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Soulless Sam is as awesome as clueless Anya

In the last episode of 'Supernatural,' we finally got the humor in Sam's situation that I've been waiting for. And dang it, if he didn't remind me of 'Buffy's' Anya in all her logical (and completely un-empathetic) glory.

It took me a few episodes of nervous wondering, but I’m definitely on-board with season six of Supernatural. It made me a wreck that Kripke was no longer the showrunner, and that he had planned for a five-season arc. Really, where were they going to go with season six?

Well, they’re going all right, and only to great places, I might add. The only little niggling thing in the back of my head was that I wasn’t loving evil Sam … or questionable Sam. I didn’t want them to go all half-demon / half-human with us. I didn’t want Sam to be possessed by Lucifer or have him changed by his unfortunate stay in a cage in Hell. I wanted my mushy puppy optimistic Sam back, with all his naivete, the perfect foil for Dean’s worldly (and otherworldly) angst.

I wasn’t getting it, and I was irritated. With the last episode, “Clap Your Hands if You Believe,” I finally got what I wanted. We’ve known for a few weeks what was wrong with Sam — no soul. It makes sense, it’s believable, but it wasn’t … fun. Now, it’s fun. So fun, in fact, that I would liken Soulless Sam to Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Anya, when she was first trying to fit in with human society.

It’s almost like watching someone with supernatural Asperger’s Syndrome. We’re talking no comprehension of social norms, of common decencies, of courtesy, politeness, caring for another living thing kind of disorder. And it’s hilarious.

Watching Anya try to fit in to the hierarchy of high school, all the while looking out for only herself, well, that was inspired. It was a living, breathing, walking, talking metaphor of what every teenager does on a daily basis. No one really belongs, right? Brilliant, and funny to watch.

We’re getting the same thing with Soulless Sam. You can’t help but be forced to acknowledge that many humans put themselves first in their day-to-day doings and Sam simply doesn’t understand why he has to have empathy for anyone. He’s using only his logic to make decisions, much like Anya, and the writers are smart enough to insert humor into this. Watching Dean try to explain to Sam why he needs to exhibit common decency? Well let’s just say that Dean and Xander could start a support group.

Sam may not be the mushy puppy of the first few seasons, but this current soulless incarnation is still a great foil for Dean, since the writers decided to go that route. So thank you, writers, for adding some humor back into the dynamic between the two brothers, and reminding me of what I loved about Buffy‘s Anya.

Photo Credit: The CW

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Categories: | Buffy the Vampire Slayer | Clack | Features | General | Supernatural | TV Shows |

14 Responses to “Soulless Sam is as awesome as clueless Anya”

November 29, 2010 at 9:53 AM

No he’s not awesome. He an unbelievable jerk, that when you think about it, is not much different than he was the last two seasons. I’ll take Puppy!Sam back any day over this dolt. And I’ve really had enough of Dean having nothing to do besides angst over poor Sammy.

November 29, 2010 at 10:49 AM

I agree with Meg. I don’t like uncaring Sam that much because it’s kind of taken away the whole brotherly love dynamic that the show has been built on from the beginning. Sure, they’ve had some rough patches but they’re always there for each other. The last episode did have some funny moments, but I’m still not on board with Sam not caring one way or the other about what happens to his brother. I hope he gets his soul back … and soon!

November 29, 2010 at 11:01 AM

I agree with debbie, i’m loving soulless sam, even more that normal sam, and to stirr things a little is always a good move in my book (you can always go back to the previous season for your good old sammy), so keep the good work supernatural team!!! :)

November 29, 2010 at 2:29 PM

I’ve been completely on board with Sam’s story from the start of this season, and the humor has been there pretty much from 601. ;) I guess it depends on what attitude you go into the season with – I don’t care if Kripke is showrunner or not, and it’s refreshing to give each season a different spin (much like BtVS did)… the lack of brotherly love from Sam’s end just highlights their relationship even more. Some fans just need to trust that the writers will end things on a good note for the brothers, which they’ve stated they will all along. :) Soulless Sam is hilarious, and that gives Dean a lot of fun stuff to play off of in the process.

November 29, 2010 at 3:34 PM

I miss my Sammy! I hope they get his soul back soon.

November 29, 2010 at 4:46 PM

I really like Soulless Sam. I hadn’t thought of Anya, but that’s a great comparison. I also think of Arnold in T2. Anya is better though. Arnold had to comply with commands. Anya though was capable of love and wanted to fit in so she mostly tried. Sam is completely amoral so he gives some lip-service to wanting his soul back, but his logical self just doesn’t see the point. His total lack of empathy makes him interesting as does Dean, who often got to play the ‘jerk’ during interviews with survivors now having to explain things, ala Xander. I want to see the brothers back at it, but this is good. I wasn’t fully onboard with the season, but now I’m more into it. Keep it up Sera, Ben, and company.

November 29, 2010 at 7:01 PM

Pretty much the wrong take, because Sam is a male character and Anya a female one. Sam knows what social cues are, he just doesn’t care.

Because without a soul he’s a total asshole. And therefore irresistible to women, who are hard-wired to be drawn to total assholes.

Anya on the other hand was a woman. Her disdain and lack of care for social niceties and politeness pretty much erased her hotness. At best she was good for sex, and then utterly disposable. Even the Omega Male Xander finally saw how disposable she was.

Because women are not men. An asshole man is, like Spike, Angel, soul-lacking Sam, and Captain Mal, desirable by pretty much all women. Asshole means uncaring, dominant, the power center. And women rush to power like Water seeking a lower place on the planet. It is just the way women are.

Men seeking something other than occasional sex demand something more from women. Chasteness or whatever can come closest, female compassion, that makes a woman theirs alone. Not someone else’s discarded plaything and not a difficult, careless woman (who is a bad bet for faithfulness, tenderness, and a good/caring mother). In order to generate investment by a man (with options) a woman must besides beauty and youth possess grace, charm, social skills, and tenderness.

The very male quality of uber-assholery that soul-less Sam provides made Anya nothing more than pump-and-dump material (see: Spike) and finally even Xander a man with no options knew it.

The main criticism of Whedon is he was too chicken to run with Anya’s unsuitability for much of anyone with options. A sordid and very lengthy past, including sexually, lack of social skills, and being older in mind and attitude (jaded, cynical) made her far less appealing than Buffy or Dawn. Who were younger, more vulnerable, less jaded, and far less used up.

The sexual and romantic marketplace is cruel and unforgiving. Even more so to those who do not hew to its tenets. Particularly that a woman is a depreciating asset (Buffy’s careful assertion that she had few partners) that declines with numbers of bed mates as well as absolute time. While up to a certain point any man can generate inner assholery, that signals dominance and power. But such men though desirable do not generally commit themselves long term to anyone but the most beautiful, and then only when they reach their own inherent age limits (Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones vs. say, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordgren come to mind).

Soulless Sam works because his assholery and lack of caring make him a natural ladies man. Women are drawn to it. Anya mostly failed because her lack of any options were never really depicted (Whedon was too much a pandering feminist to puncture carefully nurtured female illusions).

November 30, 2010 at 7:45 AM

“Because without a soul he’s a total asshole. And therefore irresistible to women, who are hard-wired to be drawn to total assholes.”

“And women rush to power like Water seeking a lower place on the planet. It is just the way women are.”

“Soulless Sam works because his assholery and lack of caring make him a natural ladies man.”

Dude. Seriously. What the hell kind of women have you been dating?

November 30, 2010 at 8:57 AM

LOL, I have to say I was just going to say the same thing..poor guy can only find losers.

December 1, 2010 at 12:02 AM

Wow. I tripped onto this article, and ended up face first in some douchebag’s vomiting of overt mysogyny. Thanks, guy, for an eye-opening glimpse into how cave men view women.

Now excuse me while I clean off my shoes and wipe the taint from my brain.

November 29, 2010 at 9:11 PM

I’m not on-board with soulless Sam or the direction S6 decided to take. Sam is nothing more than a self-professed murderer who cares nothing about his brother or anything else but himself.

I don’t like the role reversal the show took. It ends up being all about Sam with no role for Dean. In fact, as far as I can tell, Dean’s character was written to fit the Lisa/Ben characters and is; therefore, driven by the plot…the plot is not driven by the character. Sam’s character, also, is written by the plot of ‘the mystery of Sam,’ instead of his character driving the plot. With no brother bond whatsoever, I am actually seeing no reason for Dean to even be in the season. Nobody cares about saving Sam, except Dean…and that includes Sam, who is quite proud and satisfied with himself. So what is the point, really?

Anya was not set up to be one-half of a whole, so that character could be socially clueless and funny. But Anya was not cruel while she was being funny, and Sam is. So, no, I don’t think the comparison is valid at all, and I don’t think S6 is a winner.

November 30, 2010 at 12:00 AM

I love souless Sam!! He’s such a breath of fresh air! Yes, he’s a jerk, but we know why, and we also know that Sam is going to get his soul back pretty soon. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the new dynamic and the break from the angst of the last few years. And Jared is killing it!!

November 30, 2010 at 1:18 AM

“Awesome” I don’t think so. Souless Sam is getting boring and getting on my nerves, could have put up for it for a few episodes but now it is getting annoying.

December 31, 2010 at 12:36 AM

I think Castiel is more like Anya.