A Case for "Supernatural"

An interview with Rebecca McWilliams, Teen Library Associate at the Hardesty Library, about the library's upcoming "Supernatural"-themed Murder Mystery event.

One of the perks of being the web editor for TulsaKids is that I get to feel “in-the-know” when it comes to upcoming events. Each month, I spend a day (literally, a whole work day!) entering the Tulsa City-County Library‘s events into our online calendar. It’s definitely helped me become more aware of and appreciate everything the library has to offer!

While entering the Library’s events for October, one in particular made me downright giddy as I typed the event details into the computer.

Sixteen lucky Tulsa teens have the opportunity to attend “A Supernatural Murder-Mystery Dinner” at the Hardesty Library on October 13. Yes, my excitement was dampened slightly by the fact that I am too old to attend the dinner–but on the other hand, I’m so grateful that the library offers programming like this for teens.

If you are unfamiliar with the show, “Supernatural” follows two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), as they hunt demons and other supernatural, havoc-wreaking creatures, often with the help or hindrance of angel Castiel and demon Crowley (played by Misha Collins and Mark Sheppard, respectively). It is brutal, bloody, and my mom probably wouldn’t let me watch it to this day if she had a say in it, but the characters are great, the story lines draw you in and, although I haven’t watched all thirteen (13!!) seasons, I consider myself a fan.

But what I love even more than the show itself is that certain cast members are involved in some really neat endeavors. Misha Collins is the founder of G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S., the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. According to their website, “gishwhes is an incredible scavenger hunt where thousands of people create weird art, go on adventures, solve riddles, meet new friends, push themselves and commit heartwarming acts of kindness and courage.” If G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. returns next year, I hope TulsaKids can put together a team because it looks amazing.

This summer, Jensen Ackles opened a brewery in Texas, Family Business Beer Co. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, he organized a hurricane relief fund through the company with the help of other organizations. According to their Crowd Rise page, they have raised nearly $450,000. Co-star Jared Padalecki has been involved in hurricane relief efforts as well, and has also been instrumental in other charitable causes.

I know other celebrities have also contributed generously to relief efforts and other causes, but it’s still nice to learn that the stars of a successful show you love are creative and community-driven off the show as well.

And now, without further ado, my interview with Rebecca McWilliams:

TR: Why “Supernatural”? What do you like about the show, and why do you think teens like it?

RM: Oh, goodness what don’t I like about this show would be an easier, and shorter question. The show is very creative, but I think what I love about it the most is the characters. There are some shows where you continue to watch it just for the story line, the characters could be played by anyone, but Supernatural has this very natural feel between the characters, a relaxed feeling that makes them so believable. That is my feeling on it anyway.

Teens are drawn to the show, I believe for a few reasons.

  1. There is not an ugly face on the show, lol.
  2. It has all of the great elements of a movie captured in each episode (Drama, Action, Death, Danger and Surprise) IN EVERY EPISODE! It’s really amazing.
  3. It is different than anything else currently on television that is targeted to the young adult audience. I work with mainly Young Adult books (ages 14+), and Supernatural is a Young Adult T.V. show, thru-and-thru. You watch the Winchester brothers grow up, deal with problems and portray major human flaws that they will eventually own up to, and that is important for teenagers to see. Teens want characters and stories that, even though they may be supernatural in nature, they can still relate to in their own everyday drama filled lives.

TR: Who is your favorite character, and why?

RM: My favorite character, oh dear, I would have to say it has been and will always be Dean. I actually remember Jensen Ackles when he was on Days of Our Lives and I loved him. I think I was in the fifth grade at the time, but then he disappeared and reappeared in Dark Angel. I followed him to Supernatural when Dark Angel was cancelled. So I feel like I have this odd, long lasting, relationship with him from show to show.

TR: Do you have a favorite episode or scene?

RM: I have two favorite episodes actually. I really loved the LARPing episode with Felicia Day. It was funny, nerdy, but had great action as well.

My second favorite episode was The Musical episode. I am a fan of musicals so I was already on board, but the episode was done so well. It had some music, a very moving rendition of “Carry on My Wayward Son” as well as action, humor (lots of humor) and a great surprise ending that you don’t see coming. *Don’t try skipping directly to this episode if you are new to Supernatural, the surprise ending won’t make sense if you do.

TR: Does the Hardesty Library have a Teen Advisory Board? What role do they play in the library’s teen programming?

RM: I don’t have a Teen Advisory Board at Hardesty, sadly. I mainly have just summertime Teen Team, and they volunteer often throughout the year at events. They are wonderful!

TR: What role do you think fandoms play or should play in teen library programming?

RM: I think that fandoms are a great audience to target programs towards and probably the best to target for teens. Mainly because teens are hesitant to go to a program where they don’t think anyone will have the same interests as them. When you set up a fandom event, the participants already have an ice breaker built into the program, they are all coming because of a common interest. So just listening to teens talk can provide you with a lot of information about what they are listening to, reading, watching, etc. Also leaving out book marks on Manga, Shows, Book Series, etc. and counting how many are taken every month will give you an idea on popularity.

TR: Can you tell us more about the Murder Mystery event?

RM: So in my Murder Mystery, a fellow hunter has been killed, and the teens are going to help the Winchesters solve who or what killed him. I do have activities that they complete to get clues: One will be a hex bag scavenger hunt which I am excited about. I look for ideas online, but sometimes I just think about what I would have found to be fun when I was a teen and then just throw it together.

TR: How many murder mysteries have you planned? What is the most difficult part about planning a murder mystery?

RM: I have actually only done one before, but it filled up so fast and was such a great success that I knew I needed to do another one. The most difficult part is timing everything properly. I split my participants into teams. They have the same clues and activities, but they do them in a different order so that I don’t have a mob of teens in one area of the library trying to do the same activity. So it does take some proper planning ahead of time.

TR: What is on the menu of your “Supernatural”-themed dinner?

RM: I try to do two- or three-course meals for them. Teens do some activities and clue hunting, come back, eat something, do more, etc. It’s fun for them too. This one I will be doing just a two course meal of pizza for the main and pie for dessert. Drinks will consist of bottled root beer, water, or demon blood punch. There will also be some goodie bags to send home with them.

TR: What do you enjoy most about your job as Teen Associate at the library? What does your job entail?

RM: I really enjoy putting together programs, coordinating and planning them. Sometimes I wonder what I have gotten myself into, but once I commit to something I dive right into it.

As the Teen Associate at Hardesty I plan and conduct all of the teen programs for the year. I do have help on a lot of my programs, so it isn’t just me alone every time. I work with an amazing team at Hardesty, and really, I have great coworkers throughout the system that are willing to volunteer or help. I am also in charge of the Young Adult and Graphic Novels sections at Hardesty, keeping them organized, providing displays that will appeal to teens, etc.

TR: Is there anything else you would like to add about the event, the library, etc.?

RM: Everything is done for our customers. We really love and appreciate our customers and want to provide them with whatever resources they need or would like. We hope they realize that the library is a safe place for them to come.

Categories: Spaghetti on the Wall