Supernatural: When Beer Goggles Are a Good Thing

Supernatural S07E18: "Party On, Garth"

Ever since Bobby was offed halfway through this season, Supernatural has been trying to fill a void. Though Bobby's death was given two full episodes, it never felt like he got a proper Viking's funeral. He just sort of... left. Short of killing Sam and Dean in an actual permanent way and not "Mystery Spot" sort of way, killing off Bobby is about as serious a move as this show can make. So you'll have to excuse me if thinking about Bobby's unceremonious death is followed by sighs of disdain.

Friday's Supernatural, "Party On, Garth," approached the Bobby situation splendidly and confirmed what we had expected based on clues that have been sprinkled since Bobby's death: he's dead, but not DEAD dead. But before we get to that, we have to talk about a really fun episode that showed Supernatural at its best.

Semi-competent hunter Garth (guest DJ Qualls) made a return after being properly introduced for the first time in the atrocious "Season Seven, Time for a Wedding." Perhaps it was the stink of that episode that still clung to him, but going into "Party On, Garth" expectations were incredibly low for him. We'll call his first time on Supernatural a result of the "Becky Larson Effect" (everything is worse with Becky), because this time around Garth stole so many scenes that he should be locked up.

Garth is a dork. He's also endearing, and for him to win over us AND Sam and Dean, he had to get great material and Qualls ran with it. It's his obliviousness to his ineptitude coupled with his passion for the hunter lifestyle that make him a character to root for. And though it would have been easy to send him bumbling into situations, he actually proved to be quite useful. But without a doubt, his biggest contribution to Supernatural canon is the introduction of Mr. Fizzles, a sock puppet that has a way with kids. Plus he (Garth, not Mr. Fizzles) got drunk off one beer.

While Garth provided laughs, the case itself was downright frightening thanks to the tried-and-true horror creature "creepy woman ghost with greasy black hair and bad posture." A ghost had been haunting the family members of the co-owners of a microbrewery, killing off loved ones by ripping their guts out. She was a Shojo, a Japanese ghost that was attached to a bottle of cursed sake. And the Supernatural twist: she can only be seen by people who are drunk! Sure, why not?

This leads to plenty of boozing, a bunch of disembowelings, a katana-blessing outside of a sushi restaurant, and a sock puppet. And really, isn't that all we really want out of Supernatural? This episode did scary and funny like popcorn and chocolate do sweet and salty (try it, it's great!) for an irresistible combination. Sticking with the Japanese food theme, "Party On, Garth" has four of the five basic tastes that round out great episodes of Supernatural: we had legitimate frights, funnies, strong characters, and good story, but it wasn't until the closing moments that we got the fifth taste, the umami of the show known as heart.

Dean's final fight with the Shojo involved a bit of wizardry when the katana blade flew into his hand after being out of reach. How did that happen? Garth had been insinuating all episode long that Bobby's spirit might still be with the boys, and Sam admitted to trying to communicate with Bobby after that beer mysteriously drank itself several episodes ago. But Dean had been the hard one to convince, and his plea to Bobby to show him a sign that he was Casper-ing them was a big deal for the character. Ultimately, it's only the audience that saw ghost Bobby, looking rather dead-ish, standing in the hotel room trying to get Dean's attention. And even though Bobby seems incredibly frustrated and tortured that the boys can't see him, it's oddly comforting for us to know that he's still with Sam and Dean in some capacity.

"Party On, Garth" was an outstanding episode of Supernatural because, like most of the Season 7 episode we love, it reminded us of the good old days.



Super-note-urals

– I love the classic horror movie cold opens that Supernatural does, and telling ghost stories around a camp fire certainly fits that bill.

– The scene with the janitor/illegitimate kid of the brewery owner being stalked by the Shojo was hilarious! Imagine being him and having a bunch of drunk guys one after the other trying to save you from a ghost that you can't see. And then one of them starts wielding a samurai sword?

– Little girls getting drunk is always funny. Always!



Supernatural Season 7 Power Rankings
With its perfect blend of horror and comedy, "Party On, Garth" goes straight towards the top of the list. But I'll place it just short of the absurd creativity of "Plucky Pennywhistle." These two episodes stand well ahead of the rest of the pack.

1. "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie" (Episode 14)
Sam and Dean investigated mysterious deaths around a kid's pizza-and-games party house. Unicorns farting rainbows, ball pit sharks spraying blood, and octo-vamps giving fatal hickeys made this a fun episode.

2. "Party On, Garth" (Episode 18)
A Japanese ghost can only be seen by drunks, Garth returns, and Mr. Fizzles the sock puppet! But we finally learn the truth about what Bobby is up to in the afterlife.

3. "Shut Up, Dr. Phil" (Episode 5)
A pair of witches needed some couples counseling in a gory fun-fest that guest-starred Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters.

4. "Death's Door" (Episode 10)
Bobby fought for his life and delved into his past as he tried to deliver a message to Sam and Dean from beyond the plane of the living.

5. "The Mentalists" (Episode 7)
More standalone fun as the brothers investigated murders in a town full of psychics.

6. "Meet the New Boss" (Episode 1)
Castiel got all righteous on those who didn't respect The Good Word, and it was great.

7. "Repo Man" (Episode 15)
The brothers visit a man they saved from a murderous demon four years ago, and Lucifer blabs Sam's ear off.

8. "Born-Again Identity" (Episode 17)
Sam ended up in a mental hospital after too many chats with mind-Satan, and Castiel returned to smite and then get left behind.

9. "Adventures in Babysitting" (Episode 11)
Sam and Dean coped with Bobby's death and met a fellow hunter's young daughter.

10. "Out With the Old" (Episode 16)
A tale of cursed ballerina slippers became a story about a Leviathan real estate agent.

11. "Slash Fiction" (Episode 6)
Two Leviathans disguised themselves as Sam and Dean and took off on a cross-country shootin' spree!

12. "The Slice Girls" (Episode 13)
Dean had a one-night stand with an Amazonian lady, and Sam took Dean's Daddy card away.

13. "Hello, Cruel World" (Episode 2)
The Leviathans set up a buffet at a hospital after spreading into the water supply.

14. "Time After Time" (Episode 12)
Dean traveled back to 1944 and battled the God of Time with Eliot Ness.

15. "How To Win Friends And Influence Monsters" (Episode 9)
Hyperadrenalized cannibals and stoner sandwiches! Dick Roman's plan was sort of unveiled! And Bobby got shot!

16. "The Girl Next Door" (Episode 3)
Via flashback, we saw Sam's first kiss... with a monster! Then Dean killed her.

17. "Defending Your Life" (Episode 4)
Dean went on trial before Osiris because of the guilt he carries. Jo came back to blow him up!

18. "Season 7, Time for a Wedding" (Episode 8)
Too. Much. Becky. Larson.



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (29)
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Tim's so positive review is making me review my original opinion of the episode, looking for more positive aspects. I felt it dragged a little. And the Winchesters when drunk didn't seem really drunk, I don't know if that was an acting issue. I was expecting them to have to be drunk drunk to see the monster, not just slightly intoxicated. I thought they would be losing balance, telling drunk jokes, going all emotional or something. Even when drunk they seemed too much in control, what turned out to be a regular hunt for an invisible monster.



By the way, drunken little girls is not funny, it's tragic. Possessed girls are fantasy, and I have no problems with that. But drunk girls happens in real life and it's just bad parenting. It's too close to reality to be funny.
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Alright. I admit to actually sort of liking Garth by the end of this episode. He's just so quirky; it was impossible not to love him when he brought out the sock puppet. I feel like I can't totally get behind him yet, since I absolutely despised him (but I agree, it may have had something to do with the Becky problem) last time. We'll see if he shows up a third episode, and I'll average my actual like/dislike from there.
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Ant bets that Cas will play a role in Bobby's return??
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I did love this episode all the way around and yes I too am glad to see Bobby again. I love all Supernatural episodes some just a little more than others but it is a great show and I hope it continues on for a long time there is so many more ghosts that need "ganking"!! I do hope they bring Bobby and Cas back on a permanent basis although I love Jim Beaver in Justified too!! Maybe he could do both shows lol!!!

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I enjoyed this ep, but I can't get on the Garth train. I find him annoying and he is NOT growing on me. Aside from him (and let's face it, he dominated the episode), it was a scary MOTW, sad and interesting family dynamic, great brotherly drunk scene, and a gigantic Bobby surprise if you, like me, were unspoiled. I can't wait until the brothers learn Bobby is watching over them, but if he wants them to know, WHY don't they? I have so missed Bobby, and my great wish for the end of season 7 is that God will resurrect both Cas and Bobby. Love, Robin, writer for Winchester Family Business & columnist for SUPERNATURAL at www.Moogi.com
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The last 5 minutes of this episode made me cry. I agree with the insufficient send-off for Bobby, and the lack of screen time for the toll it took on Sam and Dean. Those five minutes have ALMOST made up for it, and it was a pleasure to see Jim Beaver back if just for a second or two.
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Why do Mr Fizzles' lips flash at the end of the gif?
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RE: qbe_64 - OUaT



Garth is the best.



I don't know if you'll understand my hint, but it is an Easter egg hunt so I thought I'd make it at least slightly challenging.



Storybrooke MUST be f-ing huge. A little town in Maine should not have its own DA. What the hell is the population anyway?



I'm actually kind of surprised Lily didn't think of the heart thing. Seems kind of obvious. What did you think of the little girl playing Snow White? Freaky, right?
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Wrong show, pal!
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I think Garth and The Ghostfacers should hang out.
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It was an ok episode. The case was great, the humor sometimes was too, Bobby's return was great.



Garth had some moments I'll admit it, but the sock puppet all are praising about I refuse to buy. The kid just saw her mother killed by a monster in front of her and reacts so fast to a clumsy ventriloquist performance? Come on writers! Just take a bit of sweat!



Also, Garth discovering Baxter's son by googling his old secretary? Wow man, where the hell is that google that has info about a 20 year old affaire between a local business man and his secretary? which by the way is apparently a huge secret, so how the hell is so easy to find through google?



Bobby coming back as a ghost was too obvious (probably due to the bad writing we've had all since season 7 began). It really didn't feel like a surprise, I knew it already. Yet, it was nice to see Jim Beaver back, I was afraid -being the clues so obvious- that we would have to settle with his old flask.



I'm just hoping Season 7 will have a decent closure, and if Gods be good, should we have another season, please let Kripke come back and kick Sera Gamble's ass.
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That might be the most horrifying photo I've ever seen.
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Hate DJ Qualls. Okay episode in spite of him, though.
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I think that most of us knew that Bobby was not gone forever. It was way obvious that he was tied to his old flask. I am so glad though to see him finally though! It is super comforting to know that Bobby is watching out for the boys still. It is a very endearing plotline. I would like to see Cas go Angel crazy due to the absorption of Satan into his mind...I mean, he has lots of mojo, what if he starts dueling with the devil so to speak and flinging fireballs or something? Also, are they ever going to bring God into the mix? We heard a lot about how God had left-where did He go? I really hope that they tie up some of the storylines from earlier seasons...and I hope that we get a good explanation about the leviathans. Maybe I missed something from earlier in the season...I know that Crowley does not like them, but what about Satan? Did he create them? I hope they can find a way to make them more menacing and scary, cuz at the moment I really find them more annoying than anything.
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God created the Leviathans, it was stated in the first episode of this season. I don't think they'll ever -really- bring God into the show.
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And, btw, I've only been hinting, and if anyone follows my hints and gets them -- especially the 'Bobby thing', I hope they don't blurt it out either.
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Oooooh yes they will. They already told us that, like what they told us about Bobby, but 'you idjits jest don't listen.' Who God will be is still open (I have a weird hunch but nothing more) but we already know God is around. Rewatch Cas' episode.
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I didn't remember that,! Thanks.

It would be nice if they'd make them more interesting wouldn't it?

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Yeah, I don't really like the story-line for them so far but I do enjoy Dick Roman's screen-time. He is a great addition to the cast.
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Mr Fizzles & Garth's spinoff!
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Next to Hurley, Mr. Fizzles is the best friend DJ Qualls has ever had. Qualls is one of those actors who has serious talent -Road Trip and The New Guy, anyone?- and it's nice to see him taking a lead and getting to showcase his goofy, yet endearing qualities. *snorts* Quall-ities. Anyway, this was definitely one of the most entertaining hours of Supernatural in a long time and I won't lie, my cold interior melted a bit when I saw Bobby. I've been dying for a nice scary episode, since we've not really had one since "Family Remains" and the dashes of humor were the perfect contrast to the truly ridiculous monster idea. Dean and Sam need to see that there are hunters out there who aren't just giant balls of muscled angst and crippling sadness, who can still find humor even through all the bullshit. But as much as I loved seeing Bobby hanging around, the disbelieving part of me doesn't understand how someone who knows what happens to ghosts in the long-term would choose to linger around... Still, a fantastic episode, proof positive that the show getting back to its roots is a GOOD thing and I hope to see more of the same in the future.
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And I thought Qualls was first-rate on the underappreciated gem, MEMPHIS BEAT, where I first met him.
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Also, was I the only one who noticed that the kid in the beginning was wearing Sam's striped hoodie and vest from "Swap Meat"?
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Being as that they've killed off or institutionalized every fan favorite, I'm glad Garth is still hanging around. The fact that he was listening to Bel Biv Devoe (sp?) and carries around a sock puppet, makes him a-okay with me.
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A very funny episode. I was unsure about Garth from his previous episode. But damn DJ Qualls pulls it off nicely. The poking fun at The Grudge and Ju-on was great. And the little things like the suss chef was just great. I am glad that have fixed some of the issues from the first part of the season. It just seems better and way better than parts of last year.
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Mr Fizzles.

I hope they do 14 seasons of this shit.

I love it.



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Eh, I think they're trying a bit too hard to make the audience like/accept Garth. Like they're prepping him for a spinoff.
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Hilarious episode and I loved the surprise at the end!
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i liked how the bobby situation is a throwback to s.2 premier where dean refused to go and Tess told him that he had to either stay and become a ghost, or go and die forever...it seems bobby chose the opposite route, opting to stay as a ghost. im happy though that Jim Beaver is back, and hopefully w/ both Cas and Bobby back, we'll get a great final episodes
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