Last night's Supernatural was a bizarrely bitchy hate letter to the show's fans. Usually when this show goes meta on its fandom, the results are trippy and insane rather than snarky and mean. But maybe everybody in the writers' room was feeling stressed out, which you might guess from the episode's title: "Season 7, Time for a Wedding."
Well, if it's time for a wedding, it must also be time to bring back Becky Rosen, Supernatural superfan — and make fun of her to the point of being complete dicks. Spoilers ahead!
I'll have meta, meta, meta, meta, and a side of meta, please
Becky, if you'll recall your long-ago season 5 lore, is a superfan of prophet Chuck's unsuccessful series of novels, called Supernatural. The joke back then was that Chuck thought he was writing cheesy horror, which spawned awful fanfic online, but actually he was a prophet who was writing what would happen to the brothers before it happened. Fanfic as prophesy! This subplot was an incredibly clever way to tweak fans while advancing the story. It also led to the introduction of Becky the superfan, who goes to Supernatural conventions and eventually dates Chuck. Becky was always kind of a pathetic character, unlike some of other fans we saw during the Supernatural convention episode, who are shown to be basically sweet people who just happen to enjoy genre fiction and cosplay.
And now Becky is back. Apparently Chuck dumped her, and her obsession with internet fandom has only metastasized — as has her love of Sam. Now she's got 11 followers on Twitter, and never stops poking updates into her phone. Oh and also? She's somehow come into the orbit of a crossroads demon via erotic horror fandom.
OMG Becky is a total loser
While Sam and Dean are having a little bro time in Vegas, Sam decides to take off and go camping by himself — leaving Dean to get drunk and spill his sorrows to a hot graduate student working at a strip club. But then Dean gets a text message from Sam, races to what he thinks is a supernatural crime scene, and is surprised to discover that Sam is getting hitched to Becky.
WTF? Obviously this is some kind of love potion magic. But the episode tries to leave us in suspense by toying with the idea that maybe Sam has changed so much, and gotten so in touch with his feelings, that he'd want to marry a loser like Becky. Who is a total loser, OK? A loser who is obsessed with internet fandom. By the way, in case you were wondering — she is a loser. Also, she is ugly. Everybody who meets her has some line that is designed to remind us about the loser-ness and the ugliness. Which is kind of hard to swallow, given that the actor who plays Becky is cute and perky. Plus, after the millionth "loser" joke, it just feels kind of mean.
Anyway, Becky whisks smitten Sam off to her house in Delaware, stopping along the way to show him off at her high school reunion (where her former classmates helpfully remind us that Becky is a loser and ugly).
Love potion, wishes granted, blah blah blah
As soon as Becky and smitten Sam arrive home, we see that Becky is slipping Sam love potion rufies. Well, duh. And her source is a demon who has been granting a lot of wishes around town. Wishes that lead to death! One guy is finally drafted to a baseball team but dies when his pitching machine goes up to 11, a lottery winner is killed in a mysterious car accident, etc. Could Becky be next?
While Sam is still dosed up on demon rufies, Dean goes to work with a local Hunter recommended by Bobby — a guy named Garth, played by the always dorky-cute DJ Qualls. There are a few amusing shenanigans involving Dean working with a non-Sam, non-Bobby Hunter (Garth says Bobby warned him about Dean's PMS). Meanwhile, Sam is working the case with Becky, who does everything with google-eyed excitement. Eventually we find out that our crossroads demon is seemingly breaking his contracts. Normally the minimum contract for a soul is 10 years.
Two things are awesome here. One, we find out that this demon works high school reunions. Turns out that if you're a demon looking to swap wishes for souls, there's no better job than high school reunion organizer — as the demon puts it, there are just so many wishes that people have when confronted with faces from their pasts. This the kind of canny detail you expect from a Supernatural episode.
And two . . .
This scene is the entire reason for this episode
We find out that our demon was going off the reservation because he got greedy for souls, and found contract loopholes. He gets his demon intern (there are demon interns!) to make accidents happen to the people whose souls are under contract. Poof! Instant early reaping! But his intern got weirded out and turned whistleblower, sending a bunch of emails to Crowley about his demon boss' unethical business practices.
And Crowley, always a man of his contractual word, is pissed off. I love this speech (see clip) where he screams at the demon that "This isn't Wall Street - this is Hell! We have principles!" Hur hur hur. If only the entire episode had been like this, instead of based on the idea that fangirls are SO FUNNY BECAUSE THEY ARE UGLY LOSERS. GET IT? HAHAHAHA.
And now it's time to process our feelings
After joking about what a total loser Becky is (again), Sam assures Dean that he always wants Dean to be there for him, watching his back. Then he says something about how Dean can trust Sam enough that maybe Dean can start working on himself. Has Sam forgotten the whole "I spent a year staring into the windows of Dean's life when he was working on himself by moving in with Lisa and Ben"? I mean, I know it was Soulless Sam back then, but surely he remembers that Dean has already tried the "working on himself" thing and it didn't work out too well.
Now I need to process MY feelings about this episode. The writers, Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin, penned the episode earlier this season about Sam's childhood sweetheart Amy. That was a solid episode that also happened to focus on Sam's romantic life — in a tragic, emo way, instead of a snarky one.
I guess my problem is that I don't really get why we're supposed to think it's hilarious that everybody is a total dick to Becky. It reminded me of really bad comedies where the punchline is something like, "Because she's fat! Get it?" And I'm left wondering, "Um, is there something inherently funny about fat?" There's a whole set of cultural expectations underlying the idea that I'm the kind of dick who thinks certain kinds of women — fat ones, fannish ones, whatever — are just plain funny. The thing is, these kinds of characters are only funny if you assume their very existence is the equivalent of a banana peel on the ground. It's the trash that other characters slip on to make you laugh.
Usually Supernatural does make me laugh. But not this week.