Part 4: The Whole Brother-Sister Thing
I've been given this excuse by anti-S/D shippers (most of whom ship S/J and/or D/V; interestingly I've never really gotten it from slashers or from Sam/Cam, Sam/McKay, Daniel/Weir or Daniel/Janet shippers) more times than I can count. Either that Sam and Daniel are way too much like siblings to ever work romantically, or even that they ARE siblings. Funny, I don't recall Sam and Daniel sharing a set of parents (or one parent), or having the same last name.
Additionally, both Michael Shanks and Amanda Tapping have said fairly recently that the two characters view each other as brother and sister; Michael at the Burbank con in 2006, adding they have a rivalry between them (am I the only person who doesn't see this? Could someone elaborate?), and Amanda at the GABIT con in 2006 saying that kissing Daniel would be like kissing your brother. In the past year there was also a feature in the official Stargate magazine that went through the A-Z's of Samantha Carter. For “Daniel” it mentioned the two forming a close friendship, but then saying that after Daniel descended, she settled back into working with him as easily as a twin brother.
This thing irks me in more ways than one. I personally have never really seen anything to indicate that Daniel or Sam view each other as mere siblings. Maybe I am biased because I don't have any siblings myself. I have friends who do, however, so the way I see them interact colors my view of the whole thing. I also have an uncle on my mom's side. They never really got along as they were growing up, and still really don't to this day. They had a huge rivalry, my grandfather favoring my uncle over my mom, and in more recent years before she died, my grandmother doing the same thing. If it wasn't for the fact they were related, they probably wouldn't even bother with each other. It's sad, but there you have it. Most of my friends would fight constantly with their siblings and didn't have a great relationship with them as well. I've heard from various people that they have exceptionally good relationships with their siblings and consider that relationship special, so they could see Sam and Daniel's relationship like this. I don't know why, but it cheapens the notion of friendship or the possibility of more for me.
The way I view it is this: Sam and/or Daniel viewing each other like siblings is not canon. Why? Because neither have expressed such a notion outright. We've never gotten a “He's like a brother to me” or “She's the annoying sister I never had.” This is the same reason why I don't view Sam/Jack or Daniel/Vala romantic relationships as canon. Neither pairing has actually come out and said “I love you.” It's all subtext. And yes, I know what Daniel and Vala said to each other in Unending before time reversed and they were taken out of the bubble. But, one, if they had to say such a thing to each other, then they couldn't have explicitly stated “I love you” the whole time on that ship; and two, it was only one version of the future, and was thus not absolute. Michael Shanks himself said such a relationship wouldn't carry over to the movies.
So, until such an actual declaration of love is uttered, I don't see either of these two being canon. Shippers can rely on all the subtext they want to feed their love of the 'ship. In the same way, until Sam or Daniel actually state that they view each other like siblings, it's not canon. Others want to see it that way, then they are welcome to it. But it's never been stated.
And before you say it, yes, I count Sam/Daniel as not being canon either. But in the way that most other shippers rely on subtext, I do as well. At least for fanfiction.
Going back to what Michael Shanks and Amanda Tapping's comments, I think we need to consider the time and place in which they were stated. They'd just wrapped Season 10. Michael had a ball acting with Claudia, has praised the Daniel/Vala dynamic to the heavens, and thus sees Sam/Daniel as small potatoes compared to that. He apparently doesn't have as much fun acting with Amanda as he does with Claudia, and may still be somewhat bitter about the Sam/Jack stuff. I hate being presumptuous and I mean no disrespect toward Michael; I'm just trying to rationalize his comments and the reason he made them. I still don't understand how Sam and Daniel have a rivalry between them. But I guess that's just his take on it.
As far as Amanda's comments go, she'd made them in a room full of S/J shippers. A friend of mine who attended that con said she had talked about the various ships of Sam – mostly Sam/Jack and Sam/Martouf. After a break, the friend told Amanda at the autograph session she'd forgotten to mention Sam/Daniel. Amanda apologized and said she'd bring it up during the next discussion. When she did, she asked who liked Sam/Daniel. Apparently no one raised their hand, except for my friend whom Amanda couldn't see. She replied something like “No one, huh? Well, it would be like kissing your brother!” One wonders if she would have said that if she'd seen my friend raising her hand. But the funny thing is, during that same con she was interviewed for Gateworld about Season 10. She said she wished Sam had more interaction with Daniel, that Sam missed Daniel in the past two seasons, and SHE missed Daniel. She went on to say that Daniel and Sam have such a special friendship. The thing that's odd to me is that it almost contradicts the whole “like kissing your brother” thing, which sounded kind of insulting to me. But I would assume she did that because she was in a room full of S/J shippers. Maybe during the one-to-one interview she let more of her true feelings come out.
I was left feeling a bit sad after both of their comments, because it reminded me of some earlier interviews that made it sound like Sam/Daniel ship (or even just great friendship) would have been possible. During a Wolf con in 2000, someone had asked AT about Sam/Daniel. She replied that Daniel is very lovely and who wouldn't be in love with him. She said she and Michael actually talked about it during Season 1. Michael had said “wouldn't it make sense for our characters to get together and be in love since we're both scientists and passionate about what we do?” She replied, “Yeah, but you've got this wife.” I'd also read somewhere else about this, and that since Sha're was still in the picture, they just let Sam and Daniel flirt a bit more in the early seasons. But after she died, the writers concentrated their efforts more on Sam/Jack. It's a bit sad that both actors were so receptive to the idea in the beginning of the show, but other circumstances seem to make it repulsive to them.
Well, at least as far as ship is concerned. It is nice that Amanda misses the friendship. I haven't heard much of Michael's thoughts on it, but apparently he doesn't seem to care too much about it. At least I'm assuming, anyway.
So, there you have it: A detailed (maybe too detailed... sorry) description of the Sam/Daniel friendship...dynamic... whatever you want to call it. If you made it this far, I thank you for reading. Even if you don't share any of my opinions. I know this was going to be chiefly about friendship but I ended up sticking a wee bit of 'ship discussion in it anyway.
For the newer fans who don't even fancy a friendship between these two, I suggest you watch the first few seasons of the show, because once upon a time they had a very nice dynamic.
In closing, I'm left somewhat saddened by this apparent deterioration of the Sam/Daniel relationship and I don't hold out much hope for it being repaired or given more due in Continuum. I guess the only way I can entertain my squeee is through fanfic. So, get those pens...er...keyboards moving. ;) And I'll try to do my part as well.
Whew, last part finally. Any questions/comments/things you think I should add? Please let me know. :)