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'Supernatural' Preview: 5 Reasons Why You Can't Miss Friday's Meta-Filled Episode

by Laura Prudom, posted Feb 23rd 2011 4:30PM
Jensen Ackles and Jared PadaleckiFew shows are quite as willing to poke fun at themselves as the CW's 'Supernatural,' which has tackled everything from turning its characters into the heroes of a pulpy (and little-read) book series, to sending them to a spooky fan convention.

But after six seasons of self-referential madness, writer Ben Edlund seems to have decided that he's sick of "scratching" at the fourth wall, and would rather take a sledgehammer to it instead.

What results is 'The French Mistake,' one of the most surreal, unpredictable and undeniably hilarious episodes that the show has ever produced -- and if you've seen 'Changing Channels' or 'Tall Tales,' you know that's quite a feat.

TV Squad was lucky enough to see an advanced screener of this Friday's meta-tastic episode, and we've somehow managed to whittle down an hour of memorable moments into a list of five reasons why this episode is not to be missed. Proceed with caution, though; there are mild spoilers ahead.

The episode summary should give you a vague idea of what to expect, but it's nothing compared to the sheer, gleeful insanity that awaits you on Friday night:

SAM AND DEAN ARE TRANSPORTED TO AN ALTERNATE REALITY - Raphael (guest star Lanette Ware) launches an attack on Castiel (Misha Collins) and his allies, sending a particularly frightening angelic hitman (guest star Carlos Sanz) after Balthazar (guest star Sebastian Roche'), Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles). In an effort to protect the brothers, Balthazar sends them to an alternate universe where they are the stars of a TV show called "Supernatural" and they are actors named "Jensen Ackles" and "Jared Padalecki." The brothers are confused when Castiel appears to be a tweet-happy actor named Misha Collins and Sam is married to Ruby (Genevieve Padalecki).

Misha Collins1. "Hola, Mishamigos!"
We first broke the news of this storyline back in November, when the always-entertaining Misha Collins warned us that the episode would "either be great, hilarious, bizarre -- or the network will cancel the show immediately after it airs." After seeing it for ourselves, we can safely report that the episode falls into the former category, and that is thanks, in no small part, to Collins himself.

Not only does Collins continue to play our favorite rebellious angel Castiel this week, he also plays "himself," and if that wasn't enough to give any actor a headache, he'll also be playing "himself" playing the character of "Castiel." Confused yet?

This version of "Misha Collins" is a heightened rendering of his Twitter-obsessed persona, who seems alternately baffled and amused by his co-stars' apparent psychotic break as Sam and Dean fight to escape the strange new world they find themselves trapped in. The expressions on his face as he watches Sam and Dean attempt to act are worth the price of admission alone. (We've got to admit, we're glad that Collins' real Tweets are wittier than the ones Edlund came up -- it's hard to do his evil genius justice!)

2. "Actor stuff"
Speaking of Sam and Dean's attempts to act ... you'll never realize how much you've taken Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki's innate acting skills for granted until you've seen the Winchesters struggling to remember their lines. Dean clearly thinks that the key to great acting is to look as concurrently menacing/constipated as possible, while Sam has some very interesting ideas about how to gesture dramatically.

3. "Something called a Jared Padalecki"
Some of the episode's most comedic moments come from Sam and Dean learning more about their off-screen alter-egos. In the "Earth Two" version of reality, the brothers discover that Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki aren't exactly the best of friends -- in fact, the on-set terror alert level is raised to orange when the producers discover that the actors are actually talking to each other. (Clearly, any universe where Jared and Jensen aren't BFFs is no universe worth living in.)

Jared Padalecki, Genevieve Cortese, Jensen AcklesSince the Winchesters are used to making their money from hustling pool and running credit card scams, Dean certainly appreciates the fact that his trailer has a mini-helicopter waiting to be played with, and that's not even touching on Padalecki Palace.

Bizarro-Jared has an inexplicable alpaca in the back yard of his sprawling mansion and his taste in artwork is ... narcissistic, to say the least. He also has a very familiar wife -- and regardless of whether or not you were a fan of Ruby 2.0, we've got to give Genevieve Padalecki (nee Cortese) props for being brave enough to return to the scene of the crime to help poke fun at herself and her on- and off-screen husband.

4. The Great and Powerful Oz
Fans have gotten to know Ackles and Padalecki over the course of the series, but they've also grown familiar with a number of names and faces behind the scenes too. And while writers generally like to stay behind the cameras for a reason, that doesn't stop executive producers Eric Kripke, Bob Singer and Sera Gamble from making cameo appearances in the episode, in one form or another.

The actor who plays Eric Kripke is particularly inspired, and we bet you'll love the fictional new pilot he's developing. "Bob Singer" gets the most screen time, since he's directing the episode that Sam and Dean stumble into, while newly promoted showrunner Sera Gamble is brave enough to lend her real voice to the episode for a couple of scenes.

5. Fan Service
'Supernatural's' fervent fanbase has helped keep the cult show on the air for an impressive six seasons so far, and that fact is not lost on the producers. Eagle-eyed audience members will be pleased to see the TV Guide Fan Favorite cover that the fans recently won for the show, as well as the People's Choice and Constellation awards that their votes secured.

The official Supernatural magazine also makes an appearance, as does the gag reel. Even Padalecki's penchant for "blue steel" gets a roasting, as does the show's filming location. And for the loyal fans who have followed Jensen Ackles' long and storied career right from the start, we have two words for you: Eric Brady. Yes, even Ackles' soap opera heritage gets a hilarious homage; we're impressed that our two dashing stars are so willing to laugh at themselves, and Ackles and Padalecki certainly sell the Winchesters' bewilderment at the glamorous lifestyle their other selves apparently take for granted.

The overall plot of the episode is fairly straightforward, despite the wacky premise, but there are enough in-jokes, winks and self-deprecating laughs that 'The French Mistake' is a joy to watch. Take the show's advice and don't take it too seriously, and this is one mistake you'll be glad to repeat.

'Supernatural''s 'The French Mistake' airs Friday, Feb. 25, at 9PM ET on The CW.

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Mark G

Cassie - Supernatural will get renewed, however, Fringe will be cancelled.

March 07 2011 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
☃ Éva ☃

I really-really can't wait to watch this episode. It will be a blast! But will it be able to push 'Changing Channels' down from its throne of hilarious awesomeness? We'll see.

February 25 2011 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kala A. Lewis

Oh gosh! This episode is going to be hilarious! :D I could use some "spleen-splitting" laughs, especially this season. My excitement level for this episode has elevated to universal feets! Supernatural seems to be the only show brave enought and cocky enough to actually put an episode like this in their show and MAKE it work. Can't wait!

February 25 2011 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't wait!!!! I have never been more excited for a TV show in my entire life! This is going to be the coolest thing ever! I trust that this will be one that Supernatural fans will be talking about for years to come! All that's missing now is the announcement of our 7th season renewal!

February 23 2011 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debbie Bitz

Can't wait... why is Friday still two days away? I have been following SPN since episode one and it has remained my favorite show for all these years. I love that they can laugh at themselves and that they respect the fan base they have. Wonderful... just wonderful.

February 23 2011 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't wait! I'm curious if 'French Mistake' is gonna be able to push 'Changing Channels' from the Meta throne...

February 23 2011 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Never watched Supernatural so I probably shouldn't say this, but here's one reason why I can miss Supernatural on Friday night: FRINGE IS ON.

February 23 2011 at 4:39 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to yanksno1's comment

And there is one reason why I will always DVR Fringe: SUPERNATURAL Lol

February 23 2011 at 4:56 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Then why DID you say it? Don't go to an article about a show you've never seen before just to promote one you have! I've seen Fringe before and it is a good show, but don't be pushy about competing with another show in the same time slot! I'm so sick of Fringe fans harassing us Supernatural fans trying to get us to watch Fringe live and DVR Supernatural because they think their show is "more important" or it needs fan support more than ours does. We can all watch which ever show we want to live and DVR which ever show we want to. Neither fandom should be harassing the other trying to get them to watch their show instead!

February 23 2011 at 10:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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