Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dean Girls vs. Sammy Girls

The fangirl phenomena has likely been around as long as moving pictures, but it has exploded in the years since the Internet has been commonplace in homes. Now, female fans can not only dream of their favorite TV or movie hero, she also can create a fanlisting or Web site devoted to him. She can design banners and icons showcasing him to accompany her online forum posts. She can purchase a T-shirt from an online store like CafePress that proclaims her devotion. I admit it - I have Supernatural T-shirts and a pin proclaiming me to be a Sammy Girl. What is this Sammy Girl proclamation, you ask.

Perhaps as old as fangirldom is the debate over which guy in a show deserves all that adoration. And the division usually comes down to one’s preference for the bad boy versus the good boy. Spike or Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Captain Jack Sparrow or Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Henry Fitzroy or Mike Celucci in Blood Ties.

In other words, are you a Dean Girl or a Sammy Girl?

What makes a female fan gravitate toward Dean or Sam? Both have good qualities, and both have bad. I don’t think anyone will argue with the fact that they’re both smokin’ hot. It’s actually a mixture of things - physical attributes, their personalities, how they interact with those around them and each other - that cause fans to line up in their corners.

Today, let's just examine the physical attributes and personalities.

Physical Attributes

We know right from the Pilot episode which Winchester brother is going to be the bad boy and which is going to be the good boy. Visual clues tell us this as much as what the characters say. Dean has the bad-boy leather jacket, boots, and close-cropped hair that might have been inspired by his dad’s time in the Marines. Plus, who has time to mess with hair when he’s hunting things that go bump in the night?

Sam is the All-American college boy who wears newer jeans than Dean, sneakers, and loose shirts and jackets. Unlike his older brother, he has longer hair that takes a little more effort. Dean is a few inches shorter and a bit more compactly built. Sam is tall and rangy, though we find out in episodes like “Hell House” (1-17) and “Heart” (2-17) that Sammy is hiding a lot of muscles under those baggy clothes of his. (Hmm, I think my new favorite number is 17.)


For two brothers who have the same, often lonely, mission in life, these two certainly have different personalities. And fangirls love them for those differences.

Dean is cocky and likes to have fun drinking, playing poker, shooting pool, throwing darts, and putting quarters in the Magic Fingers machine. He loves women, particularly of the “hot chick” variety. We see this early on in Season 1. In the Pilot, he gives Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica, that look of male appreciation when she comes into the living room in her sleepwear, including a revealing shirt sporting a Smurf. Dean says, “I love the Smurfs” and you know he really means he likes what’s in the Smurf shirt. Even when the brothers head to St. Louis to help out one of Sam’s college friends in “Skin” (1-6), Dean can’t turn off his strong pull toward women. When Becky says to Sam, “What do you think this is, Hooters?” Dean replies under his breath, “I wish.” Even faced with his imminent demise, Dean makes a hot-chick comment: “I’m not going to die in a hospital when the nurses aren’t even hot.” (”Faith,” 1-12)

But even though Dean always comes across as the ladies’ man, he’s fun and attractive. And in “Route 666″ (1-13), we find out that Dean can indeed fall hard for a woman when he meets back up with Cassie, an old love. In fact, Cassie’s past rejection of him when he told her the truth about himself and his hunting may have contributed to him not wanting anything more than a superficial relationship with a woman now.

Sam’s relationship with women is much different. He loved Jessica a lot and it’s eventually revealed that he was going to ask her to marry him. But when he lost her, it was a long time before he could even admit an attraction toward another woman. In “Hook Man” (1-7), Lori kisses Sam but he pulls away. He’s not over Jess yet. It’s not until “Provenance” (1-19) that Sam lets go enough to admit a new attraction and kiss Sarah at the end. But because of their job, he has to leave her and anything that might have developed between them behind.

While we figure Dean is having plenty of sex and enjoying every minute of it (as his partners likely are too), Sam doesn’t have sex after Jessica until he meets Madison in “Heart” (2-17). Because this is the first time since Jessica, it’s especially heart wrenching at the end when he has to admit that there’s no cure for Madison’s lycanthropy and he has to kill her. The anguish on his face just before he walks into the room, portrayed so well by Jared Padalecki, shows that when Sam begins to give his heart to someone, he doesn’t do it by half measures. That’s very attractive to women, to be loved like that. And it makes Sam’s female fans ache for him, that once again a woman he cares a great deal about has been taken from him.

So, based on physical and personality characteristics, are you a Dean Girl or a Sammy Girl? Why?

Be sure to come back next Wednesday when I'll discuss the differences between Dean's humor and Sammy's humor.