5.08 Changing Channels

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Title Changing Channels
Episode # Season 5, Episode 8
First aired November 5, 2009
Directed by Charles Beeson
Written by Jeremy Carver
On IMDB Changing Channels
Outline When Sam and Dean get trapped in a series of TV shows, they suspect the work of the Trickster.
Monster Gabriel
Timeline
Location(s) Wellington, Ohio
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Synopsis

Sam and Dean investigate a death where the wife swears her husband was killed by the Incredible Hulk. They soon work out that they are dealing with a Trickster, but he manages to lure them into a trap and plant them into a series of TV shows including a hospital drama of which Dean is a fan (Dr. Sexy M.D.), a Japanese game show, an ad, and a sitcom. Castiel manages to appear at one point but is banished. When he reappears, Castiel is bloodied and bruised, and says he thinks it may be something more powerful than the Trickster - who appears and again banishes him. The Trickster says he is trying to drive home the lesson that they must play their roles as Michael and Lucifer's vessels and finish the Apocalypse even though it will destroy the Earth. Dean tries to find out which side the Trickster is on, but he denies he is allied with either Heaven or Hell. Sam and Dean continue in TV until, during a cop show, they think they spot the Trickster, and they stab him with a stake dipped in blood. But, while it momentarily appears things are back to normal, when Sam appears to have been transformed into the Impala, it is obvious they aren't out. They've merely changed channels again. Finally, acting on a hunch, Dean sets a ring of holy oil and entraps the Trickster, who reveals himself to be an archangel - Gabriel. Gabriel reveals he left Heaven and took on his disguise as the Trickster because he couldn't bear his father (God) and brothers (Lucifer, Michael, and the other angels) fighting. He says that Sam and Dean are destined to be the vessels, because they mirror the relationship between Michael and Lucifer. Dean is like Michael - the loyal son obeying the absent father - and Sam is like Lucifer - the rebellious son. He says it has always been predestined.

Dean gets Gabriel to bring Castiel back, and then they leave after setting off the fire sprinklers so Gabriel will be released eventually.

Characters

Definitions

Music

(opening credits to the episode)
  • "Move You" by Anya Marina
(plays while Dean watches Dr. Sexy, M.D.)
  • "Not A Through Street" by Anya Marina
(plays when Dean and Sam enter the hospital)
  • "Something Real" by Renee Stahl
(plays when Dr. Sam gets the "you're a great doctor" speech and over Dean getting shot)
  • "I Love to See You Happy (Livin' My Life)" by Robbi Spencer
(plays over Sam performing the surgery)
  • "The Knight Rider Theme Song" by Stu Phillips
(plays when Dean drives Sam to call out the Trickster)

Quotes

Dean: Hey there, Sam. What's happening?
Sam: Oh, nothing. Um. Just the end of the world.
Dean: We have some more research to do.

Sam: Dean...

Dean: Son of a bitch!
Sam: What are you watching?

Dean: Hospital show. Dr. Sexy, MD. I think it's based on a book.
Sam: When did you hit menopause?

Dean: It's called channel surfing.
Dean: You're not Dr. Sexy.

Dr. Sexy: You're crazy.
Dean: Really? Because I swore part of what makes Dr. Sexy sexy is the fact that he wears cowboy boots. Not tennis shoes.
Sam: Yeah. You're not a fan.

Dean: It's a guilty pleasure.
Sam: Okay. Um. I need a penknife, some dental floss, a sewing needle, and a fifth of whiskey. Stat!
Sam: I've got genital herpes.
Dean: I hate this game. I hate that we're in a procedural cop show and you wanna know why? Because I hate procedural cop shows. There's like three hundred of them on television and they're all the freaking same. It's ooh, plane crashed here—oh shut up.
Gabriel: Well played, boys. Well played. Where'd you get the holy oil?
Dean: Well, you might say we pulled it out of Sam's ass.
Dean: Do you blame him? I mean, his brothers are heavyweight douchenozzles.
Gabriel: Shut your cakehole. You don't know anything about my family. I love my father, my brothers. Love them. But watching them turn on each other? Tear at each other's throats? I couldn't bear it! Okay? So I left. And now it's happening all over again.
Dean: All that stuff he was spouting in there, you think it was the truth?

Sam: I think he believes it.
Dean: So what do we do?
Sam: I don't know.
Dean: Well I'll tell you one thing. Right about now I wish I was back in a TV show.

Sam: Yeah, me too.

Trivia & References

Sitcoms have been around since TV began from shows such as I Love Lucy through to Two and a Half Men. They were often aired with a pre-recorded laugh track, although in the last decade this has become a less common practice.
the Supernatural Sitcom Theme Song plays over opening credits which mimic those of '70s and '80s sitcom like Laverne and Shirley and Full House.

The lyrics for the Supernatural Sitcom Theme Song are:
Town to town, two-lane roads
Family biz, two hunting bros -
Living the lie, just to get by.
As long as we're movin' forward
There's nothing we can't do
Together we'll face the day
You and I won't run away
When demons come out to play
Together we'll face the day!

Dr. Sexy, M.D. was first mentioned as a book series in 4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book by the publisher as one of the reasons the Supernatural books went out of print.
Dean: Well, it turns out that Bill Randolph had quite the temper. He's got two counts of spousal battery, bar brawls, and court-ordered anger management sessions. You might say you wouldn't like him when he's angry.
The wife of the first victim reports seeing The Incredible Hulk - and the line Dean quotes is a classic from the TV show and movies.
Lou Ferrigno starred as David Banner's (played by Bill Bixby, hulky green alter ego. Eric Bana played Bruce Banner in the 2003 movie Hulk, and Ed Norton played him in the 2008 Incredible Hulk. The actual Hulk was basically CGI in these movies.
Sam: Okay, Trickster's like a Hugh Hefner type, right? Wine, women, song—maybe he doesn't want the party to end. Maybe he hates this angels and demons stuff as much as we do. Maybe he'll help us.
Hugh Hefner is the publisher of Playboy Magazine, and known for his extravagant lifestyle.
Dean: A bloody, violent monster, and you wanna be Facebook friends with him? Nice, Sammy.
Dean has come a long way since a girl gave him her MySpace address in 2.08 Crossroad Blues and Dean asked Sam, "Yeah, MySpace, what the hell is that? Seriously, is that like some sort of porn site?"
Dr. Sexy M.D. - hospital show set at Seattle Mercy Hospital - is a send-up of Grey's Anatomy a medical drama which aired opposite Supernatural in the U.S. on Thursday nights, revolving around the love lives of the staff of Seattle Grace Hospital. Dr. Derek Shepherd, played by Patrick Dempsey, is nicknamed "McDreamy" by other characters on the show. The scenes and melodramatic dialogue mimic that of Grey's Anatomy - as can be seen in these video clips.
The character Johnny Drake on Dr. Sexy, M.D is a take-off of the patient Denny Duquette on Grey's Anatomy. He had a romance with intern Izzie Stevens, but then died. Denny was played by none other than Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a.k.a. John Winchester. In a classic case of Surprise JDM, he later returned twice to Grey's Anatomy as a hallucination brought on by Izzie's brain tumor.
The repeated use of phrase "Doctor" when addressing someone is a reference to the 1985 comedy Spies Like Us; in one of the film's most famous scenes, a group of doctors address each other repeatedly as "Doctor."
Nutcracker! is a reference to Japanese game shows which are known for their weird, often humiliating and painful stunts. On the show Say This Right! Nut Cracker, contestants have to recite a tongue-twister, and if they get it wrong they get hit in the nuts with a ball on a stick!
The ad for "Herpexia" is a spoof of the ad for Valtrex genital herpes treatment.
Trickster: Oh, you know. Sam starring as Lucifer. Dean starring as Michael. Your celebrity death match. Play your roles.
Celebrity Deathmatch was a claymation series, that involved celebrities fighting to the death that aired on MTV from 1998-2002 and 2006-2007.
The "procedural cop shows" Dean refers to include shows like the CSI and Law and Order franchises. Like Grey's Anatomy, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation aired in the U.S. at the same time as Supernatural on Thursday night. They specifically reference CSI: Miami's David Caruso's character, crime lab lieutenant Horatio Caine. Sam and Dean mimic his mannerisms, demonstrated in this video clip and this one of taking his sunglasses on and off and turning to profile, and/or looking into the middle-distance as he makes makes a pithy observation about the crime. However, if you look closely to the badge one of the techs is wearing, it says LVPD (Las Vegas Police Department) specifically referencing CSI: Crime Scene Investigation which takes place in Las Vegas (the first in the CSI franchise). At Salute to Supernatural Chicago 2009 Jensen and Jared revealed that they'd watched the "Horatio" one-liners on YouTube in preparation for the scenes. They said that for years on Supernatural there'd been a running joke if a line was a bit "on the nose" that they'd send it up in this way. The lines "a plane crashed here" and "no talent douchebags" were adlibbed by Jensen.
Knight Rider was a 1980s series (recently unsuccessfully revived) about crime fighter Michael Knight played by David Hasselhoff and his intelligent car KITT. When Sam is turned into the Impala, there is a red light which appears behind the front grille which moves from side to side, just like KITT had. The Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, also have oscillating red lights on their helmets instead of eyes. KITT, just like the Impala, is the epitome of a character-car. In the past, fandom has produced fan fiction that portrayed the Impala with a soul, and more often than not, a voice. See also Impala, Sampala and Crack fiction.

Minutiae

In June 2010, The CW submitted this episode, along with 5.04 The End for consideration for an Emmy nomination.
The mini bikes the boys are seen riding in the opening credits are actually mini bikes they ride around on set.See pics of them during the filming of 4.06 Yellow Fever.
Grey's Anatomy has become known for its use of indie pop music and each episode is named after a song. This is precisely the type of music Kripke didn't want used in Supernatural. In an early draft of the script for the Supernatural Pilot he wrote "CUE MUSIC And you can take your anemic alternative pop and shove it up your ass. Dean plays bass thumping, pile driving Zeppelin, and he plays it loud." (See Music for more).

In this episode, great care went into choosing the music. Kripke said, "We share a music supervisor with Grey’s, Alex Patsavas, so she made sure we had the perfect type of songs. I think a few may have even been used on Grey's.'"

The music used in the "crime procedural sequence" echoes the opening theme to CSI: Miami which uses "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who.
Jensen and Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey both appeared in the Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde - a scene from the movie.
Dean drives the Sampala past a sign that says "Centennial Point Wilderness Area." Centennial Highway was the highway on which Woman in White Constance Welch would pick up her victims in 1.01 Pilot.
The "Changing Channels" free-for-all meme was started by clex-monkie on LiveJournal and produced fan fics after the premise of the episode, in which Sam and Dean are channel hopping to other TV shows than portrayed in the episode, among them Leverage, The Vampire Diaries, and Glee.Source

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion