Note: Due to life, an abundance of excellent series rewatch podcasts, and the new series The Winchesters, "Reclaiming Supernatural" has been put on the back burner for the immediate future.
In this episode of The Fangirl Business, Chrisha and Catherine talk about their upcoming project, "Reclaiming Supernatural," a rewatch with a twist that will start back at season one. They also discuss their next steps, which includes a final deconstruction, analysis, and rejection of the series finale, "Carry On," using a literary lens.
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S1 E41: Reclaiming Supernatural
Disclaimer: The information presented in this podcast is intended to be for entertainment and educational purposes only. It should never be used in place of advice given by a mental health or medical professional, or as a substitute for mental health treatment. If you're struggling with a mental health issue, please seek professional help.
Intro Instrumental Rock Music: “Play the Game” by VooDoo Blooze
Chrisha: Hello, and welcome to this episode of The Fangirl Business.
Catherine: I'm Catherine.
Chrisha: And I'm Chrisha. And today we are very excited to be talking about the future of the podcast and specifically Reclaiming Supernatural and what that means and pretty excited. I would say...
Catherine: Yeah, we've still got some labor to do.
Catherine: But we get to have pie afterwards.
Chrisha: We do.
Catherine: and, and it's lots and lots of delicious pie. *Giggles*. So...
Chrisha: Yes. And, you know, it's funny, just to put this in context for everyone, which is that we've sort of spent the day digging through finale stuff for other episodes that we're gonna record. So, we're very much in this. I don't know. It's like this double mindset of like, “Oh, my gosh, we have so much exciting stuff. And oh, my God, I just want to rage at the sky.” So, very strange headspace, I would say.
Catherine: *Still laughing.* Yes, there is definitely dissonance between these two things. Lots of different feelings have been happening throughout the course.
Chrisha: Very much, very much that. But this is the episode for excitement and fun and...
Chrisha: Reclaiming joy, Reclaiming Supernatural. So, deep breath, reorient.
Catherine: I thought it might be good to sort of look back before we get into what is Reclaiming Supernatural. And when...
Catherine: When we started this off this, this whole podcast, we started it as a Season 15 podcast to kind of help people through the rollercoaster of everything coming to an end with the show, because we knew it was going to be hard, and that there would be a lot of feelings along the way. And we wanted to do something that was bigger than just show watch and squee. We also wanted to be thinking about the fandom and the fans. And being there and normalizing the fact that this was going to be a difficult journey that we we’re on together. And so, I think we had a lot of fun squeeing along the way, but we also did some work of really trying to be honest about our feelings and how we were handling things as a way of normalizing the journey for other people. Fair?
Chrisha: Yeah. Absolutely.
Catherine: Yeah. And then we wanted to keep going past the finale, whatever the finale ended up being. So, we knew that at some point, we'd be transitioning into a different kind of podcast. And we wanted to wait until the finale happened, because so much of what we would do would be shaped by the finale. And I'm glad that we did.
Both: *Pain laughter.*
Catherine: Because it's definitely shaped how we are approaching this, but we had one of those late night conversations, and you sort of ran this really brilliant idea by me and my brain exploded and I was like, “Aha, yes, this is the thing. You've got it. Yes! A 100, a 1,000%—yes. And this was the beginning of me getting excited about Supernatural again. So do you want to share a little bit about how the finale has changed things and then how we're going to be approaching our podcast going forward because of that.
Chrisha: Yeah. You know, I think after 18 happened, there was a lot for you and I, and I think much of the Destiel fandom, there was this collective excitement about going back and rewatching the entire show with this new information, through this new lens. It was so exciting. And I was so excited. You were so excited. And we were just, we were revved. We were so stoked. And then the finale happened, and we both wrestled much like many folks have, with ever feeling able to watch any of the show ever again. The finale was so painful and so triggering in so many ways that it felt like a real loss of a safe space, in general, a kind of retroactively made all 15 years kind of unsafe. And that's been in a year this hard, where safe spaces are hard to come by. That has been just incredibly, incredibly difficult to deal with. And so, the conversations that you and I had really centered around—how do we reclaim our joy? Like, how do we reclaim our squee? And how do we get back all of these years of loving this story? How do we get past this? And I think, I don't want to say the obvious answer, because it took a lot of wrestling and emotional back and forth to get there. But it was one of the.... You and I both had individual aha moments, I think, where it was like, oh, by going back and refocusing on what we love, and not letting an hour of television destroy all of the other hours, all of the hundreds of hours. And so out of that, there was okay—so what do we love? Well, we love Dean and Cas. We love Destiel. We love their relationship. We love it driving Sam crazy.
Chrisha: We love the characters. We love fandom. We love fan culture, we love fan works, fan fiction, fan art.
Catherine: We love healing and growth.
Chrisha: Yes, so much. We love watching our boys self-actualize. That has been just such a lovely journey. And so, out of that came Reclaiming Supernatural, which is an approach that we're going to take in that we are going to start over at the beginning. And we are going to do podcasts doing similar analysis that we did in Season 15. But starting over at Season 1. But in managing some of the emotional fallout that has been so hard for so many, and especially those in Destiel fandom post finale, where there's been so much gaslighting, telling us that what we saw, what we experienced wasn't real, that back and forth the constant, constant arguing and devaluing that has gone on. We're not going to do that. We are going to rewatch the show with some definitive truths. And some of those truths are going to be that Dean loves Cas. And Cas loves Dean. That Dean is bisexual. That Sam and Eileen are endgame and that they're moving to a place of self-actualization. Yes, we're not going to spend a lot of time in talking about subtext. We're just going to talk about text.
Chrisha: You know, we're not going to talk about will they, won't they? Are they aren't they? We're going to talk about when, and how. And so, we're really hoping to provide a safe space, both for us and for people that want to go on the journey with us to explore this story that we love giving definitive voice to the experiences that we've had and the story that we see. We're going to pull it out of the subtext because they've pulled it out of the subtext for us all through Season 15. So...
Catherine: Yep, I'm like really excited about the fact that it's not going to be queering Supernatural, it's going to be discussing already queer Supernatural.
Catherine: And so I love that distinction between the two things that gets me really excited, because they have been telling a queer story, since the very early seasons, and hand in hand with that, they've been also telling a story of figuring out who your real self is. And for Dean, part of that is his sexual orientation, but it's also about his identity, and who he is as a person. And the same thing goes for Sam and then for Cas. So the whole show is about this journey towards self-actualization, becoming your authentic self. And we see that over time. I think that's part of my excitement is looking at that journey as a whole entity rather than as an incomplete story.
Chrisha: And I think one of the other themes of Supernatural has been masculinity, and more specifically toxic masculinity. And I think that that's another part of the journey with self-actualization and becoming their more authentic selves is recognizing some of those toxic pieces of their childhood, their society, their community as hunters, and working towards shedding some of that, letting go of the weight of expectation, and just letting themselves be who they are, which involves a lot of trial and error and involves a lot of just trying stuff out. I think all of these things are so important because of the discourse that has come around the finale. You know, you and I have talked, gosh, so many times over the last year and a half about how and why Supernatural is so different from other shows. And it's different from other shows, for a lot of reasons. But one of the biggest ones, I think, is because so many of us have truly been able to see ourselves in these characters in a way that's just deeper and more profound than other shows that I personally have watched. There are other characters that I've connected with. But for whatever reason, Dean and Cas have tapped into parts of me personally, that are just at a much deeper level. And I don't know if that's just because it's gone on so long that we've gotten to see so many more facets of them, or that we've got to see them grow and change, and heal and adapt. I don't know what the magic dust is. But at the end of the day, I know that a lot of us see ourselves in these characters. And that, is why the finale was so painful for so many. Because this journey that we had been on with these characters, where we had kind of literally been fighting alongside them. Fifteen years is a lot of years, you know, for me, it was eight. It's a lot of like me fighting my own battles and then once a week checking in, on how my boys are fighting their battles and gaining inspiration from that. That sort of reciprocal inspiration. And so then, to do that for so many years, and to heal, and grow, personally, while I'm watching them healing and growing, and feeling inspired by that, and gaining so much self-knowledge from that. And then to have it sort of go sideways at the end. To feel erased. To feel invalidated. And then, to get that same messaging in fandom daily has made the recovery really difficult. Because it's very personal. You know, we talked about that in our last episode. It's very personal. It's very complicated. And so, that's the other part of why we really want to reclaim this show. But the other part of what we want to do in setting the stage for Reclaiming Supernatural is...deep breath, going through—
Catherine: *Still chuckling.* You make new sounds every time that you bring it up. And it's just.... Sorry, I feel it too but it’s just cracking me up. Because it's like, every time.
Chrisha: Listen, dealing with the analysis of this finale episode, like I know, I know that the only way out is through. Like, I get it. I know that's how it has to be. But yeah, I have to take a fortifying breath or twelve every time I talk about it, because it is just...
Chrisha: It’s not fun. It’s not fun. But the reason that it's so important to us, and I think I speak for both of us on this, is because in going over the finale with a fine tooth comb, and being able not just from an emotional standpoint, but from a literary standpoint, to recognize all the places that the narrative broke. You know, all of the places for the Season 15 story arcs just fell apart. That can help us with rejecting it. So just rejecting that ending, and then instead inserting, “Okay, where was this going?” Like, where did the whole rest of fifteen years or eighteen/nineteen episodes of this season, because nineteen is a little iffy as well. You know, where was that trying to go? Because that's where we're gonna live. You know, like that's, that's the lens that we're gonna rewatch through not—
Catherine: That's right.
Chrisha: What we got.
Catherine: Yeah. One of the things that I wrote down in my notes is that Reclaiming Supernatural is about rejecting the messaging, and the story, and the characterization that the finale gave us. And in doing that, we're rejecting the messaging of hopelessness and despair that we were left with. And instead, we're taking back with both hands, what is ours, and rediscovering our joy in the truth about this show.
Chrisha: And yes.
Catherine: And that's, that is what is getting me really excited, because there is so much joy, in the truth about what this show was about. The direction in which it was heading was a joyful place. So, I'm excited about going and doing the work of saying, “Okay, this is why we rejected this is based on literary analysis, as well as an analysis of the emotional triggers that were there.” So we've looked at feelings, and then we're going to be looking at the structural components of what was in the finale.
Chrisha: I was just going to interject that both of them are equally important, by the way.
Chrisha: So, the literary stuff could stand up and be ironclad. But if you felt badly about it, and felt triggered by it and felt invalidated by it wouldn't matter, you know, because both are equally valid. But—
Chrisha: From our perspective, both have equal amounts of issue.
Catherine: Yes, I think that's incredibly important to note, because the triggers that were embedded were incredibly harmful. And I feel personally, were dangerous in terms of messaging. And that stands on its own. But I think when you add in structure, and literary elements, and the way that things just break down with the story, I think joining those two things together really speaks powerfully to the fact that this ending doesn't work on any level. And so, I'm really glad that we're having the opportunity to kind of go through and do this second layer of work. I think, prefacing all of this, like immediately after the finale with all of the triggers, and the problematic messaging. That was, you know, I think I said it in that original podcast like, this is what's important. Now we get to do the additional work. That just sort of says to me, “Oh, None of this makes sense. None of it fits. And none of it works.” And putting these two things together, we can just set the finale aside.
Chrisha: Yeah. And I think bringing it back to just this idea of, I mean, I use the word gaslighting a lot. And I think that's valid. But I think that there was a sense of questioning, you know, like questioning if it was us. I know that for me, I was literally watching the finale with you, I mean, through DMs, or whatever, and still questioning, like, “Yep, what? Am I missing something?” I think I must have asked that, like, twelve times. Like, “Am I missing something here? Like what?” Because the story seemed very confidently to go in a direction in the finale, that made genuinely no sense to me on like, seventeen different levels. And so there's this questioning that's involved. So I know, I had the emotional response. And so we were able to work through identifying that, which I think was what a lot of people went through. And it was a really hard journey of being able to put our finger on “Why have I just been traumatized by an episode of television.” That was a tough process to go through. And so now it's, at least for you, and I, that second layer of “Okay. So, was I just watching a different show than a lot of other people?” Because it feels like maybe I was. And so, I think that being able to, it's actually now that I think about it, this sort of perfect balance, right? Like, I'm the mental health person, and you're the literary person. And so we...
Chrisha: *Still laughing.* We did mental health first, and now we're moving on to lit crit.
Both: *Still laughing.”
Chrisha: So yeah, using both of our superpowers, which is kind of fun in that respect, too. But I think important, because I know being able to put a name to being able to put words around specific storylines, specific scenes, just all kinds of specifics that didn't make sense helps with then being able to reject it. Because what it boils down to for me is that there were things in the finale that literally can't coexist in my head with the rest of the show that I watched, because they cancel each other out or contradict. And so, they, they literally can't both be true. And so, I have to choose.
Chrisha: And I'm going to choose Destiel. I'm going to choose self-actualization. And I'm going to choose joy. So that's what this process is working towards, to be able to name what we are rejecting, specifically, to substitute what it is that we're substituting in.
Catherine: And I think I might even shy away from the word substitute. Because...
Chrisha: Yeah, that's true.
Catherine: It's not that we're necessarily putting our own spin on things. It's that we're following to the logical conclusion, what was given to us in the Canon leading up to nineteen and twenty.
Chrisha: I agree.
Catherine: Yeah, yeah. So I think the work that we're going to be doing over the next few episodes is very much going to be following that trajectory of looking at what we were given, and following it to the logical conclusion of what the story was telling us all season long, and where it should have gone. I'm really excited to do that. So maybe we can talk a little bit about the logistics of our plan going forward. So we're going to do a series of episodes, we're going to start off with a sort of critical analysis and deconstruction of the finale, taking it apart, looking at all of the elements and saying, “This is why it doesn't work. This is why we feel that this doesn't fit within the canon trajectory of the show in Season 15.” And so that's where we're going to start. And then we're going to move on to look at the individual storylines for each of the main characters in Season 15. versus what they got in the end?
Chrisha: Well, I think it's partially going to be a process, you know, because I feel like the more we get into the analysis that we've done, because we've already started hence all of my like calming breathing. Is that there's a lot there. *Laughs.*
Chrisha: And so it's really, I think, hard to say exactly what it's gonna look like, what those episodes are going to end up being thematically. Because there is so much there, not only in just the finale itself with critical analysis that is worth exploring, but certainly characterizations, and relationships, and all of it. So, I don't know, you're going to get good stuff. And we're going to talk about it.
Catherine: That's right.
Chrisha: What that ends up looking like? Oh, I don’t know. I don't make promises. You all know that.
Catherine: I love you so much.
Catherine: Yeah, that's a good point. We are still in the middle of lots and lots of things happening. So and there's a lot to look at. So, I think that's a good point. So, our plan is to do a deconstruction and critical analysis of the finale and then to kind of go and do separate episodes about each of the characters and their storyline. But that could change. And, and I think it's important to be flexible, in this time of...life.
Chrisha: *Laughing and speaking over Catherine.* Finish that sentence.
Catherine: This, this time of whatever it is that we're living right now. I don't even know. There's so much happening. But all of this is going to be used as our foundation for moving forward. We are going to reject what doesn't fit with our understanding of what Season 15 was going to do. And then we're going to move back to the beginning. And so the twist that we were talking about in terms of Reclaiming Supernatural is that we are going to look at it as a queer story from the beginning. We are going to look at it as a story about growth and self-actualization. And we are going to look at it as a story that is inherently meant to bring joy and squee. And that is going to be our approach for Reclaiming Supernatural. And I'm very excited particularly about looking at the queer content because there so much that I want to learn and understand. I have things that I want to watch and read so that I can do a really good job of interpreting the ways that queer stories are told. I'm very excited—
Catherine: To go back with you and to do all of this. Like, I'm smiling really hard right now at just the idea of doing this. And so, this is something that we will be doing Reclaiming Supernatural for the foreseeable future.
Chrisha: Potentially for the rest of our lives. Considering how many episodes of this show exist.
Catherine: It's true.
Catherine: But I think that one of the things that we talked about in earlier episodes was the fact that fandom was invited into the story. And one of the things that we thought that was going to happen at the end was that the baton was going to be passed back to us to carry for a while. I love that, despite what happened, we are still part owners in this story. And I want to pass the baton over to you Chrisha to take over from there.
Chrisha: This show has told us again and again, that we are a part of the story, that it's a feedback loop. Right? It's not just show and just fans, we influence and impact each other. And I don't think we got the baton passed back quite in the way that perhaps we were hoping.
Catherine: But we're taking it.
Chrisha: Well, yeah, I mean, this fandom is nothing if not resilient.
Catherine: Yes. Yes!
Chrisha: We've never just taken what we've been given and been happy with just that. We've always expanded it. We've always done it our way. And that's exactly what we're gonna do now. We're gonna do it our way. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm very tired of the debate over Dean's sexual orientation. I'm very tired of the debate over the nature of Dean and Cas's relationship. And I'm fine with everyone interpreting art in their own way, that's literally why it exists, is for us to interpret it in a way that speaks to us. What I'm not so much loving is telling other people how to interpret it. So I'm just not, I'm not interested in that discourse anymore. Not really, not to say that I'm never going to get another internet argument over it. *Laughs.* But for the most part here, here on this podcast, like we're just not gonna do that anymore. Now, we aren't gonna live in that space anymore. You know, Dean is Bi, what’s Bi is Bi? And Dean and Cas are in love. It's just a question of when. So, we're going to take that. And we're going to move forward with that because we can. And because, frankly, I think so many people have been struggling with the loss of a safe space with this show, sort of like we talked about at the beginning. And we just want to provide an avenue to reclaim that, because I think we all need it.
Catherine: Yes. Yes.
Chrisha: And, you know, that's the thing is that I know, it's not just you and I, there are so many folks that are wrestling with the same feelings. And so, we would also love to be able to provide a sense of community to as we all sort of go through these episodes together in safety and discussion about where do we think Dean was in his coming out process then? Not, “Was that maybe because he was?” No, right? Yes. I think the other thing that we want to focus on too. So I think the other angle that we want to take because, again, frankly, this is about what we love is also I mean, hey, it's our podcast, right? It's also focusing on, on fandom culture, sort of like I was saying before, we don't just want to watch the show, and analyze it through our lens, we also kind of want to do a bit of a history of fandom culture, in terms of maybe going back and watching convention panels, and going back and watching—
Catherine: Old interviews.
Catherine: And old interviews, old edits.
Chrisha: Old fanworks.
Catherine: Yeah, exactly. All of that. All of the, all of the great stuff that surrounded this show from the beginning. And we kind of were like, “Okay, so what part of things do you want to do? What part of things do you want to do?” Splitting off different things that extra interest us. So for me, I want to look at like, I want to look at old interviews and see what they were saying about the show back at the beginning and because we're newbies like we weren’t there for this part of the journey. And so looking back and seeing the fandom culture that was surrounding this series from the beginning, I think will be really fascinating and really fun. So I'm looking forward to that part of it, too.
Chrisha: Yeah, well, and both of us were historians in earlier parts of our lives. We both sort of started in that space. And we've gone from that to I love studying human behavior, and you love studying literary stuff. And so I think culture also has to do with like, another one of the things that makes Supernatural so incredible, so unusual, is that because it's gone on so long, and because there's so much surrounding it, it really is its own little society, you know? like, all of these narratives and norms that, for the life of me, I don't know where that stuff came from, like Destiel right? Like we, we talked about that early on in our shipping episodes. It was like, God, we got here and it was very plain that we were not supposed to talk about it.
Chrisha: I don't know why. That's just what it how it was. And then we sort of started to see like, okay, but why don't we talk about it when it's the biggest ship on AO3, and clearly so many like. What in the world? And so, I think little quirks like that, that fandom has, I would love to go back and just watch the show, but also watch the fandom and so I think we'd also like to throw out for anybody that listens to the podcast that has been around a really long time. Or anybody really, I mean, if you guys want to throw information at us. Throw things that you have seen or that you know. Resources that you have. We would love to hear all of that stuff. Because this podcast, so much of it really is a culmination of just the whole fandom, or at least the parts of it that we're able to see. We, the two of us, do not analyze the show in a vacuum. We're very involved on social media. And just today, I was reading someone's Tumblr theories about something from years ago, and it sparked something for me about the finale. So it's just it's this really interconnected, sort of hive mind brainstorming. We love chatting with you guys. We love when you guys reach out with cool stuff.
Catherine: Well, it comes back to community, right? We don't exist in a vacuum. We are part of a community. And I think in the best situations, communities build each other. So, it's a reciprocal relationship. It's not that we're just sitting here doing a podcast and talking at people. People are talking with us. And it's a conversation, it goes back and forth. And that's how good ideas get sparked. That's how excitement happens when somebody says something over here, and then you go “Oh, like you just said,” you know. So, I love that our listeners have more and more as time gone by started saying, “Oh, have you thought of this? Or I saw this thing over here that have you have you looked at it yet?” I love that. So I would love to keep on doing that as we move forward. And as we go back in time to Season One for people that have awareness of early fan culture, early conventions, early publications, like all of those things. If people have the resources that they want to share with us, we will be jumping up and down saying “Yes, please.”
Chrisha: Absolutely. Yep. So you know, the other thing I just want to throw out—I know that as of now, which is January 2021, fandom discourse is tough. It's tough out there. There's a lot of arguing, there's a lot of gaslighting, there's a lot of invalidating. And every day seems like a new onslaught of that from a new place, from a new level. And I want to validate that struggle. But I also want to say that, I know that when it comes down to it, those of us that are still hurting about the finale, we want nothing more than to heal. Like we want nothing more than to be able to get past this. And, you know, I just I really want to say that I recognize that. And I recognize how hard it is to heal when you're not in a place of safety. Which fandom right now, unless you are locking down social media hard. You know, it's not a particular place of emotional safety at this point. So, ultimately, we see that because we feel it too. And so we want to help all of us find a way to heal. To find a place of relative safety. To just get back to what we love, what excited us. What brought us to this place to begin with. And so, that is our ultimate goal, if we can help with that. And maybe the cherry on top is our continued resilience and excitement over this story, and this ship gets us more official content in the future. That's healing. That'd be cool.
Chrisha: They keep talking about it, Jensen has before the finale, multiple times that they wanted to come back. Destiel fandom is powerful. Yeah, I mean, we trended over Biden. Man. *Chuckles.* I will never forget it. We're a powerful force. And so, I would love for us to come together and find a way to hold each other up and support each other while we heal.
Catherine: Yeah, I think that one of the things people who are bullies like to do no matter where you are in the world, is they like to make you feel isolated and small. And we're not small. But I think sometimes we feel that way just because of the constant barrage of negativity. And I think a lot of us as Destiel fans, we just want to enjoy what we love, you know. So, it can really wear you down over time to have this constant assault. So, I think reminding ourselves that we aren't small, that collectively, we have a very powerful voice. And it's more than a voice, we have a very powerful ability to make change for the better. Again, I look back at our reaction as a group of people that shipped a ship where our main characters were hurt and harmed by their end stories, was to go and raise money for people in the real world who face real harm. You know, we raised money for the Trevor Project. And we raised money for people with mental health issues. And so, I guess what I'm trying to get out of all of this is sometimes it's easy to feel really isolated and small, and like we have no power. But we do, and we use our power to do beautiful things. And so, going forward, I think that's part of what we want to celebrate is not just the beauty of a ship. But the beauty of the people that ship the ship—
Catherine: I guess.Yeah.
Catherine: Should we wrap it there?
Chrisha: I think so.
Catherine: Okay. This has been really nice.
Chrisha: I'm excited.
Catherine: I'm excited too. Like, I'm feeling genuinely excited now, instead of just sort of being like, the concept is exciting. *Giggles.*
Chrisha: *Laughing.* Unclear phrase. What makes it easier to get through, I think, this finale slog when there is something really, really fun and on the other side.
Chrisha: It's nice to just like really have that to ground myself in. Like, this is gonna be worth it because we're gonna get to see like, baby gay Dean, and it's gonna be so fun.
Catherine: *Sing-song* Baby Bi. Oh my goodness. I’m sorry. I’m like, having a moment about that.
Bothe: *Still laughing.*
Chrisha: I know. I know.
Catherine: So cute. Okay. Lots of fun and lots of important fun in the horizon. So we will wrap it there for this episode. You can message us and stay up to date with the latest on our Twitter, which is @TheFangirlBiz, that's B-I-Zee or B-I-Zed, depending on where you live in the world. We will see you again soon. And until then: Carry on, Wayward Friends. We love you! Bye!
Outro Instrumental Rock Music: “Play the Game” by VooDoo Blooze
Chrisha: What’s the other thing you think that I wanted to say here? I'm sure I had things but it might be easier for you to just tell me what I said.