Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dean humor vs. Sam humor

Last week, I talked about the differences between the Winchester brothers with regard to their physical attributes and personalities, and how female fans reacted to those differences. This week, I'd like to delve into their different senses of humor.

It's no secret that Dean is snarky and has the best lines in the series. Here’s where I see another parallel with Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even though I was an Angel fan, I have to admit Spike had the best lines. Same with Dean. His quips reveal a lot about his character. He often uses jokes to keep distance between himself and others, as when Sam tries to apologize for his earlier comments about their parents in the Pilot and Dean holds up his hand and says, “No chick flick moments.” Cassie calls him on this defense mechanism in “Route 666” (1-13) by pointing out that every time Dean gets close to emotional vulnerability, he backs off, makes a joke. He even uses this distancing mechanism with the people with whom they come into contact on their jobs, sometimes with comedic effect. In “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” (2-4), when he and Sam return to Neil’s house, he says, “Neil. It’s your grief counselors. We’ve come to hug.”

The Pilot is filled with lots of wonderful Dean snark, some of which reveals his affection for pop culture, particularly the horror genre, that will be revealed in many episodes throughout the series. For instance, when he and Sam pass the real FBI guys on the bridge, Dean, in a shout-out to the X-Files, says, “Agent Mulder, Agent Scully.” He references Ghost in “In My Time of Dying” (2-1) when his out-of-body self knocks over a glass of water and he says, “Dude, I full-on Swayzed that mother.” In “Folsom Prison Blues” (2-19), Dean even jokes while getting his police mugshot taken, even though deliberately getting thrown into jail to work a haunting inside the jail is the riskiest thing they’ve done so far considering they’re wanted by the feds. He looks at the man taking the mugshot and says, “I call this one blue steel,” and makes the famous face from Zoolander.

Another slice of personality that has become synonymous with Dean is his frequent use of the word “dude.” Since I too tend to use the word “dude” a lot, this makes me smile every time. A sampling:

Sam: “Dad let you go on a hunting trip by yourself.”
Dean: “I’m 26, dude.” (Pilot)

Dean: “Dude, I earned that money.”
Sam: "You won it in a poker game.” (“Bloody Mary”, 1-5)

Dean: “Dude, sorority girls. Think we’ll see a naked pillow fight?” (“Hook Man”, 1-7)

Dean: “Dude, you’re fugly.” (“Scarecrow”, 1-11)

Sam: (gesturing to pumpkin on porch) "Hey, check that out."
Dean: "Yeah? It's close to Halloween."
Sam: "You remember Cinderella? The pumpkin that turns into a coach and the mice that become horses?"
Dean: "Dude! Could you be more gay? Don't answer that."
("Bedtime Stories", 3-5)

Sam’s sense of humor is a bit more understated, so when he does say something funny, it’s notable. Such an exchange in “Croatoan” (2-9) not only reveals Sam’s sense of humor but also the contrast between him and Dean in regards to school. Sam was always a straight-A student despite their crazy childhood and got a full ride to Stanford, while we get the impression that Dean barely skated by in school. When Sam notices the word “Croatoan” carved into a utility pole in River Grove, Oregon, he points it out to Dean.

Dean: “Croatoan?”
Sam: “Yeah. Roanoke. Lost Colony. Ring a bell? Dean, did you pay any attention to history class?”
Dean: “Yeah. Shot heard round the world, how bills become laws.”
Sam: “That’s not school. That’s Schoolhouse Rock.”

In “Provenance” (1-19), Sam uses a little humor with Sarah as he and Dean are digging up a grave so they can salt and burn the bones.

Sarah: “You guys are uncomfortably comfortable with this.”
Sam: “It’s not exactly the first grave we’ve dug. Still think I’m a catch?”

Humor and practical jokes between the brothers play a big part in “Hell House” (1-17). I still chuckle thinking about Sam sitting at the restaurant squirming because Dean put the itching powder in his underwear. Sam gets in another understated but funny dig at Dean in this exchange:

Dean: “People believe in Santa Claus. How come I’m not getting hooked up every Christmas?”
Sam: “Because you’re a bad person.”

What are your favorite parts of Sam and Dean humor?

And because I'm a big fan of YouTube and fan vids, here are a couple for your viewing pleasure. I can't embed the videos because embedding is turned off on these, but just click on the links below.

Funny Sam and Dean moments

Dean does "Eye of the Tiger"