Season 5 Episode 9

The Real Ghostbusters

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Nov 12, 2009 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
733 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sam and Dean are tricked into attending a Supernatural convention by their super-fan Becky. Sam and Dean are in for a shock when many of the fans are dressed up like them.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • "Dean. The real Dean."

    (Slash)fanfiction is back! I just love the episodes with Chuck and the references to the "fictious" world of Supernatural.

    The episode starts a little slow, and it threatens to be a really lame one, but once things get rolling... it's amusing as hell.

    Sam and Dean struggle not to crack up - or crack some skulls - while it seems things at a Supernatural convention are getting way creepier than anticipated.

    Struggling to stop a haunting while staying "in character" in a live role play they really couldn't care less about, Sam and Dean get to encounter rather interesting takes on their own lives.

    On top of that, Sam is - apparently - in a love triangle although he isn't all that aware of the fact. It was sort of an annoying subplot, since it's over-the-top in so many ways, but it just adds to the surreal amusement of the episode.

    The best thing ever, I must say, was the gay couple at the end and the "***erotic subtext of Supernatural" panel (which alas! they didn't show...). It seems the makers of the show just can't stop the gay remarks from coming - which I will love them for forever and ever.moreless
  • Like a bad break-up.

    When watching a show I prefer not to be reminded of the show's fandom. Supernatural just keeps disappointing me in that regard. A little humor can be fine to break up the angst but when it starts outweighing a proper storyline, it's gone too far.

    The obsessed fans, the wincest, the endless jokes of 'lolgay', it's all getting very tired. I want to love this show, I have the first three seasons on DVD, it was such refreshing material with such great stories and the actors are fantastic. It is however beginning to fall flat as the creator becomes more aware of the show's popularity and reality begins bleeding into the show. Can we please put the fourth wall back up? I fear it's too late for that.moreless
  • hmm...

    Okay after a superb episode last week I am going to say it... I'm very annoyed. Annoyed that last season ended on such an immense cliffhanger that has STILL to be paid off. Seriously... kick start the end of the world and show nothing of it. We have yet to properly see Mark Pelligrino in the role. For the love of God!! This was the first episode of Supernatural I am seriously mad at.

    Not that it wasn't entertaining. It was actually pretty funny... I especially liked the fliting with the ghost chick at the bar. But I am extremly fed up of American shows sterotyping all their fans as nerds who "live in the basement." Seriously... I love this show and and I'm sure many of you arn't anywhere near as fanatical as this. Still, I guess if you will go to a fan convention dressed up as the charactors then I guess you are an EXTREME nerd.

    Moving swiftly on. Even 5 seasons in the ability to keep ghost stories still interesting must be commended. And Chuck is a pretty good charactor... the last 30 minutes at the end were very funny. The ghost twist was very Supernatural so I kind of saw it coming, but it was still good.

    As Dean said, "we don't have time for this crap." Really Dean? You have had time to play poker, hunt Paris Hilton and now go to a fan convention. This show is still extremly good but now its slowley starting to decrease. To many silly episodes in a season that really shouldn't be silly. Next week is the last for a while so we shall see how they do. All in all... not a terrible episode, Supernatural dosen't have it in it to be terrible, but dissapointing.moreless
  • There's a danger with all fictional media that once the fourth wall has been broken, things may begin to fall apart.

    There's a danger with all fictional media that once the fourth wall has been broken, things may begin to fall apart. While it is undoubtedly a great deal of fun for writers to abandon their self-imposed restrictions and mess around with things like intertextuality and self-reflexivity, there is always the risk of running slightly amock, of going so far over the line so often that it's no longer visible, and your audience becomes tired of being forced to watch you disappear up your own arse week in, week out. Fortunately for Supernatural, that has yet to happen, which is largely thanks to the considerable talents of the script writers, but with 'The Real Ghostbusters', the fifth, yes, fifth achingly self-aware episode of the show in a row, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it is perhaps time to stop playing clever and get on with the business of writing a fantasy drama show.

    The problem, essentially, is that there isn't enough here that's truly impressive. 'The Real Ghostbusters' has a distinctly postmodern concept at its core - the metatextual levels are off the scale, seriously: Sam and Dean attend a fan convention? About them? As fictional characters? Christ on a bike! - and this certainly raises a few eyebrows and stokes sufficient intrigue within the first ten minutes or so, but when it becomes apparent that this is the only thing that the plot really has to offer, the script begins to have trouble keeping everything afloat. Kripke just about manages it (yes, this is the creator's effort, an odd departure for someone so engrossed in the mythology, but then, perhaps it was nice for him not to have to deal with the arc plot for once), but occasionally, it's touch and go.

    Becky is as annoying a caricature now as she was when she was first introduced in 'Sympathy for the Devil' and stretches credulity to its absolute limits. Come on guys - this is a completely unbelievable exaggeration, created entirely to enable the writers to have a good giggle at those unfortunate, overly dedicated fans. It feels a little cheap and just a tad insulting. There's also the LARPing, which seems neat at first, when the joke's fresh, but after umpteen instances of Sam and Dean imitation, it quickly becomes stale. There's the substance of the story itself too, which, frankly, is a little scant. Sure, it's nice to get back to basics every once in a while, and the trope is sufficiently creepy, we'll give it that (those kids give me the willies!), but it does feel rather like a retread. Hell, one well-informed 'fan' even balks at the idea of using children 'again'... it's a risky business guys, acknowledging the flaws in your scriptwriting within the dialogue. Tough one to pull off.

    Ultimately, it's the little things that save 'The Real Ghostbusters', the less important intricacies that add up collectively to give the impression of a story chock full of delicious moments and containing a considered attention to detail. Chuck's speech, his appearance as the guest of honour, is just genius, a work of brilliantly understated comedy that perfectly reflects the absurdity of the whole experience. His ad-libs at episode's end are priceless and continue to make an already fantastically likeable character even more endearing. Then there's Sam's complete indifference to Becky (a response probably mirrored by the audience), Dean's disgust at the activities and behaviour of the LARPers, whikch generates some awesome dialogue, and the 'alternative' Sam and Dean themselves, who manage to transform from irritating stereotypes (your usual nerds) to well-rounded, rather insightful human beings by the time the credits roll. They make some highly astute observations on the nature of Sam and Dean's relationship and the beauty of what they have together, which genuinely comes as something of an epiphany following the bleak miserablism of the last season or so. Plus, they turn out to be a pair of homos without displaying one iota of a conventional signifier, so bravo Supernatural, bravo!

    On the whole, 'The Real Ghostbusters' stands up to scrutiny and provides some good, wholesome, self-referential entertainment. It's just that, after five episodes, it would be nice if the writers put down Postmodernism for Dummies, stepped away from the 'humour' button and concentrated squarely on their mythology... or at least, if they have to be metatextual, to do it without lapsing into repetition or, worse still, irritation. It hasn't disappeared up its own arse yet, but it seems like it's having a very brief think about it.moreless
  • Surreal, break-the-fourth-wall episode of Supernatural

    I'm of the belief that Supernatural works so well this far into the show because it finds ways to work around sub-par, average and over-done plots. They always find unique ways to tell a story, even if it's through parody or something similar. In fact, in Season 4, one of my favorite episodes of the show was when they found out that there was a guy writing books about them, as a prophet. However, Chuck's return, as cool as it is in this episode, results in a really weird episode filled with inside jokes and a meta-plot about Supernatural fans. It's just really weird to hear Sam and Dean talk as if they're not just characters in a television show.. of course, they don't realize that.. they're just actors, but the writers create a strange little plot that ends up being exciting but just a little too weird for me.

    It was pretty funny to see those two guys pretending to be Sam and Dean following them around. It gave us a good insight into what this show has become; not so much a show about fighting supernatural beings but about two brothers who's connection keeps them alive, even when there's supernatural things out there trying to end the world. Of course, the writers spell it out a little too conveniently for the audience, which results in a weird, Sparknotes type version of an episode. There's no denying the creativity of the writers though, as we're given a lot of inside jokes referring to previous episodes, and a lot of jabs at how Sam and Dean talk and a glimpse into the "homoerotic subtext in the books."

    The one thing that threw it off completely for me was near the end of the episode, where Chuck is telling various stories about his life in the form of a blooper reel. Supernatural starts losing its crediability a little bit when it does stuff like this, which is a shame, because usually they can pull stuff off like this, but when you're a show with themes as serious as Supernatural, you start to lose that seriousness when you actually refer to your show as possibly jumping the shark. Talk about meta-fiction..moreless
Devin Ratray

Devin Ratray


Guest Star

Ernie Grunwald

Ernie Grunwald


Guest Star

Crystal Lowe

Crystal Lowe

Latisha Gore Actress

Guest Star

Robert Patrick Benedict

Robert Patrick Benedict

Chuck Shurley

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The "Sam and Dean" characters on the covers of the Supernatural books look and dress drastically different from the real Sam and Dean, yet the fans all show up dressed like the real Sam and Dean.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Chuck: Like all authors I started writing because of love. I had a huge crush on Nancy McKeon who played Jo in The Facts of Life. I must have written her forty to fifty letters. She never wrote back.

    • Con Manager: Welcome to the first annual Supernatural convention. Uh, at 3:45 in the Magnolia Room we have the panel "Frightened Little Boy to Secret Life of Dean." And at 4:30, there's the "Homoerotic Subtext of Supernatural." And of course, the big hunt starts at 7 p.m. sharp.

    • Dean: Well, you sure look lovely tonight. Especially for a dead chick.
      Latisha Actress: Buddy, I have heard that line 17 times tonight, okay? And all from dudes wearing MacGyver jackets. But you seem different.
      Dean: How so?
      Latisha Actress: Well, you don't seem scared of women.

    • Chuck: (to the fans) So what does the future hold for Sam and Dean? Well, uh, how do you feel about angels? Yeah. you know, because let me tell you, they're not nearly as lame as you think.

    • Chuck: Uh, no, there's really no such thing as a Croatoan Virus for... down there. You really should see a doctor.

    • Becky: Look, Sam, I'm not going to lie. We had undeniable chemistry. But like a monkey on the sun, it was too hot to live.

    • Sam: Oh, hey, Chuck, look. If you really want to publish more books, I guess that's okay with us.
      Chuck: Wow. Really?
      Sam: No, not really. We have guns and we will find you.

  • NOTES (2)

    • International Airdates:
      UK: March 31, 2010 on LIVING/LIVING HD
      Australia: April 12, 2010 on Channel TEN
      Portugal: May 31, 2010 on AXN
      Sweden: June 25, 2010 on Kanal 5
      Spain: October 18, 2010 on AXN
      Germany: January 31, 2011 on Sky Cinema Hits
      Czech Republic: September 2, 2011 on Prima COOL
      Finland: May 1, 2012 on Sub

    • One of the Chevy Impalas parked outside of the convention has Texas tags as a nod to lead actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki's home state.