The behind-the-scenes-reasons for killing off John Winchester (i.e. JDM having other projects) aside, one of the biggest storytelling reasons Kripke has given for that was that it should allow Dean and Sam to grow into their own, take over their own destiny and not follow John's clues and mission in some way.
Now, five years later, this seems like a joke because Bobby has become more of a hold-up than John ever was. Even in Season 1 when they followed his bread-crumbs and were kept in the dark about vital knowledge on the Yellow Eyed Demon, they were perfectly capable to finish their own hunts and make up their own minds. And sure, they could work with others but on a partnership level.
Bobby has become surrogate Daddy and it's like because he is supposed to be "nice" Daddy, that's okay. They haven't build their own contacts or network because Bobby has known every hunter who ever lived on this Earth and if they need one, they get a referral. They don't need their own research and least of all their own instincts or deduction skills because once they've done some legwork and gathered a couple basic facts, they'll call Bobby and he will pretty much immediately name which monster-of-the-week it is, how to kill it and refer them to where they'll find the object to do so. They are the junior partners and somewhat the muscle of the operation.
Coupled with the crotchety old man shtick and the "idjits" and all the tough love rants, even Bobby's dialogue is coded as immensely paternal. He (and everybody) even refers to them as "the boys" even though they are two adult men.
I think the show tried to create some bastard version of the wise, old mentor in teen shows here, like Giles on Buffy. Only and very important difference is: the characters on these shows are TEENS. Meaning it's okay for them to need such a person. Supernatural started when both main characters were already well past that stage.
And I think their Season 1/2-selves would kick their Season 7-selves asses, both in hunting and in general.
I don't understand why Bobby needed a new existance, nor do I understand why Bobby, a guest star, should have most of the season devoted to him and have a storyline that involves only him, while Dean Winchester, a lead, hasn't had the honor of a story in years.
True. I'm all for supporting characters, I'm also not averse to giving them stories but don't build the attic before the cellar here.
At FIRST, they should fix the writing for the lead characters and give them exciting, plot-related and genre-themed stories. And then, they can bring the second bananas up to speed.