“You’re Jensen Ackles, and I’m something called a Jared Padalecki.”
Let’s wrap up this month’s episode highlights with something amusing, shall we?
Summary: Sam and Dean are chillin’ at Bobby’s when Balthazar suddenly appears, starts babbling about Raphael being after him, and does a spell that sends them into a parallel universe. A universe where they are actors named Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, and they star in a cult TV show called Supernatural.
Why I love it: “Love” almost seems inadequate. When the credits rolled, I wanted to give a round of applause, and maybe a hug, to everyone whose name showed up. This is the most magnificently meta thing I have ever seen a television show do. Supernatural had a pretty thin fourth wall to begin with, but this episode shattered it to bits and then vaporized the bits. Which took some guts. It could have turned out painfully bad. But the Supernatural crew pulled it off, and I think this episode ties with “Changing Channels” in terms of sheer, crazy, ridiculous fun.
I have always loved how this show is so unafraid of poking fun at itself, but in the past, the teasing was pretty indirect and focused on the fans as much as the people behind the scenes. Here, the cast and crew get to be the exclusive butt of their own jokes–which are very good-natured, especially since everyone is playing obvious caricatures of themselves. We get Misha and his quirky, Twitter-obsessed self; Jared’s ginormous mansion, containing his wife Rub–I mean Genevieve; and Jensen’s dark, dark past as a soap opera star. It’s all glorious.
Besides, there’s just something wonderful about characters from a show like this breaking into reality to kill their creator(s). Doctor Who needs to do this to Steven Moffat. It would be so therapeutic.
And props to the real Jensen and Jared for staying in character long enough to film this episode. I mean…what did their stage directions even look like? At one point they’re playing Sam and Dean pretending to be Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean. (That was the funniest scene in the whole episode, by the way.) I can’t imagine even keeping a straight face in a situation like that. And that is why this episode works so well–if we, the audience, thought for one second that we were watching the actors, and not their characters, the whole thing would collapse. But no, this is quite clearly Sam and Dean, stuck in yet another weird situation and trying to get out.
Speaking of which, the Winchesters’ reason for wanting to get back to their world is pretty darn heartwarming. Their lives in the parallel universe are infinitely better than their “real” lives, but they still want to go back because their world needs them. And no matter how monster-free it is, they don’t want to live in a universe where they’re not brothers. “At least they’re talking,” indeed.
Besides, who wants to live in a world where you used to be on Days of Our Lives? That’s just embarrassing.