The boys at Supernatural aren't afraid to make jokes about or reference other pop culture shows and movies. The show is in its 13th season and became the longest-running American live-action fantasy series in its 11th. Supernatural is also the longest-running CW show. The cast and crew have great senses of humor and are not above making fun of themselves and other actors.
"Dean" played by Jensen Ackles, is usually the character that makes the most remarks about television shows and films. This helps communicate to audiences that the world of Supernatural takes place in the same world that we do. Over the years the show has had a large number of celebrities play roles in its episodes. If you've ever found yourself watching a show and thought, "they look familiar, I've seen them on something else", chances are it was Supernatural. Some were already famous, while others went on to fame. Sterling K. Brown of the hit This is Us, appeared on four episodes of Supernatural, long before taking the role of "Randall Pearson".
Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are well known on set to be big pranksters. Mark Sheppard, who played "Crowley", once said that you know you're in with the Supernatural family once you've been pranked by Jared and Jensen. The same must be true for the celebrities, television shows, and movies that have been mentioned on Supernatural.
15 Paris Hilton
Even reality show stars have made appearances on Supernatural. In Season 5 episode 5, “Fallen Idols”, Paris Hilton guest starred as the Leshii. By touching a celebrity’s procession, the pagan god has the ability to turn into that star and end their fans in order to feed on their blood. The Winchester’s find Paris Hilton (Leshii) when they are investigating at the local wax museum. While confronting Leshii, Dean says, “Well I hate to break it to you sister, but, uh…you can’t eat me. See, I’m not a Paris Hilton BFF. I’ve never even seen House of Wax.”
Jared Padelecki (Sam) and Paris Hilton co-starred in the 2005 remake of House of Wax. Dean also makes a jab at Hilton’s reality show, Paris Hilton’s My New BFF, where fans compete to become her new friend. Sam Winchester takes out Paris Hilton, the Leshii, with an iron ax at the end of the episode.
She is also mentioned in season 1 episode 5: Bloody Mary. Dean asks, “Do I look like Paris Hilton?”.
14 Misha Collins
Yes, yes, Misha Collins plays the character of “Castiel” on Supernatural but he also appeared on the show as himself in season 6 episode 15: The French Mistake. In this cast and fan favorite episode the boys find themselves in an alternate reality where the tv show Supernatural is being filmed. Misha Collins is hilarious in the way he plays Misha, playing Castiel. Sam and Dean while looking for Castiel encounter Misha Collins. They begin to question him about what is going on and “Misha” asks if the script changed.
During this classic episode, Misha also pokes fun at himself and how much he tweets in real life. He even mentions that the boys “punked” him, which references how Jared and Jensen actually are on set. They are known, pranksters. Unfortunately, the alternate reality Misha is killed by an angel that is working for Raphael.
Another reality star to show up on Supernatural was Nicole Polizzi, aka “Snooki”, from MTV’s Jersey Shore. The brothers meet her when they are trying to get through to Crowley. She is the “meatsuit” that a crossroads demon possessed some time ago. Snooki avoids answering their questions about Crowley, even after they threaten her with Ruby’s knife. After telling her that they will leave her in the devil’s trap and that Abaddon will take over Hell without Crowley there, Snooki lets them know where he is. Once she gives them the information on the King of Hell, Sam exorcises the demon from Snooki.
Snooki is also mentioned in Season 6 episode 14: Mannequin. The boys are headed to the east coast and have the following short conversation;
Sam: Where we off to?
Dean: Paterson, New Jersey. Hey, maybe we’ll have a Snooki sighting.
Sam: What’s a Snooki?
Dean: That’s a good question.
12 James Marsters
James Marsters guest starred in season 5 episode 11: Shut Up, Dr. Phill, as Don Stark. Marsters also played the part of “Milton Fine/Brainiac” in 14 episodes of Smallville. In “Shut Up, Dr. Phil”, the boys head to Prosperity, Indiana, to investigate two unusual deaths. One of the deaths was a real estate agent and the other an architect. The brothers learn that the victims, along with Don Stark, were working on a project together, and Stark is the only one still alive. We soon learn that Don Stark and his wife, Maggy, are a warlock and witch. They are recently separated and feuding with each other. Fans were excited to see both Marsters and the actress playing his wife back together on screen. Don’t worry we’ll get to her later in this list.
Marsters rose to cult fame as the melancholy vampire “Spike” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His trademark bleach blonde hair, red shirt, and leather trench coat did not follow him to the role of Don Stark. Supernatural is set in a world where the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer exists. In season 1 episode 17: Hell House, Ghostfacer’s Ed and Harry show their fandom love for Buffy with this exchange;
Ed: This stuff here….this is our ticket to the big time right here. Fame, money, sex. With girls? OK? Be brave. WWBD. What would Buffy Do, huh?
Harry: What would Buffy do? But Ed, she’s stronger than me.
11 Genevieve Padalecki
Genevieve was first introduced to Supernatural fans playing the part of the demon "Ruby" beginning with Lazarus Rising in Season 4. This is the first episode of the season, where Dean is in Hell and Sam is trying to move on without him. Ruby trains Sam to use his powers, which are enhanced by Sam drinking her demon blood. Sam soon becomes addicted to her blood and they have a relationship. Castiel saves Dean from Hell, and Sam keeps his relationship with Ruby a secret. Eventually, in her last episode, after much turmoil between the brothers about Ruby, Sam helps Dean kill her with her own knife.
Jared Padalecki and Genevieve Cortese began dating in real life after meeting on the show. They were married in 2010. She returned to the show for season 6 episode 15, The French Mistake. This is the episode where the boys are sent to an alternate reality where there is a tv show Supernatural. Genevive plays herself in this fun-filled episode. When the boys first see her, they believe that she is Ruby.
Dean: Wait. You and Ruby?
Genevieve: Do you honestly think that’s funny, Jensen?
Dean: Right. Right, ‘cause 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, uh, in…Jared’s house, Uh, because you two are…(spots a photo on the mantle of Jared and Genevieve’s wedding)…Married! You married fake Ruby?
10 Linda Blair
If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Exorcist, then you are very familiar with Linda Blair. In the film, she played the character "Reagan", a little girl that becomes possessed by a demon. During season 2 on episode 7: The Usual Suspects, Linda Blair plays the part of "Detective Diana Ballard". Along with her partner, she arrests Sam and Dean, believing that Dean is a killer. She eventually learns that the criminal is her partner who is also her lover. As an homage to The Exorcist and Linda Blair, at the end of the episode, as Sam and Dean walk away:
Dean: Does she look familiar to you?
Sam: No, why?
Dean: I don’t know. Are you hungry? For some reason, I could really go for some pea soup.
This was not the first time nor the last that The Exorcist was mentioned on Supernatural. In season 1 episode 22: Devil’s Trap, Dean says, “Oh we’re going for it, baby. Head spinning, projectile vomiting, the whole nine yards.” This is a nod to how the character of Reagan in The Exorcist upchucks and spins her head while possessed. Much later in the series season 9 to be exact, episode 5: Dog Dean Afternoon, Dean gains the ability to understand animals. During the episode Sam is reading lore to Dean, “It says here whatever animal organ you ingest with the right mix of hoodoo and spices, you temporarily gain the power of that animal. So, okay, if you’re munching on owl brains….”. Dean cuts in with, “Your head spins around like The Exorcist?"
9 Adrianne Palicki
Adrianne Palicki played the part of Sam Winchester’s fiancé, "Jessica Moore", in the pilot episode. Unfortunately, Jessica suffers the same fate as Mary Winchester, at the hands of the yellow-eyed demon. We see Jessica on other episodes in the series as flashbacks, or to trick Sam. Her character was in season 1 episodes 1 and 5, season 2 episode 20, and season 5 episode 3.
Adrianne has appeared on several television shows that have been mentioned at one point or another on Supernatural. These series include CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Friday Night Lights, CSI: Miami, and Robot Chicken. Palicki also has another connection to Supernatural. She and Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), both had roles on Smallville. CSI: Miami in addition to a mention in season 3 episode 15: Time Is On My Side, it was also parodied in season 5 episode 8: Changing Channels.
8 Sam Smith
Mary Winchester, the mother of Sam and Dean, and wife of John Winchester is played by actress Sam Smith. Her role has definitely taken on a much more active role on the show since she was brought back to life at the end of season 11. She is a no-nonsense, kick-ass hunter that must figure out how to operate in a very changed world and with her grown sons.
Sam Smith had roles in the films Transformers and Jerry Maguire. Both of which did not escape from the pop culture quips on Supernatural. In season 7 episode 21: Reading is Fundamental, Castiel is trying to tell the boys:
Castiel: This is the handwriting of Metatron.
Sam: Metatron!?! You’re saying a Transformer wrote that?
Dean: No, that’s Megatron.
Dean: The Transformer, it’s Megatron.
Sam, of course, thought that Castiel was talking about Megatron, the leader of the Decepticon’s. As for Jerry Macguire, it was mentioned in season 1 episode 3: Dead in the Water.
7 Steven Williams
If you remember watching the early 90’s tv series, 21 Jump Street, then you recognize Steven who played "Captain Adam Fuller". Another Jump Street actor, Peter DeLuise, also appeared on an episode of Supernatural in season 3 episode 12: Jus in Bello. Steven has had much more of a recurring role on the show as the former partner of Bobby Singer, "Rufus Turner". In season 4 episode 13: After School Special, the boys return to their high school to investigate. Dean goes undercover as a gym teacher and references the 90’s hit when a student recognizes him, “Aren’t you the PE teacher?”. Dean replies with, “Not really. I’m like 21 Jumpstreet. The bus driver sells pot. Yeah.”
Steven Williams also played "Mr. X" on the cult favorite, The X-Files, in 14 episodes. The X-Files is a popular go to for the writers. It has been mentioned or joked about in at least eight episodes of Supernatural. As they often do, the brothers take on pop culture names when going undercover as agents. In the pilot episode, they say that they are “Agent Mulder and Agent Scully”. The names, of course, being that of the two main characters on The X-Files, “Fox Mulder and Dana Scully”.
Also on episode 7 of season 2 : The Usual Suspects, Dean teases Sam about being Scully;
Dean: My favorite kind. What do you think Scully? You wanna check it out?
Sam: I’m not Scully, you’re Scully.
Dean: No, I’m Mulder. You’re a red-headed woman.
6 Julie Benz
Most know Julie Benz from her portrayal of “Darla” on both, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. Darla was the vampire that created Angelus aka Angel, Buffy’s boyfriend. Benz appeared in the first season of Supernatural in episode 12: Faith. Her character, "Layla Rourke", was dying of a brain tumor and was seeking the help of a healer, Roy Le Grange. Though he lost his powers when the Reaper is set free she holds strong to her faith.
Along with Buffy, another show of Julie’s has also been mentioned on Supernatural, Dexter. She was in 49 episodes of Dexter as, "Rita Bennett/Rita Morgan". Below is a quip between Sam and Dean in season 6 episode 8: All Dogs go to Heaven.
Sam: I’d double-cross us.
Dean: Thanks, Dexter. That’s reassuring.
Other shows that have been referenced by Supernatural that Julie has acted in are; CSI, CSI: Miami, and Desperate Housewives.
5 Timothy Omundson
In season 9 episode 11: First Born, we are introduced to "Cain", played by Timothy Omundson. Cain tells the boys the truth about what happened to his brother Abel.
“Abel wasn’t talking to God. He was talking to Lucifer. Lucifer was gonna make my brother into his pet, I couldn’t bear to watch him be corrupted, so I offered a deal- Abel’s soul in Heaven for my soul in Hell. Lucifer accepted… as long as I was the one who sent Abel to Heaven. So, I killed him. Became a soldier of Hell- a knight.”
This truth, of his willingness to go to Hell for his brother, is parallel to the relationship between Sam and Dean.
Timothy has a gambit of roles under his belt that have been joked about on Supernatural, one of which was in the tv series Xena Warrior Princess, which has received jabs in at least three episodes.
4 Dee Wallace
This actress has had a long and plentiful acting career. Ten of which were on television shows or films that the boys have joked about on Supernatural, and some of them on more than one episode. Her most noticeable role was as mother "Donna Trenton", in Stephen King’s Cujo.
Dee Wallace appeared in season 11 episode 11: Into the Mystic. She played the part of "Mildred Baker", a retired singer living in a retirement home that the boys investigate. Mildred sweetly flirts with Dean throughout the episode and gives him deeply, heartwarming advice. At one point in the episode, Mildred is giving advice to Dean on living a long and happy life, all the while having her hand on his knee. After her talk, Dean says, “your hand is still on my knee.” Mildred gingerly smiles at him, squeezes his knee and says, “I could move it up.” Dean quickly gets up while Mildred laughs. When the banshee attacks, it is Mildred and Eileen who save Dean from a terrible fate. Eileen is a hunter that the boys meet at the retirement home.
3 Charisma Carpenter
Another Buffy alumni on our list is the beautiful Charisma Carpenter. She appeared in season 5 episode 11: Shut Up, Dr. Phill, alongside James Marsters. As you will remember Marsters’ played the character of "Spike" on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and "Don Stark" on Supernatural. Charisma played the part of "Margaret (Maggie) Stark", Don’s wife, who she is separated from after discovering he had an affair.
The boys investigate Maggie, who they suspect is the witch behind the uncommon deaths. Don pleads with Maggie to stop what she is doing. They argue and attempt to take out Sam and Dean with a spell. Dean interrupts them by trying to fix their broken relationship. Don and Maggie have been together for hundreds of years and have a lot of issues.
Charisma also appeared on the television show Veronica Mars, which was referred to by Dean in season 7 episode 20: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Dean: Yeah, I know. Doesn’t mean I got to be happy about sending in freaking Veronica Mars.
Charisma Carpenter was also on an episode of the television show Charmed in three episodes. It is a show that Misha Collins, who plays Castiel, also acted on prior to Supernatural.
2 Jared Padalecki
This list would not be complete without mentioning the numerous times that Jared Padalecki has been the butt of jokes on the show. In The French Mistake episode, the jabs are nonstop when the boys first get sent to an alternate reality.
Sam: I’m just saying we-we’ve landed in some dimension where you’re Jensen Ackles, and I’m something called a “Jared Padalecki”.
In a separate episode in season 2, a reference is made about Gilmore Girls, a television show that Jared was on and his characters name was "Dean". The boys are on a tour of Warner Brother Studios and the tour guide says that they are about to pass the set of Gilmore Girls and they might see one of its stars. Sam looks startled and quickly gets off of the tour bus.
Jared was also in the movie House of Wax with Paris Hilton. A movie that was made fun of in season 5 episode 5.
1 Jensen Ackles
Last but certainly not least, Jensen Ackles, who plays "Dean Winchester". Dean is usually the one that utters the pop culture references on Supernatural. In The French Mistake episode the laughs kept coming when the boys went into “Jensen Ackles” trailer;
Sam: Whoa. All right, who puts a 300-gallon aquarium in their trailer?
Dean: Apparently, Jensen Ackles.
It doesn’t stop there. Sam looks up Jensen on the internet and comes across a clip from Days of Our Lives, which starred Jensen as "Eric Brady". Jensen and Jared both were unaware that the clip was going to be on the laptop and their reactions to seeing it are real. Dean quickly slams the laptop shut and walks away.
An episode of Supernatural titled “My Bloody Valentine” in season 5 was a reference to a film of the same name that starred Jensen. Jensen also provided the voice for "Jason Todd/Red Hood", in the animation Batman: Under the Red Hood. In season 3 episode 3: Bad Day at Black Rock, after throwing a pen into the barrel of a gun, Dean says, “I’m Batman!”.