Supernatural isn’t afraid of getting a little meta with its audience. There are a fair number of episodes where it’s pretty obvious the writers and actors are winking at us. And when this happens, it’s pretty magical. We’ve thought long and hard, but eventually picked out our favorite meta moments of SPN. They also happen to be moments from some of our favorite episodes. It’s hard not to love the episodes where the writers mention things that are only written about in fan fiction. It makes the audience feel included and that their voices matter. We love feeling included! Can you guess which episode tops the list? If you’re a true SPN fan, we think you’ll already have guessed it. Scroll through to see if your favorite moments made the cut!
15. Wedding Bells
This series of GIFs comes from the SPN episode in season seven titled “Time For A Wedding.” In the episode, Sam is dosed by Becky. She uses a love potion on him in order to get him to marry her. The episode features quite a few meta moments (the most obvious comes from the title). The episode’s title refers to an oft used TV trope where a big event or plot twist is used to get ratings. In the episode, Becky uses Twitter to tweet about what’s going on. You can actually find a real Twitter account online called @SuperBeckyRosen! At this point in time, you can still see the old tweets from the account, but the Twitter handle is now up for sale. Drats!
14. The Third Winchester Brother
Remember Adam? We wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. Adam Milligan is the third Winchester brother. He’s the product of John Winchester’s philandering while off hunting. That makes Sam and Dean his half-siblings.
Sam and Dean meet Adam in the fourth season in the episode titled “Jump the Shark.” And a full season later, things turn for the worst when Sam and Adam are both trapped in Hell. And that’s apparently where Adam is still chilling: in Hell. He’s mentioned once more in season six when Dean makes a deal with Death to bring his brothers back. Death allows him to bring only one sibling back and he obviously chooses Sam. We get a final mention of Adam in the 10th season during the high school musical. It’s a total nod to the fact that Adam is basically never mentioned and that Sam and Dean have clearly forgotten about him.
This series of GIFs from the first season was from an episode titled, “Hell House.” It’s the first time we meet the Ghostfacers, and the entire episode was set in Richardson, Texas (which is actually where Jensen Ackles (Dean) is originally from!). And although, the town is depicted as a small rural city, in reality, Richardson is a large suburban city. The episode featured a website called “Hellhounds Lair,” and at the time, a website was created IRL for fans to submit their own ghost stories! Sadly, the website no longer exists. This episode definitely has subtle nods to the fact that the SPN universe is fictional and that there’s a whole real world out there. The characters even mention Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
We meet the Ghostfacers again in the episode aptly titled “Ghostfacers.” In this third season episode, Sam and Dean work a case with the two amateur ghost hunters. The two ghostbusters are attempting to film an episode of what they hope will become a reality show. This means that we get a lot of shaky camera footage going on as we watch from the cameraman’s point of view.
The episode actually took place after the Writer’s Guild went on strike and was intended to demonstrate the kind of television shows that would take over the airwaves if the strike never ended. It’s a bleak look at what television might have been. Our favorite part of the episode is the fact that Sam and Dean are total potty mouths throughout. How can we not laugh at those two solving mysteries and dropping curse words?
11. The Bat
“Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” was the 15th episode in the 12th season and featured a hellhound as the central baddie. The hellhound goes after a woman who never even sold her soul. Which means that the Winchester brothers had to team up with Crowley to fix the issue and save the girl.
In the episode, Dean picks up the baseball bat pictured and says “Man! Dad loved this thing.” It’s an obvious reference to the Walking Dead’s Lucille. Which, of course, is the name of the bat used by the show’s villain, Negan. What’s the connection? Well, Negan is played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan who also plays John Winchester—Sam and Dean’s less than stellar dad. The episode also features another line between Dean and Crowley that references “the girl of the week.”
This might just be the most meta episode of them all. The GIFs pictured are featured from the fourth season in an episode called “The Monster at the End of this Book.” Sounds scary, right? In the episode, we meet Chuck who has written a series of books called “Supernatural” under the alias, Carver Edlund. The pen name is a combination of Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund’s names, both writers for SPN. It’s a hilarious episode and Sam and Dean’s reactions to their status as fictional characters is even funnier. Our favorite part by far is the series of book covers depicting the Winchester brothers. The illustrated book covers feature two muscular men who look nothing alike; one of them was pictured shirtless with hair waving in the wind. HA sounds about right.
9. Paris Hilton
This is one of the most interesting episodes of Supernatural to date. In the episode, a God named Leshii transforms himself into different celebrities to gain worshippers. Of course, those worshippers won’t be around for long. Because sacrifice is the next step! It’s clear that the writers are making a comment on celebrity status. At one point, Leshii even takes on the form of Paris Hilton. When the disguised God attacks Dean, he tells Paris, “I’ve never even seen House of Wax.” Since he’s not a fan of Paris Hilton, he suggests that he can’t actually be sacrificed. And in case you weren’t aware, the actor that plays Sam (Jared Padalecki) was also in the film House of Wax alongside Paris Hilton. Ultimately, Paris Hilton is massacred by Sam, and he get’s a snub by his fictional brother.
“Sympathy for the Devil” was an episode from the fifth season where we meet Becky Rosen. We find out soon enough that she runs a fan site for the Supernatural book series. The website is actually called MoreThanBrothers.net. The website may have been online in real life at one point in time, but today it seems to be a parked domain. We like to think of the website as a huge nod to real life shippers and fan fiction writers. Anyways, back to the episode at hand. Becky is super into Sam, and in later episodes she doses him with love potion. She’s also a big Wincest shipper. Can you blame her? It’s hard not to ship those two because it’s super easy to forget that they’re even related. They look nothing alike and we’re pretty sure one of them must be adopted.
“The Real Ghostbusters” is yet another fabulous episode from the fifth season. This is when Sam and Dean head to a supernatural convention. The two main characters featured in the episode, aside from Sam and Dean, are named Demian and Barnes. These two names also belong to moderators from a Supernatural forum in real life! There’s also a direct reference to Sam’s “puppy dog” look that he often gives throughout the series. He usually uses the look on Dean when he wants to get his way. And Dean even says “Just give her the puppy dog thing, okay?” Hey, at least he’s aware Sam does the look quite awful.
There’s even a nod to the amount of times Sam and Dean drop their guns. A character mentions the fact how their illustrated characters drop their guns quite often, which also happens in real life as well.
6. Stars Hollow
Yep. This has got to be one of our favorite meta moments in the series. It’s subtle, but it’s great. This moment is from the 18th episode in the second season when the two brothers end up doing a tour around the Warner Brothers Studios lot. And what do they pass? The set of Gilmore Girls! In case you totally forgot, Jared Padalecki actually starred on the television show as Dean Forester! Ugh time goes by so fast.
In the scene above, Sam gets a bit uncomfortable and ends up leaving the tour. In the episode, there’s also a moment where creator Eric Kripke’s Boogeyman is referenced. The character (Tara) criticizes the movie which was written by Kripke. We really do love that the show is able to poke fun at itself and that the creators and writers aren’t shy about poking fun at themselves, too.
5. Dr. Sexy
Seriously. Look at Dean’s face. That look…it’s perfect. This GIF set is from the episode, “Changing Channels.” In the episode, Sam and Dean seem to be stuck in some weird reality where they’re on television shows. As it turns out, they’re dealing with a Trickster that has trapped them in this weird situation. They cycle through a series of shows including a sitcom and Dr. Sexy M.D—the fictional medical show that was set in Seattle Mercy Hospital (which is a clear reference to Grey’s Anatomy). I mean, even the doctor, Dr. Sexy, is clearly referenced to Patrick Dempsey’s McDreamy. And believe it or—Jensen Ackles (Dean) even acted alongside Dempsey in an older TV series called Blonde. Oh, and let’s not forget that Jeffrey Dean Morgan starred in Grey’s Anatomy as Denny Duquette. Someway or another, they’re all connected.
This scene is from the episode titled “Meta Fiction,” and it starts with Metatron speaking directly to the viewer, where he talks about the characteristics of a good story. The GIF set above is a clearly meta and the episode features quite a few 4th wall breaking moments. Metatron talks throughout the episode, to the audience, about storytelling. He chats with the audience and points out the importance of a relationship between the writer and his audience. He’s not wrong, and we think the Supernatural writers have a fairly good relationship with most of the fans of the show. Sure, there are folks who aren’t happy that their OTPs haven’t hooked up yet, but for the most part, we’re pretty pleased with the show. Okay, we’re more than pleased; we’re obsessed.
“Fan Fiction” is an episode from the 10th season. And it’s actually the 200th episode of the show—which is an amazing moment in any TV series. In the episode, Sam and Dean head to an all-girls high school to figure out what’s going on when a girl disappears. During their time at the high school, a musical is being staged. And, as it turns out, the musical is all about the Supernatural book series and heavily features slash fiction (same sex relationships between fictional characters). This is when Sam and Dean find out that the fans ship Destiel and Sastiel. Dean’s reaction is one of shock, and we particularly enjoy Sam’s delighted reaction to the whole thing. He clearly thinks it’s amusing and seems to enjoy teasing Dean about the whole Destiel pairing.
Here we have yet another clip from the “Fan Fiction” episode. The meta episode features quite a few moments like this GIF set. In this scene, Marie, is explaining what Destiel is to Dean. She’s, of course, referring to the fandom pairing of Dean and Castiel. It’s one of the most popular ships in the fandom, aside from Wincest, of course. And yes, Dean looks straight at the camera like he can’t even. It’s not the first time the brothers have heard of slash fiction, but it’s clear that this time around Dean is really weirded out by it. While the writers have made it clear that Dean and Castiel will never happen, this episode was a nice nod to fans who vehemently ship the pairing of an angel and a hunter.
Aside from “Fan Fiction,” this episode is probably one of the most meta in the SPN series. The episode is titled ‘The French Mistake’ and takes place in the sixth season. The title of the episode refers to an oment in movie history from a Mel Brooks’ film, where a wall is broken to reveal another movie set. In the scene, the fourth wall is literally broken. The episode features a bevy of crew members from the show, either playing themselves or being played by actors. In the episode, the two brothers find themselves on the set of the show Supernatural. Weird right? In this different reality, the two brothers seem to have taken on different identities. They find out that they are now called Jared and Jensen. Sam even finds himself married to a woman named Genevieve (which happens to be his wife IRL!).