I'm not surprised that has taken me a while to get my brain around. To say that episode was freaky is an understatement.
But some things I initially really hated about it make more sense now so I thought I'd share.
I'm still not keen on these type of episodes (removal of 4th wall that is..) because I think they're too "look how clever we are". But I think this episode kind of played on that whole notion and it's why I think there's some cleverness here that I missed the first time.
See. I thought the alternate universe was our universe. The one you and I inhabit. The fact that this was just another TV universe (in the way Supernatural is) makes it easy for me to accept and see this episode in a different light.
It bothered me that in the Superalterverse (I gotta call it something.../o\) everyone seemed like such douches. That real feelings and emotions didn't exist. Gen was particularly cold and stereotyped, Misha, whilst being hilarious, was over the top with "fake" emotion and Kripke didn't care at all (except in extra publicity after Misha's death). Jared has pictures of himself everywhere and lived in self indulgent house. There were no dogs (far too much emotion attached to dogs). And that scream of Gen's regarding Misha's death...?! I'm sure the insincerity was deliberate, not just bad acting.
It was an emotionless, fake and cold universe.
Something that tiniowien said in my reaction post really struck home:
"I think what I took from the episode was the stark parallels between a godless/magic-less world and their's where sure, Sam may have a mansion and photos of himself in every room (loved some of the camera angles in that house) and Dean might have a huge fish tank"
It's very much like the alternate universe portrayed in It's a Terrible Life. Here they were living safe and secure, "normal" lives but with no emotional resonance or excitement.
The Superalterverse was the same.
The biggest tell tale was that Jared and Jensen weren't talking to each other. This was referred to several times. It's common knowledge that the Js get on very well (unless everything we read and see is fake..) so to be in a world that they are not is just wrong. But I think the lack of communication between them was more than a signal that this isn't our universe. I'd like to think it also referred to the recent lack of real communication between Sam and Dean. I'm also thinking that communication is a major theme in the show. It's been lack of communication up until now. The boys are now communicating but the angels (mainly Castiel) are keeping tight lipped about what's going on in his world. I think Sam's comment "at least we're talking" was very significant at the end.
Also, Sam and Dean needed to be in a world that they didn't fit into. A world where they have a "fake" importance. ie fame. They could have it all here - money, security, big houses, a wife, status... but it means nothing.
I didn't give any more significance to them using behind-the-scenes of Show as a chance to homage themselves (which I think they did anyway) but I think the whole "fakeness" of fame and creating and shooting a TV show is a perfect universe to compare the importance of Sam and Dean in theirs.
I imagine this around the writer's table.
A: We need an episode where the boys can appreciate their importance in the universe. That even if they had it all they would prefer their own world.
B: We already did that in What is and What Should Never Be and It's a Terrible Life.
A: I know. This time we need a world that's built on fakeness. That shows people have importance, but an empty importance.
B: You mean like actors and directors and show creators...
B: oooh... that could be fun. I have just the show in mind....
Credit must go to Jared and Jensen (the real real ones..) for maintaining their characters in this Superalterverse. I know that's their skill as actors but they managed to maintain their warmth and realism (I did mention freaky earlier didn't I??!) throughout this trip down the rabbit hole. It was really important that they came off as "real" in this fake universe. And I think they achieved that.
I couldn't figure out why they didn't take Misha's death more seriously. The over acting and the subsequent reaction to it. But in this light it makes more sense to me. Death doesn't mean much in this universe. Not like in Sam and Dean's world. They deal with death all the time, but at least it has real meaning. And people care.
There's no doubt it made me cringe. I'll never not feel that. I didn't like the actors being referenced. I can't say I enjoyed seeing Gen and Jared together like that. But. With the knowledge that this was just another fake universe (J2 fanfic no less!) I feel more comfortable about the whole thing.
I did wonder were the alterverse Jared and Jensen got to though. Why weren't they on set? Maybe they had a dummy spit. I can't imagine the real real Js doing that, so it's likely that these Js would have.
If you get my drift.
That was WAAAAY too thinky for this episode and I am sure I was stating the bleeding obvious, but I had to get it down.