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S02.E18: Hollywood Babylon


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Sam and Dean investigate the haunting of the set of a horror movie.

 

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This is another episode I adore. A good old fashioned ghost hunt with old fashioned Hollywood horror as the backdrop and a Johnny Ramone shout out...what is there not to like. Something special seemed to happen when Phil Scgriccia directed one of Edlund's scripts. These episodes always stand apart for me somehow...I think Scgriccia somehow get's Edlund in a way that other directors didn't. The only thing that tarnishes this episode a smidgen, for me, in hindsight is that I've gotten a little tired of the meta lately--it still shines quite brightly, however, IMO.

 

Anyway, I love that Dean just wants to take a vacation--mostly because I feel like they really needed one by this point in the season--and it also seems fitting that Sam would want to just work. I always love how Dean seems to fit in anywhere, he's such a chameleon sometimes--it's also what makes him a good con man, too. I also find it endearing that he starts out thinking being a PA sucks, but then decides he likes being part of the team. I also love Sam's befuddlement at Dean--I especially like the scene where Sam's trying to talk about the case and Dean keeps talking on the radio and Sam can't figure out what's going on.

 

Some good one-liners come from this episode: Bite your tongue heathen; I needed a little jazz on the page; You're one hell of a PA; and more. That preview for the movie and the other movie posters were pretty awesome, too. Oh yeah, and have I mentioned that I never, ever tire of seeing them dig up a corpse; salt and burn the corpse? Well, I don't.

Edited by DittyDotDot
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I completely share your love of this episode, @DittyDotDot. I liked most of the minor characters here also. I just watched today and was reminded of the head crew lady or whoever she was - the one who said "that's a wrap, people!" The appropriately smarmy executives, the director Mc. G. ("Only I'm supposed to stay 'cut'"), and the actor who was only playing his "role."

 

To everything you already mentioned I'd like to add another quote - loved Gary Cole and his "If they're in hell, how can they hear the chanting?" The type of thing the writers, directors, etc should be asking before they get to that point, but get so annoyed when someone rightly does.

 

I also loved the little background details in this episode, like the lady who was scraping the dead executive's name off the door in the background of the scene where Sam and Dean "gush" over the script. And Jared was great for me in that scene with his appropriate "so awesome" sucking up. His "earnest" face cracks me up every time. Of course the writer gave them copies of the script - who could resist "earnest" puppy eyes?

 

I love this episode.

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I adore this episode as well. Dean was just so damn happy being part of the production team.  I think my favorite bit is him on the headset talking to the other PA's whilst talking to Sam.  I don't know why but that just gives me life.

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I love Sam's expression on the tour tram at the beginning. He looks so uncomfortable.

This episode is just fun . The cheesy movie. The fake trailer. The bad acting in the movie. The "dead guy" who gives them coupons to the dinner Theater. Gary Cole.

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Well on the survival game I tried to keep it in the game as long as possible because  it’s such a fun ep.  But mostly I love Dean's beginning to think that being a PA sucks to finding out he is really good at it.  It's like for one ep he's a little boy in heaven. 

 

Plus I like the story of them making fun of hunters killing ghost with salt and the girl having trouble screaming.  How many girls have to scream in a stupid horror flick?  It’s about time they showed how stupid a woman would think this part is.

 

I do like how they make fun of the supernatural only to have it bite them in the butt.  In real life we do this and then someone shows something that is difficult to explain.  On the whole this is a tight show with only a few minor flaws.  It’s meta without being too meta.  I think it’s a fine line and if you cross over too far it stops being funny.

 

Poor Jensen, I think this was the ep that got him stuck having to eat so much food in shows, one I’m sure at times he regretted.   One or two is funny but when you have to film it...that’s a whole another can of worms.

 

Love the sunset at the end as the boys walk off only to have it move showing it wasn’t real to begin with.

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Poor Jensen, I think this was the ep that got him stuck having to eat so much food in shows, one I’m sure at times he regretted.   One or two is funny but when you have to film it...that’s a whole another can of worms.

 

Actually, I think it was Nightmare that got the writers excited about Dean and food. Jensen's mentioned it many times at cons that it was in S1 and they had put out some cocktail wieners for a scene and he thought Dean would eat them, so he did. It may have been this episode that he told them they were killing him with all the food, though.

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I didn't join it live until season 4, so I have only seen a few tidbits about the earlier years.  I just know as an actress, it sucks to have to eat on stage.  Film is worse than stage acting and if you watch shows, look at all the actors that come up with reasons not to eat.  Some are better at it than others. 

 

I do think Jensen is good at spitting it out when the camera isn't on him.  Seems I recall an interview where he was trying to teach Misha how to do it and Misha was a poor student.  Don't remember where or when I saw that. 

 

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I just thought of something else. Thinking of Sam not fitting in in "Folsom Prison Blues" made me think of how here in this episode, even though Sam didn't quite fit in like Dean did, it was interesting how everybody let Sam be there anyway. It's like either they a) just accepted that Sam was there with Dean (like maybe Sam was his "significant other"), b) Sam was so unnoticeable they just didn't really see him/pay attention (doubtful considering his moose stature) or c) he fit in by extension? i.e. everyone just decided he couldn't possibly be doing anything nefarious, because he just seemed so innocuous and stayed out of the way and let everything happen around him.

 

I mean hee even after it was obvious Sam and Dean were not who they appeared to be, the director let Sam stand next to him on the set. Sam may not fit in, but in the early seasons his innocent-looking face gets him far.

 

It might seem that I'd find that to be a flaw in the episode, but in a way, I love that. "Oh, that guy? He's with the P.A. over there. Probably his boyfriend or something. Ehn, as long as he stays out of the way... Is it time for my press interview yet?"  Only in Hollywood.

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  • 1 year later...

This was okay for a light episode.  Jensen was great at hamming it up, and Gary Cole knows how to play assholes like no other.  Every time I see Don Stark I expect to see him in his 70s fro, lol.  Nice Gilmore Girls reference as Sam and Dean were touring the lot.  I was waiting for Sam to jump off the tram saying, "I'm late for my scene!".

Edited by Dobian
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  • 4 months later...

Just watched it again today, and decided that it's really one of my favorite episodes. The writing is perfect: knowing behind the scenes view of a horror movie. Some great joke lines. Jensen was indeed a great ham. Jared was a great straight-man. The supporting cast was perfect, especially Gary Cole. The final scene where Sam & Dean walk past the back drop is classic.

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  • 6 months later...

I love this episode so much. I love Dean as a P.A. He was so happy and having so much fun!

I love the writer and producer who was not unhappy about the down time because it gave him time to pitch his  time-travel show. LOLOL OMG Kripke was trying to do TIMELESS for YEARS now. That's so funny. All the notes from the studio head being actual notes they got from the studio.  So so great.

I think my favorite moment is Dean on the headset saying "They're aware!!" and Sam just being like, WTF.

Spoilers for s6

Spoiler

 Too bad they didn't remember that Dean spent time as a P.A. when they landed in the TV show Supernatural. I guess I just head!canon that since it was their life the show was about he was grumpy and pissed. 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Competent Dean the PA is one of my favorite Deans. Him with the headset talking to whoever was on the other side and Sam at the same time was wonderful.  "They are aware." It was the tone of his voice with that line that killed me. 

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  • 1 month later...
41 minutes ago, sarthaz said:

When the topic comes to favorite episodes, I often think of "Nightshifter" first, and then my mind quickly drifts to this.

It really is a good episode, Dean is a great PA,  both boys are smart.  Fun all around. 

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  • 1 month later...

This show does a great job making fun of Hollywood. "What's a PA?" "I think they're kind of like slaves." The one time I extra-ed in something this line kept popping into my head. I love Dean's obscure movie knowledge in this one. It makes sense for a kid who grew up in hotel rooms - he turned to TV, Sam turned to books. Nice twist with the first death being fake. 

Gary Cole and dad from Dog with a Blog were great in this one. I just realized his character is McG and I'm more amused than ever. He and Robert Singer must have great senses of humor. And Donna's dad from That 70s Show dies! And this is a Phil Sgriccia directed episode, who I suddenly realized has done a lot of episodes I really enjoy.

"Bite your tongue, heathen!" and "We can't let you do that. It's not that we like him or anything. It's just a matter of principle."

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I watched again last night.  The first time I watched, I didn't realize how meta this ep was.  It was pretty funny.  I never watched Gilmore Girls (caught a couple of the later eps because a friend was watching) so until I started watching SPN, I had no idea JP was even on it.  So that part on the tour was much funnier this time around.  Also loved the rack of clothes that goes by which is all what Sam and Dean would have worn, Dean the best PA ever, and Sam and Dean walking off into the sunset (but not really.)

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20 hours ago, RulerofallIsurvey said:

I never watched Gilmore Girls (caught a couple of the later eps because a friend was watching) so until I started watching SPN, I had no idea JP was even on it.  So that part on the tour was much funnier this time around.

That was the one part of the epi, I really didn't like.  I only like meta if it makes sense within the episode.  Why would Sam get squirrelly about Gilmore Girls?

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3 minutes ago, Katy M said:

That was the one part of the epi, I really didn't like.  I only like meta if it makes sense within the episode.  Why would Sam get squirrelly about Gilmore Girls?

Maybe he's secretly a fan and didn't want to accidentally fan-girl out in front of Dean? ;)

No, I agree, that wasn't the best thought out moment, but since the rest of the episode is sufficiently delightful, I can ignore it. 

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2 minutes ago, DittyDotDot said:

Maybe he's secretly a fan and didn't want to accidentally fan-girl out in front of Dean? ;)

No, I agree, that wasn't the best thought out moment, but since the rest of the episode is sufficiently delightful, I can ignore it. 

Now, see that would have been funny if they ran into JP and Sam fangirled out.  It would have been funny, too, if instead of looking squirrelly if he said, "I love that show, I'm totally team Dean."  And Dean said "Dean sucked, I'm team Jess." 

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(edited)
10 minutes ago, Katy M said:

Now, see that would have been funny if they ran into JP and Sam fangirled out.  It would have been funny, too, if instead of looking squirrelly if he said, "I love that show, I'm totally team Dean."  And Dean said "Dean sucked, I'm team Jess." 

I never watched Gilmore Girls, so I have no idea who those people are--except I know Jared played Dean because he's teased at cons that he was the original Dean--but that actually sounds really funny! I kinda wish they'd done that now. ;)

Edited by DittyDotDot
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7 hours ago, Katy M said:

Now, see that would have been funny if they ran into JP and Sam fangirled out.  It would have been funny, too, if instead of looking squirrelly if he said, "I love that show, I'm totally team Dean."  And Dean said "Dean sucked, I'm team Jess." 

Yeah, but I don't think Sam would have ever admitted to watching Gilmore Girls.  Unless they did run into one of the stars and he accidentally fan-girled out and pretty much had to admit it.  

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12 hours ago, bettername2come said:

I always assumed he freaked cause he knew he looked like Jared and didn't want to get accidentally fangirled at, but that doesn't jive with French Mistake, so I don't know.

Well, but French Mistake was a different world where, when they first got there, they didn't even know there were these actors named Jared (who's Polish! lol!) and Jensen, so they couldn't have known that they looked like them.  HB took place in their SPN world - so...I don't even know where I was going with this.  :)  It made so much sense in my mind when I started typing...  

Eh...I think I'm going to have to go with @DittyDotDot's theory that he's secretly a fan and just didn't want Dean to find out.  :)

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I figured he was just irritated with Dean being SO happy to be in LA and on a movie lot. Sam was kind of a buzzkill at times.

On 2/6/2017 at 10:00 AM, bethy said:

Competent Dean the PA is one of my favorite Deans. Him with the headset talking to whoever was on the other side and Sam at the same time was wonderful.  "They are aware." It was the tone of his voice with that line that killed me. 

I will NEVER not laugh at that line and the delivery. "Oh, THEY'RE aware". Gods, so funny.  And every time I use, read, or hear the phrase "I'm aware" or "They're aware" in my head I say it just like Dean in this episode. It amuses me to no end.

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11 hours ago, catrox14 said:

I figured he was just irritated with Dean being SO happy to be in LA and on a movie lot. Sam was kind of a buzzkill at times.

I will NEVER not laugh at that line and the delivery. "Oh, THEY'RE aware". Gods, so funny.  And every time I use, read, or hear the phrase "I'm aware" or "They're aware" in my head I say it just like Dean in this episode. It amuses me to no end.

"THEY'RE aware" may strangely be my favorite line from twelve seasons.  I agree with the Gilmore Girls thing.  It's a little too meta, like the pea soup comment for Linda Blair.  But whatever.  This episode is brilliant, so I'm good with it. :)

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  • 5 months later...

  • 3 months later...
(edited)
On 28/05/2017 at 4:25 PM, DittyDotDot said:

I never watched Gilmore Girls, so I have no idea who those people are--except I know Jared played Dean because he's teased at cons that he was the original Dean--but that actually sounds really funny! I kinda wish they'd done that now. ;)

 

lol, agreed!

On 29/05/2017 at 12:15 AM, RulerofallIsurvey said:

Yeah, but I don't think Sam would have ever admitted to watching Gilmore Girls.  Unless they did run into one of the stars and he accidentally fan-girled out and pretty much had to admit it.  

also agreed lol....

----

in the beginning when dean chides sam, "Come on man, don't you know anything about your cultural heritage?!" reminded me of when sam had a blank face when dean asked him did he know any blues artists. it's like dean is lowkey bashing sam for being too "white", lol. i find that funny.

this episode didn't take itself seriously which was nice. my sister found it boring but it was okay. dean sure ate a lot in this episode too, wow! and when sam was walking at the end and the trailer door nearly knocked him down swinging open and dean hopped down the trailer car grinning like the cheshire cat, i was wondering what could have made him that way and then i saw the actress and rolled my eyes. i love how there are barely anymore words at the end of that scene, you just get the feeling sam was silently being annoyed with dean while dean felt freshly primed. 

oh and when the man dropped down being hanged, i actually yelled. that was legitimately scary, dear Lord. so creepy how he was just hanging silently and spinning and bopping....ugh. i had to look away. or maybe i'm just so sensitive :P

Edited by Iju
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  • 6 months later...
5 hours ago, Zipper said:

Charming episode, and I laugh loudly more than once. I like when the brothers are competent at things other than hunting/research. So it's nice to see that in Dean. 

I agree; this was very lighthearted and entertaining. I loved P.A. Dean and his fanboying over Tara. My biggest laugh was in the beginning from Tara’s drawn out fake scream ?

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  • 1 year later...

Well this episode was delightful. The Gilmore Girls reference, the hilarious line about ghosts having good hearing, the brainstorming to replace salt. 

It was really fun to see Dean having fun as part of the team and totally geeking out over horror movies. The ghosts were sufficiently menacing and gory to bring the horror as well. 

The reference to Ghost Ship reminds me how cool the opening sequence was and how awesome the special effects were. The rest of the movie was okay, but the first scene was amazing. Now I sound like Dean in this episode.

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16 hours ago, The Companion said:

It was really fun to see Dean having fun as part of the team and totally geeking out over horror movies.

I love it when Dean (or Sam, but it doesn't happen as much) just has fun with the case.  I'm still waiting for some kind of pie based case.  

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  • 2 years later...

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