Television shows are the best things in the world. You can lose yourself and your worries for up to an hour at a time and at the same time be drawn into another world that is not your own. I am selective about what I watch, but the shows I pick I tend to devour and consume over and over again. Supernatural, on the CW, is one such show. I have seen each episode a minimum of three times and that is a lot considering they are in their sixth season. Eric Kripke created a wonderful story full of great characters. Matt Nix has done a similar task with his USA Network show, Burn Notice. This comparison of leading men has allowed me to do in-depth research into Dean Winchester (my personal favorite Winchester boy) and Michael Westen, my favorite burned spy. These are all my humble opinions, but I hope you enjoy it just the same.
First, let me start by saying that Jensen Ackles and Jeffrey Donovan do a most excellent job of portraying these characters. Without their talent and passion for the job there would be no reason to love these shows. Thanks guys!! Now for a quick background on both characters. Dean Winchester comes from a family of hunters, not of deer or such but evil things like demons, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures. Dean’s mother was killed when he was a child by a demon and his father went on a revenge quest thus raising the boys (Sam is Dean’s younger brother) to do the same. Michael Westen, on the other hand, grew up relatively normal. There was dysfunction in the family and some physical abuse that caused him to leave home at an early age. Michael went on to become a spy and eventually got wrongfully “burned” (the equivalent to being fired in spydom) and has been on a quest to right that wrong. Both characters are rich and multi-dimensional. Here is my comparison of the two.
Dean is all about his family. His father and Sam are all he knows (his grandfather has come back from the grave in Season Six but that is another story). Dean has based his entire life on keeping his brother safe and saving what little he has in terms of loved ones. It is completely painful the way he struggles to save that relationship. By the way, their father is dead as he sold his soul to the same demon that killed his wife in order to bring Dean back from the dead. See the dysfunction? It is a strong bond that Dean has with his family, and sometimes it seems like Sam does not have the same type of bond and that breaks my heart.
Michael Westen has a brother, Nate, and his mother, Madeline. When Michael left for the service and then went on to become a spy, it was referenced that he had very little contact with any of them and that they knew little about his life. He was upset about the abuse he endured from his father, who is deceased and seemed to blame the rest of the family. Now that they have been back in his life for some time, he seems to have mellowed toward the family and now even relishes the relationships. The connection between his mother and he has grown as she has explained to him what she went through and how she had to deal with the problems caused by his father. Now they are “tight” and even work together on cases. Madeline has even been known to interrogate a bad guy once in a while.
Based on both character’s depth of family, I have to say this category is a tie.
This category is going to be similar in that neither Dean nor Michael participates in your typical employment situation. Dean is a hunter and there is no pay or benefits in that job. He uses fraudulent credit cards to get himself gas, room and board and food. Benefits, there are none unless you consider that he does not punch a time clock; that has its own advantages. He lives on the road and is the master of his universe. Michael, on the other hand, came from a highly structured government environment. But now that he is burned, he has a similar employment gig as Dean. Michael basically works two jobs (1) trying to figure out how to get back into the spy game and (2) taking on cases in which he helps those people who are in need that cannot help themselves. Michael is a Robin Hood, of sorts. He takes “cases” that involve good people being abused by bad people and rectifies the situation. The pay can be good at times, but he usually does not take it anyway, or it can be non-existent. Michael always takes the side of good and, generally, the pay scale for that is fairly low.
Again, I have to say that both characters help those who cannot help themselves and for that I consider this category a tie.
This one is easily a tie also. Both characters are nothing if not loyal to those around them. Dean will die for his family and friends as would Michael. There is no question that either one of them is loyal. I declare a tie once again.
Dean has the sweetest 1967 Chevy Impala that is a character of the show along with the brothers. She is an amazing piece of American car engineering and building. I had never given much thought to Chevy before as I was raised by a Mopar mechanic, but now I can see the beauty people see in Chevy.
Once Michael was “dumped” in Miami (his hometown, incidentally) after being burned he acquires his father’s 1973 Dodge Charger from his mother. An interesting correlation is that the Impala was actually Dean’s father’s car for many years.
This category is going to end up being a tie also. I love Dean’s Impala and historically have loved most Mopar muscle cars.
Dean wins this category for me hands down. He loves the rock classics. AC/DC, Bad Company, and Led Zeppelin to name a few. I love the classics and appreciate that Dean does too. Music plays a large part in the early episodes of Supernatural. I can’t say I have ever heard Michael listen to any particular type of music or have it be used in the series. So, I have to give this category to Dean. Rock on brother!!
Dean has always downplayed religion in his life. He has felt that it is not possible for a supreme being to want to “save” him. Later in the series as the apocalypse starts and angels become real to him, he still challenges that his is worthy of being saved and is convinced that he is destined to go to hell (although he did a tour of duty there already). I feel that he is more open to it now but cannot kick his internal self-loathing enough to actually be saved and to believe in God. Maybe he just fears trusting in something he cannot actually see; he lacks true faith.
I cannot remember a time when religion was ever brought up in Burn Notice. It is probably one of those issues that remains personal to the characters and is not a subject up for discussion.
I will judge this category a tie because there just isn’t enough information.
Dean has a “GED and a can-do attitude.” He may not be academically educated, but he has street smarts and common sense. Dean has a mechanical aptitude as well as multi-weapon aptitude. Every once in a while he throws out a sound bite that makes the audience realize there is more to him then meets the eye. In one episode he asks a question that references a Kurt Vonnegut novel. His depth tends to be put on the back burner, but it is there.
Michael, on the other hand, is militarily trained and is highly intelligent. He is also skilled in weapons, explosives and other tactics used in the spy business. He has been trained to blend in with many different scenarios and cultures. He is an extremely intelligent character and, therefore, wins this category.
Food and Drink
Dean loves nothing better than a good bacon-cheeseburger and an iced cold beer. His favorite dessert above all else is pie. I admire him for that diet. I wish I could utilize that one, but I would have had a heart attack by now given my level of inactivity. Dean, at least, works off the cheeseburgers when he is digging up graves or killing evil. I don’t think I have ever seen him eat a salad (except in the episode where he is transported into an alternate reality and I don’t think that really counts). Dean does pound down the alcohol especially later in the series when times get really bad. But for the most part, he is a beer guy and I can respect that!
My husband and I have been debating whether Michael even drinks. I think I have seen him drink a beer once in a great while with his friend, Sam. Mostly though he drinks iced teas. He probably does that to keep his wits about him. As far as eating, all I can ever remember him eating is yogurt. I suppose a body can live on yogurt when there is no other food around…must be some kind of spy trick. I would assume, though, that if given the chance to have a huge steak or a lightly broiled fish, Michael would take the healthier choice. He treats his body with respect and would probably never eat a bacon cheeseburger.
Dean has gone through quite a few women in his days. He is a love-them-and-leave them type of guy, until now. At the end of Season Five, Dean returns to a woman he knows from his past and takes up house with her and her son. It has been a touching transition from killer to family man. Unfortunately, it does not last, but it was good while it did and I don’t think he will go back to his “evil” ways. Dean, in all actuality, has always had that dream of a family life and the women he has had and left seemed okay with the situation.
Michael does not actively seek out women as he has partnered in work with an ex-girlfriend, Fiona Glenanne (portrayed by Gabrielle Anwar) and they have an on-again, off-again romantic relationship. To tell you the truth, I cannot picture him with anyone else. In fact, if he even looks at another woman (which he doesn’t do), I will remove this article – that is how strongly I feel he and Fiona should be together.
Since Dean has settled down and since Michael has always been respectful of women, this category is a tie.
That brings us to the end of the comparison and there is no clear winner. So I guess I have to admit that both Dean Winchester and Michael Westen are fabulous leading men. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I had “researching” it and writing it. Until next time….