Vivisecting Supernatural- I’m Not Supposed To Laugh, Right?

For me, the humour of SPN has always been a huge draw. I think the best thing you can do with a story is to make it both sad and funny; Supernatural ticks both boxes.
b09b06688e3140e83958859d8363c0e9
It isn’t just funny, either- it’s all-out ridiculous and knows it. In fact, you might even call it
tumblr_m5j0xvvzgz1qlimof
The show needs these funny episodes to let off steam, given the nature of episodes like No Rest For The Wicked or The Prisoner. Yellow Fever took Dean’s PTSD and made it unapologetically hilarious; Fan Fiction was a gorgeous, nostalgic celebration of the boys’ journey so far. Hunteri Heroici dealt with Cas’s guilt and shame in pretty much the craziest way possible, and Dog Dean Afternoon was just plain silly.
Fetch
spn808-002009
I have no excuses to make for The French Mistake.
tumblr_mkyipeJCcO1r3i7aho7_r1_250
But another thing that these funny episodes do is illustrate the multi-layered nature of emotion. A prime example of this is Mystery Spot.
tumblr_nabfmeiUTs1rstq9ro1_250
It somehow manages to be simultaneously funny and sad, before taking a nosedive into heartbreaking. In short, they take Sam’s biggest fear of the season- Dean dying- and they make it funny. It shouldn’t be possible, but it is.
6304eb8f11de548ea8c3528ec4c58d85
My point is that something does not have to be just one thing. Take this moment from the recent Dark Dynasty:
normal_spn1021hd2078
normal_spn1021hd2079
normal_spn1021hd2080
normal_spn1021hd2081
Both disturbing and terrifying and ridiculous all at once- I mean, that triple zoom onto the arm- and when Dean said ‘my God, he ripped it off’ I confess I snickered. Two minutes later? Charlie was dead.
I heard that shot cited as the most ridiculous, and therefore worst, part of that episode by some reviewers. Yeah, it was ridiculous. I loved it. It freaked me out and made me laugh. Some people seem to think that scenes should do only one of these things. If SPN followed this idea, it wouldn’t be half the show it is.
One highly controversial episode was Season Seven, Time For A Wedding!, which played on the TV trope of marrying characters off to try and capture fan interest. Given that Sam got roofied by an unflatteringly portrayed fangirl- the atrocious Becky- many fans were furious. Some refused to count it as SPN canon. Frankly, I’m down with anything involving a Winchester being knocked out by ninety pounds of waffle-iron-wielding nerd.
spn708-0698
I was unaware of the controversy on my first viewing, and I liked the episode. I liked it because I spent the first twenty minutes shouting obcenities at the screen. I was horrified and creeped out and giggling just a little. I later realised that, yeah, maybe I should have been angry at the implied insult to Sam girls, but I’m a Sam girl, if a chilled-out one, and I’m not going to take the portrayal of Becky personally. Sera Gamble was having a tough time.
The scene that really raised some eyebrows, though, was that memorable one where Becky hog-ties a gagged Sam to the bed and soliloquizes with her head on his chest. There was outrage over the fact that this, which was basically a rape scenario, was written to be funny. And it is pretty funny- not overtly, but there’s humour beneath the surface.
But funny isn’t all it is. It’s gross, and despite Sam’s mix of disgust and exasperation, sometimes- when he first wakes up, and when Becky puts her hand on his chest- you catch a glimpse of real fear in his eyes, and are vividly reminded that he’s fresh out of the Cage.
spn708-0970
The whole scene is confusing and disturbing- the typical gender roles are switched- and it’s unsettling because it’s funny. A perfect example of emotional duality as demonstrated by SPN.
Of course, not all the funny episodes are disturbing or sad as well. Some are pure comic relief- Tall Tales, anyone?
normal_supernatural215-000728
The sheer immaturity of this show tickles me so much.
Then we have Clap Your Hands If You Believe- one of my top five favourite episodes ever- which is absolute gold. ‘I don’t even know what kind of hate crime this is’, ‘fight the fairies’, the Space Oddity/microwaved fairy/nipple scene, ‘you sit in the dark and you FEEL the loss’…
tumblr_mjzfar9Siw1qkydf1o5_250
Yet along with all the hilarity, it’s also… strangely… profound?
‘So you’re saying that having a soul equals suffering?’ Soulless Sam asks Dean, and we’re reminded of his conversation with Anna in Heaven And Hell- when Dean wished he was an angel with no soul so that he wouldn’t have to suffer. And now, even after everything he’s been through between the two episodes, Dean has done a complete three-sixty. Now, he’s hellbent on recovering Sam’s soul. Aptly, at the very moment Soulless Sam asks that, Sam’s soul is being tortured in Hell. When it is finally recovered, Cas advises Dean against putting it back in Sam because of the suffering his time in Hell will cause him- but in an oblique parallel to Season Four, Dean decides that having a soul and being human is worth the pain. That idea is present all the way through Clap Your Hands If You Believe.
And Season Nine’s Dog Dean Afternoon was a pinnacle of silliness- I’m so juvenile that Dean barking at the postman always gets a laugh out of me- but it had one moment of real poignancy- an out-of-the-blue Unforgiven parallel.
tumblr_mvtop4Z5n11rlgbkbo3_r1_500
My point is that some people think the funny moments and episodes of SPN are somehow less relevant than the hugely plotty ones. They couldn’t be further from the truth- the humour is hugely important, and ties in with the sad and the scary. Humour actually accentuates the more serious aspects- I mean, the Season Seven dick jokes?
tumblr_m6xcija4yb1qcccpfo9_250
85da88886357891159a5633ac0f2d4c3
tumblr_m6xcija4yb1qcccpfo2_250
tumblr_m4nmdnAbMq1r5mah4
tumblr_m4a3zpeqd51qjxl1no2_r1_250
tumblr_m4z5a6t9wP1r8uy42o1_500
tumblr_m4a3zpeqd51qjxl1no1_r1_250
Exploding-Dick
tumblr_m49h7pNagA1qe8a0fo8_r1_250
untitled
Excuse me for a moment while I go purge my search history.
Basically SPN wouldn’t be SPN without the humour. It’d be too depressing. And it isn’t always highbrow humour, either-
mom2
As well as being a breath of fresh air, humour’s used to disturb. It’s used to mirror. It’s integral.
And the funny episodes stay with us, too. Bad Day At Black Rock is my go-to episode- I’d like to hear what yours are. I mean, violence and heart-wrenching plot twists are all well and good, but it’s not like you can just pop All Hell Breaks Loose onto the telly after a bad day to cheer you up, is it?
I haven’t even mentioned half of them. Changing Channels, Ghostfacers, Hollywood Babylon, Hibbing 911, Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie, Red Sky At Morning, Wishful Thinking- and of course, the unrepentant wonder that is The French Mistake. Why do we all love that episode so much?
Oh, no, wait-
tumblr_np4kxxVVnI1r6smkso1_500
Okay. I’ll stop now.
its-a-little-funny

Advertisements

67 thoughts on “Vivisecting Supernatural- I’m Not Supposed To Laugh, Right?

  1. Yeah, my go to episodes are Plucky Pennywhistle, but I’m not quite sure why and Everybody hates Hitler. Whenever i think of the truly silly episodes, and just need a good laugh, i think of Bad Day at Black Rock or Dog Dean Afternoon.

    And sometimes its just a single line or phrase that can get me started, as in Clap Your Hands,”Nipples?” and Wishful Thinking because I’m a huge Superman fan and who wouldn’t, “Kneel before Tod!”

    In my zeal to hate all of season seven, I forgot about all those fantastic Dick Roman jokes which is my favorite part of the season.

    But yeah, my all time favorite for the full emotional pendulum is definitely Mystery Spot, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love Everybody Hates Hitler. ‘These guys are psychopaths’… classic.
      I think it’s the line delivery that makes these things so funny. Some of the things they say should not even BE funny, but they are.
      Dick jokes. So immature and so great.

      Like

  2. I totally agree about the humor of Supernatural. It’s necessary and I know I wouldn’t be as big a fan of the show without it. That’s what makes it the perfect show – it has it all. As for my go-to funny episode, it’s certainly The French Mistake for an overall episode. Dog Day Afternoon cracks me up when Dean barks at the mailman. But mostly it’s Dean’s one-liners that make me laugh the most. “Angel or not, I will stab you in the face” is my favorite, and I laugh every single time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No argument here. That scene where they’re trying to act in French Mistake may be the funniest thing ever to come out of this show.
      And yes, the one-liners! ‘I lost my shoe’ is another classic. And basically anything said by Cas during season five.

      Like

  3. Fight the fairies! I about lost it when I saw that the first time. Also, I swear they named him Dick just so they could make all those puns. I agree that humor goes along with and as important as the serious ones. It shows that through life and hard times we have to be able to laugh to make it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yanaakm, you fight those fairies. I couldn’t BELIEVE what they were doing when I first saw that episode- like, you remove the SOUL from one of your most beloved characters, and then you make it FUNNY? But they went there and it was brilliant.
      According to a commentary track, they put off naming him and just referred to him as ‘the dick’ for ages. And then they just decided to call him Dick. As you do.
      And absolutely- season 10, so traumatic and yet so funny with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The funny moments and shows is what makes SPN …SPN and not the Xfiles. I lOVE the funny episodes… The dog episode had me in stitches seriously almost rolling on the floor laughing…

    Also it seems that the show has set dean to represent the Gen X and Sam with the Millennial… Which is funny as the years separating my brother and I do the same so some of the stuff Dean says (for instance when they find out they let out the seven deadly sins out of hell ..deans first reaction is to quote Brad Pitt from the movie Seven ” WHATS IN THE BOX????” which nobody gets but is the first thing I thought of…

    Or when they get arrested on purpose and he does the “blue steel ” pose from zoolander and asks who was better him or nick nolte… It gives me the feeling that they are really trying to bring more to series compared to other shows on the network and are invested in a wider audience…

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting about gen X and the millenium generation- I’d never have noticed that, being born in 1999. Dean’s references often confuse me,
      I think one of my favourite moments is that one in Jus In Bello where Henrickson’s been exorcised and he says ‘I shot the sheriff’ and Dean goes ‘but you didn’t shoot the deputy’ and Sam just gives him this bitchface.
      Love the episode where they get taken to prison. I think they’re just doing what the hell they want with it.

      Like

      • The episode where they hunt the ghost that is killing over WIFI and they are interviewing the girl about the “siri” ripoff that went crazy and killed her boyfriend and Sam is trying to explain it to Dean and Dean is trying to it to a Stephen King Novel “Christine” and I think it’s that episode where he says “I hate your generation” after getting the stink eye from both of them…. Also in his interactions with Jimmy’s daughter Claire, even giving her a copy of Caddyshack.. I think were priceless..

        As much as I say I would be a “Sam” girl, I think that Dean has so many off the cuff lines that if you catch them are soo funny, and essential to the show’s broad appeal.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dean’s behaviour throughout the wifi/ghost ep was hilarious. That one was Halt And Catch Fire, right? I think Dean felt pretty fatherly towards Claire- that was a nice dynamic- with Sam as the cool uncle and Cas as another father figure.
          Dean’s one-liners are great, yeah.

          Like

      • Also from film school I know that there is pretty much a formula for every Film and Television show out there. Usually it’s called a Hero’s journey. If you do a comparison study to Supernatural and to the X-Files there are several things that make Supernatural better in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, the X-files was and is one of the best shows that has ever existed but it’s formula of monster of the week, light hearted episodes mixed in with a building series plot and conspiracy and inside players eventually became solely Serious plot and conspiracy and inside players. If you hadn’t watched a few episodes you were totally lost. What is great about SPN is that you don’t really have to know everything to watch an episode. It’s more satisfying if you do, after I did my binge I am really excited for season 11. But I didn’t know about them being “Men of Letters” etc. And the bigger parts of the plot, like the Mark, or Sam having Gadreel inside him get recapped at the beginning of the show.
        Somehow even when the brothers are feuding with each other they still manage to do a monster of the week episode and there were some very funny moments of Demon Dean. The show leaves something for everybody be it short term entertainment or long term vivisecting πŸ™‚

        For me, I am interested in a lot of of the biblical lore of it all so when I was finished with Season 10 I started reading ancient texts about different Angels etc because I am curious as to where the writers get their material from and how close they actually come. Unfortunately there are 10,000 versions in ancient texts about Fallen Angels, about Lilith even, so I guess I can say that the show has sent me on my own course of examining world religions. But if a TV show encourages someone to read a book, seek knowledge about a subject, they have done a mighty fine job.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I haven’t seen the X-files- it’s on my watchlist, but as a 1999 child I knew nothing about it until recently. It sounds great though.
          I agree about the Demon Dean moments. My absolute favourite was his Princess Bride reference- ‘my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die’. Love that book.
          It’s great to look at where they got all the mythology from- I’ve spent so much time on the angelic hierarchy Wikipedia page, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s been canonically said in SPN ‘your bible gets more wrong than it does right’, so they’ve licensed themselves to screw with it- like with the MoC plotline- but it’s still interesting.
          Agreed! Another thing SPN has led me to seek out- classic rock music. I’m all over the Zeppelin these days. My friends think I’m nuts.

          Like

              • Xfiles changed the landscape.. ..what’s funny is that Mitch Pigletti aka grandpa Samuel Campell has a huge role as Agent Skinner who is Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Mulders (David Duchovny ) Boss in all 9 seasons of the Xfiles and they are filming a 6 show season to start up again and he’s is also in it….

                Many of the same creatures… Some that are cooler than SPN has done yet…
                Less hunting..
                More Alien Conspiracy than anything biblical but there is some of that too

                Liked by 1 person

                  • you know that they wouldnt even be able to go to crime scenes and flash the fake badges if there wasnt the xfiles that kinda made it somewhat known that the FBI looks into weird occurances.. otherwise they would be van helsing like

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • You should start binging on X-Files before season 11 starts because I think you will find some very similar themes. The original drive of Agent Mulder on his quest in the X-Files begins and is consistently about his family. But it is also about the willingness to do just about everything to protect eachother (Mulder and Scully) without a sexual motive and despite her logic and almost skeptic. approach to everything (Because she is not just an FBI agent she is a Medical Doctor) and it was one of the first times in television history where you have a female protagonist who is not showing skin, who is brains, she’s a role model, she’s not the damsel in distress. Gillian Anderson became a genuine fixture in popular culture history. This show was also where Vince Gilligan got his wings as a director and Vince Gilligan later went on to create, write and direct a little show known as Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul πŸ™‚ It ended in 2001 ran for 9 years so X-Files was to me, Age wise what SPN is to you… So if you think about the writers of the show, and the actors being my age.. The influence that show had and shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel (silly as that might sound) and Twin Peaks had and mix them all together your mind would be quite blown… and You know Angel and Buffy were Joss wheadon’s shows and he only went on to direct The Avengers and create Agents of SHIELD… that’s why I keep bringing up the age of the writers and the actors because It feels like I know the “subtext” of some of the shows because of some of the shows and movies I was addicted to growing up. (even movies like I know what you did last summer 1 and 2, Scream, Blair Witch Project, The Ring (Holy shiot I still can’t watch the ring alone, Candy Man, nightmare on elm street) Wes Craven who created some of the movies above is also associated with the “tulpa” phenom..
                      And if you really wanna do your research you see how many monsters X-Files and SPN both take on.. because they do both including like Bloody Mary .. Perhaps you cannot truly vivisect Supernatural without examining its direct influences. Which doesn’t sound like a horrible way to spend a few hours a day. X-Files, Buffy, Angel, Twin Peaks are all available on netflix

                      Like

                    • I can see how it might. It’s basically alien-flavoured SPN, twenty years earlier- I recognised the guy who played the doctor who shot himself on SPN in Simon Says, and David Nutter and Kim Manners and John Shiban have worked on both shows. Plus, Mark Sheppard is in an episode I just watched. And I know Mitch Pileggi’s in there too πŸ™‚

                      Like

                    • well yeah, he’s Skinner.. he’s their boss.. just a lot younger…He is also in the reboot too.. They also deal with monster of the week stuff.. where they spin off into alien conspiracy stuff… SPN goes into biblical stuff.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Oh yeah, its only a 6 episode reboot because Gillian anderson is in 3 television shows but Chris Carter is directing.. Everyone who was in the original who could be there is there… Vince Gilligan who was the creator of breaking bad got his directing legs with the x-files.. unfortunately he couldn’t do it because he’s here doing better call saul.. but they have been talking reunion for years but this show was such a cultural shift that it wouldn’t happen without scully and mulder… skinner is gonna be in it and even the smoking man

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • you’ll see a guy who smokes a lot of cigarettes he’s the smoking man.. hahah.. shes also in the Fall on Netflix..I don’t think Hannibal is going to be renewed for another season I tried to watch the fall but lol too much silence of the lambs for me.. which is also why I dont watch Hannibal … I’ve been busy catching up on Grimm.. and Constantine and extant and I still have a few to do before the fall season starts lol

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • BTW I mentioned your blog to someone who runs a Geek Radio Network.. Because Well honestly I think you could teach a college course on Supernatural.. I know you are now writing for many other places… But this would be when the show starts up again… yours truly will be joining as both a guest writer and podcaster ….

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Gillian Anderson also changed Roles for Women in a lot of ways… She always had those horrible shoulder pads.. she didnt show skin, there was some sot of tension between them but she was this HUGE and still is a HUGE sex symbol and didn’t have to take off her clothes… and I think if people could just think and remember that… women could be depicted in so many different ways

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • YES. Though there was a scene in the Pilot where she was in her underwear. But that was for Scientific Reasons. But I totally agree- her clothing’s usually so dark and severe. I love Mulder and Scully’s relationship.

                      Like

  5. Pingback: What’cha Watching Wednesday #7 | Random PoiSon

  6. Pingback: Wren’s Top Five Episodes Of Season Seven | A Blog devoted to "SUPERNATURAL"

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s