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Supernatural: Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie

"Seriously. Dractapuss. Sea Biscuit the Impaler. Land shark. What's next?"

Classic Supernatural black comedy episode. And it was even relevant to the Winchesters because it addressed Sam's fear of clowns. Which actually had to do with his fear of abandonment, and specifically, abandonment by big brother Dean. I think. Although they never really explained why Sam was afraid of clowns. I doubt that he just associated them with bad pizza.

Anyway, the combination of absurdity and horror worked for me. I was pretty sure it was Howard the creepily dedicated employee, and voila. Howard succumbed to his childhood fear and guilt, just as Sam defeated his own. I enjoyed Sam as the bad cop, and Dean lurking around unsuccessfully acting inconspicuous. The unicorn, a.k.a. "Sea Biscuit the Impaler." The shark in the ball pit, which just made me howl. The guy in the lion suit unable to turn a doorknob with his paw, and the way Dean tackle-bounced him on a pile of tires. It's too bad we didn't get to see the giant robot with the laser eyes.

I'm not sure why they chose to use a 24-like ticking clock, but the end with "Right Friggin' Now" made me laugh out loud. And Sam's extended fight with the two Plucky clowns that bled glitter was great; I especially liked Sam spitting out the glitter in the end. I kept thinking that the reason for Sam facing his childhood fear like this was to set up a resolution of his Lucifer hallucinations, but no. Although maybe that's coming in a future episode.

Even though his close encounter with Amazons and fatherhood has made Dean swear off babies, baby names, bars, booze, or hot chicks of any kind, he gave the single mom employee's little boy some good fatherly advice. And he apologized for dumping young Sam off at Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie so he could troll for chicks. Maybe Dean is finally maturing. Nah.

Bits and pieces:

— The black and white credits exploded in garishly colored glitter. Great title, too, although it was a bitch to type.

— A unicorn with a rainbow coming out of its ass was mentioned in an earlier episode, but I don't remember which. Anyone?

— The sign on the wall of the employee breakroom had a long list of employee "no's" that included mustaches, punk-style haircuts, earrings, piercings, tattoos, perfume and unnatural make-up. But Jean the manager was wearing earrings.

— Fred Savage, like Gwyneth Paltrow, is now a Leviathan.

— I am noticing that Jensen and Jared are splitting up a lot more, and doing scenes on their own.

— This week: Wichita, Kansas, apparently the perfect spot for a land shark attack. Dean was agent Jones and Sam was special agent Johnson. And the room at the Tiki Motel with the red and green glowing lamps was exceptionally tacky and garish, even for Supernatural. It somehow fit with Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie.


Dean: (re: Frank) "I hope he finds something quick. This whole protocol du jour thing's really creeping my cheese."
Sam: "So we got dick on Dick?"

Dean: "So what are we looking for? An octovamp? A vampdipuss?"
Sam: "That's crazy even for us, right?"
Dean: "It does push the envelope."

Dean: "I can't argue with this. Leprechauns are deadly."
And that, of course, was a reference to "Clap Your Hands If You Believe..." Fight the fairies!

Sam: "They think the ball washer did it."
Dean: "The what?"
Sam: "The ball washer."
Dean: "The what?"

Dean: "Shark week, man. How do you not watch that? Whole week of shark."

Dean: "You're mainlining the Kool-aid, aren't you?"

Dean: "You're not using kid's nightmares to smoke people, Cliff?"
Cliff the lion: (slowly) "I don't think so..."

Cliff the lion: "Did you ever shroom in a ball pit?"
Ball pits are unnaturally weird. Can you imagine being stoned out of your mind in one?

Sam: "Robot?"
Dean: "Yeah. About the size of a house, shoots destructo beams out of its eyes."
Sam: "At least I'll see it coming."

Dean: "Sam, I'm sorry for psychologically scarring you."
Sam: "Which time?"

Three out of four clown phobia sobriety chips,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Great hilarious ep. WHatever issues Supernatural has with the brotherly angst, they do comedy very very well

    BTW Billie, I'm actually surprised you did'nt notice the Breaking Bad reference in the Bits and Pieces section. You're usually much better at spotting those connections than me.

  2. Hi, CoolSid: Noticed it, just didn't bother mentioning it. Does it seem like everyone is mentioning Breaking Bad these days?

  3. Haha, this was a great episode. I was looking forward to it all week and performed admirably. The episode that mentioned unicorns was 2.13 Houses of Holy where Dean expresses his skepticism of angels buy arguing, "You know what, there's a ton of lore on unicorns too. In fact, I hear that they ride on silver moonbeams, and they shoot rainbows out of their ass!"

  4. It was episode 13 of season 2. Houses of the Holy.

  5. Best episode since the first two of the season. I loved it! So much funny, so much cute, so many call backs to previous episodes. There's some little bit of business to enjoy in every scene. Highlights for me:
    *Ongoing clown fight - Sam was getting his ass kicked but he was hanging in there pretty good considering the clowns were invulnerable to everything he tried.

    *The aforementioned little touches like Dean making Sam say "Ball Washer" over and over and the lion's tail coming off in Dean's hand during the chase. For some reason that really cracked me up. And naturally the rainbow farts.

    *Of course the cathartic laughter and gift exchange between the bros was the perfect capper. I wager we all enjoyed seeing Dean laugh almost as much as Sam did.

    Lots more but those are the first things that come to mind. I'm giving it a 9 with a little taken off because the logic and resolution of the case itself was a little murky. In an episode this entertaining I don't really care much about that.

    Oh and I'm not one who is really afraid of clowns, but ball pits? NO! You can't see where you're stepping - there could be sink holes or rats or land sharks or anything down there! Or little creeps you hate who grab your ankles and pull you under...just no!


  6. I feel like I haven't posted a comment on one of your SPN reviews in a dog's age, B.

    I loved this episode. It's sad, though, to think that some of the fun comes from Dean faking happiness and Sam faking sanity. Poor boys.

    1. Ah don't be like that... the honest approach with open misery wasn't any less sad. And who's to say Dean's amusement there about the clown fight was faked? Or even Sam's periods of unmolested sanity?

  7. Very pleased with this episode. Best thing SPN does in my opinion - comedy. They really know how to nail it, and we are so pleased with the hilarity that the story itself can be kinda flat. It really felt thrown in there, but I don't care at all because every single thing else made it worth it to me. Best episode since Bobby's death. The only episode so far where I haven't missed him, which is really sad. :( Here's hoping this so-far iffy season keeps getting better. Hint to the writers - bring Cas back, or at least introduce some keep-worthy secondary characters to help fill the gap. Frank just doesn't cut it on his own.

  8. Hmm, no mention of Sam'd opening scene running with an expression of panic. Totally reminded me of Dean's opening scene in Yellow Fever.

    It was ok, I guess, some really LOL moments but I'm just not feeling Supernatural anymore :/

  9. Very funny episode and I loved seeing Dean laughing at the end. And clowns are definitively scary, I´m with Sam on that one.

  10. Okay, I might be wrong, and I don't know if this was already mentioned, but does anyone notice that a lot of bit civilian characters have all been high or have gotten high lately. I mean there's the medicating eyewitness in Time After Time, the lion man suspect in this one, and in the episode that Bobby died all of the people who ate the Leviathan burgers got stoned before they turned into monsters. Are The Leviathans keeping people drugged up for their world domination scheme? Is that field Dick Roman owns gonna be some kind of weird, supernatural poppy field? Maybe I'm seeing things.

    This episode was filler, but it was fun filler. Sam fighting clowns was a riot. And Dean's shenanigans at Plucky's were even better, especially the look on his face when he saw that big ass slinky. The drowned kid coming back for revenge reminded me of that season 1 episode with a similar scenario.

    I didn't catch all of the hints of the brothers growing up, but some. I think that might be the point of this season. Their lives have changed in probably the most drastic of ways. Cas, their best friend died, Bobby, their father died. They've abandoned old trademarks like the rockstar aliases, the Impala, and most of their original tactics. I think this might be the penultimate season, just maybe. Still really don't want it to end though.

    I'm glad next week they are getting back to more of a main element of this season that I thought was kind of glossed over. Sam is constantly in a battle for his own sanity and has maintained it. That's pretty freaking incredible. And Lucifer is back again, in his mind at least. I do think it is a manifestation of Lucifer that Sam carried over with him from hell and not just him going crazy, but I could be wrong.

    Great review as always, and can't wait for next week's.

  11. Finally, almost caught up on my Supernatural viewing so I feel I can comment. Great review Billie. I love how I always get a second laugh from your quotes. This episode was really fun and funny episodes are part of the Supernatural formula that works really well for me. With all the losses the boys have suffered and the really nasty big bads they have to deal with, a little levity was really welcome. I also really loved to see Dean laugh and the glitter was priceless. Where else are you going to see a deadly unicorn that farts rainbows? Still some of the most enjoyable television out there.

  12. I really enjoyed the episode especially clowns bled glitter. Did anyone else have a slight issue with dean killing Howard as he is human, granted it was kill and be killed in deans case.

  13. Wow another gimmick opening shot that's better than the normal one IMO.. love it. The colours.
    It's also really satisfying visually to see those shots from Sam's gun exploding harmlessly into glitter. It was a fun fight to watch. And of course Dean's lovely laugh and Sam noticing it at the end.
    Two favorite lines in "creeping my cheese" and finding out "ball-washer" is an actual thing lol. I think I only ever heard it used as a rude expression on Shawshank Redemption but I remembered it for some weird reason.


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