quite a long time. During a family vacation, I was forced to use a wheelchair because our activities were too demanding for me to get through on crutches. Since the injury, I've had chronic pain in that knee on and off and sometimes I need to wear a brace and sometimes there are activities that I flatout can't participate in. I understand fully that I am lucky that my injury wasn't worse, that I am lucky that I can usually walk without a problem. And yet, I'm human. So I still get frustrated and angry and a little self-piteous during the times that I do struggle with it. And someone telling me that I shouldn't feel that way or that I'm wrong to feel that way angers me all the more. My situation in so minimal compared to Bobby's and even I'm disturbed by the reaction of some that he should get over it and stop having a pity party. Really? REALLY?

Of course Bobby is still a capable hunter, though he has to do it somewhat differently. Of course he is still as useful as ever in the hunt. But of course he isn't going to feel like that all the time because of what's happened to him. And all of that is exactly what this episode portrayed. And I loved it.

Long story short, I am with you here.

From: [identity profile] sarka.livejournal.com


Thanks for this post - also because I'm real glad you wrote it, it means I don't have to ;)

I felt like such a horrible person at the beginning of the season when I started tentatively voicing my hopes that Bobby would stay in the chair and remain awesome while doing so. It's not my disability, but it's still a disability, and I'm thrilled they're representing it this well.

And as for the mental front - calling the fact that Bobby voices suicidal thoughts during the episode a "pity party" is pretty short sighted, as far as I'm concerned at least. Not only does Bobby have easy access to guns which would make this line of thought particularly tempting in his case - the way he words his statement makes it pretty clear that he's never gotten so far as picking up the gun and pointing it at his head, which, considering his easy access, shows incredible strength of character.

Of course there is self-pity in suicidal thoughts, but Bobby talking to Dean about eating his gun is not a pity party, because when Dean calls him on it, Bobby actually listens. That's... not someone who's lost in self-loathing and self-pity, that's someone who's angry and frustrated and can't figure out what to do about it.

From: [identity profile] static-pixie.livejournal.com


I'm glad you wrote this meta, since I hadn't thought about it much from this angle. Or at least hadn't thought about all the little things they'd done right with Bobby. I will say, you're right in that it's the first time I think SPN has dealt well with any minority issue (shades of Route 666, shades of Route 666! NOOO!), though I almost wonder whether that's because Bobby didn't start out as any kind of discernible Other by the show's standards so it's easier for the writers not to see him that way (since I think every other female/minority has been treated as an Other by the show) even in a wheelchair. Either way, gift horse and all.

I'm shocked that fandom's reaction to it has been so negative. I hadn't thought about the parallels between Dean and Bobby, but you're right, and I think Sam's kind of standing there on the outside of everything (in the abilities sense and in the sense that he's also the only person in the room who's never really suffered from sacrificing himself for someone like that and I doubt ever will) is interesting as well. I remember being struck by how impatient he was with Dean and that safe, especially since folks have been complaining about how Dean's bossing Sam around has been brought up and dealt with but the way Sam seems to look down his nose at Dean in some respects when it's unwarranted hasn't. Makes me think they won't overlook that.
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From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


In terms of Bobby becoming disabled, I'd say that's an important point. Being disabled is a minority that a lot of people become over their lifetime. It's not always something that you're born with.

Even me - I've been disabled since I was five or six. However, I still have vauge memories of what it's like to run faster and better than other people. I have home videos showing me being ablebodied. Even if my friends don't, my family remembers me when I was ablebodied. That kind of thing affects how the minority is seen and how we see ourselves. I can also remember being six and in hysterical tears because suddenly I couldn't do the things I could do before. It's an important thing to recognise.

That's my two cents anyway on that subject.

As for Dean - I am just remarkably happy at the apparent subtlety and insight that they used when dealing with Dean's experience in Hell. His suffering was just as real as Bobby's currently is and perhaps Dean's physical state in this episode simply underscored that. In any case, I do agree that, here, Sam is an outsider and it's interesting to see it illustrated.

From: [identity profile] partaymon5.livejournal.com


I don't think Sam is looking down his nose, so much as he doesn't get it. I think Sam is showing what a lot of people (including fans apparently) don't understand about disabilities and aging. I doubt he's ever been exposed to either much, so that isn't too surprising, although he's supposed to be the more empathetic brother (or rather he was - until they totally screwed up his character - but that's a different rant!) I think they needed to have the contrast there, to make the point: Bobby stuck in the wheelchair and has been for a few weeks at least; Dean suddenly aged and not as challenged mobilitywise as Bobby, but still challenged in some degrees. And Sam, whole, healthy and young. At least I hope that's what they were showing, otherwise, I'm ready to take Bobby's gun and shoot Sam (or the writers!) for having him be so blithely cold and oblivious.

From: [identity profile] makishef.livejournal.com


Thank you for this meta. The gears have been going in my head since they put Bobby in a wheelchair, but as an able-bodied person who sometimes needs a clue, I don't think I could have voiced my concerns appropriately before, nor how proud I was that this episode felt very thoughtful toward this issue. Bobby was pretty literally cheated out of his mobility. He's allowed to be pissed off and hurting and feel like it's a slap in the face when he can't do something as ordinary and taken-for-granted as walk up a flight of stairs.

Again, thanks for this.
ext_23814: sam (spn - halloween 2009)

From: [identity profile] datenshiblue.livejournal.com


I was really happy to see that they were recognising that Bobby is facing handicaps in his life that he didn't before his paralysis. That's what life with a disability means, that's why his emotions are real and valid, that's why it's called a disability. Sure, it would have been convenient for the elevator to be working, but life often isn't. I appreciated what I saw as a touch of realism.

I think fans critical of the elevator out of order in the story were annoyed that they were being inconvenienced. They wanted to see Bobby included, had some preconception about what was supposed to happen, and rather than get the message, and the lesson, that hey, this is the way it is, this is Bobby's life now and cross to bear, literally, they were focused only on the superficial.

I find this tends to be the more prevalent that we'd like to accept.

It was gutsy of Supernatural to give Bobby this episode, and to confront realistically his issues and emotions.

Your meta is right on.

From: [identity profile] eveofnigh.livejournal.com


I just wanted to say that I think your points here are absolutely spot-on - people who are disabled (especially suddenly and unexpectedly injured - like Bobby) are angry and resentful of their situation. It would be ridiculous to expect them not to be. I give major kudos to Supernatural for having the guts not to minimilize the physical and emotional effects of Bobby's injuries, and also to you for writing this meta.

From: [identity profile] calamitycrow.livejournal.com


I totally agree with you, but I had to chuckle a little, because stairs? really? Um, try curbs, uneven sidewalks, wet surfaces, and yeah, even small rocks. The whole world is just one freakin' obstacle course.

Great meta though, and spot on!


From: [identity profile] erinrua.livejournal.com


Hey, just wandered in and wanted to say I very much enjoy your perspective. I haven't seen the fandom compliants you speak of, either, but holy CRAP! I'm glad I missed it. Of COURSE Bobby is going to have a tough time dealing, and wishing he'd had the guts to eat a bullet - which obviously he *hasn't,* since the man has more means of lethal intent handy than some military instalations - is only normal.

Hey, I'm a cancer survivor, lost one boob to a mastectomy, and I spent every day for months after, telling myself to stop being such a baby, because losing a boob is nothing like losing an arm or leg or worse. But ... my brain, my heart, the inner workings of me weren't listening, and I had a helluva time getting my mind around this drastic change of my entire life.

So for Bobby to be this angry and desperate? Totally makes sense. Not to mention that side-lining a warrior like Bobby is pretty much pulling the rug out from under that man's entire life. His life has been about being useful, and now ... now he feels entirely useless.

I hope I don't come across any fans who think Bobby is having a pity party for himself or whatever, as I'd be sorely tempted to slap me a bitch. ;-)

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights!
Cheers ~

Erin
Edited Date: 2009-11-02 04:09 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile] affablyevil.livejournal.com


Word. Fandom's negative reaction has been baffling to me. I was very impressed with how maturely, realistically and in-charactery it was portrayed. +1 for the writers there.

As someone living in a non-native language environment, lately I have been thinking a lot about the extreme frustrations that people with developmental disabilities must have trying to communicate, especially when the words won't come right. So I'm glad they did not skirt around the "inconveniences" in the episode, which are inconvenient for Sam and Dean but life-changing for Bobby in what he can and can not participate in.

I was also intrigued by the war metaphor they are outright going with: Dean as a prisoner of war and Bobby as a disabled vet. Interesting approach that I can't think of a supernatural or sci-fi/fantasy book or television show alluding to except outright as members of a named war unit.

From: [identity profile] partaymon5.livejournal.com


I'd like to say that I can't believe people would be ranting at Bobby because he was pissed off, but unfortunately I can. This fandom has some awesome, beautiful people in it: it also has some of the most selfish, self absorbed and outright thoughtless people it's ever been my misfortune to 'meet'. Of course Bobby is upset, one of the things I truly love about him (and Bobby is my 2nd favourite character after Sam) - is that his character is so 'real'. He's believable, he's someone you might meet everyday in real life (well, except for the whole supernatural hunter bit), but someone who is gruff, knowledgeable and who hasn't let his age stand in his way. Add in the new injury and he reacts like pretty much every 'normal' person would: he's upset, he's angry and he hasn't accepted it yet.

I'm not disabled, but I have a close friend who is confined to a wheelchair and has been from birth. They've had time to learn to deal, and they are an advocate for getting the people in their world educated on just what restrictions they face everyday, that non-disabled people never give a second thought about. This person has really taught me a lot about what that person can and cannot do and just how they go about dealing with those limitations. I thought they wrote Bobby's part in here perfectly, as they did Dean's. What a lot of fans (and I'm talking women here mostly) seem to forget, is that these are men: they're men who deal with death and terrible things on a daily basis. Of course they're not going to talk like women: they're gruff, they insult instead of saying "I love you", they hate like hell having to admit weakness or ask for help. They are GUYS! Everytime I read fans wanting them to 'hug' or not say 'nasty things' to one another (Bobby to Dean for example) I just want to shake them and say: that's not who they are; that's not at all real. A hunter who feels he can no longer hunt or be useful, is going to have feelings of anger, 'why me?', depression - but unlike a woman who 'might' go crying to her female friends over some chocolate or whatnot, Bobby is going to try and get better or go out fighting. Men are much more likely to commit suicide by a gun to the head than women are - that's a fact.

Bobby calling Dean and Sam idjits, is a form of brusk affection from him, and they know it. The female fans who don't get that and are moaning about how mean Bobby is, just totally miss out on how men act, and so they don't understand the relationship. Which is fine, but they are a majority and they are loud about it.

I really don't even understand why they would think the stairs were 'stupid': it was there to hammer home to those who don't get what disabled means, how difficult a simple thing can be to overcome. They also had to set up having Dean bringing on his heart attack by doing the stairs again, and not having Bobby there to help. It was a major part of the plot for heaven's sakes!! All they are doing is showing their own insensitivity, ignorance and lack of understanding of a bunch of issues. I almost pity them, but I've learned not to waste my energy on them - I have more positive places to use it.

By the way, I just loved your post!
-San

From: [identity profile] prydera.livejournal.com


Can I just say (as someone who is a wheelchair user), that I'm kinda offended by your use of the term "confined to a wheelchair"? I'm not confined to my wheelchair (at the very least, I have 2 wheelchairs and also spend time in bed so that means I'm not confined to any one thing). In fact, I find my wheelchair liberating. (I'm not wheelchair bound either, but that's because I still haven't found anyone willing to tie me to it for some kinky sex yet ;-) )

From: [identity profile] karabou.livejournal.com


Thank you so much for this post. I'd been very blase about the episode for a few reasons, but I hadn't been thinking of it from this sort of perspective. Now I feel like I appreciate it at least for how they handled Bobby's storyline, because he certainly does deserve an episode or two focusing on him, and I'm glad that they are doing it realistically and well.

I still wish Sam had gone and stayed with Bobby while he and Dean were apart, that would have been a better storyline imo than becoming a busboy.
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From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


Well, the whole sequence wouldn't have worked if Sam went with Bobby and there would be other problems besides.

First of all, if Sam had been with Bobby, he probably would have been sleeping in the most demon-proof bedroom on earth, so Lucifer would have had a bit more trouble getting to him. Secondly, Bobby wouldn't have let those other hunters try to hurt Sam like that. Thirdly, it was about both Sam and Dean trying to be independent and if Sam went to live with their father figure, that wouldn't have been true.

The other problems are that Bobby was newly paralysed. That's a complicated storyline in and of itself and would have been incredibly easy to fuck up massively. I'm happy, personally, that they didn't try to tackle that (and really screw it up) and, instead, did this.

From: [identity profile] siyahsaclikiz.livejournal.com


I agree with everything you said. People who thought Bobby was throwing a pity party need to (re)think their opinion.

I also really liked that there was no magic fix, but a part of me kinda wished that there would be - just not yet. Getting a magic fix now would be too soon, would be a cop-out. But I would be happy if Bobby were to regain his ability to walk at the end of the season, with God ordering an angel to do that. Not because "omg a wheelchair for the rest of his life? how horrible it must be!", but because I think that would make him happy and I really like Bobby and would like him to be happy. I'm not really hoping for it - actually, on another level, it would make me grumble a little bit because it has the potential to be a goopy, neat little happy ending. I think it would make him happy the same way I think (assume) it would make you happy to be able to handwrite again, and I want him to be happy. And if I'm being completely honest, if I were in his place, it would make *me* happy to regain use of my legs, in a completely unrealistic way for real life but within the realm of possibility for the show. Does that make sense? Or does it make me ableist? (And I'm honestly asking that.)

From: [identity profile] prydera.livejournal.com


What if he could be happy while still being paralyzed? I know plenty of people who are both (including people who honestly say they wouldn't take a cure if it came along). I don't think it's impossible for anyone to be happy and paralyzed.
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From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


At the same time, I don't think it's a bad thing to sit down and honestly say, "I think it would be awesome if I could do x." I mean, I really wish that I could just sit down and fill a notebook with writing. It ain't gonna happen, though, and I don't cry over it (much. anymore.). I'm happy where I am. Most of the anger I've got with my disability, at this point, is with how other people deal with it or my pain levels.

On the other hand, if someone said, "Hey, [livejournal.com profile] chasingtides, there's a medication that will work better than your current one and reduce you pain levels," I'd be there in a heartbeat. I probably wouldn't know what to do with myself (quite literally) if someone found a medication that would let me run, but I'd try it. I don't think that makes me a bad person - I don't want to handwrite or run because other people think I should. I want to because I remember those things giving me joy. And there is a difference there.

From: [identity profile] siyahsaclikiz.livejournal.com


Oh, of course, I didn't mean to imply that it would be impossible for him (or anyone who uses a wheelchair) to be happy. Sorry if it came across that way! I assumed his current unhappiness would continue, because he seemed fairly set against the possibility of being okay with the fact that he has to use a wheelchair now. I guess assumed there would be the key word, though - who knows how much time it will have passed when we get to the end of the season, and by that point his attitude could easily have changed. And if that is the case, then I wouldn't wish for a magical angel touch or whatever it could be. Whatever makes Bobby happy makes me happy.

From: [identity profile] siyahsaclikiz.livejournal.com


I guess the part that gave the wrong impression was "in a completely unrealistic way for real life but within the realm of possibility for the show"? That was meant to modify "regain use of my [and Bobby's, though I left it out in the original sentence] legs."

From: [identity profile] corbyinoz.livejournal.com


Thanks for this terrific meta. I had a bit of a complaint about this episode, because it didn't work for me in terms of tension and plot. The only things I did like about it were Bobby and Dean's interactions. But I didn't give due thought to what Sera Gamble was saying about Bobby's new situation, and I should have. So thanks very much! You're spot on in what you wrote. And I can only guess that those people labelling Bobby's comments as a 'pity party' were the same ones who thought Dean should have 'gotten over it' a couple of months after escaping Hell. Bobby's grieving, as is Dean, and grief has its own schedule.
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