moragmacpherson: (Default)
moragmacpherson ([personal profile] moragmacpherson) wrote2011-11-11 10:20 pm

The Feedback I Just Sent the CW: Re SPN 7.08

Contains spoilers for tonight's episode - but if you haven't watched it, I don't encourage you to do so.  Also contains references to triggery material.  I should know.  The episode triggered me.

ETA: I don't think I'm leaving the fandom.  I still do love this show.  But I still feel... really, really hurt.  I may not be as squee happy about it for awhile.  And I'm really disappointed in the entire production crew for not thinking about any of these issues before they brought the episode to air.

ETA2: It's been brought to my attention that there was an outright statement that the relationship was never consummated during the episode - however, this occurred during the scene that hit my single trigger -- involuntary chemical-induced memory loss -- and so I missed the line while I was retrieving my anti-anxiety meds.  Nonetheless, my overall feelings about the episode and the writers' complete incomprehension of the horror that they wrought still stands.  Intercourse or no, the emotional and mental manipulation remains reprehensible and unfunny.

Re: Supernatural s07e08 "Season Seven: Time For a Wedding"  Written by Andrew Dabb and Daniel Lofflin.  Directed by Tim Andrew.

I've been a loyal fan of this show for years.  It's the only show I still watch on broadcast television because I've wanted to help keep its ratings up.  When I was selected as a Nielsen's rater this past spring, I made sure that I invited ten viewers to my home to watch the Supernatural finale to help support it.

I don't know if I can watch it again.

I watched tonight's episode in its entirety because I kept hoping that it would redeem itself at any point.  It didn't.

Rape due to involuntary medication is not fun.  It is not funny.  I am speaking from experience.  The fact that this episode managed to so accurately depict several of the worst and most horrific aspects of my rape (I'm fortunate enough to only really freak out when encountered by a single scenario: memory loss due to involuntary medication.  They FOUND IT!  CONGRATS!) leads me to believe the writers might be familiar with drugged date rape.  Their obvious lack of comprehension for what it feels like to be the victim of it leads me to believe that they must know it from the other side. 

And to top it off, they had the victim try to reassure his "loser" attacker (a formerly beloved avatar for our fandom, which I suspect probably just got a LOT SMALLER) that she wasn't a bad person.  WRONG.  And then they had the victim apologize to his brother for things he said while involuntarily medicated!  THIS IS EVIL AND WRONG.  I am not even going to get into the offensive gay and misogynist stereotypes that this episode depicted, because if you can't see them from a mile away, you're not paying attention. 

I am, frankly, shaken and hurt after watching the depiction of Sam's memory loss as a result of being drugged into submitting to non-consexual sex.  What was implied to be multiple instances of rape.  He was strangely unaffected by his experience with repeated drugged-rape at the end of the episode.  It was laughed off.  I'm not laughing.  I'm thinking about the time I spent being interviewed by police for a police report that produced no arrests or prosecution; of having my bruises and injuries photographed by doctors I didn't know; of the years of therapy that it took before I accepted that what happened to me wasn't my own fault.

Please forward this website to the production staff of this episode:

Sexual assault does not become funny or acceptable because it happens to a male character either.  News out of Penn State this week should make this fact painfully clear.

I am not amused.  And I am not alone.  And I don't know if I can watch this show any more.  This hurt me.

kalliel: (firefly)

[personal profile] kalliel 2011-11-12 03:50 am (UTC)(link)
I am so, so sorry, babe. I haven't seen the episode, but I want to give you all the love in the world right now. ♥

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 03:55 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks. I'm... a little fucked up right now. I appreciate the support.
kalliel: (Default)

[personal profile] kalliel 2011-11-12 03:57 am (UTC)(link)
You ever need anything at all, know that you can hit me up. <333333333

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 04:25 am (UTC)(link)
You know, they've skated this territory time and time again, but never quite so blatantly, from the sound of it.

There were past episodes that bothered me, but it was possible to handwave them a little bit. (Well, except for the stuff with meg last season- that crossed a line for me so much that I for the first time in my life, felt compelled to complain to the FCC).

I am really sorry that show brought up such horrible feelings and memories for you. I wish they weren't so....stupidly, willfully blind.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 04:36 am (UTC)(link)
The Meg thing - at least it was implied that it was evil and wrong. This was all just a joke. That's what's killing me on the inside: they got so much of this experience exactly right and then they treated it like it was a joke.

But it's not. It really, truly is not. I haven't had a flashback episode in months, not since my doctors finally found a treatment plan that worked for me. I'm having one right now.
(deleted comment)

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 12:01 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm debating on if I want to watch this ep, because I feel like I would need to see if for myself, but at the same time...just. ugh.

This is me. I think I'm going to watch it, but... fucking crap.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 02:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Let me know if you do? I don't think I can do it.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 05:59 am (UTC)(link)
I've been steadily losing faith in the writers the past few seasons, what with all the LOL RAPE references (fucking Wishful Thinking, FUCKING FAIRIES AND OBERON, and fucking this, apparently), their attitude toward mental health treatment, and how they deal with sensitive issues in general. So I'd like to say that this ~came out of nowhere~ but I'm not surprised, and this is exactly what I was expecting to happen, and UGH.

And to top it off, they had the victim try to reassure his "loser" attacker (a formerly beloved avatar for our fandom, which I suspect probably just got a LOT SMALLER) that she wasn't a bad person.

Are you fucking serious? How did this make it on screen? I'm debating on if I want to watch this ep, because I feel like I would need to see if for myself, but at the same time...just. ugh.

I am so sorry, honey. Know that I love you and am hear for you whenever you need to talk.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 06:22 am (UTC)(link)
I really... I don't know how the feedback process works over there, but I really kind of want an apology for this episode. It messed with my head hard. I honestly have only the one trigger left over from my rape and they nailed it on the head. The look of horror on Sam's face when he can't remember what's been happening while he was roofied and then pieces of it start to come back to him and he realizes that something so very very wrong happened that he couldn't remember. That's exactly what happened to me. And then they said that no, everything's sunshine and rainbows and isn't Sam so wonderful and mentally strong for being able to get through it without breaking down?

Just... fuck them. I'm a strong woman - I've been through plenty of shit in my life and I've dealt with it. But the date rape thing broke me in ways I didn't think were possible. And it's not okay. It just isn't.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 02:17 pm (UTC)(link)
I feel like they've apologized for lesser things, you know? Sure, it was only to apologize for calling Dean a dick in YF (and that is DEFINITELY not what they should have apologized for from that ep - sure, let's make fun of a trauma victim fresh from hell, LOLOLOL oh and guess what, the same writers of this ep! WHAT A SHOCK.)

That sounds horrible, and I went ahead and deleted it from my DVR last night. Let me know how you're doing today, okay? ♥

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 02:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Ha! You're right. The same guys who decided to blame Becky going psycho because she had been bullied in high school are the same ASSHOLES who didn't understand that everything in YF actually endorsed bully culture and which made fun of trauma victims. They're also the ones who didn't understand which parts of Good Omens were funny when they decided to rip it off whole cloth.


I'm... okay today. Spent last night watching my faves from Doctor Who and some Dan Savage speeches about bullying and how the people who do it are insignificant, miserable people who are just trying to spread their own misery. Still feels like I got a punch to the gut. Maybe I should go eat something.

<3 you. Thanks for keeping an eye on me.

(Anonymous) 2011-11-12 06:41 am (UTC)(link)
For the record, though, she said they had not consummated their marriage, meaning there was no actual physical rape involved.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 06:50 am (UTC)(link)
"She says" means that he doesn't know. He doesn't remember. That's the part that messes with roofie victims' heads. That's why when I woke up after being roofied, I had to go on a full regimen of STD medications, because I didn't know if there had been a condom involved. It's why I still don't know how many attackers I had (it was more than one, but they don't know how many it was). It's Becky's word (which, in that she was willing to roofie someone, has no real credibility) that she didn't sleep with him. He doesn't know - and the not knowing is worse.

Furthermore if she didn't consummate the marriage, what was that whole scene with the lingerie about?

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 08:21 am (UTC)(link)
Where exactly did you send this feedback? I'd like to send some too.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 02:18 pm (UTC)(link)

They also have boards and things for episode reactions, but I wasn't up to dealing with new communities last night.

[identity profile] 2011-11-13 12:03 am (UTC)(link)

I did find that page but it showed no access to me and still does. Oh well.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 11:25 am (UTC)(link)
I'm really sorry this episode triggered you. I must admit I was apalled myself until it was stated that they hand't consumated their wedding. Althought I have to assume they did made out.

I also think the memory loss was only temporary, because Sam remembered what he had said to Dean while drugged, so it makes it a *little* easier.

But still, it's no excuse. At the end of the episode Dean is the one depicted as the one going through a hard time, while the clear victim has been Sam. I hope they read your email and regret it.

I hope you do not totally lose hope in the show though. Joking about this is a serious mistake, but I think it's the fault of the writers of this episode, not of the show as a whole. It would be a pity to lose something that used to made you feel good.

Again, I'm really sorry about what happened to you (I can't imagine anything worse) and the memories their stupid blindness brought back.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 12:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Althought I have to assume they did made out.

That's still a nonconsensual act. Making out is still sexual. It's not full on rape, but it's still NONCONSENSUAL. The critique isn't directed at you, more at the production team.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 02:33 pm (UTC)(link)
I honestly don't remember the line where they claimed it was never consummated. I was already too freaked out at that point (I had to take a first dose of Xanax when Becky hit him over the head with the waffle iron. I had to take a second during the tied to the bed scenes). But it's just such a quick little band aid cover up to a show that was really just a parade of horrors for me that it's... not much of an excuse.

One of my favorite jokes used to be the "Please stop touching me" line from Sympathy for the Devil. In this episode, it wasn't a joke. Every time she touched him I really wanted to throw up.

As I said: I don't think I'll drop the show over this episode. It's given me too much joy over the years. I just don't know if I'm quite as dedicated to it as I was before last night, if I'll give it the benefit of the doubt as easily as I have before.

Thanks for your comments and your sympathies: it's been a few years now and I should be fine in a little while and with a little perspective.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 06:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I honestly don't remember the line where they claimed it was never consummated.

I think that's what an annulment is (Emphasis on 'think'- I'm not sure). I think you get a divorce if the marriage is consummated, and an annulment when it isn't.

I'm sorry this episode hit you so hard. :(
Edited 2011-11-12 18:25 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 06:30 pm (UTC)(link)
That is in fact what annulment means. Technically and in general. Having grown up in a Catholic neighborhood, where annulments are the only real option, I have seen the Church grant an annulment in cases where biological children of the two anull-ees exist.

The other case where an annulment is offered is when one party can offer strong evidence that they were not of sound mind or incapable of signing a binding contract at the time of marriage - in other words, children and people who have been drugged or forced to sign under duress. In these cases, the annulment is granted regardless of consummation - and the party who forced the marriage is often liable to criminal prosecution for their acts.
Edited 2011-11-12 18:32 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah, okay. I'd heard the general definition before, and when I ran it by my mom (raised Catholic) she gave me the same answer. I was trying to figure out if they were subtly implying that the marriage was never cosummated, or if it was something else. The second case sounds the most likely here.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 07:04 pm (UTC)(link)
It's also worth noting that the standard of proof for granting an annulment due to the marriage never being consummated (in cases where no shared biological children of the couple exist) is that both parties sign an affidavit stating that the marriage was never consummated. That's it. As long as the parties are both willing to agree to a minor instance of perjury, there are no consummation police. So if the "annulment" is the only evidence the episode gave that the marriage was never consummated, it's not very good proof of anything other than Sam and Becky agreeing that if there was sex, it will never be spoken of again.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 07:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Mm, that's true. It doesn't sound like something either of them would be eager to bring up again.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 07:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Which just brings us all the way back around to the strong possibility that Sam is concealing the fact that he was repeatedly raped from the world. Or even denying to himself that it was rape. See the RAINN information page that I included on Male Sexual Assault victims, particularly on the misconception that "all men enjoy sex so it must be consensual."

"Self-shaming" and "denial" are two other terms that come to mind. While I informed friends, authorities, and my school of my rape immediately, I concealed it from my family for more than six months - which ultimately made the recovery process much worse. This episode just sends bad messages all over.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 07:55 pm (UTC)(link)
The Winchesters aren't exactly the poster-boys for sharing their feelings and being open with one another (Dear God can those boys repress).

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 08:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I think we've reached the deepest depths of apologetics at this point. So, here goes:

No, Sam and Dean are not known for sharing. However, at various points, the narrative of the show has - through other characters, through visual displays, through Dean's severe and worsening alcoholism or other manner - shown that they do indeed feel pain. That they suffer from that which they have survived. And the causes of that pain: their emotionally fucked father, demons, the whole Lucifer conspiracy, their emotional codependence, have, in general, been depicted by the narrative of the show as "bad things" that cause pain and suffering.

Not last night. Last night drugged induced rape was treated as something that is wrong, but mostly which is annoying. The actions of someone who was drugged out of his right mind were treated as something he needed to apologize for. The whole incident was treated as a learning experience for everyone from which Sam actually emerged as a stronger person capable of trusting his own, previously damaged mind, even more, and with no real lasting consequences. Drug induced rape! Ha, what a joke! It builds character!

That's my objection. That's why this episode felt like a punch to the stomach, and then the face, and then being told to say thank you for it and that if I didn't, I was a humorless person who obviously didn't get the joke. I got the "joke". It just wasn't funny. I'll close with a quote from Ricky Gervais that sums up my feeling about last night's episode better than I ever could.

When dealing with a so-called taboo subject, the angst and discomfort of the audience is what’s under the microscope. Our own preconceptions and prejudices are often what are being challenged. I don’t like racist jokes. Not because they are offensive. I don’t like them because they’re not funny. And they’re not funny because they’re not true. They are almost always based on a falsehood somewhere along the way, which ruins the gag for me. Comedy is an intellectual pursuit. Not a platform.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 08:41 pm (UTC)(link)
And a friend of mine finally let me know that there was an outright statement that the relationship wasn't consummated during the scene where Sam was tied to the bed. I missed this because, well, that's the scene that really triggered me and I was retrieving my anti-anxiety meds at the time. I'm apologize if it sounds like I've been hounding you - this is just something that is, well, very personal for me. And in many ways, the emotional and mental manipulation issues - in particularly chemical-induced memory loss, which is the trigger that brought me down - are as bad as intercourse.

Thanks again for your thoughts, comments, and concern.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 08:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah, okay- I forgot that one too, which is why I was confused why you didn't know. No problem. :) I understand how this must have had a very significant impact on you, and I'm hoping you feel better.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 12:06 pm (UTC)(link)

*hugs* That sounds as bad as I had feared. Christ.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 02:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks hon. I was not a happy girl last night.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 01:56 pm (UTC)(link)
I've only watched the first 3 eps due to lackof motivation, etc and this news kills me. I had been debating on whether to encourage my hubby to watch this series or not and this episode decided it . A resounding no. One of the reasons I'm such a spoiler ho is that I preview nearly everything for him (by my choice).

This really pisses me off. I'll watch so I can judge for myself, but waning interest in actively watching the show just took another hit of apathy.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 02:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Like I said: I was kind of messed up by the end (the claim that the marriage went unconsummated? I had no idea), so yeah, it's probably a good idea to watch for yourself. This single episode doesn't eliminate all of the good that the show's done over the years - especially given that it's the product of a writing pair (Dabb and Lafflin) that has been responsible for MANY of the show's worst episodes over the last four seasons.

My main disappointment in the show as a whole is that all of this made it through the entire production process without anyone raising these objections along the way. I am very fortunate in having just this one trigger left over from my experience - I can't imagine how bad this episode was for people (1 in 6) who are more easily triggered by references to their trauma.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 02:50 pm (UTC)(link)
*Hugs you* I'm so sorry the show brought up such horrible memories. 90 % of this episode is wrong and triggery.

I confess the episode looked really dull, and I can't stand Becky, so I didn't even turn on the episode until about 9:35...and the first thing I saw was Sam tied up...and just watching from that point on, I felt unclean. And rewatching the episode for parts I missed...I feel even more dirty. OH MY GOD. How did the writers not see how wrong and squicky this is?

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 02:59 pm (UTC)(link)
As jaimeykay pointed out above, the writing pair responsible for this episode (Dabb and Lafflin) is also responsible for: Yellow Fever, I Believe the Children are Our Future, Sam Interrupted, and Hammer of the Gods. So these two assholes have the following major themes in their work: bullying the abused, making fun of people who've suffered trauma, making light of rape, and FAILING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT MAKES TERRY PRATCHETT AND NEIL GAIMAN GOOD AND FUNNY WRITERS WHILE RIPPING THEM OFF WHOLE CLOTH.

This doesn't let off the rest of the production staff for not killing/editing the crap out of this script before it got through to broadcast. But yeah: these two hacks need to go down.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 03:20 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm so very sorry this was triggering for you. I wish I lived closer to the production offices so that I could go punch them in the face for hurting some of the people I care for most.

What I would really like to see happen is a Kripke-style post-Yellow Fever apology from someone, ANYONE, but I doubt that is going to happen. Show really disappointed me with this one. I can't believe that NO ONE who had their hands on that script thought to bring up even one of the issues with this episode.


[identity profile] 2011-11-12 03:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks, hon. I'd honestly be really surprised if I was the only one who freaked out about this last night. My story is hardly an uncommon one. And the production staff should really have known that.

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 03:22 pm (UTC)(link)
This is the first time so far when I don't want to watch an episode of show.

*hugs* ♥

[identity profile] 2011-11-12 03:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks. <3 You may want to watch it for yourself - other commenters have pointed out that there were things in the episode that I missed, probably because at about a half-hour in, I was in the middle of a flash-back panic. I may not be entirely fair to the end of the episode, but I don't have it in me to attempt a rewatch. I'm just going to do my best to forget it ever happened.