Supernatural on CW

2006, TV Show

Supernatural Episode: "Changing Channels"

Season 5, Episode 8
Episode Synopsis: Sam and Dean are thrown into an alternate universe where they become characters in various TV shows, including a medical series, a Japanese game show, a forensics procedural and a sitcom. Castiel warns them that if they don't find a way out soon, they will become trapped inside forever.
Original Air Date: Nov 5, 2009
Guest Cast Christine Chatelain Jim Beaver Richard Speight Jr.: The Trickster Steve Bacic
Full Episode
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Season 5, Episode 8
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Length: 41:06
Aired: 11/5/2009
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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Supernatural Episode Recap: "Changing Channels" Season 5, Episode 8

The Trickster traps Sam and Dean in a TV land where there are "300 channels and nothing on." The brothers find themselves in a world of medical dramas, bad sitcoms, procedurals, those embarrassing STD commercials and those wild Japanese game shows. Castiel is back and the Trickster makes a big revelation.

"Changing Channels" is a fun, laugh-out-loud episode that also nicely tackles the mythology of the show. The return of the Trickster has been much anticipated — especially by those who have been commenting on this blog since we first saw the character in Season 2's "Tall Tales." You guys have been hinting at the Trickster being something more. I'm anxious to know what you all think about this latest development. I'm talking about the Trickster really being Gabriel one of the archangels. Hopefully this means we'll be seeing much more of Richard Speight, Jr., the actor who so awesomely plays the demi-god with a sweet tooth. The Trickster notoriously likes to mess with Sam and Dean. Last time we saw the character, he tried to teach Sam a lesson. It involved a Groundhog's Day-like scenario where Dean was killed over and over again. This time, the Winchester brothers get trapped in a TV universe where they're forced to play along.

The Hospital Drama
Dr. Sexy, M.D., of course, is a spoof of Supernatural's behemoth timeslot rival, Grey's Anatomy. So automatically it's just cool that this show is going there. I'm not currently a Grey's watcher, so I had to check with some of my pals to find out how spot-on this portion of the program is: all those slaps, the overuse of "seriously" and sex in enclosed spaces seems to be seriously on target. Seriously.

Funny Moments
- Dean goes all fanboy. He knows this show inside and out. He uses cute little descriptions to describe the characters; he knows Dr. Sexy (think McDreamy) himself wears boots. In fact that's how he detects the Trickster's presence.
- Sam keeps getting slapped by Dr. Ellen Pompeo... I mean Piccolo. I've got to say she is as annoying as I always thought Meredith Grey was in the first two seasons. It takes much willpower for me not to hit fast forward when Dr. Piccolo is on.
- Dean seems to have a man crush on the actual Dr. Sexy.
- We see Johnny Drake, who basically is the Denny Duquette character on the ABC hit. Of course, Supernatural's own Jeffrey Dean Morgan played Denny. Using the "J" and the "D" in the character's name is a nice little shout out to Jeffrey Dean, don't you think?
- I couldn't believe Sam had to perform surgery on Dean! Sam's looks are classic as he's trying to figure out how to operate. Also, Dean really needs to stay away from the Trickster. He's always getting hurt when he's around.
- Sam says one of my favorite lines of the entire episode: "This show has ghosts? Why?"

The sitcom
The way the (unfunny) sitcom is portrayed is hilarious. Everything's stiff including the laughter from the studio audience as well as Sam and Dean's movements and dialogue. Back in the day, I never minded watching this type of sitcom. Now, I just have no time for them. Give me the single-camera no laugh track comedies any day.

Funny Moments
-"Supernatural is filmed before a live studio audience."
-The show open is hands down my favorite part of the entire Sam and Dean trapped in TV part of the episode. Jared and Jensen are so awesomely over the top with the laughs and their behavior. I'm practically on the floor laughing. It's a little bit Perfect Strangers, Laverne and Shirley and Bosom Buddies. That series starred Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari and featured a Billy Joel theme song.
- Dean's "son of a bitch" catchphrase is totally perfect.
- I love the way Sam says "Dean..."
-The studio audience laughs at everything even the stuff that's not even remotely funny. That happens all the time.

Japanese Game Show

I'm not really up on this genre but the most significant portion of this scenario are the questions the host asks the brothers: 1) What was the name of the demon you chose over your brother? (Ruby)  2) Would your mother and father be alive if Sam was never born? Dean answered "yes" to this question. I know he answered in Japanese but do you think he knew what he was talking about? It doesn't seem like he did, but it was an interesting question and answer nevertheless.

The STD Commercial
Poor Sam. In "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester" he got the clap. Now he's forced to act in a hilarious commercial about treating herpes. Jared's appropriately awkward and uncomfortable in this one. And I love how Dean and all the other guys just get to play basketball in the background. The sublimely named Herpexia's possible side effects were wonderfully disturbing although I thought they'd go on even longer and include something like "will not be able to sit or stand for three hours" or something like that.

The Procedural
Supernatural's other behemoth timeslot rival is CSI, but it's CSI: Miami that really gets spoofed here. Sam and Dean Caruso go all Horatio Caine on us with the sunglasses and cheesy one-liners. Wow, they really call out procedural shows don't they? What's writer Jeremy Carver have against them? That's all right, I don't mind. During the investigation, Sam and Dean "kill" the Trickster but soon they'll learn you just can't keep a good Trickster down for long.   

Knight Rider
Sam is now the voice of Kitt or in this case, the Impala. So great!!!! Sam thinks the brothers are facing something stronger than the Trickster and Dean guesses they're up against an angel. After Sam's made human again and Dean traps the Trickster in a ring of fire, they find out he isn't just any angel. He's really Gabriel, one of the archangels.

The Mythology
Gabriel skipped out of heaven. He wanted nothing to do with his brothers because they were busy fighting and turning on each other. He sees it happening all over again so he wants the apocalypse over. He puts the blame on the world ending on both Sam and Dean. He tells the Winchesters that "this isn't about a war. It's about two brothers that loved each other and betrayed each other. You'd think you'd be able to relate." I love when Trickster Gabriel explains the entire thing to Sam and Dean saying Michael's the big brother "loyal to an absent father." And Lucifer's the little brother "rebellious of daddy's plan." He says they were born to this, but I'm still trying to figure out why it was the Winchesters and not some brothers from another family.

Gabriel: "As it is in heaven so it must be on Earth. One brother has to kill the other."

Well we've known all roads have been leading to this ultimate conclusion, but it all sounds so definite. Gabriel wants Sam and Dean to accept their destinies and become the vessels for both Lucifer and Michael. Dean says "no." 

Gabriel: "Guys, I wish this were a TV Show. Easy answers, endings wrapped up in a bow. But this is real. And it's going to end bloody for all of us. That's just how it's gotta be."

I wonder if Dean telling Gabster (Gabriel + Trickster) he's too afraid to stand up to his family will have any effect on the archangel down the road. I just don't think we've seen the last of him. Right now he's not on the side of heaven or hell, maybe one day soon he'll pick one. And hopefully it'll be the good guys. Although which side is "good" is all a subjective matter I guess. Gabriel just let Sam, Dean and Cas walk away, though. I wonder why other than it was the end of the hour. He could have gone after them right away. As much as I worshipped all the Dr. Sexy and CSI business, furthering the mythology is what really took this episode to another level for me.

Random Thoughts
Thank you to Jeremy Carver for the Incredible Hulk references. I've actually seen the two movies starring Eric Bana and Ed Norton. I wholeheartedly prefer the TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. Thank you for this line: "You might say you wouldn't like him when he's angry." I love Supernatural because over the years, they've made a billion TV references and as a fan of all things television, I've loved every one of them.

Jared and Jensen need to find doctor roles in the future just so they can wear those scrubs again.

The emo music during the Dr. Sexy, M.D., scenes is so opposite from the tunes usually played on Supernatural. It desperately made me miss AC/DC, Bad Company and Blue Oyster Cult.

It was good to see Castiel, but there was not nearly enough of him.

Once again, where in the world is God? Why does no one know where He is?

Love how Dean didn't keep Gabriel trapped in the Ring of Fire.

I want to know when TPTB at Supernatural knew they were going to make the Trickster the archangel Gabriel. I also want to know how much fun it was for all involved to make this episode.

I just really love the way this show pays attention to all the small details from directing to writing to set design. A lot of hard work went into the making of "Changing Channels." What was so cool:
-The voiceovers
-The show open and theme song (I wonder if Jeremy wrote it or Ben Edlund did)
-The look of the different sets
-The dialogue
-The wardrobe especially in Dr. Sexy and the CSI: Miami scenarios
-The laugh track
-The music cues especially in Dr. Sexy, Knight Rider and CSI: Miami

What did you guys think of the episode? There were like a million great lines, too many to mention. What were some of your favorites? Please comment below. I will include the lyrics to the awesomely silly Supernatural theme song, however:

Town to town, two-lane roads
Family biz, two hunting bros
Living the lie, just to get by
Long as we're moving forward
There's nothing we can't do
Together we'll face the day
You and I won't run away
When the demons come out to play (my favorite line by the way)
Together we'll face the day

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The Trickster traps Sam and Dean in a TV land where there are "300 channels and nothing on." The brothers find themselves in a world of medical dramas, bad sitcoms, procedurals, those embarrassing STD commercials and those wild Japanese game shows. Castiel is back and the Trickster makes a big revelation.
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Premiered: September 21, 2006, on CW
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (10,253 ratings)
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Premise: Two brothers hunt demons, ghosts and other supernatural entities as they investigate crimes caused by paranormal forces.

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