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Sweatpants & TV | Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 16: “ScoobyNatural”

By Barbara Doyle

Meta-episodes. Some people love ‘em, some people hate ‘em. Me? I’m always up for a little lighthearted fun, especially when the season is particularly heavy, so I happily went along with this, where Scooby met Winchester and mystery was afoot. Here are some of my favorite moments.

I Love You, You Love Me

The opening fight, where Sam and Dean take down what they think is a cursed object in the form of a murderous giant stuffed dinosaur, set the tone for the hilarity and surreal nature of the whole ep. Especially funny? When Dean says that killing “Barney” was satisfying, and Sam gives a little smirk of agreement. Anyone who was forced to watch that show by a toddler has wanted Sam and Dean to take that annoying purple bastard out for YEARS.

The Fortress of Deanitude

Anyone else love this man cave built for two? Dean has never hesitated to make the Bunker his own, and, with the newly acquired (haunted) TV, a bar, a foosball table and elderly LazyBoy recliners, this room was made for hunkering down with something other than research. That is, until the idiot box becomes remote controlling and sucks them into Scooby’s world.

Two-D Wheeler

Our boys’ reactions to becoming two-dimensional? After a slap across the cheek that illustrates the laws of the land, fitting. Sam wants to figure it all out, Dean just wants to enjoy the ride.

And enjoy it he shall, because Baby, my favorite third character on the show (sorry, Cas) jumps into Scoobyland too. Didn’t she look wonderful? And the only qualm I have about an otherwise excellent episode? Baby NEVER would have lost a race to the Mystery Machine.

Art History

It was wonderfully bittersweet to learn why Dean was so ready and willing to accept his new animated life as he recalls being John’s child, dragged everywhere, with the only constant a TV showing the Scooby gang. The Winchester childhood, especially Dean’s, was so adult and terrifying and sad, it was nice to hear that they had at least some opportunity to be kids. It must have been a good escape, to watch a world where monsters weren’t real, and everything always worked out in the end.

“I’m Gonna Need a Bigger Mouth”

Cue Etta James singing “At Last”—Dean’s been waiting since Season Five’s “Changing Channels” to have a jaw flexible enough to accommodate a multiple-decker sandwich. He’s clearly relishing being a part of the Scooby Gang, including being in the presence of the curvaceous Daphne, while Sam?

Well, let’s just say the animators did an excellent job of capturing his exasperated face.

“A Night of Fright is No Delight”

Turns out? Dean’s seen this one a million times, but he still wants to experience the journey of spending the night in a “haunted” house with the gang (for many reasons, most of which involve a purple dress.) I’ve watched my share of the Doo in my day, both as a child and as a mom, and the Scooby-esque tone of the episode was note perfect. From Daphne’s innocence and Fred’s enthusiasm, to Velma’s practicality and Shaggy and Scooby’s gulps of fear, it really was like watching an old episode of the cartoon. With two (soon to be three) welcome additions.

Even the “costumes” were awesome, especially Dean’s nightgown—ahem—I mean sleeping robe. Seeing that in the three dimensional world? Now on my bucket list. I mean those calves are awesome animated. In real life? SWOON!

Exclamation Points

“Jinkies!” “Jeepers!” “Zoinks!” “Ruh-roh!” “Son of a bitch!” Starting with the real blood (and death!) of a character, and Dean’s PG-13 utterance, the episode deftly worked the splattery goodness of a Supernatural episode into the cartoon while still keeping it reasonably childlike. Okay, okay, so the hanging beheaded torso would be a bit much, but I think the writers and animators did a great job of weaving the two worlds together tastefully. Scooby for grownups. I can get behind that.

The Pizza Man

Does anyone else want to see the story of how Cas accidentally married the queen of the djinn? I DO! Adding the deadpan of Castiel to the mix made things even more fun. Especially when he helped the boys make the connection between the purple sparks set off by the murderous Barney in the beginning to the sparks set off by the DeanCave’s TV. Dean’s insistence on maintaining the gang’s innocence makes them say they are just writing a book. Called “The Killer Stuffed Dinosaur…In Love”. Fingers crossed that’s the title of the next meta episode.

Laws of Metaphysics

Another successful weaving? Seeing how animated rules (like the handprint on Sam’s face in the beginning) and the SPN rules (like Sam and Dean using iron to temporarily banish the ghost) worked together. One law that applied in both realms? The law of attraction, and not just Dean for Daphne.

Apparently, since she referred to his broad shoulders about a zillion times, Velma had a bit of a thing for Sam. And who wouldn’t? He draws up NICE. Plus, as Sam told Velma, “We’ve saved the world. A lot.” Of course, at first, he cannot convince her. But he sure can make her blush.

Theme Strong

After the our boys and the gang split into teams, they all have their own mini adventures ultimately leading to an utterly delightful chase through the haunted mansions hallways in true ‘Doo fashion. It was amazing to see a traditional Scooby chase scene unfold with Cas and the Winchesters in the running, so to speak, and hearing the theme song play as they scrambled? Priceless.

Breakdown, Go Ahead—Give It to Me

Finally, sadly, Sam and Dean tell the gang the truth of ghosts, and the supernatural world they inhabit. The breakdown of the Scoobies? Pretty damned funny. Fred literally bangs his head against a tree when thinking of the fact that his life has no meaning. Velma curses her blindness to the truth. Daphne wonders in terror about heaven and hell being real. Shaggy and Scooby? Get the ultimate “I told you so”.

But I loved Dean’s pep-talk about the fact that they have faced dangers before and can again. And I LOVED that when they gang mused about needing real ghost hunting supplies? They ended up oohing and ahhing over, as we all would, the contents of Baby’s trunk.

Spirited a Salt

Fred’s trap, which, wisely, involves salt and, weirdly, involves coconuts, ultimately fails, but plan B traps the ghost in a salt circle, where we finally (and a little bit sadly) find out the truth—it’s a child, whose spirit is bound to a pocketknife, who acts on the whims of, guess what, a real estate developer trying to scare people away from the neighborhood shops he wants to purchase. The interweaving of the live action and animated sequences presented as authentic Scooby-esque flashbacks really worked, and gave the story some SPN credibility. It’s nice that there was an actual, followable plot in here amidst all the fun. Kudos to the writers for preserving it.

The Fourth Wall

Of course, the boys need to set the Scoobyverse right, so they use the ghost, whom they have promised to free in the real world, to set up the elaborate ruse to prove to the Scooby gang that ghosts are just stories. When Velma says she always knew the supernatural wasn’t real, Cas’ look at the camera and grunt of annoyance was very “Jim from the Office” and made for a hearty chuckle.

Time to Say Goodbye

Dean musing to Daphne that they’ll never know what could have been. Cas, once again with Shaggy and Scooby in his arms, thanking them for helping him laugh in the face of danger. Yeah, yeah. The best parting was when Velma seized the moment and kissed the breath out of Sam, walking away swooning, “Those shoulders. Jinkies!” I FEEL YOU, GIRL!!! Selma 4 Lyfe!

Flashbacks, What a Feeling

In the end, after stating that that was the coolest thing that had ever happened to him including the Cartwright twins, Dean smashes his beloved TV and finds the pocketknife stashed inside. Sam torches it and sets the ghost free, and then the trio goes to confront the real estate developer just as he is about to take over the local pawnshop. Telling the story back in Scooby flashback fashion, complete with cool music, was just the right conclusion, bringing the tone of the animation through to the live action world. The developer knows no one will believe their accusations but that’s okay—since the boys hacked his financials and found tax evasion he’s headed for the clink anyway, a logical conclusion amidst all the levity.

“Velma was right,” Sam says, “It was a shady real estate developer after all.” Great resolution, writers! The developer even says, to Dean’s gasping delight, the line about how he would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids, and while this was the only moment that felt forced to me I was so pleased after such a fun episode I was willing to go with it. Dean’s yodeling Scooby-Dooby-Doo and defense of his newly acquired red ascot lead us out, and I (and hopefully you, too) was left satisfied after a long year of waiting.

Back to (alternate) reality next episode? Looks like it. See you next week for Episode Seventeen, “The Thing.”

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About Barbara Doyle (196 Articles)
Barbara Sirois Doyle is a Contributing Editor for Sweatpants & Coffee. She is a writer, mixed-media artist, and, most important, a wife and mother to her boyos three. She is a voracious reader, unapologetic uber-geek, and lover of all types of music, from Public Enemy to Rachmaninoff. If she's not watching Supernatural or Doctor Who, she is likely trolling the internet for amusing cat photos. She takes her coffee light with no sugar.

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