Thursday, April 19, 2007

Supernatural—Hollywood Babylon

There's no point trying to recap this episode, because everything that made it great just falls flat in recap format. Ben Edlund was in fine form, providing a script that skewered his own industry every bit as thoroughly as he did with "Smile Time" (Angel), and all the while maintaining a relevant story and some great character moments for the Hotties Winchester. The episode wasn't so much sprinkled as flooded with inside jokes, some of which would probably go over the heads of all but the most devoted Supernatural fans, but many that were readily accessible to most viewers, making the humor rewarding for anybody who might tune in.

The basic story--Sam and Dean visit a reportedly haunted movie set and tackle ghosts who are murdering folks involved with the production. The twist--the ghosts are being controlled by the movie's original scriptwriter, whose screenplay is being progressively massacred by the suits, who know nothing about storytelling. (And every screenwriter in Hollywood says, "Amen.")

The inside jokes fly fast and furious, from Sam's being frightened off the bus by the specter of The Gilmore Girls (Jared Padalecki was a Gilmore boy for several seasons) to comments that the weather in LA is "practically Canadian" (they film, of course, in Vancouver). I know at least some of the notes mentioned by Brad (Gary Cole) were based on actual notes provided to Supernatural's creators (the comment about the show being too dark is one of them). The movie's director is McG--one of Supernatural's executive producers. In the middle of the episode, we're treated to a fake trailer for the movie-in-the-show, HellHazers II, The Reckoning, from the director of Charlie's Angels (McG, of course). (This film is not yet rated.) Erik Kripke's not-so-stellar horror movie, Boogeyman, is skewered right along with the network suits, so the satire is equal opportunity. And non-stop. And hysterical.

Joining its predecessors, "Hell House" and "Tall Tales," "Hollywood Babylon" provides a brilliantly comedic break from the intensity of last week's "Heart," leading into what promises to be an angst-fest as the season wraps up. I'm glad this show's creators have the inclination and the courage to take these forays into pure comedy from time to time--another aspect of this show that begs comparison with The X-Files. It works every bit as well for this show as it did for that one.

Supernatural on iTunes:

Supernatural - Supernatural, Season 2