On Supernatural

Scary Just Got Sexy

Transgression in Supernatural and Its Fanfiction
By Emily Turner

Supernatural is a text packed full of themes of transgression. That is to say, to “transgress” is to go beyond a boundary or limit, those boundaries and limits often pre-set or prescribed. In the case of Supernatural, two core examples of transgression occur both within the plots and premise of the show-the boundaries of reality as we (the viewer) know it are transgressed by the existence and behavior of supernatural elements (ghosts, cryptids, demons)–and at a meta-textual level–both the creators and characters refer to outside films, shows, comics, and other texts, transgressing the boundaries of Supernatural as a discrete text itself. The themes of transgression trickle down into countless aspects of the show, both trivial and key to narrative. Sam and Dean transgress the boundaries of their own society to live as nomads and work the system with their fake IDs and lack of permanent address. They transgress the boundaries of life and death by repeatedly dying and bringing each other back to life, even as demons and spirits transgress boundaries of human bodies to possess victims.

Each week Sam and Dean drive in their big black muscle car from text to text, transgressing boundaries of state lines and city limits to enter into existing worlds drawn from everything from folktales to popular culture: The Ring (“Bloody Mary,” 1-5), an X-Files episode (“Tall Tales,”2-15), The Blair Witch Project (“Ghostfacers,” 3-13). In solving the mysteries and vanquishing the villains, often in ways different than in the  …

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