Supernatural: Changing Channels

Dean: "Right about now, I wish I was back in a TV show."
Sam: "Yeah. Me, too."

Pleasantville on acid. I gave this episode four stars in the first few minutes. By the time they got to the Knight Rider parody, I was worn out from laughing. Like "The Monster at the End of This Book," it was fiction within fiction, a television show inside a television show, transparent symbolism about how their entire lives have been manipulated from the outside. I love stuff like this.

The previews all focused on the parody of Grey's Anatomy (probably because of the competing time slot situation) but I thought that part was only okay. But I loved the Japanese game show Nutcracker! with the boots and the ball crusher. And the Knight Rider parody, with Sam and the Impala as Kitt. And the Winchesters themselves, but translated into an uncomfortable and creepy sitcom. They even had their own theme song and jokey montage. The writers of this show don't just push the envelope. They shove it through a shredder.


As usual, there was heavy under the funny. We're still back to Dean and Sam "playing their roles" as the two most important chess pieces on Earth. Trickster/Gabriel said he didn't care which side won, but I don't believe it. Who suffered the most during this episode? Who got humiliated over and over? Yes, Dean got shot, but Sam got hit by the Nutcracker, after a couple of really nasty questions directed right at him. Sam had to do the Herpes ad. Sam was the car. And even though Dean died over and over again, Sam was the one the Trickster tortured in "Mystery Spot."

(I was mildly bummed that the Trickster wasn't really a trickster, although they set that up fairly well by the fact that they couldn't stake him in "Tall Tales," and he was way too powerful as well as way too obsessed with freaking Sam out in "Mystery Spot.")

There was a brief mention of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character on Grey's Anatomy, and more on the parallels between God/Michael/Lucifer and John/Dean/Sam. I'll say it again. If they plan to bring Morgan back, please make him God. Please. It would be perfect.

Bits and pieces:

— In the sitcom, Sam was again giving Dean a hard time for having sex. I still don't understand why Sam would care. Although, come to think of it, in the sitcom, Dean was the screw-up comic relief and Sam was the straight man. So I guess it fit.

— The two questions asked on Nutcracker! were, for Sam: "What was the name of the demon you chose over your own brother?" and for Dean, "Would your mother and father still be alive if your brother was never born?"

— The set decoration on Nutcracker! was impressive. It occurred to me that only male contestants could be on that show, seeing as how women lack nuts. There aren't any women in the whole Apocalypse scenario, either. There's something really sexist about all this. :)

— The sitcom set decoration was impressive, too. It was so shiny and artificial, while still giving us the standard weirded out motel room.

— I identified with Dean's rant about procedural cop shows. I never watch them, either. Which one were they parodying, with the sunglasses and the lollipop? Jensen and Jared were imitating someone, too. Was it David Caruso?

— I thought the oil had to come from a special place in Jerusalem, not out of the Impala. Maybe it just needed to be prayed over or something.

— The preview gave too much away. I'm tempted to not watch them any more.

— Wellington, Ohio, at the Day-Z motel, which was the Sun 'n Sands Motel in the sitcom.

— As I've mentioned before, stuff like this looks easy. It's really, really not. Gold acting stars for Jensen and Jared, especially Jared. Although he does tend to get the same troubled, constipated-looking furrowed brow whenever Lucifer is mentioned.

Quotes:

Mrs. Randolph: "It's impossible, but I could have sworn I saw the Incredible Hulk."
Sam: "The Incredible Hulk?"
Mrs. Randolph: "I told you. It's crazy."
Dean: "Bana or Norton?"

Dean: "Is there, uh, would there be any reason that Lou Ferrigno, the Incredible Hulk, would have a grudge against your husband?"
Mrs. Randolph: (long pause) "No." The look on her face was priceless.

Sam: "Okay, I need a penknife, some dental floss, a sewing needle, and a fifth of whiskey. (Everyone looks at him.) Stat!"

Game show host: "Mister Trickster does not like pretty boy angels." Poor Castiel just got beaten up over and over in this one.

Dean: (voice over) "Possible side effects include headache, diarrhea, permanent erectile dysfunction, thoughts of suicide, and nausea."
Sam: "I'm doing all I can to... slightly lessen the spread of... of... genital herpes. And that's a good thing."

Sam: "You gotta calm down."
Dean: "Calm down? I'm wearing sunglasses at night. You know who does that? No talent douchebags."

Sam: "Should I honk?"

Gabriel: "This isn't about a war. It's about two brothers that loved each other and betrayed each other. You'd think you'd be able to relate."

Four out of four stars,

Billie
---
Billie Doux adores Supernatural which is a good thing since apparently, it's eternal.

16 comments:

Mark Greig said...

I love this episode so much it hurts. The Knight Rider bit had me in stitches all day.

It is great how this show can often effortlessly turn what seems to be a random monster of the week tale into a continuation of the overall arc story without any of it jarring or feeling out of place.

But have to say that I’m not fond of the idea of Jeffrey Dean Morgan coming back as God. If he did return I’d want to see him as John not as a new character with a familiar face.

Although, I wouldn’t mind it if the almighty showed up as the boy’s mother instead. Or Bobby! Bobby as God would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Definitely four out of four stars! A clever episode. As always, Supernatural goes not for the easy way but the clever one, from the title of the episodes, to the dialogues and the reference to pop culture. And what a great way to go from funny to what is vital to the Supernatural storyline! You have to admire how the Supernatural team has the guts to always make fun of themselves!
Just a little thing: did Dean have a crush on Dr Sexy? Ooops. C.

Near said...

What I don't get is ... if all these Angels are ticked off because God ran off without leaving a forwarding address, why don't they just pop back in time to when he was last around? Then they could ... I don't know, ask him not to vanish or something.

Patti said...

Loved the sitcom parody. These guys make it look easy. I think this is a pivotal episode just like the one where Dean meets his mom and dad when they were young. The CSI Miami parody was spot on and hilarious. This was one terrific episode.

Jess Lynde said...

As for the CSI parody: the look was more like traditional CSI, but they were definitely ragging on David Caruso. He's infamous for the mannered sunglasses removal and cheesy one-liners at a crime scene.

I loved this one, because (1) it was freaking hilarious, and (2) it seamlessly blended the comedy with the heavy arc-centric material. I loved the reveal that the Trickster was actually Gabriel in "witness protection." Great twist. The ending confrontation with Sam, Dean, and the Trickster was just outstanding.

I also don't think I want to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan as God. I don't want to really see anyone we know as God. If we see God at all.

Anonymous, I definitely think Dean was man-crushing on Dr. Sexy.

shawnlunn2002 said...

I don't think you could ever accuse this show of not having a sense of humour. I saw most of this on YouTube and I laughed. Inventive parodies. Just a shame that Castiel wasn't used as much.

Anonymous said...

A phenomenal episode on so many levels. I just wish Sam would stop getting all the torture. Why is it that Dean's getting all the sex, yet Sam gets the clap last week and herpes this week? Where is the fairness in that? Oh, I forgot--he's the one who has the Penis of Doom that ends up with his lovers dying. Dean just loves 'em and leaves 'em! I was laughing so hard during most of this episode, but when Trickster/Gabriel told the brothers what was really going on, I burst into tears and was miserable for hours after the episode ended. I know, it's only a TV show, and when Dean and Sam wished THEY were back in a TV show, I was thinking, guys, you ARE in a TV show! Yet to those of us who have been watching them for five years, the Winchesters are REAL, and we want them to live so badly, it hurts to even consider the possibility they won't.

So what will happen? Will God be found and give them a reprieve? Will God turn out to be their own Papa, John Winchester? It would only seem right to come around full circle that way.

We don't know whether or not this is the last year of SUPERNATURAL. I personally hate the thought of not seeing Sam and Dean every week--or thinking that they aren't out there, protecting us from demons.

Love, Robin
Editor, SUPERNATURAL
moogi.com
Episode 5.8 up now
for your reading pleasure!

Anonymous said...

This episode rocked! Loved all of it. Dean's first SOAB was wonderful. Dr Sexy MD is a much better name than Dr McSteamy even if that's not the name of the real show


"seriously" was serious! Hasn't Sam been using that word a lot this season?? And Sam being slapped so many times really funny. It really should have been Dean not Sam (he isn't the woman chaser Dean is) Dean's crush on Dr Sexy...loved it love Steve Basic and Dean knowing he wore cowboy boots! Way to go Dean!!

Loved so much of "The Nut Cracker" game...poor Sam again how many times now for him? I can think of at least 3 Sam 3 Dean 0...that is just wrong, wrong wrong

"Son of a bitch" has always been my favorite line for Dean. Never have I had Dean say that line in so many different ways but each of them great....

Sam as the impala = Sampala! Not my word read it online somewehre but love that. I loved Knight Rider (yeah geek here) so this I loved this part all of it and all the lines

Best show ever! Fantastic episode. sooo funny and then bam it turns dramatic.... Great twist...about the time Dean figured he was an angel is about the time I did. Trickster is Gabriel..did not see that coming. "Gabriel blow your horn!" well the trickster has been doing that since the Winchester Boys first met him. One of my fav episodes

Michael Colvin said...

Being a fan of Grey's Anatomy, I loved all of the pokes that they did at it. "Dr. Sexy" was just hilarious. They made fun of everyone perfectly.

Great great episode. It got a little too meta at points, but the jokes were worth it.

Anonymous said...

Awesome episode. I could not stop laughing! But then they swicthed the comedy to a more serious tone with the Trickster being Gabriel and it worked perfectly.

ChrisB said...

Absolutely hilarious -- I laughed so hard, I had to keep re-winding to see the parts I missed. Best line was about the ghosts on 'Grey's Anatomy,' especially since JDM (as Denny) comes back as a ghost at least twice.

What this show does brilliantly is transition from broad comedy to serious without missing a beat. The last scene was so powerful. And Billie -- you are absolutely right about Gabriel picking sides. Hadn't seen that unti you pointed it out.

One thing to keep in mind. In the New Testament, it is Gabriel who comes to earth to announce the births of both John the Baptist and Christ to their barren/virgin mothers. In other words, he tells humans about the impossible. Something tells me that both Mary's had a similar reaction to our boys' when they first heard the news.

Katherine said...

This actually caused me a rare moment of existential doubt. I’ve sat out of TV for most of my life, so I knew that things were being referenced, but had no idea to what the references were; neither did my children. On the other hand my family was watching “Heroes” Second Coming and I made them pause the show so I could read them the poem. My youngest child was bemused when the show was resumed, “Hey mom just spoke those words!” because that is the kind of reference I get. I’m a word girl, not an image girl.

So am I damaging my children by limiting their shared cultural references? They do know the story of Camelot, having heard the sound track and the stories, so when they encountered “Merlin” they had complete context. They know that stories are to be played with; points of view can be shifted to tell a new story.

Bonus point from Phineas and Ferb:

“I am The Lady of the Puddle.”
“Don’t you mean The Lady of the Lake?”
“Nah, that’s my mom.”

This reference got a huge laugh out of them.

So the doubt passed; Camelot will live on longer than Dr. Sexy.

Billie Doux said...

Katherine, I don't have the answer to your question. But I loved your comment, and I also think Camelot will live on longer than Dr. Sexy. Or Meredith Grey. Will that do? :)

Katherine said...

Yes, that will do nicely.

You are the most gracious hostess I have ever interacted with, and my children and I were thrilled by your quick response.

Billie Doux said...

That is so sweet!

I do love this site, and spend a lot of time on it. In the fall and spring when it's super busy, I don't respond to as many comments as I'd like, though.

FWIW, the photo of Sam and Dean at the top of this review is one of my absolute favorite Supernatural screenshots. It's probably the expressions on their faces that make it such a winner.

434444334 said...

I laughed too much as kitt Sam :D