I am so pissed at the latest ep of my favorite currently running show, Supernatural. It takes a set-up with meta-humorous possibilities and flushes it down the toilet with a send-off of homophobic cliches. The conceit is that a team of amateur doofuses, the Ghostfacers, wish to film a reality show of their investigation of a haunted house. Their investigation becomes serious when an actual murderous ghost shows up. Fortunately, Sam and Dean arrive to save the doofuses and dispatch the ghost. You can find details at Television Without Pity’s blow-by-blow summary. I’d like to concentrate on the goddamned stupid fucking homophobia.
Troubles begin when the murderous ghost takes Corbett hostage. Ghost also takes Sam hostage, but only kills Corbett. Corbett then appears in an endless replay of his death, which can only be resolved by the Blond Doofus snapping Corbett out of it and making him realize he’s dead. The Other Doofus Guy urges Blond Guy to be “gay for that poor dead boy and send him into the light” [or something like that]. Other Doofus insists that Blond Guy is the only one “brave enough” to do so. Blond Guy then bullshits to Corbett about how much Corbett meant to him. Corbett realizes that he is dead. Touched by the Blond Doofus’ admission of feelings for him, Corbett saves his friends by attacking the murderous ghost. Both the murderous ghost and Corbett dissolve and go to hell. One of the doofuses closes the reality show ep by remarking that he’s learning that “gay love can pierce through the wall of death and save the day.”
In the wake of this ep, this is what I have learned:
1. Gay guys are simpering, pathetically enamored, wibbly, weak individuals. They have little composure, little gumption, little bravery, little self-restraint and little strength.
2. They are also expendable.
3. In fact, in the overall calculus of horror movies, if you line up a bunch of innocent nubile female heterosexual virgins next to a gay guy, the gay guy is going to get it because he is more vulnerable. This ep proved that indirectly by putting both a gay guy and a nubile young woman on the Doofus Brigade and then making sure that the only one who bit it was the gay guy.
4. Homosexuality is more horrifying than murderous spirits. Notice how the only circumstances in which bravery is explicitly invoked are the ones where Blond Guy is encouraged to “be gay for” Corbett’s dead and tortured soul. So apparently you don’t have to be brave to enter a haunted house or to search for your kidnapped friend or to confront a murderous ghost; such challenges are nothing compared to the excruciating torture of a straight guy admitting to another guy that he cares for him.
5. Homosexuality is such a threat that it must be completely killed, then silenced, effectively erased. Corbett dies once by the hand of the murderous ghost, but it’s not enough that he’s the only Doofus Brigadeer who croaks. No, he has to go further and become the Saintly, Self-Sacrificing, Repressed, Unfulfilled Character when he saves his friends by attacking the murderous ghost. So, not only does Corbett die, but he also completely destroys his soul in defending his friends. I don’t care what his motives were because the fact remains that he meets the same end as the murderous ghost. In the show’s calculus, the murderous ghost was a murderous pervert, so he deserved to die. By the same logic, because he met the exact same end, Corbett must have deserved to die as well. But what did he do to merit death? Answer: He was gay.
So not only was Corbett killed and his soul destroyed, but then, at the very end of the ep, Dean and Sam erase the ep covering the Doofus Brigade’s adventures so that no one will know the circumstances of Corbett’s death. Dean and Sam remark that, with this destruction of evidence, “no one will ever know the truth” about the Ghostfacers. Well, no one will ever know the truth about Corbett either. He died once by the ghost’s hands, a second time by sacrificing himself and then a third time in the erasure of the video footage that told his story. By implication, homosexuality is as pernicious as the evil spirits that Dean and Sam eradicate, and those who practice it must be killed, then killed some more and killed again. Truly, this is the most disturbing aspect of the ep, reminding me of those medieval punishments of hanging, drawing and quartering. Of course, being hung, then drawn, then quartered, is overkill because the dead person is already dead after the hanging, but you still need the drawing and the quartering to really punish the remains for the extra heinous crime. Corbett’s self-sacrifice and the erasure of the tapes function as his drawing and quartering, excessive, spectacular violence heaped upon his already dead self just to reinforce how bad his crime of homosexuality was.
Ghostfacers ends up illustrating how silence can kill. It’s pretty obvious to me that the Doofus Brigade killed Corbett with their own stupid homophobia. They allude to this fact at the end of the ep when they say that they have learned something about themselves, but they remain oblivious to the sinister extent of their viciousness. They didn’t just fear Corbett; they drove him away and, in some sense, killed him THREE TIMES with the force of their revulsion. I find that deeply disturbing, truly horrific and very unsettling that the ep doesn’t even realize its true source of horror. Instead, we’re meant to approve of Corbett’s self-sacrifice and Dean and Sam’s erasure of the Doofus Brigade’s tapes. We’re supposed to laugh and ignore the venomous hate seething at the core of this ep.