Sunday, September 26, 2004


In the season premiere of 'Joan Of Arcadia', Helen Girardi had a clandestine meeting with a priest to discuss her intentions to rejoin the Church. (She had been facing a few obstacles in regards to making her Confirmation.) But no matter what she said, the priest only echoed her remarks.

"Will you stop repeating everything I say?" she demanded.

The priest apologized. "I'm hooked on repeats of 'The West Wing'!"

Had it been almost any other show, I would have considered this exchange to be a "Zonk": a pop culture reference, usually about TV, that threatens to destroy the integrity of the TV Universe.

For instance, when amnesia patient John Doe #6 ('St. Elsewhere') suddenly believed that he was Mary Richards of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', that would be considered a Zonk. Both shows should exist in the same universe.

(Even as a central hub for the TV Universe, 'St. Elsewhere' also provides most of my headaches with such discrepancies.)

My job is to "splain" away such Zonks, and in the case of the mention of 'The West Wing' on 'Joan Of Arcadia', that's relatively easy to do. The universe would not be disrupted because the two shows exist in different dimensions. For the Girardi family, 'The West Wing' would be a TV show.

As I've mentioned in the past, 'The West Wing' has to be removed from the regular TV Universe because the president is Josiah Bartlet. However, on Earth Prime-Time, it is George Dubya Bush who is the Commander-in-Chief. ('Whoopi!' and of course, 'That's My Bush!')

That doesn't mean Helen Girardi could never meet Jed Bartlet. It's just that his life in the main TV Universe followed a different path, away from the Oval Office.

Josiah Bartlet, perhaps influenced by the career choice of his future wife Abigail, studied medicine rather than economics. And when last we heard of him (mentioned but not seen) in the TV Universe, he was a surgeon at Boston General. (Again with the 'St. Elsewhere'!)

As for God appearing to Joan Girardi in the guise of the late, lamented Dolores Landingham of 'The West Wing' universe......

Well, He's God, isn't He? No matter what universe He's in, He can do whatever the hell He damn well pleases.

Oops. Sorry about that, Chief!


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