Supernatural: The French Mistake
September 9, 2021 5:20 AM - Season 6, Episode 15 - Subscribe

To protect Sam and Dean from a surprise attack from Raphael, Balthazar sends them both into an alternate universe where they are actors playing Sam and Dean Winchester on a TV show called Supernatural.


Dean: [Balthazar is ignoring him] I said, hey.
Balthazar: You did. Twice. Good for you.

Sam: [When they appear on the set of Supernatural] Should we be killing anybody?
Dean: I don't think so.
Sam: Running?
Dean: Where?

Kevin Parks: Gets us right up to where they... just before they hit the window.
Robert Singer: You know, the part where they hit the window was the good part.
Kevin Parks: Well, we can clean up, reset the window, takes about 95 minutes, basically, so we'd have to blow off the scene where they sit on the Impala and talk about their feelings.
Robert Singer: Ha, right! You answer the hate mail.

Makeup Girl #1: Jensen, there you are! Let's just get you in the chair.
Dean: The chair?
Makeup Girl #1: We're just gonna get this makeup off your face.
Dean: What? I'm not wearing any make...[sees makeup on the makeup wipe] Oh, crap! I'm a painted whore!

Dean: Dude, they put freaking makeup on us. Those bastards.

Sam: For whatever reason, our life is a TV show.
Dean: Why?
Sam: I don't know.
Dean: No, seriously. Why? Why would anybody want to watch our lives?
Sam: Well, according to the interviewer, not very many people do. Look, I'm not saying it makes sense. I'm just saying we -- we've landed in some dimension where you're Jensen Ackles, and I'm something called a "Jared Padalecki".
Dean: So what, now you're Polish? Is any of this making any sense to you?

Dean: Dear Castiel, who art maybe running his ass away from Heaven, we pray that you have your ears on. So breaker, breaker.

Sam: So, now, uh, what's the deal with all this TV crap?
Misha Collins: Pardon?
Dean: Yeah. Amen, Padaleski.
Sam: Uh, "lecki".
Dean: What?
Sam: Lecki. Pretty sure.

Dean: What is all this, huh? W-What did Balthazar do to us?
Misha Collins playing Castiel: To keep you out of Virgil's reach, he's cast you into an alternate-reality, a universe similar to ours in most respects yet dramatically different in others.
Dean: Like -- like Bizarro Earth, right? Except instead of having Bizarro Superman, we get this clown factory.

Dean: These are words in a script! This isn't Cass!
Misha Collins: You guys wanna run lines or...?
Dean: His name's Misha! Misha?
Sam: Oh, wow!
Dean: Misha? Jensen? What's up with the names around here?

Misha Collins: You guys! You really punked me! I'm totally gonna tweet this one. "Hola, Misha-migos. J-Squared got me good. Really starting to feel like one of the guys."

Sam: [looks at a name plate on an RV trailer] Hey. J. Ackles.
Dean: That's fake me.
Sam: Yeah.
Dean: This must be fake mine.

Dean: [sees a large model helicopter in Jensen Ackles' trailer] Dude, I have a helicopter.
Sam: Whoa. All right, who puts a 300-gallon aquarium in their trailer?
Dean: Apparently, Jensen Ackles.

Dean: I wanna go home. I feel like this whole place is bad-touching me.

Dean: Where the hell are we anyway? [they pass a Vancouver highway sign] We're not even in America.

Dean: Maybe we can't get out of, you know, Earth Number Two right now. But the least we can do is get the hell out of the Canadian part of it. If I hear one more conversation about hockey, I'm gonna puke.

Sam: [looks at a tanning bed] What am I, Dracula?
Dean: George Hamilton Dracula.

Dean: [to Sam] Dude, you have a camel in your backyard.
Genevieve Padalecki: It's an alpaca, dumbass.

Dean: [to Sam] Wait... you and Ruby?
Genevieve Padalecki: Do you *honestly* think that's funny, Jensen?
Dean: Right. Right. Because you're not... Ruby. You... I mean, how could you be? You... of course! You are the *lovely* actress who plays Ruby. And you... are in... Jared's house, um, because you two are... [spots Jared and Genevieve's wedding photo] Married! You *married* fake Ruby?

Dean: Just I thought I'd pop in. Say hey. Hey. And maybe run some lines.
Genevieve Padalecki: You've never even been to our house.
Dean: Well, now that I know there's an alpaca, I'm definitely coming back.

Clif Kosterman: So I don't mean to pry, but why are we picking up packages at 8 a. m... that haven't cleared customs yet?
Dean: Just saving time.
Clif Kosterman: Not doing anything illegal, are we?
Sam: Make you feel better if we said no?
Clif Kosterman: No.

Misha Collins: Ooh. Priority. What's in it?
Sam: I bought part of a dead person.

Sam: [reading the episode script] Who wrote this? No one says "penultimate."
Dean: Gun, mouth, now.

Sam: [to Robert Singer] Wait, you're kidding. So, the character in the show, Bobby Singer...
Dean: What kind of douchebag names a character after himself?
Sam: Oh, that's not right.

Robert Singer: Guys. You can't come to work on poppers. And smuggle kidneys in from Mexico. And make up your own lines as you go. You *cannot* make up your own lines. Good God, what about your careers?
Sam: You know what? Screw our careers, Bob.
Robert Singer: What?
Dean: You heard my brother. That's right, I said brother. Because you know what, Bob? We're not actors. We're hunters. We're the Winchesters. Always have been and always will be. And where we're from, people don't know who we are. But you know what? We matter to that world. We even saved the son of a bitch once or twice. And yeah, okay, here, maybe there's some fans who give a crap about this nonsense.
Robert Singer: I wouldn't call it "nonsense".
Dean: But, Bob Singer... if that even is your name... tell me this. What does it all mean?
Robert Singer: Okay. This is good. I mean, we've all had our psychotic breaks, right? I can work with it.
Sam: Dean. Virgil. I think he has the key.
Dean: We quit.
Sam: Yeah.

Sera Gamble: I'm trying to understand, Bob.
Robert Singer: Well, uh, Sera, we don't really understand it ourselves. But it appears that Jared and Jensen were seen beating an extra to death.
Sera Gamble: Huh.
Jim Michaels: This is Jim here, Sera, and it wasn't all the way to death. Only partway, so that's a plus.
Kevin Parks: He could definitely still run.

Sera Gamble: Eric's off in some cabin somewhere, writing his next pilot.
Robert Singer: He sold OctoCobra?
Sera Gamble: Yes.
Robert Singer: Mother of God. They'll buy anything.

Homeless Guy: [after Virgil kills Misha Collins] Yeah, that's right. The scary man killed the attractive crying man.

Eric Kripke: [after Misha Collins' murder] Bob, dude, what the hell, right?
Robert Singer: Eric, thanks for coming.
Eric Kripke: Of course.
Robert Singer: I know you're busy. It means a lot that we can still, you know, call on you.
Eric Kripke: I know. Misha, right?
Robert Singer: Oh, I know, I know. It's just awful.
Eric Kripke: Totally. Totally awful, yeah. Hey, it got us the front page of Variety, though, did you see that?
Robert Singer: Front page. Really?
Eric Kripke: Yeah.
Robert Singer: But tragic.
Eric Kripke: Yeah, tragic, that's what I was going to say.


The tweets "Misha" tweeted were real. He actually pulled out his phone and typed them as the camera was rolling.

In a scene where the stunt doubles are rehearsing a fight, they are Jared and Jensen's actual stunt doubles.

In the alternate universe in this episode, "Jared" and "Jensen" don't talk to each other. In real life, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are best friends and were groomsmen in each other's weddings. In a scene, the producers comment on how Jensen is living with Jared. In real life, Jensen Ackles did live as a roommate in Jared Padalecki's house in Vancouver, before both their marriages.

When the concept for this episode was brought forward, Misha Collins, who played himself, asked the writers to make the character as much of a jerk as possible. When the final script was given to him and he still wanted to add something to it, in his own words he said he tried to "douche the character up as much as possible", and he came up with some extra things like pushing the hairstylist away and giving an intern the cold shoulder.

According to Jared, Genevieve Padalecki was afraid to come back to the show, after the negative reception her character had, but agreed when told the script would make fun of her.

The name of Jared and Jensen's bodyguard/ driver in this episode is Clif Kosterman. Clif Kosterman was actually the actors' bodyguard and guest starred as "Tiny" in the season 2 episode "Folsom Prison Blues" (ep. 2:19).

The picture of Jared Padalecki's wedding is one of his actual wedding photos.

Jared and Jensen said in a convention they were worried when they were called to the writer's room for the episode, because they never are. The writers wanted their permission to do the episode mocking them. They have both said that they were skeptical at first about "playing themselves", but Jensen said that as long as he was never asked to break character as Dean then it really didn't matter what they were called or what situation they were in. Both actors have said that this episode ranks high on their list of favourite episodes.

In Jensen's trailer, Sam and Dean see a clip from his work at a soap opera. The clip is an actual one from Jensen Ackles's work in Days of Our Lives. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles had thought the clip playing on the laptop will be added in post-production. However, the actual clip was played as the scene was shot, and Jared's and Jensen's reactions are mostly real. Jensen later said he felt "embarrassed" to watch it.

There is a scene where 'Bob Singer' tells the boys they cannot make up their own lines, which is a little meta joke. Both Jared and Jensen have confirmed that from time to time, while they can't (and would never attempt to) fundamentally change any of the actual story lines, they do play with the dialogue as necessary to make it feel right for Sam and Dean. Since they've been playing the characters for so long the writers do trust them, and give them leeway to do so within reason.

When Dean asks Sam why would anyone watch their lives, Sam answers that, according to his interviewer, "not very many people do", as a joke reference to the show's ever-struggling ratings.

The idea for "Jared" to have an alpaca in his backyard came from Jared and Genevieve Padalecki's real-life honeymoon trip to Machu Picchu.

The studio where the show is filmed in the alternate reality is named KM Studios, an homage to the show's late producer Kim Manners.

The title 'The French Mistake' is from the dance number performed in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, where the characters' mêlée in the Western movie spills over to a Busby Berkeley-like number being shot in another part of the studio.

When Dean and Sam arrive at Jared Padalecki's home, there is a tanning bed that seems to be a coffin, then Sam asks: "What am I? Dracula?" and Dean answers "George Hamilton Dracula" they are talking about the movie Love at First Bite, in which George Hamilton stars a very well sun tanned vampire.

In the last scene in the "meta world" in Bobby's house Dean suggests Sam wouldn't be that broken up if they got stuck in the "meta world", which Sam denies and Dean responds "Well, I'm just saying. No hell below us, above us only sky," quoting a line in the John Lennon song "Imagine".

Jared and Genevieve have since auctioned off the triptych portraits of themselves featured in "their" house for charity.

When "Kripke", the show creator, dies, his white shirt is shown with blood spattered in the same pattern as Mary Winchester's nightgown in the series pilot.

When the boys go to "Jared's" house and are flabbergasted by the size and opulence of the house Sam remarks, "I must be the star of this thing," it's technically true. Although both Jared and Jensen are the leads of Supernatural and neither is treated with any more deference than the other, the show was originally written with Sam as the pivotal character (because his choice to leave with Dean and take up hunting again sets the entire plot line in motion). They cast the role of Sam first, and during the show's run Jared was always #1 on the call-sheet (which is pride of place, reserved for the star of the production).

In a brief moment in Jensen's trailer, if you look at the video playing in the background of him and Jared long enough, they briefly break the 4th wall even further and wink directly at the camera. This is in the aired scene.

After Raphael disappears in the middle of the final scene Balthazar says to Castiel, "Well, Cass... now that you have your sword, try not to die by it." This is a reference to the Bible verse Matthew 26:52, which describes a disciple (identified in the Gospel of John as Peter) drawing a sword to defend against the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and then being rebuked by Jesus, who tells him to sheath the weapon. The verse reads, "Then said Jesus unto him, 'Put up again thy sword into his place, for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.'"

In the scene where "Bob Singer" is talking on the phone with "Sera Gamble" about how "Jensen" and "Jared" tried to beat an extra to death, he says that maybe it would be better if "Kripke" himself came to set to talk to them because the boys don't really know "Sera". This is in reference to Sera Gamble taking over as show runner in season 6 following Eric Kripke's exit at the end of season 5.
posted by orange swan (13 comments total)
I love that Misha Collins's tweets were real.

I'd bet money that Jared Padalecki has had to correct people who who say his name as "Padaleski" countless times in his life.

This one was quite a lot of fun. I liked that they added some invented details to make the actual people more entertaining and parodies of themselves, like making Misha Collins a vapid douchebag, or the alpaca, the tanning bed, the otter benefit, the triptychs of Jared and Genevieve in their house.

We didn't hear about Jensen being married, but I suppose if they'd had Danneel in the episode it wouldn't have had the same impact as having Ruby in it, and perhaps they were "saving" her for a role in the Supernatural universe later on.

It seems to me that, realistically, Sam and Dean would have stayed in the alternate universe. They didn't have so many attachments in their own world that it would have been so hard to leave them, and while they wouldn't have wanted to be actors they could surely have taken their capital and done something else with their lives in a world where there were no monsters to contend with. Their reasons for going back seemed pretty flimsy to me.
posted by orange swan at 5:28 AM on September 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

This and Fan Fiction (S10E05) make the best double feature.
posted by mikelieman at 6:22 AM on September 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

It makes sense to me that they'd return- they know their world is still out there, with work that needs doing, and they don't really seem to enjoy the alternate universe very much aside from the amenities afforded by wealth. They're both sufficiently duty-bound people that they wouldn't shrug and go "welp, guess we're off the hook."
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:25 AM on September 9, 2021

Jensen's ability to act Dean's inability to act just slays me.
posted by tomboko at 6:56 AM on September 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

When encountering this episode for the second time (while watching the series from the start), I was really hoping that "Singer" and "Kripke" and "Gamble" were actually "Singer" and "Kripke" and "Gamble" in the same way Padalecki and Ackles were "Padalecki" and "Ackles." Of course, they weren't, but it was an interesting question to ponder while the episode was rolling.

I will admit that I only wondered about that because I've been participating and (mainly) reading these threads. If I had just been watching the show on my own, I doubt any of these names would have meant too much to me. Now, I'm curious about them, to a degree. Not necessarily enough to go out looking for video and photos of them to compare them to their fictional TV counterparts, but enough that I thought about doing so for a split second or two.
posted by sardonyx at 7:29 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'd always thought that was the real Eric Kripke and Robert Singer in this episode, and it turns out it wasn't. That wasn't even Sera Gamble's voice on the telephone. I'm wondering if they did it that way because none of them are actors. They didn't even have Clif Kosterman play himself, which is surprising because he does seem to be able to act well enough to have handled it. I suppose it would have been too distracting to have Tiny the Inmate turn up as their driver.

And I'd like to direct your attention to this photo, which I find quite a laugh.

Also funny: Genevieve Padalecki dragging Sam upstairs so they can have sex, and his, "Oh well, it's not like I haven't had sex with Ruby before, so..." reaction.
posted by orange swan at 9:18 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is one of the most ridiculous and insane episodes of Supernatural and reading this recap makes me want to go out and start rewatching Supernatural all over again.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:11 PM on September 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

To paraphrase someone from the internet ether, The Monster At The End Of This Book walked shitfaced out of the bar so The French Mistake could run into oncoming traffic. And I love it to BITS.

The rich blessings of "it's season six and we've all lost the will to live" getting funnier every single year for nine more years.

Automatically memorizing any Enochian blood symbol you happen to see written in blood is a pretty good habit to have on this show.

I assume this episode is at minimum 35% in-jokes not entirely intended for my enjoyment and another 10% is pop culture references I do not understand, but the entire set for the Padalecki house makes me laugh and laugh (I too thought that thing was a coffin.) It's also extremely funny that they did not seem to investigate if that giant mansion had a guest room, and just left Dean on the couch while Sam went up to have fun no-strings Bizarro World fake-married sex with, from his perspective, a total stranger who believes he is her husband and looks exactly like his ex, the demon who ruined his life (yeah yeah "I was up all night looking online" okay.) (But it is pretty cute when Sam/JA looks at Genevieve like he just won the spouse lottery.)

"Guys. You can't come to work on poppers and smuggle kidneys in from Mexico." More in sorrow than in anger. 

I don't think it's morally wrong or whatever, I've had jokes with friends about ourselves that are at least this violent and morbid, but I'm never going to be able to enjoy watching a guy go around shooting helpless people.

The question of whether they would stay or want to stay is an interesting one. I actually hear that conversation less as a serious discussion about whether to abandon their lives and start over, and more about Dean mildly freaking out and wanting to hear Sam say that no, he does not want to run away, yes he wants to stay with Dean. Once he hears that he can chill out and deal with the situation.

But in terms of why they'd go back to the shitstorm of their real lives, I dunno. Being rich with no destiny and nothing trying to kill you probably sounds pretty good after the past few years. Though also, Dean JUST got his Sam back after a year and a half with a normal life and family that he felt (and probably was) incapable of sustaining, and hunting with Sam is always going to be a pretty compelling offer on Planet Dean. It's an interesting question whether Sam's wall and what's behind it would follow him to "Jared's" life, but his life is also the closest to what he'd consider normal, maybe since Dean died, but certainly a while, and regardless of how he got here I think he likes his life for what it is. Dean thought the djinn's fantasy world in What Is And What Should Never Be was really nice too, till he found out how many people they weren't saving--they'd still know all the awful things still happening back on their world, they just wouldn't know what it was or be able to do anything about it. There are real arguments they're better off staying, maybe even an argument that their world might be safer with them off the table, I just don't think they have it in them.
posted by jameaterblues at 1:42 PM on September 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

One of THE best episodes of the show.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:45 PM on September 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Seriously echoing everything about about how great this episode is. It's one of the two (or three) that convinced me to actually watch a show I had casually dismissed for years. I figured if they could pull something like this out of there hats (or other locations) the odds were good they had more to offer.
posted by sardonyx at 2:50 PM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Cute episode. Liked that people were willing to poke fun at themselves, especially Misha Collins. Bit of a missed opportunity for Jim Beaver not to show up out of character.

I swear Virgil (Carlos Sanz) absolutely loomed over even Padalecki but Sanz is listed at 6'1" or so. Stilt/ elevator shoes/ perspective?
posted by porpoise at 6:44 PM on September 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'd forgotten that the episode order went from Manequinn 3 to this. Supernatural sure can be a little uneven at times.

Their bad acting scene lives rent free in my head at all times. ("If there is a KEY, there must also be a LOCK!")
posted by dinty_moore at 1:02 PM on September 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'd heard about this show, well I guess for years and finally decided to watch an episode. This was my introduction, made no sense but I was hooked.
posted by sammyo at 5:20 PM on September 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

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