The Eric Kripke WTF? Moments
We all adore everything Eric Kripke has given us. We canâ€™t imagine our lives without his creative genius in creating and developing Supernatural. Heâ€™s given us so many wonderful memories to relish and obsess over time and time again.
One cannot deny that all showrunners make some colossal mistakes, and Eric Kripke is no exception. What fun is creativity if we canâ€™t poke fun at those glaring missteps from time to time? Thatâ€™s why celebrity roasts are popular. In this case, there are some big â€œWTF?â€ incidents so glaring that they had me wondering if Mr. Kripke forgot to bring donuts to the pitch meeting and his staff told him his ideas were great due to anger and/or low blood sugar.
This list isnâ€™t limited to the Kripke episodes. All blunders of the first five seasons fell on him just because he was the man in charge and gave these questionable creative choices his big ole stamp of approval. As the saying goes, â€œThe tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the lawnmower.â€
So sit back and reminisce with me those times when we wondered or even shouted aloud, â€œWTF Kripke?â€
This is the obvious case of "this new showrunnereth knows not what he's doingeth." With this one, itâ€™s a brand new showrunner in which series fatigue has already hit come episode seven (â€œHookmanâ€), which was really episode three but got switched. So how do you pull the series out of its funk? A scary bugs episode! Because, you know, bugs are scary as Hell. Itâ€™s a concept so awesome that one the most respected directors in television begged Kripke not to do it, because he saw the concept was so NOT awesome. Live and learn became this lesson.
Bugs vs. Winchesters and ignorant family. Where do I begin? Sure, some great filming stories emerged, like sending your two stars (your only cast members) into a tent with hundreds of live bees telling them not to annoy them, yet the script calls for them to wave at the bees. Then, after all that trouble finding out that bees donâ€™t show up on film, so they have to use CGI anyway.
Thatâ€™s just the tip of the iceberg though. This is easily the worst script ever written (okay, â€œHammer of the Godsâ€ was a close second). Horrible dialogue, a bad legend story that was so cliche it made Arnold Schwarzenegger films look original, and guest acting that had the enamor of toast. Even the usually solid lead actors were off, probably because the script called for them to go into a tent of live bees and piss them off. However, none of that holds up to the climactic scene in which the bugs invade.
Plotting such a scene sounds so rudimentary. The standoff is supposed to last from midnight until dawn. However, this being television, the script in itâ€™s plotting only allowed five minutes for the actual bugs to invade. No problem, use the â€œtime lapseâ€ trick of multiple cuts of the same scene using a different perspective, with perhaps a comment or two from someone that itâ€™s â€œxâ€ amount of minutes to dawn or do subtle changes in the lighting as the standoff wears on. Or, do something avantgarde. How about showing a continuous scene that lasts for five minutes but really took place over six hours! Yeah, the audience wonâ€™t know the difference. Kripke still has yet to live down going with the latter choice.
Even though this is one of my least favorite episodes in terms of story, Iâ€™m cutting Kripke some slack on that since he technically didnâ€™t write it and poor casting choices (**cough Cassie cough**) happen. Whoever played her mother though, letâ€™s hope the actress enjoyed the taste of scenery since she chewed so much of it.
Still, Iâ€™m essentially forgiving a story about a racist truck belonging to a racist ghost. If that doesnâ€™t sound crazy, how about the fact that logistics is what really sunk this episode. Originally, it was supposed to take place in the deep south of Mississippi. However, the show is filmed in Vancouver and by bad luck it snowed. Suddenly, the deep South became Cape Girardeau, Missouri. You know, that quaint little town on the Mississippi River where itâ€™s often wet and snowy in April. Even though itâ€™s only 100 miles south of St. Louis it surely must be close enough to the Gulf of Mexico to warrant shrimping boats in their large and robust seaside harbor. Plus, we know all our US history and the deep seeded racism toward blacks that existed in this border state aligned with Union.
The technical and setting mistakes in this episode were staggering. For example, they showed the odometer when Dean was being chased by the truck and he drove more than the instructed .7 miles. Thatâ€™s nitpicking though, especially with everything else that happened in this episode. The worst for me was when they had to pull the truck out of a lake. One that had been sitting on the bottom for 40 years.
Lucky for Sam and Dean, getting the truck was no problem, for they used the top notch sonar equipment that Cassie had in the garage to find it. Good thing she had that since something thatâ€™s sat in the bottom of the lake that long would be buried in sludge and muck and hard to find otherwise. Once it was found, all that was needed was a simple tug with the Impala, right? An easy tug that wonâ€™t rip apart either vehicle, or involve Sam and Dean getting wet. All Sam and Dean had to do was throw the chain into the lake and snag the truck in the perfect spot for eventless towing. Theyâ€™re that talented.
Rumor has it though there was really a deleted scene where they went into impossibly freezing cold lake, pulled out the truck, went to the Laundromat, cleaned their clothes, dried them, took a shower at the motel, put their now clean clothes on and went back to the truck, which was intact and roadworthy! Not a scrap of rust or decay anywhere even though it was made with easily rustable American steel. Itâ€™s a racist ghost truck miracle! Sadly, no evidence of that scene exists though, except the last part about the non-rusted truck, which actually made the episode.
Whatâ€™s even funnier, â€œRoute 666â€ is the highest rated â€œSupernaturalâ€ episode to date. Iâ€™m sure Kripke is still smacking his head over this lost opportunity to make a good impression.
All Hell Breaks Loose Part II
Remember John Winchester? The patriarch, the myth, the man, the legend. The badass hunter yet totally inept father that in his quest for justice ended up scarring his boys for life just to lose to the bad guys. His death is most tragic, since heâ€™s dragged to Hell in exchange for his eldest sonâ€™s life.
On the other side, you as showrunner are facing the very real possibility that your show will be cancelled. Youâ€™ve been told to wrap up a slow building five year mytharc in two episodes. Of course you need to bring John Winchester back, give his character some proper closure. Thereâ€™s a showdown at the graveyard, a determined spirit that busts out of the open gate of Hell, and ghost John Winchester appearing out of thin air to save the day by distracting Azazel long enough for Dean to kill him. Itâ€™s stuff that heroic legends are made of. Except...
He disappears forever in a trail of gold fairy dust??? (Long pause for head scratching). Really?
Wow, talk about totally invalidating two seasons of a badass character in three seconds. Why not let him grow some wings and have him fly away with his magic wand, spreading joy, love and swirls of rainbows everywhere before disappearing in that starry night? They probably would have done that if the budget allowed. Judging by the bad green screened scenes (John didnâ€™t even get to give Sam a proper farewell) and shaky editing, not to mention horribly sappy score prior to the pixie exit, there was no budget for anything.
Budget or not, I just wonder if what was done ended up being the mark of a desperate team that had to do something and figured why not, they likely didnâ€™t have jobs anymore anyway. Imagine the egg on their faces when the show was renewed!
Roadkill and 99 Problems - What not to do with iconic Sci-Fi guest stars
â€œSupernaturalâ€ has benefitted from some amazing guest stars, especially as itâ€™s progressed. However, two big names in the Sci-Fi genre got to make their appearance on the show. They were, um, whatâ€™s the word Iâ€™m looking for... underutilized? Ah yes, miscast.
First there was â€œRoadkillâ€ aka â€œTouched by a Cylon.â€ This wasnâ€™t a bad episode, but one did have to question the â€œTouched By An Angel meets The X-Filesâ€ creative choice for the very special guest star. Sam plays Monica the angel and Dean plays Fox Mulder. Number Six is in the middle of all this being the total antithesis of a seductive and emotional humanoid Cylon. Picture a personality of wood instead and a whiny disposition that has us actually rooting for the homicidal ghost chasing her. Sheâ€™s helped though by the usually dark Sam Winchester who goes all heavenly, thus confusing us more with a character that was already all over the map at the time.
Given how much Tricia Helferâ€™s appearance was hyped for this particular episode, many felt a trite duped after this. She should have been kicking some major ghost ass and looking pretty doing it and then went into that heavenly light because dammit, she wanted to! No, she went with confusion because like us, she looked at Sam Winchester with disbelief and wondered why this freakishly tall dude was sending people into the light without a white suit and the soulful sounds of Della Reese.
Then there was â€œ99 Problems.â€ Michael Shanks, who already was guesting as the staggering Hawkman on â€œSmallville,â€ came over to the sister studio in Vancouver for another meaty role, a militia man that rids the town of demons using holy water and a fire hose! And thatâ€™s in the first five minutes! He makes his grand entrance, saves Sam and Dean and then...becomes a complete tailless wuss. He even turns on his best friend of many years because heâ€™s that weak and stupid and allows scores of other innocents to be persecuted. I get it though. Shanks got a paycheck and knowledge that he could kick ass on â€œSmallvilleâ€ instead and Kripke was crawling to the finish line.
The Magnificent Seven
The idea seemed great on paper. It was supposed to be like the old western, which was gunslingers defending Mexican peasants against ruthless local bandits. Seven gunslingers in all. A character driven action film. Alright! The only problem is, when did any of that happen it this episode? The only character driven was Dean to some wild out of character moments. Sam actually walking in on Dean during...you know what and being squicked by it? He did know what Dean was doing in there, right?
When your episode is titled after a classic badass western, it might not be best to kick off the long anticipated and scary demon war with not so scary and mostly annoying demons then introduce equally annoying hunters that make you wish that both sides just wiped each other out and called it a draw. An improvement would have been a Yul Brynner look-alike showing up and killing everyone, but hey, there was Ruby. When Ruby actually turns out to be the highlight of the episode, something went seriously wrong.
Heaven and Hell
I take this from Cracked.com's hilarious summary of Supernatural season four, but itâ€™s so dead on accurate.
â€œ(Season four) actually gets pretty good, until Eric Kripke stumbles in drunk and presents an episode in which demons and angels fist-fight, and Dean fucks one of them to twinkly music.â€
They didnâ€™t even bring up grace in a bottle. I donâ€™t want to either. Kripke started it though, so here goes. â€œKnock knock. Whoâ€™s there? Grace. Grace who? Grace living in a tree in Kentucky until the big bad black angel put me into a tiny bottle and wore me around his neck until another angel broke the vial and sucked me up.â€ It does sound like a bad joke, doesnâ€™t it? Oh, it was, just like when that same big black angel thought he was being funny by taunting Dean for helping himself to some â€œangel food cake.â€ Yes, that was the sound of me joining Kripke at that bar.
As if we werenâ€™t bothered enough, there was always a naked Ruby being strapped to a table and tortured. Why oh why couldnâ€™t that have been Sam? Or how about the fact that we couldnâ€™t enjoy Deanâ€™s nakedness because he was banging the angel to twinkly music in the dark back seat of the Impala? By the time the angels and demons did start fist fighting, we had been all absurded out and had nothing left.
Free To Be You And Me
Dean taking Castiel to a whorehouse had to look good on paper. The â€œfish out of waterâ€ setup worked before, why not now?
Why, well, itâ€™s because of common sense. What do you think is going to happen when an angel is reluctantly setup to get laid with a prostitute? Awkward! Castielâ€™s extreme discomfort became our extreme discomfort. Dean may have been laughing, but thatâ€™s because he had the right amount of beer. They should have included Samâ€™s deleted sex scene instead.
Hammer of the Gods
Hey, did you know all secular Gods are cannibals? Who knew? No one, because they arenâ€™t. In reading some basic folklore on every single one of the Gods in this story, only one came up as cannibal-ish and that was more due to the taste of spattered brains from pillaging hitting his lips. What a way to be open minded about other faiths and beliefs, by showing their deities as shallow, petty, arrogant, often stupid, and very bad actors to boot, excluding of course Gabriel, who was rewarded for being the only entertaining one by being killed. Thatâ€™s not offensive at all!
Actually, offensive works when itâ€™s done with the right amount of wicked satire. For a great example of satire done right look up in your library â€œSimpsons, The.â€ Hereâ€™s a way to do a humorous slant on a perilous situation. Homer Simpson is kidnapped when the family travels to Rio.
Homer: Can we stop? I have to go to the bathroom.
Kidnapper: You just went five minutes ago!
Homer: I have a bladder the size of a brazilnut!
Kidnapper: Around here we just call them nuts.
So, I can only imagine what really happened in this episode is Supernatural went for satire too. Now that I look at it closely, this episode was just dripping with sardonic wit. Eyeballs in the tomato soup? A real howler. How about people waiting to be eaten locked in a freezer? I couldnâ€™t contain my laughter. The guy running and screaming through the lobby as he was captured and had his head cut off? That was a hoot in a half. Those crafty cannibals. Remember Dean spouting Bruce Campbell lines to beings far more powerful that him because he was out of options? Sam just rolling his eyes and throwing bitchfaces because he wasnâ€™t given anything better to do? Itâ€™s all satire I tell ya!
Right. By that time, Kripke had his retirement speech written, so they ran with it.
So, any fond memories from the first five seasons of those moments that fell a little flat? Do share.