The CW's Supernatural is one of TV's guilty pleasures: On the surface, it deals with demon-hunter brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) as they try to forestall Armageddon. But on the way, the show slyly sticks a fork in everything from pop culture (Paris Hilton recently appeared as herself in demon form) to rock music (the brothers regularly assume names based on famous rockers) to movies and TV itself. (Spoilers ahead!)
In tonight's episode, "Changing Channels," the show bites the hand that feeds it in a satire of TV shows. The Winchester boys investigate the murder of a guy whose head gets ripped off. It turns out to be the Incredible Hulk, and the guys quickly realize they've been sucked into an alternate universe where they are characters in different television series, a couple of which feel awfully familiar.
In particular, they find themselves dressed like doctors on an episode Dr. Sexy M.D.: think Grey's Anatomy, which airs opposite Supernatural and has been trouncing it in the ratings.
In short order, they jump channels to everything from a bad Japanese game show to a genital herpes commercial to a sitcom. When the fallen angel Castiel (Misha Collins) pops in and is quickly dispatched, Sam and Dean discover that their old nemesis, the Trickster (Richard Speight Jr.), might be the guy behind the channel-changing.
Among the treats to savor in this sendup of all things TV:
A faux product placement for Smeat.
A sitcom-like credit sequence.
Sam and Dean as McDreamy and McSteamy.