Supernatural: #thinman
November 16, 2021 5:04 AM - Season 9, Episode 15 - Subscribe

When Dean and Sam investigate the murder of a teenage girl, they once again cross paths with the Ghostfacers.


Dean: You know what video would have gone viral, if we still had it? When you were five and got dressed up as Batman and jumped off the shed 'cause you thought you could fly.
Sam: After you jumped first.
Dean: Hey, I was nine, and was dressed up as Superman, okay? Everybody knows Batman can't fly.
Sam: Well, I didn't know that. I broke my arm.
Dean: I know you did. Man, I drove you to the E.R. on my handlebars.

Harry: Oh. The Winchesters. Yay.
Ed: Says nobody.
Harry: Ever.

Harry: [lifting his shirt to reveal a gun in his waistband] Say "hola" to my little pistola.
Dean: Am I supposed to be impressed with that treasure trail or the lady gun you got hiding in your, uh, pants there?
Harry: Uh...both?

Harry: What we have here is a, uh... It's a... looks like a formation of... sticks in the shape of a... pile.

Ed: Two people are dead -- really dead. And I just keep thinking that, you know, maybe Sam and Dean should just take over.
Harry: First of all, hell no. And -- and quit raining on my rainbow.
Ed: Rainbows can't happen without rain.
Harry: Don't try to use science with me. This is about a -- a feeling.

Ed: It’s Scooby-Doo time, douchebag. Take off the mask. I know you’re not Thinman. You’re just a me-me.
Harry: Ed, it’s pronounced meme.
Ed: It’s spelled M-E-M-E though.
Harry: The second E is silent.
Ed: You’re a me-me. A man meme. And I invented you.

Dean: So. How did you two meet?


The title of this episode, "#thinman", refers to the meme generally known as the "Slenderman", often called the internet's first urban legend. The meme was spawned by a "paranormal pictures" photoshop contest on the Something Awful (SA) Forums. The idea may have in turn been inspired by the German legend of the Tall Man.

Dean, talking of the internet's lack of veracity, mentions a shark attacking a helicopter. In 2001, a photoshopped hoax e-mail went viral. The photo showed a Great White in midair attacking a man suspended from a USAF Pave Hawk helicopter with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, and its caption claimed that National Geographic magazine voted it the photo of the year. This e-mail is so famously false it is used in textbooks as an example of the power of hoaxes.

Jeannot Szwarc, who directed this episode, also directed Jaws 2, which contained a scene of the shark attacking a helicopter.

When Dean says, "Sounds like sad times at Bitchmont High," it is a reference to the 1982 teen movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

When Dean asks, "What about the rest of the Bad News Bears?" he is referring to the 1976 comedy, The Bad News Bears, about a Little League baseball team made up of the league's worst players.

Sam and Dean confront the Ghostfacers in the diner and Dean says, "You two clowns are gonna get into that mystery machine outside and are gonna leave town." The Mystery Machine was the psychedelically decorated van from the late 1960's TV cartoon Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

Dean says that the tire tracks belonged to tires only used on a 1989 Geo Metro. This car when new had odd-sized 12" tires. This model sold with 12" tires through 1994, so it would not be possible to limit the tire to a 1989 model. Additionally, the original tires made for use in 1989 would not likely still be in use in 2014 due to dry rot (age) and tread wear (use).

The restaurant manager Trey's name is a reference to writer Trey Callaway, who invented the characters of Ed and Harry.

Jenny Klein, who wrote the episode, can be seen in the background of the motel hallway near the end of the episode.
posted by orange swan (6 comments total)
This is the last appearance of the Ghostfacers in the series, so I think we can assume Harry never was able to forgive Ed. I don't blame him. Ed made up a asinine lie to get Harry to break up with a woman he had wanted to marry and continue to be his partner in their ridiculous endeavour, it got a number of people killed, and now Ed has to live with the fact that he killed someone, even if it was justifiable.

You'd think the two of them would have wised up and realized they were meddling with things they weren't equipped to deal with after they got poor Corbett killed, so honestly I haven't any sympathy or patience for either of them.

Ed and Harry were an interesting counterpoint to Sam and Dean. They claim to be fighting ghosts and helping people, but they're not hunters. What they really wanted to do was document supernatural events for the sake of the benefits they'd get from it: fame, money, female attention. They loaded up on gadgets, put most of their efforts into self-promotion, and preened themselves on knowing what they were doing, but they never learned the skills they needed to do what they said they were doing. I cringed when I saw them filming in that dead teenage girl's bedroom, with her poor mother, who had given them access to her daughter's room because she was desperate to find out what had happened to her daughter, coming in to hear them carrying on about what stars they were going to become.

Sam and Dean, meanwhile, actually want to kill monsters and save people, so much so that it's the central purpose of their lives. Though they were well-trained by their father and are appropriately confident about their abilities, they continue to add to their skills and knowledge, and they have the humility and the realism to learn from those who know more than them, and to know when they need outside help. They seek no recognition for what they do (quite the opposite -- they are vigilantes who know they need to fly under the radar), and they don't think it entitles them to sex or wealth, though they do steal enough money from credit card corporations to fund their work and their barebones living expenses. Whenever they screw up, it's an honest mistake that they made given the limitations of what they knew or what the circumstances were at the time, and they never look like the kind of ridiculous bumblers Ed and Harry do.

The difference between the Ghostfacers and the Winchesters is the difference between dilettante poseurs and dedicated, skilled, experienced, and productive pros... and it's a radical difference. So many people spend so much time and effort vying for attention without ever seeming to realize that it's the people who are focused on doing what they do and who actually accomplish worthwhile things who are genuinely compelling, just as it's Sam and Dean we're watching rather than Ed and Harry, who are only interesting in terms of their dealings with/contrast to the Winchesters, and only good for a laugh.
posted by orange swan at 5:15 AM on November 16, 2021 [5 favorites]

This is the last appearance of the Ghostfacers in the series, so I think we can assume Harry never was able to forgive Ed.

Man, I never noticed or thought of it like that, but yeah, I guess so.

The other parallel this episode really hammers on is whether you can forgive someone for lying about something they did for your benefit, that goes horribly wrong and gets people killed. There are lots of understandable reasons Sam could get there and Ed can't--some that have to do with what you'll do for the person you jumped off a roof with when you were five, some with how hollow Harry's motives ultimately are, some much grimmer--but I'm not sure Harry and Ed don't do a better job dealing with their thing here than Sam and Dean do, even if it's irreconcilable.

I've been surprised by having a little more patience for the Ghostfacers this time through, or at least their presence in the show. I do think the show might've been better off with them being less over the top at times; when we're meant to take the side of the hot, competent, dramatic leads, they have to make the Ghostfacers unpleasant enough to not bring out viewer's underdog instinct, but not so unpleasant that they're a threat Sam and Dean are obligated to deal with, and they do that basically with a comedic register and that works fine enough. But this is not really a comedy episode, and the whole thing is just kind of a sad mess.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:09 PM on November 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Posted this earlier on the wrong thread, so I'll put it here where it belongs: I don't know guns and I didn't get a good look at the gun shoved in the Ghostfacer's waistband, but I found it ironic that Dean referred to it as a ladygun (or something like that). It was also pearl handled, wasn't it? And so are Dean's and Sam's.
posted by sardonyx at 8:37 PM on November 16, 2021

You only see the handle when Dean snarks about a "lady gun," but later, it looks like a .32 or maybe a small frame .38.

The .32 is underpowered partially to compensate for recoil in small frame revolvers (being small and light), and are considered more popular with women who's grip strength and hand size tends to be less than men. There are other calibers in .32 with more power but are for automatics or for bigger (heavier, bigger grip = better recoil control) revolvers. James Bond's Walther PPK is a .32 albeit a rather more powerful .32 ACP and the franchise even made fun of that caliber in 'Tomorrow Never Dies.'
posted by porpoise at 6:56 PM on November 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Ah, I spoke much too soon, but I was (mostly) correct.

My explanation wasn't satisfactory enough for me, so I looked it up.

The gun is, literally, a Smith & Wesson 631 "Lady Smith."

How Dean could tell just from the handle, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ though if it was a 631, looking it up, it's pretty rare and only produced in 1990 in a limited run of 5-thousand-ish.

The 631 chambers .32 H&R which is arguably better than the .32 ACP at short range but the recoil makes it useless for anything but point blank/ card table distance, keeping with .32s being gambler's (hence "card table distance") weapons or holdout concealed weapons.

But, yes, the Lady Smith line of revolvers are marketed predominantly to women.
posted by porpoise at 9:15 PM on November 17, 2021

I've heard of Lady Smiths and understand the smaller, lighter, packs-less-punch thing, but as I said, guns aren't my thing, and even if they were, getting a two-second glimpse at part of the handle and identifying it from there are next-level skills. Okay, I get why Dean mocked the gun, but even still, it's not like he's at full Dirty Harry S&W .44 or Ruger Super Blackhawk (or whatever the modern-day equivalent is) level of firepower. (At least I don't think he is.) And his gun is very pretty and shiny on top of it, which I'm sure makes him lose points in the manly man gun competition.
posted by sardonyx at 9:51 AM on November 18, 2021

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