It's 2016, which means I hadn't seen the first few seasons of House in a decade. That's apparently how long it takes to forget what happens. I fell in love with everything again, and then, slowly, replicated the exact motions of falling back out of love with it.
1) I will never experience with SPN what I just did with House. While I apparently forgot how the entire main mytharc for House's S3 even got resolved (uh, whoops), I am too familiar with SPN to forget quite so wholly--no matter how much time passes.
There's plenty of canon I'm hazy on, I mean--and there will always be nuances and insinuations and little scenes that I won't remember. (Or never understood in the first place. Or willfully forgot. XD) But the big stuff? Or even the middling stuff? That's in me for good. Crazed rewatching paired with writing fan fic will do that to you.
Being spoilerfree is important to me because the nature of my relationship with SPN is such that if I learn something prematurely, I will never have that transient, ephemeral moment of discovery. You only get one chance with those, and they are rare and special. And because SPN is SPN, it's not just the big things that are indelible--Sam gets knifed in the back! Dean goes to Hell! Castiel is in league with the King of Hell!--but also the small ones, e.g., in this episode, X wrote this one. This title references yet another Stones single. This Wednesday, Dean looks at Sam in a certain way; there's a cant to his head and a lilt in his eyes and look where his hands are.
You get one shot with first-times for that kind of stuff, and I want my first time to be the same as Sam and Dean's first times, too. <3
2) This also gains in importance for me because, again, my particular relationship with SPN is such that I have some trouble getting out of the metatextual present. I basically just think about SPN 24/7, and have a constant feed of headcanon, and write and read a lot of fic. It's always around, backwards and forwards and non-linearly.
This is great for creativity, great for love, for developing nuance and texture and all of that.
But sometimes that also gets in the way, because like, even if X happens and it's sad and I'm sad, there's another part of me that's getting this epic hard-on for how gleeful all this sadness is making me. XD WHICH IS COOL, TOO, but not quite as in medias res as I can be with other shows. Like, if a patient dies on House, I'm just like, omg cry so sad. And I can be present with that sadness without being like, HAHA FUCK YES WINCHESTER MISERYYYY I LUV. I LUUUVVVVVVV.
I don't get to cry about SPN.
If someone dies on SPN, it's not insta-tears the way I am with House, or Law and Order. And it's NOT because of the fantasy elements, and people getting brought back to life in canon. It's because in my mind every piece of canon--present or past--is equally accessible, as are an innumerable number of alternate timelines ready to be read or written.
And it's so hard to get out of that mindset! Especially since it's also that mindset that's fueling my investment in and understanding of these characters in the first place.
Which is all to say, there are tradeoffs to familiarity. Ideally, I want to keep all my personal textures to my experience of SPN and my reads of Sam and Dean, but I'd also want to be present. Really present--to feel their rage as rage, their fear as fear, their tragedy as tragedy, happiness as happiness.
I'm not sure how to have both, or if it's possible, but that's my dream.
(Aside from some very personal explorations during S9/10) I think the last time I felt that and was cognizant of it was 5x22. I'd just gotten into SPN, had just begun to dip my toes into LJ fandom and writing--but I wasn't quite there yet.
When I watched 5x22 it felt like something had truly ended--that the Winchester's lives and their world had shifted in such a real, inescapable way there was no way backward. The past was effectively past and the future? Was there one?
It's an incredibly strong memory for me because although I'm kind of over that (it's totally mentally possible to sink back into S1-5 for me now! XD) for that whole Hellatus that sense was so, so real. It had to do with the nature of 5x22 generally speaking, for sure.
But it also had to do with standing on that precipice between watching SPN in a single, canon present, and watching it in a multiple, metatextual present. Think of it as the difference between how a human experiences his life on Earth and how an angel might.
I made my choice on that and then some (no plans to leave fic or fandom or 24/7 headcanon, that's for sure) but sometimes I really miss that precipice.
(The "i can't watch tv like a normal person" tag has never been more apt!)