Friday, February 25, 2005


My thoughts on the Super Bowl commercials brought forth another great email from Hugh Davis. And it would be selfish of me if I didn't share it with whoever might be out there reading this. (Besides the two of us!)

Your latest take on the Super Bowl ads has me thinking that its time to announce the discovery of a new world: The Blipverse. It's a bridge universe, really, allowing connections between different worlds, although it is a sub-set of the televerse first and foremost. In it, the laws of physics are even less stable than in the televerse; its inhabitants are also more prone to be Serlinguists.

The nature of the world tends to be intense dramatic concerns with generally quick resolutions, a sort of Deus Ex Machina motif. It's a world in which animated characters, talking/dancing/singing/etc. animals, and puppets all interact easily with humans.

The Blipverse has actually existed for many years, and it originally actually was seen intersecting with the televerse, as commercials were built into shows. There are plenty of Cineverse interactions--the Pierce Brosnan James Bond for Diet Coke, for instance, or Alfred from the Batman movies for Diet Coke--and many of these connect to comics and superheroes and science fiction. The Droids from Star Wars advertise SW toys (later followed by a variety of Darth Vader ads, including the Energizer Bunny Spot, and a Taco Bell ad with the Droids, Vader, Chewbacca, and Storm Troopers); Ferengi and Romulans from ST advertise Hallmark ornaments; Jimmy Olsen (Marc McClure) of four Superman movies and Supergirl advertises Super Powers figures. These then are windows allowing universes to merge.

I think the most remarkable Blipverse spots for mergings come from the Batman On*Star ads. Clearly, these connect the Batman movies to the small subset of Televerse that comes from commercials. They are visually tied without a doubt to those movies, plus Michael Gough is in there as Alfred. The actor playing Batman in them then played that role in a flashback sequence on Birds of Prey, so it links Cineverse to Televerse, and, since Mark Hamill gave the Joker's voice in this and the WB animated show, there's a further Toon tie that can all be brought forth thanks to Blipvert spots.

(The Blipverse can also be seen superheroically way back, with Superman and Jimmy shilling for Kellogg's Pep).

I'm brought to this realization from your discussion of how the Marvel heroes in the Check Card ad aren't the TV or Movie versions. That's right--they are the Blipverse versions. Spiderman has appeared in live-action on the Televerse in the 1970s--both the tv-movie specials and as part of The Electric Company (easily one could argue these are the same) and in animated versions in each decade since the 1960s, but his Blipverse incarnation has also been there in live-action form. A theme park ad from the late 1990s had him battling Doc Octupus atop a plane, for example.

The key to show that the Blipverse has live action versions of these superheroes today is another ad, however, from three or four years ago. A milkman pushed a doorbell at a mansion and is dropped through a trapdoor into a hidden room. It turns out he's at Avengers Mansion and is being interviewed for a possible spot on the super-team's roster.

The Milkman, however, has no powers...he just provides milk, which gives you strong bones. Interviewing him were the Hulk (who might be connected to the Cineverse Hulk, seen in Blipverts for Mountain Dew two summers ago), Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, and (key here) Captain America, Spiderman, and Thor. These Blipverse inhabitants then are the ones seen again in the most recent SuperBowl spot.

Oh, and Underdog did appear in a cereal commercial (Frosted Cheerios, which flopped) six or seven years ago which also featured, among others, Reggie Miller of the NBA and James Doohan, who, though not labelled as such, did appear to be playing Scotty, as he made a "can't take anymore" comment.


You haven't mentioned the Simpsons SuperBowl episode yet, with the celebrities getting showboat training from Homer. Among others, it included Warren Sapp (who's been in some NFL Network ads this year for "Space Raiders," an SF version of the Oakland team) and Yao Ming (who appeared, albeit with someone else voicing him) on Static Shock!

Toby's Take:
Hugh's got too many good ideas of his own regarding Toobworld that he really should be doing a companion blog of his own! If you agree with me and want to read more of his theories and ideas, help me light the fire under him - write us a comment to this blog entry and let Hugh know you'd like to see more of his ideas on a regular basis!

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