Monday, May 4, 2015

Couchbound/Continued #367 - Supernatural: Season 1, Episode 17, "What Would Buffy Do?"

Before a few weeks ago, I'd only ever caught Supernatural occasionally on a whim while traveling. As regular Couchbound readers will know, I cut the cord a long time ago and never looked back. As such, even shows that find their way to Netflix can breeze right on by me if I don't get a nudge from friends. Honestly, I knew more about the show from internet memes than anything else before this spring. While I'm not going to say that my friend telling me to pop it in my queue has been a life-changing experience, I must admit, it's a cute show.

I picked this particular episode to comment on first (granted, I'm still only on the first season) because I think this is the point where the writers decided to say "to hell with it" and really go meta. There had been hints before, one-liner throwaway jokes about aliases or pop culture tidbits, but to straight up name-drop Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Oh yeah, it's on.

Set in yet another small town that looks oddly like British Columbia, the Hell House episode shows us what the power of the internet combined with Tibetan "concentration symbols" can do, which is apparently bring a horror meme to life.

Thank GOD that Slenderman hadn't been invented back when this episode first aired a decade ago.

Of course the standouts for the episode are the brash geeks who stumble into (and pretty much single handedly create) the evil internet tulpa story to the consternation of the Brothers Winchester. They very much remind me of Andrew and Johnathan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, two lonely nerds trying to make their way in the ghost world. The fact that they pull a "WWBD" dialogue filled with sad cliches is both the icing on the cake and the poison hidden inside of it.

Like the Sherlock Groupies lampooned in Series 3 of that show, Supernatural doesn't really pull any punches when it comes to making fun of what is probably a largish segment of their fanbase. Of course, we can laugh and say it's all in good fun and they deserve the fish and false flag optioning because the two geeks are arrogant pricks who DON'T do the right thing (which plays exactly into Sam and Dean's hands via reverse psychology), but still, it seems a little mean-spirited to me.

I'm also not a huge fan of the random prank war that broke out between Sam and Dean. It just sort of sprang out of nowhere and, while I could get behind the idea if it played out over a series of several episodes, having them trying to one up each other every seen just felt a bit too much, too soon.

And where does one even find itching powder in rural Vancouver... I mean, Texas? 

That said, I still liked the episode. Not my favorite, so far... but I've been told the series gets quite a bit better once it hits its stride around season 3 or so, with the introduction of Castiel.

We'll see.

Probably in a few weeks to a month as, despite my ci comme ├ža feeling for this one, I'm invested enough in its routines, quirks, and strengths that I want to give it more of a chance.

Until later, Potatoes~

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