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Review with a good helping of thinky thoughts... 
26th-Feb-2011 09:57 pm
Thinky thougts


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...

A: Exactly.

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.
Comments 
26th-Feb-2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
Maybe the real J2 (er, the fake real J2?) ended up in the Supernatural 'verse... That's the explanation that makes the most sense to me: they just swapped sides.
26th-Feb-2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
Ah yes. That would be cool. Imagine how freaked they'd be. But how well prepared they'd be for playing Sam and Dean when they came back. tehe

I hope somebody writes that.
26th-Feb-2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
*cheers* Now that's the spirit. :D
26th-Feb-2011 11:58 pm (UTC)
Hee! Thank you I hoped you wouldn't mind me quoting you here. :)
26th-Feb-2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
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.

I wonder if maybe they didn't exist? I mean - the whole thing looked more like a parasite universe built around Sam and Dean's lives than a complete world in itself. Sam and Dean even picked up current, relevant information from running through the script with fake-Castiel: or at least they learned what Balthazar and Castiel wanted them to think.
26th-Feb-2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on that. Parasite universe--good descript for it.
26th-Feb-2011 04:05 pm (UTC)

I couldn't figure out why they didn't take Misha's death more seriously.


For me, this made perfect sense - once they realized Misha wasn't Castiel, he ceased to matter to them. They don't know that dude at all. *g*

I didn't dislike the episode, but it did nothing for me, so. I guess that's better than being actively offended.
27th-Feb-2011 12:06 am (UTC)
For me, this made perfect sense - once they realized Misha wasn't Castiel, he ceased to matter to them. They don't know that dude at all. *g*

Yeah - which goes with maenad's theory above. That this world was build around Sam and Dean.

I don't think I was offended so much as...hmmm...uncomfortable. I think I would have enjoyed it more if they had kept the same idea but didn't refer to themselves. But. I pretty much get that that was the whole point.
xx
26th-Feb-2011 05:07 pm (UTC)
Oh. I like your thoughts here.

*goes off to ponder*

27th-Feb-2011 03:46 am (UTC)
Hee. You mean they make a bit of sense? I tend to get caught up with an idea wonder if I'm either stating the obvious or grasping at straws. More than anything I like that this episode has created lots of thinky thoughts for people. X
26th-Feb-2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
It was fun to watch, but not much to move the arc forward, except Cas has the weapons now, Balty did him a favor so they are still angel-pals and Rapheal is back.

27th-Feb-2011 03:49 am (UTC)
Yeah. Not a lot new here. Sam and Dean reaffirmed their mission statement from last week ( which really wasn't necessary I don't think)... And the show had a chance to make fun of itself. It looks like fans are pretty divided on this one. But as usual, we all have different tastes so what appeals to one won't appeal to another.

Xx
26th-Feb-2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
I didn't post my reaction, but I did post a video over on my LJ where I cut the whole episode down to 9 minutes, taking out all the meta and leaving only the salient plot points. That sort of encapsulates my opinion.

But I wanted to comment on the violent deaths in the Superalterverse.

Let's pretend for a moment that the "Misha" in the Superalterverse was not really Misha doing a tongue-in-cheek over-acted exaggeration of his own persona, but was actually an actor on a TV show who wound up scared, crying, and begging for his life because Sam and Dean just happened to pop into his universe. Would we react differently if the Superalterverse "Misha" was played by another actor and we saw him die so horribly like that?

I know they played that and the resulting crew massacre for laughs, but why wouldn't Sam and Dean be as upset about innocents' deaths despite where they were? It's still a universe somewhere, right? It's still an innocent man being murdered because the Winchesters entered "Misha's" universe and brought Virgil with them. Shouldn't they feel the least bit guilty?

That's why the meta, as annoying as it was (especially to people who, like me, don't know all the backstage gossip and info about Show), was something I could deal with but the murders weren't. The other thing slightly disturbing? In this day and age, it's the knowledge that it is entirely possible for something like that to happen -- a guy getting onto a popular TV set and murdering everyone. I didn't think it was funny.

I don't know, the concept was like Ben Edlund's personal little fantasy and should have been stuck on the gag reel instead of turning it into an episode.
27th-Feb-2011 01:08 am (UTC)
but why wouldn't Sam and Dean be as upset about innocents' deaths despite where they were? It's still a universe somewhere, right? It's still an innocent man being murdered because the Winchesters entered "Misha's" universe and brought Virgil with them. Shouldn't they feel the least bit guilty?

Well that's nothing new for the Winchesters. Pretty much everyone they knew in their RL is dead for associating with them or helping them.

I was struck by Misha's death too, in a way I'm not when Redshirt of the week bites it in the introduction. I think that's because they made Misha too....MISHA, so the audience feels they know him and are appalled at his death.

If they'd made him more of a caricature, like Bob Singer, we wouldn't have cared.
26th-Feb-2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
I think it's really important to focus on the fact that this was a universe where they were sent by an Angel. No one really believed in the reality of the Changing Channels verse, because it was so obviously fake -- but I think the 2014 verse, or Sam's 6 months after the Mystery Spot, are directly parallel, as is Heaven itself (and maybe Hell too) in terms of pocket realities.

I gotta go meta on this, so I hope you'll enjoy my thoughts when I post in a few. Cheers, and thanks for inspiring further thought.

26th-Feb-2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
yeah - it took me a while to realise just how fake it was. I mean - of course it wasn't real real, but this episode irked me so much in its portrayal if the actors and situations I needed to look closer at why it was done like that.

And yes - sent by and angel. The same, again, with It's a Terrible Life. So many parallels with that episode. Though I think that episode handled the idea a lot better than this one.

Then again... I think Show just wanted an opportunity to laugh at itself. I kinda wish I had been able to laugh a long for most of it.

Yay for inspiring further thought. I look forward to reading it. (for an episode that looked merely like a bit of fun, there was a heck of a lot going on...)

(Deleted comment)
27th-Feb-2011 05:00 am (UTC)
Yes, it was the lack of emotion that was so striking. It really irked me but now that I realise that was the whole point, I feel somehow better about it.

Thanks for reading. :DD
27th-Feb-2011 01:01 am (UTC)
I think Sam's comment "at least we're talking" was very significant at the end.

It is, although talking is most useful when one has something to say. I actually was immediately reminded of WIaWSNB regarding the not talking thing. That made me feel the decision had less to do with anything directly to do with this season and more to do with the idea of preventing any type of ideal verse to exist. After all, if everything was great in the SPN verse (and Sam and Dean would already be set up for life given JA and JP's bank accounts) why would they want to return?

I couldn't figure out why they didn't take Misha's death more seriously.

I couldn't figure out how they got past the police lines to interview the conveniently located homeless guy. We did laugh at the maple leaf police tape though.




27th-Feb-2011 05:18 am (UTC)
had less to do with anything directly to do with this season and more to do with the idea of preventing any type of ideal verse to exist.

Ah yes. Just there so it's not ideal. It also means that above everything they'd pick a universe where they are talking - over everything else. Even safety, or peace.

Though I suppose they really didn't have a "choice" as such. It wasn't a real place so they knew they could stay there.

What are you thoughts on where the other Jared and Jensen were? I've heard a couple of theories, but I'd be curious to know what you thought.
27th-Feb-2011 06:03 am (UTC)
This is pretty much exactly how I viewed the episode. I thought it was a clever way to have fun at the same time as bring up some interesting questions about a Godless world. The fact that this type of alternate 'verse has precedent in the show made it seem less like some out-of-the-blue "We're so clever/awesome" type of thing, too. I know that for some people and embarrassment squick is hard to look past, but I think the ultimate goal here was exactly as you said: to show how important Sam and Dean's real world is.
27th-Feb-2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Hi there,

Thanks so much. I really needed to find a reason for this whole episode other than it existing because the writers and producers just wanted to have some fun messing with the fans and themselves. I think there is certainly a degree of that. But once I realised the reason they chose a TV set it made it all so much easier for me.

I did suffer from the embarrassment squick when I was watching it I have to say. I felt quite uncomfortable at times, but I still think it was an interesting examination of what they can do in order to make the boys realise how important they are in their own world.

Thanks so much for dropping in. :D
27th-Feb-2011 08:21 am (UTC)
"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."
I think that's because he wasn't even the vessel of Castiel.For them,he is just a spoiled actor walking around with his cell.Well,that's what I thought watching the epi.

I don't know,I was afraid of ending up a terrible episode and I was going to hate.Despite all of this,I really really enjoyed it:)
27th-Feb-2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Hi,

When I said "they" I meant the show. As in, I wonder why the show didn't treat Misha's death with importance. As in, no one in that 'verse cared that he died etc.

Though, now you mention is I suppose the same can be asked of the boys. My feeling on that would be as you said, They didn't know this person AND they knew it wasn't their world. Though, the boys are usually concerned with any death..

I've been trying to remain spoiler free this season but that was one episode I wish I had gone in with some idea of what was going to happen. If I had thought it was going to be terrible I might have enjoyed it a bit more. :)

27th-Feb-2011 08:37 am (UTC)
Oo, oo! I want to meta! :)

I was actually really torn on the ep at first. I adore meta stuff and breaking fourth wall. Totally agree, it's either your thing or it's not. But working in the industry I was in hog heaven! I could see sky pans in the background and well, yeah, sorta tech geeked out on the whole thing. When they were so flustered how all the weapons were fake, I just died laughing!

But I really think they missed a great opportunity with this ep. I liked your take on the writers room. I think that's exactly what happened and they lost site of the core of the show with all the sparkly fun pretty.

They could have really delved into SPN's canon past. Remember Chuck? Or God? Whoever he happened to be.... Remember how he created the Supernatural novels in the SPN universe? He did that for a reason, not sure what, but he did. Well, if this is truly an alternate universe from the boys', then maybe there is a Chuck/God here/there as well that instead of doing novels, he did a show? We still could have did the fun stuff but kept the meaning behind it as well. Where I think most of the ep was fluff. :( I like fluff, but I love fluff with substance.

I get the fakeness aspect, that it isn't supposed to be REAL real, but I'm not really sure that tells us much of anything. So yeah, I laughed till I cried but ultimately it felt like it could have been so much better. :(

Oo! Almost forgot. I adored how when Dean asked for the stage to be cleared the director was like, "WTF!?" *lol* So awesome. That made it seem more real to me. If the director had been all "Oh sure Mr. Jensen, sir", then that would have been total alternate reality for me. :)
27th-Feb-2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
Steeeeepppphhhh *glomps*

Oh meta away hun!! \o/

I am so torn on the forth wall stuff. When I look back on the episodes where it references itself I really don't like it. The book creation made NO SENSE at all.... they did all that and it meant nothing. Which means they only did it to say "Hey fans... we know you are there and write wincest..." instead of giving it some real meaning.

I love your ideas about how this episode could have gone. I would have been totally cool if this had been an alternate universe where the books had been turned into a TV series or something. I would even have loved to have seen a parallel universe where they had actors playing Sam and Dean but they weren't Jared and Jensen. They still could have set up this whole fakeness of this type of world and had the same end result. But I fear this was all about just having fun with themselves. They call it behind-the-scenes for a reason. As much as I adore seeing real life behind the scenes stuff I really didn't like them reminding us that this is not real. As though we don't know that.

Argh! I wasn't going to be negative. I have been desperately trying to keep positive about this episode but the more I think about it the crankier I get.

Though I get that the tech geek stuff must have been awesome for you. :)

I did indeed laugh out loud a few times myself. Unfortunately the embarrassment squick messed with me too much to thoroughly get lost it in.

Wonderful to hear from you hun. I'll be checking in with you soon. I got the thumbs up for that vid so will be hopefully getting some more done this week.

*smish*
27th-Feb-2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
I admit to being a brandnew fan. I take my cues from my friends, and we were all laughing our heads off at the episode, which two of the four of us thought would suck, one thought would be awesome, and I, well I thought it would be awesome until Sam and Dean realised what was going on, at which point it would start to suck. At the end of the episode, after dissmissing it as pure crack with some plot development, we had all enjoyed it.
that said, the fact that Jared's dogs were never referred to really bugged me. I think you're right that that would be too much emotion, not sure how well Jared could be Sam with them around. As to Misha's death, Well, It may have been the fact that Sam and Dean have very little to do with people like him. The Show always makes them more comfortable around bluecollar workers that the rich types. I think that this Universe was just too weird by their standards. When you're trying to figure out just what the hell is going on you don't have much energy left over for emotions.
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