We never met a meta reference we didn’t like, especially when served up in a mega-clever way. So this Friday’s Supernatural (The CW, 9/8c) is truly something super, as it catapults Sam and Dean into an alt-reality where they are “Jared Padalecki” and “Jensen Ackles,” the stars of a TV series called… Supernatural.
Ever since the twisty premise was first revealed — and especially after TVLine brought you a first look clip of the episode, “The French Mistake” (a nod to a meta tune from Blazing Saddles) — TV connoisseurs have made notice of similar, self-referential installments of other series.
Growing Pains, for example, gave us “Meet the Seavers,” where Ben dreams that he’s Jeremy Miller, an actor on a family-oriented sitcom. And Eerie, Indiana‘s “Reality Takes a Holiday” had Marshall discover that he’s really Omri Katz, but a player on a stage. (Fans of Eerie should know that Supernatural‘s meta outing has a certain something in common with that show’s dramatically tense arc.)
But as I prepped to watch “The French Mistake,” I thought of another, far earlier instance of a TV show smashing down that fourth wall. The exact show and scene was on the tip of my brain but escaped me for a half-hour, until it finally crystalized. I then hit YouTube and dug up this Honeymooners episode, in which (starting at the 1:00 mark), Ralph Kramden (played by Jackie Gleason) makes a concerted bid to meet… Jackie Gleason, only to have his best bud Norton encounter “The Great One” instead:
All of which is a long-winded way of reminding you to check out Supernatural tonight, and of course weigh in below with any of your own recollections of masterfully “meta” TV moments.