Supernatural: How Meta is Too Meta?

By Tim Surette

Feb 25, 2011

Minor spoilers ahead, but nothing that hasn't already appeared in previews of tonight's episode.

"Meta" is one of those buzzwords that's been used way too much this season, as TV shows continue to wink at audiences with reckless abandon. One show that has jumped through the television screen on a semi-regular basis before this current wave is The CW's Supernatural, which last season went so far as to bring their lead characters to a Supernatural convention.

The show is going one step further tonight with the episode "The French Mistake," the title of which is a nod to a meta-joke from Blazing Saddles. The episode is due to turn fans' brains into mashed potatoes as demon hunters Sam and Dean Winchester—played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively—are transported to an alternate dimension in which they become Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, stars of a television show called Supernatural.

*Boom!* Head explosion.

Sam/Jared will even encounter his real-life wife Genevieve Cortese, who played the demon Ruby (well, one of Ruby's incarnations) in Supernatural. Now THAT is meta!

Previous episodes of this ilk have been some of my favorite of the series. "Changing Channels," "The Real Ghostbusters," and "The Monster at the End of This Book" all did hilarious things with the idea of television and/or Supernatural as an in-world phenomenon. But some fans find the sidetracks to be a bit too much, and I can see that. This episode in particular has the potential to totally self-destruct. Even with the excellent track record of the show's writers, I'm feeling a bit nervous, but I felt the same way about "Changing Channels" and that's now one of my favorite episodes of the series.

Early reviews of "The French Mistake" are positive, with many saying it may be the funniest episode of the series. Even the clip below is full of LOLs.

Still, I'd love to hear some discussion from you fans out there who DON'T like these types of episodes. What is it about them that you don't like? Do you think they don't align with the rest of the series?

And to everyone: What are you expecting from "The French Mistake"?

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • bostonbeliever Jan 20, 2012

    so...I just watched this episode after deciding to spend my winter break watching all of Supernatural.

    It was hilarious and very well done.

    This is a great show, and after a pretty lame 6th season so far, it does seem to be picking up a bit. I look forward to catching up.

  • alekozz Feb 28, 2011

    Almost every fan of SN likes the meta episodes BUT when you have a 6th season that except 2-3 episodes sucks big time and lacks of focus and opens to 3 different storylines without following them.then you start getting pissed off...especially when we saw the last couple of years great series getting cancelled,we definately don't want something similar happenning to SN!!!!It's that simple...Seriously,watching the 6th season leaves you with the feeling that there are a lot of great ideas but they are all over the place...not in a correct and normal order...It's like they don't know where to go from here,trying constantly different ideas which most of them are great,but the series doesn't follow them...they just open storylines and leaving them hanging...Since the show didn't stop last year for which I'm grateful and hopefully all of SN fans are,we were hoping for a more darker,deeper,twisted and serious uproach of the whole's like having this feeling that something's wrong with the creative team and that's why the show stopped beeing convincing....Snap out of it!!!!The show has 2-3 great storylines at the moment...go with them...focus on something finally!!!This season except for the "Death" episode,has good moments,but ufortunately nothing really memorable!!! :(

  • tjaman Feb 27, 2011

    I just think it was a shame they couldn't follow the adventures of Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles in the "Supernatural" universe, Bobby calling them up and expecting them to, I dunno, /do/ stuff, random things popping up to possess them, no craft services table just ... over there, y'know, stuff like that. ;)

  • dark7angel Feb 27, 2011

    This episode was HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!! XD I laughed so much!!!!! And it's always great to see Sebastian Roche as Balthazar! I LOVED the scene where Sam and Dean were trying to film the episode with Misha!!! Sam: If there's a key... XD

  • JawadAbdUlW Feb 27, 2011

    is really jenson and jared dont talk to each other in real life ?

  • Geertvdheide Feb 27, 2011

    This episode in itself wasn't that bad, although I'm not into going meta. The main problem is that Supernatural has been avoiding the main storylines (stuff like the angel civil war and the "mother of all") for several episodes now and it really cannot get away with recklessly spreading filler episodes into this already shaky sixth season.

    It needs to get back to the hardcore essence very quick, especially after last week's horrible puppet episode. Keeping it dark and gritty, with a focussed drive towards some goal or endgame is key, like it did in excellent season 5.

  • TemiTc Feb 27, 2011

    loved it

  • martintab Feb 27, 2011

    Really funny episode, I admire the writers for using a dubious formula (bringing the fictional show to real life) and manage to even give it a very reasonable motif: hiding the key from Raphael in an alternate universe that has no "magic mojo" (quoting Dean here). And really cool to see Sam and Dean kicking the crap out of this guy Virgil

  • SLBangelgirl Feb 27, 2011

    Of my fav episodes. It was hilarious and it tackled a couple of issues both within the show and around it. Really good job. P.S: Jared deserves an Emmy for the scene were Sam & Dean are trying to film the episode with Misha as Cas.

  • GregReynolds3 Feb 26, 2011

    Initially I was worried it wasn't going to work, but I ended up enjoying the episode. At the endo of the episode I was half expecting Castiel to bring himself (Misha Collins) and the other crew members back from the dead to right the damage done to our parallel universe! I wonder if that really was his house. It all seemed too over the top to be drawing upon their real lives, especially the bit about the llama! Except the part where they brought in Jared's wife Genevieve Cortese, which was great. Always enjoy watching her. :-)

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