First off I have to say that I watch Supernatural every week and that it’s one of my favorite shows, so I’m at least a little bit biased about this.
Even so, I think that people who claim that Supernatural is queerbating its audience are being unfair, or they just don’t know what they’re talking about. For those of you who may not know what it is, queerbaiting is, let’s say, a technique used by TV show runners and such to appeal to a queer audience with LGBT characters, relationships or subtext just to get more views without really caring about telling a good story, making three-dimensional characters or even actually making it canon at all.
Many people claim that the relationship between Castiel and Dean (as well other aspects of the show, but this is the most prominent one), is nothing but queerbaiting. The way I see it, this isn’t queerbaiting, for two reasons.
First of all I don’t think anyone is seriously waiting for them to get together. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all hoping it may happen someday, but no one has ever encouraged the audience to think that in a concrete way. No one is expecting it to happen. Sure, there are allusions and there’s plenty of subtext, but that’s exactly what it is, pure, simple and, most importantly, self-proclaimed. It’s clear that the creators are not going to make it happen, but also that they think it’s a valid and legitimate interpretation of the characters.
This was clearer than ever in episode 200 (seriously? This show has been going on for over 200 episodes?!) in which Dean and Sam run into a school musical about their lives (I’m not even gonna try to explain that, it would take too long and just make it sound really dumb…) and Dean says to the girl who had written the script: You have your version, and I have mine, meaning that there isn’t a better version, they’re just different.
The second reason that makes me think this is that there are oh so many gay jokes, innuendos and characters that have nothing to do with Cas and Dean’s relationship which, the way I see it, simply show that the people behind Supernatural are aware of their big gay fanbase (pro-gay more than gay, I should say) and this is a way to sort of acknowledging them, of saying that they know we’re watching and they are happy about that.
Say what you will, but this doesn’t qualify as queerbaiting in my book.