Sunday, November 8, 2009

Supernatural – 5x08 – Changing Channels

Seriously? Well, it’s true I don’t normally follow TV series, not unless they happen to be on, I can’t fall asleep and there’s nothing else being aired beside football or politics. Hell, I haven’t followed a series week by week since the X-files, and even then it didn’t last more than 3, or was that 4?, seasons before getting bored and giving up on it. But, since Dean admitted that his guilty pleasure was hospital soaps, I guess I can also confess I have a soft spot for Supernatural without looking worse than he does doing it. I mean, he watches it for the cute nurses and I watch it for the hot guys in it, or at least in the beginning I did, which is understandable, but I still think I get better entertainment value by doing so.

I was vaguely aware of Supernatural thanks to a couple of friends who are fans of the show, or the actors/characters, whatever, but I haven’t bothered to watch it until this fall. One late night a Supernatural episode was on, the remote was running out of batteries, so I thought to leave it on until I fell asleep. It wasn’t even a good one, Metamorphosis from the 4th season, it was unusually gory for me and that usually puts me off. Still, I stoically watched it till the end and the last scene kinda paid off and made up for less enthralling parts. The second episode I watched was Monster Movie, the one shot in black and white. Very good direction and photography, but again not exactly my cup of tea especially since it had vampires and none other than Dracula himself. At this point I decided it was not worth losing my good night sleep over it.

Moving on to a few days later… this time it was the two parts angels episodes, quite a change from the previously watched ones. I watched them and I was hooked. That caused a logistical problem because it was already middle of season 4 and I came to the realization that I missed a lot and it wasn’t going to work. So this led me to following steps to fix the problem: 1. find all seasons’ episodes and 2. watch them. I’ve gotta say I was very busy the entire month of October, but with a lot of stubbornness and determination, you know me, I managed to catch up with the show, including the new episodes recently aired.

As a general conclusion, season 1 & 2 are rather average and not exactly memorable, though the quality of the show is increasing as we go until things start to heat up by the middle of season 3 and sky rocket from there. Season 4 was quite, let’s quote Dean, awesome actually, the best so far. Season 5 still hasn’t had me convinced as it seems to have returned to the monster of the week routine, which I don’t appreciate at all, but it does have two of the best episodes ever. And this brings us to the reasons of this post… this was one long introduction, I know.

Episode 8, Changing Channels. Now this episode is somewhere at the top of the best comedy episodes list, probably as good as Yellow Fever. It spoofs several TV shows, some old, some new, and since I said I don’t follow TV series I don’t doubt I missed a few things, but I was familiar enough with them to enjoy the experience as a whole. Enjoy is not the right word for it really. The whole thing was absolutely hilarious, from the bright green set of a sitcom filmed in front of a live audience, to the opening credits, the Incredible Hulk mention, the hospital drama, Japanese game show, false medical commercial, criminal procedure and KITT’s appearance. The list of funny moments, facial expressions and spot on delivered lines could continue for a long time because there is no pause, no stop to breathe… until one point towards the end when things get serious again so much that it makes you wanna hold your breath and see what happens next.

But let’s not forget that this is a Trickster episode, the playful demi-god introduced in Tall Tales, in which he makes the Winchester brothers fight with each other, and who reappears in Mystery Spot, where he kills Dean again and again… and again. So no wonder the boys remember him and they don’t do it fondly at all. Like we’ve learned in the previous two episodes, things start by being lots of fun, well, maybe not for the boys but definitely for the viewers, only to turn dramatically serious, and close to deadly towards the end.

The revelation regarding the Trickster being the archangel Gabriel was totally unexpected and possibly a bit too much. It’s hard to imagine Gabriel being the playful hedonist guy with a sweet tooth who can bend reality in any way he wants. I initially found the character annoying, but after repeated appearances I sort of got used to it and disliked it less. He certainly keeps the boys on their toes and the verbal confrontation between him and Dean at the end was very powerful. Some truths were said there, and I especially liked the way Dean commanded the whole thing and his determination not to let the powerful ones have it their way but make his own destiny. It remains to be seen if he made any impression on Gabriel with his speech and if he managed to get him on their side.

It was a bit surprising to discover that Sam still doesn’t realize how wrong he used to be with his behavior towards Dean, and that’s also underlined during the Japanese game show and possibly that’s why he got hit in the nuts as punishment, and he also doesn’t care for morals and wants to sideline with the enemy in hope to win the war and stop the apocalypse. One would think he should have learned something by now. On the other hand I saw people commenting on the answer given by Dean during the same Japanese game show and concluding that he resented his brother for their parents’ death. I think things are much simpler than that. It’s an undeniable truth the fact that if Sam hadn’t existed there would have been no reason for their parents to be killed and Dean is not known for hiding around the bush but telling things the way they are, so he did. It doesn’t mean he holds a grudge against Sam for something he’s not responsible of. Of course, hearing Dean starting to speak Japanese out of the blue was one of the highlights of the show for me along with Sam operating procedure in the surgery room.

Random giggle or ROFLMAO moments:

* Dean: I’m gonna need a bigger mouth. (while looking at the giant sandwich he’s just made for himself)

* Dean: Son of a bitch! (that was priceless)

* The boys riding the tandem bicycle.

* Actually the entire credit sequence and the soundtrack used were hilarious.

* Dean watching a medical soap opera while dressed as a FBI agent. Sam asking when he hit menopause.

* Dean asking the woman they were interrogating, and who claimed she saw the Incredible Hulk, if it was the one from the Bana or Norton movie and her replying that those movies were terrible.

* Dean going all fanboy inside the medical soap and knowing everything about everybody.

* Sam: This show has a ghost? Why! (probably because they paid Jeffrey Dean Morgan better to play the ghost in Grey’s Anatomy than the boys’ father in Supernatural, I’d say)

* Sam repeatedly getting slapped and being called brilliant, brilliant doctor.

* There actually was a Dr. Sexy whose look reminded me of Patrick Dempsy.

* Dean having a man crush on Dr. Sexy. (not sure that was a good idea to put it in the show, now we’ll never hear the end of it.

* Dr. Sexy: Doctor.
Dean: Doctor.
Sam nods and Dean slaps him from behind.
Sam: Doctor.

* Trickster: Heelloooo! (points at his face)

* Dean: It’s a guilty pleasure. (after having previously stated he’s not a fan of the show)

* Sam: I don’t know how to use any of this crap.
Dean: Well, figure it out! (lying on his stomach on the operation table with a bullet in his back)
Sam: OK, I’ll need a pen knife, dental floss, sewing needle, and a fifth of whiskey. (it worked!)

* The lady doctor touching the window with her hand and mouthing “I love you” after Sam is done operating on Dean’s back.

* Sappy elevator music used during the entire hospital segment.

* The use of seriously up to nausea. Seriously!

* The faces Dean makes during the Nutcracker Japanese game show, especially when Sam gets kicked in the nuts.

* Castiel bursting in and being sent away in a flash with the Japanese host commenting that Mr. Trickster doesn’t like pretty boys angels.

* Dean speaking Japanese. The face he makes when he realizes he’s won the game.

* The faux genital herpes commercial. Enough said.

* Return to the sitcom with the same “Son of a bitch!”

* The boys wonder how long they have to keep doing this. Sam says maybe forever and that they might die in there.
The audience laughs.
Dean: How was that funny?! Vultures…

* Castiel getting his ass kicked again. (frankly his presence was pretty much unnecessary during the entire episode, dunno why he bothered)

* The boys show up at a crime scene wearing black suits, blue shirts and dark sunglasses, at night.

* Dean: I'm wearing sunglasses at night. You know who does that? No talent douche bags.

* Dean: I hate that we're in a procedural cop show, and you want to know why? Because I hate procedural cop shows. There's like 300 of them on television, and they're all the freakin' same. It's like, 'Oooh, a plane crashed here.' Oh, shut up!"

* The boys taking off their glasses and putting them back on and crossing the police line are hilarious. The rest of the scene is so cheesy it’s hard not to laugh. I didn’t recognize the shot with the stake stabbing the heart, it didn’t seem to fit, so I’m assuming it’s from CSI: Miami. If that show is anything like this then it’s one crappy show.

* Day-Z motel sign.

* Sam and the Impala merging together to produce the KITT car.

* Sam: Um, Dean… that’s really uncomfortable. (while Dean has his hands in the trunk… sigh, I wish the producers didn’t listen to a certain part of the fans and stopped inserting hints like this. We’ll never hear the end of this either.)

* Sam: Should I honk? (while Dean is calling the Trickster)

* Dean: Nobody's going anywhere until Sam has opposable thumbs.
Trickster: What's the difference? Satan's going to ride his ass one way or another.
Sam gets out of the car and rubs his behind.

* Dean: You might say we pulled it out of Sam's ass. (referring to the holy oil they used to trap the Trickster in a circle)

* Dean: Well, call it personal experience, but nobody gets that angry unless they're talking about their own family.

* Trickster/Gabriel: You don't know my family. What you guys call the Apocalypse, I used to call Sunday dinner.

* Gabriel: How’s the search for Daddy going? Let me guess, awful. (asking Castiel)

* Dean: Don't say I never did anything for you. (then he pulls the fire alarm which turns on the sprinkler and releases Gabriel)

* Dean: Right about now, I wish I was back in a TV show.

Hat off to the leading actors, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, and the guest star, Richard Speight, Jr., they did an awesome job here.

Ending on a less optimistic note, dunno what to think about that, but Gabriel’s confession that “it's just gonna end bloody for all of us” got me a little concerned. Maybe there is no riding off in the sunset at the end, and I would really hate that. Too bad they’re doing the much anticipated body swap earlier in the season, as a writer I would save it for the big finale. At this point Dean is the only one capable to stand up to Lucifer and he’d have more chances to do it if they were inhabiting the same meat suit, Sam’s. And with a little luck, we can hope that Castiel did some improvement to Dean’s body when he pulled him out of hell so he won’t be too damaged by Michael, or maybe Sam can fight Michael off. Oh, I’d like that!

OK, I’m done, unless something outstanding happens I won’t comment again on the subject until the end of the season, and hopefully show.


PS. Here's a visual recap of the episode... sort of:

Later edit: I'm still puzzled how they could come up after this brilliant episode with something such lame like the Supernatural convention one. I'm almost embarressed I took the time to comment on Changing Channels for a change. Maybe next week things will pick up again. Sigh.

No comments: