'Supernatural' meta madness review: 'The French Mistake' shatters the fourth wall, and we like it

spn-french-320.jpgIf you're like us, you were probably a little bit wary when you heard about " Supernatural's" meta episode, "The French Mistake," in which Sam and Dean find themselves in an alternate universe where their names are Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. It's always a risk when a show decides to break down the fourth wall in such a dramatic fashion -- but now that we've seen the episode, we'd call it a risk worth taking!

"The French Mistake" is arguably the funniest episode "Supernatural" has ever had -- it made us laugh even more than the Ghostfacers episodes or "Changing Channels." There have been episodes that affectionately poked fun at the fans, like "The Real Ghostbusters" and "The Monster at the End of this Book." This episode flips the script, mercilessly teasing the people behind the show we so love -- namely Ackles, Padalecki, Misha Collins, and yes -- even head honchos Sera Gamble, Bob Singer, and Eric Kripke.

After getting a little too caught up in the angel civil war, Balthazar helps Sam and Dean break the fourth wall - well, technically, it's a window - and stumble directly into a world where there's no magic, no angels, no apocalypse, no gas in the Impala, and no limit on Jared Padalecki's black card.

They're forced to play the roles of Jensen and Jared -- pretentious, vain actors who, of course, can't stand each other. (The on-set terror alert is set to orange as soon as they do speak.) Their co-star Misha is the kind of guy who sends tweets like, "Hola, Mishamigos! J-Squared got me good! Really starting to feel like one of the guys."

We're glad that his actual tweets are a little more fun than that. Collins is hysterical as himself -- and it's pretty cool to hear him talk (and, uh, cry) in his real voice instead of his Castiel growl.

The jokes are mostly at Jared's and Jensen's expense. Jared's ever-present "blue steel" model face from every promo photo ever doesn't go unnoticed by Dean, and Sam digs up some old YouTube clips of Jensen's soap opera days.

Yes, "Days of Our Lives'" Eric Brady makes an appearance in this episode. And it's glorious.

All that's even before we get to the Padalecki Mansion. To say it's impressive is an understatement. "Wow," Sam says. "I must be the star of this thing." It is, of course, where Jared lives with... Ruby. Genevieve Padalecki plays a highly exaggerated, hysterically Hollywood version of herself, and we love that she came back to the show ready and willing to be the butt of a whole bunch of jokes. Let's just say there's a tanning bed in the front hallway and an alpaca in the back yard.

In particular, you should look forward to Kripke's appearance, which had us nearly crying, we were laughing so hard, to the photo hanging above Jared's desk in his manor o' wealth, and to producer Bob Singer's no-nonsense approach to his lead actors: "You can't come to work on poppers!"

"The French Mistake" more than makes up for the darkness of the first half of the season. Tune in Friday, Feb. 25 at 9 p.m. EST.


Photo/Video credit: CW