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In the TV show Supernatural, Season 6, Episode 15, Sam and Dean find themselves pushed into an "alternate reality" where they are two actors acting in a TV show called Supernatural. And their names (in the alternate reality) are Jared Padalecki (Sam) and Jensen Ackles (Dean).

In real world, those two are the two main actors in Supernatural (in our time, our world). Its the same case with Misha Collins (Castiel) and Robert Singer (Producer and Bobby Singer). Also in this reality, Genevieve Padalecki is Sam's wife (this is also true in real life- Jared Padalecki is married to Genevieve Padalecki).

Is there any specific name for this kind of technique? The real actors acting as themselves in the perspective of their characters?

If there is, are there any specific reasons and work that go into this?

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A C T I N G C E P T I O N –  TylerShads Jun 17 '12 at 5:54
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I guess Last Action Hero is a good example, too, with Arnie's movie character Jack Slater getting into the real world and meeting the real actor-Arnie. –  Napoleon Wilson Jun 17 '12 at 12:57
    
@ChristianRau Yeah, that's also a good example. In Supernatural also, Dean (the character) becomes Jensen Ackles (who plays Dean). The same happens to a lot of others. –  Roshnal Jun 17 '12 at 13:25
    
i found a dozen or so tvtropes almost about this -- Actor Allusion and Casting Gag seem near-misses -- but nothing specifically about an actor playing a character that is playing the actor. –  Michael Edenfield Jun 17 '12 at 16:21
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I believe Metafiction is the umbrella term that covers this specific technique, and related ones. Metafilm being the specific subset that are TV/film works. They essentially are catch-alls for works that have some sort of self-awareness to them.

Self-reflexive works would be closer to your specific scenario. They're works where the work refers to its real-life self.

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Yeah, that sounds like it... Thanks! –  Roshnal Mar 18 at 7:30
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