Friday, March 25, 2005


Last night's episode of 'The O.C.' featured a look at the X-rated video Julie Cooper made when she was younger. (At least, we got to see the cover of it in the promo. I was taping 'Jake In Progress', and the Americanized 'The Office' instead.)

The title of the tape was "Porn Identity". As with most porn films, the title was a play on words in reference to an earlier more famous and mainstream title. (Remember Ursula's work in "Buffay The Vampire Layer" on 'Friends'? Now, there was a Zonk!)

This is a nation of amnesiacs, according to the late Miles Drentell of 'thirtySOMETHING' and 'Once And Again'. For most of the audience that must have been a reference to the Matt Damon movie of a few years back, 'The Bourne Identity'.

But Julie made the movie when she was much younger, so unless it was previously known by a different title and just repackaged to capitalize on the movie, (not unheard of in that industry, I'll wager), then we have to go farther back for the source of that title.

That would be the original bestseller, written by the late novelist Robert Ludlum. It was a hefty book - even in its paperback edition you could do serious damage to somebody if you brought it down hard on their head! And yet it was an amazingly quick read.

(Back in 1987, I had set for myself the goal of reading 100 books in the course of the year. At first I thought it was foolish to tackle 'The Bourne Identity' when I might have squeezed in three books with less of the length. But it was breezy and thrilling and was over before I realized it. And in case you were wondering - yes. I made it to 104 and only stopped because the last book was "Still Life With Woodpecker" by Tom Robbins and I was convinced I would not find a better book with which to finish.)


The Literary Universe - a place Jasper Fforde is having fun with currently, although it has been explored by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague deCamp as well as by Marvin Kaye, - is separate from the TV Universe, although there are (as always) exceptions to the rule.

Take for example the hundreds of paperback novels based on the 'Star Trek' series. Many of them are too good to disqualify as having take place in the TV Universe, unseen by the audience. One especially I would lobby to include: "Ishmael" by Barbara Hambly, which was a significant crossover between 'Star Trek' and 'Here Come The Brides', with 'Maverick', 'Bonanza', and 'Have Gun Will Travel' thrown in for good measure.

But with 'The Bourne Identity' we do have to do a bit of splain-dancing, as it was also made into a mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain back in the early 80s. Since it was an espionage thriller, the basic tale of Jason Bourne should never have been revealed to the public, so the makers of Julie Cooper's amateurish video should never have known about what happened. In fact, if it did happen in Toobworld, then even Ludlum's book shouldn't really exist.

Unless.... as far as it matters within the TV Universe, Ludlum based his book on the "true" story of Jason Bourne. By revealing what really happened to such a best-seller as Robert Ludlum, then the tele-version of Bourne ensured his safety. Nobody could kill him out of revenge afterwards without raising more questions. And since the story was now out, there were no more secrets to be protected.

So in the Real World timeline, 'The Bourne Identity' goes like this:

1] Book
2] Mini-series
3] Movie

But in Toobworld:

1] Mini-series (In Toobworld, that's considered "Real Life")
2] Book
3] Movie

And the porno video would have been made between the book and the movie.

Since I didn't see the episode, I have no idea yet whether or not they actually showed scenes from the tape. But I think I know of at least one TV character who's seen it.

I'll bet anything that former FBI agent Fox Mulder had a copy of 'The Porn Identity' in his own personal collection......


"Nudity? Nudity?
What's wrong with nudity?
Beneath our clothes, we all stand naked
Chico Rodriguez
'Chico And The Man'

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