Having had such a positive reaction to my retro-look at The Pilot - and a moment of Wendigo - I decided to try my hand at another of Season 1's episodes that stood out from the others. Granted, some of you may say to yourself - she chose that episode? What about Home or Faith or Shadow or Devil's Trap or, or, or...well, all excellent choices BUT (that awful word) this one 'spoke' to me because it's got a vibe that is not as evident anymore in the series. I miss the vibe of this episode. 

Now, before anyone thinks I'm complaining (I'm not) the reason the 'vibe' of this episode isn't seen, felt, heard, or whatever of late is simply because since this particular episode John died, Sam died, Dean died (again, as this is post-Faith, where he almost died, but pre-IMTOD so technically Dean has died again, and again and again and probably two more times (but that's a different bunny trail), Dean's gone to hell, come back damaged, Sam psychologically and emotionally went to hell and also drank demon blood (sure to mess with anybody's funny bone.) Suffice it to say, a whole lot of junk has 'gone down', and the light-hearted funny found in this episode, particularly between the brothers, isn't as evident. So for those reasons and many others, Hell House stands out from Season 1.
 

"Who ya gonna call?"

Trey Calloway wrote this episode. I know, we're all scratching our SPN heads wondering, who? He never wrote another SPN episode but he gave us a great example of brotherly fun, bonding, one-upmanship that has yet to be repeated. Who can forget Sam having itching powder in his shorts (yes, and Sam in a towel but I'll give credit there to the director) and Dean's line of: "I don't have any skin on my palm." BWYAH! Trey (if I may be so bold) also gave us the polarizing (yet I love them) Ghostfacers. Okay. Technically here they're just the guys that run the HellhoundsLair.com web site, still, without Trey's writing here they wouldn't be. (Although I'm well aware there are many in the fandom wishing they never were; I for one love them!)

Chris Long directed this episode. We've never heard of this director since, at least in the SPN realm. It's possible he is enjoying a career elsewhere in La La Land, I don't know. I do think he did a fine job directing this episode. There are great parts with Mordecai moving around in the background and then popping out to terrorize.  He includes great shots of the Impala traveling down the road (and, Alice, you can check me on this 'cause you pay a whole lot more attention to this than I do; I believe he keeps the rear view mirror in his shots. I'll expect verification from someone (or I'll just watch it again.) It may not be a Kim Manners signature piece but this is straight up fun and the cuts between Sam and Dean and Harry and Ed are funny and take full advantage of the comedic timing of all involved. Also, I'll give credit to Mr. Long for giving the frenetic energy of Harry and Ed to Harry and Ed, and to the actors themselves for willingly making themselves the butt of many jokes and going all out for the funny.

"Awkward."

There's also the simple yet oh-so-funny little lines in here. What exactly is a persquiter (and I probably did not spell that right, if there is such a right) and how is it that Dean chose that word at that time? I don't know but it's funny each time. 

How about Sam actually saying that, since Dad is gone 'who-knows-where,' he thinks they might as well hunt something in the meantime; Sam, our Sam, really? Love that little bit of Dean/John insight of Sam there.

Then there's Dean's ever-present rebellion against authority: "I hate to agree with authority figures of any kind but…" Yep, that's the Dean we know and love.
"What would Buffy do?" WWBD...too funny for they're so serious when they say it.

And let's not forget the how persuasive the argument for staying the course... "Fame, money, sex - with girls."
Check out the scene again as Sam and Dean 'pretend' to be fascinated over Harry and Ed's use/explanation of EMF in Mordecai's cabin. I love the cuts back and forth that give us the bemused and then serious faces of the brothers as the HellHoundsLair.com boys wax expert on EMF and what meeting a ghost does to a man; how it changes a man.

"Richardson, Texas"

There's so many shout outs and meta references in here and I catch almost all of them by now. From Richardson, Texas (Jensen's hometown) to Sweet Lord of the Rings, to Who Ya Gonna Call to I hate rats (Indiana Jones perhaps?) and so very many more this is fun with fun.

"Makes you wonder, of all the things we hunted, how many existed just because people believed in them."

Oh the profundity of such an observation. In one simple line a genre show does what genre shows do best, points a microscope (or laser beam, but those can hurt you) on humanity and asks a question. I wonder how many things do exist just because we believe. How often do you fall down simply because you imagine you're going to fall on a slippery surface? How about fears of the dark, how many monsters are in the closet simply because you imagine you hear them breathing? (And why is it that hiding under the covers makes you feel safer, I mean really, what's a cotton blanket and sheet gonna do against a chupacabra anyway?)

"What if the legend changes again and he is allowed to leave the house? Then we'll just come back."

If there is a Season 6, here's a plot line all ready to go. Hope it includes the ghostfacers...you know, where it all began.

Thanks for reading. Elle2

Comments  

Randal
# Randal 2009-12-12 16:17
"Look, action figures in their original packaging."

I must bow before you in homage to your homage and then one more homage to this supreme masterwork of comedy but then I must draw swords because you beat me to the punch in writing something on this. 8-)

The future Ghostfacers are classic characters (who really must be brought back if there's a season six) and the constant digs and itching powder and glue, and the cunning use of that awful talking whatever-the-he ll to fool the cops. And as you said, it's one of the last times where there's pure comedy without any of the pitch black angst lurking in the shadows. GREAT episode.

"People believe in Santa Claus. How come I’m not getting hooked up every Christmas?"

"Because you're a bad person."
elle2
# elle2 2009-12-12 16:42
Randal,

Draw your sword (but the pen is mightier) and have at the eppie. I'd love your take on it.

There are so many great lines in this eppie and you added some doozies.

It is a fun episode with cool characters, a decent story, the sets were great and lots, lots and lots of great lines. Frankly, this writer could come back and do some more writing, he did very well.

Thanks for the comments, Randal.
Alice
# Alice 2009-12-12 17:07
It's really funny, I was at my sister's house the other day when CSI:NY came on the TV. I NEVER watch this show. Who was the writer of the episode? None other than Trey Callaway. He's also a Supervising Producer for the show. So, he's likely too busy to make a return. Another ironic twist? AJ Buckley is also on CSI:NY as a recurring character and was in the episode.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-12-12 17:39
Elle2,
hell, yeah ,I remember the fun! And there were many moments I’ve missed the light heartedness of episodes like this. Thanks so much for tackling this one…
I just came back from a short business trip, had a lecture to give and now I’m reminded of a sweet episode. This is a really nice surprise!

You pretty much sum up what I love about this episode – the great one-liners, goofballs de luxe (Ghost….Ghost faceeeeeeerrrrr rrrrrrrsssss), those wonderful pranks… And, you know, I just love the question you point to at the end – the moment Sam uttered it, I’ve been thinking…. The human mind is such a powerful thing. I don’t know, of course, whether it might be possible that we create something out of thin air… When I was a kid and afraid of the dark, monsters were real for me. It didn’t matter whether they were or not, my fear made it all become very real, as my mind was playing tricks on me. When I imagine I might fall on a slippery surface, I’m creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. When a mass of people choose to follow a dictator or a sect or whatever, they also create some kind of (alternate?) reality.

You so right, dear, by posing such a question at all, this show has done something extraordinary early on – it has risen above the clichés of the genre already and shown us that it is a show of many many layers…

Thanks for this, Elle2 (and, you know, I wouldn’t mind you taking on Home or Faith or Shadow or Devil’s Trap… )

Why swords, friends? How about bug spray, a little poison Medici-style or throw chocolates at one another?

;-) Jas
Lindsay
# Lindsay 2009-12-12 22:23
Any episode with the Ghostfacer boys is a great one in my mind. Thanks for the fun rewind, Alice. :mrgreen:
Rose
# Rose 2009-12-13 04:32
So, you got me curious as to what exactly a persqueeter is and darn it all if there actually is such a thing.

http://www.urbandictionary.co/define.php?term=Persqueeter

Apparently, a persqueeter is a slang term for genitalia, specifically a woman’s.
That Dean was being more racy than I thought! ;-)
Bevie
# Bevie 2009-12-13 15:42
That was delightful Elle2! I truly enjoy this episode for the sheer fun of it. Though now, when I watch it I have in the back of my mind that things will never again have that freedom from angsty doom and gloom.

The Ghostfacers (hellhounds) were quite wonderful and I love the both of them in this, so serious and pedantic about their calling. Heehee! "We're professionals?"

The spoon, Dean doing a boogie on the steering wheel, itching powder, glue, fish in the back seat, Ed's (I think it was Ed) shriek when he saw Mordecai in the doorway as the boys came barrelling out and down the steps, all make laugh out loud moments. It's perfect!

And Randal, I for one would like to read your take on this show as well.

Elle2, please feel free to comment on any of the season 1 episodes, as I have said here many times before, there is no season 1 episode I do not like!
I would love to read your comments on any of them.
Randal
# Randal 2009-12-14 06:23
Jas, perhaps not swords, but something akin to some Errol Flynn fencing, real classy with Musketeer hats and everything. ;-)

"The power of Christ compels youuuu!"

I have never heard of the term persqueeter. Man, I'm getting old.
Karen
# Karen 2009-12-14 09:26
Hi Elle2
Thank for the memories.
I loved this episode aswel. I’ve always been one for comedy and banter.
My favourite line was about the “Nair in the Shampoo”
I could see Dean doing it too. Poor Sam.

Awwww!! Errol Flynn…my favourite Swashbuckler.
Suddenly I have an urge to watch “The Adventures of Robin Hood” and or maybe “Captain Blood”
Thanks Randal!
Elle2
# Elle2 2009-12-14 19:15
Thanks all of you, as I'm still awaiting the return of my PC and as yet have been afraid to download Firefox or anything to help with my viewing I'm still not hundred percent sure who's written but I'll give it a shot.


Alice, cool update as to where Trey Calloway is now. I also occasionally see as director of Criminal Minds Steve Boyum. Good to know.

Jasminka,

Thanks for the comments on my comment. As a little girl I used to sleep with about nine stuffed animals lines up all around me, as a barrier and as long as they were there I was certain I was safe. Also, I used to always feel a little safer if there was at least a sheet covering me...how it protects i have no idea, but the mind is okay with it.

Lindsay, I do like the hellhounds/ghos tfacers, glad you enjoyed the rewinde.

Rose, thanks for the dictionary update...now we know.

Bevie, perhaps I will tackle some others from Home. Gotta find the ones that 'speak' to me (course they all kinds do.) and you listed some great ones. :-)

Karen, you like others just added more fun to this article with your own memories...I loved them all and I purposely pick and choose hoping that you all will do exactly what you've done, add to it and make it better.

Thanks all!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-12-15 05:06
Randal, Karen and Elle2, haven't read your comments here before, oh dear - :o

Hell, yes, Errol Flynn, my childhood love... My mom was a huge Flynn fan, and I grew up watching his movies, and there was no better RobinHood...
Randal, put a man in a Musketeer shirt, with those boots and hat, and I'm done... It's a shame men don't wear hats anymore. Whenever I wear a hat I feel instantly elegant... But that's just me.

Elle2, I also built barriers when I was a kid, usually stuffed all kinds of cushions around me, or I would trick my mind, when I was afraid of ZOmbies - we used to live on the fifth floor, so I would tell myself: if Zombies came up, they would eat all those people living in the lower floors, and when they got to us, they wouldn't be hungry anymore... What kids do to feel safe, eh?

Thanks, dear, Jas
elle2
# elle2 2009-12-15 06:17
Not to mention, dear Jas, that the Zombie ALLIGATORS, likely wouldn't climb those five flights...you definitely were safe.

Wow, what we imagine and what we do.

I'll admit one of my biggest fears (I won't tell you my biggest...yet) SHARKS. I was at a very impressionable age when I watched JAWS (Darn having an older brother) and to this day...well, maybe not as it's been over a decade since I've had the opportunity) even swimming in a pool freaks me out...don't get me started about baths, that took a long time to get over, showers are fine, but baths...cue the music!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-12-15 08:10
Elle2, it might well be that we do share some emotional DNA after all… Jaws also finished me off, after watching it as a teen. Ever since I haven’t been able to swim in the deep sea (even though most shark attacks happen near the beach/coastline ). But when I can’t see what’s beneath me, only that utter blackness of the sea, I’m freaked out.

I’m fascinated by sharks, though, probably because I’m afraid. Usually I try to find out as much as I can about the things that scare me, and sometimes my fear will subside. I know a lot about sharks now, but I’m still afraid of them… didn’t work here.

I had one incredible experience once – don’t kill me for rambling on – in the Adriatic Sea I had an encounter with a shark some time ago, I was still studying… I was swimming, snorkeling, and suddenly one middle sized shark was next to me, circling me for a while. Normally you don’t find sharks there, he must have gotten there by mistake (happens occasionally I later learned). I was freaked, but tried to remain calm (thankfully my reactions are normally reasonable in moments of danger, panic tends to kick in when the moment I need a clear mind is gone), but actually I thought I was going to die. The shark came closer, and I stretched out my hand and touched its skin. I don’t know why I did that. It just happened. I remember distinctly how its skin felt, weird, rough… it circled me a bit more and swam away.

One of my fellow students was a native Hawaiian. When I told him this story he was exited, claiming I was a child of the sea. You know, in Hawaiian mythology, sharks play a crucial role. The guy claimed that I was protected by ‘brother shark’. I don’t know, I’m still completely freaked. But it was a very poetic manner to explain a more than weird situation. I don’t think I want to try my luck again any time soon… whenever I think of that, that Jaws music comes to mind… movies really mess with our head sometimes… and still we love them…

Love Jas
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2009-12-15 09:42
Nice review Elle2. The Ghostfacers are one of the best take-offs SPN has ever done. And the boys are a riot in this. I really can't find any episode in season one I don't like. Even Bugs :-) Thanks for the reviews
Suze
# Suze 2009-12-16 05:36
I really miss the funny ones, I know full-on sillyness would be a bit out of place in the middle of Armorgedden ( Armorgedden out of here ... Sorry ) but the daft ones were lovely and the Ghostfacers were just inspired ... Hugely annoying and totally punchable but fab non the less. Sigh.

I can thoroughly sympathise with the whole being creeped out by fish thing, Elle2 and Jas ... When I was a kid I was scared to death of pike, there was a biggy in the moat at the end of the garden and I used to dream about it all the time. The last verse of that Ted Hughes poem pretty much summed it up for me!

Sharks too, although I've only come across piddly little reef sharks when diving the idea of something huge looming up out of the depths behind you does rather stick in your mind when you're in the water ... My brother went cage-diving with Great Whites ( which I would never have the bottle for in a million years ... ) and he says you don't see them coming, they just materialise out of the gloom ... Brrrr! Rather him than me ...

PS. If there's duelling to be done it should be with handbags. In the mud. At dawn. C'mon chaps, let's do things properly. :lol:
Dany
# Dany 2009-12-30 06:46
Ok, if that is a six season I want the fun back! Itching powder and Ghostfacers included!

I miss the fun! Thanks for this Elle2!