While I was gleefully devouring all four seasons of Supernatural for my Diary of a Supernatural Virgin column, I couldn’t help but notice all of the similarities between Dean Winchester and my favorite ass-kicking blonde slayer, Buffy Summers. There’s no denying that Eric Kripke owes much to Joss Whedon for paving the way with his ground-breaking iconic series, but I also think he instilled in his hero, Dean, many of the same qualities that make Buffy the well-rounded character that she is.
It even goes beyond qualities and encompasses actual story elements that touched both characters. I’m going out on a limb here and saying that Kripke didn’t borrow without rhyme or reason: I think he paid homage to Whedon in the ways he subtly carved Dean’s complex character to be similar to Buffy’s duality — the lighthearted banter masking the inner angst.1. Dean and Buffy both had a death wish, then decided they’d rather live.
Dean was done with his hunting life and ready to take on whatever death was going to bring him: hopefully, peace. Buffy did die, went to heaven, really liked it there, so never embraced life like she should have once she returned. In season three of Supernatural, Dean meets a nightmare version of himself in “Dream a Little Dream of Me” and decides he doesn’t want to die after all. Buffy just screws Spike, gets trapped in a pit with Dawn at the end of season six and decides to enjoy the earthly plane again.2. Dean and Buffy both died and came back.
Castiel and the angels yanked Dean out of Hell and brought him back to Earth to do their bidding. Buffy’s “angel” was her best friend, Willow, whose questionable magic practices and love for Buffy caused her to make a really bad decision.3. Each is in charge of watching out for a younger sibling.
Buffy’s got an important job in keeping Dawn — and The Key — safe. Dean’s got to watch out for little girl Sam, but also he’s got to be sure Sam doesn’t cross the line to the dark side.4. Taking a demon life comes very easily to the pair.
Buffy’s never had any qualms about dusting a vamp, and it’s (mostly) always been an unquestionable truth for Dean that demons need killing.5. Dean and Buffy each crawled their way up out of a grave.
When Willow’s spell brings Buffy back to life, she claws her way out of her coffin, only to be traumatized by the experience. Dean finds himself alive and matter-of-factly makes his way out of the dirt and back into life. Or a convenience store.6. They each had a tough decision to make for the greater good: killing someone they loved.
At the end of season two, Buffy kills Angel and sends him back to Hell. Even though she knows he has his soul back, she does it to save the world. Throughout the Supernatural series, Dean is prepared to follow John’s orders (and Sam’s wishes) to kill Sam if he goes all evil. Would Dean have followed through if need be is another story….7. They each tangled with Todd Stashwick.
Huh? Todd Stashwick is the actor who played the M’Fashnik demon in Buffy’s season six episode, “Flooded.” He also played Dracula in Supernatural’s season four “Monster Movie.” (Thanks to Brett for this obscure detail!)8. They both had absentee fathers.
Buffy’s dear daddy left her mother right along with his interest in being a dad. She had a Mom she depended on, and Giles as her father figure. Dean’s dad meant well, but was too caught up in the hunt to be the best dad he could be, leaving Dean to fend for himself and take care of Sam. Do you think Buffy and Dean were both stronger for it, or did it contribute to their weaknesses?9. Dean and Buffy each play the ditzy one.
As flaky as most of the Scooby gang can be at times, Buffy tends to have a ditzy side that counterbalances her slayer-esque strength and street smarts, foiled by Willow’s book smarts. Dean, as well, possesses the street smarts but, when compared with Sam, doesn’t have a lot of book knowledge to his credit.10. They are vain and funny at the same time.
“I may be dead, but I’m still pretty. Which is more than I can say for you.” – Buffy, “Prophecy Girl”
“You think you’re funny?” – Henricksen
“I think I’m adorable.” – Dean11. Dean and Buffy both put on a brave front when they’re scared, and we get some funny lines because of it.
“Now, we can do this the hard way or … well, actually, there’s just the hard way.” – Buffy to Darla
“That’s fine with me.” – Darla
“Are you sure? Now this is not gonna be pretty. We’re talking violence, strong language, adult content.” – Buffy
“I’m not going to die in a hospital where the nurses aren’t even hot.” – Dean
OK, I’m out. But I think I’ve proven my point: Buffy and Dean have a lot in common, and Kripke owes it all to Joss. Did I miss anything?