Supernatural: How Meta is Too Meta?

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 TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (45)
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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.
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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 show...it'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!!! :(
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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. ;)
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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
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is really jenson and jared dont talk to each other in real life ?
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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.
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loved it
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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
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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.
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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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such a frickin hilarious ep !!! they actually did a amazing job with it like it was really corny but thats supernatural thats why i love it :) ever get that feeling someones in the back set frowny face!! that priceless actually could not stop laughing :L
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I think this episode was the funniest of all, I really enjoyed watching it!! At last a good laugh!!
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I've never taken time to watch this show but this morning I've watched this episode and it was really great. The storyline was original and it was kind of funny.... really deserve good reviews!
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that episode was really funny....great job with that episode...perfect 10
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best of the best :-)
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Watched it. Laughed my lungs out. The single most hilarious piece of television this year and likely to keep that spot for a while.
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A little off topic but I was a tad bummed to find out Jared married "Ruby". Wtf??
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I enjoyed this episode very much, I have been a Supernatural fan since the beginning and enjoy all the episodes. Keep it up. It is a show I can watch all the time. Please keep it on air.
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Until it no longer says, "Kripke Entertainment" at the end of every episode, please stop saying he (Kripke) is no longer involved. Also... the term "supernatural" means what it says. Unless something is defined by the natural sciences, then it is "supernatural". SORRY christians, but there are far more to supernatural things than just ghosts, demons, angels, vampires and other "familiars". There are tons of other super(non)natural (fairytale) things out there..
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You still thought I wasn't watching... how cute. :)



Geez., I thought you said Eric Kripke was NO LONGER INVOLVED...? Durp... guess this latest episode proved you wrong, eh?



I told you, how many episodes ago (at least a dozen) that he (Eric Kripke) was still involved? You then, a couple episodes later (way back) posted a link to "prove me wrong". Wow! I was so wrong, Tim! Gee... it's so hard to figure out the guy is still involved with the show... especially since his NAME is in the intro-titles and the end credits... AND it says "Kripke Entertainment" at the end of EVERY SHOW! But you're right, a silly Internet link is real "proof"... you got me. You are soooo right.... you proved me wrong, Tim. Eric Kripke is definitely NOT involved anymore with His "supernatural" show that he JUST happened to appear on. Care to post that link again? You know, that link you already posted twice?



Yes, the (i)nterwebz is so full of *accuratte* information... my right?



Eric Kripke is STILL INVOLVED (duh) ... "the genius is still behind the wheel" ... and listening to his fans. ^_~
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awesome and funny show!! haha
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The episode was all kinds of awesome. It was extremely well done.
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i loved this episode..everything was hilarious!!!
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This was amazing. LOVED IT. Only thing better is if the Trixster would've showed up. But naw.
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Anything they do on here is fine with me. This has turned into one of the best shows on TV, but do I miss the Trickster/Loki/Gabriel who was last seen playing football against a giant Diat Pepsi machine. C'mon guys, don't quit this year. Do it till the real Apocalypse...
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I think the fact that the show is able to laugh at itself is wonderful. With a show like Supernatural that goes so far away from reality it is good for the fans to see the humor it the show and know that enjoying it is just plain fun.
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can they get any cuter? Kive this show expressions are the best.
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I actually enjoyed Changing Channels, Monster at the end of this book, and the Real Ghostbusters. This new episode does seem a bit TOO meta though, but maybe it will surprise me.
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Wow, I didn't know that Jared married the woman who played Ruby! Nice going Jared, she is hot! I don't like the more "meta" episodes of Supernatural. They are a bit too on the nose for me. I am always half expecting one of the actors to look straight into the camera and give us all a wink.
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Supernatural is a science fiction /fantasy show so I think the fans will enjoy the meta episodes. The actors and the writers and crew are talented and allow fans of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy more variety on this show . This show is like a box of chocolates 'you never know what you're gonna get' It's one reason why I tune in.
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I'm nervous about this episode, too. I immediately thought of the lousy sitcom episodes where Ralph Kramden met Jackie Gleason, Fred Sanford met Redd Foxx, and Lucy Carmichael met Lucille Ball. This clip, though, looks like it will be very funny and not an indulgent flop. I'll be there ready to laugh.
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I've a high expectation for this ep, even though I don't like such ideas, too distracting, but I think SPN will pull it off just good :D
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I don't mind them as long as they hold together in the season long story arc and it doesn't become too self indulgent
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The clip was so funny especially at the end I laughed so hard.
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I love this kind of episode, any show full of angels, werewloves and ghosts can't take itself to seriously and Supernatural never does. Thats why I enjoy it so much!
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It reminds me of the TV show episode and that turned out to be the funniest of the season.
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It is going to be great. No one is expecting Citizen Kane, so anything over the top will also not seem too bad.
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I'm still laughing from last night when I saw the first ad, the line headclub quoted still has me laughing. This is a show that knows how to do this kind of episode with tongue planted firmly in cheek so it should be excellent as usual. "The French Mistake" -- going to have to watch "Blazing Saddles" before "Supernatural" tonight.
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i love this episodes!!! i don't think there's such thing as "too meta" :)
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"So what now you're polish??" This is going to be hi-freakin-larious
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Tim dont be a buzzkill. These episodes are awesome and funny as hell. I'm really really really looking forward to this one
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I second what LostisMe said. Besides the fact that the episode looks AWESOME, Ben Edlund wrote it.... so there should be no fears:)
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Ben Edlund wrote this episode, so any worries someone has are unnecessary.
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I really can't wait for this episode!!!! By the looks of it, it's going to be hilarious!!!
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It looks really good, I like when they do irreverent humor/break the fourth wall/allude to breaking the fourth wall.
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