I watch Supernatural primarily for the brothers. I never came into the show, rubbing my hands together, and plotting, "who shall I ship here?" My fave character is Dean, though I really like Sam and many other characters, and I honestly can't think of a character I full out hate. (The closest would be Bela.) Ihe brotherly relationship and the focus on family is what I love about this show and I will keep with it until it stops being that for me.
However, somewhere along the way I fell in love with Dean/Jo.
I'm not really up to debating otherwise, so please don't misunderstand this post and come in to tell me how wrong I am or how I'm misreading canon, but I firmly believe that Dean and Jo were in the beginning stages of love. You can argue me till you're blue, but the following is how I viewed their relationship in the show and that just won't change. I'm convinced that Jo loved him in S2 and he was attracted to her and he cared for her, but he wasn't really sure how to make sense of his feelings. Was she a hunter? Was she like a kid sister? Was she a hot chick he could tap? In the end, it wouldn't matter anyway. Sam was always Dean's #1 priority and I think she knew that by the time BUABS aired.
When Jo came back, we saw her as older and more mature, and she had moved outside her infatuation with Dean to a place where she could respect herself. I think the way she carried herself really helped Dean see her in a way that made more sense to him than back in S2 (when he was grieving for his dad on top of it). For me, Jo still loved him, but it was a more adult love than when she was younger. And Dean was reacting to that. Her death cut things short, and sadly, also clued him in on just how much he cared for her. Her death (and Ellen's) haunted him for the rest of the season. Dean figured it out when it was too late.
What would have happened if Jo had lived? I don't know. I could see the two of them starting a relationship. I think she is one of the few women who Dean respected enough to be with in a long-term romance. I could see them working, even if it would be tough, and she would still have been second best to Sam, even when Dean was at his lowest with his brother.
So what about Dean/Lisa? While I see Dean and Jo in the initial stages of love by the end of Abandon All Hope, I don't see Dean/Lisa in love yet. This isn't a slam on Dean/Lisa. Dean and Lisa had a one-night stand years ago. He only visited her to try to relive that wild kind of fun when he was dying. Since he found a different person instead, a more mature and grown mother, he had to reassess and reprocess. The Kids are Alright showed us that Dean and Lisa, while not being in love, still cared for each other, still had affection, still had a spark, and Lisa liked him enough that she wanted him to stay. Dean would have liked to stay. This could easily have turned into love if he had stayed.
In that episode, I could see Lisa, like Jo, as being someone he respected and could fall in love with. And when we saw Lisa again this season, the writers showed us again how much they cared for each other. But are they in love? For this viewer, no. I think Dean and Jo were in that first stage, but I don't see Dean and Lisa there.
Lisa has a ready made family for Dean. He wants one so so so bad. And now that Sam is gone, and he's keeping his promise to his brother, Dean will settle down with them. I see Dean being able to rekindle that spark with Lisa, as it never went away, and I can definitely see him falling in love with her. Maybe when S6 starts back up, he'll have already fallen and settled into a relationship with her. This won't bother me. Really.
Lisa and Jo are the only two characters I've seen so far that I'm convinced Dean could fall for.
What does that mean for this Dean/Jo fan? Look. Dean/Jo is my OTP. You can call me crazy and read my view of the show as totally biased. I don't care. But just because I adore Dean/Jo, doesn't mean I can't enjoy Dean/Lisa or enjoy where they take it in canon. I *like* Lisa. And I'm not against Dean/Lisa. Heck, I've mentioned Dean/Lisa as something Dean wanted in a fic before. I can continue to feel that Jo was the one for Dean, just as Jess was the one for Sam, and tragically they never had the chance. Bad timing. A little too late. But just because Dean lost the girl for him and Sam lost the girl for him, does that mean they can't move on?
I'm going to continue to love Dean/Jo as my OTP even as the show canon marches on. I will enjoy them in art and discussion and old viewings of the eps. I will keep writing them, when I have a chance, and will read when I have the time. Dean/Jo is my ultimate Dean pairing as Sam/Jess is my ultimate Sam pairing. It is what it is. I don't care if I'm the last one standing and not a soul cares what I post anymore.
Doesn't mean I can't celebrate Dean/Lisa and all that it brings. I just hope they don't do some weird thing and bring Jo back to have him dance back and forth between the two or spurn evil!ghost!Jo or whatever, LOL. Do Dean/Lisa and have Jo rest in peace or bring Jo back sometime if thing didn't work out with Lisa.
But that's me. I have no control over canon.
So you won't see me slam Dean/Lisa, but you won't see me belittle what Dean/Jo started to have, either.
I'm not trying to rationalize or validate why I like what I like. But I just wanted to say my bit. I hope that if any of you still like the pairing that you'll continue to ship them, even if just in art or vids or in our own little AUs. I'd hate to think I'm alone, LOL.