Turning to TV to fight the winter blues? The CW has some advice

Supernatural is an American fantasy horror television series that follows two brothers as they hunt demons, ghosts, monsters, and other supernatural beings. (Courtesy The CW Press)

Content warning: This article mentions suicide.

As winter quickly approaches and the cold threatens to chill us to the bone, the constant battle we fight against the darkness becomes overwhelming. Indeed, severe drops in temperature cause great pain to people all across the globe, with approximately five percent of the U.S. population being affected by seasonal affective disorder each year. However, as the leaves fall and the beautiful oranges and browns are reduced to a monotonous, drab gray, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (2015–) and “Supernatural” (2005–) remind us that we have no choice but to keep living and march on, for spring patiently waits just around the corner.

After Josh (like the schmuck he is) abandons Rebecca at the altar in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” she plots her revenge against him for ruining their wedding. Unfortunately, Josh uncovers incriminating secrets from her past and shares them with her friends.  Although said friends attempt to help Rebecca move on, the intervention backfires when she verbally assaults everyone present (individually) before packing her bags and flying back home. Rebecca has officially reached rock bottom; she hates everything that represent her old life in Westchester, especially her mother — but she has nowhere else to go. She (falsely) believes the people she has grown to love in West Covina have turned against her and no longer feels as though her life contains meaning. In one deeply troubling scene, her mother sneaks into Rebecca’s room to discover what Rebecca has endeavored to conceal on her laptop, only to be greeted by an article entitled, “The Nine Least Painful Ways to Kill Yourself.”

Lo and behold, a woman who has never missed a chance to make Rebecca feel like a failure is suddenly nice to her, even presenting her with strawberry shakes, a childhood favorite. Rebecca is so grateful for this drastic change in her mother’s behavior that she sings the first song in the episode: “Maybe She’s Not Such A Heinous Bitch After All.” After much needed mother-daughter bonding (which supposedly makes up for an entire lifetime of negligence), Rebecca begins to feel well enough to return to California.

However, one theme this show seems to love is that nothing good can last for more than five minutes; of course the mom laced the milkshakes with anxiety medication. How can Rebecca trust anyone ever again? Clearly she does not believe she can, since as soon as she boards the plane she swallows all of the remaining pills. Nevertheless, it is at this moment, when she sees no point in continuing on, that she glances up, and in her drug-addled daze the “HELP” button (to summon the flight attendant) appears to read “HOPE.” If not even Rebecca Bunch, one of the most pathetic and hopeless characters on TV, has given up the fight, then neither should we.

Any CW fan’s list of pathetic and hopeless characters is also sure to include Dean Winchester from “Supernatural.” After last season, all of the Winchesters’ friends and family are presumed dead, including the angel Castiel (who, as fans have speculated for many years, may have a relationship with Dean that goes beyond plain friendship) and Winchester mother Mary (having only returned from the dead one season ago!). These losses, along with the burden of having to babysit Lucifer’s newborn son Jack, leave Dean feeling angry and lost, unsure of how to proceed. His downward spiral reaches a climax during a ghost hunt, when he decides to temporarily kill himself  to communicate with the ghosts. If there’s one thing the Winchesters are known for, it’s their inability to stay dead.

However, as fans may remember, the reaper Billie told the brothers that the next time either one dies, there would be no redos. Though Castiel killed Billie, due to “Supernatural” logic she has returned as the new Death (the previous one was killed by Dean at the end of season 10). Surprisingly, Billie gives Dean the choice to be revived, but he refuses. Dean has given up his will to live; the “family business” has at last become too much for him. However, Billie tells him that of all the ways in which fate predicts Dean to die, suicide is not one of them. Dean still has “work to do,” and at least for now we must keep on living.

Even though we are college students in the real world and not vengeful theatrically inclined exes or monster hunters on television shows, we can still learn a lot from the lessons these shows desire to teach us. Yes, every day brings new obstacles that we must struggle to overcome. But, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we should also remember to be grateful for these challenges, as they are what shape us into our true selves and make the good moments that much sweeter. Keep on fighting, and take comfort in the fact that Thanksgiving break is just around the corner.