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July 23, 2014

Supernatural: Hollywood Babylon

by Brett Love, posted Apr 20th 2007 8:30AM
jared padalecki, gary cole, jensen ackles

(S02E18)
They don't do much in the way of developing the big mysteries, but I do like it when the Supernatural team takes time out to have some fun. Such was the case this week with "Hollywood Babylon." If it was the overall style of the show, I don't think it would work nearly as well. But as an every once in a while thing, these tongue-in-cheek, laugh at yourself, episodes are a fun diversion from the norm. Although, I would have preferred to see this one and "Tall Tales" separated a little more on the schedule.

It is a minor gripe though, and a forgivable one. There was a lot of fun to be had in every part of this episode, right from the get go. The surprise that Wendy was actually Tara (Elizabeth Whitmere) filming a scene from Hell Hazers II: The Reckoning was actually blown by the previews that showed the boys going to the set. They made up for it with Dean and Sam on the studio tour. I loved the look on Jared's face when the guide pointed out that Stars Hollow was coming up on the right. The joke about the weather feeling like they were in Canada was cute too.

That was the last time that Sam had the lead for the episode though, as this became the Dean show rather quickly. Jensen Ackles doesn't get a lot of press for his comedic ability, but I always like him in scenes like this. From the fascination with the "wonderful" food, to being star struck when he met Tara, right on through how he embraced being a P.A., he was very funny. And it makes perfect sense that the one part of pop-culture Dean would have a firm grasp of would be bad horror movies.

On top of that, this might have been the most well cast episode the show has ever done. Gary Cole (American Gothic) has done a ton of great stuff. My favorite would be his dramatic and touching portrayal of Harvey Birdman. Getting him for the role of studio boob, and murder victim, Brad is pretty impressive. And made that much more so when you add Don Stark (That '70s Show) as the producer, Jay. I also liked Regan Burns (Halfway Home) as Supernatural producer McG and Michael B Silver (Daybreak) as Martin, the writer.

Hell Hazers II was a pretty good send up of bad horror movies as well. I just happened to be watching something called Boo this evening before the show, and Hell Hazers seemed to be in that same league. Not that there's anything wrong with it. Done right, a bad horror movie makes for a very entertaining time. What would SciFi Saturday be without them? And where would we get our Lance Henriksen fix? The Hell Hazers II trailer that played as if it was a commercial was a nice touch.

Mixed in with all the yucks, the boys actually stumbled onto a pretty good mystery this week. St. James being hired to fake Frank's death in order to create buzz for the movie was a nice bit of misdirection. I was suspicious of the incantations as soon as Tara started reading them, but didn't catch on to where we were headed until Martin revealed that Walter (Benjamin Ratner) had written all that "Latin crap." It made for a nice, albeit bloody, commentary on what the studio system sometimes does to a movie in the transition from page to screen.

I really liked the end of the episode too. So many times we get these heavy endings with discussion of the demon, or what is to come of Sam, that once in a while a happy ending doesn't hurt. We root for these guys every week, so it's nice to see them catch a break now and again. And Dean got the girl. What's not to like? The walk off into the fake sunset has been done hundreds of times by now I think, but it still made for a nice final shot.

6 out of 7We'll get back to the dark and scary stuff with huge ramifications for the future soon enough. For now, this was a great time. For the yucks, Gary Cole, a ghost with a cracked open cranium, and the pink Power Ranger (Alycia Purrott), I'm giving this one a 6, out of 7.

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lizzy

Supernatural owner, I want that it never ends

April 24 2007 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allan

You're right folks, this episode was a treat from beginning to end. And the "Hell Hazers" trailer? Icing on the cake!

April 20 2007 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
radwimp

this episode was great. i love how supernatural has adapted the x-files funny episodes. and they do them just as well, if not better.

seeing dean/jensen having so much fun was the best. the gilmore girls ref was hysterical too. anyone catch the "it's too dark" reference? definitely an inside joke from the show itself.

April 20 2007 at 5:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MrC

The two references you sited (Gilmore Girls and the Canadian weather comment) were great, but there was also another interesting twist.

They made reference to the movie boogeyman as on of "Tara's" movies.

Boogeyman (2005) was written by none other than Eric Kripke. He has the "story" credit, but then the screen writing credit is "Eric Kripke and Juliet Snowden & Stiles White" which in WGA terms most likely means than Eric wrote a screenplay and then the team of Snowden and White rewrote or added/subtracted to it (in the WGA, "&" denotes writing teams, and "and" denotes separate authors).

I thought the whole thing about the decent horror flick being rewritten by the hack writer might be a reference to that as well :)

April 20 2007 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vacelts

I continue to love this series. I agree that it's best when it's funny. But it's a subtle funny, not a in-your-face funny. I laughed so hard, I'm not even sure which part was my favorite. Bonus points for the Hell Hazers II trailer.

http://redlightnaps.wordpress.com/2007/04/19/save-supernatural/

April 20 2007 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liz Lacy

I really think that Supernatural is at its best when it's funny. I was super glad to see this light and self-aware episode before we're drowning in melodrama at the season end.

April 20 2007 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shawn Collins

I agree with the reviewer. It was laugh out loud funny, a little light froth before the angst fest of the last four episodes kicks in. I liked it. Jensen *is* too funny for words.

April 20 2007 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yvonne Pagan

It was a lighthearted episode with funny parts.
Seeing Dean stuff his face was priceless.
looking forward to next weeks epi. Was that scary or what?

April 20 2007 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stephanie

I enjoyed this episode...a little laughs are nice, considering the last four episodes of the season look like they are going to be really heavy.

I liked seeing Dean be as excited about everything as an fan would be...It is seldom that we get to see Dean looking so happy. He has a lot of burdens on him - so it was nice to see a lighter side.

April 20 2007 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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