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Elle2 was also so inspired by "Changing Channels" that she too sent a review!  Granted she still can't commit to doing a review each episode right now, but this one was too good to pass up.  As usual, she has some wonderful thoughts.  Enjoy!

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Changing Channels…by Elle2
 
I love Supernatural! There, that's out there *as if no one knew already.
 
I love it when it's icky, sticky, scary, spooky, funny, dark, deep and yes, even when it's just so-so, it's still better than anything out there. Nope, I'm not a fan, I'm a big fan. I don't go to conventions, don't run a web site, don't write to the show , well, okay, at the end of Season 3 I wrote Mr. Kripke and begged him *tearfully I'll add unashamedly* to not destroy the brothers, not destroy the core of the show and to quickly bring it all to the good again. I'm so glad he didn't listen to me *of course, that assumes he even read my letter*
 
Supernatural is unafraid to kill off main characters, Mary, John, Sam, Dean (Sam and Dean have been killed so many times that I've lost count…already both have died this season..or nearly and last season as well, not to mention when they actually did die) They're not afraid to inflict physical infirmities, burn down intended long-term sets (Roadhouse) when they realized it limited their show, not afraid to dispense with stories that distract , psychic kids, FBI wanted list, hunters hunting Sam and even try characters that just plain don't work…Bela, but even in the offing of the sets, the storylines and the characters they fit them into the larger scheme of things so that, when one examines the whole, the picture takes shape in fine detail.
 
Who thought the Trickster was the Angel Gabriel? I sure didn't. I'll posit that, when the Trickster was introduced back in the fabulously hilarious Tall Tales, he wasn't anything other than a pagan demi-god to join the pantheon of past and future baddies that our boys battle. I'm sure Kripke and Co. had a glimmer of an idea when in Mystery Spot they left that tantalizing thread of "That's for me to know." But I'll suggest with confidence they hadn't fully fleshed out the idea at that time and likely didn't until they sat down this past May and planned the major arcs and themes for Season 5. I bow to their brilliance and their obvious "wall of loose threads' that someone combs through continuously to tie up those pesky ends.
 
They've taken a well-loved and much begged for past foe and woven him tightly within this season's frame such that it is obvious and anticipated and fully expected that he will be seen and heard from again. Gabriel, a/ka/ The Trickster is now outed for who and what he is but he is not on either side, that makes him a card that can be played for either side or no side at all, yes, a wild card. If I had any money, I'd lay it on the table that he'll be back later this season to continue his arc. No doubt he'll join Anna's unresolved storyline and Zach's continuing one as well as Castiel…I know some can't stand how many angels are populating the scenery but since all have their own storylines that weave in and out with the Winchesters they truly are no different than the demons that have populated the show since day one, Azazel, Meg, the Cross Roads demon, Ruby, Lilith and others.
 
Also, like the various and sundry other entities we've met, vampires, werewolves, wendigos, shapeshifters, ghosts and the plethora of others, it is uncertain when they will appear, what their motivations are and what side, if any, they are operating on. One thing is for certain, they're out there and they're not going away any time soon. I for one say hooray.
 
Changing Channels:
 
I've only watched it once so suffice it to say I haven't got a fully formed opinion but I do know this…any show that can have me laughing so hard from the beginning and throughout that I actually have difficulty breathing *as well as a continuing fear that I'll pee myself* is fabulous. As I was driving to assignments today I reflected on various scenes and still found myself cracking a huge grin and a laugh from deep within my belly kept erupting, "No, I'm certain it was a laugh and not acid reflux.  I'm over forty by not that far!"
 
Jeremy Carver delivers again. To be sure, I'm planning a looksee at his episodes during the upcoming *gulp* hellatus; it just must be done.
 
Jeremy again manages to deliver a solid brother story albeit one that is in the backdrop and not the fore as has been his way in the past, notably A Very Supernatural Christmas and Mystery Spot. As an aside, I watched Mystery Spot just prior to Changing Channels and it was a great segue - I now plan a three-episode mini-marathon with Tall Tales, Mystery Spot and Changing Channels…*wonder when I'll find the time*.
 
The relationship between the brothers was evident in all the little things, their ease at teasing each other, especially as Dean teases Sam to "play the part' in the commercial and his demand that the Trickster return Sam to his proper form in the Knight Rider spoof. Sam's quick thinking and role-playing during Dr. Sexy, M.D. not only saves Dean's life but morphs them out of that role into a game destined to be quite painful to him, and by sympathy pains, Dean but he also was quick to help Dean realize he had to play the role if he wanted to avoid a similar fate.
 
The boys were teasing, laughing and working in concert to get out of the jam they were in all the while having to deal with much larger issues, fate, destiny, predetermination and all that, the apocalypse as a battle may not have been seen or heard but the apocalypse as a matter of fact was very much present. It's interesting that this season the "other side' is determined to spell out to Sam and Dean specifically the roles they are to play, Sam as Lucifer, Dean as Michael, brother at brother, a death match. Hmm, since when did the enemies of our boys become some willing to state exactly what they needed to do? Oh, yeah, that's right, whenever "they' needed the Winchesters to do something for them…as in, just because the opposition tells you you have to willingly allow Lucifer and Michael possess you doesn't mean that you necessarily do. Look beyond. Our boys are doing that, keep it up.
 
I think it is someone at Buddy TV who stated that Supernatural never does anything by coincidence (or accident) and I agree. Sam's question was name the demon he betrayed his brother with. Sam couldn't do it.  Now I don't believe there is really a deeper meaning there such as Sam still doesn't see what he did with Ruby to be a betrayal of Dean. I firmly believe Sam recognizes the wrongness of his choices, the fact that he out and out told Dean the reason he went off with Ruby was to get away from Dean (and his stifling big brother, "I know what's best' ways) is evidence to me that Sam understands what he did. His verbalization of his motivation is akin to a confession and once out in the open it helped the brothers clear the air and get down to the business of forging a new relationship as equals.
 
Here's where it gets really interesting, and proof again that wrap this show in whatever color, style, genre you want, it has meaning and purpose behind even the most outlandish of events. Dean's question is compelling, complex, scary, something I never would have thought of and full of possible future angst if anyone ever tries to wield it as a weapon , although I firmly believe that Dean has had those thoughts and determined that Sam is his brother and the past is the past and cannot be changed. But, that question is out there and can be used quite effectively to knock both brothers for a loop in the future, even if only for a moment. Would Dean's mom and dad still be alive if Sam had never been born? Interesting that without any understanding of Japanese , oh, where is Bobby when he's needed this time? , Dean manages to answer correctly, at least according to the twisted logic of the Trickster , erh, I mean Gabriel. Oh, the best lies have a core of truth in them - maybe Sam's birth did doom John and Mary , but wait, Mary said yes to Azazel, not Sam. It was Mary that should have remembered the ten years thingy and planned a second child better - oh, heck, the blame game is no fun, the angst game, however, is so much fun.
 
Kripke having his fun and eating it too!
 
Kripke finally had a chance, through the mouths of his characters, to make fun of all those shows out there pulling down double digit ratings (as in millions) and slapping in the face all that pathetic acting (or what passes as acting) that seems to get noticed by the uppity ups. I'll go there as far as David Caruso, having lowered myself to watch many an episode of CSI Miami (and each time walked away and wondered why, oh why did I waste an hour of my life on that) I have to wonder who thinks this guy can act? He's good at posing and turning sideways and taking his sunglasses off and putting them back on, other than that he's got nothing. Please, someone tell me he's never been considered for an award …please!
 
All those doctor shows.  I'll admit, ER back in the early days was excellent, well acted, well directed, quick…but man oh man enough already. Over the years there's been Chicago Hope, ER, Grey's Anatomy and a myriad of others that I've never watched simply because I don't care. This season there's Mercy and Three Rivers and I think there's even a show called Trauma, although I seem to remember such a show back in the late "80's - don't really know though as I never watched it.
 
Sure, I know there are some that say hey, 10 million, 15 million, 20 million people watching every week can't be all wrong…I say, yes they can. The argument that everyone is doing it thus it must be good or right doesn't work for me, but then again I like to think for myself and not follow the crowd. That's perhaps one of the biggest reasons why I like Supernatural and by proxy Eric Kripke, he bucks the trends, he follows his own ideas and not the crowd. It may not make Supernatural the highest rated show ever but if I were Eric, I'd be proud that I could look myself in the mirror each day and say that I stuck to my plan, my ground rules, my central focus, my principles. I made something that's different, that's well-written, acted, directed and I did it all with little money and little support…fortunately as well, for all that the CW doesn't pour much into promoting it, in the long run they don't mess with it too much either. 
 
Jo was never allowed to become anything other than a passing character, Bela disappeared in a way that moved the storyline ahead as well as in a way that tied up the cryptic comments from her and the questions as to her motivations, Ruby was always clearly to me a baddie but she was used to superbly move the story (even though her casting was more than slightly questionable in Season 4). The Roadhouse was burned down, even though the studio obviously liked a "home base', no long-term female relations are allowed, other than the love of mom , and no one messes with Mom! Sure the music has suffered in a way that has never satisfactorily been fixed but that's economics, not interference. Blood and gore gets used to keep the horror aspect intact, sex is limited to characterization , *I still have that article planned that I hinted at back in The Road So Far; Season 4* , and thank heavens that teddy bear's stuffing was allowed to poof across the screen despite some suit's objection to it being too disturbing.
 
CSI Miami, eat your heart out, you're one of three. Grey's Anatomy, shine your Emmy's and glory in your double digit ratings, you follow in a long line of medical dramas that are indistinguishable from the past and what will surely come in the future. Supernatural stands alone, stands out and stands proud.
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Elle2

Comments  

Maria
# Maria 2009-11-07 14:39
I happen to like David Caruso, sorry, Elle! Sure, he wears sunglasses in the night and likes to pose dramatically, but it beats shallow, American characters (no offence) that only know how to cheer and squee in joy. But Jared's impression was spot-on. Even the sound of his voice down to the expression was so remarkable, as well as the facial expression, that it passed as David Caruso in his 20s.

... his hair still unbleached.

This was such an amazing episode, and yes, so many other idiotic shows get awards for nothing, but I like that Supernatural has its own exclusive fan base. It is almost like a tragic hero, who gets acknowledged only in the end, and by the special few. This show has everything.

And Elle, I shall be expecting that season 4 article! :twisted:
elle2
# elle2 2009-11-07 15:26
Hi, Maria,

Love David Caruso all you want...no apologies necessary. 8-)

And you're right, Jared really nailed it! I laughed so hard I did almost pee myself...phew.

We're part of the special few who acknowledge Supernatural for the greatness it is. Some will never get it, that's all right. Not everyone has the same tastes thus the joy of variety.

Glad you loved the eppie, it truly was fabulous. As for that article about sex and characterizatio n...I'll get cracking on it so it, along with others, is ready to go come *gulp* the upcoming hellatus.

;-)
Maria
# Maria 2009-11-07 15:29
Well, I sure will be waiting for it! :P
Randal
# Randal 2009-11-07 15:58
I think the reason angels work is precisely because they *aren't* Michael Landon types and we got that from the get go in 4.1 and 4.2.

Granted, different medium, but given that *one* horror movie in the history of cinema has ever won best picture (yeah, I'm only backing my premise with anecdotal evidence, too bad), I'm not shocked that no one from these parts has ever garnered a shiny trophy from the talking hairpieces. And I'll admit that I don't watch many other shows, but the burden of proof is on you, so-called experts, to find a better twosome of actors than what Supernatural has. If us manly men of manliness can cry, then someone's got acting chops (and the storylines ain't too shabby either).

And I just realized I didn't make a single comment on this episode because I enjoy bashing what passes for good viewing. But I feel better (and I did read your review and obviously share your sentiments!)
Bevie
# Bevie 2009-11-07 16:09
Loved your review Elle2. You and I agree more often than not. Hilarious episode. When the herpes commercial came on, I was going to ignore it as usual, and then I heard Sam's voice. If I'd been a little faster I would have missed that awesome ad. LOL!.

Like you, there are no episodes that I don't treasure in one way or another. Such as Bugs, with the brothers relationship and dad problems discussed. With Red Sky and the Mystery Ship, with Dean's hyperventilatin g and (yum yum) Dean in a tuxedo and Sam with his cougar and Bela wanting "angry sex". I wouldn't give up any episode so far. Never have I been so uncritical of a show and never have I looked forward more to the next episode.

Thank you for taking time to write your reviews and articles. They are much appreciated.
Suze
# Suze 2009-11-07 18:15
Yay! Supernatural! Number one in a field of one!
Dianeuk
# Dianeuk 2009-11-08 04:40
Nice to see you back. Good review, I could not agree more. I dont watch much TV due to job, life, kids, grandkids, life (!) I wont continue, BUT I go to the effort to watch this programme on-line and will continue to do so as long as it lasts (and re watch DVDs in between!), I LOVE the reviews and comments on this site, SO, thank you again for making the effort. Much appreciated. Diane
Dany
# Dany 2009-11-08 08:40
Hi Elle2!
Glad to see you back!

Great review and I agree with you all the way. I used to see a lot (trust me it was a lot) of tv shows and over the years I gave up all of them, mainly because of all the reasons you stated and I've got to say that seeing Supernatural make fun of them it felt good :twisted:

Supernatural with bugs, phantom ships and hellatus beats any other show anytime!

That article about sex and characterizatio n is going to my Hellatus Surviving Kit, along with all the others all the great writers around here will provide us during hellatus, and I'm thank you all in advance for that!
Maria
# Maria 2009-11-08 10:30
I got a question. In the sitcom, did that girl just come out of nowhere, or was really Dean doing research? :twisted: I was curious, because the way they were speaking, it sounded as though they were just playing along.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-08 13:47
Elle2, this was another marvellous review - thanks a lot for this great piece!

I laughed till I was blue in the face and was moved in more ways than one - mini vespas? a dorky smile at the end of the soap-intro? 'When the demons come out to play....'? Sam being afraid of Casper? Damn you Jeremy Carver, what are you doing to me?! ;-)

I loved your little sideblows at other shows, and I agree with you - I don't have time to watch a lot of tv and have to choose, and from what I've taken a look at - it would only be a waste of time for the most part.

I used to like the original CSI, but the depth is long gone, and after I looked at the other CSIs (I like Gary Sinise, but the show didn't grip me, and Miami was... well, very boring, sorry Dave Caruso.) I live in Germany at present, and watching the show in English was bad enough, but try watching it in German - the guys responsible for the synch do the worst possible job... the dialogues are wooden and poor Caine appears even more... how to put it right... forgettable...?

The only show I watch on a regular basis is Supernatural. It still has to find its equal.

Right there with you, Randal, the guys here do have acting chops. And then some! I never grow tired of watching them do what they do.

And I still can't believe that we'll be through the first half of the season very soon... A part of me welcomes the hiatus - because were there none, we'd be through with it even sooner... May next is going to be a time of grief anyhow....

Maria, interesting question about that girl in the sitcom... Maybe they were just playing along, but... would Dean really pass on some quality time with some hot chick? Anything is possible, but I'd be happy for him if he got laid, albeit in sitcom-land... After all, he was after every skirt in the beginning of the show... can a man change that much? Guess, a man would need to answer that... What do you think, Randal? And, I'd like to add, I think it's great that we've got a guy on this site... Are there no other men here? Really? Okay, my guy would not comment on the web, even though he loves the show big time. Perhaps it’s just us ladies who like to ramble on about Supernatural.

All my best, Jas
Elle2
# Elle2 2009-11-08 14:54
It's good to be back writing a bit...so many things I'm finding I want to write but then I get so sidetracked...d arn that busy job that keeps food on the table and a roof over my head -- and in today's economic climate as well...I'm blessed.

ALl right, that aside. I did get a chance (finally) to watch this for the second time last night and while I didn't laugh so that I feared I'd pee, I did have the fun of watching things develop and pay more attention. It was Buddy TV that did a little preview that pointed out about eight things to watch for that helped me catch some things and that's how I knew to be wary of the commericials and not click the pause button too quickly so I wasn't thrown on that Herpexia one...although it did have me guessing the first few seconds. I missed the commericail inside the Nutcracker bit the first time around but got it the second. ANd I truly enjoyed the many ways 'son of a bitch' got said from beginning to end. It has a different perspective each time and really adds to the overall.

I can hardly believe we're two episodes out from the pseudo-halfway mark...yikes.

As for Randal...good on ya mate (nope, I'm not from Australia, good old New York State) I'm glad you enjoyed my blows against the other shows as did others. I know you're not the only guy voicing an opinion on here...another article a week back or so another guy spoke up. DOn't be afraid men, we love to hear you as well.

:-)
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-08 15:25
Elle2, I loved your remark about being blessed with a job, a touch of reality here - I second that. I often remind myself (when I get mad because being busy at work keeps me from doing other stuff I love to do to get my mind relaxed), too, how blessed I am to have a stable job, even more as I love what I'm doing... Not many people I've met can say that. I'm grateful for that. :oops:

I haven't noticed that there was another guy voicing an opinion here, but am glad to hear that. I'd love to find the male point of view here more often... It might enrich our discussions a lot. - Come on, guys, you're invited!

Love, Jas
elle2
# elle2 2009-11-09 09:23
Hi, Jas,

Yes, it is a blessing to have a job -- even one that sometimes keeps me working every single day with no full days off. Irksome and tiring but in reality a blessing. That's the biggest reason I've been writing a lot less, have not had the time. BUt last night I watched the second disc of Season 1 and jotted about eight different ideas for articles, and even outlined some of them, for the upcoming *gulp* mini-hellatus.

I'm packing my survival kit to be prepared.

Thanks for commenting.
Amelia
# Amelia 2009-11-09 14:12
"Interesting that without any understanding of Japanese – oh, where is Bobby when he’s needed this time? – Dean manages to answer correctly…at least according to the twisted logic of the Trickster – erh, I mean Gabriel."

I thought Gabriel was doing something interesting here... he was addressing questions to them that they didn't understand, but questions that were quite valid regarding their familial dysfunction. He was kind of demonstrating what's going on with them right now... that Sam doesn't understand what his betrayal of Dean really was, and so he's damaging himself and their relationship by not addressing it, while Dean is saying yes to questions he doesn't understand because Sam tells him to in order to avoid getting hurt again (like in Fallen Idols, when Sam's accusation made no sense, given that Dean was dead when Sam fell in with Ruby... Dean accepted guilt for it anyway, apologized, and promised to try to do better, because it was what Sam wanted him to do. Like in "The End"... "Whatever I need to be").

As for the question itself, "Would your parents be alive", I think that's Gabriel's bitter way of expressing his anger at the situation in his own family (again, which he thinks is being reflected in the Winchesters)... that Lucifer and his betrayal have been the downfall of their entire family.

I think there wasn't any meta in that scene, in the sense of Jeremy Carver trying to tell us things... I think it was meant to flesh out Gabriel's attitudes and resentments more than anything else.

Ha, that was long-winded! But I thought that was the most interesting scene of the episode.

Anyway, I absolutely agree that Supernatural is unique. If they were like everyone else, they might get higher ratings, but I sure wouldn't be watching. :-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2009-11-09 14:52
oops Sorry...posted this in the wrong place.

Hi ell2,

Great recap! I love YOUR love of the show...I share it. I have watched the procedural cops shows for many years. It's true; they don't whole a candle to SPN. I have watched CSI for years, and I can't believe how WELL Jared nailed David Caruso. His voice even sounds like Caruso. Dean as Hasselhoff was classic, and I loved when Dean closed the trunk and Sam said that hurt. That little detail is something only Jeremy Carver would think of. That was my favorite as all three show stars were playing the game!

Richard Speight Jr. was great. The way the ‘fun’ attitude changed to despair in the end was great. Also like the greeting between Cas and Gabriel. It said so much with so few words.

I am glad the boys didn’t leave him there to rot. That would be sinking to the bad guys level. Sam and Dean are definitely above that. Also liked the way Dean was leading again. Even Cas followed his lead. That’s what I wanted to see!

Such a good epi. Hope Kripke can follow up with another this week! Guess this is the last for two months.
Crying or Very Sad
elle2
# elle2 2009-11-10 09:09
Hey, Sablegreen, don't cry too much, there's two more episodes to enjoy before the two month break...so that should help a little bit. I agree, it's the little touches that make it good, Sam saying that hurt, should I honk? very KITT like. Loved the panning over the Impala to the Knight Rider music, in keeping with the Knight Rider show and a great way to show off 'the girl' Whee.

Amelia,

I agree that the whole Nutcracker part was very intriguing (even compelling -- hee hee). I do think that Sam fully comprehends what he did at this point so I believe his inability to answer the question was two-fold, one it set up Dean's successful playing of the game and it also allowed some anger (perhaps) on the part of Gabriel to be vicariously achiecved through hurting Sam...does seem just like the Trickster to give someone their 'just desserts" Sam got what was coming to him (at least from the Trickster's POV) for what he did in betraying Dean and I think you've hit on an excellent point in your analysis that this was also a way for the The Trickster/Gabri el to show his frustrations at the falling apart of Michael and Lucifer. Interesting pint, very interesting indeed.

As for Dean's question...wow, that just opens up huge cans of worms and leads me to wonder if somewhere down the line that point won't come up again. I am firmly in the camp of those who say that Supernatural doesn't do things by coincidence or accident but with a purpose...I wonder.

THanks for all the commentss.
Bethany
# Bethany 2009-11-12 13:36
the Sampala rules the "shall i honk?" line had tears rolling down my face....

But i agree with Amelia in that i think the questions being asked reflected more on the person asking them, especially as Sam and Dean didn't know what they were being asked. I also agree that the questions were chosen for a reason but reflect Gabriel/trickst ers view of himself his "family" of the winchesters then anything else.

Oh i also loved them ripping it out of JDM's dead denny storyline on Grey's "Why?" indeed.

Plus the boys Horatio Cane impressions - genius! spot on!

8-)

Finally the faux-sitcom credit sequence - a thing of beauty Kripke/Carver.. .. i nearly died of laughter, no really there was choking on my coffee involved.

Just a brilliant - funny and clever and gripping and heartbreaking and all in one episode that's why SPN is in a league of it's own.