"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Monday, December 15, 2008

Supernatural: Monster Movie

After kicking the season off with four pretty heavy episodes, it was time for a little break. And that’s a good thing. While they don’t do it often, the Supernatural team does comedy very well. This time, the classic movie monsters provided the backdrop for the laughs. It was largely tongue in cheek, with lots of cues from the classic horror movies, but there was still time to uncover a rather familiar foe.

Before I get to that big ol’ mystery though, I should probably talk about the production. I really like the choice to do the whole thing in black and white. Sure, it would have worked just fine in color, but the different look added to the atmosphere. As soon as the classic credits popped up on the screen, I was in. They carried it right on through in the way they shot everything as well, most notably with the brightly lit eyes on Dracula.

Getting to the story, where do I start? The script was chock full of great references and one-liners. At the same time on occasion, as I saw with Dean’s revelation about his health post-Hell, “Brother, I have been rehymenated, and the Dude will not abide.” A hymen joke, and The Big Lebowski, all mashed together for you. I also really liked Jamie’s line, trying to put it all in perspective: “You guys are like Mulder and Scully or something? And the X-Files are real?” There was the Goethe theater, “I’m a maverick Ma’am,” Anne Rice, and they even wrapped the mystery with a classic. From King Kong: “It was beauty that killed the beast.” I could go on.

Getting, slightly, more serious, were you guessing shape shifter right away? I was actually going with a trickster. Shape shifter worked well though, and it is impressive that they can reuse the creature and not have it feel tired. It certainly didn’t hurt that they cast Todd Stashwick. He’s been on a roll lately, having followed up his run on The Riches. This was a great part, but you have to imagine he had an odd reaction upon learning that he is a Vespa riding vampire.

As much as I loved all the gags, my favorite scene in the episode took on a much more serious tone. That would be Dean’s little chat with Jamie (Melinda Sward) where he came clean about his “near death experience.” Her description, “That must suck. You’re giving up your life for this terrible responsibility.” and his reaction, “Last few years, I started thinking that way,” tell the story very well. That was then followed by Dean telling her things were different. “I save them. And I gotta say, it’s awesome. Kind of like a mission from God.” Dean really has changed. Of course, the fact that Dean shared this moment with Jamie, and not Sam, is also very telling of where they are with other parts of the ongoing story.

All things considered, “Monster Movie” made for a nice little season four intermission.

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