I have a stupid cold and so I am in the bath tub with poison ivy green menthol and eucalyptus essence or chained to the bed (or rather couch, since I prefer to sit out my illnesses and diseases there) and furthermore so, I am incredibly bored. I tried being productive and read some of my academic texts, and continue with my philosophy book but I can’t concentrate because my brain is all wibbly wobbly and cotton candy and my throat keeps reminding me of its miserable existence whenever I swallow (not what she said). I couldn’t even continue Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – a show as marvelous as its title – because my mind couldn’t keep up. And despite feeling very fatigued, more than dozing off is not on the menu so entertainment for the bored generation sick, represented by me, was needed. Netflix offered Season 12 of
A show that should have stopped after season 4. From there on, it became boring. Ausgelutscht, as we like to say. QED by season 12. It’s not really bad, it’s actually totally watchable but the admittedly original idea has long ago been used up and gone and I noticed I didn’t care the least about where the characters were heading. It lost all drive and pace, the main ingredients for a sitcom. Also, I have a quantum physicist brother, I don’t need to see fictional Sheldons, I have my own, down in Down Under (love you, PJ!). Alas, 24 mediocre episodes later, I was back to square one. Time to check Amazon Prime and oh my, what do I discover in ‘recently added TV shows’?
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer!
The day has been saved! And already head-banging to the opening hard rock riffs, I happily clicked on play, ready to reminisce in my favourite teenage TV show, every Wednesday evening, 20:15 Uhr. Quick excursion to my teenage years and a traumatic story: I was sick with a fever and begged my parents to allow me to watch Buffy because – the younger among my readers may not know this – back in the day we had to wait for a whole week till the next episode was broadcast and binging was a. verb solely reserved for alcoholic excesses or overeating and if you missed an episode, well then, bad luck. The previous episode’s preview promised an exceptionally scary monster and I simply HAD to see it. So after begging and begging, my parents finally agreed and it SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME. Fuck. Up to date the scariest monsters in the history of TV monster hunters. Ladies and Gentlemen: The Gentlemen.
Not only did it cause the worst nightmares, I was also alone the next morning and was terrified they might show up, so I carefully scanned my room and emptied one of the cabinets so I could hide in them in case I heard a suspicious noise. Did I mention we lived in an old house? There’s nothing but suspicious noises in old houses.
Back to 2020.
Buffy has been successfully clicked on (and that took a while because my ex and I are very adult and he still gets to use my Netflix whereas I get to use his Amazon Prime but we haven’t spoken in a while so I hadn’t logged in into his account on my iPad because I didn’t want the first words between us to be “what’s your password again?” so I’m watching on my old laptop and I keep forgetting it doesn’t have a touchscreen) and the famous loading wheel is turning aaaaand suddenly I’m greeted with a “Komm her, du Pappnase” and realize, the episode’s in German and there’s no OV available! Come on, Amazon Prime, wtf! Yes, I watched Buffy with German subs back then but that was because I didn’t have a choice or knew better. Synchro is in most cases cringeworthy, especially with that kind of show. Exceptions are: the Disney classics, House of Cards (Kevin Spacey’s Synchronsprecher has the most mesmerizing voice), The Simpsons. Kudos to whoever did those. Well, being sick and thus annoyed per se, that is an absolute No-Go so I went from strong female lead chasing monsters to hot guys chasing monsters instead:
Ah, the Winchester brothers. Sammy and Dean. Saving people, hunting things, the family business. A guilty pleasure? Maybe. But. Whatever you may think about the quality of that show, it is much more than what it appears to be. The first season is straight up what you expect. Two trained tough hot dudes hunting monsters with an overshadowing story arch affecting both brothers. Absolute and shameless guilty pleasure. Stereotypes get established, cliches fulfilled, and it has all the ingredients a shallow, suitable for mass consumption TV production needs. And then, for unknown reasons, they did the right thing and decided not to take themselves serious. And hilarity ensued. From Season 2 onwards, Supernatural has become a Persiflage of itself, of the genre, of everything it established within the first season. The main structure has remained the same: big Winchester-related story arch, new monster every single episode. But there are running gags:
Basic gist: Dean is tough, eats and drinks, chick magnet, but really has a soft spot. Sam is more of a sissy, always hides secrets from his brother, his hair gets longer and longer every season, nickname Moose. Both frequently die, are Antichrists or demons or something like that, yet they will always carry on driving in Dean’s Impala and continue hunting down monsters. OSTed by classic rock tunes. The plot becomes more and more absurd but by the time you realize you don’t care because you care so much about these two and the things the writers might put them through this time. You can sometimes read in the actors’ faces how annoyed they are by what their characters have to suffer. It’s sarcasm. And so meta. Hardly any other show plays so much with its levels of narratation. The most meta episodes from Season 1-10 (because I haven’t watched any further yet), in chronological but not personal preference order:
- Any episode featuring Felicia Day.
- Season 2, Episode 8 “Hollywood Babylon”. Sam, played by Jared Padalecki, getting visibly uncomfortable as they are passing by the Gilmore Girls studio (editor’s note: JP played Dean on GG, in case you really didn’t know and yes, it it very confusing that Dean is Sam and not Dean). Set in a Hollywood horro film studio, it covers all the cliches.
- Season 4, Episode 18 “The Monster at the End of this Book”. Where they find out they’re books. That the prophet didn’t know what to do with all the info he got so he published fantasy horror fiction that became true within the Supernatural Universe. Favourite quote: “I’m sitting in a laundromat reading about myself sitting in a laundromat reading about myself,”
- Season 5, Episode 8 “Changing Channels”. The one where Sam and Dean find themselves in all famous TV formats – Grey’s Anatomy, Full House, Knight Rider, Japanese Game Show for example – having to play by each genre‘s rules. Also featuring the trickster aka Archangel Gabriel aka Richard Speight Jr whom, on a side note, I find weirdly sexually attractive. Hilarious episode, lots of slapstick, and fantastic commentary on TV genres.
- Season 5, Episode 9 “The Real Ghostbusters”. Fan fiction and LARP. Need I say more? Next!
- Season 6, Episode 15 “The French Mistake”. Dean and Sam end up in a parallel universe and do not only have to come to terms with the fact, that they’re a TV show but even more one that’s filmed in CANADA! Ready for some real inceptional shit? Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki play Dean and Sam Winchester that play fictional Jensen Ackles and fictional Jared Padalecki playing Dean and Sam Winchester. Boom. Mind blown. So freaking good. Including live twitter commentart. Whoa.
- Season 10, Episode 5 “Fan Fiction”. Supernatural meets High School Musical. With a very freaked out Dean when witnessing fan fictional romance in the family (“You know they’re brothers, right?”) and with Deanstiel. Plus catchy tunes. And yes, goosebumps all over with that cover song:
So yes, anytime Supernatural becomes more and more absurd and ridiculous and you start to get bored, (it really went down after Season 5 and I almost stopped watching. I’m glad I didn’t. Hang in there, it’s worth it, I promise!) it hits you with one of those top notch prime entertainment episodes.
Not to forget this show created and introduced two of the best side characters there have ever been: first, we have the angel Castiel. Thanks to the actor behind him, Misha Collins, the genius behind GISH, formerly know as G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S., I started watching Supernatural in the first place and learned to be my abnosomest self. #deathtonormalcy
Castiel is as socially awkward as I feel most of the time and you gotta love every single scene where he hilariously (hello there Fremdschämen) fails being human and as well as the undeniable hate-love-relationship between him and Dean. Also, Assbutt is without further debate the best insult out there and according to Urban Dictionary “An exclamation used to distract Angels just before you throw a Molotov at them.”
Then we have on the other side: Crowley. And has there ever been a show where we didn’t adore Crowley? Doctor, Ten, any opinion on that?
It’s gotta be a Good Omen if there’s a Crowley on the show. This one’s played by no other than Mark Sheppard and couldn’t you just listen to his accent and voice forever? The mean demon soon becomes a Dean man aka an unwilling sidekick for the Winchesters and even as King of Hell, he remains as platonically involved as Castiel, and we, the audience, get to enjoy a very classy, gentleman villain with style and taste.
And here we are now, almost finished with Season 10, an empty package of Dolodobendan next to me, and the smell of Pinimenthol rubbed all over my chest, and a little less bored me, and a hopefully slightly entertained you.
Goodbye, Stranger. Bless you. Achoo.