Monday, March 7, 2005


I don't consider the study of the TV Universe to be an exact science. And there are those who don't consider it a science at all, unless you consider analytical reports on my mental stability to be science. Hmppph......

For me, televisiology is more of a philosophical pursuit, and thus I am able to fudge the truth and/or campaign for a theory that has no firm basis in fact.

It's sort of like searching for weapons of mass destruction.

That's why I'm able to claim a lot more links between TV shows than those who are constricted by established crossovers only. And a big source of these spurious claims are due to tele-genetics and the study of the genealogies shared by TV characters.

For example? TV characters who look exactly alike.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. They're played by the same actor. Don't be such a wet blanket!

Identical twins aren't always siblings. Toobworld has seen identical cousin, clones, parallel universe counterparts, look-alike androids and aliens, shape-shifters, and time travelers who meet themselves at different points in the timeline.

But this time out I'm keeping it simple - twin sisters.

Shirley Schmidt & Amanda Anderlee
'Boston Legal' & 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'

We met Judge Anderlee first, in an episode of 'Law & Order' earlier this season, and then she appeared just last week on the first two episodes of 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'.

In between those appearance, her twin sister Shirley Schmidt moved back to Boston after being in charge of the New York offices for Crane, Poole, and Schmidt. She had been summoned back to the home office at the request of the junior partners who were worried about the antics of senior partner Denny Crane.

Shirley Schmidt probably couldn't wait to get back to Beantown after being in such close proximity to her twin sister. Not that there was any love lost between them, but it might have been awkward whenever Shirley had to appear in Amanda's courtroom and then attempt to get her sister disqualified from presiding over her case.

And there was also the matter of the difference between their pesonalities. Shirley and Amanda were a lot like identical cousins Patty and Cathy Lane in that one was free-spirited (Shirley) and the other was of a more sober temperament (Amanda). Amanda looks like she might have disapproved of Shirley's free-wheeling attitude, and Shirley probably couldn't wait to escape that.

And maybe, despite her protests to the contrary, maybe she couldn't wait to get back to Boston for a heaping helping of Denny Crane.


PS -
PLEASE don't insult me by pointing out that the characters have different last names. Either one of them or even both of them were probably using their married names. And I'm wondering if they were the type of women who would marry to create alliterations for themselves on their monogrammed bath towels.....


Anonymous said...

What about Murphy Brown? Would she be a sister to the Judge and Shirley? She looks just like them and there must be a reason besides the fact that Candice Bergen played them both.


Toby said...

We saw enough of Murphy Brown's personal life to know that she couldn't possibly be a triplet sibling to Shirley and Amanda. Murphy was an only child, daughter of Bill and Avery Brown.

Sometimes we just have to figure there must be something about TV characters that we can't see as the audience viewing at home which makes them distinguishable from other characters played by the same actor.

Otherwise everybody in TV Land would have been confusing Dan Tanna with Spenser and Gavilan and Captain Kennedy and plenty of other characters played by Robert Urich. (Was there ever anybody who had more starring roles in TV series than him?)

A friend of mine from the Idiot's Delight Digest just wrote to me this morning on this very topic, as a matter of fact. Nora Lee wondered if the doctor played by Patrick Bauchau in a guest spot on 'House' could have been the same character (with a different alias) as he played as a regular on 'The Pretender'.

They could be twin brothers, I imagine, but not the same man; too many discrepancies to address.

But when you're dealing with the nefarious doings of the Centre, who knows? Maybe they were clones!