Is Charlie Bradbury, Robbie Thompson’s self insert?

I don’t think we’ve talked about this connection before on this blog, and thought its about time I corrected this. Many no on IMDb that I personally don’t like Charlie, and I don’t really care for the actress Felicia Day either. I began to find her interesting in The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo to start with, but this interest soon began to waver. The more she appeared on the show, I liked her less and less.

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It wasn’t until recently that Lacountess and others pointed out on the message board, that

http://www.spoilertv.com/2015/01/supernatural-season-10-episode-11-gripe.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460681/board/nest/239739775

Another reason why Charlie is nobody’s girlfriend is her creator. Robbie Thompson is a straight guy. Charlie is his gender swapped self-insert. He doesn’t dream of dating any of the protagonists like fan-fiction writers do, rather he wants to be one of them, or all of them, and outshine them at everything. That’s why his creation is a mix of all three protagonists. She has Dean’s wit and badassery, Castiel’s adorable dorkyness, and Sam’s smarts and tendency to attract the dark and the supernatural. She does all of these better than either of them every time she’s around, and they feel so impressed they turn into mouthpieces of her praise and validation.

So do we feel this that Robbie thinks he is Charlie, in the fact that he parades around and bases his own writing on this caricature wishing that he was in fact her himself? It seems very strange that only Robbie can write Charlie, and no one else can pen the character but him. He has a certain style with Charlie that she always out shines the brothers and beats them at their own game. She is suddenly thrust into this universe and can be like them at a moments notice, winning every case, finding out and researching the monster and ending its days. But also likes to be the damsel in distress, so the boys at least do have some purpose in her universe.  They are usual to a degree in bringing Charlie to safety and resuscitating her when necessary. But Charlie won’t tolerate them being leads whilst she’s in the limelight.

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If Robbie insists on being Charlie, where does this leave CHARLIE as a character. Has Robbie backed himself into a corner in thinking that he is her that he can’t write any other supernatural story without involving Charlie… Many characters on this show have fallen by the wayside who have never had the encouragement by the writers like Charlie Bradbury seems to have had. When I think how Kevin was easily destroyed whom could have been a real help to the boys in general, who had the brains, the knowledge and power to help. What a waste!

One other reason I am not so keen on Charlie, is that she has knowledge. She is a computer expert. Okay but the show also had Ash and Frank who were super geek experts. Why not bring either one of them back instead of bringing in a wet behind the ears female who is no where near their league of genius? Do you not agree …

After the boys warn the next potential victim they stick around and discover Dark Charlie. This is when the writer’s self-indulgence peaks its high. Thompson wants Charlie to be a protagonist, yet at the same time he lusts after an edgy, bad girl attitude for her. So what does he do? Something even fanfiction writers don’t. He makes two copies of her, one good and one evil. That frees him to pander to both sides of his fantasy without risking his favorite’s sympathy magnet.

Do you think that this is true, that Robbie created two Charlie’s that he yearns for the edgy Charlie. Is this why he wrote a good and evil Charlie so he could see what two different Charlies were like on screen? That he in fact preferred the latest version of Charlie the evil one, not the good one…

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The person who suffers most from this plot twist is Felicia Day. I don’t know much about her outside her role as Charlie but looking at her Wikipedia page, I found out she was more known as a You-tube personality and show host than an actress. It’s reflected in her work on the show because in Charlie, Felicia was pretty much playing herself, and that was probably the only thing that worked well for the character.

Here Thompson tasks her with playing dual roles and she falls short. Felicia is not Jensen, Jared or Misha. She doesn’t have their experience and caliber to perform as multiple personalities, so her Dark Charlie comes out very flat and unconvincing.

How do you feel about this statement, that after uncovering a little about the actress she is only really known in small circles and appears that she is just a you-tube host in previous roles. Is this what perhaps I don’t really like about Charlie myself, that she comes across as flat and unconvincing in being that real actress. She has NO real experience behind her that leaps out at me. Do you think Felicia is really playing herself in Charlie that there is no real substance there.

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So what do you think about Robbie, is he a Charlie Bradbury self insert? Or do you think he has every reason to write about his favorite character in his own style as he sees fit? How do you see future Charlie, if she continues to blossom among the younger audience, do you see her becoming a regular on this show? Many hate this prospect and I think I would scream like ‘crazy’ if it ever did happen for real! I thought for a brief moment when Charlie went to Oz, it would be her farewell, her swan song. But then the board began to talk, assuming ‘she’ll be back’. They were right to think so…

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Apparently next week we have the episode ‘About a boy’ penned by Adam Glass, this interview also mentioned that Adam tweeted on twitter that he was in charge of writing Teen Dean. He talked on his twitter page how he modeled Dean’s story after his own teen years, i.e. another self-insert. I’m sure we’re all going to have a jolly good time watching that fan-fiction.

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35 thoughts on “Is Charlie Bradbury, Robbie Thompson’s self insert?

  1. I just came across this and it is old and now that we all know Charlie dies.. I just have to say something about the attack on Felicia Day. I know that the Fan base of Supernatural is Young but Felicia Day was a pioneer of what we know today about the “Web Series” She Created/Directed/Wrote and everything involved with the now available on Netflix show “The Guild” which I guess if you aren’t a gamer you wouldn’t understand how unbelievably freaking genius it was, is. This was in like 2007? She is not just a game designer but a pro gamer and she has been a target, BIG target of the Gamergate trolls and to call her some sort of “booth babe” with no real talents is just wrong. The writers wrote Felicia Day, as Charlie, I believe as what Felicia Day would be if she was a Hunter. She is an unbelievably smart person I mean beyond what anybody I have ever met kind of smart, who is very nice and approachable despite being threatened with rape and death threats. I was so happy how they wrote her because in my interactions with her, that is seriously how I would see her if she had the abilities and was a hunter. I wish they hadn’t killed her off but it solidified her honor code and her love for Dean. I think she will be back. You all have to realize that all of these actors Jensen, Jared, Misha, Felicia are all in their mid to late thirties and on so they have had careers and achievements before SPN and Felicia Day’s appearances on SPN isn’t the crowning of her resume.

    The writers of the show are also in their mid thirties, that is obvious in their pop culture references that usually come through Dean. They are Gen X, hard core and I love that despite a majority share audience of millennials they write what they know… I think Felicia Day honestly helped them understand some of the stuff that they don’t know.. like LARPing etc etc..

    Seriously, even if you didn’t like Charlie, have some respect for a Women who has shattered glass ceilings for Women in the gaming industry.

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    1. “The writers of the show are also in their mid thirties, that is obvious in their pop culture references that usually come through Dean. They are Gen X, hard core and I love that despite a majority share audience of millennials they write what they know… I think Felicia Day honestly helped them understand some of the stuff that they don’t know.. like LARPing etc etc”

      I actually liked her, and most of the Tumblr accounts I follow did too. IMDB hated her!

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      1. You have to also take into consideration the fact that Felicia Day is a Gamergate target, thus anything that is said about her on the internet is going to attract Gamergate trolls… Gamergate has been the most polarizing and disgusting thing I’ve actually seen happen on the internet.. and I assure people who have not done a lot of research into it, or are not involved directly in the gaming industry to know what it feels like…. it’s very hard to gauge a true audience reaction via internet when that person is a target of Gamergaters…
        As far as Felicia Day as a person, she’s an innovator, the things she has done haven’t been replicated and she did them 8 years ago. And she also happens to be one of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life, sincerely.
        She was a stabilizer on SPN, something that the brothers need every now and again, especially since Bobby died..and she was a catalyst..the means to an end..
        But having met her several times, I can say without a doubt that if she became a hunter, that is exactly how she would be, how she was portrayed. I think her acting was rather well done when she was “Dark Charlie”

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        1. Too bad not all folks can separate the actress from the character. Charlie is a computer geek whose back story has been explored, she has been a sounding board for Dean, and has had her adventures as a hunter. She died on a case and helping Dean because she always kept fighting. Her character deserved a hunter’s funeral and she got one even if Dean in his grief said some awful things to Sam. Ms. Day is a talented actress whose interests go far beyond her acting roles as she is an inventor and role model for those of the female persuasion to go into nontraditional female areas of exploration. The character served a purpose every time she was on screen whether viewers liked her or not is subjective. but the haters gonna hate, hate,hate. Now the haters can focus on Rowena- another ginger who has more in her tank to show whether viewers like that plot line or not.

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        2. After multiple rewatches, I have grown to love the episodes shes in-except for the one with Evil Charlie. Still am not a fan-I actually havent wanted to rewatch it….

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          1. It’s a tough re- watch to see evil Charlie,but the episode on re-watch is about the evil potential in all of the characters, but especially Dean’s inner turmoil caused by the mark. He fights to maintain a balance. The mark over powers this balance just as Charlie was split into two. It also gave the evil in Dean a chance to work over Charlie showing just how much over the edge he had gone b/c of the MOC. It is a tough episode I agree.

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            1. “It’s a tough re- watch to see evil Charlie,but the episode on re-watch is about the evil potential in all of the characters, but especially Dean’s inner turmoil caused by the mark. He fights to maintain a balance. The mark over powers this balance just as Charlie was split into two. It also gave the evil in Dean a chance to work over Charlie showing just how much over the edge he had gone b/c of the MOC. It is a tough episode I agree.”

              I am going to try to rewatch in the next few days

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              1. If nothing else- watch for the thigh grip on Dean. Also, now that we know what happens to the character- in order to help Dean, of course- we know goodhearted Charlie had a bad ass side which made her multidimensional and not just a plot device. The affect on the brothers at the funeral pyre….what a moment. Now, watch the gag reel and see how Jared made a joke- ah make believe.

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  2. ehh i like her in supernatural i hate her in everything else i suppose if she was never in the guild we wouldnt be seeing her on supernatural im ok with her character i suppose(for now!!)

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  3. I’ve thought that Charlie was Thimpson’s Mar Sue from early on. She shots like Dean, out-hacks Sam — remember when Sam was a computer whiz? The writers sure don’t. –and,yes, out adorbs Cas. Much as I like Felicia Day, I’m not a fan of Charlie and her Dark Charkie was unconvincing.

    And now we get another dose of Glass’ teen issues. He needs to get therapy and leave his personal issues off the show. He practically said Jared pushed him into writing it and insinuated that anyone criticizing the ep is criticizing Dylan Everett whom I like about as much as you do Felicia. I’m already suffering from secondhand embarrassment.

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    1. “He practically said Jared pushed him into writing it and insinuated that anyone criticizing the ep is criticizing Dylan Everett whom I like about as much as you do Felicia. I’m already suffering from secondhand embarrassment.”

      You didnt like his portrayal of young Dean???

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      1. I know it’s unpopular, but I didn’t. He tried too hard to mimic Jensen’s acting, and it came across as unnatural. Having had more time to prepare, he may do better this time around. I know Brock Kelly has criticized his own portrayal of young Dean and said he wished he’d had a second shot at it.

        I also find Dylan Everett’s bushy eyebrows distracting, but that’s make-up’s fault for not shaping them to look more like Dean … you know, or maybe Dean spends time each morning plucking his eyebrows because eyebrows like that you don’t grow out of. 😉

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  4. If one is going to pursue fictional writing the advice is always to write about what you know. Clearly the emotional palette of any given characters has elements of its creator. (Thus writers are ‘god’ in the SPN world because they give flesh and blood to their thoughts through characters). It looks like certain writers are assigned to specific secondary players in order to concentrate on that task. When characters are well established, such as Sam and Dean, their fleshing out has been established and it is easier for a group of writers to share the responsibility, although some get it done better than others. You can tell who wrote the episodes after Kripke departed if you study them. Certain key lines are always used. It is when a writer goes too far off the accepted character that we all say WTF. So, Robbie has been assigned to give Charlie her life and it would be impossible for him to not insert some of his experiences into her being while working on the thread of the season.

    There can be no love interest btwn Charlie and one of the boys as they do not make those attachments with positive results. So the writers were brave enough to make Charlie a lesbian. Thus avoiding the love connection. She hints at her adventure with Dorothy. Let’s leave that for fan-fiction.

    The character of Kevin served its purpose, but it they ever find the tablet again they may need him to read it, although Crowley knows Enochian as does Metatron.

    So while I found Charlie a curious character in season 7 tattoo and a necessary one in LARP and the Real Girl to give exposition and act as a foil for Dean, I found the Pac Man episode fell short- it was a way to expose Dean’s fear of losing Sam and gave us seriously great pictures of Ackles in uniform. I did find myself enjoying No Place Like Home. It could have been to heavy handed with the parallels to the MOC, but it wasn’t. The lighting, use of color, and as always the acting-more Dean and Sam time- worked.

    So good writers of fiction should impose themselves into characters- it makes the characters believable with their emotions. Just MHO

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    1. You’ve given me something to think about. I get your point 100% about a writer writing about something they know. But not always! I find a lot of my writing comes from my own imagination and for strange reasons beyond my mind it flows like a river once I start. I often look back over my blog and read my articles, I found myself thinking the other day, did I really write this. I couldn’t believe it came from my own hand.

      I also get your point about a writer being allowed to pen that character all the time. They allow it to grow and can add depth to that character because they know them. But I still often wonder what Charlie would be like if Andrew Dabb for example chipped in as well as Robbie? Would there be inconsistencies? Would there be light and shade? Would there be a big or not so big improvement in the characters development? Why does writing have to be so rigid and text book styles?

      But to me, the whole point of writing a character is being creative, and not following your own person. If its just you in that new character. How can this be seen as NEW? He is creating a cardboard cut-out of himself. Even if its a bit worn around the edges, he still creates someone he would like to be like, and that’s Charlie that’s why she’s been created?

      Love Aunty B xxxx

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      1. Yeah, I agree. Writers inevitably bring something of themselves to a character, that isn’t an excuse for making the character a Mary Sue, which is how Charlie has come across.

        Like you, I have issues with only the writers that create a character writing that character. Ben Edlund created Bela Talbot but he only wrote that first ep she appeared in. He also created Castiel … so I think this trend with Charlie or teen!Dean. Interestingly enough, Garth was created by Andrew Dabb and Daniel Lofton, but Adam Glass has written three of the four episodes he’s appeared in. This “ownership” of characters may be part of the weakness we see in the current writing team.

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      2. I think like many of the other characters, Charlie developed a fan base in season 7. Rather than reinventing another foil for Dean, the writers brought her back for the boys to have contact with another female with whom they have a relationship and someone who already knows how they interact. She is so damaged, she can’t show her emotions all that well until the scene with her mother where she has to let go. In some ways she has elements of Sam and now some of Dean in her persona, but I do not find her easy to warm up to as a stand alone. That doesn’t preclude me from liking the last episode with her.
        Even if you write from your imagination, the creation is still coming from a part of you and your experience. How it takes form is the writer’s craft.

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  5. I think the self-insert idea is interesting but I don’t think that it is any big deal. I would imagine that any writer puts some of their own personal qualities and desires into the characters they write. So if RT gets some vicarious thrill from writing Charlie it is fine by me. I don’t have really strong feelings about the character (I do agree with you about how strange it is that she seems to be suddenly outdoing the guys so often)–but I do like the way her presence often pushes the guys to express something about where their heads are at. I was frustrated to hear that some of her scenes with Sam were cut. I SO want to hear more from Sam ! I hope that there is substantial Sam moments while Dean is deaged.

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    1. I’m alright with Felicia Day as an actress and Charlie. I recognize that Charlie is a bit of a Mary Sue but that’s okay, because I think she’s likable. Her presence on the show allows the viewer to focus on other things and she gives the brothers opportunities to speak their feelings out loud in a way they wouldn’t normally speak to each other.

      I don’t think this question is very fair though because it’s posed from the position of people who intensely dislike the character and are unwilling to see anything positive in her presence on the show and that’s not fair. It’s okay to not like her but not everything in the episode is about her.

      Yeah, it gets tiresome when she saves the day everytime she shows up and I do like Jodi Mills a lot more than her but she serves a purpose when she shows up. A lot of the guest actors do the same thing, which is the reason I’m not tripping about Charlie doing it. I used to be upset about that but not anymore. All the guest actors get to save the brothers and give the brothers a sounding board, but when it’s Charlie, it’s just more obvious, I think.

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      1. I do get this, and value what other posters tell me. But I just cannot warm to her. The only time I ever have as I’ve said before, was in Pac Man fever when her mother died. I felt her warmth and sincerity coming across, but now I just don’t see anything. I really struggle to connect with her. I don’t mean this in a bitchy way either.

        But some fans really do dislike her, and I can see why. I like to read other peoples opinions and yes sometimes they brainwash me and others not so much. Lacountess is a good strong, believable writer and I get where she’s coming from as a columnist. She digs deep into the show, and pulls stuff out that not many of us might notice. Even the most ardent fan might have trouble seeing what she sees. I admire her writing skill.

        There is a big difference in my eyes, to Jody and Charlie. Jody is more experienced in the supernatural and has the ability to pull off a hunt. She knows how to handle a gun, and situations that Charlie has never seen before. Jody has many plus points to Charlie’s not so many. I do feel its more obvious with Charlie I just get angry when she continues to appear on the show and take pride of place. I miss other characters so much more, and she ends up with so much more screen time. I don’t particularly feel she is a strong actress, no where near as good as Jody. I feel something when Jody is on screen, I am numb when Charlie shows up. But that’s just me. Perhaps I might end up learning to live with her. But I doubt it!

        Love Aunty B xxxx

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        1. “Even the most ardent fan might have trouble seeing what she sees. I admire her writing skill”

          She is a very skilled writer. However-as you just said-she finds things in the episode that no one else really notices-so why complain about it? I just think she is nitpicky sometimes-and-sometimes its just her opinion while others have a different opinion. It makes it seem lke the whole fandom is onboard with her complaints. JMHO

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          1. I get what you mean barb, she can feel this way. But to be able to dig that deep is a skill, I don’t think I’ve read anyone like her before in style. It is being nitpicky but being able to debate sometimes I think we need to be a bit nitpicky. If there is fault with the show, I find it interesting to be able to talk about a fault even though at times it can be heavy I sometimes do find myself agreeing with it. I love the show and am not a fan who deliberately finds loop holes to trip it up, I find now I watch it to watch it, and I am enjoying it much more. I think if you are too into it, it can spoil your enjoyment as a fan. But I do still think she uncovers topics that not everyone might.

            Love Aunty B xxxx

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            1. ” I find now I watch it to watch it, and I am enjoying it much more. I think if you are too into it, it can spoil your enjoyment as a fan”
              I agree 100%!

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    2. AB/C I agree with you. Each writer does to an extent allow some of themselves into the character that they created. It would feel a bit wired if they didn’t. This is something that has been raised about Charlie in a positive way that she does allow the boys to be much more open about their feelings. They spend so much time together and I think a female person does this much better than a male character. Kevin did this to a point as he knew that they were not talking from an observation point. But Charlie is much softer in tone and can seem to get to the crunch of the matter quicker with more subtle. She does have her good and bad points I agree. Its annoying those scenes were cut, I would like to have analysed those in more detail. We don’t get to see much of Sam’s view lately, I hope this is soon rectified…

      Love Aunty B xxxx

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      1. It always seems to be Sam scenes that are cut — like the one in “Rock and a Hard Place” when he tried to talk to Jody and Gadreel surfaced and stopped him. One of the reasons many fans complain they don’t get Sam POV is that even when the writers put it in, editing cuts it. I guess someone in production doesn’t think it’s important.

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        1. Well maybe this season, with Sam in the driver’s seat, as the caretaker,we may get to see more of his personality and what he thinks and feels. That would be nice. It would help if they stopped cutting his lines.

          Sam is a very rich character when they take the time and effort to write him.He’s an introvert and, by their very nature, such people tend to hold their emotions very close to their chest and tend to show it rather than say it, so maybe, we’ll get more of Sam showing his emotions instead.

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  6. I don’t really have a problem with Charlie. I don’t love her either-like I do Jodi. I liked all the episodes she was in-theyre not in my top ten but I enjoyed them. I did see Felicia in a movie on DVD, can’t remember the name of it-it wan’t bad-it entertained me.

    I’m of two minds on About A Boy. It sounds really interesting, and if that actor that played him in Bad Boys is as good as he was in that episode it might be fun. The other part of me feels DANG! less Dean/Jensen.

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    1. I’m not in the category that I HATE her, no where near. But my problem is that she irritates me when she jumps in, solves cases when its Sam and Dean’s job to do this… This is what they’ve been trained to do for years, it makes them look inadequate that they need a bimbo to say hey I can do this job just as well as you guys can. Its not fair on the boys which has always been my argument. These guys are senior men and the writers are letting them being bossed around by her, and it really gets my goat! This was one reason why I never took to Bobby because he became a prop for the boys, and their doing the same thing with Charlie.

      I think having looked at the promo and pictures again more carefully and that it has a fairy tale lead in that Hansel is kidnapping people and turning them into teenagers sounds quite funny. Glass does an okay job, and he did Dean well before in ‘Bad Boys, so I hope it will prove me right. I have a good feeling about this one. Less Jensen is the only real downer I agree barb… 😦 I bet he had some much needed time off with his family.

      Love Aunty B xxxx

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      1. I think calling Charlie a bimbo is seriously inaccurate. I’m not sure where that even comes from — because she’s female? That being said, I agree that Charlie’s superior intelligence, computer skills, etc., do a serious disservice to Sam and Dean. That’s why I call her a Mary Sue.

        What has bothered be about her in addition is that she has some serious negative qualities, which are never acknowledged by the narrative not the least of which is her insensitivity to Sam. I seriously wanted to slap her after her “sorry about your luck with the ladies” comment and then having the nerve to complain to Sam that she wanted a magic quest knowing how hunting the supernatural had taken everyone from him that he loved. “There’s No Place Like Home” would have been a good place to acknowledge those faults, and might have when dark Charlie showed Sam such disdain — it visibly upset Dean — but then that was all glossed over at the end — as usual.

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        1. Okay. That I agree with. She could definitely treat Sam better. She’s been a little insensitive to him at times and I don’t appreciate that. But I don’t hate her. She’s alright and I still like her for dancing in the elevator the first time we saw her, so my feelings are colored by that. I just think she’s your typical speshul snowflake/Mary Sue. No better and no worse than any other and she really seems to love being a part of Supernatural and being on the show and the other actors really seem to enjoy having her on set, too.

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          1. Just because Charlie is female gender and intelligent let’s not bash her as a character who serves a purpose. You may or may not like her but she serves a friend to the Winchesters, of whom there are few left. She listened to Dean and held his feet to the fire about his deception of Sam in season 8. in LARP. She served as the representation of the fear of letting go which haunted Dean in Pac Man and season 8. In season 7, she stepped up and out of her shell to help. Not in love with Charlie anymore than I was with Garth, and neither died…so far. Sometimes a series needs a familiar character to expose the lead ones. Like Rudy, I give her a pass.

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            1. “You may or may not like her but she serves a friend to the Winchesters, of whom there are few left”

              I agree. With Bobby and Kevin gone They have no one except for her and Garth. I don’t mind her at all as long as shes only in a few episodes a season.

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          2. “Okay. That I agree with. She could definitely treat Sam better. She’s been a little insensitive to him at times and I don’t appreciate that. But I don’t hate her. She’s alright and I still like her for dancing in the elevator the first time we saw her, so my feelings are colored by that. I just think she’s your typical speshul snowflake/Mary Sue. No better and no worse than any other and she really seems to love being a part of Supernatural and being on the show and the other actors really seem to enjoy having her on set, too”
            All of THIS^

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