Last night’s episode of Supernatural ended with prophet and Supernatural book series author Chuck telling his fans “It’s not Jumping the Shark if you never come back down.” At first I really wanted to think this was a joke, but the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s not. Supernatural really is Jumping the Shark.
For weeks I’ve been trying to defend and rationalize Supernatural’s recent increase in comedy. Cas visited a whorehouse. Future Cas smoked pot. Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Paris Hilton, the Tooth Fairy and the Incredible Hulk have all turned up. Supernatural parodied CSI and Grey’s Anatomy. And finally, Sam and Dean attended a Supernatural fan convention. A while ago I wrote an article defending the show’s use of comedy. I would now like to retract that statement.
The sad truth is that Supernatural is a different show, one easily distracted by funny ideas and self-aware storylines. It’s easy to pinpoint the moment of lift-off, the episode where Supernatural began its extended shark-jumping trip: “The Monster at the End of This Book.”
I adored that episode and still do, but it was the beginning of Chuck and Becky and fan fiction and all the other self-referential jokes that shatter the wall between the series and the audience. When Dean starts talking about the real lives of the characters or how he wishes his life was more like a TV show, it’s impossible for the audience not to be taken out of the drama.
Introducing the Supernatural book series poked a tiny hole into the fabric of the magic and reality of Supernatural. Yes, it’s just a TV show, and yes, it’s about demons and angels. But until that moment, viewers were able to suspend their disbelief and truly connect with the characters. We felt sad for Dean and Sam, we understood them and we went along with them on their journey of self-discovery.
But by making a book series about their lives, the show started to wake fans from the dream. They lifted the curtain and revealed the Wizard, the told us how the sausage is made, they let us take a bite from the Tree of Knowledge and they opened Pandora’s Box. Every subsequent reference, particularly Becky’s arrival, just opened the hole a little more.
In “The Real Ghostbusters,” that hole was ripped open and now it’s impossible to look at the series as anything but a series. Dean and his LARPing fat twin had a discussion about whether the lives of Sam and Dean were entertaining or tragic and depressing. Oddly enough, Supernatural fans were more than happy with the tragic part. They loved the emotions and the rich personal drama. But now, with light, comedic episodes, all we’re getting is entertainment.
I didn’t come to this conclusion lightly. I’ve been desperately trying to cling on to the notion that Supernatural is still on the same path and that these comedic episodes will somehow fit into a bigger picture. But the straw that broke the camel’s back came at the end of last night’s episode.
While talking to Sam, Becky revealed the location of the Colt, which she got from reading the Supernatural books. That is the kind of lame, overly convenient plot device I hate to see in film and television. It’s a complete cheat. They might as well just lock Chuck in a cabin, force him to write next week’s episode, then read it to find out everything that happens.
Right now, I’m not sure what Supernatural‘s options are. How do you get out of something when you’re already in it? This is not a bell you can un-ring, so only time will tell. I only hope that Supernatural stops poking even more holes into the story, because there’s only so much I can overlook before I stop caring about Sam and Dean.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of the CW)