Acknowledgments vii


Then: The Road So Far (Stacey Abbott) ix

“Bon Jovi rocks . . . on occasion”: Comedy and Music

Rabbits’ Feet and Spleen Juice: The Comic Strategies of tv Horror (Stacey Abbott) 3

Two Greasers and a Muscle Car: Music and Character Development in Supernatural (Stan Beeler) 18

Skin Mags and Shaving Cream: Sam and Dean on the Fringes of Time and Place

Purgatory with Color TV: Motel Rooms as Liminal Zones in Supernatural (Lorna Jowett) 33

Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers: Supernatural and the Shift in “White Trash” from Monster to Hero (Aaron C. Burnell) 47

Renegades and Wayward Sons: Supernatural and the ’70s (Simon Brown) 60

“Jerk . . . bitch”: Representations of Gender and Sexuality

The Road to Lordsburg: Rural Masculinity in Supernatural (Lorrie Palmer) 77

Angels, Demons, and Damsels in Distress: The Representation of Women in Supernatural (Bronwen Calvert) 90

“Go be gay for that poor, dead intern”: Conversion Fantasies and Gay Anxieties in Supernatural (Darren Elliott-Smith) 105

The Gospel According to Chuck: Narrative and Storytelling in Supernatural

“That’s so gay”: Drag, Camp, and the Power of Storytelling in Supernatural (James Francis, Jr.) 119

“There’s a ton of lore on unicorns too”: Postmodernist Micro-Narratives and Supernatural (David Simmons) 132

Breaking the Mirror: Metafictional Strategies in Supernatural (Alberto N. García) 146

“What’s the lore say?”: Exploring Folklore & Religion

“There’s nothing more dangerous than some a-hole who thinks he is on a holy mission”: Using and (Dis)-Abusing Religious and Economic Authority on Supernatural (Erin Giannini) 163

“I am an angel of the Lord”: An Inquiry into the Christian Nature of Supernatural’s Heavenly Delegates (Jutta Wimmler and Lisa Kienzl) 176

Televisual Folklore: Rescuing Supernatural from the Fakelore Realm (Mikel J. Koven and Gunnella Thorgeirsdottir) 187

Cruel Capricious Gods: Auteurs, Fans, Critics

Sympathy for the Fangirl: Becky Rosen, Fan Identity, and Inter activity in Supernatural (Brigid Cherry) 203

Crossing Over: Network Transition, Critical Reception and Supernatural Longevity (Karen Petruska) 219

Plagiarism or Props?: Homage to Neil Gaiman in Eric Kripke’s Supernatural (Laura Felschow) 230


Now: The Road Ahead, or the Chapter at the End of This Book (David Lavery) 245

Episode Guide (Stephanie Graves) 253

Notes 273

TV/Filmography 286

Contributors 290

Bibliography 295


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With TV Goes to Hell, Lavery and Abbott have assembled a thought-provoking collection of critical essays that explore both the wide-open freeways and the unmarked back roads of Supernatural. Traveling a scholarly Route 66 of theories and approaches, the essays begin at different points on the analytical map, but all roads lead to the same destination; namely, that Supernatural is a show worthy of in-depth critical study. This collection is as indispensable to the serious Supernatural viewer as rock salt.— K. Dale Koontz