Television Review: Supernatural S6.15 The French Mistake: Funny Meta Episode? – Sorta Kinda

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Wouldn’t you know it, right after I finished posting my promo article last night for Supernatural S6.15 The French Mistake and go off to bed, The WB puts out an invite to view an advanced screener of the episode. Sometimes it’s tough living on the east coast where you sometimes end up being  late to the media party (and let’s not even go into the freezing cold weather). But better late than never, so after a few minor technical glitches on my end, I was able to grab a can of diet coke, kick back and watch Supernatural S6. 15, The French Mistake.

I’m not exactly sure which of the four definitions of the term ‘the french mistake’ that are listed on the Urban Dictionary site this title refers to and that pretty much sums up my reactions and thoughts on this episode. You see, I’m not exactly sure what the writers and producers were trying to do with Supernatural S6.15, The French Mistake.

In a nutshell the premise of the episode, which is directed by Charles Beeson and written by Ben Edlund, is that Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) are sent to an alternate universe where their life and their history as brothers is an action series called Supernatural. The angel Balthazar (guest star Sebastian Roche’) has sent them there to protect them from being killed by Raphael (doing a bit of gender swapping by being played in this episode by the lovely Lanette Ware). In concept, the hilarity in the episode is supposed to be based mainly on the meta about the Winchester brothers finding themselves thrust into the lives of actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles.

I watched the episode twice, and both times I came to the same conclusion that the idea behind it was like cotton candy; kind of fun to think about indulging in, but not near enough substance to have warranted actually making it into an episode.

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Being a meta episode, The French Mistake is filled with lots of ‘ha ha look we read all the fannish perceptions and theories about us on the internet and we are making fun of it’  kind of situations . In this universe, apparently real life down to earth, good friends Padalecki and Ackles are overly pretentious ‘pretty boys’ who are barely on speaking terms with each other. Not to mention the Jensen Ackles of this universe seems to have bypassed getting married to long time lady love, Danneel Harris, and remains single.  To me, Supernatural S6.15, The French Mistake is very short on actual Supernatural storyline. Instead it relies way too heavily on a single plot device; a series of ‘watch the guys get freaked out about their situation’ visuals, that all too quickly wears thin.

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I will say that, hands down, the funniest sequence in this whole episode is the one that involves Jared Padalecki’s real life wife, Genevieve Cortese (who is billed in this episode as Genevieve Padalecki). As long time Supernatural fans and viewers know, Genevieve came onto the series in season 4 to play the second incarnation of the devious demon, Ruby. Watching the looks on Dean and Sam’s faces when ‘Ruby’ appears is priceless. Watching Genevieve get snarky with ‘Jensen Ackles’ and laying kisses on a freaked out Sam Winchester almost makes up for the lack of substance in the rest of the episode.

There are other laugh out loud moments in the episode that are worth watching and its fun to see Jared and Jensen get to strut their comedic sides.  Misha Collins gives a stand out performance as an over the top version of himself that is endearing.

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Unfortunately there are other moments that start out as ‘laugh out loud’ funny, but become so often repeated or drawn out that they become tedious. For SAG union reasons (or at least I think that’s why) none of the production crew or creative staff were allowed to play themselves in this episode. Given that, one thing I will be curious to find out when I get to see the episode is who the actress was who did the voice work as ‘Sera Gamble’ on speaker phone. Curious because to me it sounded like the real Jensen Ackles’ wife, Danneel Harris.

I guess, to me, this idea for this episode sounded good, but it just didn’t really come across as a solid storyline. While it had funny moments and all the actors did a great job taking on the complicated and convoluted aspect of it, Supernatural S6.15 The French Mistake came up short. It  left me wondering why the time and resources were given over to it couldn’t have been better used to do a real story about Sam and Dean Winchester dealing with the consequences of the war in heaven and simply left Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles where they belong; in their own lives as actors we sometimes get to see at conventions.

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These are just my thoughts on the episode. Please tune into the CW Network this Friday night at 9 PM EST to watch Supernatural S6. 15 The French Mistake and make your own mind about it.

Overall Grade C+

Photo credits from Supernatural: Jack Rowlands/CW.  Photo credit of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki: 2008 M R Reed.