‘Dollhouse’ and ‘Supernatural’ finds laughs and revelations in fantasy

It was a great week for mixing humor and fantasy on both Dollhouse and Supernatural. Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse continued its now-rapidly-accelerating revealing of the origins of Eliza Dushku’s Echo/Caroline, while Eric Kripke’s Supernatural offered a sort of alternate-universe tale of Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) as office workers fated to meet.

Meanwhile, on Thursday’s Supernatural, in an episode called “It’s a Terrible Life,” the Winchester brothers weren’t… brothers. Dean was a prim businessman and Sam was a dorky IT drone laboring in the same office building, which of course just happened to be haunted. The episode was a beautifully sustained fantasy in which the two are strangers to each other, brought together by a series of bizarre deaths occurring in the office. (I keep trying to forget that image of the guy microwaving his head.)

There was a very amusing show-within-the-show, Ghostfacers, which instructed the duo in how to kill ghosts. Once the prim-Dean and dork-Sam got into it, it was, as Sam said, “like we’ve done this before.”

Both Dollhouse and Supernatural used our knowledge of what’s come before to enrich our knowledge of their heroes, and deepen our understanding of their basic natures. With some solid laughs. Like I said, a great week for the mingling of humor and fantasy.

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