Saturday, February 26, 2011

'Supernatural' Saturdays: "The French Mistake" Tweetathon Round-Up...

- Here we go, you guys: #TheFrenchMistake "live" on the west coast. My 3rd viewing; my first time Tweeting. #META

- Seeing Meg (the ORIGINAL Meg) just made my heart soar a little. I love her. I wish she could come back. #META

- It's raining hard here in LA tonight, too. I would love to hunker down somewhere with Dean... #META

- Does Sebastian Roche remind anyone else of Gordon Ramsay? #META

- "Deep, deep underground" sounds like hell. But there's no way Cas is in hell so... #META

- Ass slap, way to go random crew man. You and I think a lot alike! #META

- Yes, Sam, you should be killing this guy who's about to suggest cutting a very important scene... #META

- Freeze-frames, along with star wipes, are NEVER okay. #META

- This fake reporter reminds me of an actual reporter I trained in college. I don't like either one of them; too tabloid! #META

- How did Dean just walk by Crafty without picking something up? This really is a bizarro-land! #META

- Dean and Sam know people want to read books about their lives; why are they so surprised by a TV show? #META

- Dean Winchester makes praying look good. #META

- This is "Misha" running lines, right? I love that he fully commits and does the voice. #META

- So, wait, in bizarro-land, the script has the real info? Is Chuck a writer here? I would have loved to see @RobBenedict return! #META

- Fake Jensen and I think so alike. I love those aquariums! It's like art...that is alive. #META

- Jensen does a better Blue Steel. Too bad he's too busy making fun of it to bust one out. #META

- Vintage #DOOL clip. THAT's the Jensen I fell in love with! #META

- By the way, for those wondering, that woman in the scene with Jensen as Eric Brady on #DOOL is @Ari_Zucker. And she's still on the show!

- Seriously, Dean and Sam have been on a film set before. They KNOW everything is fake. What gives? #META

- I wonder if @bodyguard4jandj gave this guy "playing him" tonight any pointers... #META

- The maple leaf coming over the car window was brilliant. #META

- No, Sam, you are still Sasquatch, remember? #META

- I love how neither Dean nor Sam noticed the giant colored artwork of Sam and Ruby's faces on the wall. #META

- JENSEN'S FACE!!! Yikers! My fave thing ever! #META

- Awww I love that they used a real wedding photo. Nice touch. #META

- Better touch? Jensen's delivery on "You married Fake Ruby?" #META

- International Otter Adoption. Wow, they're really making fun of a good thing Jared does helping animals. #META

- Dean, Jensen, whoever: you don't need any beauty rest!! You put us all to shame. #META

- Sam, who cares if she remembers? She's not real! What are you getting at here?!? #META

- Funny, there was a time when I think Jared thought he had been Sam Winchester way too long too. But then he lost his soul & renewed interest

- Poor Robert Singer. They made him a Dean Cain fan :( #META

- I think this scene in which Jared is Sam trying to act like Jared trying to act is some of the best work he's ever done. #META

- Oh Dean, you overestimated your brother. He really can't look "anywhere" but the camera... #META

- I didn't know Jensen's voice had that much room for extra gravel in it! HOT! #META

- Well, if Dean and Sam WERE on drugs, they'd be closer to acting like most people in Hollywood these days... #META

- I really love the idea that in this world, there are no supernatural beings. Dean & Sam need to be creative & challenge themselves! #META

- ...but if that were true, they wouldn't be able to find a way out & let's face it, they need to go home. Because there is no Bobby here :(

- Dean Winchester makes being called a dick look (and sound) good. #META

- I have to respect Sera for not Hitchock-ing herself into the episode. #META

- Can we get a campaign going for @mishacollins to Tweet @MrMadisonC and call him "little fella"????

- "You pay these two jokers as much as it is." I bet they hope no one at the network is listening right now! #META

- Haha I wish someone had explained on-screen that it was art dept who put Bobby's full name on a prop and then it just stuck. For continuity.

- I wouldn't call it nonsense, either, Dean! #META

- "Jensen" and "Jared" having a psychotic break, so to speak, is NOTHING compared to what real Hollywood went through this week! #timing

- Aww @mishacollins is a bit of a weenie. #META

- I hope that was an attempt to spoof horror films because no, Gen, just no. #META

- When I hear "Raphael" I immediately think of Ninja Turtles, too. TV was my Bible as a kid. And now. #META

- I don't know, bizarro-world isn't so bad, Dean. You have money; you have a good job; you may have a girl-- you should prob look into that!

- Not biological brothers, maybe, Sam, but that's not all that matters! You could become brothers if you just keep talking! #META

- Damn, this is cold. When "Hell Hazers 2" had people die on set, they shut production down. "Supernatural" is just going to keep going??

- I get the metaphor in this "shoot up the set" scene, just makes me want to get violent. It's lazy. #META

- And if there is no magic in bizarro-land, how is that symbol working?? And why is it only working at certain times?? Who controls it!?

- During #HollywoodBabylon, SPN gave us a fake trailer for #HellHazers2. I wish they had done that here, for a fake version of #Supernatural.

- I think like a storyteller. Those are the details that could make or break believability.

- I like this new Raphael. There are not nearly enough strong women on #Supernatural! #META

- Really? I thought that key looked like a locker key from the get-go. Nothing very ancient or important about it... #META

- Why is all the cool, mythology-forwarding stuff happening off camera? Cas has the weapons, but we didn't get to see him get them back so

- (cont) can we even really believe he has them? I hate exposition, AND I'm wary of it. #META

- It seems like Cas has the more interesting story arc. I would love to see an episode focused on him, kind of like Weekend at Bobby's. #META

- Wow, Sam, that was more Frankenstein's monster than Sasquatch... #META

- Dean was so gung-ho about getting home, getting home, getting home. Now he's home, and he's not happy about it? Um, consistency please.

- Bottom line: #TheFrenchMistake should've been a double-episode. A bunch of fun but the important mythos stuff felt "tacked on" at 11th hour.

- But in other news, that was the fastest hour of #Supernatural all season. And that's from someone who has seen it 3 times. I wanna go again!

Closing Remarks: I have a tendency to get really sucked into shows where actors get to make fun of themselves and their crafts...or pretend to be really bad at what they do. Case in point: my probably inappropriate belly laughter every time I see the scene in Surviving Christmas where Ben Affleck has the family read a scene around the dinner table, and Catherine O'Hara ends up reading the stage directions like dialogue. What can I say? Sucker. And "The French Mistake" has that in spades. But still I was really skeptical about this episode. So many in the media were so giddy over the cheeky photos and the self-reflexive clips, but I didn't want to get blinded by the hype. And the thing is, you can easily lose yourself in the fun and games of the episode, but at the end of it all, you may be (or at least I still was) left with something missing. For all the fun they were having, the pacing still felt off; it still lacked that certain something that previous fun and games episodes like "Changing Channels" delivered-- and still punched us in our guts with the overall show mythology. But let's face it, "The French Mistake" was written by Ben Edlund, who really can do no wrong in my book, and this episode was a lot closer to what I've always loved about the show than other recent ones.

What was really interesting to me was that even in the alternate universe here, it was still mostly all about Sam (
Jared Padalecki). We see his house, his wife, his home life. Sure, we see Dean (Jensen Ackles)'s trailer and a clip of his previous work-- a real clip from his time on Days of our Lives that literally made me squeal so loud I awoke my very sleepy puppy, who was not nearly as amused-- but he's so focused on just getting out of this life that he doesn't even think to explore what his alt-life looks like. For Sam, the world is better: he has a stable job, good money, and a beautiful, loving wife. All of the things he was going to school for, even if the packaging is a little different. For Dean, the world is just weird, different, and "not him."

Dean was a fish out of water here, and he spent the majority of the episode looking like he wanted to rip someone's head off or kick some demon ass, but he had to restrain himself because there were no actual demons around. His exasperation with the fake show world is what I might imagine an actual actor's exasperation to be when they're working on a show they don't like, and it worked on a whole other level. So in that respect, Dean did fit right into this alternate universe. He just didn't want to stop and think about it too hard or he may have found himself realizing it might have been better if they stayed, just like how he wanted to stay in "What Is And What Should Never Be."

But what I loved even more about the episode was that for once both of the boys took the journey to the other side, so to speak, together. In previous scenarios like that in "What Is And What Should Never Be"-- or "Mystery Spot" or even "Dark Side of the Moon"-- they were separated in those alt-worlds. If I remember correctly, it really wasn't until "Changing Channels" that they got to experience the weird at the same time, bouncing responses and ideas on how to get back off each other. And let's face it, there is nothing better than the brothers working together toward a common goal, especially if that goal includes some ass-kicking!

I love the brothers together, but I love their supporting men, too. As much as I think the show missed an opportunity by leaving Jim Beaver out (because how awesome would it have been to see him hounded by fangirls on the set??), I'm glad they finally got to show off
Misha Collins, who may be kept around in the cast but has thus far been severely underused this season. And Cas never gets to show any range; he is stoic; he is strong; he is something of the silent type, or at least a man of few words. But here Collins himself got to show off his range and be funny in a whole new way. I expect quite a few GIFs of the "attractive, crying man" moment popping up in the next few days!

"The French Mistake" was definitely very funny. And in some ways, it was even very unique and clever, especially with the degree to which it attacked the fourth wall. However, I would be remiss if I ignored the fact that all of the funny managed to bury a lot of the actual story, and there were moments that I really enjoyed while watching that I found myself thinking about afterward and realized they didn't really serve a purpose other than being tongue-in-cheek or proving they have a good sense of humor about themselves. Not everything
has to push the plot along all the time, of course, but the ratio here felt greatly unbalanced, a common theme this season, that resulted in a scramble to actually get the boys home, so certain things came "too easy." I guess it was just lucky that "Jensen" and "Jared" were rich enough to be able to overnight bones and blood to Vancouver, and I admit the jab at "Jensen"/Dean's credit card being maxed was cute considering Dean is always broke and committing credit card fraud. But if in this alt-world, there is nothing really supernatural, then explain how the angel hitman still managed to bust through? They set up such a great idea of being trapped because none of their old tricks would work...but then, literally the next second, they said "Nah, never mind" because there was no other way to get them out. Because in the real world of Supernatural, demons and monsters and angels always exist. It's a pretty strong statement to make.

It was a whole bunch of fun and games, but that fun and those games took up so much screen-time, that a lot of the story and mythology felt "tacked on" at the end, in the eleventh hour, rushed. I was really bummed that apparently Castiel got all of his weapons back-- off-screen. I'm hoping he was just lying to Raphael, but then again, wouldn't Raphael know better? It appears they're just using a lot of exposition rather than using Collins on-screen, and that's a bummer. He has a really interesting story arc this season, and I hope we get to see more of it as the season comes to a close. Hell, make it a sequel to "Weekend at Bobby's" and let Ackles direct again!

Lately I've been coming out of
Supernatural episodes re-energized but when I come down from that initial high of having the boys back on my TV screen, I realize that nothing much has actually happened. Sure, in this case, there was an advancement with the weapons of heaven, which could (and should and hopefully will) push forward the overall arc, but we didn't get to see any of that. Instead they spent the bulk of the episode repeating themselves with jokes (much as I've repeated myself in criticism all these weeks)-- I mean, really, how many times do we need to hear that "at least Dean and Sam are talking now"? Even if it was funny, considering in real life most of the rumors are that they're secretly a couple. And in season six-- especially in season six: really? I joked that it might have been the producers offering a number of drinking game options for viewers, but really, "Bob Singer's" constant brush-off of similar criticisms of the show within the show kind of felt like a slap in the face, considering many of the criticisms are warranted. Such as the following, which are my own personal current grievances: What's going on with purgatory? Why is the war in heaven the catalyst for these events and yet constantly being left off-screen as mere mentions that don't showcase the full gravity of the situation? Why is the majority of the mythos being told through exposition? Where is Mother of All now that she has risen and why aren't the boys still worried about finding out as much as they can about her? Why is the show stalling when a season seven isn't even guaranteed?

This is one of those episodes that is more than worth a second screening, regardless, though-- not only to see if you missed a reference the first time around but also to give yourself a chance to focus on the story points. I have a feeling it will be on repeat for many all week along. And I don't see anything wrong with that!

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