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5 Times SUPERNATURAL Went Meta

Supernatural is headed into its eleventh season on October 7. In that time, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) have carried on their family business by facing countless monsters and demons—external and internal. Supernatural isn’t the bleakest show on television, but the premise is a more serious one. Still, the dialogue is peppered with humor, and occasionally, the writers go all out and tear down the fourth wall. It’s more than that; they ignore the existence of the fourth wall. They’ve spun whole episodes into entertaining meta, self-referencing affairs. Episodes like these:

“Hollywood Babylon”
In Season 2 of Supernatural, the Winchesters investigate a mysterious murder on the set of a horror movie called Hell Hazers II: The Reckoning. Dean takes on a job as a production assistant, and McG, a producer of Supernatural directs the fake movie. The actual McG appears in the episode while an actor playing a faux McG talks to the crew. The episode frequently references Eric Kripke’s (another producer on Supernatural) Boogeyman. My favorite part? When the brothers take a tour of the Warner Bros. lot and the guide mentions Gilmore Girls, Sam looks uncomfortable and leaves the tour (Padalecki had a recurring role on that series).

The third season sees the return of Harry Spengler and Ed Zeddmore. The duo works on a pilot for their low budget, unscripted reality show Ghostfacers. Their actions reference other series about paranormal investigators, and since it was the first episode of Supernatural filmed after the writer’s strike ended in 2008, it was a jab at the type of shows that could have aired if the situation hadn’t been resolved.

“The Monster at the End of This Book”
Things go extra meta in Season 4 when Sam and Dean discover the Supernatural books by Carver Edlund. They learn the series has been published for the last four years (as long as the show had aired at that point) and documents every event of their lives, and that the books have a passionate fan base. Like real Supernatural fans, there are Sam girls, Dean girls, and fans of slash fiction pairing the brothers. The Winchesters eventually learn Carver Edlund is the pen name for Chuck Shurley (Rob Benedict), a prophet of God. Because obviously. Also, the name Carver Edlund references two Supernatural writers/producers: Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund.

“The French Mistake”
This sixth season episode blurs the lines so much that it’s almost confusing. Sam and Dean end up in an alternate reality on the set of Supernatural, but Sam and Dean think they’re still Sam and Dean and everyone on set calls them Jared and Jensen. They’re confused by locations such as Bobby’s house being fake sets, by Castiel being some Twitter-loving guy called Misha Collins, and by Sam/Jared being married to Ruby (Genevieve Padalecki). Whew.

“Fan Fiction”
Supernatural hit the 200 episode milestone in Season 10, and they celebrated in style. Remember those books by Chuck? An all girls school adapts them into not just a play, but a musical. Supernatural: The Musical attracts the attention of Dean and Sam because a teacher at the school goes missing. The musical references fans shipping Dean and Castiel, the bromance, emo scenes between the brothers–it’s basically a sweet and sincere love letter to the fandom.

This isn’t a complete list of every meta moment in Supernatural. Head to the comments and tell me about your favorites.

Images: The CW

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