After a surprisingly short amount of time to think about and a surprisingly lot amount of time to actually do I present you with a meta on Hell House. Well, part of it anyway.
Sideways and Super Troopers: The humor of Sam and Dean Winchester
Ask a fan about Hell House and you'll probably hear something along the lines of this: It's their funny episode. Fun to watch but not exactly much in the way of character development.
Through the pranks played Sam and Dean in Hell House you can tell a great deal about them and their senses of humor. Through humor you can tell a way someone sees life and how they approach it and react to some things.
Prank one initiates the war and is done by Dean while driving down the Interstate 35. He picks up a spoon from somewhere near him, shoves it in Sam's mouth, takes a picture and then "accidentally" wakes him up. The fact that he wakes him up to the chorus of Fire of Unknown Origin could possibly be seen as an incredibly cruel end to the prank, but seeing as how Sam didn't seem to react to it at all and that Dean is not actually an evil bastard I think it's safe to say that was just a little musical easter egg from the writers.
Many people wonder just what the hell is so funny about this first prank. Yeah, it seems to upset Sam and the picture might be worth something somewhere down the line but it seems less like a prank and more like a Random Act of Stupidity. Until one realizes that in the pilot Sam said that "Sammy is a chubby twelve-year-old." And then in Hell House Dean shoves a spoon in sleeping Sam's mouth and takes a picture. Possibly a subtle dig at the ex-chubby brother and a nice throw-back to continuity. Like the kid was "so fat he fell asleep eating" or something.
The prank is simple, spur-of-the-moment, personal and invades Sam's personal bubble (And an orifice).
Prank two is Sam's first retaliatory prank. Sam turns the stereo full blast in the Mettalicar and turns on the wipers and everything else he can so that Dean is assaulted by it all upon turning the car on. A nice sensory overload.
This prank involved The Car. Dean's girl. His pride and joy. You can almost see Dean thinking "now it's personal" in his head when he turns everything off. The prank itself does not seem personal, randomly chaotic, but not personal. The "victim" of the prank is the personal part, the car. It's even a tad bit elaborate when you consider that Sam had to sneak into the car (Which, given, was apparently unlocked) and turn on everything while making sure that Dean didn't come around the corner at that second and find him. He would have to think of a way to get Dean away long enough to do his thing and then head back into the building (Library?) we saw him exit.
The prank is somewhat thoughtful, somewhat elaborate and impersonal in nature while actually being very personal and a violation of sacred space.
Prank three is Dean's first retaliatory prank, seeing as how the first one seemingly came from nowhere. He waits until Sam is in the shower and then pour itching powder in Sam's underwear, causing him to scratch and grab and grope himself in public.
I don't think I need to explain why this prank is funny. Or why we love it so, for it brings us Sam getting to second with himself on camera. This one was planned though. Dean thought of it in advance, waited until Sam hopped in the shower and then went out and bought the itching powder. This is actually a pretty good feat when you consider that Dean managed to find itching powder that actually worked in a town he had (presumably) never been in before.
The prank is simple yet somewhat elaborate, personal and it invades Sam's personal bubble (And an orifice. Again.).
Prank four is the final prank played by a Winchester on a Winchester. It is done by Sam to Dean in Random Dinner in Texas and consists of Sam super-glueing Dean's hand to his beer bottle.
This is actually pretty damned good considering that Sam would've had to wait until Dean got up from the table for some reason (Likely the bathroom) and then spread the glue on the bottle. Super-glue hardens pretty fast once exposed to air (Trust me on this one) so theoretically Sam would've had to then get Dean to drink fairly quickly before his prank was nullified.
The prank is simple, elaborate and impersonal in nature while simultaneously violating Dean's right palm (And therefor possibly ruining the next week or so for him).
Pranks five and six are done by Sam and Dean (Each thinking they are acting alone) to the Ghost Busters (Harry Spangler and Ed Zedmore). Sam calls them up and pretends to be an "important Hollywood producer" who wants to make both a movie and RPG on them. Dean shoves dead fish into their backseat before they leave.
This time Sam's is personal while Dean's is not. Sam gets the Ghost Buster's hopes up with a false promise and actually manages to get them to pick-up and leave town. I would also like to point out that this means Sam knows what an RPG is. GEEK. Dean's? Consists of putting something that smells in their car. Sam took the time to think up a story and perpetrate it. Dean bought some fish, broke into their car and hid it in the back.
Sam's prank is complex, elaborate and personal.
Dean's prank is simple, relatively spur-of-the-moment and impersonal.
Dean makes reference to Sam getting Nair in his shampoo in a previous prank war, we'll call this Prank Zero.
I think it's safe to say that Sam is fairly attached to his hair (more than physically) so it's safe to say that Prank Zero was personal and yet again invaded Sam's personal bubble. Now, unless the Winchesters just happen to have Nair sitting around (Which I could see for head wounds or other places with matted hair if not for the fact that it would undoubtedly get into the wound and infect it) Dean would have had to make a trip to the store and buy some. He then would have had to mix it in the shampoo before Sam used it (It couldn't be just any old time because if John had gotten it Dean's ass would'a been grass). Pretty damn thought-out, really.
Dean's pranks are personal, they involve Sam's body, tend to be rather simple in nature and, most importantly, they give him the giggles.
Sam's pranks tend to be impersonal, semi-elaborate and, again most importantly, they give him his doofy giggles.
This leads me to conclude that Sam and Dean have very different senses of humor. Dean's sense of humor is more "childish" and "simple," fart jokes and dick jokes and generally very "boy-like" humor. He loves Will Ferrell and Zoolander and Road Trip and Euro Trip. He thinks Anchorman and Old School are works of genius. Jackass and CKY are two of his very favorite series' ever. He still knows The Blues Brothers is the best movie ever made though and anyone who dares speak ill of it suffers his Wrath.
Sam? Prefers more "mature" humor. Likes things you have to think about a little and things about "normal" life. He loves Kids in the Hall and Seinfeld and The Larry David Show. Sam loves Dennis Miller. Thinks he's one of the funniest people ever created. He cries from laughing so hard at him. He likes Eddie Izzard because of all the historical humor. He loves The Life Aquatic with Steve Zsusou and The Royal Tennenbaums. He loves Rushmore and I ♥ Huckabees even more than Dean loves The Blues Brothers.
They would of course like some of the same things but probably for different reasons. Sam would love George Carlin for some reason he can't explain and Dean would like that he's got the balls on him to say his shit. They both would love Kevin Smith but for different reasons. Dean totally for the crass things and Sam for the intellectual stuff. Sam would love The Office and Dean wouldn't admit to liking My Name Is Earl for the moral of doing good things for people. They would both like Scrubs though and Dean would think Dr. Cox is The Man.
In summary? Dean likes it when people get hurt. He thinks it's funny when things happen to people. Sam likes it when things happen in general. He likes people commenting on society and people.
Sam likes when someone breaks the million dollar vase because they think it's the identical one from the garage sale.
Dean likes it when either vase is smashed on someone's head.