Some Thoughts on Supernatural Season 9, Episode 5, “Dog Dean Afternoon”

by sketchyfeminist

This post is my response to last week’s Supernatural episode, “Dog Dean Afternoon” (Season 9, Episode 5. Written by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyuder; Directed by Tim Andrew.) Yes, last week’s episode. Even though this week’s airs in about an hour and a half. Time management: I am bad at it.

Well, I don’t have that many thoughts on this episode. Because it was boring! So boring. It looked like it was going to be a funny, playful, creative episode about Dean gaining the ability to communicate with animals, while taking on dog-like traits as a side effect. Then it ended up being a boring episode about Dean gaining the ability to communicate with animals, while taking on dog-like traits as a side effect.

Things I take issue with:

1. The anti-hunting, animal-rights-supporting couple are hipster vegan “douchebags” who commit vandalism and leave death threats. Because people who object to killing (in this case, hunting and stuffing) animals tend to be presented as insufferable on TV. Now, I’m sure some people who protest taxidermy are insufferable, as there are a lot of insufferable people out there, and some of them like animals. How-so-ever. It would be refreshing to see more positive portrayals of animal rights activists on TV. Just for the change of pace.

Actually, the most positive vegetarian / animal-loving TV characters I can think of are all cartoon characters: Lisa on The Simpsons, Beast Boy on Teen Titans, Aang on Avatar: The Last Airbender. They’re also all children. Huh. Maybe cartoon kids get a pass? Then again, maybe there are more positively portrayed, pro-animal characters out there, and I just don’t watch enough TV that targets a grown-up audience.… That is a distinct possibility.

2. The most interesting female character is the fourteen-year-old collie.

3. All the dogs (and other animals) that Dean speaks with have distinctly human voice-overs, personalities and vocabularies. Dogs have personalities, granted–clear and distinct personalities, unique to each individual dog. But they do not have human personalities or human frames of reference. Because they are not humans. Dogs are not just humans in dog costume. To ignore that is to ignore all the awesome stuff that makes dogs uniquely dogs. This episode’s premise, taken seriously, could have introduced Dean to new ways of understanding and engaging with the world. Instead, his ability to communicate with every other species is used only in the service of a few cheap laughs.

4. The villain eats cats and the episode shows part of it. I absolutely hate, hate, hate on-screen (and off-screen) animal death. If a show is going to go there, the show better have the quality to balance out the horror. This episode is simply not good enough to make watching the rest of it worth watching a scene in which I see a guy swallow half a cat. Just: no.

No sketch this post, because this episode reaction is ridiculously late and because there’s not anything in this episode I particularly want to sketch.

And now, because I can argue that this is at least tangentially related to last week’s episode, here is a link to Ask SPN dogs, a Tumblr that appears to be devoted to fanart of Supernatural characters as dogs. It is full of adorableness.